Author Archives: humbleyogini

About humbleyogini

I am not an expert – just a humble yogini with so much still to learn. This thing called ‘Yoga’ has unexpectedly crept into my psyche. I want to write about this yoga journey I have embarked upon and see where it takes me. If you are reading this maybe some of this will chime with you. You can also find me on Twitter @HumbleYogini75. Namaste.

Flow & Restore in SW8

Flow & Restore in SW8

Wind-down with a mix of Flow, Yin & Restorative Yoga at Embody Wellness, Vauxhall – Sundays 6.15-7.30pm.

Join me on Sunday evenings at Embody.

Flow & Restore on Sundays 6.15-7.30pm at Embody Wellness, Vauxhall

Flow & Restore on Sundays 6.15-7.30pm at Embody Wellness, Vauxhall

In the first half of this class I guide you through a series of flowing postures to help develop strength and flexibility.

The pace then slows for the second half of the class where the focus is on floor-based restorative and yin poses, allowing your body to release both physical and mental tension.

You will leave feeling rested, uplifted and ready for the week ahead.

See you on the mat! :)

Get Your Om Back

Get Your Om Back

#getyouromback 31 Day Yoga Challenge from Sweaty Betty.

Here I'm showing some Cat / Cow Pose variations

Here I’m showing some Cat / Cow Pose variations for #getyouromback

Sweaty Betty’s 31 Day Instagram Challenge involves practising one pose each day (a different post for each day of July). I think this is a great way to start building a home yoga practice!

My philosophy behind U Can Yoga from day one has been and remains that you can find your own expression of yoga, that yoga is for anyone who wants to give it a try and experience its many benefits.

I am taking part and will be posting some pose variations and instructions on Instagram with the intention of sharing a few ideas to make these poses a bit more accessible along the way – e.g. some standing and seated versions for those of us who find getting onto the floor a challenge.

Find out how to get involved by visiting the Get Your Om Back page at Sweaty Betty’s website here. And find me on Instagram @ucanyoga1.

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!

Instant Relaxation

Instant Relaxation

Legs on a Chair Pose

“Legs on a Chair?? Really?” you may ask.

It does not look like much but this pose is so relaxing and so simple that almost anyone can do it. I often take Savasana like this at home. I find it incredibly helpful for easing lower back discomfort and it’s wonderful if you’ve been on your feet all day or travelling. It’s also an ideal pose if you need a mini-break in the office.

In this short video, filmed at evolve, I show you how to set yourself up in this pose. If you would like to do this pose with some additional props, then an eye pillow over the eyes or on the forehead and placing some weight on your abdominal area (e.g. a folded blanket, or a sandbag, if you have access to one, resting across your lower ribs and stomach) can be incredibly calming too.

You can watch the video here.

I hope you enjoy practising this pose whenever you need to take some time out!

(Thanks to Urban Lucy for the comfy Beyond Yoga outfit I’m wearing in this video.)

How to Be a Yoga Rockstar

How to Be a Yoga Rockstar

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:

Yogarockstars coverHow To Be A Yoga Rockstar – The Ultimate Guide to Making A Living Teaching Yoga by Martin D. Clark

Why I like this book:

I wish this book had been around when I was starting out!

Fun, practical, useful and essential reading whether you’re already teaching yoga, thinking about teacher training or aspiring to pursue a career in holistic health and wellbeing (therapists, Pilates, meditation, coaching, beauty, nutrition).

How to Be a Yoga Rockstar has been written by Martin D. Clark the founding editor of OM Yoga & Lifestyle Magazine*, from a passion to see more people succeed and build their dream career successfully.

With lots of case-studies from teachers all over the world at varying stages of their teaching journeys inside this book you’ll find real-life insights on what to expect as you follow your teaching path, how to identify your inner strengths and know how to best use them, tips on how to market yourself and your business without breaking the bank, how to know if you’re genuinely ready to lead a retreat, how to take the fear out of getting started on social media and much, much more.

I’m very humbled to be included among the teachers featured in the book, plus many well-known teachers tell how they ‘made it happen’ including Ana Forest, Maya Fiennes, Kathryn Budig, Faith Hunter, Tara Stiles and more.

*NB – Since 2012 I’ve been writing OM Yoga & Lifestyle Magazine’s monthly ‘Carry on Teacher’ and ‘Teacher’s Tales’ columns respectively. To read a few of my past columns for free, plus a preview of the current issue of OM, please click here.

Why Reclined Pigeon Rocks

Why Reclined Pigeon Rocks

Reclined Pigeon pose – also known as Eye of the Needle – is a fantastic post-run and cycling stretch and also a great Pigeon variation that is kinder on the knees than the more traditional version of Pigeon pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana).

As well as particularly targeting the hips, glutes and lower back this is also very helpful for stretching the IT band (illiotibial band), therefore improving your performance.

