laulovesyoga Blog

Be beautiful on the inside!

I had a beautiful conversation with one of my fave yogis last night about food, diet and things we put into our body! Of course we are bombarded these days with more information than we can possibly digest on diets, detox’s, low fat foods, body image… the list goes on! It becomes hard to know where to start if you know you want and need to change your daily intake of food and your relationship with it!

I have been on a turbulent journey with food since I was a young dancer and this journey continues and changes frequently…. Perhaps the thing to get our head round is not what we should or shouldn’t be eating but of letting that control and dominance rule our life. It’s good to know that your relationship with food will change over the years, so will your tastes, probably your weight, the kind of food and drink you have access to and like everything in our life, being able to accept those changes and adapt to them, can be one of the biggest journeys.

One of the best words of advice to live by has to be “everything in moderation” but how can we make that work best for us, without turning into a food obsessed, health freak (I speak purely of myself here)?

When in May last year I began to live like a yogi not only on my mat but off my mat too, I noticed a few natural evolutions starting to take place. It’s wonderful when something becomes natural isn’t it? You find yourself just going off alcohol, not wanting to binge on lollies and sweeties, gravitating to vegetables and fruit instead of cakes and crisps; of course it can be a natural evolution into these foods too! So the problem is the healthy choices don’t always happen naturally. I did find that as my yoga practice started to get more intense and serious with this came a natural wanting to give up the foods and drinks and lifestyle choices that made me feel yucky! I think is what is meant when yoga teachers say the beautiful words “you stop doing yoga and become yoga”. Even if you think that yoga can’t change your habits, your food choices, your lifestyle choices, it absolutely can and it’s usually you that makes these changes happen, yoga just becomes the instigator!

So I got thinking about a weekly eating plan, I don’t like to use the word ‘diet’ as it normally has negative connotations with fad starvation and suppression from the foods you like. So I put together a few ideas to maybe think about so that you don’t purely just deny yourself treats and ways of living that make us smile. We all know that if we ate nothing but fruit and vegetables and drank nothing but water we would be as pure as pure can be….but would we be happy??

  • Make Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays – healthy, cleansing days – this is sustainable and a great way to start your week mentally, physically and internally. Try to cut out the foods/products and drinks below on these days, giving your body time to purify and your mind time to see the benefits of living like this: (Of course these are all just a guide, even just starting with a few is better than none!)
  • No Coffee or Caffeine – replace with hot water and lemon, green tea, peppermint tea
  • Maybe just fresh fruit and veggies (there are lots of different ways you can eat these)
  • Freshly made soup, or natural soups for dinners 
  • Nothing with additives (this is a great one to stick by, the less preservatives and additives the better)
  • No Alcohol
  • No meat 
  • No milk or dairy
  • No wheat’s or heavy carbohydrates 
  • 2 litres of water a day 
  • It’s also good to think – 3 meals a day, morning, lunch and early evening, with 2 snacks throughout the day
  •  Also similar eating times on these days, so the body knows when to expect food and when to digest
  • Sticking to no food after 7/8pm ish is a great one too, let the digestive system slow down before you sleep
  • Making sure you have lovely healthy things at your disposal, this does take some planning but can be fun too, get shopping!

If you start with aiming to live like this for 3 days, it’s like a mini detox each week and totally sustainable for the short time. Of course it’s not to then spend the next 4 days putting back in complete rubbish, remembering the moderation rule but it’s worth seeing how your feel on those 3 days. It’s also great way to work out if there are any foods or drinks that don’t agree with you.

  • Great to take every day: – A probiotic – I have been taking one of these for the past 5 years every day and I swear by them for everything!
  • Spiralina – A green super food
  • Chlorophyll – Great for digestive health
  • Psyllium Husk – Great for bowl health

The difficult bit then comes to try and not think about your daily intake every second of the day, I’m guilty of this one! Becoming overly obsessed is as bad as not obsessing at all and there is lots of great information out there and some bad information too, if it’s something you become increasingly interested in. Get in the know how about the foods you eat!

 The most important bit, just use and trust your initiative and intuition, yoga connects us to that part of our beautiful selves, think natural, the more beautiful things you put into your body the more beautiful you will feel!! And just so you know I’m totally not saying give up treats, but just starting to become more mindful about our internal body can be an awesome way to live!

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How hard should a Yoga class be?

