Tuesday, 24 November 2015


Our feet are so often overlooked & ignored until something goes wrong. However our feet really do deserve far more attention & I'm not referring to getting a pedicure!

Where would we be without our feet?  They carry us around throughout our day, they provide us with support as we go about our daily tasks & they are are our connection to the earth.  It's when we begin to walk as toddlers & that we begin to have a sense of ourselves as individuals. We begin to develop our own independence. In fact its the way we contact the earth through our feet that says a great deal about how we live our lives & relate to others.
I invite you to take a look at your feet.  Do your toes all cluster together? If so try separating your  toes & give them some independence. Start to stretch the skin between your toes by pushing your fingers in between them.  This also stimulates the sensory connections around the toes & it helps you to wake up your feet & to sensitise them.
Now I invite you to notice how much movement you have around your heel.  Try pulling your heel back & notice whether the heel bone itself will move in relation to the other bones at the centre of you foot.  Then press gently into the sole of your foot, massage it & rub along the length of your foot.  This will also help you to wake up your feet.  Try to pull your toes backwards, in the direction of your ankles.  If you have bunions pay particular attention to your big toe. Try to stretch it away from your other toes, turn it so that the nail of your big toe faces upwards rather than twisting towards the others.
Now notice how your feet feel.  Do they feel any more alive? Gently begin to stretch them by coming down on to all fours.  Tuck the toes of one foot under & gradually drag that foot backwards away from you, stretching out the toes, the sole of the foot & eventually create more length in the ankle & your Achilles tendon.
When you’ve done that, tuck your toes under & stretch the front of the ankle & the top of your foot. The front of the ankle often becomes quite tight & its movement as we age becomes more restricted. 

Stiff ankles are often the cause of falls

This area is related to our reflex reactions & when tight & stiff , it leads to a lack of balance & increases the potential for falls.  Its very important to keep our ankles soft & supple. Daily routines - even  stretching them out while in bed will help to maintain the flexibility of our very important shock absorber joints!
Now find a step, or use a foam block or a large heavy book & lean them against a wall.  Place your toes on the the edge & begin to gradually, sink the ball of your foot down on to the floor until your toes are bent up, & the rest of the foot is on the floor.  Put all your weight in to this leg.  If possible, now begin to gently bend your knee.  Try to create a strong stretch through your ankle, calf, Achilles & sole of your foot.  Softly bend & straighten a few times, being careful not to collapse the inner arch of your foot to the floor.
When you’ve done both sides, take a short walk around the room, just noticing any differences in your feet.  They may feel more awake, more sensitive, more grounded.


For information about Elisa Williams West London yoga classes &  upcoming yoga retreats in Wales, India, Sicily & Turkey visit : www.elisawilliamsyoga.com

Sunday, 15 November 2015


Originating over 10,000 years ago and practiced by millions of people over the world, Yoga has many health benefits both mental and physical and why so many people find they need it in their lives every day.

If you need persuasion read on


Pranayama, yogic breathing, works on controlling our breathing whereby the breathing speed is reduced. It involves deep breathes with long pauses and slow exhalation. Breathing in this way increases the amount of oxygen in the body, which triggers our body’s relaxation response and enhances our lung capacity and endurance abilities.


Practicing certain poses in yoga can help improve blood circulation and helps move oxygenated blood cells more efficiently through the body. Even gentle, calm yoga can strengthen the heart by lowering our resting heart rate and increasing oxygen uptake and endurance during exercise.


Yoga poses help us  to use every muscle in the body. This helps increase muscle strength and can also improve our bodies resilience. It helps to strengthen the core and enhances endurance which mean we can carry out other strength training and sports with higher intensity.


Many yoga postures stretch  body parts in ways that increase our muscles flexibility and tone. These poses  also strengthen our joints and increase the body's range of movement. These poses also help to improve our body alignment because they strengthen muscles and stretch ligaments in a way that helps relieve back, neck, joint, and muscular problems. Daily stretching increases muscle flexibility, mobility, and control.


Studies have shown that yoga poses combined with meditation can reduce pain for people who suffer from cancer, multiple sclerosis, auto-immune diseases, hypertension, arthritis, back and neck pain, and emotional pain too.  This happens by stretching out and strengthening the muscles, lubricating joints and improving alignment.


Yoga's meditative quality can help us to reach a deep spiritual level. Many people who practice yoga regularly say that the feeling of inner peace is the reason that yoga has become a vital part of their daily lives. Yoga provides relief from stress as well as pain, which are things that cloud our judgment and moods every day. The poses strengthen the nervous system, which leads to more self-awareness and connection between the mind and the body. This relief from stress, pain, improved breathing, and connectivity with the body can also decrease anxiety, depression, fear, and other emotional mood disorders.


Yoga helps us become more aware of ourselves and help connect between the mind and the body. Focusing on our breath and muscles helps us focus on the present. This helps improve our concentration, coordination, reaction time and even our memory.


Yoga encourages relaxation and helps lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Stress reduction is related to the lowering  of blood pressure and our heart rate, improvement in digestion and boosting of our immune system. It is also a vital ingredient in easing symptoms of anxiety, fatigue, asthma and insomnia. The tools we learn to use in yoga help quieten the mind and reduce the stress we feel.


Yoga helps lubricate our joints, tendons and ligaments. It cleanses the body through some poses and breathing techniques, leaving the body feeling healthy and refreshed. Due to stress reduction, improved breathing and lowered blood pressure, yoga also has an anti-aging effect. It promotes elasticity in the spine, helps strengthen muscles and is thought to remove toxins helping us feel and look younger.


