Colour therapy

In our pursuit of self-study (swadhyaya) let’s take a look at colour and the chakras. In the short relaxation we’ll breathe in red, then orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. These are the colours of the chakras beginning at the root. To which colour do you relate most today? Which one resonates with you right at this moment?

We can change our energies and our mood by using colours cleverly. It begins by observation: what colour have you chosen to wear today? What colour foods are you attracted to right now? Does a blue sky lift your spirits? Do yellow daffodils give you energy? Does a red scarf make you feel warm?

Let’s begin in dandasana, the staff pose.We’ll think of the chakras running up the spinal cord. Then we’ll work with a variety of forward bends, some with the knee bent and some with the legs straight. On to butterfly knees and the tortoise pose. Good. Now the lower back is well warmed up and we can try our challenge pose, wide-legged forward bend while holding the big toes.

It will feel great to have a strong stretch after that so we’ll practise purvottonasana, the inclined plane. Following that we’ll take ourselves into all forms of seated twists. Notice if any colours visit your mind.

On to all fours for the cat stretch and breath. This is a wonderful opportunity to balance the chakras and to increase the flexibility of the spine. Now for another beautiful stretch, the dog. Any colours come to mind?

We’ll use the dog to take us to standing, then meet the tree of life breath. Let’s use the pranayama technique known as ujjayi. We can do this with the eyes closed which will allow us to be receptive to visiting colours.

Back to the mat through the squat balance and, after the cool-downs, we’ll meditate using colour. On the in-breath we’ll imagine a crystal deep within us becoming whiter and brighter, on the out-breath we’ll imagine melting into sapphire blue.

For relaxation we’ll return to breathing in red, then orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. We’ll continue this visiting each chakra in turn as we breathe it’s colour.

Homework will be all about self-study. Notice the colours in your home. What do they tell you about yourself? Notice the colours in your wardrobe. Notice the colours of the flowers you like, the food you like, the birds you admire. As your awareness of yourself and colour develops, begin to explore how you can use this to promote well-being. Does wearing pink open you up to unconditional love? Consciously choosing to wear pink could enable you to put positive vibes out into the world…

My audio book’s going well! Check it out – ‘Home from OM’ is available to download from Audible and Amazon…

OM Shanti Shanti Shanti


Audio book

Very EXCITING that my audio book is now up on Amazon!I was thrilled that we made it by December 30th. It feels auspicious to complete 2018 with an accomplishment!

It’s an audio version of my book, ‘Home from OM – the last yoga retreat’. Check it out and see what you think!

Friends who commute have reported that they enjoy listening on the way to work…

Friends from my classes report that they enjoy hearing my voice. It takes them into ‘yoga mode’!

Friends with tricky eyesight report that audio books enrich their lives…

Friends who have super busy lives report that they listen to audio books while doing the ironing, cleaning and cooking…

Traditionally, yoga messages were passed down by ‘word of mouth’. They were shared in story form…

I very much enjoyed making this audio book for you all. I do so hope it proves memorable and helpful for you…

May 2019 be filled with magic, love and laughter. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

OM Shanti Shanti Shanti

Santosha continued

Namaste. We’re continuing our study of contentment, santosha, the second of the Niyamas. All classical yoga practice is based on the Eight Limbs of yoga which were set down by Patanjali. The Niyamas guide us in the way we interact with others, the vibe that we put out into the world. They’re known as the observances and encourage us to observe our own behaviour. Our world is in desperate need of more contentment!

We begin our class with a poem by Edward Thomas. Poetry has not only a message, but a soothing effect on the soul.

The breath is the bridge which carries us from that which is physical to that which is spiritual, so the breath will feature strongly in our practice. So will flow. Let’s work with nose-to-knee poses, followed by bridges. We’ll then flow in and out of a gentle twist.

Taking time to feel inner contentment before we move on, we’ll use the boat to take us to sitting. A forward bend meets us here, and we remember that forward bends calm the mind. A calm mind is a big step towards contentment. Let’s do a big backward stretch before moving into a seated twist.

Now up onto the knees for the half-camel and full camel poses. The full camel will be our challenge pose for this half-term. It’s so wonderful for opening the heart! Yoga’s magic is it’s ability to work on all levels at the same time. We open the heart on the physical level, the emotional level and the spiritual level.

We’ll follow the camel with the mermaid twist. Great to finish any asana series with a twist to re-balance the chakras, the wheels of energy.

Meditation leads us to ‘sit in our hearts’. We’ve been given the instruction, by the guideline of santosha, that we are required to be content, to actively seek contentment. Living in contentment is surely the best gift that we can give to the world and to those who we love.

Relaxation is all about the breath.

Have a great week filled with contentment!

OM Shanti Shanti Shanti

Sound and movement

Traditionally in the Christmas class we do something entirely different. This year is no exception. Are you wearing red and green?!

We’re going to combine sound with movement. As well as being great fun this is a marvellous tool for learning. We’ll commence with ‘OM Mani Padme Hum’ set to the tune of ‘Head Shoulders Knees and Toes’ and with the movements. We’ll then move on to the colours of the chakras – each colour has a corresponding arm position. Then we’ll progress to the seed sounds adding arm positions here too. (LAM/VAM/RAM/YAM/HAM/OM/SOHAM.)

Now let’s put the focus on Patanjali’s Eight Limbs, adding movements. These actions cement the order of the Limbs in our minds.

We’ll be about ready to sit at this point and we’ll make ourselves comfortable for something entirely new – the Five Tibetan Warrior Syllables. These are accompanied by a focus on five of the chakras, omitting the Crown Chakra and the Root Chakra. It’s a marvellous routine which features the Four Immeasurables – Love, Compassion, Joy and Equanimity. What gifts to give to your family over Christmas! Let’s spread joy, love, compassion and equanimity far and wide!

From there we embrace the Pranava Om Routine which features Chin Mudra, Chinmaya Mudra, Adhi Mudra and Brahma Mudra. Our energies will be so light and our vibrations so high that we will sing the Gayatri Mantra from every cell of our beings!

You will be so ready for your glorious relaxation, and I might even sing you to sleep with another chant!

Happy Holidays! Enjoy your Christmas break. We return on January 5th for an eleven week term.

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

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