THOUGHT OF THE DAY

How hard should a Yoga class be? Is feeling exhausted the objective of a Yoga class? Is a 90 minute class better than a 60 minute class?

The reaction to this question and the points of interest, I’m sure will be varied; after all we are all so unique, how can a Yoga practise be accepted the same and have the same outcomes and experiences for each individual yogi. We all favour different flow, poses, teachers, styles of Yoga, as we do in life! So what makes a class complete and satisfying, so that as many people as possible get all the benefits they need whether it is an ‘easy’ or ‘difficult’ class? So what should we be feeling at the end of a class, whether it is 90 or 60 minutes, dynamic or restorative, hot or cool?

Through my own practise, I have aimed for all the classes I teach to be designed to be complete. Yoga is after all about union. I think a class should be designed to warm up the body, slow down the mind and work through a specific series of postures and exercises allowing the heart rate to rise, the breath to work with the movement, the body to sweat, the muscles to work and lengthen, the mind to calm and quieten. As we come to the end of class we then knit everything together so by the time class is over our mind and body are calm and our breath steady; we are energised ready to leave and enjoy the rest of our day/evening. To me this seems a totally logical journey for a Yoga class, to really allow each individual yogi to explore a plethora of internal beauty within during the course of the class. By beginning to let yoga in to your life, you begin to connect with your body and know how hard you want to push certain areas of your practise. It’s also this connection that allows us to know when we need to back off of certain areas of our practise too.

Each class should be complete. Not just designed to exhaust you or to be very gentle, but designed so that you may get out of them what your body and mind needs. It does not mean you have to feel exhausted or tired to get the most out of class. We can sometimes go to our practise with such pre-conceived ideas of how we are feeling and what we need to work on, open or release. We may not always feel present, grounded and focused and it’s through the process of our class that we allow Yoga to work on us rather than to just have an ambition or expectation of how we should feel by the end of class. Yoga is a process of discovery and connection with yourself, think of it more as a ‘work in’ than a ‘work out’. The first lesson Yoga teaches us is to be present and mindful and thus receive what we need.

So perhaps the answer to this question is to not think about how hard your Yoga class should be, just try to always bear in mind that Yoga is a lifetime practice, not a quick fix, so have patience with yourself in and out of the Yoga studio, enjoy the journey and always think beautiful!

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Things that make you smile!

Right now I’m currently away from some of my besties! So you can imagine the smile on my face when I got an email last week, with the pictures below. My beautiful friends, yoga’in it up on their barge, specially for me!! Thanks beautifuls, see you next month (cant wait!!)

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Anything is possible….

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Why Yoga??

So in my normal life, when i’m not yoga’in, (infact that should be the other way round, yoga has now totally become my normal everyday life!!) I work at a gym in Darwin and spend a bit of time talking to the members/gym junkies and watching them pour in through the doors for Pump, Step, Spin, Boxercise and occasionally i’m asked about the yoga classes.I find myself trying to explain why I believe its one of the most wonderful practices you can get into regardless of your age, flexibility, fitness, size etc. and what the true benefits really are, basically……why yoga?

So I thought I would just jot down a few reasons behind why taking just a few moments out of your usual fitness routine to find a yoga mat and a class to attend is really worth missing just that one Aerobics/Step/RPM/Combat class for, just maybe!!

Yoga can be used as a gentle or demanding fitness programme, as a form of therapy or treatment, as part of a ethical lifestyle, as a well-being or spiritual experience, or simply as a source of pleasure and time for a little ‘me time’

The most important thing to remember is yoga is for anyone of any age, can be practised at anytime and any where and as there are so many variations of yoga now available to us, surely a style that suits and warms to everyone!

Here are just a few little reasons….

  • improves stamina, strength and flexibility
  • increases vitality and energy
  • reduces tension and pain
  • leads to an improved awareness of your body
  • delays the aging process (hooray)
  • alleviates the strain of the natural results of old age
  • leads to inner peace and harmony
  • helps build up resistance to stress
  • improves quality of life and mental well-being
  • develops persistance and concentration
  • improves the ability to focus and provides mental clarity
  • harmonizes the body and spirit
  • opens up new perspectives and approaches to life
  • helps to identify and overcome unwanted cravings and habits
  • boosts self-confidence, self- belief and self-awareness
So why not is the question?

 

 

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Wherever you are…

For the most wonderful  girlie in my life, my shining light….right back at ya mamma!

