Finding Confidence: On & Off the Yoga Mat


I am writing to you from Mysore, India where I on my annual study trip at The Ashtanga Institute. I find this trip so beneficial. not only do I have the chance to study with one of the most amazing teachers in the world but it also gives me a chance to reflect on myself and what this practice means to me on a deeper level.

I spend so much time on my own here. I live on my own, eat most meals on my own, make all decisions on my own, find my own house, scooter etc. In this place I need to be completely confident in myself in order to get things done. So often things go wrong - in fact, in india I am almost guaranteed that things won’t go to plan! I need to trust that everything that is meant to be happening is happening and be confident and relaxed with that.

The same applies in the practice. Always in my first week I feel a lack of confidence in my practice. I always worry that my teacher will not think I am good enough, that other people in  the room might be better than me, and then of course, I feel fear when my teacher gives me new poses that I cannot do them. I start to question myself.

Of course, these thoughts are just a reflection of how I see myself. How we all see ourselves. We all have fears. Someone in the room must be looking at my practice and having the same doubts about their own.

The only thing we have to remember is that everything that is meant to be happening, on and off the mat is meant to be happening and will, in some way, strengthen our confidence.

Until next time...


Peace, Love & Yoga

Nadia


Tags:

Ayurveda Spring Clean! Tips for a Healthy Spring

spring-clean
Spring is upon us and as the seasons change so should our diet and activities. Whilst the winter months ask for more settling and hibernation, Spring is the time to cleanse ourselves of that, making ourselves feel lighter in energy before summer hits.

Ayurveda is all about bringing ourselves in to balance, balancing out the effect of the seasons as well as internal and external influences.

Here are some great tips to help you get started:

1) Add more bitter vegetables, herbs and spices to your diet. In spring we start to strengthen and clean out the liver and Bitter foods are said to help a struggling liver. “Bitter herbs cause a reflexive secretion of gastric juices and tone the muscles of the digestive tract. They also support detoxification by helping the liver process incoming nutrients and filter impurities from circulation.” Nadya Andreeva

Examples of bitter foods are: Turmeric,  Bitter Gould, Spinach, Kale, Chard, Broccolli and Watercress

2) Flush Your System with Liquids In Winter our bodies tend to retain liquids – making us feel heavier, and a bit lazier, so in Spring we want to flush that out. Starting your day with plenty of warm water will help that. Try drinking 750ml of water with the juice of half a lemon or lime each morning before you consume anything else. Your body builds up toxins throughout the night so in the morning, before we add to them we want to cleanse them from the body.

How: Warm water with lemon each morning, and a glass of water one hour before each meal. Sip on Ginger tea to stimulate movement of energy and digestion.

3) Add spice to your Meals Add some spice to meals to help stimulate energy within the body. Spices detoxify your lymph, blood, kidneys and bowels.

Examples are chilli powder, cayenne pepper, mustard seeds etc.

4) Get Moving As toxins are stored in the body, within our muscles, in our fat cells, in our joints we want to exercise all of these things to allow the toxins to be eliminated. The key is to get moving every single day. If all you do is sit – even for just one day, it gives the toxins a chance to manifest and settle within the body.

Allow the energy to move through your body - Come to yoga! If you can’t make it then do 10 rounds of sun salutes at home.

Go for a walk outside at lunchtime and breath in the fresh air.  Walk to work instead of taking the train. There are so many ways to incorporate movement in to your life.

If you don’t think you can do it then join the One Month Transformation happening at Yoga Village in September. You will receive recipes, cooking tips and yoga practice tips to help you stay on track and keep motivation high. For more details click here.

5) Body Brush & Oil Massage Before your shower each day use a natural body brush in circles over your skin to stimulate detoxification within the skin cells. Before bed give yourselves an oil massage using coconut oil or almond oil, again using large circular movements all over the body.

6) Introduce a little more raw food to your diet. Whilst winter is a time for warm food (stews soups etc) in Spring we need to combine those cooked foods with something raw. With each meal add either a small raw salad, or a piece of juicy sweet fruit to create that balance between winter and summer.

