Tag Archives: Yin Yoga

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.

NEW Studio, New Classes – Victor’s Lab opens in Peckham

NEW Studio, New Classes – Victor’s Lab opens in Peckham

NEW Studio, New Classes - Victor's Lab opens Mon 20th Jan

NEW Studio, New Classes - Victor's Lab opens Mon 20th Jan in Peckham

Victor’s Lab opens on Monday 20th January!.

I’m really looking forward to teaching at this exciting new space and community hub within the Bussey Building in Peckham offering Yoga, Pilates, Capoeira and more with some brilliant teachers.

Join me for the inaugural class at Victor’s Lab at 7am on Monday 20th January. It will be an energising flow to get your week off to a great start!

You can join me there every Monday 7-8am for your Morning Flow and on Wednesday evenings from 6.45-8.00pm for Yin Yoga.

Victor’s Lab is located at:
Bussey Building, Block B, 1st Floor, 133 Copeland Drive, SE15 4ST

Nearest station: Peckham Rye

For more details including the weekly class timetable and prices please visit www.victorslab.co.uk.

Victor's Lab - location details

Victor's Lab - location details

Moving with the Flow, Moving with Awareness

Moving with the Flow, Moving with Awareness
thingsweforget.blogspot.cpm

Find joy in the present - image via thingsweforget.blogspot.com

“ Live with awareness for the sake of ourselves and others.” – Sarah Powers

So far it’s been a yin yang summer.

This summer marks a year of leaving the ‘security’ of my old job and beginning the journey of yoga teaching. I’d known long before that I wanted to take this leap and share my love of yoga, but I held myself back for a number of reasons (i.e. excuses) – my postures not being Cirque du Soleil enough, not looking the way a yoga teacher is ‘supposed’ to, worrying other people might think I’d gone ‘la-la-woo-woo’, and a teeny matter of being terrified of speaking in front of groups… Then along came my mate Redundancy to give me the firm kick in the posterior I needed.

Judith Hanson Lasater, when I trained with her earlier this year, joked that yoga teachers are the most “go-go-go” people she knows, often scheduled to the hilt.

I relate to this. I have always had workaholic tendencies, though I’ve increasingly spent the past months being all go-go-go. Working seven days a week most weeks (not only teaching, admittedly), out of necessity to make ends meet. I believed. But when your mind believes one thing it’s funny how the wisdom of the body tells you very clearly not to believe your thoughts!

A number of physical signs stopped me in my tracks, telling me I had to start doing things differently. (Like actually taking a day off occasionally.) So, I followed my gut instinct and did something that seemed illogical. I gave up a part-time job.

But I have faith that when you let go of one thing you clear the way for something new. And funnily enough… I’ve been having a number of serendipitous experiences.

In June I did a wonderful intensive training with Shiva Rea. The timing, though I did not realise it then, could not have been more perfect. One thing that particularly struck me, within learning about the essentials of teaching vinyasa flow, were the reminders about moving with the flow of life off the mat too.

Then this month I was lucky enough to attend a workshop with Sarah Powers – yin yang yoga and mindfulness meditation. This was certainly not my first experience of a yin practice, though it was my first (and hopefully not last) experience of practicing with Sarah Powers, and the timing seemed pertinent. On the mat we were invited to meet our limitations during our yin practice. To see where we resist and, to recognise the resistance rather than resisting resistance. Sarah talked about ‘implicit resistance’ and how we may manipulate a situation to tell ourselves, “I’m fine”. And she also talked about compassion (karuna) towards our habits of aversion towards the uncomfortable situations in our lives. In turn, this allowed me to think about where I resist off the mat too and how, indeed, I had ignored my own internal signals over the past months. I recognised how little compassion I had been showing myself in that time.

For our mindfulness meditation practice, using the breath (observing it rather than controlling it) as a tool to anchor to the present moment, Sarah talked about developing the observing mind, seeing what happens when we observe resistance, pleasure and so on.

“If you can’t listen to the breath, then you can’t listen to the subtle internal messages.”

It was in paying attention to my internal messages rather than listening to my ‘logical’ thoughts that I realised I had to change what I was doing and how I was doing it.

All of these things were reminders of what I already knew deep down, internally. But how often do we push these kinds of feelings aside in favour of what seems logical?

In talking about her own practice Sarah mentioned how it is amazing to notice when you don’t practice for a few days that everything turns into ‘thoughts’ and assuming that our thoughts are reality. Again I was reminded of Judith’s words during training – “Watch your thoughts but don’t believe them.”

So, in paying more attention to those internal messages and becoming more aware I’ve been finding some more clarity. That is not to say it is always comfortable, but I am practicing showing myself compassion along the way. It is a continual practice – usually compassion for myself has seemed to come last on the list. For how many of us has showing compassion towards ourselves seemed challenging or selfish? But it’s a little bit like the oxygen mask analogy. You know, when airplane cabin crew take you through the safety procedure and the little film tells you to put your oxygen mask on before assisting others with their masks? Self-compassion is not selfish. This applies whether it’s during our asana practice or our day-to-day life. Yes, all this may seem obvious, yet I feel grateful for the good and the ‘bad’ over the past months, which has led me to this point.

Related to this, where I have decided to move with the flow – to let go of worrying about what may or may not happen in the future and focussed on the present, unexpected opportunities have somehow appeared just when I’ve least expected it. And again, at every turn, I am incredibly grateful!

One such opportunity is officially joining the retreat teaching team at Sally Parkes Yoga. I am excited to be hosting a retreat in October at the wonderful Marsh Farm House in Sussex. Why not take a break from your frenetic pace and join me in feeling the joy of moving with the flow. But in the meantime, don’t forget to enjoy the present moment!

For retreat details please visit www.sallyparkesyoga.co.uk.