Tag Archive | healthy ageing

Pink Yoga – thanks to all who attended and/or donated

Cancer Council and Pink Yoga

 

Pink yoga in Randwick

Students in the Pink yoga class in Randwick

Breast cancer was the second highest cancer in NSW during the last five year period (prostate cancer is the first but it diagnosed later and patients die with it rather than because of it).

Pink yoga is the yoga community’s initiative for fund raising for research into breast and ovarian cancer together with providing support to woman suffering from these cancers.

As detailed in my last blog I decided to hold a pink yoga class in  Randwick on 2nd of April 2016.  After registering with the Cancer Council I received some promotional material, decoration and started to promote the class to my students.

My regular students from both studios either confirmed their attendance or donated.

Due to delay in advertisement on pink ribbon / cancer council website we did not get any new students.

As per my undertaking I am donating $10 per student and together with their contribution (some students were not able to attend but donated) we raised $241.  Thank you very much to all!

 

Pink yoga class Randwick

Pink yoga class Randwick

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Ayurveda ~ daily routine

Lotus flower

As noted in may last blog recently I was on a Yoga / Ayurveda retreat in a small, purpose built village in the South of India.

We practiced yoga every morning and had Ayurvedic treatments every day.

The Ayurvedic Doctor, Dr Alibash Anand gave us a lecture on how to orientate towards healthy living.  Here is his list.

Ideal daily routine:

  • Wake up between 3-6 a.m. – 48 minutes before sunrise;
  • Note if you have digested the dinner (drink water – does it taste water or yesterday’s dinner?);
  • Brushing the teeth on waking (use astringent, bitter and pungent tastes);
  • Water splashing of the eyes (with cold water in summer, use warm water in winter). Note the eyes represent fire – this routine aims to cool them;
  • Retaining of medicated oil in the mouth, gargling;
  • Chewing – i.e. bitter leaves;
  • Herbal drink (avoid tea and coffee or keep it to the minimum);
  • Application of medicine / KOHL to the eyes;
  • Nasal administration of oil / medicines (try one drop per nostril, leave it there for 5 minutes, do it in the morning or evening but not before or after meal. This is more beneficial than using neti (cleansing the nostrils with warm, salted water using a special dish, called neti pot).
  • Mild stretching exercises – one should use only 50% of energy;
  • Body massage with warm oil on head, ear, feet and body at least once a week – minimum: head, ear and feet). Start with sesame oil. Oil massage reduces skin dryness.  Always use downward motion on the arms, chest and the thighs;
  • Bath with warm water and herbal powders – do not use hot water on head, use herbal powder instead of shampoo. Do not shower after strong exercise or a big meal;
  • Select a profession you like and one which is beneficial for the community;
  • Spend time with friends;
  • Have the desire for knowledge;
  • Go to bed by 9 p.m, do prayer before sleep, head towards East;

 

  • How should a person be?
    • Calm and composed;
    • Charitable;
    • Humble;
    • Affectionate to guests;
    • Religious duty;
    • Start a conversation;

 

Other recommendations:

  • Eat a healthy breakfast (suitable for your prakruti);
  • Pre-lunch appetizer drink and then you main meal of the day;
  • Relaxation followed by another herbal drink (or sip warm water);
  • Avoid sleeping during the day;
  • Yoga and/or mediation;
  • Mild warm herbal appetizer before Dinner followed by a light meal. Do not eat for 2 hours before going to bed;

On a personal note I am working towards this complex daily routine by exercising (yoga or walking) every day, aiming to reduce my chocolate / biscuit intake, drinking more water and will try the oil massage. I have difficulty with getting up early in the morning and tend to stay up till late night. 

Small changes are more sustainable then unreasonable ‘big changes’.

Please try some of the recommendations – you will feel better!

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Benefits of yoga for older people

lotus yoga

In August 2015 I attended The Australian Yoga Therapy Conference which was organised by Enlightened Events. Various speakers covered a number of areas where yoga practice can be helpful, such as managing heart problems, increasing the immune system and mental illness in children.

The topic which was closest to my heart and body was about the benefits of yoga for older people. For this purpose I believe over 60 is when we are called an “older person”.

With ageing we experience some level of decline in vision, hearing and memory. Balance and muscle strength are often affected and anxiety and depression may increase along with sleep disorders.

 

So what can yoga offer us as we age?

 

Dr Shirley Telles, is an internationally acclaimed Yoga therapist, medical doctor and neuroscientist. She is the director of the Patanjali Research Foundation in Haridwar, India. Dr Shirley Telles presented the findings of her research into yoga and ageing (Oxford University Press will publish it sometimes in 2015).