7) Get outside and breath! Whilst we don’t want to expose ourselves to too much sun we do need vitamin D to help the energy levels. Try to get 10 minutes of sun each day to help build up after a season of being inside. Breath the fresh air deeply in to your lungs!

Tags:

How to be healthy on the run

Alex-Middleton
Written by Sydney Based Nutritionist  Alex Middleton

Life gets busy when you’re working long hours, getting errands crossed off the list and having some sort of personal life in between. With a busy schedule, practicing healthy habits is hard for most. Maybe you skip morning yoga for extra sleep, or replace freshly cooked meals with take out in front of the television.  Maybe the gym is sacrificed for an after work drink or you don’t have time to drink water through the day. The list goes on and on.

It is possible however to stay happy, healthy and energized on a busy schedule. All it takes is a little organization and a can-do kind of attitude. Below are my recommendations on how to stay healthy on a busy schedule.

1.  Getting up earlier

Setting your alarm 15 minutes earlier than usual can create a dramatic impact on how well you feel as you get going in the morning. 15 minutes gives you time to:

  • Drink a huge glass of warm water upon waking. Add a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar and a pinch of cayenne pepper to the water before drinking it on an empty stomach. This flushes the liver, stimulates digestion, boosts the metabolism thus gets you going for the day.
  • Throw a lunch together to take to work (pre-prepared ingredients ,see below).
  • To eat a quality, high protein breakfast.

2.  
Meal options vs a rigid meal plans

Rigid meal plans that include scheduled breakfasts, lunches and dinners is too much for the average person to think about, let alone those who are on the run with things like work, parenthood or both. Rather than timetabling your meals, make a simple list of potential breakfasts, lunches and dinners you can make for the week according to what you have in the pantry and fridge. When you get hungry and don’t have time to think of what to make, use it as your go-to list.

3.  Use your Sunday evening to prepare food for the week

This habit is by far the one that that saves me the most time during the week. Consider:

  • Baking huge trays of roast vegetables. Store them in the fridge and add them later to salads, in wraps or even on top of wholegrain pizza bases.
  • Boiling a dozen eggs for the week ahead. These serve well as snacks but save time especially in the mornings if you are looking for a high quality protein option for your piece of toast.
  • Make a large pot of brown rice and store it in the fridge. Use it as a side to main meals, add it to instant organic miso soup or use in homemade sushi handrolls. http://spiralfoods.com.au/products/organic-instant-miso-soup
  • Make simple vegetable soups in the blender, divide them up into single servings and freeze them for dinners later when you have no time to cook.

4.  
Intermittent Fasting

When you fast intermittently, your digestion gets a break, your body has a chance to repair itself and you save time on preparing and eating food. Consider skipping dinner at least twice a week, aiming to have 16-18 hours off food completely. What works for most people is to stop eating at 3pm, eating breakfast the next day around 8 or 9am. This saves you time whilst helping you lose weight and look younger. NB: if you have blood sugar issues, adrenal fatigue or find you are starting to wake up during the night (hungry or not), eat a mouthful of protein and fat before going to sleep. Two good pre-bed options include a teaspoon of organic peanut butter eaten straight off the spoon (or any other nut butter), or lavender tea with some warm almond milk.

5.  Fast hydration

Our bodies contain upto 70% water, making it imperative to drink a minimum of 2L of clean, fluride-free water during the day:

  • If you’re out and on the run, buy still mineral water stored in BPA – free plastic bottles. Mount Franklin is an easily accessible, BPA free option.http://mountfranklinwater.com.au/our-truth/
  • Store water-filled, non-plastic, reusable water bottles everywhere: by your bed, in the car, on your desk and in your hand and workout bag. Every time you see one, take a few gulps, thirsty or not.
  • Never re-use plastic bottles.
  • Avoid aluminum reusable bottles, opting for stainless steel or copper options instead.

