In times of stress and struggle, triumph and joy, transition and change and basically in any moment of our lives Savasana can be key to gathering ourselves together and coming home. Savasana can create the time and space for us to let go, move on and surrender to whatever is happening in the wonderful world around us . In fact in times of stress, if everyone in your workplace would just stop and lie on the floor in silence for 5 minutes, we are sure that the world would be a better place! We would say, when in doubt, 'Stop, Drop and Savasana!'
Benefits of Savasana (Corpse Pose)
Despite its grim name, Savasana can be one of the most uplifting and feel good postures there is. Yes it is an actual Asana (Yoga posture) rather than just lying on the floor! Here are some benefits;
Stress Relief- The body holds stress in the form of muscle contraction. As you lie on the floor and relax, the body can begin to let go of this tension. No need to hold yourself, or hold anything at all, let the floor hold you. This can leave the body and mind feeling safe, calm and free.
Decompress the spine - Gravity is pushing down and compressing our spine everyday. Sitting at a desk for long hours and carrying heavy bags (especially on one shoulder) can really take its tole. The poor body needs to be decompressed. When you lie down, gravity will be pressing down on the whole body in your favour (spreading you out, rather than squashing you down from the top of your head), making space in the spine and your joints.
Self Acceptance - After working so hard in your Yoga class, or your day at work, savasana is a moment where you can just be. No need to do more or do anything at all. Just be in your body, in this moment and breathe.
*Keep the back on the neck long, lightly tuck the chin towards the chest.If this is too difficult you may need a block or pillow behind your head.
*If you have a bad lower back, you maybe more comfy with the knees up, or an extra mat under the knees. See the picture above.
*When coming out of the posture roll to the side first and use your hands to help you up. See below.
So why not add a little savasana into your daily life? Its so simple, easy and so worth it. When you have 3-5 minutes to spare, simply stop, drop and Savasana. It can leave you refreshed, rejuvenated and ready for anything!
Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.
Plank, also known as a high Chaturanga is one of the simplest and best core and whole body strengtheners and we love it! Here is why;
Alignment is very important to do pose safely and effectively. As in all dynamic Yoga postures direction is key. Checkout Aya in the picture below.We are lifting away from the floor are thinking about a horizontal direction. These directions can transform your plank from feeling like heavy lump to feeling long, strong and light.
Once everything is in place you will feel the burn in all the right places!
Checkout the George Hood setting the Guinness World Record of holding a plank for 1 hour, 20 minutes and 7 seconds. Amazing! Anyone up for beating this? (not me!)
Aparigraha is one of the Yamas (morals of Yoga) from Patanjali's Yoga Sutras. It can be transalated as,“non-hoarding”, “non-possessiveness” and “non-attachment” This Yama can be related to so many situations in its meaning. Anything from hoarding to many shoes, clothes and lovely things to being over possessive in our relationships, or too attached to our status or jobs. The one phrase I would say best describes Aparigraha is to 'let go'. We can remind ourselves to practice Aparigraha in our physical Yoga class by letting go. Whenever we remember to stop clenching our jaw when balancing, or holding on for dear life by crunching up those toes, and stop holding our breath, we are practicing Aparigraha.
When we learn to phyically let go of what is not needed in our yoga practice, we can stop trying too hard. We can get out of our own way and just let it happen with ease and enjoyment. This concept can be seen in our daily lives too. Have you ever struggled with the following? We certainly have at times!
There's an important difference between giving up and letting go.
We you like to share this lovely poem about perseverance. Whatever your goals, dreams or ambitions, keep going, stay encouraged and stay happy. With consistent, inspired action and a little perseverance when needed, you are there!
When things go wrong as they sometimes will;
When the road you're trudging seems all uphill;
When the funds are low, and the debts are high
And you want to smile, but have to sigh;
When care is pressing you down a bit-
Rest if you must, but do not quit.
Success is failure turned inside out;
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt;
And you can never tell how close you are
It may be near when it seems so far;
So stick to it when you're hardest hit-
It's when things go wrong that you must not quit
Yoga can be wonderful for pregnant women and can empower and assist you and your child through pregnancy and birth. There are many wonderful health benefits to a regular Yoga class. If you are going to Yoga during your pregnancy checkout our handy list of Do’s and Don’ts to help you gain confidence, assurance and understanding in your Yoga practice.
As we strive to keep up with our Yoga practice, what can we do to ensure our intentions and efforts will last a lifetime? We would like to share with you something that we think is key to keeping up, enjoying and fully benefiting from a regular Yoga practice.
