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yoga Absolute Beginners

Mandy BeckerKnox

a 5 week introduction to traditional Hatha Yoga

Kookaburra Yoga

www.kookaburracreek.com

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Published in Australia in 2016 by Kookaburra Communications 210 Carradine Road, Bedfordale WA 6112 Copyright Š Mandy BeckerKnox All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or tansmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior permission of the publisher in writing. National Library of Australia Cataloguing-in-Publication Data BeckerKnox, Mandy, 1970Absolute Beginners Yoga: a 5 week introduction to traditional Hatha Yoga Includes index. ISBN 1. Yoga. 2. Stress management. I. Title Set in Arial 14/18 Graphic design: Kookaburra Communications Cover and Introduction illustration:

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Introduction Namaste Our Absolute Beginners Yoga Course and this book are a systematic introduction to the tradition and practices of yoga. The course was developed by Mandy BeckerKnox and inspired by mentors A.G. Mohan and Indra Mohan of Svastha Yoga, Chennai and the works of the great Swami Sivananda and his enduring teachings which inform and inspire the Kookaburra Creek yoga program. The course is supplemented with the information and home practices included in this book for you to use to safely practice yoga and meditation at home. Also included are inspirational writings from Sivananda, and some questions for reflection and self enquiry. You will find practice sheets in a section at the back. The course is taught at Kookaburra Creek Yoga Centre by Mandy BeckerKnox and Robert Becker, who are the directors of the centre and have decades of experience teaching and practicing traditional yoga. “It is our sincere wish that you enjoy your experience of yoga at Kookaburra Creek, and come to appreciate the history and tradition which underlies our course and program.�

Mandy & Robert

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Contents About Yoga (week 1).....................................................................................................5 Vinyasa Hatha Yoga........................................................................................................6 Importance of the breath.................................................................................................6 Sankalpa: Setting a goal.................................................................................................7 Guidelines for safe yoga practice....................................................................................8 Reflection for self-enquiry................................................................................................9 Inspiration from Sivananda............................................................................................10 Fundamentals of Yoga Practice (week 2).................................................................. 11 The yoga session.......................................................................................................... 11 Fundamentals of the breath..........................................................................................13 Yoga protocal and customs...........................................................................................16 Reflection for self-enquiry..............................................................................................17 Innspiration from Sivananda..........................................................................................18 Function and Mechanics of Yoga (week 3) ..............................................................19 Biomechanics of yoga asana........................................................................................19 Stretching......................................................................................................................19 Reflection for self-enquiry..............................................................................................29 Inspiration from Sivananda ...........................................................................................30 Principles of Breath & Movement (week 4)...............................................................31 Breath and movement...................................................................................................31 Pranayama: alternate nostril breathing.........................................................................32 Reflection for self-enquiry..............................................................................................35 Inspiration from Sivananda............................................................................................36 Bringing it all together (week 5).................................................................................37 Integration of body, mind and soul.................................................................................37 tips to practice yoga at home........................................................................................38 What to include in your home practice..........................................................................40 The Ayurveda and Yoga Daily Routine..........................................................................42 Ongoing Home practices...............................................................................................44 Reflection for self-enquiry..............................................................................................44 Puja: Gratitute Meditation..............................................................................................45 Practices for Yoga at Home Week 1 Practice Sheets................................................................................................46 Week 2 Practice Sheets................................................................................................49 Week 3 Practice Sheets................................................................................................52 Week 4 Practice Sheets................................................................................................55 Week 5 Practice Sheets................................................................................................58

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About Yoga Week 1 is an introduction to the tradition and practice of yoga. We introduce the 8 Limbs of Yoga and Vinyasa Hatha Yoga. We also share the benefits of hatha yoga and the importance of setting a goal for your practice.

About Yoga Yoga is a healing art which originated in the vedic period in India. It has evolved over many thousands of years. It is a holistic practice comprised of 8 Limbs practiced sequentially. The 8 limbs of yoga were articulated by Patanjali, the “father‟ of yoga in the Yoga Sutras. YAMA NIYAMA ASANA PRANAYAMA PRATYAHARA DHARANA DHYANA SAMADHI

Ethical guidelines regarding behaviour towards others Ethical guidelines regarding behaviour towards oneself Practice of yoga postures Practice of breathing exercises Withdrawal from sensory world Concentration / foucs on one object Meditation / focus is all encompassing Bliss / merging of self with universe.

The practices of yoga were originally intended to bring the body, mind and spirit into perfect harmony and balance so the deeper states of meditation could be realised with grace and ease. In this way the practitioner would eventually reach his goal which, in those days, was samadhi or self-realisation. In modern times it’s often enough to hope for perfect health and wellbeing and yoga can assist in this. All illnesses and imbalances start in the body’s energyfield. When we do yoga we positively enhance the body’s energy and promote an environment conjucive to good health. Modern scientists have confirmed what yogis have always known - that when the body is stressed disease sets in. Good health requires inner calm, in yoga

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this is called “sattva”. Yoga helps in the management of physcial stress, emotional stress and negative thought patterns. Yoga is truly the antidote to the stresses of everyday life.

Vinyasa Hatha Yoga The sanskrit word Vinayasa means flowing and hatha means balance of polarities (literally sun/’moon). Yoga literally means union. In Vinayasa Hatha Yoga we balance the forces within and beyond through gentle flowing movements synchronised with deep yoga breathing bringing about integration or union of the body, mind, emotions and soul. The yoga practices selected for this course are from the teachings of Krishnamacharya who passed them on to his students A.G. Mohan and Indra Mohan who teach in Chennai, South India. These practices have a particularly balancing, harmonising and healing effect and help alleviate stress. There are hundreds of asanas (yoga poses) in yoga. In this course we use the 12 foundation asanas as a model and adapt them to attain a specific function, always keeping in mind the integrity of the each individual’s unique structure. We work dynamically in the asana, exploring the range of movement for the greatest opportunity to stretch and strengthen. This dynamic preparation helps us to enjoy the deeper benefits of the static asana (holding poses) as we become more experienced.

The importance of breath As we practice vinayasa hatha yoga, every movement is integrated with the breath. On the inhalation, we enjoy energy, motivation and inspiration. On the exhalation, we experience calmness, relaxation and stability. When our movement flows with the complete breath, we feel balanced, present and alive. In the beginning it can be difficult to balance movement and breath as we learn a new way of moving and breathing. Remember the general rule is that whenver you extend or expand or arch backwards you do this movement on an inhalation.

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Whenever you contract, invert or bend forwards you do this movement on an exhalation. If you find the breathing difficult or feel light headed then revert to natural breathing for a while. It doesn’t take long to become accustomed to deep yoga breathing but be patient with yourself in the beginning.

