Third week of the Chakra Yoga Course last Wednesday

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Well the effect this time was to make everyone very alert and “sharp”. It is evidence that stimulating the energy centres actually works on everybody that all participants have the same effect. Halfway through the course now and I hope everyone is loving it as much as Karen and I are in delivering it ūüôā

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Week 1 Chakra Yoga and Crystal Bowl Sound Therapy Course

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The students arrived, their heads filled with worries about jobs and children starting school. I took them through the yoga postures specifically to stimulate the night’s theme of the base energy centre located at the bottom of the spine. Then, during the meditation/relaxation at the end of the class, Karen took them deep into sound therapy healing with the crystal bowls. The transformation in the student’s faces at the end of the class was amazing. They literally looked years younger and were in no hurry to leave ! Our intention became reality and we were incredibly pleased with the result. I can’t wait for next week’s class when we work on the sacral chakra for more excellent results.

Week 2 of Chakra Yoga Course & Crystal Bowl Sound Therapy

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This week we concentrated our yoga postures on Svadhisthana, the sacral chakra area, located below the navel and above the pubic bone. The outcome was totally different to last week, where everyone finished the night blissed out, grounded and relaxed.

This week after the bowl meditation everyone was energised and alive. I believe this was a combination of the work we had done during our yoga postures, where much effort was concentrated on this section of the body, which included the lower back and adrenal glands. This stimulated the production of adrenalin and brought everyone to life.

Svadhisthana is the seat of our creativity and procreativity and what better way to open up to this, than by stimulating the body with appropriate yoga postures, allowing for greater absorption and  complementary healing energy of the crystal bowl vibrations to  enter into our being.

It was great to see this in action and I can’t wait for week three ¬†to see how Manipura the centre of our emotions and feelings effects our group.

What is my Favourite Yoga Pose?

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Recently I was asked what my favourite yoga pose was and I really had to stop and think…after a moment I realised that I actually didn’t have just one favourite, it all depends on what kind of day I have had, what I think my body needs and if I am up for a challenge or just a good stretch.

When I have been bent over a computer at work all day and not moving enough I enjoy doing a variation of http://www.yogadancer.com/Pattra/Gomukhasana.shtml#Prep.Usually I do this from a standing position, just to open up the shoulder blades and get some energy and movement happening again. Another posture that helps is the Downward Facing Dog pose http://www.yogajournal.com/poses/491 which works into the shoulder blades and stretches the calf muscles and spine at the same time.

If my hips and lower back feel tight then a series of lunges feels just right http://www.yogajournal.com/poses/2494

To work on my core and tighten and strengthen my belly I do an assortment of postures that incorporate  the boat pose http://www.yogajournal.com/poses/489

If I just want to have a good overall stretch and some fun with it, I usually go for one of my vinyasa (sequence) flows. An example of a vinyasa flow is Surya Namaskar (Salute to the Sun) http://www.yogajournal.com/practice/1040 there are literally many, many variations of this group of flowing postures, but all of them are a great tonic for the whole body and mind.

When I have time to do some intensive practice I often pick something that I am not so good at and work on it over a period of time, until I master it, such as the Crane Pose http://www.yogajournal.com/poses/468

Well I could go on, but I hope you are getting  the right impression that yoga is not a static thing and one of its great advantages is that it can be used as a tool to help you no matter what is happening in your life at any time. This brings me to Meditation, try some of these http://www.yogajournal.com/poses/finder/browse_categories/p_meditation

What are your favourite postures? I would love to hear from you.

Namaste

Judy (Jayadhara)

Thanks to Yoga Journal http://www.yogajournal.com  and Yoga Dancer http://www.yogadancer.com for links to images.

Pranayama

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Pranayama

Anyone who has had a heavy cold and trouble breathing will know how you become aware of every breath while you are suffering the symptoms of congestion, that include a heavy feeling  in the chest and the discomfort of a  blocked nose.  For anyone like myself, who is an asthma suffer and had many episodes of difficulty in breathing, the importance of being able to fill the lungs with oxygen also has extra meaning.

