Is Yoga enough to Keep you Fit?

fitness-girl

Sometimes people want to know whether Yoga in itself is enough to keep you physically fit or whether you need to do other activities as well.

To answer the question I looked for a definition of physical fitness and found out that, to stay fit, experts generally agree that your exercise routine should include three elements: cardiovascular exercise, strength training and stretching.

Everyone knows that Yoga develops flexibility, but what about strength and cardiovascular health? Continue reading

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What sort of Yoga am I practising?

Tree of yoga

I have just come back from a couple of weeks in lovely, rural Pembrokeshire -staying in an old, converted dairy with our own resident bat -but that’s another story!

While I was away I got to go to some yoga classes which was such a nice change -nothing to do but enjoy my own practice and someone else’s teaching.  It struck me what a lot of different types of yoga there are.  In Wales  I was lucky enough to go to Scaravelli Yoga, Dru Yoga, Hatha Yoga and Vinyasa Flow. Other classes in the area, which I unfortunately missed included Iyenger, Ashtanga and Vini yoga-so much choice!! Continue reading

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Relaxation -the most Challenging part of Yoga?

Shavasana

Sometimes in yoga magazines people  are asked  their favourite yoga pose and often the answer is a strong posture such as head stand or arm balance or something that looks pretty impressive.

Surprisingly  enough, especially when you first start yoga, one of the more difficult parts of the practice is the one at the end where you lie on your mat in Savasana (Corpse pose) and …relax.. Continue reading

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Making Excuses

Making Excuses 2

“It’s not enough to be busy; so are the ants. The question is: what are we busy about?” ~Henry David Thoreau

People often come to yoga classes for a specific reason-perhaps a health related condition they want to improve such as lower back pain, anxiety or insomnia.  Yoga is great for alleviating all of these.

After a little while people  typically start to feel a bit better- so much so that they think they are ‘cured’ and stop practising yoga or committing to a regular yoga class. Continue reading

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Taking advantage of the Summer Weather

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This week the weather has been so lovely I have been practising yoga outside. On Monday I went to teach a regular session  at a private house in a Suffolk village and was lucky enough to be invited to hold the class in the garden. The sun was shining; there was a gentle breeze blowing; the sound of leaves rustling and birds overhead and best of all we were barefoot on the grass which felt delicious. Continue reading

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Is Meditation worth it?

Woman meditating

‘What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us.’  (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

There are so many benefits of meditation -both physical and mental: decreasing tension related pain and illness; improving sleep; reducing stress levels; developing focus and concentration; being more creative, to name just a few.

So why do so many of us resist the idea?

Continue reading

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Counting your Blessings

Counting blessings

This weekend I helped my daughter book a short hotel break in Amsterdam for her birthday. We looked at all the usual websites and each time we thought we had found the perfect place to stay, we discovered something wrong with it. The rooms were too small,  you had to pay extra for the use of the pool, the hotel was a long way from the city centre etc etc..

It made me realise how often we see the down side of things. Continue reading

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Do you have to be Slim to do Yoga?

you-are-beautiful

There are a lot of myths about yoga: that you have to be flexible to do it, that it’s only for women, that once you reach a certain age you can’t do it..

One myth about yoga is that only slim people can practise. That’s perpetuated by the media. In yoga magazines  for example most of the photos you see are of thin ‘beautiful’ people and, come to that, most of them are young, white  and female (but that would be  the topic for another blog). Continue reading

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A Breathing Practice for Stress

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It has been quite a stressful week one way and another.

At times we all feel stressed and anxious and need a little help to relax. Yoga is wonderful for helping reduce stress and tension and there are a host of useful techniques to draw on, including simple breathing  practices.

When we are anxious we are likely to adopt rapid, shallow, upper-chest breathing Continue reading

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A Meditation Practice

Flame

With the terrible events and violence that have been  in the news recently, it frankly feels a bit trivial to be writing a blog at all.

So I thought I would share with you a meditation practice taken from an idea by the excellent yoga teacher Tara Fraser in her book ‘Live better Yoga -exercises and inspirations for well-being’. Continue reading

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