Tuesday, 18 March 2014

MEDITATION FOR KIDS by Mind Body Green

1. Listen! Bell Meditation -  Invite kids to sit up tall in “criss-cross applesauce” and let their eyes close. Ring a bell or singing bowl, and ask kids to use their sense of hearing to explore the sound. Ask them to listen very carefully, and as soon as they hear it stop, raise their hand. They can then practice attentive listening without the bell. Close your eyes and listen to the sounds in your space.  Which are closest to you? Which are far away? Which to the left, or right? You can also try this meditation while walking down the street or lying in bed before falling asleep. (Thanks to Little Flower Yoga for the bell tip!)
2. Sing! Relaxation Song - This meditation combines song with touch and brings even the youngest of kids to a place of peace. Invite kids to sit up tall. Sometimes we sing the syllables Sa Ta Na Ma, or sometimes an English affirmation like “I Am Strong.” With each syllable, touch a different finger to your thumb, starting with the pointer finger and moving to the pinky. We practice singing, whispering, and singing quietly to ourselves in our minds. This is a self-soothing exercise and can be 
done discretely anywhere kids want to calm down, from the train to the classroom desk to the dinner table.
3. Breathe! Take Five Breath - Your breath is always with you. Learning to check in to it from an early age is a major tool. Try “take 5 breath” where you inhale for five, and exhale for five. Use your fingers to count as you breathe. Slowing your breath will slow down your mind. Can you feel your heart rise and fall as you breathe? Can you feel the breath enter and leave your nose?

4. Watch! Cloud Gazing -
  Sitting quietly, pay attention to your inhale and exhale. When thoughts or feelings come up, think of them like clouds passing through your mind, which is like the sky. You can watch the clouds come and go just like you can watch clouds in the sky move and shift in their shapes. Kids may not sit too long, but just introducing this concept is a great preparation for adult meditation. And the awareness that things are always changing and things do pass is important to share and practice observing with kids.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

SLOW DOWN AND TRY SOME YIN YOGA



Have you had a long week? Do you need more energy? Then maybe you should try practicing Yin yoga.

Yin yoga compliments Yang yoga (dynamic style). Yin and Yang represent male and female aspects of yoga. Yin yoga is slow and meditative and is used to focus on our joints instead of our muscles. To get deep into the tissues and fibres.


There are very few standing poses in Yin yoga so the positions focus on stillness and relaxing into them.


We start with a warm up and then mindfully move into different positions which last at least 5 minutes (in some classes they can last up to 20).


Beginners to Yin can find the class quite a challenge for the mind as well as the body. The mind can become restless when the body is holding a pose for a period of time so the challenge is often keeping the mind under control by focussing on the breath and the subtle nuances of the pose, the sensations in the body as they arise. 
However as we begin to master Yin yoga and practice it more regularly we will find that it will have a profound effect on our dynamic Yang practice. 


Props and bolsters to support the body can also help to facilitate a stronger, longer held stretch and ensure that it isn’t painful to hold for an extended length of time.

A Yin class, like all others ends with savasana, students can experience a profound sense of silence and deep inner stillness when deeply rooted in their bodies, connected to our own breath. We begin to take control of our thoughts and learn not to judge and become distracted by each morsel of chatter that the brain throws at us. We learn to come back to the breath time and time again.


Students should find that at the end of their Yin practice they leave their mat feeling calm and relaxed, strong and energised both in the body and the mind.



www.elisawilliamsyoga.com

Friday, 7 March 2014

GLUTEN FREE CARROT CAKE


5 eggs, at room temperature
1½ cups (265g) brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup (125ml) sunflower oil
31/2 cups (440g) almond meal (ground almonds)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4  teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking powder
400g  carrots, peeled and grated1 cup 
(75g)  shredded coconut
1//4cup (70g) roasted slivered almond
1/2  cup (80g) currants

cream cheese icing


250g cream cheese, chopped

 ⅓ cup (55g) icing (confectioner’s) sugar mixture, sifted 
1 tablespoon lemon juice