A practice which focusses on the sacral chakra 25/1/2016

This week’s class focusses on the solar plexus chakra (Manipura). This is known as the city of gems.

We begin with a reading from the mindfulness book. After the short relaxation, the stretches and warm-ups, we will work with a pranayama technique known as Kapalabhati. This involves exaggerating the exhalation. The emphasis is on the pulling in of the abdomen, sharply, in order to exhale briskly. Kapalabhati is great for toning the abdomen, clearing away stale air from the lower part of the lungs, and cleansing the mind, brain and head. It literally means ‘skull cleansing.’.

We will follow this with three salutations to the sun (Surya Namaskar). Then move on to some work with the second of the main locks, Uddiyana Bandha. We met the root lock two weeks ago, now this is the abdominal lock. We’ll practise Agni Sara, which stimulates the digestive system making it faster and more thorough.

Warrior two follows, standing firm on the ground and feeling our power, we stretch our arms to the side. On an out-breath, we bend the right knee until we can no longer see the foot. Then we gaze back at the left hand, stretching beautifully through the shoulders. On an out-breath, we place the right hand at the top of the right thigh and take the left arm over until it touches the right ear Рa diagonal slash. On an in-breath, we straighten the right knee, take the back of the right hand to the inside on the right leg and the left hand straight up to the sky.  On each out-breath, we slide the right hand down the right leg, coming into triangle, Trikonasana.

We’ll introduce a standing twist next, followed by the Mountain Sequence (Tadasana) and the tree balance (Vrksasana). Then using the squat, Utkatasana, for sitting, we’ll work with butterfly knees, also known as cobbler’s pose, (Baddha Konasana) and go into our challenge posture of this half-term, half-lotus (Ardha-Padmasana.)

Meditation will either be the Gayatri Mantra or ‘Sun-blessed’, a visualisation, depending on the group.

During the relaxation, we’ll look at the traditional colours of the chakras, which differ from the New Age version of rainbow colours. The solar plexus is in modern terms yellow, traditionally it was blue.

OM Shanti Shanti Shanti

Mindful practice 18/1/2016

We are continuing our readings about mindfulness and are focussing on the sacral chakra this week. January can be a time for low energy and grey weather, so lets remind ourselves to let go and have fun with our yoga!

We’ll begin with the Equestrian posture (ASHWASANCHALANASANA).

Then on to the Monkey pose (ANJANEYASANA).

Moving on to the Pigeon (KAPOTASANA) which is so helpful for anyone with sciatica.

The Gate sequence (PARIGHASANA) is a great way to tone the trunk and to release those frustrations from the sides of the body!

From a four posture sequence we hop to a three posture sequence – swan, cat, dog. A flow of movement really helps with the letting go.

Having thoroughly warmed up, we can approach the supine thunderbolt (SUPTAVAJRASANA).

Following that with the Pranayama technique BHRAMARI.

Our challenge pose of this half term is the half-lotus, so now we will do butterfly knees, rocking buddha and half-lotus (ARDHA PADMASANA.)

Our meditation will all be about the Gayatri Mantra. This is the second time we have met it this term, so we’ll be able to let go and really enjoy it!

We’ll focus on the seed sound for the sacral chakra (SWADHISTANA) for the long relaxation.

OM SHANTI SHANTI SHANTI

This week’s class 11/1/2016

This week’s class is all about becoming grounded – firmly finding your place in the new year. We will focus on the root chakra, (Muladhara.)

Our reading comes from ‘Peace of Mind’ by Thich Naht Hanh.

During the short relaxation we will breathe out and sink down into the ground. After the stretches and warm-ups, we will proceed with supine postures. Aware of the ground beneath us, supporting us, we will work with nose to knee poses (Apanasana) and bridges (Sethu Bandhasana). We’ll move on to lying twists.

Using the boat (Navasana) as a transition pose, we’ll be seated on the mat for butterfly knees, rocking buddha, and then this half-term’s challenge, the half-lotus (Ardha Padmasana). From here we will move into a seated forward bend (Paschimottonasana), a backward bend (Purvottoanasana), and then run through all the seated twists. In between times, we will explore the root lock (Mulabandha).

Meditation, after the cool-downs, focusses on the root lock and the seed sound LAM.

Relaxation returns to breathing out and sinking down into the ground – finding our place in the New Year.

OM SHANTI SHANTI SHANTI

Our class this week. 4/1/2016

This week we will be all about breathing in the new and breathing out the old! We’ll begin with 3 resounding OMs.

Then attention on the breath for relaxation and a reading from ‘Peace of Mind’ by Thich Naht Hanh.

After the stretches and warm-ups, we will work with CAT stretch and breath. Followed by the sequence SWAN – CAT – DOG.

We’ll use the DOWNWARD DOG to take us to standing where we will perform some mindful breathing exercises.

Then we’ll work with a standing forward bend – PADAHASTASANA – a supported back bend, and several standing TWISTS.

Returning to the mat through the squat – UTKATASANA – then working with butterfly knees, rocking buddha and the challenge pose for this half-term, ARDHA PADMASANA.

After the cool-downs, shoulder rotations and neck moves, we will sit for the GAYATRI MANTRA. This is the mantra of all mantras – very powerful. It clears the nadis and takes us all to a positive place for the New Year.

Relaxation will take us back to breathing in the new and breathing out the old.

I’m so looking forward to our first class of 2016!

You must be the change

Mahatma Gandhi said, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world”.

Never was this a more important message. Yoga teaches us to take responsibility for our own actions and for our own relationships. If we want to see peace established in the world, then we need to establish it in our everyday lives. If we want to see more sensible and reasonable dialogue in world affairs and politics, then we must introduce it into our own lives. Every interaction with others can be kind, thoughtful and peaceful.

The new year always feels like a clean start. It is an opportunity to make resolutions and to make changes. Lets light a candle in our own corner of Mother Earth. If there is enough of us engaged with this idea, we can surely change the world!

Love is the life force

Must I seek and strive to find the real me?

No. Stop trying so hard and just be.

Must I wander and search to find my place?

No. Stay really still and fill this space.

Must I talk, shout and debate to be heard?

No. Be silent now. Love needs not one word.

 

There is no need to journey, you are already here.

There is no need to struggle, your purpose is quite clear.

There is no need to rush, just love the ones you hold dear.

 

Love is always the answer to our questions and doubts.

Love is always the answer, that’s what our life is about.

We are here to learn, to unite and to find truth.

Love is who you are, where you are and love is the proof.

Love is the life-force, the prana.

Love is the glue, the cement.

Peace will be found and established

When love fills your every moment.

CAROLE KERTON