Wednesday, 30 November 2011

ELISA WILLIAMS YOGA WINTER 2012 NEWS


Its the season to ignite your inner light.

That was the true Light, which lights every man that comes into the world’ John 1:9 

Are you feeling luminous right now, full of life and light, or are the darker days of winter and the onset of the festive season already beginning to take their annual toll? 

As we enter what for many has become a stressful time of year it really does help to turn to a little yoga to keep our inner light burning brightly.  When this light is radiant and we're in balance with ourselves, we can find our way through whatever comes along to challenge us. A sense of good health and spiritual wellbeing makes a joyful presence in our own lives and and is passed on to those around us. Yoga with its emphasis on internal observation, slow and dynamic movement as well as relaxed breathing and an accepting attitude, may be the near perfect activity for dark winter days and keeping the blues away. It also helps us to spend quiet time away from the hustle and bustle to reflect upon the deeper meaning of life.

Establishing a regular winter yoga practice is a way of drawing inward and aligning ourselves with the slower cycles of nature, as well as detoxifying the mind and body from the strain that the end of the year can bring. This winter try and step off the merry-go-round for a few hours a week and attend a yoga class that restores you back to your glowing self and who knows, maybe you will  get through the season without all the ailments and gloomy malaise of these long dark months.  In winter while it is great to try more dynamic styles of yoga to keep you warm and flexible this is also a time for resting and preparation for the year ahead so leave time for quiet restorative poses which promote a sense of inner stillness and introspection well suited to the advent season. 
SUGGESTED YOGA PRACTICES IN WINTER 
Start each day with several flowing rounds of Sun Salutations. This helps to keep us warm flexible, increases our energy as well as keeping our body stretched and oiling all those creaky joints.
Gentle backbends like locust pose, cobra and upward dog. All poses that allow us to move stagnated energy from our belly up into our hearts. Backbends like these also help to uplift our moods and energy levels.  
Do less. Try to arrange your schedule to reflect the more internal nature of winter. 
Read more books, invite friends over for lazy weekend lunches instead of late night boozy dinners, or just take a few days off from your daily schedule to reflect and rest.
Go to bed earlier. The natural world is turning in earlier. Perhaps us humans should to. 
Eat more warming, wet foods. Replace cold cereals with hot porridge fruit and honey.
Try out the ayurvedic practice of self-massage. Choose a warming winter oil such as sesame. Massage yourself from head to toe in the morning, wait 20-30 minutes and then shower. 
Take baths with warming oils such as clove, amber or frankencense.
Practice some form of relaxation, meditation or pranayama. 
ONE DAY RETREATS AND YOGA HOLIDAY IN TURKEY 2012


Looking ahead to 2012 I have two one day retreats now scheduled to take place. The first is on February 18th in Palace Garden, Notting Hill and my Springtime retreat is on May 19th in the countryside .  Visit my ONE DAY YOGA RETREATS page on my website for further details: http://www.elisawilliamsyoga.com/page7.htm I am also planning to return to glorious Euro free TURKEY from October 1st to 8th 2012. Unsurprisingly this holiday, which we have done our best to make as affordable to as many people as possible is booking up very very quickly so visit http://www.elisawilliamsyoga.com/page13.htm for more details and book soon!
                               MY 2012 CLASS SCHEDULE
My class schedule for this winter and for the start of 2012 remains very much the same with bookings now open to join any of my termly small group classes in January. These courses usually become fully booked so please contact me as soon as possible if you would like to attend any of the classes at St Peters Hall Portobello Road, The Apothecary in Fulham or The Music House in Shepherds Bush.  Priority for places is given to students already enrolled on the current terms’ classes providing they rebook and make payment before the end of the current term. (For details of all my Yoga courses and other open community run classes visit 

http://www.elisawilliamsyoga.com/page6.htm. on my website  where you will also find details about 1-2-1 private classes, yoga in schools and workplace yoga.
I will be teaching all of my open community classes at Kensington Leisure Centre in Walmer Road North Kensington and also a number of classes at The Life Centre in Edge Street, Notting Hill right up to my 9am Kensington Leisure Centre class on December 24th Christmas Eve this year. Contact me for all the exact dates and times.  If you have any sense at all you will join me at one of them and come and practice what I have been preaching in this e-letter! I will be taking a break from teaching between Christmas and New Year's Day and will be back teaching again from Wednesday January 3rd at The Life Centre at  8.30am and again at 1pm and at 6.30pm at Kensington Leisure Centre. Small group sessions start from January 6th.
 Thank you to everyone who has attended my classes, holidays and retreats this year and I look really forward to seeing you on a yoga mat somewhere soon.
“Seek peace and pursue it’ – Proverbs 34:14
Lots of love 
Elisa 
www.elisawilliamsyoga.com



Saturday, 26 November 2011

"Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure what cannot be cured. " ~ B.K.S. Iyengar

Yoga is a way of living, which allows us to calm our minds, reduce the stress of our daily life and get more in touch with our real selves.  Yoga in some form or another has been around since at least 500 BCE. However, today in the West most yoga classes focus on the practice of yoga postures (asanas) rather than on the ultimate journey towards meditation and enlightenment. These physical poses allow us to stretch, tone and open our bodies, to build strength, stamina and flexibility. As yoga is so ancient there are many different ways of practicing that have developed over the years. While some classes will focus on detailed bodily alignment, others are more dynamic movements, and others are quiet and reflective. I like to try and bring a mixture of these yogic styles to my classes and ring the changes, so if the first one you try doesn't do it for you, try a few more. I feel that yoga practice should be a little like life, with light and shade and a few surprises, it should certainly never feel formulaic. It is only through change and experimentation that we learn and grow and keep our experience of yoga fresh. 
  
