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Celebrate International Yoga Day Sunday 21 June

Celebrate International Yoga Day Sunday 21 June

By Bridie Walsh

Roll out your mat to join thousands around the world to celebrate International Yoga Day on Sunday 21 June 2015.

Geeta Iyengar, Mr BKS Iyengar’s daughter and director of Ramamani Iyengar Yoga Institute in India recommends a series of Asana and Pranayama sequences. She says that the special day, inaugurated by the United Nations (UN), will create awareness and improve people’s wellbeing.

The 32 recommended poses can be practiced as a single program or merged with your own.

India’s Prime Minister, Mr Narendra Modi who appointed a minister of yoga also advocated for international recognition of yoga. He says, “Official recognition by the UN will further spread the benefit of yoga to the entire world”.

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We are all doing time: Sam Settle, director of Prison Phoenix Trust, brings yoga into prisons

We are all doing time: Sam Settle, director of Prison Phoenix Trust, brings yoga into prisons

By Kath Walters

When Sam Settle met and married a British woman, he needed to find a new occupation.

He had just spent three years as a Buddhist monk and development worker in Thailand. “That helped me tremendously and was a great experience,” Settle says. “In fact, that is a massive understatement! I came to understand the power of the mind, and my own mind in particular, and the power and mystery here in our hearts and minds.”

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Let go, Let in

Let go, Let in

By Kimina Lyall

Have you ever noticed when you hold your breath it is always with the air in? Have you ever “held your breath” after your out breath? It is possible to do for a few seconds, but not without conscious awareness and focus. Inevitably, the body fights for life. Yet holding your breath in is as easy as … well, breathing. For me, the practice is almost automatic. I especially do it when I am stressed, anxious, or stepping out of my comfort zone—in almost every difficult asana (and life situation), in other words.

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The philosophy and practice of working from the base in Iyengar yoga

The philosophy and practice of working from the base in Iyengar yoga

By Frank Jesse

Iyengar yoga is a practice that will help “ground”you, physically, emotionally and mentally. One of the ways that we achieve that sense of being grounded -- slowing down, being more focused, and becoming more aware of what is most important to us on a day-to-day level –is to return constantly to working from the base of our pose.

The base of a yoga asana changes according to the pose. In Tadasana (mountain pose), the base is your feet. In Sirsasana (headstand), it is the head, forearms and wrists. In Savasana (corpse pose), it’s a bit less clear because the whole body is on the ground, but we can focus on the parts that are touching our mat to align ourselves correctly.

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Are you ready to do a handstand?

Are you ready to do a handstand?

 

By Frank Jesse

The handstand, or Adho Mukha Vrksasana (downward-facing tree pose), can be quite a scary and challenging pose for an inexperienced student. But this pose is also exhilarating and has many health benefits if approached and learnt with thorough preparation and attention. Among the many benefits are improved circulation, respiration, concentration and mental clarity. Through weight bearing, it helps to strengthen the bones of the wrists, fingers, elbows, arms and shoulders.

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Orient to the journey

Orient to the journey

Orient to the journey ...

The other day I found myself you-tubing instructions for learning how to free handstand. On the one hand, it was astounding that I was even thinking a free handstand would be within reach for me. On closer inspection, it demonstrated that I had lost the yoga plot.

Let me rewind for a bit. When I first started practicing yoga, I had little ambition for my own physicality, preferring to reside almost exclusively in my busy mind. It was a little over ten years ago, I was living a crazy life as a foreign correspondent based in Bangkok, driven by deadlines, competition and sheer determination to succeed. 

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Taking yoga on the journey of life

Taking yoga on the journey of life

Jenny Green, 71, is just weeks away from embarking on a 270km walk along the hills of Massif Central in southern France – named the Robert Louis Stephenson trail after the author who walked it in 1878.

A daily practice of yoga asana and strength-building exercises is part of Green’ preparation for her big walk. “I am going to the gym to build strength, and I tend to finish my gym session with yoga,” Green says. “I think flexibility is a really important part of the walking process.

