Friday, 19 November 2010
Saturday, 23 October 2010
This is the season to completely let go, quite literally with our breath. We see this in nature as the leaves wither, die and begin to fall to the ground. We can let go of old feelings, beliefs and attachments and by doing so create a fresh space to grow with new wisdom and compassion for ourselves and others.
Practicing any yoga posture in a relaxing way with slow deep breathing and the intention to let go and relax the nervous system can be very beneficial in decreasing the symptoms of allergies. Kapalabhati breathing is great for allergies as it forces out the mucus.
By deepening the quality of our breathing we can experience more life force (prana), which lifts ours hearts and helps us to become more compassionate, motivated and energised. It is also important to look after our lungs in preparation for winter. The lungs are sensitive during autumn, as the air quality changes to become cooler and drier which can adversely affect our lungs and skin. It is important to drink plenty of fluids to remain hydrated with warm drinks like herbal teas, green tea and fresh ginger tea. As we begin to turn on the central heating the dry air also affects our skin, so massage with oils and moisturisers after baths or showers.
Autumn is the time when it is actively encouraged to sweeten your food. Try stewed fruits and bake old family favourites like pies and crumbles with in season apples, pears, blackberries and plums.
If we live by these suggestions, autumn can become a time of transformation for ourselves as well as we begin to reflect what is going on in the natural the world around us. Just by adopting healthy habits, good nutrition and regular yoga practice, we can enjoy a clear perspective, inspiration and an open heart. Our minds can become clear, just like these fresh crisp days; we can loose that heavy sluggish feeling and replace it with heightened energy, vitality and motivation.
Tuesday, 19 October 2010
Way beyond asana and pranayama, time spent in meditation and prayer, my teaching and parenting, is this incredibly powerful force we call love. When I remember this my heart feels more open and accepting and I know that I have with me the ability to love and to be loved in return. It is a wonderful feeling.
It is this that we all journey towards throughout our lives and hopefully through patience and acceptance this powerful force of love is there for all of us whatever name we choose to give it.
Thursday, 16 September 2010
SInce I have become a yoga teacher, I have met many people who are trying to change their lives for the better, sometimes after traumatic events or illness. They might have decided to start by trying to become physically healthier but in reality this first step towards helping themselves through yoga works hand in hand to help them become healthier both emotionally and spiritually.
"I always thought that someone should do something about that and then I realised I was somebody."
The words are Lily Tomlin's but the sentiment applies to us all.
Friday, 20 August 2010
Saturday, 14 August 2010
Being away on holiday at the moment in the warm sunshine of South of France has been an excellent opportunity to rise early before the rest of the family gets upand try new poses or new transitions between poses. My husband Dom is a keen yoga convert and since he started during the summer holidays of 2009, it is incredible just one year on to see how far he has travelled on his physical and emotional adventure.
Monday, 9 August 2010
Please Take One takes a look at where we've gone wrong and sets out perfectly simple and practical advice as to how we can live more generous lives day by day. Importantly it shows us that this subtle shift in how we operate is not remotely difficult to build into busy lives or prohibited by our individual financial circumstances
It brings to mind one of my favourite quotes from Lily Tomlin: ' I always thought someone should do something about that and then I realised I am someone' or to use one Mike included in the book by the Dalai Lama: 'If you think you are too small to make an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito!'
Wednesday, 4 August 2010
Morning yoga on the terrace, a quiet swim before the family awakes and a breakfast that rolled into lunch is to me doing exactly what a family holiday should say on the tin.
Today we can live in the moment, lazy minutes and idle hours in the sunshine if we want them, spontaneous bursts of activity if we dont. We are in Provence on a home exchange. http://www.homeforexchange.com. Unfathomably, an otherwise sane French family approached us with the view to spending three weeks in West London, (Shepherds Bush to be precise) and six cheap flights (courtesy of that marvellous website http://www.skyscanner.net) later, we Brits find ourselves here in Ventabren in their lovely villa surrounded by all the vistas and flora of this much celebrated region.
The art historians among our older teens have headed off to Aix for a late afternoon stroll in the birthplace of Cezanne. Although I suspect shopping and a bar may be higher on their agenda, while us parents and younger offspring plan an evening excursion to yet another impossibly picturesque hill town, to quote Henry James:
Summer afternoon - summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language"
Wednesday, 28 July 2010
I do love summer - it takes me back to last winter in Goa where this photograph was taken on my first yoga holiday there in February. Can't wait for the next trip currently being planned late January 2011
In summer a lighter diet feels better, and it's the perfect time for cool fresh locally produced food. Our own abundance of British fruits and vegetables are all good choices. Living in London I am very lucky to have an allotment so we're a little over run at this time of the year with salads, courgettes, green beans, soft fruits and tomatoes. As I write this post I am rather glad to hear the sound of a summer downpour as the watering duties have been pretty full on this year!
Food with cool properties can clear heat, reduce toxins, and generate body fluids. Cooling foods tend to be green and some of the coolest are lettuce, cucumbers and watercress. Fish and seafood are also cooling and are particularly good on the barbecue (most meats are warming), while spicy foods, alcohol, or caffeine that all heat the system so should be reduced. Instead drink lots of clean, pure water or add lemon and cucumber and chill in the fridge. Steer away from dairy, heavy, greasy and fried foods.
Tonight we have liberated the monster courgettes and plum tomatoes grown on our Fulham plot from the fridge and made a garlic and herb infused pasta sauce served with penne and wild rocket and cucumber salad. There's something very hunter gatherer about cooking up your own produce that somehow flies in the face of our urban existence here in West London.