It’s launch day for my latest book! YOGA POSES QUESTIONS is now available from Amazon and I’m delivering the pre-ordered books to my classes today and tomorrow.
This week’s class is continuing the theme of working with the inner energies. We’ll begin with the complete yoga breath, mahat pranayama. Then, after stretches and warm-ups, we’ll work with the classical poses: shoulderstand, plough, fish, nose-to-knee and twist. Coming up through the boat, we’ll meet forward bend, backward bend, twist, before coming on to all fours for the cat and the dog. The dog has been our challenge pose for this half-term.
Meditation is about sitting in the heart and experiencing being embraced by the energy of love. Relaxation is the foot movement from Kaya Kriya.
Our classes recommence on September 15th for a 12 week term. I do hope you enjoy your summer reading! YOGA POSES QUESTIONS explores all the queries you may have had but in novel form. It’s a follow-on to HOME FROM OM, but stands happily alone. Enjoy some healthy reading!
OM Shanti Shanti Shanti
We’ve been studying the three main energy channels and the flow of kundalini. The mantra used by those who practise kundalinin yoga is, ‘OM Namo, Guru Dev Namo’. It can be translated as, ‘I call on the infinite creative consciousness.I call on the divine teacher within and without.’
We’ll begin this week with kapalabhati. This is a kriya and a pranayama technique. It’s known as the ‘skull-shining breath’.
From seated we’ll go into a deep forward bend, and then we’ll work with all the seated twists. Let’s return to the deep forward bend. And now we meet a balance in the form of the cosmic egg.
Our challenge pose at the minute is downward-facing dog. Let’s start in cat and then use the energy to move up into dog. While there we’ll play a little. We’ll bend one knee while stretching the back of the other leg, we’ll shake each leg in turn, we’ll stretch one leg out as long as possible. Resting in the counterpose gives us time for pause, and then we’ll resume a solid dog pose. From there we’ll stand.
Let’s try a deep forward bend in standing position, and follow that with a backward bend and twists.
Coming back to the mat through squat, we’ll move into cool-downs. Our meditation this week is a visualisation. Relaxation will feature the sound of ‘So’ on the in-breath and ‘Ham’ on the out-breath.
OM Shanti Shanti Shanti
As we continue our journey through the classical paths of yoga, this week we’ll be looking at Raja Yoga. Raja means royal or king, and this is the yoga of meditation. Our previous subject, Hatha Yoga, has led us here through self-awareness and a growing knowledge of our inner being.
Let’s begin by looking at the world from a different angle. We’ll practise shoulderstand, plough, fish and the bridges. After a gentle twist movement, we’ll work with supine side-stretches. Coming up through the boat, we’ll move on to the camel. Those with knee problems will be given an alternative.
All standing for the mountain pose! This is the posture that we’re repeating each week this half-term. We’ll continue into the mountain sequence, with the arms shoulder width apart
Now let’s attempt the tree balance. Can we open the arms wide like branches?
Back to the mat through the squat and, after the cool-downs, we’ll meditate on SO-HAM. We ‘think’ the sound ‘So’ on the in-breath, and the sound ‘Ham’ on the out-breath. These two sounds mean ‘I am that I am’. Raja yoga leads us to a deep understanding of ourselves.
Oh, do let’s have some sunshine for our relaxation! We’ll work with Surya Kriya and recharge our batteries.
OM Shanti Shanti Shanti
Do hope that everyone has had an excellent half-term break!
We’re continuing to look at the many levels which are contained within our being. In yoga, we call these sheaths or koshas.
This week we’re going to focus on Vijnanamaya Kosha, the intellect or intuitive sheath. There is a magic to yoga practice and much of this magic comes from freeing the intuition. To this end, we’ll work with Pawanmuktasana 1, the anti-rheumatic group of exercises, and Pawanmuktasana 2, the anti-gastric group of exercises. The first works systematically through the body from the toes to the neck. It releases stiffness, discomfort and toxins as it goes. The second one works methodically through the digestive system, massaging the digestive organs, freeing up blockages and ensuring that elimination is thorough. We’ll then sit for some of the Pawanmuktasana 3 movements. These release energy blockages, and while the first two are working with the Annamaya Kosha (the physical sheath), this one works with Pranayama Kosha, (the energy sheath).
Meditation will be working with mudra and mantra. We’ll sound SA as we touch the index finger with the thumb, TA as we touch the middle finger, NA as we touch the ring finger and MA as we touch the little finger. This we do out loud for two minutes, in a whisper for two minutes, silently for four minutes, then whispered for two minutes and out loud, to finish, for two minutes. This takes twelve minutes in total and keeps the everyday mind fully engaged.
Relaxation will give us an opportunity to connect with the brow chakra and our intuition, which has been freed by the yoga practice.
OM Shanti Shanti Shanti
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.
‘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.
This week we will be all about breathing in the new and breathing out the old! We’ll begin with 3 resounding OMs.
Then attention on the breath for relaxation and a reading from ‘Peace of Mind’ by Thich Naht Hanh.
After the stretches and warm-ups, we will work with CAT stretch and breath. Followed by the sequence SWAN – CAT – DOG.
We’ll use the DOWNWARD DOG to take us to standing where we will perform some mindful breathing exercises.
Then we’ll work with a standing forward bend – PADAHASTASANA – a supported back bend, and several standing TWISTS.
Returning to the mat through the squat – UTKATASANA – then working with butterfly knees, rocking buddha and the challenge pose for this half-term, ARDHA PADMASANA.
After the cool-downs, shoulder rotations and neck moves, we will sit for the GAYATRI MANTRA. This is the mantra of all mantras – very powerful. It clears the nadis and takes us all to a positive place for the New Year.
Relaxation will take us back to breathing in the new and breathing out the old.
I’m so looking forward to our first class of 2016!
Mahatma Gandhi said, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world”.
Never was this a more important message. Yoga teaches us to take responsibility for our own actions and for our own relationships. If we want to see peace established in the world, then we need to establish it in our everyday lives. If we want to see more sensible and reasonable dialogue in world affairs and politics, then we must introduce it into our own lives. Every interaction with others can be kind, thoughtful and peaceful.
The new year always feels like a clean start. It is an opportunity to make resolutions and to make changes. Lets light a candle in our own corner of Mother Earth. If there is enough of us engaged with this idea, we can surely change the world!