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

Focusing on Pranamaya Kosha

For the second week we’re focusing on Pranamaya Kosha, the energy sheath. We are made of many layers and engaging with the energy sheath allows us to connect with the chakras, the wheels of energy, and the aura.

We’ll begin seated cross-legged for an attunement. Here we’ll run through the seed sounds of the chakras.

Lying for relaxation, we’ll become aware of the body breathing and the flow of prana (life-force) within us. After the stretches, we’re working with shoulderstand, plough, fish and the side-stretches. Moving through the boat we’ll approach our challenge pose, the variation on the swan.Then ┬áto standing through the dog, and it’s time for Salute to the Moon and a balance. Down through the squat and we’ll sit on meditation stools for the cool-downs and the Pranayama breathing technique, Sitali the cooling breath.

For the meditation we’ll work with the well-loved mantra, OM MANI PADME HUM, which we will count on our fingers.

And for the long relaxation we’ll focus on the solar plexus chakra while practising Surya Kriya.

The reading this week is taken from ‘Daily Om’. It reminds us to start each day in the heart chakra.

OM Shanti Shanti Shanti

A dogged look at downward-dog!

The special treat for the last class of the term is to have Savasana as our challenge pose! But then we’re going to spend some time with the faithful dog. Just like having a real dog who needs two good walks a day, the downward-dog pose encourages us to stretch our legs. It’s a pose that is, like dogs, beloved of some and disliked by others. I LOVE it!

Let’s start with cat stretch and breath. Then take a good long look at the dog. We’ll stretch out the hind legs and also practise ‘shake-a-leg’, looking just like a dog who has come in from the rain. Back to all fours and we’ll count the breath, checking that we’re using all three parts of the body evenly. (Mahat Pranayama.)

Now on to the ‘dog and lamp-post pose’!

Let’s spend some more time talking to our dog. We’ll be gentle and caring, working with the breath to encourage obedience from the hamstrings.

Using the dog as a transition pose, we’ll stand and call out the seed sounds: LAM, VAM, RAM, YAM, HAM, OM, SO-HAM. With the chakras well-balanced, we’ll work gently with swan – cat – dog sequence.

Let’s chant OM MANI PADME HUM for meditation. It means the jewel in the heart of the lotus, and we”ll set it to the jolly tune of ‘Head, shoulders, knees and toes’!

Relaxation will feature the top part of Kaya Kriya, where we gently move the head with the breath.

This is our last class this term and the last class of the yoga year. I look forward to seeing some of you at the annual retreat on July 22nd. It is also, very sadly, my last class on a Monday in Cosham. It is very hard to say goodbye to my Cosham family after 31 years, but night-driving has become too big an issue for my poorly left eye. I will always miss you all, but I know that I’m leaving you in Andy’s capable and loving hands.

Love, light and blessings,

Carole xxx

OM SHANTI SHANTI SHANTI

Focussing on the Crown Chakra 29/2/2016

This time, my lovely weekly students, we are focussing on the Crown Chakra.

We will begin with a short relaxation, a reading on mindfulness and the stretches and warm-ups.

The Pranayama exercise is Kapalabhati, the skull- shining breath.

We will move into work with the Hare Pose, Shashasana. After resting in the Child Pose, Balasana, we’ll move on to pose of devotion, Dharmikasana.

Since the Downward Facing Dog is our challenge pose of this half-term, we will continue with the sequence Swan – Cat – Dog. We’ll spend some time on Dog alone.

All the way through this class, we are focussing on the Crown Chakra. Now, we will meet the Half-Headstand, and for those who are fit and eager I will offer a way of doing the Headstand, Sirsasana, safely on two chairs.

The meditation is ‘So’ on the in-breath, ‘Ham’ on the out-breath.

The relaxation practice is working with the 22 body parts, Marmanasthanam Kriya.

OM Shanti Shanti Shanti

Emotional time

Christmas and New Year are emotional times. Traditionally, it is a time for families to get together. Memories are stirred from previous festive times – good memories, and not so good memories. The passing of the years is highlighted as the young family grows up and the oldies get older. Yoga teaches us to be in the present moment – to be mindful. Experiencing and embracing the emotions is part of the journey.Our family thrives on laughter. My ribs ached at the end of our Boxing Day get-together! When you are laughing, you are truly present. A belly laugh is a great stimulant for the sacral chakra, and an antidote to the festive blues!

LIVE WELL – LAUGH OFTEN – LOVE MUCH

The door of bliss

The sages declare that the door of bliss, the highest centre of spiritual consciousness, technically known as Sahasrara, the thousand-petalled lotus, is situated in the centre of the brain. When the yogi’s mind, absorbed in meditation, reaches this centre, he realises his union with Brahman.

“The Self being unknown, all three states of the soul are but dreaming – waking, dreaming, and dreamless sleep. In each of these dwells the Self: the eye is his dwelling place while we wake, the mind is his dwelling place while we dream, the lotus of the heart is his dwelling place while we sleep the dreamless sleep.

Having entered into the guardians, he identified himself with them. He became many individual beings. Now, therefore, if an individual awake from his threefold dream of waking, dreaming and dreamless sleep, he sees no other than the Self. He sees the Self dwelling in the lotus of his heart as Brahman, omnipresent, and he declares: “I know Brahman!”

Aitareya upanishad.