Price change

Finally, after about 8 years, I am putting the price of the Monday night class up. I have tried to keep it as low as I can for as long as possible but costs are going up, I’m afraid. It still compares very favourably with yoga classes in town.

The Monday class will now be £7 for an hour. 7-8pm

yoga hearts bliss

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Live Up – meditation cloaks and cushions

I’d like to recommend the following website for lovely meditation cloaks and cushions.  www.liveup.io

Product Details    Product Details

They are designed by Anthony Farrow and his partner Rita. Anthony is the son of one of my longest standing yoga students, Ligia, who comes to the Monday night class.

You can also find their products here:

Amazon:
Cushions – http://amzn.eu/guyGhtF
Cloaks – http://amzn.eu/fKlql1M

Etsy: www.etsy.com/shop/LiveUpMeditation

eBay: https://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/liveup_shop/m.html?_nkw=&_armrs=1&_ipg=&_from=

Facebook: www.facebook.com/liveup.io/

There is also some free meditation guidance/inspiration here: www.instagram.com/live_up_io/

Enjoy the products and let them know what you think of them!

love and light, Sally

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Find this week’s meditations on my blog!

Following a request, I’ve decided to try and put up some of the meditations and readings that I do in class every week. So here is the link for this week’s class:

http://www.chasingsheep.co.uk/

This week we did a meditation from Oriah Mountain Dreamer’s book The Dance. Do let me know if you have any comments or requests. See you soon! xx

lotus-small

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The kneeling sun salutation – photo guide

For those of you who come to my Monday night class regularly, you will be familiar with our kneeling sun salutation – this is it in a nutshell. It’s suitable for anyone really and a lovely way to stretch and wake up the body. No difficult back bends involved, just focus on the breath.

Inhale arms overhead to start, exhale forwards into child’s pose, inhale onto hand and knees and arch forwards, exhale into downward facing dog, inhale hands and knees down, exhale round your back and roll back to child’s pose. Keep a gentle lift in the abdominal/pelvic floor muscles, particularly as you move up and down from child’s pose.

Enjoy!

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Yin Yoga – no resistance

I went to a lovely 2-hour yin yoga workshop yesterday with Lila Conway of yogaprema.half saddleLots of postures held for several minutes in a meditative fashion. This is half saddle above.

These deeply held postures work the connective tissue and ligaments, rather than just the surface muscle fibres. As Lila says, “our issues are in our tissues”.

forward bend

Try this and hold it for at least 3 minutes – maybe put a bolster or cushion across your lap and a block to rest your head on, if you can’t fold far forwards. It’s all about finding a place where you are comfortably stretching yourself, at your “edge”. But don’t go too far. Make sure you can breathe and then you can focus on being there and being still. Enjoy it. Don’t resist it.

Look for where you create resistance in yourself, both physically and emotionally and relax.

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Yogic breathing to help PTSD and stress

A really interesting article came my way today about a study of veterans with PTSD using yoga and meditation techniques to overcome their symptoms.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2014/10/16/yoga-helps-war-veterans-with-post-traumatic-stress-disorder/

The article says that the techniques used were something called Sudarshan Kriya which is taught by the Art of Living Foundation. They have put together a series of yogic breathing techniques, combining fast and slow breathing, to regulate the body and mind.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3573542/

I’m going to look into this myself and maybe try and do one of their training courses at some point. It sounds interesting! Just more evidence of how useful yoga can be on so many levels, it’s not just about stretching and toning…

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Mudra for asthma/respiratory problems

Bronchial mudra

I love mudras, as anyone who comes to my yoga class will know! These, put simply, are the hand gestures used in yoga and meditation. They can be used to focus the mind while meditating (most people are familiar with chin mudra, most often seen in people meditating – index finger and thumb touching, other 3 fingers straight – see pic below.)

chin mudra

The mudras work on similar pressure points to those found in the feet in reflexology. They can stimulate physical parts of the body, but also stimulate emotional/mental states. You usually have a visualisation and affirmation linked to the mudra.

Last night in class we did the bronchial mudra.

Both hands as above, little finger at base of thumb, ring finger on first joint, middle finger pressing pad of thumb, index finger straight. Do this for 5 minutes 5 times a day. In an acute attack of asthma, use this for 4-6 minutes, then the asthma mudra (can be found on line too).

Interestingly my book says people with respiratory problems often suffer from loneliness and isolation – too much detachment from the outer world or find it difficult to set boundaries. They find themselves plagued by other people’s duties and problems. This leads to stress so these poeple are pressed for time and out of breath. A general physical weakness is caused by this shallow breathing. When strength is reduced, weakness occurs on the mental-emotional level as well as the physical level.

Do any yoga breathing exercise to strengthen the lungs.

