People start yoga for lots of different reasons, including wanting help with a specific need – improving posture, reducing stress, developing flexibility and so on- and very often they find yoga really helps and, as a result, become yoga devotees.
Many people turn to yoga as a way of improving their lower back. Often they find yoga invaluable and stick with it as they find their back is much improved, but sometimes people sadly give up on yoga because they think it makes their back pain worse. Continue reading
You definitely get more out of yoga if you can do some home practice between classes, but often- even with the best intentions- life and other people get in the way.
So here are a few tips which I have found helpful if you feel like giving it a try.
Choose a time of day which works for you depending on your life style. Continue reading
Last week someone who attends my Beginners yoga class was asking me about whether yoga develops core strength. Yoga is holistic and yoga teachers don’t tend to think of muscle groups in isolation , so my immediate, slightly defensive reaction was, ‘Yes it does, but yoga does lots of other things as well.’
However I have been thinking a lot about this question and decided to do some research to see if I could provide a better answer.
Core strength is a common expression these days, but what does it actually mean and what is the core? Continue reading
Many years ago before I started practising yoga I used to suffer from headaches. They could be a daily occurrence and at times they were so bad that they tipped over into the excrutiating pain and sickness of migraine, which would wipe me out for 24 hours, during which I had to take to a darkened room.
At the time I had retrained to teach modern languages in a school where the head of department was less than supportive and I was going through an acrimonious divorce with two small children to look after -so I had bucket loads of tension and stress.
Sometimes we can’t ditch the stress but there are ways of coping with it, so our health isn’t adversely affected. Continue reading
One of the differences between Yoga and other forms of exercise which people often mention is the fact that Yoga is non competitive. It is commonly described as being ‘process oriented’ as opposed to goal focussed and, as a result, our awareness is more internal and less external.
That’s quite different to many aspects of life where we are constantly noticing what other people are doing and tend to compare ourselves to others. Continue reading
I was interested to read in a newspaper article recently that a new law against “distracted walking” was being considered in New Jersey USA, which could mean that a pedestrian using a mobile phone can be fined and even jailed.
Apparently experts suggest that an increasingly high number of deaths are caused by pedestrians barely noticing where they are going, usually because they’re texting and therefore walking into traffic.
I called that article to mind when I attended a yoga training day recently about how weight bearing postures can help maintain bone density. It was part of a programme called Continue reading
When I first started yoga I remember, to my shame, saying to my yoga teacher that I didn’t like the breathing practices, as I found them rather boring and only enjoyed the movement.
Now years of experience later I can see what a silly statement that was because breathing is such a fundamental part of yoga, both when practising movement -(being attentive to the breath can give freedom of movement and help us to relax into postures)- but also as a practice in its own right.
In daily life most of us don’t give breathing a second thought, but the way we breathe can affect our physical and mental health and we can get into bad habits such as shallow, upper chest breathing. Continue reading