Some benefits of Hatha Yoga Stimulate the spine Improve posture Extend physical capabilities, Release blocks and resistance in the body Increase flexibility Experience conscious awareness of breath and movement Breathe fuller and deeper Feel lighter Renew attention Focus mind Experience quiet, peace and clarity Increase the flow of energy Accept self Observe self without judgement Increase vitality

Setting a Goal Much more important than the health of the body is the health of the mind. The mind is very powerful. You just have to point it in a particular direction, think a particular thought, and the body will manifest this thought. Sometimes through tension and if left unchecked ill health. When we do yoga we bring together the mind and the body. We do this through conscious breathing, movement, meditation - all done with great awareness. The practices help us to stream the mind and the thoughts together and channel them towards our goal which is yoga or union - the bringing together of the disparate elements of ourselves.

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Before we commence anything in life we must have a clear intention in order to succeed. In yoga we call this sankalpa - our spiritual intention. We must ask ourselves the questions “Why am I doing this, what is my goal?” In yoga our goal is wellness, wholeness, union. The yoga texts were originally written in verse and chanted regularly. Here is a short verse from Patanjali‟s Yoga Sutras which can be recited before your practice to help set your goal YOGAH CITTA VRITTI NIRODHAHA Union is attained through containing the mind and the thoughts.

Guidelines for Safe Yoga Practice When not to practice yoga Menstruation, pregnancy, high blood pressure and injuries to the knees, shoulders, back and neck are all conditions where certain postures must be avoided or modified and care must be taken in general. If you have a medical condition, check with your health care professional before starting yoga. Modify the postures for your body The instructions and pictures of yoga postures are generally the “goal,” meaning the direction you are going towards, not where you need to be. Experiment and explore different positions and alignment to make the posture work for your body. Moderate the level of intensity You can make your yoga practice as challenging and vigorous as you want. We recommend you start slowly and make sure you understand the alignment of postures. There are three ways to increase the intensity of your practice: one, hold postures for longer and longer periods of time; two, slowly build your practice up to more advanced and challenging postures; three, move quickly between postures. How to choose postures Choose to practice postures that look like you can do them. Postures done on the floor are going to be easier than standing postures, as they do not require as much strength or balance.

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Duration of practice Your daily practice can be between 15 to 90 minutes long and done 1-6 times per week, depending on your schedule, goals and ability. Practicing more frequently with shorter practice times will yield greater results that practicing less frequently with longer practice times. What to wear Loose, comfortable clothing is best. Its important to wear clothing which won’t restrict movement. Drinking and eating It is not advisable to eat or drink right before a yoga practice (especially if you are practicing inversions). Eat no less than 1-3 hours before and drink only small amounts of water before practice, and do not drink during your practice if possible.

Reflection Each week we provide you with some questions for self enquiry and reflection. You can explore the questions and your responses through journal writing or perhaps through your own contemplative meditation pracitce. This is an ideal way to explore the insights gained from yoga practice and to help with your emotional and spiritual growth and to reflect back on your journey. Each week you will be given some questions related to your yoga practice to get you started To get the most from your yoga practice set intentions or goals. Each time you do yoga take a moment to reflect on your goal and set new goals if your needs have changed.  Why do I want to learn to yoga?  What is my short term goal for yoga?  What is my long term goal for yoga?  What is my overall life goal and how do my yoga goals relate to this?  What are the major obstacles to achieving my goals?  How can I overcome these obstacles?

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Inspiration from Swami Sivananda What is yoga? Yoga means union of the individual self (Jiva) with the Ultimate Reality (Brahman); it is the joining between one’s individual consciousness and the Universal Consciousness. In true yoga, the body, mind and spirit become one. Essentially all beings living and non-living are one, coming from the same divine source - the same energy. Yoga is not (primarily) about the physical, asana, practice but about living consciously, in a state of awareness - not only for your own self but to everyone and everything. We are all manifestations of The Creator and are not separate from Him or each other; not even from the ant or the mountain, nor the trees or rats. We are all forms of energy or vibrations that come from the same source but have evolved over time. Yoga is about being kind and compassionate to all creatures and beings, even inatimate objects. What you perceive is what you internalize and believe. Therefore, if you believe everything is good you will in turn feel good and radiate goodness from your heart and outward onto others. But it all must begin with your self. True yoga is meditation in action. It takes a dedicated practice to truly sit with one’s own Self, comfortably, while drowning out all senses; letting go of the external world and mental thoughts to completely release the Ultimate Self unto God’s grace and surrender to the Divine. Yoga is truth, humility, humbleness, and selflessness. Yoga is Pure existence, Divine Consciousness, Bliss Absolute. OM Shanti, Shanti, Shanti. Peace, Peace, Peace.

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Swami Sivananda


Week 2

Fundamentals of Yoga Practice Week 2 focusses on what comprises a balanced, beneficial yoga practice. An integrated practice includes yoga breathing and understanding the the benefits of this. We also explain yoga protocol and customs. The yoga practices build on week one and include ‘The Peaceful Warrior’, a beautiful and short yoga sequence which you can do anywhere, anytime!

The yoga session A basic yoga session need not take too long but should always follow some principles and guidelines. During a balanced yoga session you will move in the different directions (forward, backward, lateral) and you will do these movements from 3 planes (standing, seated, lying down). A yoga session at Kookaburra Creek will always include these types of poses and movements: Warm-up Exercises Conditions your body for safe transition into asana practice. Warm-up exercises open the shoulder muscles, the spine, the hips, the lower back, and the groin working gently with major joints and muscle groups. Balance Poses Balance poses help develop coordination, increase stamina and strength, improves grace, agility and poise. It also improves your concentration and focus since being cenred is necessary to be able to do these poses. Standing Poses For alignment of the feet and the body. Opens the hips, stretches the legs, adds strength to your back and increases your range of movement. Standing poses help regulate digestion, blood circulation and is good for those who want to lose weight. Sitting Poses Sitting poses should give you a calm and quiet feeling. These poses add vitality and suppleness to the spine and help prepare the body for meditation. Kookaburra Yoga 2016

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Twists Twisting poses release the tension in your spine, relieves backaches and makes your shoulders more flexible. It also facilitates in the circulation of blood and nutrients in the body. Supine and Prone Poses Done lying down on either your front or back, these poses release tension in your abdomen and increase the mobility of your spine. They restore strength in your back, arms and legs, and releases your hips and groins. Inverted Poses Inverted poses are where your head is moved to a position lower than your heart. Releases back tension, brings about calmness and quiet. Backbends Backbends benefit the adrenal glands and the kidney.They release tension in the front body and from your shoulders and pelvic area, and improves the flexibility of your spine. Finishing Poses These are the cooling-down practices. Relaxation At least a couple of minutes of relaxation, usually lying in the supine position without moving the body. When doing yoga asanas, try to concentrate on each movement - the process of moving is just as important as attaining a given position. Remember you should not strain or continue holding any yoga posture if it causes pain. Yoga isn’t a competitive sport, and the extent of the stretch is less important than the technique. Each asana may be repeated up to three times in Vinyasa Hatha Yoga and you don’t need to stay in the pose too long. Try to perform the poses in the prescribed order on the practice sheets, since the routine is meant to help balance the different muscle groups.

