Home practice can be daunting (sometimes). What to do?
General vs Specific Practice
Let's break it down into two categories: general and specific.
General is a bit of everything: forward bends, back bends, side bends, standing poses, one leg balances, arm balances, hip and shoulder openers.
Specific is say when you want to work on your back bends because they are your weakest category of Asana (and you should be specifically practicing your weakest areas).
When to Practice Specifically
Yoga classes tend to be general. So if you are hitting the mat in class a couple of times per week, then you've got this covered. Supplement this general practice with specific home practice in your weakest area(s).
Create an A4 page of 10 stick figures targeting your weakest areas. Make sure to work upwards in difficulty.
Practice the poses a couple of times each, going deeper each time. Remember, you are trying to gain in strength and flexibility or to balance better, so repetition is key.
When to Practice Generally
If you aren't getting to class enough, then you need to run through a general practice at home.
Bang out some Suri A, B and C. Add in some standing and balancing poses, and finish with some back and front bends.
30 - 45 mins and you are done and dusted. No biggie. Keep it simple. Maybe write it down to keep you honest and on track.
Always Finish Hungry for More
When I boxed, the trainer would always finish us off when we were still hungry for more training. This kept the training interesting and us coming back. Same with a home yoga practice.
Keep it tight and practice generally or specifically depending on your class attendance.
About John - John is (in his own words) a redneck yogi wannabe try hard.
You can check out his blog here 'How To Be Your Own Yoga Messiah'
As The Yoga Social’s OM into Spring continues, both Sasha and I are enjoying the diet changes we are making as part of our commitment to let August hear our OM at full resonance! So what’s gone for us? Coffee, alcohol, sugar, dairy, gluten for a start and instead we have a better sense of listening to our bodies to hear what it really wants for nourishment. To support us in our change of increasing protein and healthy fats into our diet we are using coconut oil in our cooking. It’s tasty and staves off sweet cravings.
As yogis we know that the practice of yoga incorporates the philosophy of food as life affirming medicine. We begin to review our food choices and look for products that provide us with real nourishment on a physical level, and nourishment on an environmental and social level. Coconut oil has a versatility of uses and health giving properties. Check this list out for some of them. Generally used as a food product, the oil is safe to use in a range of settings away from the kitchen. I take mine into the bathroom for use on my face and body and into the bedroom. I eat a teaspoon when I feel like something sweet and it suffices to take away any cravings.
You might have noticed as you come into reception at The Yoga Social that tucked on a shelf above, are a couple of jars of coconut oil, and not just any old coconut oil. The Yoga Social has been stocking and selling Niuguini Organics Coconut Oil for the last four months, with buyers delighting in its deliciousness. Due to the purity of the product, this particular oil does not have a strong flavour, so your food is not going to taste like coconuts in a major way.
We love Niugini Organics at The Yoga Social, not only because the oil is incredibly pure compared to other oils on the market, but the food miles are low – it comes from our neighbours in Papua New Guinea, its organic, raw and best of all, fair trade. Coconuts are sourced from local farms, which are regularly checked to maintain organic certification. No plantation farms, with coconuts picked by monkeys (yes this happens elsewhere), but local farms which employ local workers and deliver profits back into the local community. Just knowing that back story of Niuguini Organics, nourishes me.
Sasha has put together a little recipe or two to help you see how you might integrate coconut oil into your life.
x Leonie & Sasha
SOME FAVOURITE DELICIOUS RECIPES
Simple Chocolate Fudge
Makes 30-35 pieces, you can easily half the recipe to make a smaller quantity.
Best kept in the fridge, or even in the freezer for a fudgey frozen treat!
Almond Joy Fat Bombs
Optional: Once firm, use a toothpick to grab and dip each ball in a thin layer of melted dark chocolate. Place on wax paper and put back into the freezer for 5 minutes.
These fat bombs store well in the fridge and freezer.