6.  
Storing snacks

Small high protein snacks will sustain your energy and serve as great fillers when you’re just too busy for lunch. Store them in case of emergency in your backpack, handbag, car or at your work desk. Consider:

  • Boiled eggs
  • ½ a Megaburn bar
  • Almond bounce ball
  • Fermented Brown rice protein bars
  • Raw nuts and seed mix (preferably activated). If you haven’t tried 2Diefor range you are missing out.
  • Tamari almonds or pepitas
  • Small organic apples.
  • Instant organic miso soup. The best on the market is Spiral…

7. 
Alternative healthy take outs

Sometimes you are too tired and just can’t be bothered to cook. Fair enough. You are human after all. There are however many healthier options to consider before you dial you local thai or pizza joint for some take away. Instead consider:

  • Chicken shops that offer organic rotisserie chickens, spatchcocks and salads.
  • Japanese foods such as brown rice sushi rolls, sashimi and seaweed salads.
  • Middle eastern foods such as falafel, salads, tahini, hommus, dolmades and tabouli.
  • Grilled fish and salads from your local fish and chips shop.
  • Ordering healthy pre-made, delivered meals. Local favourites include The Living Lunchbox and EatFitFood. http://www.thelivinglunchbox.com/  http://www.eatfitfood.com.au

8.  Prepare for stress slumps and moments of fatigue

Staying on a healthy eating track can be difficult in moments when we feel tired, overwhelmed or cranky. This is especially common around 3pm when blood sugar runs low, the brain becomes foggy and fatigue from the day’s work sets in. In times like these, consider:

  • A healthy high protein snack (see above).
  • Opting for green tea vs another coffee.
  • A green vegetable juice from your local fruit shop or juice bar.
  • Avoiding the vending machine and eating a healthier, sugar free chocolate option instead (you will need to buy this at a health food store or grocer and store it for times in need; check out chocolate addicts article for good options).
9.  Buy wholefoods outside your health food shop

Getting to your local health food store or farmers market can often be time consuming and inconvenient. Instead get to one of the larger chain supermarkets  who now offer aisles dedicated to alternative as well as locally sourced, organic vegetables, fresh meat and dairy products. If you are so short on time that even the supermarket is too hard to get to, use an online delivery service that leave a box of fresh, organic veges by your doorstep each week.

10.  Accept the fact you are not perfect and cannot do it all

It’s always ideal to find the healthiest meal option available. Sometimes however “healthy” is just not possible, and you’re forced to splurge. Contrary to popular opinion there are health benefits to splurging. Relaxing and enjoying whatever food you want on occasion releases a flood of chemicals that boost the immune system, metabolism, mood and overall health.

Healthy bodies are fairly resilient and can cope with a guilt-free blow out now and then. Life is about more than just eating well after all. A good rule to follow is the 18/21 rule, where you choose eighteen healthy meals a week and whatever you want for the other three. Balance is the key.

When you’re too busy or tired for exercise, it may be worth redefining what a work out means to you:

  • If you’re too tired for an hour at the gym, just do 20 minutes of cardio at any pace, or go for a long walk instead.
  • At yoga substitute the 90minute classes with a 60 minute one to save on time. If you’re tired, take the less strenuous option and do a beginners class instead (giving you the opportunity to refine your technique and alignment).
  • If you’re too tired for laps in the pool, get to the ocean and float in the water. You may not be technically exercising, but the salt water clears the mind and detoxifies the body from any negative energy it may be holding onto.
Lastly, and most importantly, you are not perfect. Many people  make themselves fat and sick with rigid, self-imposed rules on how they should and shouldn’t be eating. Take the rules off. Eat as well as you can and then drop any guilt and forgive yourself. Attitude, when it comes to feeling well, is everything afterall…

Alexandra Middleton is an Accredited Naturopathic Nutritionist committed to inspiring the world with nourishing foods and healthier lifestyle choices. She is realistic and loving and just down right wonderful to be around. I highly recommend you check out her blog for regular recipes and ideas.

http://www.alexandramiddleton.com.au/

alex-2-217x300

Tags:

Three Simple Stress Stoppers

peace
Is anyone else feeling Stressed?! How did it come to be April already? We are well and truly in 2014 now and if you are anything like me then this is around the time of year that I start to feel most stressed.