Wherever you are, my love will keep you safe. My heart will build a bridge of light, across both time and space. Wherever you are, our hearts still beat as one. I hold you in my dreams each night, until your task is done.

Light up the darkness my wonderous star, our hope and dreams, my heart and yours forever shining far. Light up the darkness, my princess of peace, may the stars shine all around you and may your courage never cease.

Wherever I am, I will love you day by day, I will keep you safe, cling onto faith along the dark dark way. Wherever I am, I will hold on through the night. I will pray each day a safe return, I will look now to the light….

(Paul Mealor)

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Explore yoga at home!

When I did my teacher training there was a big emphasis on ‘personal practise’, “this is when as a yoga teacher you truly find your inspiration and creativity to then pass on in your classes.” Thinking about these words, I think this applies to everyone. Self discovery, inner calm and peace starts with allowing yourself the luxury of time out from your normal rushed routine to practise yoga or just simply breathe, stretch, read, meditate; just finding a moment of tranquility.

Here are some tips and tricks for getting your yoga out of the studio, away from the class and into your home, ‘cos that’s when the real juice starts to flow.

1. Let go of all expectations. All of them.

No doubt you’ve been going to class for a while, and you think you’ve got a pretty good idea about what makes a yoga practice. Invariably it involves at least 60, if not 90 minutes on a yoga mat. Often it makes you sweat. Usually it involves working toward more and more challenging poses. Right?

Forget about it.

Holding on to these kinds of ideas about what a yoga practice is invariably leads to failure.  How often do you have a 60-minute chunk of spare time in your day? How do you think you’re going to remember all those sparkly sequences your teacher effortlessly reels off week after week?

Nope. Don’t expect your home practice to be… anything. At all. Forget about all ideas like:

It doesn’t count unless it’s 60 minutes long.
It doesn’t count unless I sweat.
It doesn’t count unless I do multiple variations of x–asana.
It doesn’t count unless…

Start with no idea at all about what your home practice will look like, feel like or be like. Blank slate. Beginner’s mind.

And realize that it all counts, which leads us to…

2. Giving yourself permission to just roll out your mat and breathe…

That’s it.

That’s all you need to do each and every day.

Get out your mat and sit on it. Or lie on it. Or stand on it. Whatever feels right to you today.

Breathe. And wait.

While you wait, check out…….

What’s your breath doing?
How does it feel in your body?
Where does it go in your body?
What does your body feel like?

Just get up close and intimate with the breath as it moves around the body. Understand that, eventually, giving yourself permission to just be will create space for yoga to happen.

Until then, though, you can use a few tricks to help it along.

3.  Set an intention.

Once you’ve got that sense of where you are today on the mat, taking into account things like the seasons, the lunar cycle, how busy you are, how exhausted you are or how energetic you are, allow an intention to form.

Something simple like…

Today I want to soften.
Today I want to explore Warrior I.
Today I need to burn off some energy.
Today I need to replenish.
Today I want to play.

Whatever, it doesn’t matter what your intention is, just make it appropriate and real.

Toss the ego right out the door–no one is watching you, you’ve got nothing to prove, and if you can’t listen to your heart on the mat, then where will you be able to?

This intention is like setting your course for the adventure on the mat. It gives you something to set your sail to, although it doesn’t guarantee you’ll end up where you think you’re going.

4. Warm up.

Combine that intention of yours with movements that support where you think you’re going.

Be mindful of the whole body.

What does it take to get breath into every cell?

Sun salutations are an obvious warm up, but there’s many ways to work with the body. Give yourself permission to do what’s right for you.

Never underestimate the power of simple. Stay in Cat/Cow spine breath for ten minutes if it’s working for you. Take Childs pose for half an hour if that’s what you need. Stand in one spot and shake it all about if that’s what comes to mind.

Trust those first flutters of intuition, even when they seem crazy or like they might not yoga.

At heart, your body knows what it needs. Listen to it.

5. Standing Poses, seated poses, backbends, twists, savasana.

That’s the basic class sequence, so if you’re stuck, come back to that. It’s just natural really.

Once the body is warm, you’ll likely feel like doing some standing poses. Don’t worry if you think you can’t remember what order they’re supposed to be done in. Keep coming back to your intention and just see which poses your body wants to do.

It doesn’t matter if you only do one standing pose. Sometimes that’s the day. It doesn’t matter if you do mainly standing poses. Sometimes that’s the day.

