yuletide yoga

I have set homework for my students this Christmas – to set up (or maintain) a regular practice.  Regular practice of yoga helps to protect your body and calm your  mind – but it needs to be regular.

Practicing regularly can be difficult.  We are all busy, especially at this time of year. However, it is the regularity of your practice that makes it most effective.  I think it is better to practice for just 15 minutes every day than to practice for 2 hours once a week.  Obviously, 2 hours every day would be even better but we have to be realistic when we start out.  Start small, keep it simple and your practice will grow steadily.

In the past (maybe even quite recently) I have talked myself out of practicing because I haven’t got time to do inversions or I can’t be bothered to move furniture to make space or I am too tired to do standing poses or I can’t find my blocks…. I can be quite creative when procrastinating! If instead, I just get on with it – do a downward dog in the kitchen, whatever, I remember why I do it and what I want to do next.  You only need a level area of ground to do yoga and you only need to do a few simple poses to feel the benefit of it.

If you need some ideas of what to do, I am suggesting the following;

Supta Padangustasana – lying on your back, legs extending, thigh bones towards the back thighs.  Extend you right leg up towards the ceiling with a belt around the foot.  Keep the kneecaps lifting (back knees open) and the right side waist long.  Lengthen the leg bones and allow the muscles to release as you exhale. Repeat on the other side.  You can do this a few times each side.

Adho Mukha Svanasana (face down dog pose) with your hands into the wall. Turn the fingers out, so you have your thumbs and index fingers against the wall.

Virasana (sitting hero pose) using as much height as you need to sit on so that your knees are comfortable.

Of course, you can add in any standing poses you like and end with a shoulder stand, a forward bend or a resting pose before savasana.

This is not a sequence as such, just poses we have been working on in the classes this term.  The instructions are not comprehensive – they are intended as reminders for my students.  If you are new to yoga it is best to learn the poses in a class where a qualified teacher can correct you and keep you safe. And if you can’t remember the names you could ask Santa for a yoga book!

Once you start to practice every day, however little, you will notice if you miss it.  You will find time to practice for longer and you will really notice the benefit. Make it your New Year resolution!

New class for spring!

I am starting a second class, on Tuesdays, at the same venue (Edinburgh Studios on Arthur st.).  If you book for a block of classes, you can use either class to make up any you miss within the block.  Or you can come twice a week.  I am hoping this will help some of you who find it hard to come along every week because of other commitments.  I will try it for a term and see if I can get enough people to come along, so please tell your friends!

This week’s class (Thursday 21st) is the last one of this term.  There will be a 2 week break for Easter and classes will start back on Tuesday 9th April.  Please note, there will be no Tuesday class on June 4th, so the Tuesday class will be 11 weeks and cost £77.

New Year Yoga

Namaste and Happy New Year!

It’s a great time of year to start (or return to) a yoga class.   Regular practice of yoga leaves you feeling both calm and energised.  It can help you sleep better and feel better about yourself and it can help with lots of minor health problems – it helps strengthen your digestive system, relieve back pain and tone your circulatory, respiratory and central nervous systems as well as your muscles.

If yoga is on your to do list for 2013 then I offer a few tips from my own experience to help you make the commitment to a class and keep going.  (This is very basic advise, from the Pippa Middleton school of guides, but I am assuming those of you who have been to yoga before will have your own inspiration to get back to it);

1. Choose a class you can realistically get to.  Near your home or near work, at a time you can manage.  If you go straight from work, there is less chance you will collapse on the sofa and stay there.  If you need to wait at home with small people til someone else comes home, set a reminder on their phone so they get home on time and have your stuff ready by the door for a quick exit!

2. Choose a class you like.  Find a teacher you get on with.

3. Pay for a block of classes if you can.  It helps to see the class as a regular commitment, part of your weekly routine.  Write it in your diary so you don’t make other arrangements for that night.

4. Focus on how you will feel after the class.  I have never been to a class and thought “I wish I’d stayed at home instead” afterwards.  But then I love yoga.  At the very least, a yoga class should make you feel better than you did at the start.

5. If you are wavering about going to a class, take a moment to sit and decide how you really feel.  Are you a bit ill, really tired, a bit tired, mentally tired or physically?  Yoga can help with all of these things but sometimes a class isn’t the right place to be.  If you are really unwell, obviously you need to rest at home.  If you are tired, tell your teacher and she will be able to give you alternative poses to the more energetic ones.

That’s all it takes.  Remember that yoga isn’t a quick fix for anything.  You need to practice regularly to get the benefits and a regular weekly class is a good place to start.  But if your life doesn’t fit round that sort of commitment at the moment, any yoga you do will help.  Any time you practice, at home or in a class, adds to the resources that sustain you, in body and mind.

back again (finally)

Welcome to my new website.  I am constructing this bit by bit so I apologize for any wonkiness as I try to figure out what I am doing.  At the moment, my priority is to announce my return to teaching evening classes with one (easy now) class on Thursdays at Edinburgh Studios.

If you would like to try out yoga for the first time, if you are returning after a break from classes or if you are looking for a new class to try, I’d be delighted to see you in my evening class.  I will be covering the syllabus from the beginning, so now is a really good time to join, but I will also try to allow more practiced students to progress a little further in each class.

One of the reasons I love teaching yoga is that yoga can be done by anyone.  You do not need a particular body type or level of fitness to benefit from yoga and it really does seem to make everyone feel better.  However, it is also a vast subject and however long you have been studying it (26 years in my case) you never stop learning new things.  I find yoga to be hugely beneficial to me and if you come along to my class, I will do my best to share some of those benefits with you.

Please come along to my class if you would like to begin your own yoga journey.