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Yoga To Help You Sleep

India 2011 280If you find your mind over active in the evening, if you have difficulty switching off and drifting off  then I am writing this blog post for you. Following are my favourite asanas in yoga to help you sleep.

(I have put the Sanskrit name of each asana so you can easily look it up on line.)

Make sure you are dressed warmly with socks on.

1. Write down everything that is on your mind and make a list of what you need to get done tomorrow. Then close the book and put it in another room. This will help to get all out and let it go for the night.

2. Child’s Pose (Balasana) for at least 5 minutes, breathing in and out deeply through your nose. Child’s pose is great for calming your mind, helping your focus to go inward and releasing any tension from your back and buttocks. The more deeply and slowly your breathe the more calming and better for your back muscles it is.

3. Slowly rise from Childs Pose and lie back coming into Supta Baddha Konasana (reclining bound angle pose). It can feel nice to have a bolster under your knees, pillow behind head, blanket over tummy and warm socks on. Hands can be resting by sides or over head for an even more open pose. This pose opens the whole front of body, which we usually protect. it gives you a lovely feeling of just surrendering, letting go.  Again at least 5 minutes breathing deeply

4. After this bring your knees together and roll over to foetus position on your right hand side. You may like a pillow under your head so there is no tension in your neck. Rest here enjoying the comforting feeling this posture gives you.

5. Slowly rise and and make your way over to a wall to bring your legs up to Viparita Karani (legs up against the wall).  You might like to have a pillow or blanket under your head, something to cover your eyes and if it feels good then put a pillow under your hips to raise them slightly. Just lying with your legs up against the wall completely calms down your nervous system. Fresh blood will nourish the brain, hormones and blood sugar levels will be balanced. Stay here for at least 10 minutes up to 30 minutes.

6. When you are ready slowly bend your knees and come to foetus position, rest here again.

Finally just lie on the floor in Savasana, legs and arms outstretched from body, close your eyes and release your whole body to the ground. You may just find yourself snoring!

Enjoy x

Develop Self Awareness Through Yoga

India 2011 127Close to the time I started practising yoga I remember a teacher in a class saying something like “how you are on your mat is how you are in life”. It stuck with me as I realised that day how true it is.

Thinking about your yoga practice consider a few things:

  • Do you take time to really synchronise your breath to each movement or do you sneakily skip that bit to rush on to the next?
  • Do you force yourself into positions before your body is ready?
  • Do you only practice the poses that require least effort?
  • Are all the poses you practice challenging?
  • Do you compare yourself to other people in the class?
  • What do you say to yourself whilst practising? Is it kind or critical?
  • In savasana (corpse pose/ relaxation) do you allow your body & mind to full let go and relax?
  • Looking at your answers, then ask yourself where in life are you like this also?

These are just a few examples of things to notice whilst practising. There is no right or wrong of course, it’s just a great tool to develop self awareness and the opportunity to explore if that way of being works for you or not.

I’ve mentioned it in previous posts that I have tendency to rush ahead, as a result I really have to slow myself down to focus on my breath when I move. I am currently practising a super slow home routine which is calming my whole system down and causing me to slow down in life off the mat too.

I’ve also challenged myself and not given up until I have succeeded, for example my mastery of the head stand last year. This was a fantastic confidence booster and reminder anything is possible once you set your mind to it. On the flip side I pushed myself so hard with my yoga all round last year that I ended up getting an injury, too much force in life and something is going to give.

Yoga is not about competition, vanity or being something you are not. It’s a practice to help you to connect body and mind, with your inner self, to nourish and care for your body.

I’ve noticed the more I have practised yoga the more aware I am of the diet I eat, the thoughts I have and the actions I take. This is all from a developed self awareness, on and off the mat. It’s also led me down a spiritual path, which a few years ago I never would have believed.

I am excited to announce I am starting a new yoga class this Thursday, 10.30am-12noon at Revitalise 86 Church St, Hove. Hope to see some of you there!

Namaste x

Reclaim Your Power!

I am running my third yoga workshop this weekend based on our natural energy centres, the chakras. This time we are focusing on our solar plexus which is in our stomach. The energy of the solar plexus is feeling a sense of power around who we are, what our unique gifts and talents are, having clear intentions of what we want to create in our lives and then surrendering, trusting that it will all work out just fine.

If the energy is low in this area we can feel fear, doubts and others can have power over us. Compliments are brushed aside and gratitude for things we have done is dismissed. We can feel ineffectual and stuck.

If the energy is too high and our sense of self is so heightened that we feel more important than others then we can find ourselves being controlling, dominating and trying to force ourselves through life.

When our energy is balanced in this area we feel in control of our lives, we are creating what we want and we have a strong sense of who we are. We feel empowered and courageous. We acknowledge that everyone else has their own strengths and purpose in life, we respect that and in that state we can speak our truth to people with out any fear of judgement, rejection or need for control.