The practice of asana enables us to become more comfortable  in our bodies and more efficiently to work with our subtle energy flows, which in turn allows our mind to calm and settle more easily. Once that happens, then maybe we can sit quietly and comfortably in meditation or prayer. However yoga is not attached to any religion and can therefore be used by people of any religion or none without compromising their own faith or beliefs.
Contrary to some more extreme views, there is nothing in yoga which is incompatible with Christianity or Islam. 
Yoga can help you to find physical and mental stillness and provide the time and space away from our over-scheduled lives to reflect quietly upon whatever is on our hearts.  However while yoga continues to teach stillness and inner peace, yoga classes can also be as physically demanding as a session in the gym - and can generate just as much heat. Practiced mindfully with understanding and awareness of our bodies and breath, yoga also works the body far more safely and efficiently than so many popular physical activities.
  
 Most classes, particularly those described as dynamic or flow yoga, or ashtanga yoga, will work on moving the body in conjunction with the breath in sequences of postures really designed to get the energy flowing. To practice yoga you certainly don't have to be flexible enough to do a perfect lotus pose, touch your toes or be able to tie your self up into knots.
The benefits of yoga are open to everyone, irrespective of flexibility, strength or age. Your body is unique to you. You simply start where you are, and don't worry about what anyone else can do. Students will get much more benefit from practicing simple postures mindfully and with proper bodily alignment, than you will from trying to force your body to do something it is not ready for.
There is no better way than to try a few classes and see how you get on. If the first one you try doesn't suit you, try a few more and if you don't like my teaching style then please PLEASE try someone else!

Thursday, 17 November 2011

I DO NOT LIVE HERE ALONE


Each breath I take affects the air all around me
Each word I utter falls on someone else’s ears
That which I touch is felt by another
That which I do will certainly affect another
That which I do not, will also affect another
We never know how far reaching something we say or do
really is, until it returns to us.
And it always does.
All things in life form a circle
Whether or or not we see the circle.
I do not live here alone.
Author Unknown

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

KEEP WARM AND FLEXIBLE WITH YOGA THIS WINTER



With mass hysteria  having hit my local shopping centre in the form of a prepubescent Canadian teenager turning on seasonal lights last week,  The so called 'Bieber fever'  that swept through West London served as a timely reminder of how most of us end up feeling more frazzled than peaceful during  the build up to what was once a time of contemplative anticipation. 
Despite the undoubtable cheer of Christmas lights in our high streets and sitting rooms  it is the time of year when most of begin to neglect our health and  sanity as we succumb to the mad round of socialising and shopping that has come to define these dark winter months.  According to yogic philosophy, and its sister science of Ayurveda everything else in nature is resting and regrouping, conserving energy for the winter months ahead, while we humans ignore our primal instincts and begin our seasonal downward spiral into ill health and choose instead to crank up our already hectic lives.
Winter, should be the time for us to immerse ourselves in the glow an open-fire, with a glass of mulled wine and a thick blanket. During this time, it surely makes far more sense to pursue activities that encourage us to delve inwards rather than keep rushing madly about to the point of burn out or at least to try and seek out a balance where we can help our bodies and minds to cope better.
Yoga, with its emphasis on internal observation, slow and dynamic movement, as well as relaxed breathing and an accepting attitude, may be the near-perfect activity for dark winter days and keeping the blues away.. Establishing a winter yoga practice is a way of going inward, aligning yourself with the slower cycles of nature, as well as detoxifying the mind and body from the stresses that the end of the year can so often bring. This winter, try to dedicate a few hours a week to a yoga class that restores you back to your glowing self, and you will maybe find that you can get through the party season and into the New Year without all the ailments and gloomy malaise of these dark winter months.. In winter try a more dynamic style of yoga however winter is also a time for resting and preparing for the year ahead so leave time for quiet restorative poses which promote a sense of inner stillness.

Yogic practices for winter include:
Start each day with several flowing rounds of Sun Salutations. This helps to keep us warm flexible and increases our energy as well as keep our body stretched and oil all those creaky joints.
Gentle backbends like salabasana, cobra and upward dog. This type of yoga allows us to move stagnated energy from our belly up into our hearts. It also helps to uplift our moods and energy levels.
Do less. Try to arrange your schedule to reflect the more internal nature of winter.
Read more books, invite friends over for lazy weekend lunches instead of late night boozy dinners, or just take a few days your daily schedule off to reflect and rest.
Go to bed earlier. The natural world is turning in earlier. Perhaps us humans should to.
Eat more warming, wet foods. Replace cold cereals for hot porridge fruit and honey.
Try out an Ayurvedic oleation. This is a practice of self-massage. Choose a  warming winter oil such as sesame. Massage yourself from head to toe in the morning, wait 20-30 minutes and then shower.
Take baths with warming oils such as clove, amber or frankencense.
Practice some form of relaxation, meditation or pranayama.
Quite simply, winter is a time for rest. With that in mind, allow yourself to curl up with a good book and  a blanket make some hot soup or a spicy cup of tea and let nature take over. Give yourself permission for a little hibernation, and by the spring you too will have begun to blossom with a real sense of mental and physical well-being.