The Alzheimer’s Solution

I was reading about a book by Dean and Ayesha Sherzai. It explains their research into Alzheimer’s disease and they give a list of ‘Six things to do right now’in order to prevent the disease. The first on the list is GIVE UP MEAT. This absolutely echoes our theme of Ahimsa, non-violence. Most yogis are vegetarian or vegan precisely because of the first rule of yoga.

This week we’ll begin with dancing legs and then move into an inversion, the shoulderstand. On to the plough and the fish, before working with nose-to-knee postures. We’ll follow these with bridges and then spinal twist. Coming to seated through the boat, we’ll move on to butterfly knees, our rather amusing balance, Merudandasana, and then we’ll work with the classical half-lotus posture. Our challenge is cow-face posture and I’m hoping that our previous work will have opened our hips well. This will serve us here. We’ll complete the asanas with cosmic egg.

Meditation is repetition of the mantra ‘OM Mani Padme Hum’ – the jewel in the heart of the lotus.

Relaxation is repetition again – this time OM on the in-breath and OM on the out-breath.

Next week is class as usual, but the following week is half-term. So no class on October 27th.

OM Shanti Shanti Shanti

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Wishing All Creatures Well

We’re focusing on Ahimsa, non-violence, this half-term. Our reading explains the Buddhist practice of wishing all beings well before you interact with them.

Kapalabhati is a wonderful kriya and pranayama technique. We begin our practice with this exercise. Then we’ll lie down on the abdomen and re-acquaint ourselves with the creeping crocodile. On to cobra, locust, bow and then we’ll repeat from the creeping crocodile.

Pushing back into the swan posture, we’ll attempt the variation where the chest and chin rest on the ground. This is great for opening the shoulders!

Now let’s move on to the gate sequence – good old parighasana! Such a good sequence to open up the sides of the body and to release long-hidden frustrations.

Our challenge pose is cow-face posture, so we’ll explore and see how this feels today. And then let’s finish with a delightful little balance pose – the cosmic egg.

Meditation will be to work with the seed sound for the heart chakra – YAM. After all, Ahimsa comes from the heart-centre. Relaxation will focus on repetition and patience using the 22 body parts.

OM Shanti Shanti Shanti

Ahimsa and Compassion

Ahimsa, non-violence is the first rule of yoga – the first of the Yamas as set down by Patanjali. Gandhi lived his whole life dedicated to ahimsa.

This week we’ll begin our practice with Malla Kriya. Let’s rid ourselves of excess carbon dioxide. Then we’ll move into the very lovely Tree of Life breath. Feeling centred, we’ll continue with a forward bend, backward bend and twist. On to a warrior pose and through to the triangle. Strong postures to bring strength to the body, mind and inner spirit. Let’s attempt the tree balance – working with adaptations where necessary. And then it’s back to the mat through the squat.

We met cow-face posture last week, and this is quite a challenge. It will be our challenge posture for this half-term. Always really good fun to see how we progress within a pose.

Meditation will be working with, ‘May you be happy, May you be healthy, May you be free from suffering, May you be at peace.’ This wonderful mantra instils a deep sense of compassion – towards ourselves, towards others, and towards all beings.

Relaxation is focusing on the breath. In many languages it is the same word for breath and for life.

My latest book, ‘Yoga Poses Questions’, will be available in class this week.

OM Shanti Shanti Shanti

Back to class, back to basics

How lovely to be back for the autumn term! We’re going to work with Ahimsa, the first rule of yoga. It means non-violence.

Let’s start with some good arm stretches, then on to bridges done with attention and mindfulness. Ahimsa is just as important as a guideline for ourselves as it is towards others. We’ll bear this in mind as we work gently with our bodies. Gentle twists follow the bridges, and then we’ll come safely to sitting. Let’s try assisted Paschimottonmasana, the seated forward bend, coupled with Purvottonasana, the backward stretch. Wide-legged forward bends will be next, approached with awareness. It will feel lovely to work with some gentle twists in the seated position, too.

