Remedial Yoga in a Holistic Context

Remedial Yoga in a Holistic Context

In this morning’s yoga class there were six students: one with a pinched neck nerve, one with a strained rotator cuff, one with dodgy knees, one with an arthritic ankle and elbow tendonitis, one with a sore back, and one ‘normal’ (at least for the time being).
In looking at a group ‘remedially’, I saw a collection of ailments. Looking through the holistic lens of yoga, I saw students who are totally fit to practice yoga according to their ability.
For my money, I believe everyone should adapt yoga according to their individual needs and constitution. […]

If You Can't Say Something Nice

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I felt like not posting tonight. I thought I didn’t really have anything to say. I went on the internet to find some inspiration (above), but it wasn’t quite it.
Then, I realised there were things I didn’t want to say… in a public forum.
Sometimes it has to be all right not to say important things. It might end up like serving an underdone meal.
So, I’m letting this stuff cook a little more until it’s ready. […]

Do You Have a Guru?

Do You Have a Guru?

I have a guru. One who I didn’t actively seek out as a teacher.
He happens to be my husband. He’s a perfect guru, too. You know someone who throws you back on your own resources and holds a mirror up to you so you can see your own reflection.
Most people don’t like to look in the mirror and I’m no exception. However, how else are you going to see how beautiful you are?
In December last year Daniel suggested a sponto* trip to South Island, New Zealand. […]

The Ups and Downs of Urdhva Dhanuasana

The Ups and Downs of Urdhva Dhanuasana

People keep asking me whether I can do everything I used to be able to do before I had my double hip replacement. What a hard question!
Here’s a shot of me in 1990 doing a backbend, pre-hip arthritis.
And, here I am 22 years later teaching my bionic hips how to extend.

Those of you out there with your perfecto-meters will note that as a 68-year old, my shoulders are stiffish, but, hey, I used to be overly flexible.
It’s a funny thing. […]

Here Today, Maybe Not Tomorrow

Here Today, Maybe Not Tomorrow

I’m getting far too good at stopping and smelling the roses. That’s the price I pay to be semi-retired, living in the country. What does semi mean anyway?
I took a small detour on my way to yoga practice this morning to admire and photograph the heavy mists hanging all around our property.

And then, I found myself attracted to the tibouchina that was just bloomin’ its heart out.

Of course, the brugmansia stopped me in my tracks, too.

Finally, just when I thought I was going to get into the Yoga Shed, the butcher bird caught my attention. […]

Best Ways of Cultivating Concentration

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Yesterday I wrote about how difficult I find it, at times, to pay attention. I’m finding the practice of mindfulness meditation gradually helping me improve my concentration.
Another aid for focussing the mind is the practice of pranayama – attention to the breath. Today I wanted to link back to Patanjali and his Sutra regarding pranayama. […]

How Do You Say 'Alert and Relaxed' in Sanskrit?

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Do you shut down in yoga class when your teacher uses Sanskrit words and concepts? Or, are you the opposite? You relish the opportunity to extend your learning about yoga, even to the point of assimilating an unfamiliar language.
Probably you stand in the middle; you don’t mind a smattering of the Sanskrit but not so much it keeps you in your head. […]

A Lover's Quarrel with Myself

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Do you get into internal dialogues where one part of you catches another aspect of yourself being foolish, judgmental, absent-minded, mean-spirited…. You get the idea. Insert any negative adjective you might think of into the description.
Round and round you go, trying to fight your way out of disempowering self-talk, but all you end up doing is digging in yourself into deeper hole.
Then, with any luck, some distraction comes along and the interruption is enough to wake you up to the moment. […]

The Mind: There Be Monsters

The Mind: There Be Monsters

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Since I’ve been practising mindfulness meditation over the last few weeks, I’ve come to appreciate what an incessant thought machine my mind is. (Well, appreciate is probably the wrong word.)
At the best of times, I notice a certain entertainment value in the thoughts my mind spins out. […]

Funks Come and Go

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I got up on the wrong side of the bed today….
What does that mean anyway? I felt out of sorts, out of kilter, glum.
How did I know that was the case? The first comment out my mouth, Daniel took the wrong way. So naturally I thought he was the one ‘up on the wrong side’.
I did my morning mindfulness meditation anyway, and let myself be in the experience of feeling out of sorts. […]

The Gift of Life

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Do you consider life a gift? I know people for whom life is hard, and, regarding such a gift, they might say, ‘Aw, you shouldn’t have.’ I’ve felt like that at times, but fortunately I don’t now.
Still, what’s a life for? […]

Life Time

Life Time

Time is such a fascinating, elastic thing. We humans can think ourselves into the past, and project ourselves into the future, but have a devil of a time staying put in the present. Meditate for just ten minutes and watch the handsprings your mind does.
Ageing has made me more acutely aware of time. […]

A Sutra a Day: The Prize – Holistic Yoga

A Sutra a Day: The Prize – Holistic Yoga

Do you ever set off on a journey not knowing exactly where you’ll end up? Even when you embark on a what you think is a certain path, you still may not arrive at your imagined destination.
That can be a good outcome, a bad one, or simply what is.
When I started interacting with Patanjali on this blog – teasing out each of his tightly packed Sutra – I did it as an exercise in discipline. […]

A Sutra a Day: IV-34 – Here Ends the Sutra of Patanjali

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I’ve not been well today. A stomach complaint – severe cramping and slight nausea. Perhaps a dose of gastro or food poisoning? It could have been to do cleaning out a big mucky garden pot. Maybe something that is meant to live outside got inside me.
So here I am, all alone at home, while everyone in our household has gone to choir practice. I truly can’t remember having an evening alone for yonks. It’s exceptionally nice.
And, this is a special night too… […]

A Sutra a Day: IV-33 – Tiny Instants of Time Add Up

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For some reason, maybe because of teaching some workshops on ‘How to Work with Older Students’, I seem to be preoccupied with ageing. It may be because I am, er… getting on myself.
A newsletter landed in my email today from my friend and colleague Maggi, who was writing about ‘Age and Attitude’. She says,
‘I have a bad attitude to ageing. […]

A Sutra a Day: IV-32 – A Balancing Act

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Yoga philosophy has a handy way to categorise elements of the material world. In Sanskrit there are three forces called gunas: tamas, which exhibits qualities of darkness, inertia, or heaviness; rajas, which equates with raw energy, passion, dynamism; and, sattva, which is defined as Being, clarity, or spiritual essence.
Objects can be characterised according to the above scheme, and so can human moods and personalities.
Think about it. At times you’ve probably felt yourself in a heavy mood, like a dark cloud is hanging over you (tamasic). […]

A Sutra a Day: IV-31 – "All is Known and Nothing is Known"

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Have you ever heard of an exercise that’s done in personal development courses called “If you really knew me….”? It’s designed to create a greater depth of intimacy among the members of the group by sharing something of a personal nature. By opening up about a subject where there’s been fear or embarrassment attached to it, the speaker has an opportunity to let go and move on. […]

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