I know how to stress out. I used to get so stressed that I would get eczema on my face, would spend endless nights awake with my mind ticking over and would develop a twitch in the corner of my eye. Somewhere along the way I decided I couldn't maintain that level of stress, as it was so obvious physically as well as emotionally that I wasn't coping. So here is what I did.

I made a choice not to stress any more.

It sounds so simple but it was amazingly effective. Once I made the decision not to stress then every time I started to feel overwhelmed I would recognise it and do one of these simple things.

1) Take three breaths - deep ones, with my eyes closed. And for those three breaths I was transported back in to the present moment, allowing me to remember that actually, everything is ok, exactly as it is, right now.

2) Laugh:  I remembered something that makes me laugh. Lately I remember a funny story about something cute my nephew did and again, I remember that actually, everything is just fine, as it is, so there is no need to worry.

3) Go Outside: Even for 5 minutes I would go outside, either to feel the breeze, the sun or the wind on my skin. For 5 minutes I would focus on those things and again, I would remember that hey, right now, everything is fine, the world does not revolve around this problem.

So those my my seemingly obvious tips for managing stress but there are a lot more tools that can help you relax on a much deeper level and can help remove some of the symptoms of stress.  This weekend Cora Geroux will be running her 'Stress Less' workshop series which will cover natural and easy tools to help you manage stress, including (amongst other things) breath work (pranayama), yoga asana (relaxing postures).

This workshop will also discuss how to recognise stress in the body and different types of stress. This is highly recommended and a workshop we only run once a year. If you are interested please book online as spaces are limited.

Tags:

A natural Cure for Insomnia

This blog comes from the delightful Cora Geroux who teaches at Yoga Village and takes a personal interest in natural stress reduction techniques.

Over the last few months so many of you have reported to me that you have trouble sleeping but are not sure why. Broken sleep or insomnia can be caused by a number of things, but regardless of the cause, seem deprivation must be one of the most frustrating things ever.

As someone who suffered from insomnia for much of my life, I understand first hand how much it can affect your day to day functioning. Now that I have my sleeping patterns in order it is like getting through the day is just so much easier and there is an energy injection in everything I do that just wasn’t there before.

For this reason I have asked our relaxation guru, Cora Geroux for some tips to share with you all about sleeping more soundly each night.  There are many things you can do including pranayama, yoga poses, eating certain foods, all of which can help or hinder your chances of sleeping through the night.

Read what Cora has to share below:

Sleep is crucial for our well-being. Without a proper nights rest our whole system goes out of whack. Our bodies get fat, our relationships suffer and our IQ actually goes down.

In my very first yoga teacher training I learned one simple technique that changed my life forever. It's so simple and easy I just had to share.

If you have trouble sleeping try this breathing exercise when you settle into bed tonight.

Extended Exhale Breath (Pranayama)

Repeat each step 3 times before moving onto the next. Breath through the nose the entire time.

1. Inhale for a count of 4, exhale for a count of 4
2. Inhale for a count of 4, exhale for a count of 5
3. Inhale for a count of 4, exhale for a count of 6
4. Inhale for a count of 4, exhale for a count of 7
5. Inhale for a count of 4, exhale for a count of 8

Cora is also teaching a yoga workshop in a couple of weeks on how to cure insomnia naturally.  Click here for details. 

Tags:

How to create a Yoga Retreat in Your Own Home

feet
I am so happy to be settled in the new space which feels so amazing! That said, for me the last 6 weeks incredibly demanding so I took myself off to Byron Bay last weekend for a self made yoga retreat for a bit of time out.

Anyone who has ever been on a yoga retreat knows that when you are on retreat you feel on top of the world. The magical combination of nature, yoga, mediation, pranayama and genuinely healthy food being prepared for you is the magical ticket towards a clearer, healthier mind.