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You’ll know if your yoga practice is perfectly balanced if you remember the basic principle of practice is to bend in the different directions (forwards, backwards, side to side) and to twist -- and from the 3 planes (standing, seated, lying down). After practicing yoga you should feel energised, but not overstimulated, aware, alert, calm and quiet without feeling tired or drained.

The Fundamentals of the Breath The complete breath, as defined by yoga, involves the entire respiratory system and uses all three portions of the lungs. The lungs are expanded to take in more air than the amounts inhaled by breathing normally or shallowly. The complete breath is not just deep breathing; it is the deepest possible breathing. In this breath you hold you shoulders steady and focus on lifting your collarbones and expanidning your ribs forward to expand your lungs to their fullest capacity. The yoga complete breath is the foundation technique of all the different types of yoga breathing, and therefore should be mastered before you learn any other specific breathing exercises. It brings the whole lung capacity into play and is the basis of all other breathing techniques in yoga.

Learning to Breathe Correctly In the Complete Breath, you start filling the lower part of the lungs first, then you fill the middle and upper part. When exhaling you first empty the upper part of the lungs, then the middle, and last of all the lower part. This process, however, is not divided into three separate actions. Inhalation is done in one smooth continuous flow just as one might pour water in filling a glass. First the bottom is filled, then the middle, and finally the upper portion. But the process itself is an uninterrupted one. Inhalation should be done in one continuous breath - slowly and in a most relaxed manner. No effort or strain should ever be exerted. This is very important. Keep your mouth closed unless your nose is blocked.

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You then become aware of the function of your own diaphragm. You keep the abdominal muscles soft and steayt when inhaling and contract the abdominal muscles when exhaling. The lower part of the rib cage naturally expands first when you breathe in and is compressed last when you let the air out. This too should be done gently, without any force or strain. The ribs expand during inhalation and contract during exhalation, accordion-fashion. In deep breathing, exhalation is as important as inhalation because it eliminates toxins from the body. The lower part of our lungs seldom are sufficiently emptied, and tend to accumulate air saturated with waste products, for with ordinary breathing we never expel enough of the carbon dioxide our system throws off even if we do inhale enough oxygen. If, on the other hand, the lower part of the lungs are properly expanded and contracted, the circulation in the liver and spleen, which are thus “massaged� by the diaphragm, are greatly benefited.

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Inhaling First, push the chest forwards as you breathe in. Second, push the ribs sideways while still breathing in. The stomach will automatically go inwards slightly. Third, lift the collar bone and expand ribs outward up while still breathing in. Even though this is described as three separate processes, it should be done in a smooth, continuous rhythm with each part following smoothly on from the previous part. Try to avoid any jerky movements. Exhaling First, just allow the collar bone, chest and ribs to relax. Keep the shoulders steady. Second, when all the air seems to be out, pull the stomach in slightly to expel any remaining air in the lungs.

Considerations for Breathing Exercises Find a quiet place where you won’t be distracted. Sit on a chair or if you prefer, cross-legged on the floor. Sit straight. Unless your spine is erect, some of the benefits of the breathing exercises will be lost. Breathe deeply and slowly, without strain. You should do the exercises on an empty stomach. Wait at least three hours after a heavy meal, and about one and a half hours after a light snack. There are two reasons for this. First, a heavy meal will reduce your concentration. Second, food in the stomach causes some of your blood and oxygen supply to be diverted to the stomach for digestion. This will reduce the blood and oxygen available for directing to the brain while you are doing the breathing exercises. While doing deep breathing the spine should be kept straight, so as not to impair the free flow of the life-force, or prana. This also helps to develop correct posture. Yogis attach great importance to correct posture and use several different positions for their various advanced breathing practices as well as for meditation and concentration. One very popular pose for deep breathing is the lotus pose or cross legged posture. Kookaburra Yoga 2016

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When you sit down on the floor with your legs crossed, visualise a stream running through you in a straight line, starting at the top of your head and continuing into the ground. Imagine, too, that this is the axis around which your body has been molded. This will help you learn to sit up straight without being stiff and tense. You should, in fact, feel comfortable and relaxed as you sit this way.

Yoga Protocol When you attend yoga at a dedicated yoga studio or ashram there is a certain protocol which is part of traditional and contemporary yoga practice. Shoes On arrival you will leave your shoes outside. This is for hygiene reasons and also because the removal of your shoes symbolises leaving the outside world behind as you enter in to a sacred space. Quiet The yoga studio is a quiet and meditative space and we try to maintain the sanctity of the environment by talking quietly and respectfully so as not to disturb other students. It is important to minimise distractions by ensuring mobile phones are off. If you are late enter quietly and find a space at the back of the room. Try hard not to rattle keys etc and roll out your mat quietly. Greeting We bring our hands together at our forehead and heart while saying either NAMASTE or NAMASKAR. This is a sanskrit greeting. Namaskar is a greeting used in India in a spiritual context. It means „with the charms of mind and the love in my heart I recognise the divinity within youâ€&#x;. OM We begin and end a yoga class by chanting the sacred sound OM together. Om is the sacred sound of yoga and is chanted with reverance. It is thought to be the sound of creation and when chanted brings us into resonance with all of creation, thereby evoking a feeling of oneness with all beings - bringing us closer to the goal of yoga which is union. Chanting all mantras helps us transcend everyday thoughts and concerns and feel more peaceful and connected.

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Questions Questions and comments cna disrupt the flow the class for the teacher and students. It is best if you can reserve yoru questions for the end of the class or wait until the teacher invites questions or feedback.

Reflection Reflect back on your goals from Week one and set new goals if your needs have changed.  How much time have I created for yoga practice? How can I find more time?  What was the best part of practicing yoga at home? What was the most difficult?  How do I feel immediately after yoga practice? How do I feel in general after practicing yoga?  Are there some yoga practices which don’t seem to suit my body and don’t feel quite right?  How can I modify or change the yoga practices to make the practice more suitable for me?