Dr Shirley Telles’ studies have shown that:

  1. Yoga can increase bone mineral density (Judith et al., 2009)
  2. Yoga can increase muscle strength and prevent deterioration (Telles et. al., 2014)
  3. Yoga can reduce central obesity, associated with increased risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease (Telles et al., 2014
  4. Yoga can improve glycemic control and HbA(Ic) – useful to avoid and manage diabetes (Beena et al., 2013)
  5. Yoga can prevent deterioration of lung capacity (Manjunath et al., 2006)
  6. Reduce blood pressure (Chobanian et all., 2003)
  7. Improve cardiorespiratory efficiency (Papp et al., 2013)
  8. Improve primary working memory (Laveretsky et al., 2013)
  9. Enhance sleep (Manjunath et al., 2005)
  10. Induces a positive mental state (Wood, 1993)

 

Please note the above benefits are only achieved through regular yoga practice – over an extended period of time. It might take a few months before you notice the difference!

 

My students are typically over 50 and most of us have a number of pre-existing health conditions.

So how do I teach a class where there are several different “contraindications” are present?

I teach small classes (maximum 12 students) and modify the poses to suit the individual. It is not unusual that we have two or three variations happening for the same asana. Some students might need to use more props (blanket, block and maybe a chair) to gain the benefits of the poses. In my sequences I include ‘exercises’ which open the chest, keep the spine mobile and upright and we almost always practice standing poses to increase strength and balance. Whilst preparing for inversions fresh blood rushes to the brain and thus increases memory function. Of course students with high blood pressure would do modified inversions! Forward bends tend to calm the mind and slowing down the breath (especially lengthening the duration of the exhalation) reduces anxiety. I also believe in the social effect of practicing in a class environment. My aim is to teach the students poses which they can practice at home or during their travels.

For more information on my yoga background please refer to: About Mary

For timetable refer to: Classes

If you have any queries please do not hesitate to contact me: tranquability@gmail.com  or 0408 29 6670.

Hope to see you on a mat near me!

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Our expectation in a new class and etiquette

lotus yoga

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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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.

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The benefits of yoga OFF THE MAT – part 1 – posture, confidence and being in the present

The numerous health benefits of yoga are well documented and generally known. In this two part series I would like to talk about the benefits of yoga OFF THE MAT as I experience it.  This blog will show the portable benefits, transferable skills of yoga to the business world in and in the next post we will focus on the support the yoga community.

I have been practicing yoga regularly since 1989 and have been teaching for four years so I speak from the trenches.

I recently changed the jobs and the process of applying for positions and attending interviews was made easier by my yoga practice. Though I am not a recruiter I would like to share my thoughts on how to prepare for a job interview.

Apart from standing tall (in Tadasana which is our basic standing pose) include asanas which open the chest (to increase confidence), think of the Warrier 1, 2 and 3 poses (virabhadrasana 1,2 and 3 in Sanskrit). Move the shoulder blades in and down to open chest and to lift your sternum. Have energy in your arms and fingers, keep your chest facing the front. Work your legs and feet without gripping the mat with your toes! Legs they are the foundation of the Worrier poses!

Worrier 2 (Virabhadrasana 2)

Warrier 2 (Virabhadrasana 2)

Just watch the “All blacks” at the beginning of a game! The posture, slightly bent knees, chest open. The chanting is getting the team ready for action, focusing their mind for the task ahead! The eye-rolling and poking the tongue out sends out a strong warning to the opponent “we mean business”. We use these latter moves in yoga too, to exercise eyes which strained by looking at a computer screen for too long and in the lion pose we extend our tongue to “clear” it – however I do not recommend it as interview technique!

It is also important to be in the right frame of mind, so regulating the breath (maybe slowing it down whilst waiting for the interviewer, inhale for the count of 4, exhale for count of 4 or 6 if more experienced). During the interview be alert, be in the present by sitting tall, keeping your face relaxed, throat soft, chin parallel to the floor and look the interviewer(s) in the eye. State and quantify your achievements and be aware of and accept your weaknesses.

Yoga teaches us to be strong and flexible on the mat, have perseverance and to know when to have a rest.  All these skills are transferable to the business world!

Dress for the interview in comfortable and appropriate clothes (just as you do for yoga). Arrive a few minutes earlier, just as you come to class on time, ready to start.

Once you know the outcome of the interview be gracious in accepting  “No thanks”. Try to learn from the experience.

After the interview (or any other time) relax in some restorative pose (legs up the wall or lay down and support your calves on a chair). Whichever pose you choose make sure you are warm and stay there for a minimum of  5 minutes, the longer the better. You will be refreshed and ready to start a new day or have better sleep at night.  These restorative poses are also beneficial in the evening, before going to bed – especially if you had a stressful day!