Every time I have left a retreat I feel incredible, my energy levels are such that I spring out of bed in the morning and have consistent energy levels until I sleep soundly at night. And the sleep! As someone who has long suffered from insomnia, sleeping soundly at night is no easy feat. So it is no surprise that every time I leave a retreat (and now it is what  I hear from almost everyone who attends a retreat) I have told myself "this time, I am going to do all that stuff at home".

The truth is, there are so many things that we do on retreat that are unique tools to use for those who have the luxury of time. But if you don't have that luxury then it doesn't mean there is nothing that you can do. Something is ALWAYS better than nothing when it comes to trying to maintain a healthy, balanced lifestyle.

Although now I feel I have the formula just about right for maintaining this feeling, it has taken me many years to learn how not to fall straight back in to old habits.
 
  • Be realistic. Don't tell yourself you are going to get up 2 hours earlier than normal to get through an hour of meditation, and an hour of pranayama each morning. Change it to 20 minutes early (which should be achievable) and just do 10 minutes of each. 
  • Be prepared. The food is such a big part of a yoga retreat, because not only is it healthy and organic, it is incredibly relaxing not having to think about the preparation or purchasing of food. We don't realise how much brain time our eating decisions take up. So, be prepared. Prepurchase your vegetables on the weekend and dedicate 2 hours on a Sunday to soaking, baking, cooking etc. You can have lunches and dinners made up for a whole week in that time. (Suggestions of blogs & apps that I reference for easy, healthy recipe inspiration include http://juliaandlibby.com/, http://www.angieglutenfree.com/recipes/, http://thewholepantryapp.com/ and http://www.greenkitchenstories.com/)
  • Be Prepared Part 2. Pack your yoga gear or walking gear the night before, even if you aren't going to the morning class. Take it with you to work if you are attending an evening class. If you don't make it to class then why not walk home from work instead?
  • Switch off for half an hour a day. I usually do this the hour before I go to bed. I turn off the computer, my phone, my iPad, my TV, my music or anything else that could be a distraction and I just sit and relax. If you can't do it each day then try and do it for a whole day on the weekend, or half a day. But do give yourself some time where you have nothing at all to do. Zilch, Nada, Niente! You don't need to meditate, you could just look out the window, or enjoy your meal without watching TV or looking at Social Media. It is crazy how much time we waste on our devices that when you take them away, suddenly you are relaxed! 
  • Detox your mind. One of the only rules I have when I run a retreat is that we detox our minds by eliminating the following - Gossiping, Complaining, Comparisons and Negativity. It is amazing how much energy these things sap from your brain, so when you remove them all you have left is positivity or silence. Which is much nicer, right? 
  • Treat Yourself. Have a massage, give yourself a pedicure, have a bath, a foot soak, a facial mask. Do something special each week that is just for you.
  • Come on a retreat every year or two. Retreats are an amazing opportunity to learn how the above suggestions can make you feel a million times better.  Each time you attend a retreat you pick up new tips not only for your yoga practice but on meditation, pranayama and relaxation. It is also a great chance to meet like minded people who are looking for less stress in their lives. On Yoga Village retreats we have cooking workshops too so you learn some simple recipes that you can make at home.

Next retreat with being held by Myself and Cora Geroux for three nights from October 31st. The early bird special runs out tomorrow so if you are keen please book by midnight October 1st to take advantage of the discount.  The details and bookings are available here.
 
Check out some pics of my time in Byron Bay below....

Tags:

Eating for success By Angie Cowen

food
It is with excitement that I publish the first blog by a guest blogger. Angie from Angie's Gluten Free knows all about mindful eating and eating for success.

Angie is going to be catering for the Winter Yoga Retreat in July 2013 and will be giving a wholefoods workshop for all who attend.

Please welcome Angie.... server One of the biggest things I have found when it comes to nourishing myself is to consider the whole of me rather than just my stomach. What is wanted? What is desired? What is needed?