After that, hit the ground. Do some seated poses. Maybe some forward bends. Move into backbends now that you’re good and warmed up. Finish up with a twist and savasana relaxation. Nothing too complicated.

Whenever you don’t know what to do–which will be all the time at first–bring your awareness back to your breath and just feel it inside of your body.

Notice where it goes, notice where it gets stuck, let it guide you into posture.

Come back to your intention–ask what will support that. No good setting an intention to soften and then spending the whole time on the mat doing Warrior variations. Sure they’re great, but to soften… maybe you’re better off surrendering into forward bends.

If you notice that what your body feels like doing is different from the intention you set, ask yourself why? Was the intention set with the head? Or is the body avoiding what it needs? Always be the yogi–observing, questioning, noticing, accepting, loving.

6. Enjoy being able to take time in postures.

When you practice at home you’ve got the luxury of being able to take as long as you like to work your way into a posture, and as long as you like to stay within the posture and feel it. Enjoy this process. Surrender to this process. Let your breath be your guide, slow as it likes.

And then get curious about the posture. If you can’t remember if the thighs roll inward or outward, try it each way and see which one feels like it’s creating space.

Be an adventurer exploring the frontiers of the body from the inside out, like you’re the first one to ever do yoga and one day you’ll write about the process.

Mostly, trust that you know. Because you do, you know?

7. Don’t be constrained by how you think postures should look.

It’s so easy to get hung up on the idea that this is the way the pose is done. But we’ve all got different bodies, with different injuries and different proportions. Sometimes we’ll intuitively modify a posture to give us the exact opening that we need.

Of course, sometimes we’ll do the opposite too, and modify a posture to cheat a bit so we can avoid a tight or weak spot.

Thing is, you know which is which.

You know when you’re copping out, and when you’re not. So trust yourself when it feels right to explore a posture in a different way. Chances are, you’ll come across that modification in a yoga book one day anyway!

8. Be playful, and light, and joyous.

Make your practice fun because then you’re more likely to do it. Use music, if music’s your thing.Choose a beautiful spot to practice. Use lighting for mood. Keep a smile on your face. Hum a tune, or an om if that helps you relax your jaw. Use a mirror if that helps alignment. Pick a spot with a view of the ocean, if that helps concentration.

Practice just for the joy of it, and give thanks for having a body healthy enough to move freely. Take a moment before you start to just be grateful to yourself for taking the time to step onto the mat, to your day for offering space for you to step onto the mat, to the society you live in for allowing you to step onto your mat. Gratitude begets joy.

9. Make your daily home practice the one must-do of your day.

If your practice is your priority, it will get done because you’ll move everything else around in order to make it happen. Then there’s always room for yoga. Because with no expectations  we know that ten minutes on the mat is oh-so worth it!

I mean, would you rather:

Watch TV, or play with yoga?
Cruise Facebook, or connect with yoga?
Sleep for an extra half an hour, or energize with yoga?
Gossip on the phone, or replenish with yoga?

Guaranteed, this will change your life. It will. No questions. No exceptions. No ifs. No buts. If you get on your yoga mat every single day, even if it’s only for ten minutes sometimes, your life will change. For the better, I promise you.

10. Be kind to yourself, and always, always get back on your mat.

There will be days, weeks, maybe even months when you and your home practice don’t see anything of each other. And that’s okay. It doesn’t matter. All that matters is you get out your mat, get on your mat and breathe.

That’s it. And see what happens next. It doesn’t matter that your last home practice was last week, last month or last year. What does matter is that you are practicing now.

And practicing now, with kindness for all the times you didn’t practice, will help you get back on the mat tomorrow and the day after.

Yoga has changed my life, because it has changed me. It has given me the tools to cut away the crap and banish the bullshit and dig up the dirt.

Results? A life that’s a whole lot clearer, more spacious, more joyous, more real and just plain… more.

There’s still pain, some suffering and lots of emotion. That stuff doesn’t go away, but it certainly becomes more and more bearable until you finally reach a point where even grief holds the tenderness of love within it’s embrace.

And that’s something worth getting on the mat for everyday. Why not make it a New Years Resolution for yourself!!

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Pregnancy & Mums n Bubs Yoga

I recently completed the Bliss Baby Yoga Teacher Training online course and loved every minute of it. Learning how yoga can compliment you from the very start of your pregnancy journey right into the wonderful joy that is motherhood was just amazing and beyond interesting as a newly qualified yoga teacher.