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Adho Mukha Svanasana – downward facing dog pose

Adho Mukha Svanasana – downward facing dog pose




By Frank Jesse Adho Mukha Svanasana is an incredibly versatile asana. Not only is it an important pose in its own right, it can be used throughout a sequence to link poses or as a preparatory pose. Adho means down, Mukha is face and Svana is dog. The name Adho Mukha Svanasana arises from the pose’s similarity to a dog stretching to wake itself up after a nap. We generally do downward facing dog before inversions because the pose helps prepare the shoulders and arms. As a semi - inversion, the pose also prepares the mind and nervous system for full inversions like Adho Mukha Vrksasana (handstand), Pinca Mayurasana (forearm balance) and Salamba Sirsasana (headstand). Downward facing dog pose provides some of the benefits of a full inversion. Because the head is lower  than the heart the brain is flushed with fresh oxygenated blood, reducing mental fatigue. Adho Mukha Svanasana...
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paul_ais
Downward facing dog and spatchcocked dog!
Wednesday, 26 March 2014 10:55
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Between yoga poses

Between yoga poses

  By Frank Jesse Yoga poses began centuries ago as a practice to prepare the mind and body for meditation. Keeping this in mind can help yoga students to overcome a common problem in the early years of their practice – maintaining focus during the transition in and out of yoga asanas. When we start yoga, many of us are unused to focusing on anything for a long period of time – we face many distractions in our day-to-day lives.  Even keeping ourselves focused during a yoga pose can be difficult. However, the teacher’s instructions and the challenge of aligning the body in unfamiliar ways help keep us in the present moment. The instant the teacher says ‘release’, however, students tend to collapse both physically and mentally – the action is over, and so we slump back into our usual distracted state! But yoga is both action and reflection; without...
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How I tricked myself into daily practice

How I tricked myself into daily practice

By Kimina Lyall What is it about home-alone yoga? I’m a grown-up, right? There are lots of things I can do every day, all by myself. I can eat. Shower. Brush my teeth. Check my emails. Even cuddle the friendly next door cat. These little daily tasks come easily, effortlessly almost, and I achieve them no matter what else is distracting me. But get on my yoga mat? Now there’s a tall order. It seems to be not an unusual one. Lots of my friends, who have been regularly attending yoga classes for many years, admit they still fail in their aim for daily practice. For me, there’s been the usual excuses: I’m so busy, I’m so tired, I wouldn’t know what to practice (after all, there’s so many asanas to choose from!), I don’t have all the props … Every now and then I have managed to get myself...
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paul_ais
What a fantastically simple tip! Despite having a yoga room in my house I find it difficult to make myself get on my mat regularly... Read More
Wednesday, 19 February 2014 14:56
paul_ais
Thanks Kimina, This is a great tip for my students - even students who attend classes twice each week, are really consistent and h... Read More
Wednesday, 09 July 2014 08:22
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Home Practice: The benefits of not doing

Home Practice: The benefits of not doing
Supta Baddha Konasana
Setu Bandha Sravangasana
Viparita Karani
Savasana
Supta Baddha Konasana
Supta Virasana
Adho Mukha Svanasana
rope Sirsasana
Chair Sirsasana
Ardha Halasana
Setu Bandha Sarvangasana
Viparita Karani
Savasana
Savasana
0 0 1 234 1335 Griffins Hill Retreat 11 3 1566 14.0 544x376 Normal 0 false false false EN-AU JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman";}   By Frank Jesse A lot of people tell me they dislike pranayama (breathing) and restorative classes. They’d rather be doing active classes full of dynamic poses. But there is a lot of benefit to not doing, and just being.  We do so much in our busy lives! I’m not quite sure why people want their yoga classes to be always actively challenging as well. Of course, when we are doing poses actively, it can be easier to focus and to still the mind – which is the main purpose of yoga. However  when we are asked watch our breath or do poses with a lot of...
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paul_ais
Rest, restore & receive...This sequence is an instant energy tonic...OM OM OM...
Wednesday, 15 January 2014 11:46
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