Homemade All Natural Deodorant
1. In a medium bowl, mix the baking soda and arrowroot flour until well combined. Baking soda can be quite irritating on some skin, so if you think you may be sensitive to it, use less baking soda and more arrowroot flour – or you can substitute arrowroot flour for baking soda completely.
2. Add the coconut oil (room temperature works best) and mix until you reach a smooth consistency – there shouldn’t be any leftover powder. If you feel that your mixture is too dry, add a bit more coconut oil and mix some more.
3. Almost done! Add your essential oil mixture – this is totally optional, but it’s a great addition to smell great.
Happy Om'ing :)
This awesome image is of me interpretive dancing. Yep, I said awesome, cos that is how I feel whenever I pull out a contemporary 'So You Think You Can Dance' move. It's what I do to release stress. Dance around and be a goober!
About four months ago I was sick. Sick for at least two months (or more) with a cold/flu I just couldn't shake. It was hard to teach, hard to work, hard to laugh. I went to the doctors to have all of my bloods checked and surprisingly they came back exceptionally healthy, which was also a surprise for my doctor as I've been a lacto vegetarian for over 20 years. My iron levels were actually slightly higher than normal. So my diet wasn't the problem.
Anyway, this got me thinking. Why am I sick? The only thing I could think of was stress. My stress seemed like normal stress to me, stress because I'm the owner of a relatively new business and finances were always in my mind, stress because I was doing a lot, and stress because I was thinking about the future of my business and always trying to create ideas on marketing etc ...
After lots and lots of reflection it dawned on me that It was actually worry.
It was worry which was making me sick and not stress. It was my reaction to my stress. I chose to worry. I chose to attach to these thoughts and dream of them, make up 'failure' scenarios as to what 'could' happen and dwell on them. My reactions to my stress were so powerful they made me sick.
Things needed to change. I was anxious and sick.
So, how did I turn it around? Firstly, I observed my stress, broke it down, and I got myself out of the stressful situations I could get myself out of, the simple, realistic ones like cutting the stuff the business couldn't afford. I looked at my current situation and chose to praise myself and what I'de accomplished, and saw my thoughts of jealousy, anger and fear as a chance to 'self study' and mostly didn't attach to them. Notice I said 'mostly'? I'm only human right :)
I also realised I couldn't do everything. And my business couldn't be everything. A few years ago I got super excited and thought my yoga business could be a studio, a school, a mentoring service, an art gallery and an online resource. Realistically, this couldn't work. So I chose one thing the business was good at, and one thing only, and let the other stuff go. I chose to take time out even when I had stuff to do, because I knew that If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have time off at all ... and things can wait, and I also acknowledged that every single worry I had was a choice.
Stress is normal. Worrying is not, and it can be so harmful, it can make you ill and can prematurely age every cell in your body. Our reactions to our experience mean everything. They shape who we are and determine where we are going. Everybody experiences stress. We are not alone, although our reactions can make us stand out from the crowd ... and sometimes not in a positive way. Some people lash out in fear, some of us (me) worry instead. Both of these are not healthy reactions.
I now feel healthy and finally have energy again. This wasn’t about changing my diet, or my lifestyle, it was about changing how I reacted.
There are meditation / mindfulness exercises we can practice for this. When you are feeling stressed out, try sitting and focusing on your breath. Feel your breath enter and exit through your body and observe your stress instead of reacting straight away, then make a conscious effort to not attach to it and simply watch it pass. Make a decision to not react in a negative or harmful way to yourself or to anyone else. This decision, this choice, will change everything and it could take less than five minutes. Check out this cool animation.
Or, next time you're feeling stressed, get out your ghetto blaster (okay ... maybe your iPod) and dance around to 'Flashdance, What a feeling', Seriously, turn it up and pull some moves, dance and jump around the room like you're on so you think you can dance, or better still, dance for no competition and just do it for yourself. It works every time for me and it feels so good!! :)
Just one more thing. A few of my friends have looked at the image of me above and seriously have almost wet themselves laughing. So, if the meditation or the dancing doesn't quite work for you .. there's always my photo .... just saying.
Namaste. Ambika x
The Yoga Social Team