Guru Purnima

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We are right in the thick of winter now! There is something magical about practicing yoga in this cold weather – the body is just so ready to move, and the mind so ready to move inwards! Although waking up in the dark is more difficult, in winter it seems to come with a burst of energy which I can feel as soon as you all walk in the room. So thank you for sharing that energy with me.

Today is Full Moon, which in many traditions is a rest day from yoga. There are varied reasons and opinions behind this. Some believe that the lunar cycle leaves you vulnerable to injury; another theory is that because the body consists mainly of water, we are affected by full moon like the ocean tides. Whether you subscribe to these ideas or not it is always nice to bring ourselves back to a restful and grounding practice once a month.

But today isn’t just any full moon, today is Guru Purnima, or ‘The Guru’s Moon’. This is the time to look back at our year so far, review our progress, renew our intentions and determination on the path, as well as Honour the Guru! So today, why not think back to the intentions you might have set at the start of the year, reconsider them and set yourself back on track. Pay respects to all those who have shared wisdom with you and whilst setting your intentions try to link them in with the messages your teachers or guru’s have offered you.

I have been lucky enough to have many wonderful teachers, and although my yoga teachers have taught me so much, one of my favourite pieces of wisdom came from my year 6 teacher, Miss Elliot. I remember her telling the class one day to ‘Look out the window while you are on the bus on your way to school. Look at the people standing at the bus stop frowning. Whatever you do, make sure that you aren’t frowning about where you are headed each day. If you are going to do something daily, make sure it is something to smile about. If it isn’t making you smile then either change what you do or change your approach to what you are doing”. Though I didn't think any thing of it at the time, these wonderfully wise words that have stuck with me for twenty years.

Happy Guru Purnima!

In Love & light,

Nadia

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The Importance of Practicing Yoga in Winter

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I would first like to say how happy I am to see so many of you continuing your yoga practice even though the temperature is dropping. When the weather turns colder it can be an automatic reaction to skip out any physical activity that you do in your life but there are so many reasons why this is the best time of year to really develop a daily practice of yoga.

Here are my top 6:

Winter is traditionally a time where we hibernate and spend more time on our own. It is therefore a wonderful time to create some introspective and to really develop a personal connection with your yoga practice and the energy and feelings it creates in your body. For the same reason it is also a wonderful time to start meditation.

As the temperature outside drops we need the temperature inside to stay warm in order to ward off illness. Practising Ujayi breath while you move is great to help with this.

Ever feel cold fingers and toes and wonder if you have poor circulation? Yoga encourages circulation through your entire body which helps you stay warm when you leave your gloves at home.

Many people suffer from joint pain which is increased in winter. A dynamic yoga practice keeps your joints active and well lubricated to minimise this pain.

Minimised contact with sunlight and natural light can bring about feelings of depression and sadness. Yoga helps increase positive energy so you stay happy and uplifted in winter. Pranayama techniques such as alternate nostril breathing help keep your sinuses healthy and clear. Even if you cannot attend a class daily I would highly recommend including 5 minutes of alternate nostril breathing in to your day.

Lastly, it is toasty warm in here, it smells nice and you'll feel good for having done something other than sit down all day!!

In Love & Light,

Nadia

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