My assignment after the course material was to design specific yoga sequences for particular pre-natal and post-natal circumstances and I thought I would share them with you, ENJOY!!! And if you are thinking of learning a little more about pregnancy yoga, I could not recommend a more in depth, wonderfully put together course.

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The following yoga sequence has been designed for a pregnant lady of 37 weeks, who is suffering from aching hips, with the baby currently in a breech position.

The intention of this sequence is to work on releasing the aching pain and tightness around the hips and pelvic region, with some soft, lengthening stretches; to help encourage the baby out of a breech position into the correct position for birth (the baby’s head to engage in the pelvic brim), with some yoga positions to work against gravity a little, in the “slowing down” postures to help give the baby some space to hopefully turn naturally.

Particularly important at this stage of the pregnancy, nearing towards the end of trimester 3 is a gentle yoga practise that can help manage mum’s stress/anxiety levels, help ease her uncomfortable-ness, tiredness and ‘squashed-up’ feeling of the now large, heavy belly, allow her to really get in touch with breathing techniques, relaxation and calming visualisations; all the little small things that can perhaps be called upon during the birth to help make it as truly a wonderful experience as possible.

Yoga Sequence

Encouraging deep Ujjayi, softly sounding breath throughout the entire practise, a great grounding, centring and also warming breath; that can also be used during breaks from contractions

– Sukasana (perhaps sat on a bolster or kneeling with a blanket under calf muscles for comfort) for Bhramari, humming bee breath, a calming/de-stressing, meditative breath to focus the mind to begin the class
– Side to side lateral stretches, placing one hand on the floor, flowing from side to side, focusing on the breath, creating space in the now compressed intercostals and generally facilitate easier breathing
– Shoulder rotations, with hands on the shoulders, to open up the whole upper back and shoulders, that tighten in late pregnancy and slowly start to get the energy and breath flowing into the body to warm up and open
– Onto all fours for slow hip circles in both directions, slowly warming and easing pressure to the pelvic, lower back and hip region, wonderful birthing preparation position taking the strain of the lower back and hopefully in this case help to ease the downward pressure of the breech position of baby to encourage rotation
– Cat stretches on all fours, incorporating pelvic floor activation, drawing calming movement into the belly, easing now exaggerated lordotic arch in the lower back, helping to move baby in the womb, avoid arching the belly completely.
– Supported Balasana, childs pose, with a bolster under the forehead and continuing with this ‘slowing down’ position to rest for a few breaths.
– Easy lunge transition, using hand to knee support to standing
– Coming up against the wall or a chair to use for supported right angle/Adho Mukha Savasana, again reversing the effects of gravity to encourage the baby out of breech and opening up the whole spine and torso region of the body.
– Can transition into supported forward fold, Prasarita Padottanasana with the legs, still using the wall or a chair for support and knee bends with the breath in this posture will bring some movement to the body and help warm and release the hips, hands can be placed in knees or stay on the wall – but encourage mum to stay at right angle with her torso so this movement does not become a squat, and still helps reverse the downward pressure of the breech baby
– Sitting on the chair, facing the wall for ‘thru-the-hole’ hip stretch, relieving the achy pains in the hips, mum can use the wall as support with the hands, when slowly if comfortable leaning forward to stretch the outer hips
– Easy transition down to the ground again through knee supported lunge staying close to the wall for the next few postures
– Gomukhasana on both sides to release the outer hips and encourage internal, stabilising rotation, mum can sit on a bolster if hips are particularly sore or tight and either uses the chair to support the arms in leaning forward or if happy to come a little lower can use a block infront for support. If mum is feeling energised enough can come into Garuda arms here to release the upper back and shoulder blades
– Setu Bandha Savangasana, restorative bridge pose, either raising and lowering with breath or placing a block under the sacrum to support the lower back and take the strain off the legs, this position is wonderful in again reversing the downward force pressure for the breech baby and mum can place hands of the belly to connect or over the head to elongate the torso
– Side knee drops in supine position to release achy hips and massage sacrum, ensuring not to over-twist the belly
– Guided falling out/sighing breaths in supported Viparita Karani up against the wall and a bolster under the sacrum, great restorative, calming, rejuvenating posture, helping take the pressure off the hips, pelvis and lower back; ensuring mum happy on her back, to roll to her left side if feels uncomfortable at any time
– Savasana on left side, supported with blankets under the head and top knee, ensure mum is comfortable to remain in this position for a guided relaxation, mediation/visualisation, calming for both mum and bub. Speaking about the benefits of yoga, breath, visualising baby, energy flows within the body, calming music on in the background

– Seated for closing chant of the mantra Om – wonderful calming manta, that helps energise and also lengthen the exhalation, whilst also developing sound awareness, great for use during the birth as a calming release

………………………………..

