Insight into the Wonders of the Human Brain

Yesterday, I finished reading a book called “My Stroke of Insight” by Jill Bolte Taylor, and it completely bowled me over. Jill (a neuroanatomist who suffered a severe stroke) talks about the differences between the left and right hemispheres of our brains, and what really astounded me was how she described “living in” the right side of her brain after her stroke. Words like “utopia” and “nirvana”, and expressions like being “at one with the universe” and “being in the present moment” … does that sound familiar! Her book has inspired me to research into, and find out more about, our incredible right hemispheres and, to spend more time in them … heaven/paradise/nirvana/ utopia on earth!

This is a link to Jill talking about her experience (it is essentially a very precised version of her book).  I find her totally inspirational because she connects with the scientist in me (left brain) and the yogi that I am (right brain) and makes sense of it all.  I would love to hear your comments on this fascinating subject!

Enjoy …

How Yoga Can Help us to Evaluate and Manage Stress

One of the most frequently heard expressions today is “I’m stressed”. Stress is an inevitable part of modern-day living, however, most stress can be reduced considerably and even eliminated.  Here are some considerations when contemplating stress in your life, and suggestions for reducing it:

(1)     What causes me to become stressed? Commonly shared examples of stressors are: Time-keeping, negative relationships, and money …  However, stress is very personal.  What may stress one person, will not stress another.
(2)    What can I do to reduce my stressors?  Take, for example, being unpunctual.  If being late stresses you, then allow more time for your journey, plan for the unexpected, and add extra time if necessary. Give yourself more time than you are likely to need so that you can relax and  enjoy the journey, rather than rushing and arriving stressed and on edge.
(3)    What can I not change? If you cannot change it, then try to make it acceptable by viewing it from a different perspective.  Annoying relatives perhaps will seem less annoying if you can understand and accept your differences.
(4)    Invest some time on your mat in quiet contemplation.  Ask yourself “why am I stressed, and what can I do about it right now?” Allow the question to settle, and quietly watch your breath. Trust in your vijnanamaya kosha, the wise part of us that holds the answers, and wait for inspiration to come. It may not come as quickly as you like, and it may not always been the answer you were hoping for, however it will be the right answer for you.
(5)     Contemplate the Serenity Prayer, and let it’s wisdom inspire you to trust in the guidance you receive:
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.”
(6)    Be active and expunge negative energy.  Use the adrenalin that your body is supplying: Run, walk fast or choose a more energetic yoga practice … whatever works for you.
(7)    Breathe consciously – slowly and deeply, comfortably and with control.  Focus on the body as you breathe.  Notice the rise and fall of the front of the body with each breath-round.  Notice the lungs expanding with the in-breath and the body softening with the out-breath.  Allow the breath to ease the mind and the body into a state of tranquillity.  Remind yourself that it is impossible to breathe slowly and calmly and be stressed or anxious at the same time.  So now you have a choice to be calm or stressed.  Although stress starts in our mind, we can  erase it through the way we use our thoughts, our breath or our body.  And a combination of all three is powerful … it is what we call yoga!
Om Shanti (Peace to Everyone)
If you would like to know more about yoga, stress and anxiety management, mindfulness or relaxation techniques please contact Sarah, email me at: freetothinkmail@aol.com, find me on Facebook under Free To Think, or text or telephone me on: 07817623330

Emotional Growth Through our Yoga Practice

This term, our practice appears to be evolving around the part of our human experience that we label as our emotions.  Week one saw us looking at opening and creating space through a gentle yin practice.  Week two has seen us more actively pursuing the intention of releasing and letting go through a stronger yang practice.  As we open and release, we create space for new things to come in.  Our yoga practice always encourages us to let go of the stuff that no longer serves us in order to create space for that which we need right now, for our continued development.

Our emotions stem from our energetic self.  They begin with a feeling, which is then given an emotional label by the mind.  Yoga teaches us not to become that emotion.  We talk about becoming angry, upset or excited for example, and yet we are not really that emotion, we are simply experiencing it and from that experience there may be one of several outcomes:  we may experience change, or no change, we may avoid the emotion or push it away, or we may simply experience it and then let it go.

Yoga teaches us that we are not our emotions. That they are a means with which and by which we relate to others.  They come from the mental level of being (manomaya kosha) and, as such, they are within the control of our mind.  Our mind, however operates largely on a sub-conscious level, which means that we are not always fully aware of how it is dealing with our emotions.  We may try to think our way through/around/past emotions.  We may try to subjugate them by burying them and promising ourselves that when we have more time we will re-visit them and deal with them, or we may allow them to rein out of control and become completely caught up in them.

Yoga teaches us to simply witness our emotions.  When we can witness an emotion, we can be fully present in that emotion, without the mind taking over and making up stories around that emotion.  When we witness, we are observing through our being, rather than through our mind. Through witnessing or observing we can see it for what it is: an experience, that is separate from our Self and not a part of our Self.  We can be aware of the emotion without judging it or labelling it ‘good’ or ‘bad’, which allows us to experience it without the filter of our past experiences, thoughts and beliefs. If we are able to remain non-attached in this way, we have a mechanism to feel without being controlled by that feeling, to experience without the feeling becoming the whole experience.

This article was inspired by an article from yogi Matthew Sweeney.  To read the article go to: https://www.yogatemple.com/subtle-body

Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti (Peace, Peace, Peace)

 

 

All Classes are Cancelled for Week Commencing 24th April 2017

This message is for all of my students who are currently practising with me:

On Sunday I injured my foot and cannot put weight on it, or drive, so unfortunately all classes this week are cancelled. I am really hopeful that I should be back to teaching by next week, and will update everybody nearer the time via facebook, my website and email.

