The Yoga and Mindfulness Path Away from Depression and Distressing Emotions – Moving Towards the Light

You may be interested to know that two spaces have become available on the above ten week course
This course will be held at Wake House in Bourne and starts on Wednesday, 23rd May. If you, or somebody that you know, might be interested, please let me know asap.  You can text or telephone me on: 07817623330 or email me at: freetothinkmail@aol.com or Contact Sarah

Week Two: Apana Vayu

Week two of our journey into the Prana Vayus has seen us working with Apana Vayu. This is the downward moving, grounding energy that is associated with the lower regions of our physical body and all forms of elimination. Physically we eliminate waste from the body and mentally, apana vayu encourages us to cleanse our minds by eliminating stale emotions, habits, behaviours, thoughts and ideas, opinions, and everything else that stems from the mind. This energy allows us to release and let go of emotions and behaviours that no longer serve us, cleansing us of old experiences and creating space for new ones.

If this energy is unbalanced, there is a lack of integrity between the mind and the body and our immune system is weakened. We become vulnerable to illness, fear, doubt, confusion, insecurity, and loss of purpose. A strong and balanced apana vayu is grounding, it helps to banish feelings of spaciness, anxiety and stress, and encourages a stable outlook towards life.

 

Because this is a downward flowing energy, when we work with apana vayu, our intention is to conserve this energy and keep it in the body through practices such as mula bandha, and the mobilisation of prana within the pelvis in postures such as dynamic baddha konasana.

Throughout our practice this week, we worked with Yoni Mudra, a powerful mudra, which draws energy down into the lower pelvis, legs and feet, where it assists in elimination and a healthy flow of apana vayu:

Bring each thumb tip together and each index finger tip together to form a diamond shape. Spread the fingers and place the hands, palms facing down, far down on the lower abdomen so that the thumbs are pointing upwards, just below the navel and the fingers are pointing downwards toward the groin. Relax the shoulders.

Allow the inhalation to be natural, and place your focus on the exhalation. As the breath slows down, begin to extend the exhalation to your maximum comfortable length. Maintain your focus on the exhalation, picturing or sensing or feeling the breath flowing downwards into the region of the pelvis. Imagine or sense the whole of the pelvic basin filling with cleansing energy. Practice for 5 minutes or more.

Practice yoni mudra whenever you feel a need to let go of anything from any part of you, physical, mental or physiological, and encourage apana vayu to cleanse you and release you of anything that no longer serves you.

March-April 2018: Exploring the Prana Vayus

This term we are exploring the Prana Vayus. These are the “energy winds” in the subtle energy body, known as the Pranamaya Kosha (the “body that feeds on prana or universal energy”).

We began our journey with a practice designed to balance the energy of Prana Vayu. This is the fundamental, inward-moving, propulsive, vital energy, that gives us vitality, speed and motivation. It is our receptive energy which enables us to receive everything from air (through inhalation) and food, to impressions and ideas. This energy governs respiration, and is most active in the region of the lungs and heart.

On a more subtle level, this is the energy that heightens our sensitivity to our external senses and our inner awareness. It allows us to see the external world and all its opportunities more clearly, and at the same time, this energy lets us rest our inner attention in contentment. An imbalance of this energy can lead to adopting bad habits and suffering from cravings, a restless and scattered mind and emotional conditions such as anxiety, depression, grief, bereavement and isolation.

Physically, a lack of prana vayu can lead to low energy and fatigue, breathing difficulties (inability to catch breath, asthma, COPD), or a lack of chest expansion (forwards and outwards, especially the middle ribs), heart and lung problems, any chronic illness, a weak immune system, upper back stiffness or pain, shoulder or arm weakness or problems, such as frozen shoulder.

The mudra that we used to encourage a balanced prana vayu was Madhyrama Sharira mudra:

Place the index fingers around the upper chest and the thumbs towards the back of the body. Keep the other fingers together so that the middle fingers are pressed towards the index fingers, palms facing downwards. Relax the shoulders and close the eyes.

Bring the awareness down in to the upper chest area, to where your fingers and thumbs are touching your body. Begin to focus on the inhalation and extend the inhalation to it’s maximum, comfortable length. Focus on the breath entering the body and filling the upper chest area. Let the exhalation be natural, whilst you maintain your focus on the inhalation. Practice for 5 minutes or more, whenever you feel there is a need to redress any of the imbalances described above.

“Guest Speaker” Meditations in December

 

Hi. For those of you would like to practice either of the last two “guest speaker” meditations that we practiced last term, here are the links:

For “Experiencing Gratitude” by Lama Yeshe Rabgye:

https://insighttimer.com/…/guided-me…/experiencing-gratitude

And for “Mindful Awareness” by Kate James:

https://insighttimer.com/…/gui…/mindful-awareness-meditation

Enjoy a little bit of inner peace and calm!

Setting an Intention for Your Practice

 

Hi Everybody! I hope you all enjoyed your Christmas and that it gave you good memories. I wish you all love and peace, good health and contentment for this coming year.

Our first week back will, as always, include an intention for our practice. I know that some of you come with your own intention for your practice and that others like to share the group intention for that week. This term, I shall be encouraging you to come with your own intention for your practice.

It may be that you end up having the same intention for the whole of the term, or it may be that you experiment with a different intention for each practice, that will be your choice.   

When we work with an intention for our practice it gives us a reason to step on to our mats. Instead of “just doing it”, we have a purpose and a resolve that deepens the practice. The experience becomes quantitative as well as qualitative in that we either consciously assess, or unconsciously contemplate, what it is that we want from our practice before we step on to our mat. Then, we have a way of measuring what we have achieved from our practice when we step off of our mat.

