Thursday, 27 June 2019

Yoga For A Good Night’s Sleep

Are you one of those people who find it very difficult to get to sleep? Well you’re not alone Even after hours of tossing around I’d often wake up in the middle of the night & the whole cycle would resume all over again. It was a very rare morning when I woke up feeling properly rested.

Rather than taking sleeping tablets, I started to practice yoga just before I went to bed. By practicing particularly quietening yoga poses  combined with deep breathing techniques,  I found myself feeling much calmer & more relaxed.

Yoga, by definition encourages us to focus inward & create a connection with our body & our breath. As a result, the chitter chatter of constant thoughts & the overload of nervous energy will gradually begin to subside.  

In time as the mind & the body become more peaceful & relaxed then sleep comes more readily.
There are hundreds of yoga asana that can help us to quieten down our nervous systems & our minds. However here are few that are particularly effective at combating insomnia. 

Head-to-Knee Forward Bend
Stretch one leg out in front & bend the knee of the other leg & place the sole of your foot against your inner thigh. Take a deep breath in & reach up to the ceiling with both arm framing your face. Lengthen your whole side body then slowly exhale & hinge forwards at the crease of the hips with your belly strongly drawn towards your spine. Try to avoid rounding your back to bring your head to your shins rather look ahead beyond your toes. Avoid or congesting the front of your body as you place your hands on your shins, ankles or toes. Take some long 
deep breaths  breaths & hold the asana for 30 breaths. Each time your inhale feel as though you’re surfing  waves rising up & travelling forward & each time you exhale feel yourself cresting the wave & move a little deeper into the pose. Then repeat
on the other leg.

Seated Forward Bend 
Sit with legs together & your back straight.  Inhale & raise your arms directly above your head & lengthen through the body from the crown of your head to the tip of your tailbone. As your deeply exhale & your abdominal muscles begin to engage bend from the hip crease. Let your hands rest on your thighs, shins, ankles or feet. Wherever is most comfortable without congesting the body or overly rounding your back. Imagine your tailbone like a long tree monkey tail slipping out behind you & your heart, on each in breath, travelling towards your toes. Hold the forward bend for at least 30 full rounds of your mindful deepest breaths. The aim is to create space both mentally & physically.Then return to sitting up right by slowly curling up through the spine like a kitten being lifted by the scruff of your neck.

Modified Child’s Pose
Kneel down on the bed & lay your belly on your thighs, either cradle your head with your hands or rest your brow on the mattress to place a little pressure on the ‘third eye’. Behind this point is the pineal gland The pineal gland produces melatonin, a serotonin-derived hormonewhich modulates sleep patterns 

Sunday, 16 June 2019


We can rise above our fears by facing them, not by ignoring them. We can do that because we are not the fear or the thought or the pain, but the one looking at it. 

By paying kind attention to what hurts or isn’t helping, we can begin understand those things better. As we understand ourselves better, so we learn to trust ourselves more.

Introspection is the opposite of self-rejection. The loving gaze we grant ourselves will free us and lift everyone else around us. 

This stunning photograph was taken at the boutique hotel where we shall be hosting our October yoga retreat in Turkey. For more information visit ,

The following is a step by step guide to a meditation that can help to grow change and self-love for ourselves.

Sit or Lie Quietly
Once you’ve found a comfortable place to relax, to begin simply bring your attention to the world around you. Listen to the sounds outside the room. Listen to the sounds inside the room. Allow yourself a moment to become aware of all sensations around you: sounds, smells, temperature. Visualise your own body resting on the floor, and become aware of your own physical presence.

Find a Safe Haven
Move inward for a moment and see if you can discover a place of safe haven within. A place where you feel secure, loved, calm. Perhaps there is a person, or a certain place that helps accentuate this feeling of safety and well-being. Spend a moment visualising this place and know that you may return to it at any time during this practice, or indeed at any time during your life, when you need it.

Body Awareness
And now bring your awareness back to your body on the floor. Keep as still as possible without building up any stress and notice each part of your body as it is mentioned. Notice if you find this practice easy or difficult. Notice if any specific parts of your body are more difficult to sense. Sense the entirety of your 

body all at the same time. Feel your entire physical presence.

Breath Awareness
Bring you awareness now to your breath. Feel the breath entering into the body through your nostrils, Follow the breath as it moves into chest and abdomen. So, follow the breath as it moves from abdomen, to chest and back through the nostrils. Feel enlivened by the inhale and relaxed by the exhale. Then, Feel each breath as energy, and count your breaths up to 12, and then back down again. 

Welcome Your Feelings
Without judging or trying to change anything, 
acknowledge any feelings and emotions that are 
currently present within you. If you notice something 
specific, like tension for example, acknowledge how that feels. Now try to imagine the opposite feeling or emotion.

Witness Your Thoughts
Come back to your breath for a moment. Now notice any thoughts, memories or images that might arise, being totally nonjudgmental about whatever comes up for you. Perhaps you notice a belief or a judgment about this practice,notice that, and then try to notice the opposite of this thought. Also somewhere within your consciousness and now visual this series of images in your mind, one image after the other (paired opposites).

Find Joy or Bliss 

Bring to mind a memory that holds great joy and 
peace for you. Then, linger here, imagining and remembering all the details of this memory.

Reflect on Your Practice
Reflect on how this practice has made you feel. Remember and repeat your original affirmation or Intention. Then, begin to move outward again, becoming aware of body and breath. Also, become aware of the room around you. So, in your own time, begin to move away from your practice, moving body, changing positions, stretching etc.