With practicing yoga comes natural weight loss. Yoga helps us to lose excess fat from the body. Practicing yoga increases metabolism and helps us to lose weight by reducing stress and burning more calories even while we sleep. Yoga also encourages healthier eating habits and mental health. This reduction of stress and greater self awareness decreases a tendency towards emotional and stress related eating. It raises awareness of our body’s needs and makes us more likely to only eat as much as our body requires and reduces the times we may eat from boredom or emotional pain.

Monday, 9 November 2015


Use child's pose to connect with yourself and your breath. 

Child’s Pose is the ultimate self-check-in. For most of us, the majority of our day is spent in a state of external awareness. Much of our time is devoted to interacting with others and taking in immense amounts of stimuli. Child’s pose (balasana) allows us a chance to reconnect with our own inner guide. It’s an opportunity to shift to an internal state of awareness where we allow ourselves to tune in with our breath, body, emotions, and mind. It's like a bear cave of our own making - curled up in a ball with forehead on the floor, chest to knees folded on to the thighs.

It is also a powerful pose where we can to connect with our back body. As we are frontally oriented beings, we rarely have the opportunity to focus our awareness in the back body. In child’s pose, the back body is the only exposed part of our anatomy and therefore receives the spotlight. Next time you are in balasana, experiment with the following exercise to expand your awareness of your back body: 

Become aware of your breath. Feel your back body rise with your inhale and draw in with the exhale. After several breaths, focus your awareness on the inhale traveling down the spine and the exhale traveling back up. Finally, expand your awareness laterally like you have gills by feeling the ribs open and expand with your inhale and contract with the exhale.

Childs Pose is an instant personal sanctuary.
If you're overwhelmed, frazzled, or need of some alone time? Treat yourself to a little self-love by escapng into child’s pose. Think of your mat as your own oasis or island and afford yourself a brief interlude in child’s pose. 
This simple act of  blissful surrender can become a sanctuary from stress and turmoil and als have a positive influence on your emotional state of being. The next time you find yourself in need of a little support or a quick reset take a few deep breaths in child’s pose. This simple pose can shift your perspective in a moment or two.
Invent your own child’s pose 
While child's pose may seem pretty easy as far as asanas go, we can add our own interpretation to the pose to suit our personal needs.
When hips feel a little tight, separate your knees wide and bring the big toes together. This variation is also great if your pregnant and feel squished and confined in traditional child’s pose whee the legs are side by side. It encourages the chest to melt toward the earth and the hips to open more deeply.
When hips remain uncomfortably tight or knee pain is troubling you simply place a a rolled or folded blanket between your calves and hamstrings. 

If you feel the need to become more grounded then bring your arms out in front of you, palms down, press your hands into the mat focus your awareness into your hands, you forehead and feet pressing into the earth.
To feel more spiritually awakened and devotional try placing your arms out in front of you, turning your palms toward one another and pressing them together in prayer. Stay here or bend your elbows and bring your hands behind your head, maybe resting on your upper back if you have the flexibility in your shoulders. This also goes a lovely opening into the triceps.
For a deep lateal stretch walk hands over to the right and press your left palm into the mat while anchoring your left sitting bone down. Repeat on the left side with your right palm pressing down and right sitting bone grounded heavily .
Next  time a yoga teacher instructs you to shift to child’s pose even if your were not a big fan of child’s pose before maybe reading this will have given you a desire to explore it further and be thankful for for the benefits it reaps.

Elis teaches regulate weekly classes in Wst London and overseas yoga retreats in Turkey and India. for more information about her classes and holidays visit www.elisawilliamsyoga.comwww.elisawilliamsyoga.com

Saturday, 7 November 2015


We are happy to announce that the dates for our 2016 yoga holidays in dreamy Kabak, in remote Southern Turkey are now confirmed 

6-13 June, 
26 Sep-3 Oct
3-10 Oct

We are now taking reservations 

For more details about all of the yoga holidays visit 

Monday, 2 November 2015


For my next one day retreat on November 21st in Notting Hill I am looking forward to cooking this Autumn favourite. Take a look at my website www.elisawilliamsyoga.com/#!/one-day-retreats for more details of this and other yoga holidays and classes  in London, Kerala and Turkey.


  • large pumpkin (diced and oven roasted with garlic, salt and pepper)
  • 500g okra
  • fresh ginger (chopped)
  • garlic cloves (chopped)
  • red chilies (fresh, deseeded chopped)
  • 500g plain yogurt
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • large knob of butter
  • 2 large red onions (chopped)
  • large garlic (crushed)
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsps ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp salt/pepper to taste
  • 4tbsps ground almonds
  • 4 tbsps sliced almonds

  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 bunch chopped fresh coriander
  • 300ml single cream
  • Peel, de-seed and chop pumpkin in to bit size chunks
  • Roast in a hot oven until sizzling and beginning to brown but not cooked through
  • In a blender blitz chillies, garlic, ginger and yogurt until a smooth paste 
  • Heat butter in a heavy based pan and fry red onions and okra until they begin to brown on the edges. 
  • Add tumeric, cumin, grated nutmeg and chilli powder and fry for 2 minutes.
  • Add to roasted pumpkin
  • Then add the yogurt mixture stirring continuously add salt and black pepper to taste and can of coconut milk . Cover and simmer slowly for 40 - 60 minutes.
  • Finally add cream, stir in ground almonds garam masala and cook slowly for 4 more minutes
  • To serve sprinkle with sliced almonds paprika and stir in chopped fresh coriander