This year has been incredibly challenging for me, and instead of using my practice to help me through it, I neglected it. I’m not just talking about asana (physical practice) here, I’m talking about my yoga practice in its entirety. As we move into this new month, I realise this isn’t a time for regret,... Continue Reading →
This is a question I get asked a lot, and it's never easy to answer! When I first started to practice yoga, I bought a very cheap mat from a high street shop and it lasted me a good year before it started to show serious signs of wear and tear. However, this meant I... Continue Reading →
I’ve seen a few social media posts recently about ‘advanced’ yoga and 'advanced' practitioners/students/yogis (whichever term you use) and what this actually means. So often, being ‘advanced’ in yoga is seen as being ‘more flexible’, able to hold ‘complex asana’ or being able to have a stronger/more intense physical practice. I speak to people who... Continue Reading →
We like to call it [Brahmacharya] "proper application of energy", because this idea helps guide a physical practice to the appropriate edge, spending energy where it's needed and not where it isn't. Sage Roundtree & Alexandra Desiato (Teaching Yoga Beyond the Poses)
On your yoga mat, this might show itself as being excessive in how often you practice, trying so many times to do an advanced posture that you injure yourself. Activity: The concept of excess can start to get very personal so as an activity, maybe just think about this yama? Have this idea in your... Continue Reading →
The fourth of the Yamas is Brahmacharya, or Nonexcess. Moderation in all our actions. Brahmacharya does roughly translate as abstinence, and some people take this to be celibacy, however many prefer to think of this in terms of nonexcess. So basically, don’t have more than you need, don’t be excessive. Still partake in enjoyable things,... Continue Reading →
Cultural appropriation is stealing the intellectual, spiritual, cultural informational wealth of another group, such as we see happening with yoga today and for the last century. Susanna Barkataki - How to Practice Yoga Without Appropriating It (www.susannabarkataki.com) This is always a discussion that should be happening in yoga spaces but I'm specifically mentioning this now... Continue Reading →
On your yoga mat, Asteya might show itself as wishing you could do a posture like the person next to you or wishing you had their figure. It could also mean showing up to class on time and respecting the time the teacher and other students are giving. Activity: Try and practice Asteya in your... Continue Reading →
The third of the Yamas is Asteya, or Nonstealing. Not taking what does not belong to you. The obvious message here is ‘don’t steal stuff’. But this can also refer to other things too. You can ‘take’ other’s time and energy by taking advantage of them. You can desire something that someone else has that... Continue Reading →
On your yoga mat, Satya might show itself as not being honest about what you’re capable of on that day – resulting in not giving your mind and body what they need, or potentially pushing yourself to injury. Activity: Try and practice Satya in your next yoga class/work meeting/social occasion, be honest about how you’re... Continue Reading →
Truthfulness is partnered with nonviolence…We can appreciate this statement when we begin to practice speaking our truth without causing harm to others. As partners, truthfulness keeps nonviolence from being a wimpy cop-out, while nonviolence keeps truthfulness from being a brutal weapon.Deborah Adele
The second of the Yamas is Satya, or truthfulness. Right communication through speech, writing, gesture and actions. Yes, this means telling the truth, but sometimes the truth can cause hurt which goes against Ahimsa, and Ahimsa always comes first. So, try to be truthful and honest where you can, with your words and actions, but... Continue Reading →
On your yoga mat, Ahimsa might show itself as beating yourself up for losing your balance, or perhaps judging the person on the mat next to you when they do… Activity: Try and practice Ahimsa in your next yoga class/work meeting/social occasion, speak to yourself and others with kindness!
