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A lovely Mudra for the throat chakra

I’m a big fan of mudras. That is yoga with your hands. There are loads of different mudras, hand positions, that you can hold whilst meditating that will heal different areas of the body.

After loosing my voice last month and then recently running a workshop on the throat chakra I discovered this lovely one. It not only heals any problems in the throat but it also provides a real nurturing sense of connection with your higher self.

It’s called the shell mudra, or shankh mudra. IMG_3374

You wrap your right hand fingers around your left thumb and then place your right thumb tip on your left middle finger. So your hands look a bit like a conch shell.

Then hold your hands in front of your sternum. Chant Om a few times and then sit in silence to allow the healing to flow, for about 15 mins.

What I really love about this mudra is the visualisation to go with it:

See your hands as a sea shell and the thumb encircled within as a pearl. Your left thumb is your higher self and you are wrapping your higher self in love. Allow your higher self to receive all it needs; love, support, a sense of security and confidence. Everything you need to be able to stay true to yourself and express yourself fully.

Love it! It feels so lovely holding it.

I found this mudra in a great little book called Mudra’s – Yoga in Your Hands by Gertrud Hirschi.

My next workshop is next weekend, 11th April, 2-5 at Revitalise in Brighton. We’ll be focusing on the Third Eye chakra so it will be very slow, meditative,  a chance to listen to your inner voice and connect with your purpose in life. There’s still a space left so please contact me if you’d like it.

On May 10th I’m running a day workshop at Unity Studios which will be a journey through all of the chakras finishing with a healing gong bath. It’ll be a lovely day of me time, rebalancing your energy and healing. Details are on my workshops page.

Happy Easter!

Lots of love

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Feeling Stuck? Yoga Can Help!

headstandSometimes we can get stuck. Maybe in a downward spiral of negative thoughts. Maybe around making a decision. Perhaps in a situation we are not happy in or we just don’t know a way out.

Our mind can go around and around not coming to any clear conclusion, decision or way out.

This is where yoga, or in fact any body movement, can help!

Our mind, body and breath are all linked. If you change one of them you will change the others. To experiment with this trying standing up, chest open, arms reaching above your head, look up and smile – try to feel sad.

Or sit slumped, shoulders rolled forward, look down to the ground – try to feel happy about life.

My favourite experiment to explore this is to skip down the road. It is impossible to feel down when you skip, it naturally makes you smile, which in turn changes your thoughts.

This is called changing your state. Your state being what you are doing with your body/ mind and breath.

So often people come my yoga class in a heightened energy state after leaving work for the day and at the end leave looking (and saying they feel) completely relaxed. Yoga is a great tool for changing your state.

It does not have to be on the mat though, you can use this tool any time through out the day.

If you catch yourself feeling stressed, anxious, stuck, in any mindset where you can’t seem to find a different perspective try out one or more of the following:

  • Deepening and lengthening your breath, really focusing on filling your tummy and chest with air before exhaling will help to calm the mind and think clearly.
  • Stand up and stretch you arms above your head, look up, smile and then shake your arms down. Shake your legs, Shake your hips. Just give your self a good old shake and see what shift comes from doing so.
  • Skip, run, dance, doing something energetic and fun to shake off that mood or simply to shift the way you are thinking about something.
  • Do a head stand/ shoulder stand/ legs up against the wall/ wild thing or gate pose. All help to see the world in a different way.
  • Child’s pose will help to calm the mind.
  • Lion pose will energize you and make you smile 🙂
  • For 10 minutes be completely mindful to calm the mind and arrive at the present moment. This could be something like walking very slowly taking in everything around you and the feel of your feet connecting with the earth, eating very slowly enjoying each bite, washing up slowly. Or just sitting and feeling your feet connected to the ground, your sitting bone on the chair, noticing your natural breath and how your body is feeling.

Just have a play around with these and you’ll be amazed what can come up! Thoughts, ideas and different perspectives can appear out of no where after changing your state.

You always have the power to change how you are feeling. The body holds our emotions, our tensions, our fears so moving it will help to release and shift the way you see things.

Namaste

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Experience the Benefits of Yoga Outside of a Class

louyogaDo you go to a yoga class, love the feeling of how present and relaxed it makes you feel and then rush off to the rest of your life, leaving that lovely Zen feeling behind?

Do you enjoy yoga because it allows you time to stop, to have time to yourself away from other distractions?

I invite you to notice the separation there is between your yoga practice and your life off the mat. Then look at what you learn in yoga to apply it to every day life.

