Happy Diwali!

Wishing you all light, love and blessings on Diwali.

Our theme of this half-term has been Ahimsa, non-violence. How the world craves this abstinence. We’re going to begin our practice with some standing breathing exercises. Let’s open the chest and draw in the good prana! We’ll then progress to all forms of forward bend, followed by all forms of backward bend. On to the twist to increase the suppleness off the spine and to massage the digestive system.

It will be good to meet Mountain sequence here. Such a good way to tone the trunk and strengthen the arms. Have we gained stability balance from the mountain? Let’s see as we go into two balance poses, the tree and the dancer.

Now we’ll experience moving meditation in the Salute to the Moon – Chandra Namaskar. Lovely…

Back to the mat through the squat and here we prepare for cow-face pose. Last time as our challenge, Yogis!

Meditation, after the cool-downs, is the square breath, Sama Vritti Pranayama. Relaxation will be all about the breath. Breathe in golden yellow – breathe out sky blue.

Half-term next week.

OM Shanti Shanti Shanti

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Crossing the rainbow bridge

We’re going to continue our focus on the energies and we’ll begin with our three gentle movements – nose to knee, bridges, and gentle twist.
Coming to seated through the boat, we’ll proceed with swan-cat-dog. Now let’s focus solely on downward-facing dog, waling into it and out of it. We’ll use the dog to stand.
Let’s find our centre in mountain pose and tune into our energies. We’ll practise the tree balance and then continue into Salute to the Moon. This sequence is a wonderful way of balancing the energies and finding inner balance.
Let’s use the dog pose again to take us back to the mat where we’ll work with cool-downs.
Meditation is all about counting mantra. This is a new one to many: OM NAMO, GURU DEV NAMO. It calls upon the divine teacher within and without.
For the relaxation we’ll use the head movement from Kaya Kriya.
OM Shanti Shanti Shanti

Nadis

This term we’ll be looking at the nadis, the energy pathways. We’re beginning with a very gentle class. Let’s be aware, as we lie to relax, of the movement of air through the nostrils.
After our stretches, we’ll work with some gentle leg movements. Then on to the most gentle of twists. Now, let’s explore the bridge movement, combining it with the breath. Remain aware of the energy moving through the vital body.
Coming gently to standing, we’ll meet the integral yoga breathing exercises. The last one features a balance.
Still focusing on the energies, let’s try the swaying palm.
Then,like a rag-doll, we’ll hang from the waist. Always gentle, we’ll take ourselves through some forward bends and meet this term’s challenge pose. Then proceed into Salute to the Moon. This sequence is a wonderful study of the energy pathways.
Alternate nostril breathing will take us into meditation, and we’ll finish with a deep relaxation which concentrates on the breath.
OM Shanti Shanti Shanti

Jnana Yoga

Jnana Yoga is the yoga of knowledge. Krishnamurti was a Jnana yogi. this week, let’s question our practice. Why do we do this? Why do we do this in this way?

We’ll begin with a reading from Krishnamurti, then go into our warm-ups. Nose-to-knee will be our first posture. It’s our challenge for this half-term. We’ll continue into yogic sit-ups, then Kapalabhati. Moving on to cat pose. We’ll work with bringing the knee to the nose here too.

Let’s stand and reacquaint ourselves with Mula Bandha and Uddiyana Bandha. Then we’ll work with Agni Sara – a great movement to assist the digestive process and to tone the abdomen. After a rest in mountain, we’ll try standing twists and a balance posture.

Salutation to the moon is a beautiful moving meditation. Let’s see if it helps us to clear the everyday chatter from the mind. Then we can seek real knowledge by listening with attention.

The squat will take us back to the mat where we’ll rest in cosmic egg. After the shoulder rotations, where we’re seeking ‘space’ by incorporating different movements, we’ll meditate on the words of Mahatma Gandhi, ‘You must be the change you wish to see in the world’.

Relaxation will employ the mind to move around the body and to bring rest to each part.

OM Shanti Shanti Shanti

More on hatha yoga

‘Patanjali gave us the blueprint for ways to unite the body, mind and spirit. One of the most common ways, he tells us, is through asanas or postures This is the yoga called HATHA, which involves using the body to change the internal state of mind and consciousness.’

This week we’ll begin with bridges. Then move on to the nose to knee postures. Lying twists follow, and up to sitting through the boat. Smile!!

Let’s work with butterfly knees, the tortoise and our favourite balance, merudandasana. We’ll visit with the half-camel and full-camel before standing for the mountain pose, the sun breath and salute to the moon.

The meditation is sama vritti pranayama with a twist. We’ll focus on the sun with the in-breath, the moon with the out-breath, and stillness for the hold of breath.

Relaxation invites each of the 22 main body parts to ‘let go’.

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 throat chakra class for my weekly students

This week, 8/2/16, we are focussing on the throat chakra, VISHUDHA. We’ll begin with three resounding OMs.

Shoulderstand, SARVANGASANA, plough, HALASANA, and fish, MATSYASANA follow.

Moving through boat, NAVASANA, we sit for butterfly knees and half-lotus, ARDHA-PADMASANA.

We’ll stand for 9 rounds of Salute to the moon, CHANDRA NAMASKAR, chanting the seed sounds in between each round.

Returning to the mat through the squat, UTKATASANA, we will work with BRAHMARI, the bee-breath, and then JALANDHARA BANDHA, the throat lock.

Meditation will be chanting the GAYATRI MANTRA and in the long relaxation we will silently repeat SO on the in-breath and HAM on the out-breath.

OM SHANTI SHANTI SHANTI