I am sorry that you have to miss your class(es).

The good news about damaging a foot is that it is still possible to practice most seated and lying postures, meditation, relaxation and restorative postures!

What Happens During a Yoga Therapy Session?

Yoga therapy is about treating a person holistically.  In other words, regardless of why the person has come to see me, all aspects of the individual, and all of our levels of being are taken into account.

Restorative poses are prescribed for their ability to relax and heal on a deep therapeutic level.

Restorative poses are prescribed for their ability to relax and heal on a deeply therapeutic level.

Sessions are structured so that we can explore the best treatment methods, using yogic techniques that encourage the Self to heal and flourish and move towards optimum wellbeing.

Yogic techniques might include pranayama (breath-work), asana (posture-work), relaxation, mindfulness or meditation, restorative yoga (placing the body in supported postures to promote rest and healing), nidra (deep relaxation) and sankalpa (purpose).

The experience of yoga therapy creates a partnership between client and therapist which allows the therapist to deepen her/his understanding of the client and devise a home practice for the client to take away and use.  This empowers yoga therapy clients to take responsibility for their own wellbeing, and gives them the necessary insight to develop their own intrinsic ability to self-heal.

If you would like more information about yoga therapy, or to make an appointment, you can email me at: freetothinkmail@aol.com, or text/telephone me on: 07817623330.

Stay well!

On Becoming A Yoga Therapist

 

Well, as my fellow yoga therapy students and I press on towards the end of our (rather gruelling) 2+ year Yoga Therapy Diploma Course, I am beginning to reflect on why I first decided to become a Yoga Therapist, and how that has changed and developed over the past 18 months.

Restorative poses are prescribed for their ability to relax and heal on a deep therapeutic level.

Restorative poses are prescribed for their ability to relax and heal on a deeply therapeutic level.

My initial aim was, of course, to “help” people.  An important part of yoga philosophy is that of being of service to others (Karma Yoga) and a Yoga Therapist holds a unique position which enables him or her to combine modern Western knowledge and science with traditional Eastern yogic techniques to cultivate methods of healing. When I first applied for a place on the course, I passionately wanted to be able to ease suffering and encourage empowerment and ownership of did-ease and other disruptions to wellbeing. Of course, I still feel the same way, however, I now understand that these disruptions exist on many different levels within the person, and that, in order for true healing to take place, every level has to be addressed and healed.

A secondary aim was to continue to spread the benefits of yoga as widely as I could. Yoga is purely experiential. Any student knows that we can talk about (and understand) the many physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual benefits of yoga, however the value is in actually spending regular time on our mat experiencing yoga. When we are in that most peaceful of places: at home in our body, experiencing the breath, that is when we truly feel the power of yoga.

Now imagine harnessing all that energy and focusing it precisely where it is needed to improve a particular aspect (or aspects) of wellbeing, then, you have Yoga Therapy.

If you would like to know more about Yoga Therapy, go to my Yoga Therapy page at: Yoga Therapy, or contact me at: Contact Sarah.

 

October Saturday Yoga Workshop with Sarah and Nikki

Hi Fellow Yogis.
On our next Saturday morning workshop, Nikki and I will be guiding students through an exploration of Yin and Restorative Yoga. This will be a intensely relaxing and rejuvenating practice and students will enjoy the healing benefits of these two calming types of yoga.
The practice will help you to replenish your energy stores and heal on a deeper level any physical, emotional or psychological issues, as we work on a subtle energy level with the panca maya koshas, the seven primary chakras and the prana vayus.
Where: The Umbrella Centre, Spalding.IMG_20160412_191027191
Date:    15th October.
Time:    9:30am-12:30pm.
Cost:    £20.00.
If you wish to attend please let either myself or Nikki know as soon as possible as spaces are limited.
With love and light,

The Science Behind Yoga

Yoga is often described as both an art and a science and I would agree. The link below goes some way to explaining what is meant by that statement.  If you are a yogi, or thinking about becoming one then you this will be of interest to you.

Yoga is a transformative practice and this film will tell you how and why that is: http://upliftconnect.com/watch-science-behind-yoga/

Enjoy!

 

Yoga Workshop – Yoga for Health

With Sarah and Nikki

On Saturday, 21st May 2016, From 9:30am-12:30pm sunburst

At the Umbrella Centre, Westlode Street, Spalding

The aim of this experiential workshop is to explore ways in which yoga can improve overall wellbeing in both the mind and body and throughout the workshop we will use a variety of practices:

  • Asana (posture-work)
  • Pranayama (breath-work)
  • Pratyahara (mindfulness)
  • Svadhyaya (self-reflection)
  • Relaxation

The cost of the workshop is £20.00.

For more information, or to book your place, telephone or text Sarah on 07817623330, email: freetothinkmail@aol.com, or see me in class!

 

Seasonal Saturday Workshops with Sarah and Nikki – Yin Yoga

A morning of Yin Yoga with Sarah and Nikki on Saturday, 28th November 2015 at the Umbrella Centre, Westlode Street, Spalding.  From 9:30am – 12.30pm.

The aim of this experiential workshop is to deepen your understanding and experience of the calming and healing practice that is yin yoga.

Throughout the workshop we will employ a variety of practices:

  •  Asana (posture-work)
  •  Pranayama (breath-work)Seated Forward Bend
  •  Pratyahara (mindfulness)
  •  Svadhyaya (self-reflection)
  •  Relaxation

The cost of the workshop is £20.00.

For more information, or to book your place: Telephone or text Sarah on 07817623330, email: freetothinkmail@aol.comcontact me, or see me in class!