Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Sun Salutations

The Sun Salutation is perfect for warming up the body and generating an internal heat to prepare the body from inside out.
The flow of poses also helps to raise the heart rate and add an aerobic element to your yoga practice.
Although they were designed to be performed in the morning, facing the direction of the sun, they are ideal to perform at any time.
There are any number of variations but I prefer to use this version (above) for beginners.
Practising 4-6 rounds of Sun Salutations followed by 8-10 breaths in Downward Dog is the ideal way to start your daily home practice.

For a more advanced version replace Plank with Chaturanga and Cobra with Upward Dog and you will be working your core.

Remembering to use the breath to move through each of the poses.

Welcome to Formby Yoga with some Blue Sky Thinking

Although I still see myself as being at the start of my yoga journey with so much to learn, it all began in 1991.

Pregnant with my first child and used to regular exercise (I met my husband in a gym), I wanted to find an activity to accommodate, challenge but soothe my rapidly expanding body. Enter yoga. I picked a book off the shelf at WH Smith – no Amazon in those days – and found myself drawn to the ante-natal section of The Book of Yoga by the Sivananda Centre. There was a fully illustrated guide to a complete yoga session for pregnant women and I was hooked.
I practised the routine most days and despite it being my first pregnancy, Samuel James made his appearance into the world on the day he was due, after a relatively painfree birth. The early days of motherhood left little time for exercise ,but time and again I would return to the book for a gentle workout before resuming my gym routine.
The book came out again in 1995, 1997 and 1999 when I became pregnant for a second, third and fourth time and between births I would attend the sporadic classes at my local gym. Over the years running began to take over and after completing a couple of marathons and several half-marathons I became plagued with injuries as I hit my 40s.
However, it wasn’t a physical awakening that brought me back to yoga but, rather a mental or spiritual awakening. Last winter I was in a supermarket car park and ended up having a slanging match with a woman over a parking space. When I got home I was full of righteous indignation until my 16-year-old daughter (who was with me at the time) gave me a strange look and said:
“You need to calm down mum. That was embarrassing.”
She was right. I was thoroughly ashamed of myself. I could blame the stress of work and the frantic pace of life with four children but that would be the easy way out. I needed to take control of myself and calm down. The only thing I knew that had a chance of working was yoga. And so I retrieved my well-thumbed 24-year-old book from the shelf and started to practice. And practice. I found a few yoga classes to try out and I began to practice every day at home. Sometimes for just 5 minutes, other times for up to 90 minutes a day. After 48 years on this planet I have to say nothing comes closer to giving me a sense of peace and calm than yoga. And the physical benefits are great too. I am more flexible than I was in my 20s, I can stand on my head for five minutes at a time and I sleep like a baby.
The next step of my journey is to share those benefits with as many people as I can. Which is why I trained to become a yoga teacher in 2014. 
Wherever this next part of my journey takes me I will be able to take the lessons of the last 20 years with me: breathe, stay focused and practice being patient.

Keep on Yogging

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