The following yoga sequence has been designed for a mum who gave birth 2 months ago, has sacro-illiac pain and a tight neck and shoulders.

The intention of this sequence is to gently introduce mum back in to yoga after the birthing experience, to strengthen weakened areas, energise, relax and give mum a yoga practise of time dedicated to herself. In this case to gradually strengthen the muscles around the pelvic region, abdominals and lower back to ease and support the sacro illiac pain the new mum is experiencing and in all new mum cases ease tight neck and shoulders, as a result of breast feeding, tension, tiredness and holding their new bub.

Where we can we can incorporate bub in the yoga poses, during the class, unless they are happy to be left sleeping or watching. Encouraging mums that a mums n bubs yoga class may be quite different from any class they may have previously attended and to go with the flow, doing only what they are happy to do. If the bubs become disturbed, its a great time to involve the babies in some yoga poses, singing/chanting and baby massage, a happy baby, a happy mum!!

Yoga Sequence

Encouraging deep Ujjayi, softly sounding breath throughout the entire practise, a great grounding, centring, stress releasing but also energising and warming breath.

– Sukasana (perhaps sat on a bolster or kneeling with a blanket under calf muscles for comfort) or laying down in corpse pose for Viloma Pranayama, a calming/de-stressing, releasing breath to focus the mind to begin the class
– Side to side lateral stretches, placing one hand on the floor, flowing from side to side, focusing on the breath, warming up the shoulders, opening the chest and generally facilitate easier breathing
– Slow neck stretches to both sides, extending the opposite hand to stretch the neck gently, chin into armpit to stretch the back of the neck also – can use the hand to apply light pressure to deepen the stretch
– Pelvic floor raises and contractions, hands resting on the knees if sitting
– Table pose to release the shoulders and open the heart chakra, great feel good pose
– Gomukhasana, using Garaduasana arms if not too much and can also sit on a bolster if hips are tight or release the underneath leg long out infront – great stabilising posture for the hips and pelvis, whilst still stretching out the buttock that can pull on the lower back and pelvis worsening sacro iliac pain
– The next few postures can be done over the top of baby, to interact with bub
– On to all fours for Bidalasana, with particular attention on neutral spine, starting to engage and discovering the core again. Also wonderful for opening up the upper back and shoulder region.
– Staying on all fours for opposite leg and arm extend, ensuring mum is parallel with the hips and holding neutral spine as much as possible – strengthening the core and pelvic region – giving the option to rest in Childs pose if it becomes painful or too much
– Balasana – stretching out the spine and shoulder/chest girdle
– Modified Camel using the hands, knees in parallel to support the pelvis, preventing external rotation of the hips and pressure on the sacro illiac joints. This is a great counter-breast feeding pose again opening up tight fronts of the chest and deltoids
– Downward Facing Dog, option to flow in and out from Balasana to prevent fatigue whilst holding and to warm the body and stretch out and strengthen the torso and legs
– Moving to the wall
– Right angle at the wall, to open the shoulders
– Pelvic tilts at the wall, in parallel, knees bent, to stabilize the pelvic region and strengthen legs
– Setu Bandha Sarvangasana, knees parallel at hip distance apart, block can be used in between the knees also and baby can be laying on mums torso, great thoracic opener and strengthening for the pelvic region
– Supine twist to both sides, knees together, stretching out the spine, shoulders, neck and cleansing for the internal organs – baby can be used in the twist, hugging to each raised hip to deepen the twist
– Savasana in Viparita Korani against the wall, baby can stay on mums torso and once older sit up against mums thighs, falling out breaths done here and relaxation, wonderful restorative posture for mums tired body and lengthens the spine, and lordotic curve in the lower back, also balances the pelvis and hip region

– Seated for closing chant of the mantra Om – wonderful calming manta, that helps energise and also lengthen the exhalation, nice to have baby against belly and chest as the Om’s are calming for bub and remind them of being in the womb

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Mantra for the day

LOKA SAMASTA SUKHINO BHAVANTU

May all beings everywhere be happy and free….

lokah: location, realm, all universes existing now
samastah: all beings sharing that same location
sukhino: centered in happiness and joy, free from suffering
bhav: the divine mood or state of unified existence
antu: may it be so, it must be so (antu used as an ending here transforms this mantra into a powerful pledge)

When I cover the Agoy Yoga children’s classes they know the above mantra as a song to sing at the start and end of their class, they know the meaning of the words and it’s just so beautiful to hear them tell me together in unison!!!

