Never has there been a more pertinent time to re-asses our priorities. After an intense chat with a friend recently, I came away asking the question – how much do we value our health, both mentally and physically and what can I do, as a Yoga teacher and massage therapist, to help?
Yoga is a form of moving meditation. Beginning over six thousand years ago, it has evolved into the practice it is today, over time proving its worth and longevity. The word Yoga means ‘to yoke or to unite’. When you practice Yoga poses in a fluid sequence, not only do you stretch your body releasing tension and creating space, but you focus your mind, uniting mind and body together through the movements, deep mindful breathing and gaze points called Drishtis. Practiced on a regular basis, Yoga can be life changing. Your worries begin to fall away, you feel contented, lighter, happier. You feel mentally and physically stronger and all those confused, repeated thoughts that swirl through your mind start to dissipate as new neurological pathways become clear. Like anything, dedication, devotion and commitment are key, however once you begin to feel the positive effects of your Yoga practice you won’t look back. If now is the time for you to stop, take control of your life and change direction, Yoga can definitely help.
Dandayamana Bharmanasana | Sunbird Pose
This beginners pose stretches, strengthens, helps with balance and focuses the mind. Come onto all fours, stacking shoulders in line with your wrists and hips in line with your knees, knees about hip width apart. Engage your core, inhale, lift your right arm and left leg off your mat and extend. Keep looking down to your mat to protect your neck, hold and then exhale, coming back onto all fours. Inhale, keeping your core engaged, lift your left arm and right leg, hold, and then come back to all fours. Repeat the sequence a few times, be mindful of your wrists, and then start adding a flow to the pose by drawing your right elbow to left knee and then your left elbow to your right knee when you are working with your other side. This flow strengthens the muscles, bringing a constant body breath awareness releasing any tension and stress. Remember to breathe!
Ubhaya Padangusthasana | Double Toe Pose
I teach this intermediate pose when the body is warm and the mind is more focused. With practice this will bring a deep connection of the mind and body. Sit on the floor, on your sitting bones, with the soles of your feet together (Baddha Konasana). Engage your core, breathing deeply and mindfully. Take hold of your big toes with your index fingers and middle fingers, engage your core and lift your feet off your mat, gazing forward. Find your balance, notice how this feels and bring your feet back onto your mat. Try this again except this time as you gaze forward start to extend your legs out, finding your balance as you do. Ensure there is nothing behind you and pop some cushions behind you if you are new to this pose. If you find it challenging to grab your toes, use a strap, a scarf or even a dog lead! Anything which will help you extend your legs. Remain with your eyes open and breathing deeply for five breaths before coming into child’s pose to relax.
KINSHIP STUDIO YOGA | www.kinship.studio