On to all fours where we’ll meet cat stretch and breath, then the rest position of swan. Then we’ll attempt cow-face posture, Gomukhasana, and proceed to butterfly knees and the tortoise, Kurmasana.

Meditation will be all about working with kindness. This is Ahimsa in positive mode. Then relaxation will focus on the breath.

The Eight Limbs of Yoga are a life-time’s study. Here we go back to the basics. The Yamas are the first of the Eight Limbs and they involve ethics relating to others, but also to ourselves. The first of the Yamas is Ahimsa.

OM Shanti Shanti Shanti

Inner energy and the classical path

It’s launch day for my latest book! YOGA POSES QUESTIONS is now available from Amazon and I’m delivering the pre-ordered books to my classes today and tomorrow.
This week’s class is continuing the theme of working with the inner energies. We’ll begin with the complete yoga breath, mahat pranayama. Then, after stretches and warm-ups, we’ll work with the classical poses: shoulderstand, plough, fish, nose-to-knee and twist. Coming up through the boat, we’ll meet forward bend, backward bend, twist, before coming on to all fours for the cat and the dog. The dog has been our challenge pose for this half-term.
Meditation is about sitting in the heart and experiencing being embraced by the energy of love. Relaxation is the foot movement from Kaya Kriya.
Our classes recommence on September 15th for a 12 week term. I do hope you enjoy your summer reading! YOGA POSES QUESTIONS explores all the queries you may have had but in novel form. It’s a follow-on to HOME FROM OM, but stands happily alone. Enjoy some healthy reading!
OM Shanti Shanti Shanti

Emotional energy

Emotions are energy in motion and, as such, are very relevant to our study this term.
We’ll begin our practice with Kapalabhati. It’s a great technique to both cleanse and energise the system.
Then we’ll stand for Salutation to the Sun. Let’s start slowly and build up. On to the balance sequence. It’s interesting to see if we can remain alive to the flow of energy as we focus on staying balanced.
Now for Salute to the Moon. These two principle sequences, the sun and the moon, exercise every muscle in the body. During the sun sequence we’ll meet the challenge pose for this half-term, downward-facing dog.
Coming back to the mat through the squat we’ll move to the half-camel pose and then the full camel. These glorious postures open the heart and the heart chakra, Anahata.
The counterpose after the camel is really useful for relieving blocked energy in the shoulders, and then we’ll move to the half-headstand, the pose of devotion, the child and finally the mermaid.
The meditation features the seed sounds and the relaxation will use the hand movement from Kaya Kriya.
This class should give us a fresh understanding of how emotional energy can be released to ensure our health and well-being.
Next week is the last class of this term.
OM Shanti Shanti Shanti

The human energy field

Let’s begin our practice standing for Malla Kriya. This is the whooshing breath which is so effective at ridding the body of excess carbon dioxide. Then we’ll move into a deep forward bend, padahastasana. Let’s try a wide-legged forward bend next, with all the variations. it’s always good to balance the forward bends with a backward bend. Let’s open the heart and the heart chakra.
Feeling the energy flow down into one foot, we’ll try a balance pose. Flowing energy has been a feature of this term’s classes. And then onto the mountain sequence with the arms shoulder-width distance apart.
Focusing on the movement of energy, we’ll move into the Salute to the Earth. We’re going to begin small and move more deeply as we progress. We’re almost just ‘marking it’ in the beginning.
It would be good to feel some twists with the body before we go down into the dog. It’s a novelty to approach our challenge pose from above!
Meditation will feature Sama Vritti Pranayama – the square breath and relaxation is a repeat of last’s week’s successful Kaya Kriya.
The last Thursday class of this term is July 13th. The last Friday class is July 14th. My up-an-coming book will be available on the last week of term!! YOGA POSES QUESTIONS hits the bookshelves! Look out for it…It’s the third and last in the ‘Yoga Prescribed’ trilogy, but stands quite happily on it’s own. All those yoga queries you’ve ever had, asked and answered, in a yoga novel format…
OM Shanti Shanti Shanti