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Inspiration from Swami Sivananda

by Swami Sivananda What is yoga? Yoga is an exact science. It is a perfect, practical system of self-culture. It is the discipline of the mind, senses and the physical body. It helps the student to attain perfect concentration of the mind, ethical perfection, moral excellence and spiritual calmness. It is the master-key to unlock the realms of Peace and Bliss, Mystery and Miracle. Yoga does not consist in sitting cross-legged for six hours or stopping the beatings of the heart or getting oneself buried underneath the ground for a week or a month; these are mere physical feats. Real Yoga is the attainment of the highest divine knowledge through conscious communion with God. The word Yoga comes from the Sanskrit root “Yuj” which means “to join.” Yoga is the science that teaches us the method of uniting the individual soul with the Supreme Soul, of merging the individual will in the Cosmic Will. Yoga transmutes the unregenerate nature of the student and raises him to the highest state of Divine Glory and Splendour. It bestows on you increased energy, vitality, vigour, longevity and a high standard of health. It will infuse in you a sense of security, a new strength, confidence and self-reliance. Yoga brings a message of hope to the forlorn, joy to the depressed, strength to the weak, and knowledge to the ignorant. It kills all sorts of pain, misery and tribulation. By practice of Yoga you can turn out efficient work within a short space of time, resist temptations, remove disturbing elements from the mind and attain full success in every walk of life. Through the practice of Yoga you can control the subtle forces within the body and command nature. You can unfold all your latent faculties and develop physical, mental, supernatural and divine powers. The whole mystery of Nature will become an open book to you. Swami Sivananda

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Week 3

Function and Mechanics of Yoga Week 3 is an introduction to the function and mechancis of yoga asanas looking at the types of movement, stretching and their benefits.

Bionemchanics of yoga asana Thousands of years ago, ancient yogis developed a holistic life philosophy. Guided by Nature and the Divine without any forms of sophisticated measuring tools, the ancients developed and practiced yoga. It is only in very recent times we have gained a more accurate and precise understanding of how specific muscles contribute to posture, respiration, and mobility. Yoga is a system that is designed to: • maximise physical and emotional potential. • minimise physical and emotional injury or liability. • enhance spiritual awakening and awareness. Yoga should be practiced in such a way that it doesn’t cause injuries or energy inefficiency or depletion. We should finish our practice feeling calm yet energised. In the acute stages of an injury, often yoga asanas and exercise are often not recommended. Once the healing phase is underway then yoga asanas can be introduced. Restful, gentle activties which help to reduce inflammation such as managing stress, eating well and meditation are all beneficial to the body’s natural healing process.

Stretching Stretching is a key component of yoga asana practice with benefits to the musculo-skeletal system including the muscle tissues, connective tissues and fascia and the skeleton including the joints. It is important to note that too much stretching is not necessarily a good thing and doesn’t always result in a permanently increased range of movement. this is why we don’t exert Kookaburra Yoga 2016

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too much pressure, practice in artifically heated environment or adjust student’s while in a posture - within hours ROM will be what it was. Short muscles do not suddenly become long! It takes time and frequency to increase flexibility. The key to progressing in yoga is to practice within your comfortable range of movement. For instance if you know your 100% you would move to about 80% of your range, gradually increasing that within your 100% range. In this way no strain or over exertion will occur and you remain safe during your practice. It is actually the nervous system which allows the extra range of motion. We focus on entering into a relaxed, calm state before practicing yoga. The nervous system is a powerful limiter in flexibility, only allowing you to perform joint positions that it trusts you won’t injure yourself in - these are the signals we attune to. We’ve included here some diagrams of some yoga poses and key types of movement showing the muscle groups engaged in streching. Please note that they are not all yoga poses, and they are not all taught in this 5 week course. These diagrams are by Vicky Timón, a yoga expert and author of “Encyclopedia of Pilates Exercises”. The are from here book...

1. Camel Pose: Best reserved for those with good flexibility, the muscles highlighted in this stretch are the rectus abdominus and the external obliques. Sit on your heels and place your hands on your feet as you push your hips up and forward. Avoid putting too much pressure on your neck or spine. 2. Wide Forward Fold This is a great exercise to open the hips while stretching the adductors and the hamstrings. Start this stretch with your knees bent. As your muscles begin to release, slowly straighten your legs, round out your back and

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3. Frog Pose This is a deep groin stretch that works the adductors. Start by resting on your hands and knees and slowly widen your knees until you feel stretching in your groin muscles. Move your hips back and forward to feel slight variations. 4. Wide Side Lunge Pose This is another stretch for the adductors. Start with both feet forward in a wide stance, and slowly walk your hands to your right foot while bending your right knee and rotating your left toes to the ceiling.

5. Butterfly Stretch This stretch highlights the adductors. Start in a seated position and bring the soles of your feet together and sit tall. Place pressure on your knees with your hands. Bring your feet farther from your hips and slowly round your body to release your back muscles. 6. Forearm Extensor Stretch To stretch your forearm extensor, start by pushing your shoulder down and back, then externally rotate your shoulder. Once in position, apply pressure to your opposite hand and begin to stretch.

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7. Lateral Side Flexion of the Neck This stretch highlights your sternocleidomastoid or SCM. Keep your neck as long as possible while slowly dropping your ear to your shoulder. You can progress this stretch by being seated on a chair and grabbing the bottom of the seat. 8. Neck Rotation Stretch To stretch the SCM, slowly rotate your neck while keeping your chin elevated. For a deeper stretch, apply pressure with the hand opposite from the direction you are rotating.

9. Neck Extension Stretch To work the SCM, place your hands on your hips while keeping your spine long and tilt your head back. 10. Lateral Side Flexion of the Neck with Hand Assistance Stretch the SCM and upper trapezius by keeping your neck long and slowly dropping your ear to your shoulder.

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11. Half Kneeling Quad / Hip Flexor Stretch This stretch works your psoas and quadracep. Start in a half-kneeling position. Slowly bring your right hip forward, grab your back foot and squeeze your back glute. 12. Forearm Extensor Stretch Stretch the forearm extensor by pushing your shoulder down and back, and externally rotating the shoulder. Apply pressure with your opposite hand to begin the stretch.

13. Lateral Shoulder Stretch To stretch your side deltoid, bring your arm across your body and lightly apply pressure to increase the stretch on your shoulder. 14. Standing Assisted Neck Flexion Stretch This stretch will work your Trapezius muscle. Start by standing with your feet together. Keep your spine long, slowly sit your hips back and round your upper back while tucking your chin into your chest.

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15. Lat Stretch With Spinal Traction To stretch the latissimus dorsi, take a firm grip on a bar while slowly lifting your feet off the ground. Avoid this stretch if you have recently injured your shoulder. 16. Lat Stretch At The Wall Also for the latissimus dorsi, place both hands on the corner of a wall or post. Keep your spine long while slowly pushing your hips out to the side. Avoid this stretch if you have lower back problems.

17. Child’s Pose This is another way to stretch the latissimus dorsi. Start on your hands and knees, then slowly bring your hips back until your forehead is on the floor. Arch your upper back and rotate your shoulders to stretch your lats and chest muscles. 18. Standing Calf Stretch To work the soleus and gastrocnemius, perform this stretch on the edge of a stair step or use a yoga block. Lightly rotate your ankles to actively stretch the calf muscles.