I found this pose and Legs Up The Wall especially helpful after running the Brighton Half Marathon in February this year. I had no soreness the next day. (NB – Click here for a Legs Up The Wall video where I show you how to get into the pose).

That said, even if you don’t run or cycle this pose can be of help if you spend a lot of time sitting – I imagine that includes most of us! :)

Reclined Pigeon can also be good for easing sciatic pain. Speaking from my own experience of sciatic pain due to having spondylolisthesis I have found this pose to be incredibly beneficial.

Aim to hold this stretch for at least 5 breaths but ideally longer. Work up to holding this stretch for 3-5 minutes on each side.

In this short video filmed at evolve, I show you how to get into Reclined Pigeon.

(Thanks to Urban Lucy for the comfy Beyond Yoga outfit I’m wearing in this video!)

365 Savasana – 6 months check-in

365 Savasana – 6 months check-in

I'm too tired for Savasana Time flies when you’re taking Savasana. The more you practice, the truer this becomes! At least, this is what my experience has been so far.

Back in September 2014 I embarked on a 365 day Savasana practice. The aim – to practice for Savasana for 20 minutes each day. I did not know what to expect. But I knew I had to do something about taking out some time for myself each day as well as address my difficulty with allowing myself to be still (without that guilty feeling that there was something else I should be getting done instead!).

I find it hard to believe six months have already passed. Some days my twenty minutes has extended into thirty minutes and it feels like no time at all. I notice patterns depending on how I am feeling. For instance, when I have been working long hours or feeling more stressed there is a high chance that I will fall asleep. Falling asleep during Savasana is not ideal, but it does tend to be a sign that I am exhausted. That said, the good thing about this is it gives me a clear signal to look again at my schedule and ask myself if I am filling my diary with anything unnecessary.

Most days, (when I am not falling asleep part-way through) my Savasana is when I meditate. So, my meditation practice has over the past six months shifted from sitting to lying down. Part of me did feel I was some how ‘cheating’ by meditating lying down. However, my mind was changed during my Yin Yoga intensive earlier this year with Norman Blair when Maitripusha Bois who led a meditation session with us talked about lying down meditation. There are also days when I listen to a guided meditation like this one from Tara Brach while in Savasana.

There are days when I have kicked myself for deciding to do this. Ah, 365 days of savasana sounded like such a good idea at the time! However, I am very happy to find (especially on the days where I think I don’t have time) that practising does not take time, it gives time. Always. I never think, “Ah, I shouldn’t have bothered with that Savasana.” As a consequence I feel overall more content and more determined to be less ‘busy’, that does not mean that I want to sit around doing nothing all day, but rather it has made me more aware of looking at how much of my time is spent doing things I want to do versus things I do not want or need to do.

Now I am just past the halfway-mark, I am already looking forward to the next six months.

For more on The 365 Savasana Project or to give it a try for yourself, please click here.

An Introduction to Yin Yoga – Workshop

An Introduction to Yin Yoga – Workshop

Saturday 4th April 3-5pm at Embody Wellness

yinyang Join me for an Introduction to Yin Yoga – a quiet, meditative, floor-based practice where poses are held for several minutes. With Yin Yoga, it’s all about softening and staying.

In this workshop you will experience some of the fundamental Yin postures and gain an understanding of some of the basic concepts and benefits of Yin Yoga including the characteristics of Yin and Yang nature and the value of a passive practice.

An ideal complement to more dynamic practices which emphasise the muscular “yang” tissues, Yin Yoga allows us to target the deeper “yin” tissues of our bodies. While Yin Yoga might appear easy, yin practice can be quite challenging due to the duration of the poses which are held anywhere from one to ten minutes. Holding the poses for an extended period stimulates the body’s energy pathways (meridians), and gently stretches our deep connective tissue, particularly in the hips, pelvis, and spine.

Benefits of this practice include the promotion of deep relaxation and improvement of flexibility and mobility. In addition, Yin Yoga encourages the cultivation of a calm state of mind.

Suitable for all levels except complete yoga beginners. Please click here to book.

Spring Beginners Yoga Course at Embody Wellness starts in March

Spring Beginners Yoga Course at Embody Wellness starts in March

Sundays from 22nd March-26th April 2015 2.30-3.45pm

Beginners Yoga Courses at Embody Wellness - photo Embody’s yoga foundation courses are an excellent way to learn the basic principles of yoga and gain an appreciation of its many benefits. Running on Sunday afternoons for 6 consecutive weeks, this beginners course is a great way to introduce yourself to the practice of Yoga. Over the duration of the course I will be guiding you through the fundamental yoga postures with an emphasis on correct alignment and proper breathing techniques.

For full details and to book, please click here to visit the Embody Wellness website.