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

OM SHANTI SHANTI SHANTI

‘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.

mumyoga

‘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.

Practice for my weekly students. 1/2/2016

This week we are focussing on the heart chakra, ANAHATA.

We begin with a mindfulness reading, then move to mindful breathing. This will open the heart. We will add ujjayi, the victorious breath.

PARSVOTTONASANA is a movement which opens the heart, too. It’s a standing forward bend and backward bend with the hands joined behind the back.

PADAHASTASANA takes us into a deep forward bend, and the second time it will be performed with the shoulders rotated.

Lets follow this with a supported backward bend, and standing twist.

We’ll work on the abdominal lock again. Uddiyan means to ‘fly upwards’. The prana will fly upwards to the heart.

Passing through squat, we will move on to half-came and full camel. (USTRASANA.)

We won’t forget the challenge pose for this half-term! ARDHA-PADMASANA.

Meditation will be silent repetition of the heart seed sound, YAM.

Relaxation will be about settling in the heart. (Left hand on the heart, right hand on the lower abdomen.)

OM SHANTI SHANTI SHANTI

Smiling is infectious

How powerful is the simple smile! It brings about connection. I learnt, as a child, that when you approach someone with your heart open you break down barriers. We’ve been doing a series of heart meditations at the end of this term. Sitting in your heart, and smiling from your heart, can change your world, and the world of everyone around you. In the beginning, it takes a conscious effort, and then it becomes the norm. Even my dog knows that, when I smile at him, all is well in his world.

Perhaps having an open heart and smiling is a signal to Spirit World that we are ready to serve. There are forces at play which guide us. growing and developing allows us to meet our destinies with commitment and enthusiasm.

When we take a photograph, catching a moment in time, we say, “Smile!” And every time someone looks at that photograph they smile too! Smiling is infectious…

Brahman is the friend and the refuge

Brahman is the friend and the refuge of all…

The Self is hidden in the heart of all creatures..

If the truth of these scriptures are meditated upon by a man in the highest degree devoted to God, and to his Guru as to his God, they will shine forth. They will shine forth indeed!

OM…Peace-peace-peace

Svetasvarara Upanishad.

.That brings us to the end of our study of the upanishads. When you train as a yoga teacher, you immerse yourself in three great works, ‘The Bhagavad Gita’, ‘Patanjali’s Sutras’, and ‘The Upanishads’. The ancient teachings guide our steps.

His eyes are everywhere

Brahman dwells within man, and within all other beings. He projects the universe, maintains it, and withdraws it into himself.

His eyes are everywhere: his face, his arms, his feet are in every place. Out of himself he has produced the heavens and the earth, and with his arms and his wings he holds them together…

This great being has a thousand heads, a thousand eyes, and a thousand feet. He envelops the universe. Though transcendent, he is to be meditated upon as resident in the lotus of the heart, at the centre of the body, ten fingers above the navel.

Svetasvatara Upanishad

The yogi is pure

As a soiled piece of metal, when it has been cleaned, shines brightly, so the dweller in the body, when he has realised the truth of the Self, loses his sorrow and becomes radiant with bliss.

The yogi experiences directly the truth of Brahman by realising the light of the Self within. He is freed from all impurities – he the pure, the birthless, the bright.