I didn’t want to be a yoga teacher. I just wanted to learn more about the thing I loved. Yoga had made a big difference to my life at a time when everything seemed to be falling apart. I was depressed, anxious and facing many challenges that seemed insurmountable. As my yoga practice developed, my fractured, confusing existence began to evolve into a rich and full life that was filled with hope and opportunities. Once things were back on the rails, I wanted to learn how and why yoga had made such profound changes to my body, mind and relationships. After signing up for a few short workshops, I realised that teacher training would be the best way of getting a thorough and deep understanding of yoga.Read More
Does your regular yoga class include pranayama? Pranayama, yoga breathing techniques, can have a more profound impact on your health and wellbeing than any number of yoga poses. Depending on the technique you choose, pranayama can:
- Soothe anxiety
- Improve sleep
- Boost energy
- Bring balance
- Create instant calm
- Reduce headaches/migraines
- Release muscle tension/pain
- Promote healing from chronic disease by reducing inflammation in the body
So how does it work? And why isn’t everybody doing it?Read More
These are difficult days. The cultural, political and environmental landscapes are shifting radically and many of us struggle to stay positive. This is when we need yoga most. Yoga can be a powerful force for positive transformation, but before we can go out there and change the world, we need to manage the world within.
The first step is to stay grounded. It’s challenging to stay steady and grounded when everything around you seems to be whirling at a million miles an hour, but yoga can help.Read More
When I was 21 I had a nervous breakdown. Well, that’s what the doctor said. A toxic combination of untreated depression, exam worries and self-medication with a variety of substances tipped me into a year of hell.
Nobody knew what to do with me. The doctors prescribed drugs, my mother ran out of ideas (for the first time in her life) and most of my friends drifted away when they realized things weren’t going back to normal any time soon.Read More
At first, I thought it was the weather – a wet week often sees student numbers drop at the yoga studio. Then the sun came out, but the students didn’t return.
In my heart of hearts, I knew why my students had gone. I was a rotten teacher. I hadn’t started off that way. My passion for sharing the healing magic of yoga had seen my classes numbers build, with many students coming back term after term.
But things had changed and I knew I wasn’t giving my students what they needed. I couldn’t. I had nothing left to give.
Stretching can feel great when your back muscles are tight. But deep forward bends are not the way to tackle chronic back pain. In fact, it can make things worse.
An increasing number of yoga teachers are recommending long, deep forward bends for lower back pain. Ask most new-ish yoga teachers how to help a sore lower back and they’re likely to pick a forward bend to 'release' the back. That’s a problem. Especially if there are bulging intervertebral discs involved. Worse still is the emphasis placed on holding the forward bend and the lack of focus on moving safely out of it. Injuries are much more likely to occur during the transition into and, especially after a deep forward bend, out of a position, rather than while holding the posture itself.
So how can yoga help somebody with lower back pain and bulging discs? There are two key steps:Read More
Are you feeling the heat? I love hanging out at the beach with my kids in summer, but take me away from the cooling sea breeze and I get a bit hot under the collar (translation: grumpy). Maybe it's something to do with being English, but when the temperature soars, I need to cool down quickly!
Yoga offers some great tools to beat the heat, from cooling breathing techniques to diet and lifestyle changes. I've been practicing Sitali this week, a cooling pranayama (breathing technique) that never fails to beat the heat. If you feel irritable, drowsy or hot and bothered in summer, you can use Sitali throughout the day to take the heat out of things and leave you feeling calm, cool and in control. This video will show you how with a simple, step by step guide!Read More
I get cranky when it’s hot. At first, I just feel tired and everything seems too hard. Then something flips my switch and I’m off. Raging. Every day niggles suddenly becomes unbearable provocations and I find myself giving my son a roasting for the terrible crime of spilling pencil shavings on the rug. So what happens to me when the temperature rises? And what can do to keep calm? The answers can be found in Ayurveda, yoga’s sister science (Ayurveda = ‘Science of Life”). Ayurveda tells us about the three doshas or 'constitutions' - Pitta, Vata and Kapha.Read More
I’ve got friends who LOVE Christmas. Lucky them. Christmas has always been a struggle for me. Growing up in the UK, Christmas was a time of conflict and I spent many Christmas Day afternoons in bed with one of my mystery tummy aches – a toxic combination of sugar and anxiety.
Volatile at the best of times, my family wasn't at its best when faced with the large quantities of alcohol, close physical proximity and ridiculously high expectations that seemed to be part and parcel of the festive season. I developed stomach cramps by mid morning, tears by lunchtime and retreated to bed some time in the early afternoon.Read More
What would my body look like if I didn’t do yoga? I know I wouldn’t feel so good. But would I actually look any different? I ask the question because the imagery of modern yoga directly equates yoga practice with physical attractiveness. While anybody who’s done more than a couple of classes will tell you it’s all about what’s happening on the inside, the external representation of yoga increasingly mirrors the wider cultural obsession with perfecting and then displaying the body.
Yoga is rapidly evolving into a performance art in which the physical form trumps the internal experience. The yoga body has become an object of display and the practice of yoga is no longer a vehicle for exploring our internal, embodied experiences. Instead, it has become yet another arena for creating and broadcasting our idealized selves.Read More