Tag Archive | benefits of yoga

Insomnia or how to sleep well

Recently I have been having some problems with falling asleep (worrying and overstimulated by dancing).  Today in this LONG blog I will share my coping mechanism with you.  This might send you to sleep J.

If difficulties with sleep (falling asleep or waking up during sleep) occur at least three times a week or lasts longer than one month it is called chronic insomnia.

Good sleep is when it takes less than 30 minutes to fall asleep and one only wakes up once or twice during the night.  Sleep should be between 6 hours and 9 hours (more than 9 hours is not healthy).

The body needs sleep to rest, to restore and to recover for homeostasis.

General tips for sleeping well:

  1. Regular sleep and regular wake up. If wake up tired get out to sun for ½ hour,
  2. Sleep when fatigued,
  3. If cannot sleep get up and try again,
  4. Bedroom is for sleep,
  5. No naps during the day (or 20-40 min max.),
  6. Establish sleep routine,
  7. Eat right – at regular times,
  8. Exercise regularly,
  9. Keep daytime routine,
  10. Breathing exercises – see more on this later,
  11. No clock-watching if you cannot sleep (turn it away),
  12. Avoid caffeine, nicotine and alcohol at night,
  13. Stop staring at a screen at least an hour before you go to bed. Blue light / screen interferes with melatonin production,
  14. Try the poses below – before going to bed,
  15. Consider keeping sleep diary and/or gratitude diary,

Try one or all of the following RESTORATIVE poses before you go to bed.

  • Do not eat for say 1.5 hours before practicing,
  • Do your bathroom routine before you start,
  • Dedicate a quiet place,
  • Allow enough time (you might dose off like I do),
  • Wear comfortable clothing or your PJ’s,
  • Be warm,
  • Cover your eyes (use an eye-pillow, hand or face towel folded),
  • Do not worry about the props – substitute the bolster with a blanket folded to support the spine (and only the spine) and to lift the chest, use towels in additional to blankets. Books can be used for extra elevation.

Supta Badha Konasana (cobblers pose – laying down)

The aim is to open the chest, release tension in the abdominal area.

Soles of the feet are touching, gentle push the heels together (strap is optional).

Focus on your breath, inhale for the count of 4, exhale for the count of 4. If you are more experienced hold the breath after inhalation and after exhalation, so the cycle will be 4:4:4:4. or you can extend the exhalation to the count of 6 or 8. Return to your normal breathing if you experience any discomfort.

Try to take the breath up from the abdominal area towards the clavicles, shoulders. Notice how your abdominal rises and how your ribcage expands on inhalation.

Stay in the pose min 5 minutes – don’t worry if you dose off.

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Supta Badha Konasana

 

Pashimottanasa (forward bend)

The aim is to rest the forehead.  This helps to calm the mind.

Any chair will do and any elevation on it.  If you are more flexible a coffee table might do the job.  A modified version is to sit at the dining table and have some props to rest the forehead.

Keep the shoulders, try to keep the front of your torso long.

Stay in the pose for 5 minutes (gradually build up to it).

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Viparita Karini (legs up the wall or on chair)

This pose is everybody’s favourite.

The heart is resting, helps with swollen feet.

For support any chair or the coffee table will do.

Support your ankles on the chair.

Hips can be raised with blanket or bolster.

Focus on the breathing as noted earlier.

Stay in the pose for 5 to 10 minutes.

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For more experienced yogis the legs can be on the wall – vertical or at a slight angle.

Hips can be resting on elevation, folded blanket.

Though this photo was taken outside please do it inside for this routine.

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Savasana (pose of the corps)

It is said not finishing a practice with Savasana is a bit like not saving your document on the computer – however you might want to relocate from the floor to your bed – AND FALL ASLEEP QUICKLY.

For support under the knees/thighs use a small pillow. I find it helpful – it allows the lower back to soften.

This photo comes from the ‘relax at Christmas’ series – hence the eye cover

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Savasana

 

To go to sleep or to calm yourself down try the following pranayama (breath control) and meditation techniques:

Sit up tall, feel the ground under your feet.

Roll the shoulders back, feel that it helps to lift your chest.

 

Mindfulness of the five senses

Without trying to alter your experience bring your awareness to your five senses

  • notice one thing you can see,
  • notice one thing you can hear,
  • notice one thing you can taste,
  • notice one thing you can smell,
  • notice one thing you can feel,

Focusing on each of the five senses in turn takes you into the present moment.