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19. Front Split This is an advanced stretch to work your psoas and hamstring. Start in a kneeling lunge position, and proceed with caution if you have any hip problems. 20. Seated Forward Fold / Seated Toe Touch To stretch the hamstrings and calves, sit and bend the knees as needed.

21. Single Leg Forward Bend To work the hamstrings, start this position with one foot in front of the other. Bring your hands to your hips while keeping your back straight, and begin to bend from the hips. 22. Deep Squat To work your glute muscles, stand with your feet shoulder width apart and slowly lower yourself into a deep squat. Once in position, bring your arms inside your legs and lightly apply pressure to the inside of your knees.

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23. Seated Half King Pigeon Pose To work your glutes, start in a seated position and slowly pull your leg to your chest while rotating your hip and keeping your spine straight. 24. Standing Calf Stretch At The Wall This stretch works your soleus and gastrocnemius. Start out in a lunge position with your back foot slightly turned out. Bring your back heel to the ground to stretch your calf muscles.

25. Lateral Flexion At The Wall To stretch your external obliques, keep your spine long and slowly push your hips to the side. 26. Supine Twist This will stretch your glutes and external obliques. Lie flat on your back and bring one leg across your body. Slowly rotate your upper body in the opposite direction.

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27. Lateral Flexion With A Dowel To stretch your external obliques and latissimus dorsi, keep your spine long and push your hips to the side while keeping your shoulder rotated. 28. Triangle Pose This will work your external obliques. Start with a wide stance, your front foot straight ahead and your back foot at 90 degrees. Place your hand on your front leg or the floor as you sit back into your front hip, keeping your back straight.

29. Chest Stretch At The Wall Work your pectorals by facing the wall with your thumb up. Slowly rotate away from the wall to stretch your chest muscle. 30. Assisted Chest Stretch To stretch your chest and latissimus dorsi, lie on the floor with your palms facing up. Your partner will sit into a deep squat while helping you stretch.

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31. Seated Half Pigeon Variation To work your anterior tibialis, sit with your feet in front of you and bring one hand behind you as you rotate your hip and bring one foot above your knee. 32. Supine Shoulder External Rotation Stretch This will stretch your subscapularis. Lie flat on your back and bring your arm straight out to the side with your elbow at a 90-degree angle. Slowly bring the back of your hand to the floor.

33. Down Dog Variation At The Wall To stretch your pectorals and latissimus dorsi, position yourself far enough from a wall so that when you touch the wall your body becomes parallel to the ground. Hinge at the hips and keep your spine straight. Push your chest forward creating a slight arch in your upper back; stretch your lats and chest muscles. 34. Assisted Chest Stretch Variation To work your pectorals, lie face down on the floor with your palms facing down as your partner pulls back on your hands.

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Reflection Reflect back on your goals and practice from week one and two and set new goals if your needs have changed.  How do you feel in general after practicing yoga this week?  Have you been creative with yoga and modified the practices to suit you better?  Does yoga inspire you to live healthier and eat healthier and cut down on habits which are not beneficial?  How does the food and drinks you consume make you feel? Pay attention to the subtle effect of food and stimulants such as sugar and caffeine this week.  Can you eat a little more lightly this week? (ie one fruit meal a day and two main meals)

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Inspiration from Swami Sivananda

by Swami Sivananda Difficulties strengthen you Difficulties come to test you and thereby to help you by strengthening your will, patience and power of endurance. Be bold. Be cheerful. Be calm, cool and collected at all times, even in the face of difficulties. There is no spiritual sadhana (practice) completely free from obstacles and difficulties. God sends consolation, encouragement at every step to the sincere aspirant. Defeat and failure have their purpose. Criticism too has its uses. Be free from depression and irritation. Remain unmoved by criticism or praise. Be steadfast. Stand firm like a rock - unshakeable by emotional storms, frustrations and defeats. A spiritual aspirant is backed up by the whole spiritual world. All saints lend their invisible help and support to such a struggler. You are never really left alone. You will get help from saints and yogis internally. Their spiritual vibrations will elevate and inspire you. Without great patience and perseverance, the spiritual quest becomes an uphill task. No half-measures will do on the spiritual path. Give your whole heart to truth and to sadhana. Have faith. Be firm. Unfold. Attain. All defeats are transitory. All set-backs are needed experiences. Muster up your courage. March forward. Success and victory are yours. Have patience first, second and last! This should be the motto for those seeking the inner light. Great things have small beginnings. All growth is gradual. To be perfectly unperturbed by anything, in all circumstances, looking upon all things as passing phenomena, ever feeling a distinct, silent witness to all the experiences of life - these are the marks of a spiritual aspirant. These qualities have to be carefully and consciously cultivated. They do not come in a day. But they do come gradually by faithful practice. An unseen power guides and guards you. Feel his power and presence. He who is endowed with dispassion, compassion, serenity, self-control, and who has given up the desire for this world and the next, and who has control over his mind and senses, is fit to tread the spiritual path. Swami Sivananda

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Week 4

Principles of breath and movement In week 4 our focus is on the principles of Vinyasa Yoga and the Breath. Simply breathing to your full capacity helps to calm the nervous system (thereby reducing stress!) and quieten the mind and emotions. We build on breathing technqiues already learnt and also introduce a new pose to our sequence: the warrior pose, a strengthening pose particularly beneficial for women who may have lost strength and flexibility in their core.

Breath and movement While yoga is yoga, over the years different ‘styles’ or ways of practicing yoga have evolved. In this course we are mainly concerned with Vinyasa Yoga which simply means ‘flowing yoga’. In this style we don’t hold the poses too long, and emphasise the breath. This is the gentlest way of practicing yoga and is recommended for beginners. Principles of Vinyasa Yoga 1) Movement and breath are synchronised 2) Start where you are, accept your limitations and always modify your practice so it is appropriate for your needs 3) Listen to your body, always come out of a pose when your breath or equilibrium is disturbed or there is strain in the body 4) Begin with the simplest poses and progress toward the more complex. 5) Asanas or postures contain the qualities of o sthira (steadiness, alertness) o sukha (inner joy, ease) o reflect the hatha yoga approach: the union of opposites (solar/lunar) hatha = sun/moon 6) Use modifications of postures for different levels and injury prevention 7) Cultivate a gradual progression/evolution within your yoga practice.