One of the most important¬†practices of yoga is Pranayama. Prana means ‘life energy’ or ‘life force’ and ‘yama’ means control. There are a huge range of pranayama yoga practices,these include practices that are designed to release physical tension from the body while others are designed to strengthen the lungs and enable to the lungs to be filled to capacity to increase the level of oxygen reaching the body.

Like all yoga techniques, becoming proficient at pranayama  takes practice and usually a teacher will initially take you through exercises that increase your awareness of filling  and emptying  the lungs and avoiding shallow chest breathing, which in western society  is a common problem.

Once you become aware of how to breath more deeply, other pranayama exercise can be gradually introduced that include breath retention and even filling different parts of the lungs in isolation.

Apart from the improvement that pranyama exercises give to the ¬†physical¬†body, they can also calm the mind. Being able to take control of emotional responses is a valuable tool to have, whether you are preparing for an examination, about to give a speech to a large audience, or any other challenging situation you may find yourself in. I will post some information about how to perform ¬†Nadi Shodhana (alternate nostril breathing which balances the right and left sides of the brain) when I next get a few moments… I have found pranayama methods invaluable in many different aspects of daily life and I hope you will too.

Yoga Tips For Insomnia

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Yoga Tips For Insomnia


Do you have trouble sleeping at night ? Maybe you can get to sleep easily, but a couple of hours later you are wide awake again. The first thing to do is look at your lifestyle, is your brain active, jumping from one task to the next right up until you suddenly realise you need some sleep ? This is a common dilemma and ideally it is best to slowly wind down for at least an hour before you retire. No caffeine of course for at least two hours before you turn in and try not to eat a heavy meal just before going to bed as well. But if you have tried to modify these aspects of your lifestyle and you seem to have created a cycle of insomnia then give the following tips a try.

Yoga Nidra is very popular in my classes and an important reason why many students come to my class. I am an Associate member of the Satyananda Yoga Teachers Association and for me their CDs with Yoga Nidra practices on them are invaluable for the yoga student or any insomniac with a willingness to give this practice a try. http://www.satyananda.net/shop/browse/audio/satyananda-yoga-nidra-and-meditation

But before you go down that path, maybe the following tips will be an indicator of whether you think you are ready for deep relaxation practices. What have you got to lose ? You are not sleeping anyway, so you have the time… why not give it a go…

Lie on your back and take your attention to your breath, just follow the flow of your breath and take note of the sound of the inhalation and compare it in your mind to the sound of your exhalation…make sure you are breathing deeply, expanding the abdomen below the navel on your inhalation and allow the navel to drop towards the spine on your exhalation. This in itself takes some practice, but don’t give up…keep your body as still as possible…the stillness of the body will transfer to your mind if you can maintain the stillness for several minutes.

Tell yourself you are happy to remain so still and take note of how the more silent and still you become, the more exaggerated the movement of the ribcage, chest and journey of the breath through the throat becomes. Now once you have synchronised the body and breath and are feeling reasonably comfortable with it,try the next step…

Start taking your mind back over your day…but not from when you got up this morning, but travelling backwards through your day. Mentally see yourself getting out of bed, going back to the bathroom and ¬†cleaning your teeth, having a shower and so on right back to when you got out of bed this morning.

Try and remember the main activities of your day and don’t stress if you forget something , just go back to that point and “slot” it in to the timeline and keep going backwards…

Avoid getting entangled in any of the events, such as “I went to the shop on the way home and bought some tomatoes” that’s fine but then, oh yeah and then that random guy practically sprinted to beat me in the queue !…Nooo…remember it as an event, but don’t let your emotions start getting involved. Imagine this whole scenario as if you are watching a video on a screen. See if you can make it all the way back to morning ūüôā

You will find at first that you will drift off and start thinking of other things in the process of this exercise, quite normal, but don’t tell yourself that you can’t do it, like anything worthwhile it takes practice !

Let me know how it goes ūüôā

Thanks to:

http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=4036

Saraswati, Swami Satyananda Yoga Nidra Yoga Publications Trust, Bihar India 1998