Visualisation

Do this while holding the mudra:
Direct your awareness to your pelvic floor.
Inhaling, count to 7 and take your awareness from your pelvic floor slowly to the crown of the head (you may visualise the chakras as you do so, if you wish
Hold your breath for 5 seconds at the top of the inhalation.
Exhaling, take your awareness back down the body, counting from 7 to 1. Pause before breathing in again.
The pauses are very important after each inhalation/exhalation.

Affirmation

Every breath gives me strength. It strengthens my body, mind and soul.

Enjoy and let me know if it helps!

(Thanks to Girtrud Hirschi and her amazing book of mudras!)

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This week’s class reading: Joy, Pema Chodron

The Wisdom of No Escape

At the end of this week’s class I read an excerpt from Pema Chodron’s lovely book. It is from Chapter 6 and is about Joy.

The Navajo teach their children that every morning when the sun comes up, it’s a brand-new sun. It’s born each morning, it lives for the duration of one day, and in the evening it passes on, never to return again. As soon as the children are old enough to understand, the adults take them out at dawn and they say, “The sun has only one day. You must live this day in a good way, so that the sun won’t have wasted precious time.” Acknowledging the preciousness of each day is a good way to live, a good way to reconnect with our basic joy.

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The whole chapter expands this theme and is well worth reading. She tells a story of a woman runnign away from tigers and she climbs down a cliff, and the tigers are above and below, waiting for her to fall. A mouse is nibbling away at the vine she is clinign on to. She also sees a bunch of strawberries near her. She takes a strawberry, eats it and enjoys it thoroughly. Pema Chodron says,

“Tigers above, tigers below. This is the predicament that we are always in, in terms of our birth and death. Each moment is just what it is. It might be the only moment of our life, the only strawberry we’ll ever eat. We could get depressed about it or we could finally appreciate it and delight in the preciousness of every single moment of our life.”

This is the message we read over and over in different forms: enjoy each moment as if it were your last. You never know what is in the future. It is hard to put this into action. Yoga and meditation help, but modern life is always driving us forwards, to achieve more and more, and not just smell the roses. So today, think about what your strawberry moment is and savour it!

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New blog about healing!

Healing yourself

I have created a new blog which focuses much more on the healing side of yoga and meditation and many other theories too. It may give you some inspiration and help in your daily life.

http://www.chasingsheep.co.uk/

Here is an example of one of my posts:

Life Lessons

Like a lot of what I’m reading, “Life Lessons” by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross and David Kessler is about finding our true potential now, rather than realising on our death bed that we wish we’d done things differently. Something I read recently asked the question, “If you were dying, what would you wish you’d done more or less of?” It made me stop and think – actually, when you take away all the material things, the important thing is that you’ve shown love to people. Whether that is your family or friends, or strangers through voluntary work. Having an open heart. We will never wish we’d worked harder, or had more cars when we’re dying.

Lessons for now

So “Life Lessons” teaches us to think about this now: rather than wait until it’s too late to do anything about it. What is your passion? What would you really like to do if money/time/what people think was no issue? How much of what you do is because you think you ought to do it, or because you think your loved ones want you to do it?
“Once in a while give in to an urge you would usually suppress, try doing something “odd” or new.
By not doing the things that feed your soul, you are becoming someone who is squashed and won’t find their true potential. Life Lessons asks the questions:

“Ask yourself what you would do if no-one was looking?”
If you could do anything without consequences, what would it be?

EKR says your answer reveals a lot about who you are, or at least what is in your way. It may point to a negative belief or a lesson to work on before you can discover your essence.

“If you say you would steal, you probably fear that you do not have enough. If you say you would love someone who you are not loving now, you may fear love.”

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Next steps in finding your soul work

Maybe for you, starting to do the voluntary work you’ve always meant to do is one thing to initiate that will make you feel better – it will also make the world a whole lot better. Maybe ask yourself the question with things you choose to do now, “Will I be happy I did this when I’m dying?” I know myself that I would much rather look back and be able to say that I’d helped lots of people in my life than that I lived a very safe, boring life without much contact with society at large. Having been housebound has made me see how small our lives can become through illness and age and how much we need other people. So now I plan to give something back – I’ve volunteered to befriend a local elderly person through Linkage. I also plan to change my job when I am able to and do something which gives more back to my community. So watch this space! Let me know if you have any ideas.

And on that note, I’ve just seen this on Facebook

(Thanks to “Life Lessons” by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross and David Kessler for the quotes in green.)

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Free Yoga in St George’s park!

Dear all

I am teaching yoga in St George’s Park at 2pm on 4th August as part of Redfest. Do come along and join in – bring a yoga mat if you have one. Lots of alternative therapies and music on offer too! Let’s hope for sunshine too!

Unfortunately it doesn’t seem to mention us on the website or in the programme but we will be there. http://www.redfestbristol.co.uk/?page_id=512

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