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Week 4

Pranayama - Alternate Nostril Breathing The Nadi Shuddhi Pranayama (alternate nostril breathing) is the one of the easiest yoga breathing techniques to learn and practice. By practicing this pranayama the energy channels in the subtle energy body are cleared. This is very important, because the condition of your energy channels has a direct effect on the condition of your physical body. If there are impurities in your subtle body, this can cause disease or imbalance in your physical body. Also, impurities in your subtle body will have a clouding effect on our mind and daily consciousness. Meditation and breathing practices can clear these impurities. Technique  Sit with an erect spine. Use alternately the thumb and the ring+little finger of your left or right hand to switch between the left and right nostril (alternate nostril breathing), while the other hand can rest on the knee and can be used for counting the number of cycles.  Close the left nostril with the ring finger of the left hand. The little finger rests upon the ring finger.  Breathe out through the left nostril in a comfortable way, neither too fast neither too slow.  Then inhale, in a comfortable way, through the right nostril until the lungs are full and close also the left nostril with the thumb for just one second.  Then immediately open the left nostril by releasing the ring finger and little finger and exhale, in a comfortable way, through the right nostril until the lungs are empty.  Wait one second and then inhale through the left nostril until the lungs are full again, keep the air in again for one second and exhale again through the right nostril.  This completes one cycle of the alternate nostril breathing.  Aim to do 6-12 cycles in a single sitting.

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Try to breathe as quietly as possible in this technique. Start by doing 6 rounds until you are doing up to 12 rounds. Alternate nostril breathing should not be practiced if you have a cold or if your nasal passages are blocked in any way. In pranayama (an yoga generally) it is important to follow this rule: under no circumstances should anything be forced. If you use the nostrils for breath control they must be unobstructed. If they are not, you must practice throat breathing. Information on Alternate Nostril Breathing The name alternate nostril breathing is due to the fact that we alternate between the two nostrils when we do the breathing. Yogis believe that this exercise will clean and rejuvenate your vital channels of energy, thus the name nadi shuddi (purification of nadis or channels). With this exercise, we breathe through only one nostril at a time. The logic behind this exercise is that normal breathing does alternate from one nostril to the other at various times during the day. In a healthy person the breath will alternate between nostrils about every two hours. Because most of us are not in optimum health, this time period varies considerably between people and further reduces our vitality. According to the yogis, when the breath continues to flow in one nostril for more than two hours, as it does with most of us, it will have an adverse effect on our health. If the right nostril is involved, the result is mental and nervous disturbance. If the left nostril is involved, the result is chronic fatigue and reduced brain function. The longer the flow of breath in one nostril, the more serious the illness will be.

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The Scientific Confirmation of Alternate Nostril Breathing Medical science has recently discovered the nasal cycle, something that was known by the yogis thousands of years ago. Scientists have recently found that we don’t breathe equally with both nostrils, that one nostril is much easier to breathe through than the other at any particular time and that this alternates about every three hours. The yogis claim that the natural period is every two hours, but we must remember these studies were done on people who do not have an optimum health level. Scientists also discovered that the nasal cycle corresponds with brain function. The electrical activity of the brain was found to be greater on the side opposite the less congested nostril. The right side of the brain controls creative activity, while the left side controls logical verbal activity. The research showed that when the left nostril was less obstructed, the right side of the brain was predominant. Test subjects were indeed found to do better on creative tests. Similarly when the right nostril was less obstructed the left side of the brain was predominant. Test subjects did better on verbal skills. Medical science has not quite caught up with the ancient yogis yet. The yogis went one step further. They observed that a lot of disease was due to the nasal cycle being disturbed; that is, if a person breathed for too long through one nostril. To prevent and correct this condition, they developed the alternate nostril breathing technique. This clears any blockage to air flow in the nostrils and reestablishes the natural nasal cycle. For example, the yogis have known for a long time that prolonged breathing through the left nostril only (over a period of years) will produce asthma. They also know that this so-called incurable disease can be easily eliminated by teaching the patient to breathe through the right nostril until the asthma is cured, and then to prevent it recurring by doing the alternate nostril breathing technique. The yogis also believe that diabetes is caused to a large extent by breathing mainly through the right nostril. Source text (Scientific Confirmation section): www.holisticonline.com

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Reflection Reflect on how you feel physically, mentally and emotionally and the effect yoga practice has on how you feel generally.  Are you able to synchronise movement and breath in your yoga practice? This week make this the focus of your yoga practice.  How do you feel when you practice yoga in this way?  Remember to adjust your movement to match your breathing pattern. It takes practice!

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Week 4

Inspiration from Swami Sivanandai Sivanand There is no limit to the power of the human mind. The more concentrated it is, the more power is brought to bear on one point. You are born to concentrate the mind on God after collecting the mental rays that are dissipated on various objects. That is your important duty. You forget the duty on account of moha (attachment) to the family, children, name and fame, money, power and position. Mind is compared to quicksilver, because its rays are scattered over various objects. It is compared to a monkey, because it jumps from one object to another. It is compared to moving air, because it is restless. It is compared to a furious elephant, because of its passionate impetuosity. Mind is known by the name ‘great bird’, because it jumps from one object to another just as a bird jumps from one twig to another, from one tree to another. Raja yoga teaches us how to concentrate the mind and then how to ransack the innermost recess of our mind. Concentration is opposed to sensuous desires, as is bliss to flurry and worry, sustained thinking to perplexity, applied thinking to sloth and torpor, rapture to illwill. So long as the thoughts of one are not thoroughly destroyed through persistent practice, he should ever be concentrating his mind on one truth at a time. Through such unremitting practice, one-pointedness of the mind will accrue and instantly all the hosts of thoughts will vanish. To remove this tossing of the mind and various obstacles which stand in the way of one-pointedness of the mind, the practice of concentration on one thing alone should be made. The more the mind is fixed on the divine, the more strength you will acquire. More concentration means more energy. Concentration opens the inner chambers of love or the realm of eternity. Concentration is a source of spiritual strength. Swami Sivananda

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Week 5

Bringing it all together Week 5 practices bring together the 12 foundation poses we have learnt in the course into a single flowing sequence giving you the opportunity to to see how it all fits together. We also include information to help you establish a home yoga practice and also provide the fundamentals of the yogic/ayurvedic daily routine to help implement healthy and sustainable change.

Integration of body, mind and soul The literal meaning of the word yoga is ‘union’. Our aim is to unite the mind, body and soul in harmony in this moment. The practices of yoga lead us toward this goal, particularly vinyasa (flowing) yoga where the movement and breath is synchronised. Most of us start our yoga journey on a physical level with yoga postures, yoga breathing and deep relaxation, but as we develop in our practice we become inspired to inquire a little more deeply into the subtle and spiritual aspects of yoga through meditation. In week 1 of this course we learnt about the 8 limbs of yoga -- which is a natural pathway of self-discovery and self-mastery. On this journey we discover we are more than the body, emotions and mind. We discover that we are also comprised of energy and bliss -- and beyond this we eventually come to experience the essence of who we really are. Our yoga practice gives us a broader perspective on life. With regular yoga practice we become less concerned with petty and trivial disturbances in our lives and interactions with others. We are much less prone to get stressed as we have taken the time and put in the effort to develop a peaceful mind, a strong healthy body, and an unshakable connection with our innermost self!

