International Day of Yoga 2016

International Day of Yoga 2016

LET’S PRACTICE! Here in the beautiful Mid North Coast and all around the world! Today is the INTERNATIONAL DAY OF YOGA 2016. In everything we do today let us be mindful, be aware, be present. This mindfulness is Yoga. Let’s roll out our mats and practice Asana (physical postures). Let’s practice Pranayama (breathing – energy control). Let’s get quiet…by letting go of our attraction to all the external and internal distractions, and focusing on one thing. Let’s focus on our breath, a Mantra, or a single point to stare at. Let’s feel a connection to our Self, others and the planet. Let’s experience internal peace. Yoga is a practice for living well. Living well in all areas of our life. From what we eat and drink, to what we think – Yoga guides us to be mindful of all our choices. Yoga is not just about the poses and the physical benefits, in fact the practice of Yoga is really all about letting go of the ‘fluctuations of our mind’. Yoga is a way to create harmonious living by practicing awareness and living according to some basic guidelines that support ourselves, others and the planet. Compassion, truthfulness, taking only what is our own, abstaining from overindulging, and living simply so others may simply live…are some Yogic principles. Taking care of ourselves, learning to be content and accepting of what is, studying ancient texts and observing ourselves, being motivated to take correct action, and connecting to something greater are also practices that Yoga teaches. I practice Yoga because it makes me feel good – body, mind and spirit. For me,...
Which mat is for me?

Which mat is for me?

WHAT MAT DO YOU USE? I often get asked “What mat do you use?” For the last two years I have used a Mukha Mat…a green one, of course, as green is my favourite colour. I like this mat because it is 5mm thick, so it is easy on the knees. It does make it heavy. Weighing in at 3kg…it is not a great mat to travel with if you want to travel light. But worth ditching a couple of kilos out of your luggage to accommodate it, if you can. It is made of natural fibres. PVC free…yes to that! And, 100% biodegradable to boot…for those of us who are environmentally conscious. They are made of rubber with 1% latex…so if you have an extreme latex allergy it may not be the mat for you. They are durable. On my first use I gauged a huge chunk out of it with my toe nail…even with this missing chunk it held up with no increase to said chunk size, until the next faux-pas of poor cleaning technique!  I did not heed the cleaning instructions and did exactly what you are not supposed to do…hose it down (yikes!)…and…leave it in direct sunlight (opps!)….but it still held up well for over 6 months (and is still fine) with more than an hours’ worth of rugged daily use. I have had mine for over two and a half years…well worth the $88 investment. I have just placed an order for a new one, mainly because one of my lovely students thinks I deserve to treat myself to a new one…and I like...
THE ART OF SELF-CARE

THE ART OF SELF-CARE

The Art of Self Care Taking care of our self can sometimes take a backseat to our ‘to do’ list. And, no doubt the things on that list probably are necessary (ditch the ones that aren’t) – at some point we need to fill our own tank so we can keep going and get them done. Self-care is not selfish. In fact being selfish is the antithesis of self-care. I’ve seen numerous personal development ‘experts’ out there promote the idea that being selfish is a good thing. No! It is not! Being so concerned with yourself that you have little regard or concern for others ultimately will see you ending up as that lonely, bitter person no-one wants to be friends with. We require just enough concern for ourselves so that we maintain our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. In fact doing this is crucial so that we do not become a burden to others through our own neglect of self. For most of us life is not always smooth sailing. In fact sometimes we have to navigate through long and arduous storms. Learning how to remain even-keeled in the face of life’s crazy ups and downs is what self-care is all about. I have found no better system for self-care than the practice of Yoga. Yoga is bigger than most people are aware of. It is not just exercise! It is a whole system that leads you towards a more peaceful life. One of the principles of Yoga is Svadhyaya – self-study or self-observance. This is the starting point for self-care. Self-observance is the practice – and...

MEDITATION – PRACTICE MAKES…

I’ve tried many types of meditation and I have not been particularly loyal to any one sort.  Up until this year. Every day this year I have vowed to repeat the Gayatri Mantra 108 times. Om bhur bhuvah svaha tat savitur varenyam bhargo devasya dhimahi dhiyo yo nah prachodayat  I really like this mantra. I was inspired by the Deval Premal and Miten version on their album ‘The Essence’. It is a truly magnificent version and the youtube clip that accompanies it is stunning: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SlUsoWmso9U I have never considered that I had a beautiful singing voice, but one of the things I have discovered during this commitment to sing it daily is that when I relax I find my singing voice…or rather it finds me. I think I fell in love with this version of the Gayatri Mantra. Deciding to sing it 108 times each day was spontaneous. I let Deva and Miten know of my vrata (commitment) and their response was encouraging. So I keep singing it every day. The meaning of this ancient mantra is something that resonates deeply with me. It is essentially a prayer for the enlightenment of all beings. It is said to be the oldest known prayer and is part of Vedic texts dating back to at least 1500BC. When I was in my teens I studied Transcendental Meditation and was given a mantra. This mantra has always remained my default meditation technique. I often find myself using this mantra when I least expect it. It arises as a natural response to sitting quietly. Into my head pops the mantra and off I...

5 REASONS TO PRACTICE PLANK POSE

5 REASONS TO PRACTICE PLANK POSE   Plank Pose  – Kumbhakasana – is hard if you have never attempted it before. However, with a few options and with practice this is a pose that will open doors and give you access to many other postures. So…practice, practice, and practice. If you are just starting out then here are some options for you: –          Begin on your knees and forearms, and eventually, come up onto your hands and then balls of the feet –          Look down and out about a foot in front of you so that your neck remains in line with your spine –          Draw your belly button up towards your spine, you want to be as straight as a piece of timber from the top of your head to your knees or balls of feet –          Lift your pelvic floor muscles gently up towards the centre of your belly –          Let your shoulders broaden between the blades and feel them move away from your earlobes –          Keep the shoulders above the elbows (or wrists if on your hands), hands shoulder width apart –          Spread the fingers out for a solid foundation –          If your wrists hurt, practice on your fists, or put a raise under the base of the palms to reduce the pressure on the wrists –         If you have lower back pain or recent injuries here or in the shoulders or wrists, then take care with this pose, take it slowly  – there is no rush, be prepared to take it one breath at a time So what is this pose...

‘The Golden Rule of Teaching’

My Thoughts on ‘The Golden Rule of Teaching’ by Meta Chaya Hirschl from her book VITAL YOGA. I love yoga and I love reading. I love reading about yoga. I love the study of yoga – Jnana yoga – dedication to liberation through knowledge and wisdom. I started reading Meta’s book and could not put it down. It has become an invaluable resource to my study, practice and teaching of yoga. Her style of writing is so friendly and simple to understand and her suggestions are fantastic for both students and teachers. The three steps she offers are: Instruct – Observe – Adjust. Simple and effective. When I decided to study to become a teacher it was after many years of practice as a student, as well as study into complimentary fields such as naturopathy. Of course, as a teacher in training, we learnt how to instruct our students into poses. But first, we were instructed how to do the poses ourselves – to experience them and feel them. We were, as student teachers, instructed, observed and adjusted ourselves by our teachers. Meta suggests that we “monitor the feeling and energy of students” and this is something that I have found to be vital. For me, I feel it as connecting with my students – connecting with them as they practice with me. Perhaps this is the most wonderful thing as a teacher, that we get to do this – that we get to connect with others whilst they experience their body and breath,  as they evolve into the shapes of the different postures. I love witnessing the joy...