XToolKit

A Yoga Toolkit


Yoga and Sciatica: Lessons Learned

Yoga and Sciatica: Lessons Learned

 
The other night at the cinema, riveted by a documentary called “Once My Mother”, I felt a sudden stab of pain in the back of my left leg. I felt like jumping up and running out of the theatre, the pain was so acute. I thought, oh no, sciatica!
My innate good manners had me sit relatively still, all the while praying that the agonising discomfort would go away as suddenly as it had arrived. I tried to do a surreptitious yoga stretch, the one called ‘through-the-hole pose’. […]

As the Seasons Change, Be Prepared

As the Seasons Change, Be Prepared

 Winter is Coming!
Down Under we’ve gone off daylight savings, and the weather has turned chilly. I’ve started to think of the ways I need to prepare for the coming winter. I’ll be putting away those short shorts and sarongs and bringing on the jumpers. But I’m not quite ready to order our winter’s supply of firewood.
Meanwhile, my doctor has reminded me that this season’s flu vaccine is going to be available soon.
At my age, I’m in one of the ‘at risk’ categories for flu. […]

Yoga First Aid for Tight Hamstrings

Yoga First Aid for Tight Hamstrings

Are Your Hamstrings Wound Tight as Piano Wires?Tight hamstrings are the downfall of many a student who might otherwise have enjoyed a glorious lifetime of yoga practice. It could be one reason that men and peak athletes drop out of yoga classes.Believe me, when we’re talking about ‘screaming hammies’, I understand. Jogging, tennis, and cycling are all activities that toughen up your hamstrings. […]

Alternatives to Inverted Poses

Alternatives to Inverted Poses

Finding the Right BalanceThere’s a problem I face when developing a new workshop: I don’t know exactly how much material to put in. Typically, I get excited and create too much. Fortunately I’m experienced enough to calibrate how much I can teach in a workshop as I go along.Still, I get attached to the sequence of poses I’ve created, to having it flow seamlessly and to being able to include interesting variations.I ran into this too-much-material problem when I was teaching a new workshop called ‘Yoga: A Lifelong Companion’ at The Yoga Shed in Richmond, NSW this last weekend. […]

The Yoga Props Queen Gets a New Toy

The Yoga Props Queen Gets a New Toy

 To Prop or Not To PropCarrying the crown of Yoga Props Queen was heavy work when I began teaching in the 1980’s. There were various styles of yoga around but unless you were an Iyengar-trained teacher, you were likely to do your poses unpropped.Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga stood out as one of the styles which only required a willing body/mind and a non-skid mat. As this style became more popular and spin-offs were spawned, there was a period of time when yoga instructors looked down their noses at the use of props. […]

Summer Solstice Yoga: A Specialised Practice

Summer Solstice Yoga: A Specialised Practice

Chill out at the Summer SolsticeBecause the solstice occurs just twice a year, it is a special event. That means it deserves a specialised yoga practice.In the southern hemisphere, we’re approaching the summer solstice. The living is easy, breezy and expansive. You just naturally want to be out of doors. Even better if you can have an ocean dip.The other night the prospect of a beach picnic called to us. […]

Yoga for Exhaustion

Yoga for Exhaustion

Who hates being exhausted? Me!It’s not sexy to find oneself in a state of exhaustion. It could even be viewed as decidedly unattractive. Worse, exhaustion is often accompanied by low spirits, including a whole lot of resistance to feeling this way.My dictionary defines exhaustion as extreme tiredness, great fatigue, weariness, and burnout. So, we’re not just talking about feeling a little tired after housecleaning or gardening.Okay, I’m going to dob myself in. I’m not here only to write an exposition on exhaustion or to merely define it. I’m here to tell you that I am exhausted. […]

Yoga Props Can Be a Lifeline

Yoga Props Can Be a Lifeline

An unexpected benefit that I’ve derived personally from using props is humility. They are truly supportive and remind me that I don’t have to it all myself. I can yield to a ‘helper’, and in this sort of surrender I’ve learned to let go physically. That has a knock-on effect for letting go emotionally and mentally, and releasing the tight grip of ego.

In Praise of Legs Up the Wall

In Praise of Legs Up the Wall

What’s not to praise?Legs up the wall is a favourite with many people because it’s a pose that’s guaranteed to sort you out. With a minimum investment of energy, the pose will return you maximum benefits. It is restorative, regenerative and reviving.Even non-yogis seem to find their way to this pose. I’ve seen bushwalkers take a break, lie down and put their legs up a tree. […]