 

Grounding calming breath for sleep

Breathe through your nose

  • Inhale for the count of four (4)
  • Exhale for the count of eight (8). If 8 is too long try 6.

Repeat three times or until desired effect.

Using the diaphragm; breathing fully into the belly and expelling all the air can help activate our parasympathetic nervous system, relaxing the body and mind.  If it is uncomfortable return to your normal breathing.

 

4:4:4:4 – this technique was listed under the poses as well.

  1. Inhale for the count of four (4)
  2. Hold the breath for the count of four (4)
  3. Exhale slowly for the count of four (4) – or longer for experienced yogis
  4. Hold for the breath for the count of four.(4)

This is one cycle. Repeat four more times.

If you experience any discomfort return to your normal cycle of breath.

Thanks for reading!

Sleep well – live well!

lotus yoga

 

 

Yoga for different life stages

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Three generations of yogis – Amanda Fuzes, her daughters and me.

 

 

 

At the recommendation of Amanda Fuzes I was interviewed for ‘Inform’ magazine a few weeks ago for an article on yoga for different ages where I represented the ‘over 50’s.

Amanda is the owner/director of two yoga studios http://pranaspace.com.au/ and http://flyingyogis.net.au/. The latter is the kids’ studio where they have classes for ‘bendytots’ (from 18 months) to age 18. Amanda was talking about the benefits of yoga for children and adults.

In my interview with the journalist (Emma Brown) initially the conversation was around her questions. Later I demonstrated Trikonasana (the triangle pose) with my back to the wall – using a chair to rest my hand and in another variation on a block. The aim was to show how easy it is to modify a pose to suit.

Here is a shortened version of the questions and my answers.

How is yoga practiced if you’re a senior?

  • With more props;
  • At a slower pace;
  • Inform your teacher of your pre-existing conditions before the class starts;
  • If you experience sharp pain whilst in a pose come out of it under control. The teacher will offer you an alternative pose;
  • For more details refer read here – How is “yoga over 50” different?

 

Advice on how to start if you’re a beginner? – Which style to start with?

  • Find the right class and teacher (style, time of class, location, the vibe in the class – it has to fit in with your life otherwise you will not stick with it. Seek out qualified an experienced teachers. The class should be labelled either for ‘seniors’, ‘restorative’ or ‘beginners’;
  • Aim to practice regularly, maybe two classes per week, preferable not on consecutive days;
  • You can start yoga at any age – or come back to it at any age;

What are the benefits?

  • Regular yoga practice has the following benefits: Slows down the ageing, better posture, self-awareness, increased confidence, strength and balance.
  • It helps to cope with life’s ups and down’s better.
  • Community.
  • Skills learnt on the mat are transferable to life off the mat.
  • For more information read Benefits of yoga for older people

Which style to start with and when are you ready to try other styles?

  • Hatha yoga is the most commonly practiced yoga in Australia. ‘Ha’ is for hot in Sanskrit and ‘Tha’ is cold. Hatha yoga aims to balance the body, hot/cold, masculine/feminine and the left and right side of the body. Iyengar yoga (this is the style I have been practicing for 27 years) is specialist type of Hatha yoga where lots of props are used to assist the student
  • There are two ways to experiment with different styles: either at the beginning to find the suitable class for you or once you learnt how to do the poses safely then venture out and try other styles.

What is the philosophy of yoga?

  • If you are interested in the philosophy get your hands on a copy of ‘Light on the Yoga sutras of Patanjali’ by BKS Iyengar. Patanjali’s yoga sutras is the bible of yoga.
  • Patanjali categorised the 8 limbs (or stages) of yoga which represent the journey of the student from beginner to advanced level (enlightenment). The first two of these stages are conduct with others and self-discipline. The asana practice and breath control are the ones which are mostly practiced in classes. The last three stages are: one pointed attention, meditation and “bliss”.
  •  The way we practice today (in a class environment, sometimes with music and candles) is very different from how it was practiced 4000 years ago in the Himalayas. Those days it was Indian men who were taught by their guru in a ‘one on one’ situation.
trikonasana-3-generationsgood

Trikonasana ~ three generations

Our expectation in a new class and etiquette

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I started to practice in a “flowy” class which compliments my Iyengar style and I really enjoy it.  Most students are regulars and some of them arrive early and place the mat to their “usual spot”.