Thinking of an empty rice cake as being a quick, light snack to satisfy my hunger and believing it will also help me stay nice and slim won’t actually help in my overall feeling of satiety and wellbeing. In fact, it does quite the opposite. I end up needing to eat more of those empty foods to reach nutrient and emotional satisfaction. This empty food is wrapped in plenty of wasteful plastic. The end result is very little value for me and plenty of drain on the planet.  No success.

Asking what I want and need to achieve in my day (and my life) and how my food is going to help me achieve my goals allows me to practice being more present with myself at more points in my day. It also, by joyous default, gives me more energy to complete my daily tasks, give more, and feel  more fulfilled at the end of it (because I achieved what I set out to). When being present with myself and the food I am eating, I generally experience a greater sense of nourishment and daily satisfaction.

This, of course, is a practice of total presence and it’s encouraged to be done so with a gently curious and loving approach. So how do I get there?

When hunger sets in and it’s breakfast, lunch, dinner or snack time, start with how you actually feel on an emotional level – stressed, sad, relaxed, content, apprehensive. By connecting in with the feeling, you may be able to understand how it could affect what you choose to eat. Next, look at how your body is feeling – energised, tired, acidic, strong, hyperactive. This will help you decide what you need to be eating.

If after acknowledging that you are feeling a bit tired and knowing that sometimes you feel tired after eating heavy carbohydrates, you may choose a lighter vegetable rather than a heavier one. Or if you were feeling somewhat toxic in your body you may choose a fresher, more cleansing meal.

What time of day is it? Breakfast and lunch need to be of a decent size and nutrient dense as these are the main hours activities need to be achieved. Dinner is the last meal of the day and there is less digesting time before sleep, so it works well for the body to have the smallest meal of the day here. Less food in the stomach when resting means a more restful sleep.

Last but not least, look at how hungry you are – super hungry, a little hungry, not very hungry at all. Choose the amount you think you need and eat your meal slowly, with awareness in and on your body. Stop yourself from thinking about plans, events and work.

So the ultimate question is, what is your focus in this life? What are your dreams, plans, desires? By eating from the perspective of connecting to your whole self and seeing what is needed, you should feel more energised, satisfied and empowered, and have plenty of energy to focus on enjoying life and fulfilling your dreams and desires. Success!

For more on Angie visit her website http://www.angieglutenfree.com/ or come along to our upcoming Yoga Retreat
food2

Tags:

Yoga on a plane?

yoga_plane2
Crammed in between two strangers in a Jetstar seat for 9 hours is no one’s idea of travelling comfortably, least of all mine, as I reaffirmed yesterday. Although lucky in the ability to fold myself up in to various positions whilst seated, I noticed that after two hours on the plane my hips and back were already screaming out for some love. Not only do our muscles start to cramp from inactivity, but the massive dehydration project that aeroplanes put on your body only assist in making your muscles tighter and thus our ability to relax fully is jeopardized. So what can you do to help the situation without blowing all your frequent flyers points on an upgrade to premium economy or business class?

Start by drinking lots of water. This not only helps minimise dehydration but also gives you more reasons to get up and stretch your legs. I drink enough water that I need to get up around every 90 minutes or so.

Each time you get up to use the bathroom walk to the end of the plane and then back again (unless meal service is in place and then you’ll get stuck behind the trolley where all you’ll get are constant wafts of the Roast beef and gravy meals being dished up for 40 minutes).

After you’ve used the bathroom head to the very back of the plane where there is normally a bit more space (where, as I yesterday found out there is a deposit of uncomfortable passengers using the spare square metre to stretch out). There are a few stretched you can do that won’t require you to put your hands on the floor and are also a little more plane-acceptable that the Chaturanga-Updog-Downdog favourite of hotels rooms.

