Some years ago I attended a yoga teacher–friend’s class and shared a cup of tea with one of his female students after class. When my friend’s student heard that I specialized in yoga for women she confided that she suffered debilitating menstrual pain every month. I asked her if she still attended my friend’s yoga class during her period. She replied that yes, of course she did, she just took a pain-killer as she didn’t want to miss her ‘yoga-fix’. “So how do you feel after you do the class?” I enquired, curious, because my friend’s classes were of the dynamic, yang, make-you-sweat type. “Oh, I feel worse!” she replied, resignedly.
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. […]
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.
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. […]
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. […]
Keep Your Body Happy with Yoga On the Road
Planning to be on the road over the holidays? Here’s a yoga sequence to keep your body on an even keep while travelling.
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. […]
Yoga: Yes or No After Cataract Surgery?
The Eyes Have It!
A couple of years ago my optometrist discovered that cataracts were forming in both of my eyes. He predicted I would need cataract surgery someday. I was not looking forward to this ambiguous ‘someday’. […]
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. […]
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. […]
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 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’. […]
Savasana with a Neck Roll
This may be just what you need to feel a neck extension that is thoroughly supported by a firmly rolled mat. […]
Therapeutic Leg Stretches: Supta Padangusthasana
Supta Padangusthasana, nicknamed ‘lying-down big toe pose’ is one of the most versatile yoga postures. Apart from its therapeutic benefits, it can be used in many varied sequences.
Supported Shoulderstand (Sarvangasana)
Stretches your shoulders and improves the flexibility of your upper back.
Calms the brain and nervous system
Improves digestion ans massages and stimulates the thyroid and parathyroid glands.
Flushes mucous from your lungs.
Helps relieve the symptoms of menopause.
Here’s a youtube video to help you find your way into the pose (easier than you think):
Corpse Pose: Needed and Wanted
Every now and then, I fall off the wagon. I recognise that I need to re-incorporate corpse pose into my yoga practice. Writing a post about this pose will inspire me, and you too, if need be.
I first learned about corpse pose (savasana) from one of my yoga teachers, Martyn Jackson. As Martyn explained it, corpse pose isn’t meant to be in any way considered a morbid notion. It defines the ultimate state of letting go.
When we do savasana, we may rise from the pose feeling we’ve slept the sleep of the dead. […]
Poses to Help You 'Stomach' the Holidays
Like me, you might be feeling a trifle too full in your tummy after Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day repasts of turkey, ham, seafood and pudding. Perhaps these have been washed down with beer, champagne, wine and liqueur? And, there’s still New Year’s eve and Day to face!
The stomach is a special organ. […]
Yoga Calm in the Midst of Holiday Hullabaloo
“Most people could do with more relaxation, not more stimulation,” naturopath Sandra Villella is quoted as saying in the weekend Sydney Morning Herald Spectrum.
In an article about the new ‘relaxation’ drinks, Villella was addressing the issue of whether these drinks can deliver what they advertise. If you haven’t encountered these products, look for the Australian versions called “Koala Karma”, “EverydaySunday”, and “bChill”. […]
Pre-Holiday Yoga First Aid – Just in the Neck of Time
image via Pinterest
News flash: the holidays are coming!
Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah or just a big nosh up picnic on the beach with friends and family, the time for festive assemblages is rapidly approaching.
There will be shopping for gifts. There will be parties at work and clubs, and lunches and dinners. […]
For Your Weekend Refreshment
Sometimes you just don’t have much energy by the time the weekend comes, no matter how much you’ve enjoyed your working week, because you’re just too pooped.
Here’s a restorative yoga practice to recharge your batteries on a Friday evening or Saturday afternoon so you can be at your best all weekend.
Supta Badda Konasana Bound-angle pose Equipment: blanket, belt and a bolster.
Lie back on a bolster or several blankets folded lengthwise to support your back and head. […]