Have you noticed that we all have a favourite spot?  Who would have thought that yoga is like real estate – location … location!!!

As in most classes – a few students arrive late.  A few weeks ago I had to “uproot” four times to accommodate late comers and let me tell you I do not travel light when it comes to props.  As an older person with back problem I use more props than the mostly younger crowd in the class.  I sensed that the person next to me felt that my belongings took up too much space.  As the class was already in progress we did not discuss the issue but this experience made me think about our tolerance, our need for space, expectation in a class, consideration and respect of others. 

Let’s consider the space first: each yoga studio has a preferred way of setting up the room which suits the size and shape of the room best.  In the absence of the teacher’s direction I would set up my mat with the narrow end against the wall in a location that I do not have anybody directly opposite me (if the room is narrow it means staggering the mats).  This set up leaves enough space between the mats for props, jumpers etc.  In square shape rooms generally the wall sides fill up first and some students might be practicing in the middle of the studio.  Be aware of any windows behind you and leave your bigger props in storage until you need them!  In savasana it is better if your feet do not point towards a fellow student’s head.

I like exploring new studios and today I participated in a relaxation class close by.  Was not sure what to expect and was curious.  We spent most of the time laying on our back, releasing our hips, engaging and strengthening the pelvic floor and the core muscles.  After an hour I started to wonder if we will do anything else and felt that my shoulders are stiff.  We had background music from a DVD chanting “Govinda” almost continuously.  I do not practice or teach with music and at times I hoped for some quietness.  Eventually the teacher changed the music and we did some sitting poses with shoulder work.  The relaxation (Savasana) was very good and I finished the class in good spirits and my back feels better.  The moral of the story: each teacher has a different style and if we are new to her/his class we need be open to the experience and embrace it!

Based on my 25 years on the mat I complied the rough etiquette for attending yoga classes:

For students:

  • Please be punctual, ready to start practicing at advertised time; turn off your mobile phone; do not eat 1.5 – 2 hours prior class;
  • For big classes – if there is a designated area for personal belongings use it,
  • Advise the teacher if you have any medical issues, menstruating or pregnant,
  • As a student you are expected to take more responsibility for your learning than in normal school environment – you know your body better than your teacher; if something does not feel right (sharp pain) come out of the pose!
  • Generally there will be an easier and more advanced variation for most poses. Choose the one which fits you best on the day;
  • Please keep your area safe and pack up all of your props at the end of the class;
  • Wearing layers is helpful, apart from that wear comfortable clothing;
  • Enjoy your class!

For teachers:

  • Arrive early so you have a chance to talk to your students – especially if someone is new to the class;
  • Start and finish on time;
  • Be respectful of your students, ask if they want an adjustment or not,
  • Create a safe environment for all;
  • Be aware of your limits, sometimes referring a student to a specialist might be the best advice;
  • Keep up your own practice and participate in professional development;
  • Enjoy teaching the class – remember you learn as much from your students as they learn from you!

See my earlier blog: how find the right teacher

Relax and Renew workshop on Sunday 21st June in Randwick.  See blog and timetable for details!

Keep up your practice!

Mary

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NEWSLETTER ~ APR / MAY 2015

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Dear Yogis,

My intention in March was to post monthly newsletters and I have fallen behind.  We are all pulled into several directions simultaneously and sometimes we get overwhelmed, maybe get lost in the details – which is what happened to me.  If you have renovated your residence before you know what I mean.

This is what happened since my March newsletter:

During Easter we had our usual Saturday class in Randwick.  To keep in line with the holiday and to amuse ourselves we practiced bunny jumps.  Bunny jump is one of the preparatory poses for the hand stand, it strengthens the arms, wrists, shoulders and increases balance.  Another way to prepare for handstand is stationary, we create a right angle with our body, hands on the floor and the soles of the feet are on the wall.

This year Anzac Day fall on Saturday.  To honour the 100th anniversary of landing in Gallipoli the theme for the class was hero poses.  Think about the strong leg work, arms stretched wide and balance required for all three “warrior” asanas.  The torso is long and the chest is open in all these poses indicating confidence!