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Week 5

Tips to Practice Yoga at Home Creating and maintaining a regular personal practice is a key aspect to tapping into the long-term benefits of yoga. At any age, a person can begin (or recommit to) taking time each day for yoga and meditation practice. Luckily, one of the most common effects of yoga is that it makes you want to practice. Even if you have been attending yoga classes for sometime it can be difficult to get started at home. Here are some tips... Commitment In the beginning, it takes attention and commitment to make yoga become part of your daily life. However, as you feel better and better about the results, your priorities will naturally adjust to make space for it. Whether it‘s three, five, or seven days a week, once you have established your routine, it becomes a part of who you are and how you live. Determine how much time you are willing and able to commit regularly, and try to stick with this, perhaps increasing the length of your session over time. It might be best to start small – up to 30 minutes five days a week (even 5 minutes is better than nothing). Planning Once you have determined the length of your session you can plan what you are going to do. Have a clear intention about what it is you want to achieve in each session and in the long run. Routine The nervous system adapts to regular routines, and once the habit is established, your body signals will help prompt you to begin. The goal is to get to the point at which not doing yoga would be like not brushing your teeth. Regularity is the key to establishing a new beneficial habit, and also opens you to the deeper insights that come through yoga. Attend classes Most people will find it useful to alternate between home practice and yoga classes, which offer the benefits of instruction combined with the amazing feeling of doing yoga in a group. Ideally, you can create a foundational

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sequence of poses and breathing practices from what you learn and experience in the class. Where to practice Living rooms, bedrooms, studys - any room can become a yoga sanctuary. Roll out your mat or spread your blanket, light a candle, say a prayer. Choose a place that gives you as much privacy as possible and turn off your phone! Make sure there are no drafts in the room you select. If the weather is moderate you can practice outdoors in nature. Alert those you live with that this is time just for you. Your yoga spot will become a sanctuary that you want to return to. Make it enticing To overcome any initial resistance, start with poses you really like, then as your body warms up, gradually work your way towards more physically demanding and challenging poses. Create variety Listen to your body and be attentive to its needs. Sometimes your body needs a quiet and restorative practice and at other times, something more dynamic and vigorous. Enjoy the feelings in your body “Staying present to the sensations created by each posture is the most important part of your yoga practice. Our inner wisdom communicates to us through sensations. When you focus awareness on the sensations created by each posture, you are actually enhancing the sensations and improving their efficiency. In this way, you establish a communication link to your inner wisdom, which is the ultimate purpose of a yoga practice.” Don Stapleto Stick with it If you miss a day or two don‘t be hard on yourself or give up altogether. Take a breath, recommit, and start back up again. You may need extra support at first; find a yoga buddy you can practice with. Listen to your body (it wants to practice!) and keep your eye on the goal.

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Week 5

What to include in your Practice Remember the 8 limbs of yoga we discussed in Week One? Here are some ways to integrate them into your personal yoga practice. Breathing (pranayama) You can begin by taking a moment or two to settle in, often with a few conscious complete breaths. This could be followed by some rounds of pranayama (yogic breathing). Select a breathing technique from what you have been taught Yoga poses (asana) Never launch straight into a strong yoga practice. Gently prepare your body by starting with some simple warmup stretches and joint rotations. In general, a wellrounded practice includes at least one or two of each of the following: standing poses, back bends, twists, hip openers, forward bends, and restorative poses. One guideline is to think about whether you are flexing and stretching your spine in as many directions as possible. Relaxation (pratyahara) Always finish with savasana, the 5 to 15 minutes of deep relaxation at the end of your practice. Although it may not feel like you are doing anything, this is actually the most important pose of all. The deep relaxation at the end of your practice is vital, because it allows your awareness to focus on the effects of the practice and to integrate its results. Meditation (Dharana and Dhyana) If you are interested in the deeper aspects of yoga – such as gaining more insight into life, or developing spiritual awareness, or self healing – then you could include some meditation in your practice. Meditation is best done after yoga asanas, or in a separate session. Start with simple techniques such as focussing on the breath, or gazing at a candle flame or silently reciting an uncomplicated mantra (affirmation). In yoga there are some general snskrit mantras which can be used by anyone. We teach a 5 week meditation course at Kookaburra which introduces participants to therory and practice of mantra meditation.

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A common mantra is SO HUM which literally means I AM THAT. Try reciting SO on the inhalation and HUM on the exhalation. Keep your attention on the mantra. Set a time for meditation and try not to get up before the designated time. Ethics and Principles (yama and Niyama) If you would like to apply yoga ethics and principles to your life you can: show kindness and compassion to others; be selfless and of service whenever possible; be calm and cheerful regardless of circumstances; engage in activities/practices which cause no harm to yourself or others; and always be truthful. Reference (What to include in yoru home practice):Yoga at Home by Eva Herriott

The Yoga & Ayurveda Daily Routine In Sanskrit the daily routine is called as “The Dinacharya”. Din means ‘day’ and acharya means ‘to follow’ or ‘close to’. To be ‘close to the day’ means to synchronise your daily cycle with the seasons and the natural cycles of the Earth, Sun and Moon. MORNING Wake up early in the morning - in Brahma muhurta (time of knowledge) - 48 minutes before sun rise or between 3 am - 6 am. When the energy source, Sun is waking up, the beings also should wake up. Realisation Meditate for five minutes on the bed before touching the feet on the earth. Chant a mantra or recite a prayer to positively influence the day. Elimination Dawn is the best time to eliminate the body’s physical waste. As soon as possible empty your colon and bladder. Cleansing mouth and teeth  Clean the teeth.  Scrape your tongue with a tongue cleaner of any non-corrosive metal or plant fibres to purify your mouth and sense of taste.  Gargle with warm water or herbal tea or a quarter cup of sesame oil to purify your voice and strengthen your teeth. Kookaburra Yoga 2016

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 Wash the eyes with rose water to purify the sight. Wash your ears and apply a tiny amount (two drops) of sesame or almond oil in them to purify your hearing. Drink Drink a glass of hot water, salt, lemon and honey OR hot water with 1/2 teaspoon of ghee. This drink rehydrates the body after sleep, stimulates peristalsis, lubricates the digestive tract. Meditation Depending on available time, take a few minutes to an hour for meditation/spiritual practice. Try a simple mantra mediation where you internally recite the mantra SO on the inhalation and HUM on the exhalation. Oil massage Abhyanga is the name for oil massage. The morning abhyanga is typically a self massage. Oil massage removes dryness, removes stagnated flows and organs, and nurtures your mind and your body. It also makes your skin look great if you use the right oil. It should be done specially to head, ears and the soles of the feet. A good oil to use suitable for all constitutions is black sesame oil available from health food stores. Powder massage Massaging the body with chickpea flour (you can add essential oil fragrance) liquefies the fat, produces stability & strength to the body & imparts lustre to skin. Exercise Vyayama is the name for physical exercise. This is usually yoga but it can be anything including a walk, tai chi, a swim or whatever. This early morning exercise removes stagnation in the body & mind, strengthens the digestive fire, reduces fat and gives you an overall feeling of lightness and joy as it fills your body with good Prana (life force). Bathing After exercise, bathe to remove any excess oil and dirt. Bathing improves appetite, sexual vigour, span of life, enthusiasm, strength, removes itching, dirt, exhaustion, sweat, stupor and thirst.