1) Stand with feet hip distance apart and facing a wall. Press your palms against the wall at shoulder height and shoulder distance apart. Keep your gaze just slight above the space between your hands and on an inhale press your chest towards the wall. On an exhale keep looking forward but push the wall away from you as you push your spine and shoulder blades back. Repeat 5 times (NB – when the person in the chair in front of your goes to the bathroom you can use the opportunity to do this again, seated, with your hands on the back of their headrest).

yoga_plane1

2) Turn your back to the wall and lean your bottom against it, with your feet slightly forward and hip distance apart. Bend your knees a little and fold yourself over your legs, taking your hands to your elbows. As a variation you can interlace your hands behind your back and move them behind your head.

yogapose2

3) Keep standing with your back towards the wall and lift one leg in to tree pose (foot on the inner thigh or inner calf muscle). Use one hand on the wall for balance and with the other hand apply some light pressure on to the inside of your raised leg to open the hip.(Repeat other side)

yogapose3

4)      Again with the back towards the wall, lift one leg and hug the knee as high in to your chest as you can. Strongly activate your standing thigh by lifting it up and push forward through your hips to work in to the psoas (which gets really tight when we spend so long seated).
yogapose4
When you return to your seat try to move around as much as possible (without causing too much irritation to your neighbour). I often sit with my legs crossed or one foot on the inner thigh, and then change sides. Your hips will thank you for it!

If all else fails then this is an opportunity to practice withdrawl of the senses – and a practice in being able to simply sit.
yogapose5
What are your tips for getting through a long plane trip?

Tags:

How Non-Attachment improved (and became) my Yoga Practice

yoga2_copy1
As many of you know, I am leaving for India in only 3 days and won’t be back until just before Christmas. Whilst I have been super excited to travel I have discovered in the last 2 weeks, through preparing for my travels that I am suffering from some severe cases of attachment! Attachment to my practice, attachment to my classes and mostly, a huge attachment to Yoga Village.

According to the Yoga Sutras, Practice (abhyasa) and non-attachment (vairagya) are the two core principles on which the entire system of Yoga rests. But what happens when we grow so attached to our practice that we can’t step away from it?

Over the last couple of weeks I have had some niggles in my knees; there wasn’t a particular pose or fall that set it off; dealing with the stress of leaving my baby (Yoga Village) for the first time since she was born had begun to present itself to me through physical injury.  It was then that I started to see the huge attachment that I have to the practice of yoga asana and therefore stepping back from my practice in order to allow my knees to rest has been an interesting process for me to go through.

I had already tried to hold back in poses that aggravated the problem further and it helped a little but I could see that two days off the mat was what was needed to complete the recovery. There was one major problem though; the concept of not practicing brought up all sorts of fears and questions for me. My thought trail went something like this ‘what if my practice goes downhill?’, ‘what if this means I won’t be as strong when I get to India?’, ‘Will my teacher think I am not committed?’ One of my friends, Kylie, bore the brunt of this mild yoga separation and told me, simply put that I had to just 'let it go'. It was then that I realised that for me, in this instance the mere act of stepping away from the mat in order to be mindful of what my body needed was to be my practice for a few days. Trusting in the universe and stepping away was incredible difficult but in actual fact it was exactly what I needed. I was surprised to find that this practice was just as much physical as it was mental, as my body longed to stretch, twist and tangle itself in to knots, my mind had to disciplinary. And it worked, within 2 days my pain had reduced so significantly that along with a modified practice it completely healed within the week. When I first stepped back on the mat it was difficult and I didn’t feel as strong,, after a few days my practice was back to normal and all was forgotten!

This became most significant when I began to apply the idea of letting go to some other areas in my life. Stepping away from my email was a big one. I had intended to be doing lots of email checking and running the business remotely whilst in India, even though Jess and some of the other teachers had offered to help out. I knew they were more than capable of keeping it going and the problem most certainly wasn't them; it was me. One by one I started to let go of things and therefore created the space in my life to be completely ready and relaxed when I arrive in India and it feels truly liberating!

What do you need to let go of?

Tags:

How to Get Glowing Yogi Skin

Now that we are half way through Spring, your body is busy working its way through the natural detoxification process that occurs after winter to help bring your body in to optimum health and shape for the upcoming summer. There are many things that we can do to help our bodies along with that process, after which your body should thank you by rejuvenating your skin, hair and energy levels. See below to find out more about how to get that Yoga Glow.