An intention for your yoga practice can be –

Physical, examples of which might be: “I want to ease my back pain” or “I want to feel physically stronger”;

Psychological: “I want to feel less anxious/stressed/tense…” or “I want to feel more at ease with myself/experience mental equilibrium/feel more empowered …”;

Emotional: “I want to release fear/anger/hurt …” or “I want to experience more contentment/confidence/peace …”

Energetic: “I want more energy” or “I want to become more aware of my energetic self”.

Spiritual: “I want to understand my spiritual purpose” or “I want to deepen my compassionate/empathetic/loving Self.”

What ever your intention is, it will give you more purpose for your practice, it will strengthen your resolve and your desire to practice, and it will encourage you to develop more insight into what your yoga practice can do for you, both on and off your mat.

 

Re-Enrolment for Existing Students for January/February 2018 Term and A Reminder for the Last Two Classes of this Term

Yoga, Mindfulness and Relaxation Classes for January-February 2018

Mondays:  Moose Hall, Spalding:  9:15-10:30am.

January: 08th, 15th, 22nd, 29th.  February: 5th, 12th, 26th.

Please note: There will be no class on 19th February.

Tuesdays: South View Primary School, Crowland:  9:30-10:45am

January: 09th, 16th, 23rd, 30th.  February:  6th, 13th, 27th.

 Please note: There will be no class on 20th February.

Wednesdays: Wake House, Bourne:  9:30-10:45am and 11:00am-12:15pm.

January: 10th, 17th, 24th, 31st.  February:  7th, 14th, 28th.

Please note:  There will be no class on 21st February.

Thursdays:  South View Primary School, Crowland:  6:00-7:15pm and 7:30-8:45pm.

January: 11th, 18th, 25th.  February: 1st, 8th, 15th.

 Please note: There will be no class on 22nd February.

A Reminder to all Students:      

Our Class Meditation of the Week

Over the past week we have been meditating to the “7 min Breathing Practice” which was guided by “guest speaker” (via the Insight Timer) Anna Donald, from Mindful Revolution.

If you would like to experience this meditation again, the link is below. Indulge in 7 minutes of peace and quiet, and enjoy:

November and December 2017 Term

Once more we have reached the final term of the year, and very soon our thoughts will be turning to Christmas and the New Year. For me, Christmas is about sharing and giving and I like to try to encourage that through our class practice with a gift from me to my students.

Ajna Chakra

As we move up through the energy centres, this week we reach Ajna, the “third eye” chakra which means the “perception” or “command centre”. Ajna is located in the mid-brain, between, and just above, the eyes behind the space between the eyebrows. Whilst our two eyes look out and see the external, material world, this chakra looks inward and “sees” our internal world, beyond the physical world with what we sometimes refer to as our ‘sixth sense’. Our third eye sees the world through visualization, intuition, dreaming, imagination, clairvoyance and telepathy.

Ajna is associated with the element light and the color indigo blue and it is involved in both the creation and perception of art. It is through this chakra that we recognise that what we see has a powerful impact on us. Even when we’re not aware of it, we are all sensitive to the images we find in our environment, whether they be positive or not.

Two much energy in this chakra can lead to headaches, hallucinations, nightmares, and difficulty concentrating. If we are lacking energy in Ajna, we may have a poor memory, be unable to visualize well, and experience problems with our eyes, ears and sinuses. A healthy ajna chakra ensures we have good levels of concentration, memory and intelligence and that we are able to trust in our intuition and go with our inner intelligence.

Throughout this weeks practice, whenever you practice with your eyes closed, you can experience pratyahara, the drawing inward of the senses, which encourages us to become more insightful about our bodies, the breath, and our minds.

Intentions for Ajna might be: to trust your intuition; to improve correct perception; to realise that we are all connected; to be guided by your inner wisdom.

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Visuddha Chakra

 

Our next practice will be about cleansing and healing Vishudha. The throat chakra is the bridge between our heart and our mind, its name translates as “the pure place”, and we purify the body and mind through discrimination – paying attention to what we invite in, through diet, yoga, meditation, and exercise.No automatic alt text available.

This is the first of the higher chakras, whose focus is on the spiritual plane. This chakra is associated with the colour turquoise, and with the elements of sound and ether (the upper sky, beyond the clouds). Vishuddha is located in the neck, throat, jaw, and mouth and this masculine chakra connects us with our inner truth and helps us find our own way of conveying our voice to the outside world. Vibration, rhythm, music, voice, words and communications are all associated with this centre, and as you listen to a favourite song or piece of music, you may notice how the vibrations and rhythms positively affect your body and mind, right down to the cellular level. Music, dancing, singing and communication through writing and speaking are all fifth chakra ways of expressing ourselves. It is at this energy level that we effect our will and power of choice. Here is where we take responsibility for decisions and speak up for what we believe in.

Deficient energy in this chakra leads to neck stiffness, shoulder tension, teeth grinding, jaw disorders, throat ailments, an underactive thyroid, a fear of speaking or an inability to express our Self. Excessive energy in this chakra manifests as talking too much, an inability to listen, hearing difficulties, stuttering, and an overactive thyroid.

Intentions for this chakra might be: To communicate clearly, honestly, and with compassion; to release fear of speaking up for yourself or for others; to be a good listener; to learn not to over-talk or dominate conversations; to refrain from gossip.

Namaste (the light within me recognises the light within you).