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Put on clean clothing after the bath. Apply essential oils as you wish. This is also the time to put on gemstones. In Ayurveda, gems and good clothes are thought increase intelligence and longevity, destroy inauspiciousness and maintain positivity. Breakfast Eat a light breakfast. Minimise calories while maximising nutrients. Think of this when you are deciding what to eat. Before eating all meals chant the Om mantra and fill your mind with gratitude and love for your food. DAYTIME Study, work and travel One should engage in occupations which are in line with the three pursuits, dharma, artha and kama (virtue, wealth, pleasure) Relaxation Take a short break before or after lunch to completely relax. This should involve lying down on your back for 10 minutes. A self guided yoga nidra practice is refreshing, and will give you a boost of energy, calm the nervous system, and eliminate stress. Lunch This is the main meal of the day so eat a healthy nutritious meal that has moderate calories. The diet should be modified according to the constitution, state of health, state of digestive capacity, season, and age. After the meal, it is good to take a little walk, a couple hundred steps only, to help the food digest. SUNDOWN Sundown is a special time of balance between day and night. This is the time for evening prayers and meditation in many cultures around the world. Exercise You can exercise at this time. Gentle, calming yoga stretches. Dinner This meal should be lighter than lunch. After dinner take a peaceful walk with family or friends.

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Bedtime A good practice is to massage the soles of your feet with any calming oil before going to bed. This will calm your system and promote wellbeing. Meditate for five minutes before bed to clear the mind of any negativity/ impressions from the day. Chant a mantra or recite a prayer to positively influence your dreamstate and sleep. Beyond dreaming there are states in sleep in which we can understand ourselves, and this wisdom may manifest in our dreams, if we fall asleep unclouded by emotions and impressions.

Ongoing home practices  Make a contract with yourself to practice yoga daily for a set period of time. Start with 21 days as this is how long it takes to form a new habit (and break old ones!) Commit to this even if your yoga practice is for only a few minutes at a time.  Buy a yoga mat and set up a permanent space in your home for your meditation and yoga practice. Keep this space clean and pretty. Try not to use it for any other purpose.  Try to practice yoga at the same time each day.  Aim to attend yoga classes or yoga workshops to connect with other likeminded people and gain inspiration and ideas for your practice. Read yoga books and stay motivated.  Be kind to yourself and smile regularly!

Reflection  List the three books which have most-inspired you on your yoga journey. Why do you like these books -- what is their fundamental message?  Name three people you know who inspire you. What are the qualities which make them special? How do you feel in the company of these people? How can you develop these same qualities within yourself?  What knowledge and insight about yourself have you gained during this yoga course? What steps will you take to continue to learn and grow once the course ends?

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Week 5

Gratitude Meditation (puja) Bhakti Yoga is the yoga of gratitude. Have you ever noticed that when you feel gratitude, you‘re always happy. But if you don‘t have gratitude, it doesn‘t matter how many material things you have, you‘re never satisfied? Be grateful for everything, even the air you breathe - gratitude for simple things helps you remain happy. Conversely there’s no limit to how frustrated and sad you can become if you dwell on all the things you think you want or need in order to be happy. Puja is when we offer something of ourselves to the divine as a way of saying thanks. In many traditions flowers, food, prayers and sometimes money are traditionally offered. Puja can be lot more subtle -- it can simply be a silent offering of gratitude to the divine spirit. Tune into something you may like to offer. It may be a feeling of joy or peace, or anger or sadness, it may be a mistake you perceive you made, or an event you regret, it may be a happy memory, a failed relationship or a joyous union. Imagine it in the form of a lotus flower in whatever colour comes to mind. Offer it with all your heart. There is no good or bad in the spiritual realms, so don‘t judge your offering as being ‘unworthy’. Repeat this process, offering something different this time, with a different coloured lotus. The third and final offering is your own spiritual bliss and divinity. Offer this in the form of a pure white lotus. Notice how relaxed and light you feel once you have surrendered those things which weigh heavily on you to the divine.

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Week 1

Week 1: home practices Meditation & breathing Sit on the floor or in a chair with a straight back. Breathe deeply into the lower ribcage. Expand the ribcage and lifet collarbones as you breathe in. Then breathe out by drawing the abdomen in to gently engage the diaphragm. Breathe in and out 12 times slowly and with steadiness.

Yoga asanas

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Relaxation Lie on your back. You may like to place a bolster under your knees. Hold the body completely still. Focus on relaxing each body part from feet to face. Focus on your breathing by noticing the rise and fall of your chest with every breath in and out. Stay for 5 minutes or more.

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Week 2

Week 2: home practices Meditation & breathing Sit on the floor or in a chair with a straight back. Breathe deeply into the lower ribcage. Expand the ribcage and lifet collarbones as you breathe in. Then breathe out by drawing the abdomen in to gently engage the diaphragm. Breathe in and out 12 times slowly and with steadiness.

Yoga asanas

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Week 2

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Week 3

Week 3: home practices Meditation & breathing Sit on the floor or in a chair with a straight back. Breathe deeply into the lower ribcage. Expand the ribcage and lifet collarbones as you breathe in. Then breathe out by drawing the abdomen in to gently engage the diaphragm. Breathe in and out 12 times slowly and with steadiness.

Yoga asanas

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Week 3

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Week 3

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Week 4

Week 4: home practices Meditation & breathing Sit on the floor or in a chair with a straight back. Breathe deeply into the lower ribcage. Expand the ribcage and lifet collarbones as you breathe in. Then breathe out by drawing the abdomen in to gently engage the diaphragm. Breathe in and out 12 times slowly and with steadiness.

Yoga asanas

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Week 5

Week 5: home practices Meditation & breathing Sit on the floor or in a chair with a straight back. Breathe deeply into the lower ribcage. Expand the ribcage and lifet collarbones as you breathe in. Then breathe out by drawing the abdomen in to gently engage the diaphragm. Breathe in and out 12 times slowly and with steadiness.

Yoga asanas

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We hope you have enjoyed your 5 week introduction to traditional Hatha Yoga and look forward to seeing you again at Kookaburra Creek.

Kookaburra Yoga Contact us at yoga@kookaburracreek.com 210 Carradine Rd, Bedfordale, Western Australia www.kookaburracreek.com

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Absolute beginners yoga course