Can Yoga Make my Bad Back Worse?

Naked female back

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

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Developing a Home Yoga Practice

car studio

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

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Do you have to be a Veggie to practise Yoga?

File:Soy-whey-protein-diet.jpg

B. K. S. Iyengar renowned yoga teacher and guru who died in 2014 at the age of 95   believed that a vegetarian diet is a ‘necessity’ to the practice of yoga. It is certainly true that lots of people who do yoga are vegetarian, but why is that and is it essential? If you’re a meat eater are you going to feel excluded?

Years ago, before I started my yoga teacher training I  went to a yoga day with a friend and we took sausage rolls to the shared lunch-not realising that this wasn’t at all what was expected. Continue reading

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Stepping out of our Comfort Zone

This week I had an experience which I was not looking forward to and which took me out of my comfort zone.

I had made up my mind a few weeks ago that I should start to embrace new technology a bit more and look into using video to impart information about yoga – including on my website- but had very little idea how to go about it and wasn’t happy about being in front of a camera.

Continue reading

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Does Yoga Strengthen your Core?

core strength

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

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Oh! My Aching Head!

Headaches

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

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Can I Keep my Socks on ?

 barefoot

When people first decide to start yoga they often ask what they should wear for their practice and they can find it off putting that yoga is usually practised in bare feet.

However if you can get over the feeling that you don’t like your feet, that everyone else’s look better than yours and that you’d rather not expose them at all it can feel very nice, as it gives you that sense of being in touch with the earth rather than up in the clouds somewhere. Continue reading

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No Competition Needed

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

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The Joys of Walking Gracefully

walking woman

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

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Healthy Breathing

breathing couple

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

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