Griffins Hill Retreat yoga and food blog

A blog about Iyengar yoga, organic food, and cooking.

What is Iyengar Yoga? by Kimina Lyall

Yoga-blankets-and-props Yoga-blankets-and-prop

What is Iyengar Yoga?

You know you are in an Iyengar Yoga studio by the blankets. There is a pile of them. They are stacked in the studio on a shelf that is the precise size the shelf needs to be to hold the stack of blankets. Each blanket is folded the same way, neat side out. Usually, there is a small sign or notice near the stack explaining the right way to fold the blankets and politely asking you to comply. 

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Still busy

Still busy

By Kimina Lyall

I once heard a saying by a Buddhist teacher. It may have been the Dalai Lama, or another wise person. Asked how long one should meditate for each day, he replied: “Thirty minutes. Unless you are very busy. In which case, one hour.”

I wish I could say I followed that advice, in meditation or yoga or any other form of self-care. But I don’t. For me, busy begets busy. Right now I have rather a lot on, what with commitments to work, study, friendship, volunteering … and the list goes on. I’ve shaken up my life over the past couple of years, and the pieces as still falling back into place. I tend to bounce from deadline to deadline, scrambling to find time to squeeze everything I want to do in.

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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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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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Lift your heart up

Lift your heart up

 By Kimina Lyall 

I hate backbends. They make me anxious. I feel like I can’t breathe, and that something bad is going to happen while I am completely vulnerable and unable to quickly move out of the way. So for many years I have done what any sensible person would do faced with that scenario: grimaced through them in class and avoided them altogether in private practice.

Forward bends, on the other hand, are my friend. I love stretching my body out along my legs, and feel completely at peace and ease in any of the standing poses that involve hanging over my hips.

My favouring can be traced back to my pre-teen life as an aspiring ballerina. In ballet, forward bends are prized, almost as much (but not quite) as turnouts (rotating the leg from the hips to make the knee and foot turn outward).

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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 into...
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Recent Comments
Guest
What a fabulously simple idea! I also find it difficult to get on my mat, despite having a yoga room in my house! But once I'm on ... Read More
Tuesday, 18 February 2014 22:47
Guest
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
Thursday, 20 February 2014 01:56
Guest
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 18:22
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