In the week leading up to Mother’s day, as my gift to you, I asked each of you which is your favourite pose and incorporated those in the classes.  The most popular requests were: work with the hips and twists laying on the floor.  We, women, hold a lot of tension in our hips and thighs and with the cold weather creeping on us we get tighter so we need keep our joints moving!  Twists on the floor release tension in the lower back, they are safe and they mobilise the whole spine – from the tailbone to the neck (if you turn your head away from your legs).  Twists in general generate heat in the body which  increases our immune system. If you are menopausal you might not need extra heat 🙂 though! As winter approaches we are likely to include more twisting poses in the class as they are also helpful in reducing the effects of scoliosis and help digestion.

Are you curious which poses will we do on the Queen’s birthday long weekend?  I already have some ideas – please come along!

 For regular students ‘10 class passes’ are available in both studios (some conditions apply).  They represent a minimum saving of $50 for 10 classes.

Thanks again for supporting my classes, hope to see you soon!

Namaste,

Mary

yoga mat

Yoga to cure Hangover

herring-fish-business-suit-drinking-beer-bottle-100216907 ‘Hangover’ is the trifecta in my blogs for the Christmas / New Year 2015 festive season, the previous topics were digestion and jet lag. The last time I had a hangover I was in high school so I needed to do some research into the subject.  Please do not visualise me lying in a gutter (on my favourite pink yoga mat) and slurry AUM’s in the name of research…  I consulted a senior teacher, Tracey as my imagination stopped at the forward bend with the forehead supported.  It appears there is more to this sequence that meets eye. If you do decide to practice yoga do it slowly, be gentle with yourself, learn from the experience and move on. The aim of the practice is to let go of the toxic thoughts, release toxins from the body – by doing twisting poses. The main points:

  • Hydration, hydration, hydration (if the headache persists 2 paracetamol is also useful and some rehydration salts).
  • Due to the acid in the alcohol your joints might have tightened.  Loosen up your joints, move your head side to side, stretch and flex your toes and fingers, rotate the ankles and the wrist in both directions, open the hips.
  • Avoid inversions, especially if you if you are experiencing nausea, heartburn or indigestion.
  • Spinal twists will help to release the toxins from the liver.
  • Abdominal pose like Navasana (Boat) will help indigestion and gas).
  • When you do forward bends rest the forehead either on the floor, on a block or even on a chair as I demonstrated in the “jet lag” blog.  Forward bends calm the brain.

Suggested sequence: Lay down in Savasana with the head higher than chest, chest higher than pelvis (i.e. sit in front rolled up blanket or bolster, slowly lay back so your spine is supported, use a folded up blanket or towel under your head.) Turn your neck slowly from side to side, co-ordinate with your breath.

  • Keep your arms resting on the floor, slightly away from your torso, palms facing up.  As you inhale bend the arms, leaving the elbows on the floor.  Start rotating the wrists, then extend the fingers then make a fist.
  • Feet approx. hip width apart, bring the big toes to touch.  Start rotating the ankles away from each other. Do a few cycles and reverse the direction.

Rollover to your right side and come up to standing and do the following standing poses,

  • Parivritta Trikonasana (revolving triangle)
  • Parivritta Parsvakonasana (revolving side angle pose)

Sitting twist, such as Maricyasana, do the open version, one leg bent, elbow to inside of the knee.  Sit on the edge of a folded up blanket, sit up tall, if you need use a block behind your spine. Sit in Badha Konasana (cobbler pose) to release the hips. Forwards bend with the head supported on a chair (Pachimottanasana or Janu sirsana).

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Supported forward bend

Savasana or modified Viparita Karini with calves resting on the seat of the chair.

Savasana

Savasana

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Modified Viparita Karini

The success of all these poses or the need for it will depend on the size of the hangover.  You will probably not feel great while doing the yoga (your joints might hurt) and backbends could make you feel sick if your liver is really put out. A good night’s sleep and an alcohol free day just for good measure will help with your recovery. You might want to experience with essential oils on your eye bag or on Kleenex tissues under your forehead (try lavender or peppermint). Enjoy NY Eve and the rest of 2015! Mary  

Yogis’ Christmas Survival kit

I have complied a few poses which will aid digestion, help you to relax.  In a separate blog I will include poses to reduce the effect of jet lag.