There does not have to be a big divide, yoga provides you with tools to access how you wish to feel at any given time. Here are a few suggestions of things to experiment with:

1) Leave your yoga class slowly, remain calm and relaxed for as long as possible rather than dashing off to the next thing.

2) Through out your day stop every now and then to notice if you are holding any tension, consciously relax that area. Breathe deeply and on the exhale allow tension to melt away.

3) Notice your breathing; is it deep or shallow, slow or fast, where do you feel it; in your tummy, chest, side of ribs or just in your nostrils. Take a few moments to deepen and lengthen the breath,

4) Be kind to yourself, notice where you are forcing in life and step back a bit, ease off and breathe.

5) Experiment, just as you may play around with a posture to find the right variation for your body do the same in life. Try different things until you find something that feels best for you.

6) Connect with the stillness with in you. When you notice your mind is going 100 miles an hour, stop, connect with the ground, feet the earth beneath your feet, centre yourself and be still. Even if just for a few moments.

7) Let Go. Notice if there is anything you are attached to in life, just as you maybe when wanting posture to be a certain way. Relax, let go and allow yourself to just be in the posture, and in life.

8) Slow things down. If, like me, you have a tendency to do everything quickly a good meditative practice is to slow down. Do the washing up slowly, Walk slowly, Cook slowly, Savour every moment.

These are just a few suggestions. Have a play around with things you learn in class and try them out in life too. The benefits of yoga don’t just have to be in that 60-90 minutes in the yoga studio, yoga is within you and can impact your whole life. That is one of the reasons I love it so much!

Namaste

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6 Ways To Make Yoga Easier!

photo (26)Yoga should never feel hard, it goes against the point of it. Often when discussing yoga with people who have not tried it before they wrongly assume you need to be super bendy and have to be able to balance on your head.

Of course this is something some people are and do, but you don’t have to if it’s not right for you. Some people are more strong than flexible. Some are great at sitting still whilst others fidget like crazy. We are all different. Yoga can be simply sitting crossed legged with your back straight focusing on the deep inhalation and exhalation of your breath. It can even be just lying on the floor allowing yourself to fully relax, we all love Savasana!

If you find yourself struggling in a yoga class, here are 6 ways to make yoga easier;

  1. Do not eat up to 2 hours before you practice. A full tummy just does not feel comfortable when you are forward bending, twisting across it and turning upside down. You will just feel lighter if you hold off eating your dinner beforehand, and of course avoid those uncomfortable moments of wanting to fart in a class…..we’ve all been there!
  2. Avoid Caffeine. Caffeine, and too much sugar, stimulates the mind. The idea of yoga is to calm the mind. The two just do not go together. For example, half of being able to balance on one leg is to slow the mind, when you have a million thoughts whizzing around your head after a coffee you will wobble around all over the place. Caffeine also affects your breath, it becomes quicker and shallow. Yoga poses are not a race, the idea is to come slowly into them and allow yourself to just be still once you are there, this is very hard if you have a stimulant rushing through your veins.
  3. Wear comfortable clothes. Make sure your clothes have stretch in them and wont ride up or bother you through out the class. You don’t want to be distracted about your top exposing you or feeling uncomfortable with a too tight waist band or trousers with no give in them.
  4. Do not compare yourself to others. We are all unique, our bodies are all different and what you will be excel at someone will struggle with and visa versa. When are you are busy looking at what everyone else is doing you are not focusing inwards which is the point of yoga. If you compare yourself to others in yoga, and in life, you will only ever strive to be as good as them, but your own path is so much more special and unique to you.
  5. Surrender, do not force. Yoga teaches you how to “be” in the moment. The phrase no pain no gain is not applicable in yoga at all. The more you try to force a pose the more likely you are to tighten up and potentially injure yourself. Just do what you can and then surrender to the pose, focus on your breath and calm your mind.
  6. Breathe. Yes this is an obvious one and if you have been to any yoga classes you will have noticed the teacher goes on and on about remembering to breathe…. This is yoga! Without moving with the breath, focusing on the breath and deepening the breath you are just doing a stretch class. Your inhale brings you fresh new energy and expands your body, your exhale releases, lets go and relaxes.  Use the breath to help you move through your yoga practice, and this will spill over into your life. I used to have panic attacks on the tube in London until I learnt to use my breath to keep me calm.

If you have any doubts or questions about going to a yoga class please do get in touch, I am happy to answer any questions; louise@createyourself.co.uk