The first of the Yamas is Ahimsa, or nonviolence. Nonviolence towards others and ourselves, and a consideration for all living things. There is more to this than just “not getting in fights” – this means being kind and thoughtful when interacting with others, but also yourself. Your words and thoughts can be just as violent... Continue Reading →
After nearly 20 years of Ashtanga Yoga practice, I now measure my success by how long I'm able to keep my emotional centre spacious enough to be genuinely kind. By comparison, it's almost easy to get on the mat and bend and twist your body. In daily life, it is much harder to maintain a... Continue Reading →
Yamas translates roughly as restraints and covers our attitudes toward our environment. The yamas are: Ahimsa (Nonviolence)Satya (Truthfulness)Asteya (Nonstealing)Brahmacarya (Nonexcess)Aparigraha (Nonposessiveness) I realise that at a first glance, you can see a lot of words starting with 'Non' - however, these guidelines, or restraints, are not about limiting your life, they are about opening up... Continue Reading →
Recently my, physical/asana practice has been very limited - a combination of the house move and shoulder injuries means it's just been more difficult than usual. But this doesn't mean I've not been practicing yoga. I've spent 3 years practicing asana, so now it's really nice to dedicate some time to the other areas of... Continue Reading →
So, you might have noticed it's been a bit quiet here lately, but that's because I've just been so busy! In the last month or so, I've moved to a new house which has taken up so much time – all the paperwork, the building work that needs doing, decorating, and work in the garden... Continue Reading →
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"Where and how does the practice of yoga begin? Should we always begin on the physical level? I would say that where we begin depends on our personal interests. There are many ways of practicing yoga, and gradually the interest in one path will lead to another."T. K. V. Desikachar - The Heart of Yoga
Social media is a great way to keep in touch with friends, stay up-to-date with the latest news and promote your business. But it’s also easy to get lost in an unhealthy relationship with social media; it can start to take over, you live your life through a camera lens or screen, and you’re constantly... Continue Reading →
"Anyone who wants to can practice yoga. Anybody can breathe; therefore anybody can practice yoga. But no one can practice every kind of yoga. It has to be the right yoga for the person." T. K. V. Desikachar - The Heart of Yoga Do you have a preferred type of yoga? What works for you?
With the eight limbs, there is a lot of information to take in, especially as there are so many interpretations of them. As I read through various versions I always need a notebook handy to scribble notes, and (sorry for those who hate this) but underline and highlight passages in the book too. Do you... Continue Reading →
Did you know that I'm on other social media platforms? My main content is shared across them all, but I also share content from other people on each platform too - usually in my Instagram stories, or sharing articles on Facebook.
The eighth, and final, limb is Samadhi which is a state of unity, or a complete sense of concentration.
As we've been introducing the eight limbs, you can see that there is so much more to yoga than the physical poses. This quote from T. K. V. Desikachar's The Heart of Yoga sums it up really well. "Yoga is primarily a practice intended to make someone wiser, more able to understand things than they... Continue Reading →
The seventh of the limbs is Dhyana which is often translated as meditation, though in some books I've read it is slightly different to meditation - the ability to focus and have deep mental concentration.
As I'm introducing the eight limbs of yoga, you can probably see why the third limb, Asana (postures), is the limb that's most often portrayed and talked about, especially on social media. First, it is ideal for images as it's purely physical - how do you take photographs of concentration or breath work? Second, it's... Continue Reading →
I mentioned in a previous post about attending a workshop at the Natural History Museum. It was an incredible space to practice in, if you're in the UK I'd definitely recommend it. At the end of the session, a lot of people were taking photos on the steps of the main hall, most holding advanced... Continue Reading →
The fifth of the limbs is Pratyahara which is sense withdrawal or the restraint of senses. From this point on, the limbs are very new concepts to me, so I'll wait to go into more details until I'm more familiar with them myself.
"To approach your practice intelligently means to know all the implications of what you want to do, whether that be Asana or Pranayama, and to make appropriate preparations and adjustments." T.K.V Desikachar's The Heart of Yoga. The passage in the book goes on to give the example of wanting to travel overseas - it's not... Continue Reading →
The fourth of the limbs is Pranayama which is breath control and the practice of breathing exercises. I've done a little bit of Pranayama work in my regular yoga class, and we practiced a few techniques in a workshop I attended at the Natural History Museum in London. Some of the practices made me feel... Continue Reading →
I love this image! Photo by: Matthew Henry on https://burst.shopify.com
The third of the limbs is Asana. These are the physical postures of yoga and are what a lot of people think of when the term Yoga is used.
