‘Home from OM – the last yoga retreat’

My latest book is now available on Amazon! It’s a novel way to navigate the ageing process, and uses story to spread the teachings of yoga.

Buy your copy of ‘Home from OM – the last yoga retreat’ now! They’re selling fast…

Click on the cover to purchase.

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‘Home from OM’ employs the ancient yoga technique of story-telling to put across spiritual teachings, the infinite wisdom. Following the progress of ten occupants of a residential home, we engage with their lives and their pasts. Can living in a yoga community bring grace and fulfillment to their last years? Could this be a way for the elderly to progress instead of diminish? Or will new challenges emerge from the experiment? Carole Kerton has been teaching yoga for forty-one years. She believes in using humour and anecdotes to facilitate learning. Whilst yoga supports all age groups, the elderly in Carole’s classes thrive on their practice.

Familiar Territory

The third limb of yoga is ASANA. Those who practise hatha yoga are very familiar with the postures or shapes that we learn in class. There are said to be 8,400,000 asanas. They are designed to increase our strength, suppleness and stamina, so that we can sit comfortably for meditation. Indeed the word asana actually means ‘seat’.

Asanas are practised with awareness. They include forward bends, backward bends, side bends, twists and balance postures. There are lying, sitting and standing postures and, of course, sequences. Each asana has its benefits, and an overall programme tones the body, increases the circulation and lymphatic flow, soothes the nervous system, improves the digestion and delays the ageing process. Yoga works with every part of the being, body, mind, emotions and inner spirit. To me it is a panacea, a cure-all.

Turmeric

Indian Ayurvedic practitioners prescribe turmeric for eyesight, rheumatism, arthritis and liver problems. It is a spice which should be in daily use as it provides substantial amounts of highly protective and immune-boosting antioxidants. Research has shown that one of its natural constituents, curcumin, is very powerful in cancer prevention and treatment.

Turmeric is a member of the ginger family. It is grown for its root, and is used extensively in curry recipes. Make sure you have this wonderful medicine in your spice rack!

Tomatoes

Tomatoes were introduced to Europe by the Spaniards in the sixteenth century. They are rich in antioxidants, especially carotenoids such as betacarotene and lycopene. They contain vitamins C and E, and so protect the heart, the circulatory system and the body against cancer. They are low in sodium and high in potassium, thus are helpful with conditions such as high blood pressure and fluid retention.

Canned tomatoes lose very little of their nutritional value, so always keep some in the larder. The lycopene contained in tomatoes protects men against prostate cancer. Tinned tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato ketchup and sun-dried tomatoes are all important nutritionally. They protect men and women against heart disease. I love cherry tomatoes! So much nicer than sweets!

The reason for raisins!

Organic raisins are available!

Dried fruits make such an excellent snack. Man has been drying fruits in the sun for the last 5,000 years. Romans used raisins in many of their medicinal remedies, and it’s easy to see why. They are a wonderful source of instant energy, containing both glucose and fructose. Raisins alleviate tiredness, anaemia, chronic fatigue, and are a pick-me-up for insomniacs. They contain fibre, which helps to lower cholesterol and promote healthy bowel function. They contain iron, selenium, and potassium. This latter is important as it stops fluid retention and regulates the blood pressure. Raisins also contain some vitamin C and vitamin B. The B vitamins are great for beating stress.

Now you know the reason to buy raisins!

Fresh radishes

In the time of the pharaohs, radishes were seen as a valuable food source. workers building the pyramids were paid in garlic, onions and radishes!

Radishes are a rich source of potassium, calcium, sulphur, vitamin C, folic acid and selenium. They help to prevent cancer, and are wonderful for assisting the gall-bladder and the liver. They are very popular in France as a pre-dinner snack, as they encourage the gall-bladder to pump more bile into the stomach. This aids the digestion of fats.

Those with thyroid problems should avoid eating radishes, and none of us should overdose on them. Eat a few, fresh, crisp, organic radishes for best effect!

Peppers

Peppers originated in the Americas. Columbus brought them back to Europe, and from there they spread to Africa and Asia.

Sweet peppers are low in calories, and supply folic acid, potassium and fibre. They are an excellent source of beta carotene and bioflavanoids. These substances are antioxidants which protect the body against arthritis, cancer and heart disease.

Most importantly, peppers are packed with wonderful vitamin C. The green ones have the smallest amount, and the red ones the most., but even the green peppers give you more vitamin C than an orange. This is more than your daily requirement. Keeping them in the fridge ensures no loss of this important vitamin whilst storing. Always source organic, if you can.

Quiescence

We’ve been following the theme of ‘Food is Medicine’, but the manner of your eating matters too. In the Sivananda Ashram in Kerala, Southern India, we were required to eat in silence. If chatting occurred, a loud ‘OM’ would resound around the hall to remind us! Eating quietly and resting afterwards, having a period of quiescence, ensures that the nutritious content of the food is appreciated and that the digestive system can work efficiently.

Yoga tells us about the three gunas. These three energies form the qualities or constituents of nature. Rajas is motion, activity, passion. Tamas is darkness, inertia, heaviness. Sattva is purity, clarity, balance..Eating in the state of sattva ensures proper digestion and assimilation of food, while ‘eating on the go’ is rajasic and guarantees indigestion. Being in the tamasic state while eating, and indeed eating foods which produce this tamasic state, guarantees heaviness in all respects.

Preparation of food for others also needs consideration! If you’re angry and harassed and your quickly making a meal for the family, when they eat it they will take on that rajasic energy! That’s a recipe for everyone becoming cross! If you are in the calm state of Sattva when you prepare food, the love is baked in! The family or friends ‘enjoying’ your food will actually receive the joy from within it! Worth practising some quiescence…

Pumpkin seeds

Pumpkin pie was a big treat when we lived in the States!

Pumpkin seeds contain amino acids, calcium, essential fatty acids, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, zinc, vitamins A,C and E. You can put them on your cereal in the morning, as I do. They are super helpful for any bladder problems, and troubles with the prostate gland in men.. The reason they are so helpful for prostatitis is down to their abundance in zinc. Pumpkin oil can alternatively be taken in capsule form.

The flesh of the pumpkin is widely used in Europe, the U.S.A., Australia, Africa and the Caribbean. It is a rich source of beta carotene, which the body converts into vitamin A.

Snacking on seeds and nuts is essential for vegetarians.You can be sure that you are getting iron for healthy blood, magnesium for maintaining healthy body cells, and zinc for normal growth and development, when you include pumpkin seeds in your diet.

Perfect pears

We have a pear tree in the back garden. The blossom is just beautiful in the Spring, and the fruit is delicious in the Autumn.The pears are of the Conference variety, which I love. I enjoy the crunch! Many people prefer Sweet Williams because they are softer and more golden. The best way to ensure that you are eating organic food which is packed with prana (life-force) is to pick it from your own garden and consume immediately.

Pears are a good source of the soluble fibre pectin. This helps to regulate bowel function, and increases the amount of cholesterol eliminated by the body. Pears contain vitamins A,C and E. They also contain potassium, which prevents cramp during exercise. Dried pears make an excellent snack which contains significant amounts of iron. Convalescents find pears easy to digest and wonderfully restorative.