Deepak Chopra relates this chakra to the law of intention. That is that everything is energy and where we place our focus change occurs. For intentions to be powerful and materialise in our lives there also needs to be surrender. It’s important to be very clear what your intentions are and then to let go. To trust that they will happen in their own way. When you try to force something to happen you risk pushing it further away.

When your energy is flowing through your solar plexus you have this graceful power where you know what you want in your life, you have a strong sense of self but rather than forcing things you glide effortlessly through life dealing with what ever it throws at you.

Here are a few things you can do to connect with your solar plexus:

Make a list of:

3 of your biggest achievements
3 things you are proud of yourself for
3 things you admire about yourself
3 things some you know loves about you
3 things someone you work with admires in you

Close eyes and go back to a really happy positive time, remember what you felt, saw, heard? – Then list 3 things you were saying to yourself.

Look into the future; imagine you have achieved all you want to and what you are seeing, hearing, feeling in this moment. Write down your intentions and desires & 3 things you will be saying to yourself once you have achieved them.

Take time to reflect over these words. They are all part of who you are.

Write your intention clearly somewhere, maybe on a post it note that will catch your eye through out the day.

Then surrender. Trust it’s out there, you have sent the energy of your desire into the universe and trust the outcome, what ever it is.

Surrendering doesn’t mean sitting back and doing nothing though, every day take at least one action towards your intention but with a sense of freedom around it, no pressure or force. Enjoy the process, enjoy each step.

We are all completely unique, like snowflakes. We all have different dreams, different gifts, different lives ahead of us. When we get caught up in comparing ourselves with others we minimise ourselves, we are simply living by someone else’s dream and in that way can only ever be like them. We have our own path to live though.

Take time to connect with who you are, all your amazing qualities and know that you have a place in this world. A place to shine and to experience life at it’s fullest exactly how you want it to be, not by someone else’s standard.

Enjoy the bank holiday weekend!

What To Expect From Your First Yoga Class

YogaSince starting to teach yoga and through chatting to people who are considering coming to a yoga class for their first time I have been told that it can feel a little daunting. Concerns that have been voiced to me have been inflexibility, not knowing or being able to do any of the postures right down to not being sure what to wear.

From the outside it may appear like you have to be a super bendy lean god or goddess that can contort into all manner of positions at the drop of a hat. This really is not what it’s all about.

One of the things I love about yoga is the belief that “where ever you are at right now is perfect”. What ever your body can do in the moment you are in the class is exactly where you are meant to be. There must be no strain or pushing yourself, this only leads to injury.

As with everything in yoga this is a concept that can spill over to the rest of your life too.

The word asana is the yogic term for pose and means sitting down or seat. In Patanjali’s Yoga sutras, (yogic philosophy) he suggests that asana is “to be seated in a position that is firm, but relaxed”. This means that once you have got into the pose/asana, as much as you can that day, you are then to focus on feeling comfortable in it. Never is there to be any force or pain.

So where ever your body or mind is at when you come to your first yoga class this is perfect. I certainly can not do every posture under the sun. Our bodies are all different, so some asana will be easier or more difficult than others.

Before getting into yoga I was a keen long distance runner, regularly training for half marathons. When I started yoga my hamstrings and lower back were so stiff I couldn’t hardly touch my toes let alone do all sorts of other postures. Just taking slowly class by class it was amazing to see how flexibility does improve little by little.

If you are considering going to a yoga class here are a few things to help you know what to expect and to make it an enjoyable experience;

1) Wear comfortable clothes. For ladies I recommend choosing a top that won’t ride up or bother you at all. Same with trousers; short or long leggings or loose pants that go in around the ankle are best. You basically don’t want to be worrying about anything suddenly being exposed!

2) Don’t eat up to 2 hours before the class, this really helps you to feel comfortable in the postures and lighter. For example twisting your tummy will not feel good if it’s full of food.

3) Go to the loo before you go into class, this sounds basic but feeling like you need it will really distract you! Lying on your tummy does not feel nice if you are bursting! You can of course leave mid class to go if you need to, but it just helps to reduce the need to do this.

4) Cutting out an sugar or caffeine before a class will help to calm your mind and will help you balance. They speed up the mind so it’s hard to be totally calm when they are in your system.

5) Go near the back and then you can watch what other people are doing! If there are just a few people in the class then that’s great too, usually the teacher will come and offer you any help if you look stuck or they feel there is something you could try to make it feel easier.

6) The teacher will give you verbal and sometimes visual instructions on how to get into each asana, so no need to worry about knowing exactly how to do everything.

7) Yoga is not a competitive sport, as mentioned above where ever you are at right now is perfect. In a class people are more concerned about what they are doing and focusing on their breath rather than watching what you are up to.

Please do feel free to email me any questions about yoga. It really is a lovely thing to do, yes your flexibility and strength will grow but it’s so much more than that. It quietens the constant chatter of your mind, it gets rid of toxins and floods your body with fresh nutrients and oxygen. It helps you to be in the present moment, to open your heart and to release stored up emotions.

With so many benefits to be had why not just give it a go? 🙂


(which means “the light with in my acknowledges the light with in you”)