Health

The Yoga of Stress Reduction: Slow Down, You're Goin' Too Fast

The Yoga of Stress Reduction: Slow Down, You're Goin' Too Fast

Think of just one thing you could do to turn your life around, or as a yoga teacher encourage your students to do. Might it be to slow down?
Of course, learning yoga relaxation techniques is a crucial part of knowing how to slow down. Every time you practice savasana, you enter into a process of re-discovering your own rhythm.
Unfortunately, the hurried, harried pace at which most people live is the air we breathe. We’re probably not designed for constant rushing around, but “the urgency addiction” has become something like second nature to us. […]

Yoga = Stress Reduction

Yoga = Stress Reduction

Is yoga really the same as stress reduction? Well, perhaps not according to Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra, but according to popular understanding it is. Doctors recommend yoga for helping relieve tension in patients.  The general public read articles in the newspaper health section every week about the calming influence of yoga, then go out and sign up for 10-week courses. Research resources go toward studies to prove the positive effects of yoga relaxation on the body’s systems.
Not everyone wants less stress in their lives. Some thrive on it. They worry less about burning out than “rusting out”. […]

Healthy Hugs

Healthy Hugs

I’ve been doing some research for the workshop I’m leading on the Gold Coast in a couple of weeks entitled “Pelvic Freedom: Yoga Poses and Practices for Women’s Well-Being”. The day-long program is pretty rich, I think, and encompasses information on anatomy, pelvic problems, and asanas and practices for various stages of a woman’s life. I thought I’d pass on something I read today (isn’t Google wonderful?) about the importance of keeping the pelvic floor muscles healthy – something we all know we should be doing, but perhaps need to be reminded of occasionally. […]

Yoga for Back Care – No. 4

Yoga for Back Care – No. 4

This series of programs that aids you in looking after your back is sequential and relies on gradual improvement from doing the very simple first practice published earlier the week on this blog.
Once any back strain is better, this sequence can be undertaken to build strength through the legs and hips.
Baddha Konasana*, seated on a folded blanket, 1 -2 minutes

Trikonasana, 30 – 60 seconds […]

Yoga Retreats, Now and Then

Yoga Retreats, Now and Then

On the cusp of the Falls Forest 3-day yoga retreat which begins tomorrow, I can’t help but think of the many wonderful times over the years we enjoyed at Camp Berringa, in the lower Blue Mountains. Pleasurable times, but transformative, too.
Yogis who understand what yoga is all about will book into one or more retreats a year to experience the magical conjunction of our body/minds in Nature.
Being in a natural setting is restful in and of itself. The combination of yoga and a gentle environment renews that part of us that is bone-tired. […]

Unplug

I thought it a good idea to modify my position on computer technology just slightly after yesterday’s enthusiastic rave about my new iPad keyboard.
Electronic gadgets can be addictive for certain kinds of obsessive personalities – like mine. Maybe yours too?
There was a cartoon that appeared in an Australian yoga calendar a few yeas back depicting a yogini “resting” in Viparita Karani (legs-up-the-wall), arms loosely overhead with a mobile phone in her hand. […]

The Body/Mind Manual

The Body/Mind Manual

I often think about how there are instruction manuals for the most mundane things, things that you can figure out just by common sense.
But the body, with its complex, interrelated systems comes with no manual at all. Medical doctors study for years to be able to understand, regulate, and heal bodies, but must admit to only a cursory comprehension of this miraculous machine. Anatomists may have in-depth knowledge of the mechanics of a human body and its physiology, but not necessarily understand their own body in any way experientially.
The practice of yoga is a way of coming to […]

Be Careful What You Wish For

Be Careful What You Wish For

Like most people, we wanted real estate with a beautiful outlook. So, we had our home built on the top of a rise. We can see mountains to the west, wildlife in the forest, green pastures and distant water views.
What we also got as a result of being so elevated is full exposure to the blustery forty-five km/hr gusts of wind that have been drying out all of the flood plain (good), as well as the cute osteospermum we planted on Monday (bad).
I wouldn’t trade our bucolic outlook for the windless quiet of a sheltered dell. […]