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It’s NOT personal!

My confidence and inspiration has been lacking in the last couple of weeks and in true ‘Laura’ style I have been massively beating myself up about it, don’t we all! I suppose one thing I did not realise when I began my quest to teach/lead/instruct yoga is how personal it would be become and how much energy not only muscle but mental and spiritual too it would require from me. Don’t get me wrong its also what I love most about it! Every class I teach I want to be a journey and I want every person in that class to experience that journey and to take that and make it their own, that in itself is mind shattering and ‘I know’ a lot of pressure to put on myself and anyone!

I read an awesome Yogini friend of mines recent post on her very awesome blog Freedom Yoga and i’m sure she wont mind me referring to it as a few things started to ring some yogi bells….. When I attend yoga classes, I want as many different influences and teachers that I can find, do we not all want that from life?? How boring and naive would we be to believe and live our lives by one persons beliefs, thoughts and rules!! On the other hand as in life a yoga class is a personal choice and as yoga has now become as diverse now as perhaps genres of music; we all know what we like and what we don’t. I would never want anyone to have to chose one particular way to live or force anyone into one particular style of yoga class, but I do just think that until that friend brings you round that copied CD for you to listen to, how do you make the choice to like or dislike or ever discover something new!!

Covering another yoga teachers class is a wonderful opportunity to learn, develop and grow as a teacher and I think a great way to spread yoga’s diverse love. As my gorgeous Freedom Yogini blogs, she was asked to cover a class and not met with the nicest energy to say the least, strangely I had the same experience at a class I covered for a teacher on Monday night at a gym, with one lady walking out after 10 minutes, after tutting with a face like thunder “what is that noise!! Is it you or is that music playing?!?!?” I continued to teach the class and it ended up being a beautiful class, but I couldn’t help but come home and beat myself up about it a little. I know that it wasn’t a personal dig at me as a person, but it is definately disheartening when you love something you want everyone to feel the power of that yoga love!! It is not personal and if not everyone likes to live by “variety is the spice of life” then you can only hope they find joy, balance and harmony in other areas of their life. As that one lady chose it was not the style of class that she wanted on that Monday evening and I suppose I have to be bold enough to make the same choice and say…. this is my style of class, flow, I like to get the breath flowing, the energy flowing and I have worked hard with passion and love to develop it. Not everyone has to share my passion or taste and they have the choice to not take my classes. As freedom yogini pefectly quotes “Like dance there are so many different kinds of yoga. You don’t go to a street dance class and complain it should be more balletic!” Every persons teaching style will vary… Obviously this is difficult when you are covering someones class on a random occasion as the participants then don’t always have a choice, when a new teacher walks through the studio door, but if you don’t give something or someone a go or a chance how will you ever know what wonders perhaps lie infront of you!

I also teach a class on a regular basis (and please do not think this is a moan post about my students, just observations that my journey is throwing at me) where there is a student that comes regularly and during the class will just go into her own flows, not following my instruction, to begin with this did throw me a little and I did question why she came to me class and did not just practice in a quiet space at home or in the gym. When I then thought about it more, a yoga class is your practice, a teacher is simply there to guide you, I would never profess to ‘know it all’ or by able to ‘do it all’. That yogi has paid to come to class and is entitled to do as she pleases, within reason of course and she may just like the peaceful energy that my classes exude even if she doesn’t like all my flows. If it gives her the perfect space to move, flow and explore her body and that is enough for me. 

Yoga teaches us to explore, question, challenge ourselves and ultimately live in harmony with our bodies and mind and then hopefully allowing us to spill this harmony from our mat out into the world. Im learning all of this in the beauty that is yoga and if I can even help someone come anywhere close to that in my class, then i’m doing ok and if you don’t find that in my class, go searching, you owe it to yourself!!!

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