The word Yoga means union, union of the body, mind and soul. The physical practice of Yoga as we know it, is actually just a small part of many elements that make the bigger picture of 'Yoga' There are many moral underpinnings of Yoga, one of which is Ahimsa- अहिंसा; Non harming and the practice of kindness to yourself and others.
Have you ever found yourself doing the following in a Yoga class, or even in your day to day life?
'Ahimsa is the highest ideal. It is meant for the brave, never for the cowardly'
Hi there Yogis! For this weeks topic we have chosen to answer a recent question from one of lovely students, 'Whats is the meaning of OM?
Om is actually a sound rather than a word. The sound was first felt by Rishis during Vedic times whilst meditating and was then taken on as a Sanskrit word. The whole Sankrit language is based on sound vibrations and Om is said to hold the universe within it vibration. Om in fact is more accurately represented as AUM and divided in 4 sounds.
A (aaaahh) - This sound connects us to the beginning of all things, the creation of the universe and our deep rooted connection to the earth. When we make the sound aaaaahh, we can feel how it comes from deep in our lower abdomen.
U (oooohh) - This sound connects us to the energy of the universe. A sense of something that is greater than what we see and feel with our senses. When we make the sound oooooh we can feel it in our solar plexus.
M (mmmm) - This sound connects us to the oneness of all things. A completion and wholeness.The mmmm sound completes the journey of the sound vibration at the top of head.
Silence - The final sound is actually the silence at the end. The silence representing the feeling of knowing, existing and being here now.
The meaning of Om and its benefits, is a huge subject with many different theories and traditions attached. So what you have here is a very short explanation. However, it is said that the only way to truly understand the meaning of Om, is to feel its meaning whist chanting! ;)
With being busy in mind, we have chosen Balasana - Childs Pose as our top tip for this week, a great pose to wind down and stay calm.
Benefits of Balasana (Childs Pose)
Child's Pose is in our opinion one of the best restorative and resting postures. It is great for resting during your practice but also wonderful for calming the body and mind simply done alone throughout the day.
Calms the Body and Mind
Childs pose, is a forward bending posture. Forward bends centre, sooth and calm the brain. There are many therapeutic benefits of child's pose including stress relief.
A Gentle Stretch
It gently stretches the hips, thighs, and ankles. Also it will relax the muscles on the front of the body while softly and passively stretching the muscles of the back torso.
A fantastic posture to bring the awareness back to the breath. Feel the breath in the belly against the thighs and feel the breath across the back. Awareness of the breath will calm the body and mind.
*If you feel uncomforatble pinching in the hip flexors, open the knees to the side, keeping your big toes together.
*Let go and surrender. This is a restorative pose and can be a passive one. Let go of your shoulders, your arms, your face. Let go and breathe.
*If you have bad knees be careful with this one. You may find putting a blanket or an extra folded mat between the calfs and thighs will help.
*Breathe into your belly, feel the rise and fall action as the abdomen rests on the thighs. Feel the breath across the back and enjoy!
So why not add Balasana into your daily life? 3 minutes of this pose before going to sleep will ensure the body and mind have slowed down and let go, preparing you for a wonderful night of zzzzzzzzzz
Winter is well on its way and I'm sure like us, you will start to feel the urge to go into a weary and dreary hibernation mode. As it suggests in Patajali Yoga Sutras, when faced with not so positive states of the mind and body, it is best to do the opposite! When our shoulders are up by our ears with cold, chests and hearts closing, and the body is feeling heavy with the cold dampness of the rain........ the best energising, heating, heart opening, sun shining pose is a backbend!
Top Benefits of backbend
Backbends open the shoulders and chest, a regular practice can greatly improve your posture. If you work at a computer all day, you are more than lightly to be rounding your shoulders and curving forwards, a back bend will help counteract the harmful effects of this.
-Improve your breathing
Once our chest starts to open, there is more space created for our lungs, allowing for deeper breathing and thus more oxygen flow through the body.
- Improve your mood
Back bends get your blood pumping and heart racing, it warms and energises the whole body. In Yogic Philosophy our Chakras (energy centres) are located on the front of the spine, when we bend back, all of there energy centres are activated. In particular the Anahata Chakra (where we hold our emotions and give and receive love). This is we why often hear the term opening the heart.
So in these gloomy winter months or if your feeling in need of some feel good energy add some invigorating, energising backbends to your day!