Poses to do if you overindulged

I am an expert in this area…

The Ayurvedic guideline is to have 1./3 of your stomach filled with food, 1/3 with liquid and the remaining 1/3 is “space” to allow digestion.  I tend to misjudge the 1/3 food bit…

Generally it is not recommended to practice yoga with full stomach however there is one pose which is “do-able” in “emergency”.

  1. Supta Virasana (laying down hero pose) – two variations
Supta Virasana

Supta Virasana

Easier version of Supta Virasana

Easier version of Supta Virasana

The aim in this pose is to lengthen the trunk.  Whilst you are in this asana you quadracep muscles will be extended too.

Most of us would not be comfortable laying back without support. For support you can use a bolster (or fold up two blankets).

If your ankles, knees or back does not allow you to lay back over a bolster use a folded-up chair against the wall and make sure it won’t slide away.  I suggest to sit on some elevation such as a block or a book as this will ease off the pressure from your knees.  .

Whichever version you do sit up tall before laying back and extend the tailbone away from your waist to lengthen to lower back.  Keep your knees either together or hip widths apart, a strap will assist.  Use a rolled up blanket, towel or a small cushion to support the back of your head and neck.  Once you established that you are comfortable in this pose stay in it for a few minutes.

If you have more time and energy try the following sequence to aid digestion:

There are 5 poses in this series.  The food has to travel approx. 11 meters from entry to exit so the aim is to help the digestion process by pushing the food down.

These poses lengthen the trunk, open the sides, twist, squeeze and massage the organs in the abdominal cavity and finally assist towards elimination.

1.

Urdhva Hastasana - on toes

Urdhva Hastasana – on toes

2.

Side opening

Side opening

3.

Twisting the trunk

Twisting the trunk

4.

Twist -Inspecting the heels

Twist -Inspecting the heels

5.

Squatting twist

Squatting twist

Brief description of the above poses, I assume you have done enough yoga to safely go into the poses and come out of the poses with awareness and control.

1. Stand in Tadasana, inhale and raise the arms in line with your shoulders, interlace the fingers and on the next inhalation raise the arms above your head (or you can hold the left wrist with the right hand) and come up on your toes.  Exhale lower the arms and bring the heels down. repeat a few times (4 to 8).

2. Stand in Tadasana, inhale raise the arms in line with your shoulders, interlace your fingers and raise the arms above your head .   On exhalation extend the right side of the body, keep the chest and hips to face the front. Change the interlacing of your fingers and repeat on the other side.  Repeat the cycle a few times.

3. Stand in Tadasana, inhale raise the arms shoulder height and with an exhalation twist to one side.  Allow the whole trunk to turn. Inhale back to the centre and exhale to the other side.  Repeat the cycle a few times.

4. Lay down on your abdomen, either have your elbows on the floor (like I have) or straighten your arms.  Tuck the toes under and on exhalation turn your head to inspect your heels (try to see both of them). Inhale, turn back to the centre and on exhalation do the other side. Repeat the cycle.  This pose will massage your internal organs.

5. Start with squatting.  It is a twisting movement, bring one knee towards the floor and twist away from it.  Repeat on the other side and complete a number of cycles.  This pose will help with elimination and it is the last one in this series.

Poses to relax

If you feel you need to take time off try one or all of the following poses.

Modified Viparita Karini

Modified Viparita Karini

Supta Badha Konasana

Supta Badha Konasana

When the going gets tough the tough go to Savasana

WISHING YOU A SAFE CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY, HEALTHY 2015!

Mary

We are on the move to Randwick Junction – from 10th January 2015

lotus yoga

Yoga for over 50’s will move from Clovelly to Randwick Junction to a bigger, well equipped studio.

 

First  class will be held on Saturday 10th January 2015.

 

Time: 11.30 a.m. to 12.45 p.m.

Cost: $20 per class

See details below:

Address: Level 1, 165 Alison Road Randwick Junction (cnr Belmore Road)

Map Yoga Light Randwick

Map

165 Alison Road~Yoga Light

165 Alison Road, Randwick – entrance is the purple door

Tree pose (Vrksasana)

 

Tree pose

Tree pose

 

 

The Tree pose has a number of benefits and it is a slightly neglected asana.

There is a lot of grace in the pose.

Standing on one leg helps to improve balance, strengthens the ankles, legs and the muscles which stabilize the hips.