I'm just curious - which colour do you prefer on the logo? I couldn't decide so I went with all 3! Let me know in the comments below!
The second of the limbs is Niyama, or the Niyamas. This translates roughly as 'observances' and includes our attitudes toward ourselves. The Niyamas also have 5 elements which I'll be covering later. When discussing the Niyamas here, I'll often be referencing the work of Deborah Adele and the book 'The Yamas & Niyamas: Exploring Yoga's... Continue Reading →
The first of the limbs is Yama, or the Yamas. This translates roughly as 'restraints' and includes our attitudes toward our environment. The Yamas have 5 elements which I'll cover in the future. When discussing the Yamas here, I'll often be referencing the work of Deborah Adele and the book 'The Yamas & Niyamas: Exploring... Continue Reading →
"In its exported manifestation, yoga has tended to focus on the physical aspect of the system of yoga, the Asanas, or stretching poses and postures, which most Western adherents of yoga practice in order to stay trim, supple and healthy. Patanjali himself, however, pays minimal attention to the Asanas, which are the third stage of... Continue Reading →
The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali are a series of 196 short statements (sutras) concerning yoga. I'll go into the sutras in more detail as I work my way through them in my own learning, but I first of all wanted to introduce the Eight Limbs of Yoga, which form part of the Yoga Sutras. Over... Continue Reading →
When I was first putting together my page and branding, I asked a friend who works in marketing to look over my designs for some feedback. On a mock up I'd created of an Instagram feed, I had this exact plain purple colour block and said that I'd use it to add quotes and text... Continue Reading →
On the way to my teacher training I was full of nerves and anxiety - don’t get me wrong, I was incredibly excited. But it was those Imposter Syndrome thoughts creeping in. ‘Who am I to think that I can teach yoga?’ ‘I can’t do many of the advanced poses, how am I supposed to... Continue Reading →
"The essence of my father's teachings is this: it is not that the person needs to accommodate him-or herself to yoga, but rather the yoga practice must be tailored to fit each person." T.K.V Desikachar - The Heart of Yoga. What would you like to learn to tailor, and adapt, to work for you within... Continue Reading →
I'm so excited! Tomorrow is my first day of Yoga Teacher Training. This feels like such a huge step forward for me, I can't wait to explore and learn.
I've got the core reading list for my Yoga Teacher Training along with other recommended texts, but I'm also curious to hear what you would recommend? Have you read any books linked to yoga asana, yoga philosophy and meditation that resonated with you? Let me know in the comments below!
This quote from T.K.V Desikachar's The Heart of Yoga sums up what I'd love to create with my future classes. "There are many stories I could tell, all of which show the necessity for an individual approach to yoga. By this I do not mean that I have to give only private lessons, but I... Continue Reading →
As I'm preparing for my Yoga Teacher Training, one of the things which has been really helpful is journaling. This is actually something I've done for years, but I never understood until recently how useful it is. Journaling isn't necessarily sitting down every evening and writing 'Dear Diary…' - instead it can be used when... Continue Reading →
Another quote from T.K.V Desikachar's The Heart of Yoga which has stood out: "The way yoga is taught nowadays often gives the impression that there is one solution to everyone's problems and one treatment for every illness. But yoga affects the mind, primarily, and each person's mind is different." T.K.V Desikachar - The Heart of... Continue Reading →
When setting up this account and brand, I struggled to find images of people practicing yoga that weren't thin, white, young, cisgender passing and incredibly flexible and strong. The majority of images portrayed handstands or arm balances. Is it any wonder that yoga is seen as something so exclusive, and so many people are scared... Continue Reading →