Getting the Gleam

As many of you know Yoga is extremely detoxing. By going upside down in poses such as Downward Dog and Headstand (which, by the way, is said to be the best pose for reversing the signs of aging!) we encourage blood flow to the face. This blood flow increases oxygen and other minerals to the skin which encourages rejuvenation, as well as rosier cheeks and general glow. Twists and backbends place pressure and stretch various organs which again encourage blood flow to flush the toxins out of them. An increased heart rate in poses such as Warrior and Chair Pose encourages sweat which is one of the body’s natural ways of eliminating toxins. Check out my Spring Detox sequence.

H2O and Glow, glow, glow!

The toxins that are released from the organs during your yoga practice are then released straight in to the blood stream so make sure you are taking the right steps to flush them out of your system after yoga. To do this drink a big glass of water before you come to class and then straight after class do the same. You’ve probably heard it a million times but by drinking water we are flushing the system and allowing the body to clean itself. Not only that, but after class your muscles will need some hydration so drinking a coffee or glass of vino straight away will only dehydrate them further.

Lunching to Luminosity

Certain foods have a particularly good effect on your skin and will help you build your glow. Here are my some of my favourites. Cabbage is low in calories, high in antioxidants, and has around 60% more vitamin C than oranges. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that slows the rate of free-radical damage -- free radicals are unstable molecules that damage collagen and cause skin dryness, fine lines and wrinkles. Check out a great cabbage recipe which is perfect for Spring.

Avocado is not only wonderful for your skin when eaten but can also be applied directly to the skin as a mask to help it gain moisture and collagen. The green fruit is packed with nutrients, including protein, beta carotene, potassium, folic acid, B vitamins, Vitamin E, Vitamin K and magnesium. Like cabbage the antioxidants in avocados protect skin from the aging effects of free radicals. Vitamin E helps protect the skin against ultraviolet radiation from the sun, as well as environmental pollutants. Avocados also have healthy fats, or monounsaturated fats, which lower cholesterol and help skin stay moisturized, protecting against fine lines and wrinkles. The oil in avocado also sparks the skin's production of collagen, a substance that helps skin maintain its elasticity and youth. Bring on the guacamole!

Berries – what’s not to like here? Berries are powerful allies for the skin. Berries are packed with antioxidants and are high in Vitamin C, which help protect the skin from the harmful effects of the sun. When choosing berries, pick darkly colored ones, as they provide more vitamins and nutrients than the lighter berries. Blueberries are doubly helpful to the skin as they offer anti-inflammatory substances, which help keep your complexion clear and free of fine lines.

Harness your Happiness

One of the amazing things about teaching yoga is that after each class I get to see a room full of happy faces and in my opinion a smile is the most beautiful thing anyone can have. There is almost no way that you can’t feel happy or content after yoga, but what’s the point in feeling that way if as soon as you step outside and get in your car you are honking the people around you or yelling at your partner again. Try to maintain the essence of your yoga practice in your dealings with everything and everyone around you; you'll find that your entire outlook will change – also changing people’s perception and behaviour towards you. Give the gift of a smile to someone and they will always associate you with that smile.

Salute Your Skin

This Saturday at Darlinghurst's Yoga Village we are holding a yoga workshop called ‘Salute Your Skin’ which will involve a hands on session on finding and maintaining the yoga glow, naturally. I will be running a fun and playful yoga class, that will involve asana, breathing, facial and laughter yoga and Yasemin Trollope (a happiness, health and natural beauty expert) will be and teaching us how to give ourselves facial massages, use pressure points on the face that activate skin renewal, create masks out of normal household ingredients and how to use natural beauty products. We have goody bags to give to each participant that are now valued at over $100 so the workshop pays for itself in products alone. We have three spaces left so follow the link to reserve your place in the class. Get Glowing Yogi's!

Tags:
Next