Being in this pose gives a good indication of ones mental state on the day. Of course trees move / sway a bit and as there are many types of trees – so we all do a slightly different version of the tree pose.

To avoid injury in Iyengar style yoga we pay a lot of attention to safely going in and out of the poses (and graciously possible).

For beginners I recommend practicing the pose against a wall or preferable in a corner as per the photo below (the photo was taken in the Bungle Bungles National Park hence the shoes).

Tree Pose with wall

Tree Pose with wall

  1. Stand tall in Tadasana (mountain pose), with your back against the wall, big toe bases touching, heels are either together or slightly apart, feel that you have equal weight in both feet, raise your toes, extend the toes and place them back onto the floor;
  2. Quietly transfer the weight to the left leg, without pushing the left hip out ;
  3. Bend the right knee so the right heel lifts off the floor, come up on your toes;
  4.  Turn the right knee out (work from your right hip);
  5. Slowly bring the right foot up (help with your right hand) and allow the right knee to rest on the wall in front of you.  Variations are: if you do not feel stable keep your toes on the floor, if you are more confident bring the right foot either to the inside of your left calf or higher up to the inner thigh.  Be careful – do not push on your left knee, have the foot either below or above the left knee;
  6. Keep the standing leg strong, pull up the knee cap and the quadriceps and work the inner leg. If you do not work your inner leg the right foot will slide off – so we cannot really blame the fabric of our pants!
  7. Keep your chest, hips and face in one direction (i.e forward);
  8. Keep your chin parallel to the floor, throat soft, look with soft gaze in front of you – eye level or slightly above
  9. Bring your hands in together in front of you in Namaste or more experienced yogis bring your hands above your head, resting the heels of the hands on the crown of your head;
  10. Stay in the pose for a minute on so (on each side);
  11. Coming out of the pose: release the arms and slowly release the right leg back to the floor;
  12. Find your balance by standing in Tadasana for to-three cycles of your breath;
  13. Turn around and REPEAT on the other side.

Once you mastered the Tree pose against the wall try it free standing, facing the wall.  Stand close enough to wall so your fingertips can touch it. Only take your hands off the wall if your balance is good on the day.

I recommend to practice this pose regularly (daily).

Keeping the balance over 50 is an essential part of ageing gracefully!

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Ayurvedic Tip to help you stay gorgeous after 50! – Self-massage

lotus yoga

The first teachings of Ayurveda (the Indian holistic health science where Ayur means “life” and Veda means “knowledge”) were written down sometimes 2,000 to 4,000 BC.

It was suppressed during the Muslim invasion and the British occupation of India.

Since the 1990’s there has been a growing interest in Ayurveda as a holistic healing science where emphasis is on prevention rather than cure. In Ayurveda they distinguish three doshas: Vata (air and space) Pitta (fire and water) and Kapha (water and earth). We are all a unique combination of all three.

The link between Yoga and Ayurveda is Prana (Life force).

Enjoy this Ayurvedic Tip to help you stay gorgeous after 50!

Self Massage

Written by Justin Rintul Yoga Teacher from Triveda Therapies – see her contact details below.

According to Ayurveda, life after 50 years of age is ‘Vata’ time of life. This means of the 5 elements our bodies are made up of (water, earth, fire, space and air), this period is dominated by Air and Space. When these elements dominate there is a drying up effect on the body. Basically we start shrivelling up and drying out! How can we counter this drying effect and at the same time feel nourished and rejuvenated?

How about I give you a tip from the ancient science of Ayurveda to help you remain ‘juicy’ into old age. I really encourage you to try this as not only will it keep you young, it is also a delicious, calming and relaxing experience. It is a simple self-care exercise that you can introduce into your weekly or even daily routine. It is ‘Self Abhyangha’ or ‘Self Warm Oil Massage’ (massaging the body with large amounts of warm oil).

