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

Respect for Life

We’re continuing our focus on ahimsa, non-violence. Let’s begin with some comprehensive arm stretches, then continue with the stretches and warm-ups. Our asanas will start with lying side-stretches where we’ll meet Vishnu’s couch. In between, whilst lying on our abdomens, we’ll explore the crocodile creep. This is great for opening up the hips.

On to the boat! Then we’ll progress to seated forward bends, a backward bend done in two different ways, and then all the seated twists.

Up on to the knees now for half-camel and full camel, and then into the mermaid twist.

Let’s come back on to the abdomen, this time facing the front of the mat. We’ll practise that crocodile creep again and then work with cobra, locust and bow. Then pushing back into the swan and the variation of the swan before moving into cool-downs.

Meditation is the wonderful ‘May you be happy, may you be healthy’ series. This mantra epitomises the meaning of ahimsa.

Relaxation will feature 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

And Yoga asked

And Yoga asked:

“Why is it that people practise their yoga, attend the classes, understand the principles, yet they flee in the opposite direction the moment that a challenge occurs? I notice this particularly in reference to health problems.”

Susie had been practising and teaching yoga for so long that yoga had become an entity in her life. She caught herself saying, “Yoga tells us” or “Yoga teaches us” in class, just as though Yoga was (and is) indeed a person, a best friend, a guide, the oracle…

This is an excerpt from ‘Yoga Poses Questions’. This yoga novel is available from Amazon at £7.99 or on Kindle at £2.99. Enjoy some healthy reading!

Friends of Yoga Society reading list

The Director of Training for the Friends of Yoga Society has decided to put my Yoga Prescribed trilogy on the reading list for trainee yoga teachers (from September). I’m delighted that the three yoga novels will offer yogic teachings in a readily digested format.’Yoga Poses Questions’ stimulates enquiry and discussion for all yoga students everywhere…