Tummy Rumbles…

…also called “gastric ructions”, caused by peristalsis, are the bane of some yoga relaxations.
There’s something diverting about getting to the quiet time at the end of a yoga class when the teacher has soothed and cajoled the group into a semi-somnolent state, when suddenly the low- pitched rumbling from some quarter starts up. […]

Everyday Miracles

Everyday Miracles

Mitchells Island, where I live, is tucked right into Nature’s lap. Because of the island being set down between the ocean, the Manning River and big old Scotts Creek, it’s both blessed and cursed. The floods two weeks ago wreaked havoc locally, not the least with the potholes left behind – big enough to drive your car into their jaws.
The lovely birds of our forests were enlivened and emboldened by sunny, warm days that followed the deluge, and on the hunt for food. […]

A Tidy Desk

I learned something a couple of years ago that I’ve applied pretty well since then: you will never finish everything you need to do.
I put this sort of learning in the category of Really Important Stuff We Should Have Learned in School. Like how to change the oil in your car (well maybe you did learn this but probably not at school). Or, how not to get in arguments with your significant other about differences in driving styles while confined to your car. […]

Yoga Works!

Yoga Works!

The bad news is my immune system is a little low at the moment and I’m slightly snivelling with nasal congestion. Dare I say “cold”? Nah. The symptoms I’m experiencing are so mild as to be impossible of invoking any sort of sympathy.
The good news is that this morning I did a sequence I use for fighting colds and my sinuses drained almost completely. I felt so much better afterwards. You might have collected it from 24/2/11, but it’s repeated here without the drawings:Colds SequenceUttanasana, 2 min. […]

The Older You Get…

…the less you know. I’m convinced of it. Ooops. Have I just said I know something?
I think two things happen as you mature and age: 1) you collect more conflicting information along the way, i.e., all those studies you read in the newspaper about the benefits/disadvantages of drinking coffee, alcohol, eating chocolate. One day, the suggestion is “go for it”, and the next it’s “stop”, “whoa”, “ya’ better watch out.”
No. […]

Gym or Hospital?

Gym or Hospital?

An inquiry from an old student got me thinking today about why people come along to do yoga. Or, I guess, even why people teach yoga.
Is it to get a workout and build stronger, more sinewy bodies? Or is it to fix up bodies broken by disease or injuries, and minds run over by stress?
It’s pertinent to hang out with the questions as I head off to teach in a yoga therapy course. Trainees will learn to take case histories, do client assessments, and design programs. […]

The Crack in Everything

The Crack in Everything

Today’s blog is something new for me. I decided upon listening to one of my favourite Leonard Cohen songs yesterday that I would update one of the most popular posts that I’ve written. It gives a nod to the composer’s well-loved tune, “Anthem”, which has the refrain:

Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.
I’m of the opinion that the song’s sentiment is so popular because we humans don’t want to have work so hard at being perfect. […]

Twinges

Twinges

Twinge sounds like such a harmless word when it’s applied to conscience, a little tweak, a tiny tickle. Perhaps so inconsequential that it can be overlooked or overridden.
Is it just me or somehow does a twinge seems more significant when it has to do with the body? My husband Daniel learned the hard way (meaning enduring many physiotherapist visits) that he needed to give due respect to any back twinges. A stab of pain works as an early warning system for what might turn out to be a storm of discomfort or even incapacitation. […]

Healthy Blood Pressure = Healthy Brain

The weekend Sydney Morning Herald, mostly bought so we can pit our brains against the quiz, also offered some fascinating anti-dementia news.
More than doing sudokus and cryptic crossword puzzles, we ought to be working on keeping our blood pressure as normal as possible.
High blood pressure contributes to vascular dementia that’s caused by having a stroke. But there is some evidence that keeping BP levels healthy can help prevent Alzheimers, too.
Where does yoga fit in? Obviously as a holistic form of exercise; it helps lower blood pressure and provides blood flow to the brain. […]

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