There are numerous benefits to Self Abhyangha including the following:
• Soothes Vata Dosha
• Helps build resilience to stress
• Increases energy and removes fatigue
• Helps to eliminate toxins by stimulating strengthening lymphatic flow
• Strengthens and tones skin and body
• Grounding and nourishing
• Helps with insomnia

Here’s how to do Self Abhyangha:
This massage is best done before your shower, either in the morning or before going to bed.
1. Select your oil – As a general rule of thumb go with Coconut oil in Summer and once the weather becomes cooler and Coconut oil begins to solidify switch to Sesame (Melrose Organic is a good one) or Sunflower oil. For an extra dimension to the experience, you may like to add an essential oil of your choice to your massage oil.
2. Warm the room you are in and warm the bottle of oil in a bowl of hot water.
3. Stand on a towel that you don’t mind getting oily.
4. Pour a small amount of oil into the palm of you hands and begin with a head massage, slowly massage oil into scalp in a similar way you shampoo. (If you don’t like having oily hair you can skip the oil here.) Use your finger tips to rub your scalp even gently tugging at your hair.
5. Take some more oil into the palm of your hands and start to massage your face and then the neck, shoulder and arms, remember circles on the joints and long strokes on the limbs. Massage slowly and adjust the strokes and pressure according to area on body, i.e. more vigorous on soles of feet and limbs, slowly around face and abdomen.
6. Continue over the rest of the body, with clockwise circles on the abdomen (to follow the colon) and upward strokes on chest.
7. Spend extra attention on your feet; massaging the soles of your feet as well as the toes for a soothing experience.
8. When you are finished you can either let the oil soak in and then rinse off in the shower or wipe the oil off with a towel.
9. Sit quietly for 10-15min, drink some water or sip on herbal tea to complete the experience!

Enjoy the benefits this simple practice has on your Mind, Body and Spirit. Abhyanga along with Yoga, Meditation and a healthy diet will help keep you feeling more ‘juicy’, healthy and looking young well into your 90s!

Justine Rintoul
email – justine@triveda.com.au
mobile – 0430532227
website – http://www.triveda.com.au
facebook – facebook.com/TrivedaTherapies

In the next blog I will recommend poses to balance Vata.

yoga mat

 

The benefits of yoga OFF THE MAT – part 2 – the support of the yoga community

Following on from part 1 of the benefits of yoga OFF THE MAT now I would like to share my experience with you about the support I have received from the yoga community over the years.

I clearly remember attending a morning class as a student not long after my husband suddenly passed away, many years ago.  I was sitting on a yoga block and as the sun softly shone in the room I was thinking that this was familiar environment and I should keep coming here to allow this part of my life to go on as it used to.

In May this year on a Thursday morning the phone rang from Hungary and I learnt that my Mother had peacefully passed away a few hours earlier. As a good yogi she went with a peaceful exhalation. We were talking and crying with my friend on Skype for more than an hour.  Obviously there was no time to find a replacement teacher with such a short notice so I got ready to teach from 10.00 am. My students are regular in my class so my initial thought was to tell them about my loss at beginning of the class but changed my mind and taught the class without saying anything about Mum.   At the end of the class one of my students asked how was my Mum and then the tears started to roll again. Another student offered to drive me to my Aunt’s place after the class to share the bad news.

I attended The Australian Yoga Therapy conference on the coming weekend. I have known some of the fellow teachers for a decade or more. During the two day conference I cried a bit here and there and everybody was sympathetic, accepting and allowed me space to be. Again I felt the support of the yoga community.

Yoga is a holistic system made up of 8 steps or stages which relate to the progress of our practice – from social conduct to enlightment.  In a general yoga class we practice poses and breath control (steps 3 & 4 of the 8 limbs). It is said that Ayurveda (Indian health science which focuses on Agni, the digestive fire) is yoga OFF THE MAT.

Regular yoga practice teaches us both perseverance and letting go, listening to our body.

I have attended a few yoga retreats over the years (Satyananda yoga ashram at Mangrove creek, Billabong to mention the ones closest to home). Some people attend these retreats to deepen their yoga practice or to “have time off” to deal with issues they need to deal with such as relationship breakdown, difficult children or work problems. Yoga retreats are a good way to travel, to meet like minded people, to cleanse your digestive system with good vegetarian food and to get clarity of thought. It all helps to come back to balance. My experience in these retreats that someone will always be available to have a chat or just to listen to you.

I find it reassuring to practice with regular fellow students and have regular students in my class. Over time we get to know each other and friendships are born from the common shared interest.

Over the years I witnessed dancers/artists/film makers / food provedores marketing themselves in their yoga community. If I have a chance I will attend the show or exhibition promoted by fellow yogis.

Once you become a yogi you become a yogi for life. The benefits of yoga “OFF THE MAT” are almost as important as the practice itself.