Monthly Archives: June 2015

Yoga Body Image

Yoga Body Image

Each month on my U Can Yoga website I have been featuring yoga related books that I’ve really enjoyed and want to share with you guys reading out there. For anyone who has missed the titles featured so far, I am including some my previous ‘Books of the Month’ here. I hope you enjoy:

YogaBodyImage book coverYoga Body Image: 25 Personal Stories About Beauty, Bravery & Loving Your Body by Melanie Klein and Anna Guest-Jelley

“Our intention is to inspire people who have an interest in developing a practice to begin exploring their options, especially those who thought yoga wasn’t for them. We also want current practitioners to begin or expand inquiry into how yoga and body image intersect in their communities.” – Melanie Klein, Yoga Body Image

For all of us who practise yoga this is an essential read.

Body image is something that many of us struggle with at some point in (or even, much of) our lives regardless of our background, gender, appearance or experience. Yoga has the huge capacity to heal, though with the dominant images presented in modern yoga culture, one could be forgiven for thinking that if they don’t fit these images that yoga may not be for them.

In this inspiring collection of personal stories, twenty-five authors share how yoga has impacted their lives. From Vytas Baskauskas who found a profound connection with yoga after a battle with addiction landed him in jail, to Melody Moore, now a clinical psychologist specialising in recovery from eating disorders, who after several years of practice found that through yoga she was gaining emotional freedom, spiritual clarity and body acceptance. In Melody’s essay I was particularly struck by her admission that, “There were moments of poignancy after about a five-year gestation process of what I now can refer to as striving for perfection in the pose.” And in Dianne Bondy’s ‘Confessions of a Fat, Black Yoga Teacher’, I was reminded of some of my own past experiences including one particular class where I was told by the teacher to sit a pose out because I was “a bit big”.

There is value to be gleaned from every single one of the twenty-five essays in the book. I really could go on and on, but then this would become an essay in itself! :) I am so grateful to Melanie Klein, Anna Guest-Jelley and Everyone who shared their stories. I am grateful for this book.

Yoga Body Image reminds us that yoga truly is for everyone. And this is a book I look forward to returning to again and again.

Simple Self-Care

Simple Self-Care

Simple Self-Care with Supported Reclining Cobblers Pose

Restorative Yoga with Paula

Restorative Poses like this one are a simple, effective way to practise Self-Care. Here I’m demonstrating Supported Reclining Cobblers Pose

This is one of the most relaxing of all Restorative Yoga poses.

Supported Reclining Cobblers Pose is ideal for relieving fatigue, headaches, breathing problems, aiding digestion and much more.

For women this is also a wonderful pose to practise during your time of the month and during menopause.

Using props such as pillows, cushions and blankets provide support and facilitate physiological relaxation. I sometimes set myself up in this pose for my daily Savasana if I am feeling particularly tired.

You can use a yoga bolster if you happen to have access to one, but you really don’t need any special props for this pose – just grab hold of as many blankets, pillows and cushions as you need to ensure you have enough support and feel comfortable. Stack your pillows/cushions/stacked blankets or bolster on your mat or the floor so that they are on a diagonal (your head will rest at the higher end). Here is how to get into the pose:

– Sit with your tailbone at the lower end of your pillows/cushions/blankets or bolster

– Lie back on your support using your arms to ease yourself down. Your head needs to be supported here too so do adjust as necessary (NB – you may wish to place an optional folded blanket or extra cushion under your head).

– Place the soles of your feet together with your knees out to each side. Place extra support under each knee so that your legs are supported. Allow your arms to relax by your sides or on your abdomen.

– Cover your eyes with an eye pillow or light scarf or close your eyes to take your focus inwards

– Stay in this pose for ideally 10 minutes, but longer if you like. (I can often stay here for 20 minutes.)

Enjoy practising this pose whenever you need it!