Reggae Yoga

REGGAE YOGA

This has been a long time coming.

I   F I N A L L Y have a regular Yoga class taking place in Bristol.

Since gaining my Teacher Training Qualification, I haven’t really been teaching. It sounds silly. It is! And to be honest, I have NO idea why I haven’t. I suppose there’s been a little cloud of fear following me ever since I got back from India.

There has also been this part of me that just hasn’t felt ready. I haven’t felt ready to teach due to have only touching the surface of what Yoga is. Yoga is this ginormous world that is so important to me, that it scares me. How could I possibly teach a class and try impart wisdom on these students, when I myself have SO much more to learn.

But this is Yoga.

Every Yoga teacher is a student before they are a teacher. They will be a student long after they are a teacher. That is what I had to realise. I had to face the fear. Bite the bullet.

So come the New Year, I will have my first regular class!!

Reggae Yoga at 15:30 at Hamilton House… who’s coming?

Everyday Yoga (Challenge)

If you practice Yoga or are interested in it in any way, you may have heard the term “yoga off the mat”. It is a term that is thrown around quite a lot but often there is not much emphasis on practising yoga off the matt, or as some like to call it ‘everyday yoga’.

I recently saw a picture of an iceberg, in which the top part was physical yoga as most people know, and the under-part of the iceberg (the much larger and also hidden part) was the rest of yoga. It really resonated with me and the idea that the physical practise of Yoga (Asana) is only a small fragment of what Yoga really is.

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The simplest way of thinking about this is Patanjali’s eight limb path to Yoga (Ashtanga). The physical practise of Yoga (Asana) is number three on this path. To learn more about Patanjali, Ashtanga and the Yoga Sutras head over here.

Taking Yoga off the mat and into your everyday life is an incredible way to not only explore Yoga deeper, but also to make healthy and positive changes to your life.

Myself and Ann-See from My Kind of Yoga are hosting a Yoga Challenge dedicated to just this. We want to introduce our members and followers to how you can take Yoga into your everyday – and easily. We want everyone to take Yoga off their mat. Take it into their life. Love themselves. Connect. Be brave. Nourish. Earthing. Meditate. Smile.

In Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra’s he talked about Niyama’s. This is the second step in the eightfold Yoga path, loosely translated at ‘personal observances’, or ‘the behaviour to yourself’. Much like all of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, this is not an action or an exercise, but something to study. A way to live. This is what we are going to be exploring through this Yoga Challenge.

June Yoga Challenge

Day One – Love Yourself

There’s that old saying that you can’t love another unless you love yourself. And boy oh boy do I truly believe this. I am an avid supporter of all things self love – if you don’t love yourself it makes it very difficult to love what you do, and live your life the way you truly want to. I honestly believe that loving yourself is key to being happy.

Today we want you to TREAT yourself. Be that practising Yoga, sleeping in, saying no to people who sap your energy, take a long bath. Start the day treating yourself to what you love and the rest will follow.

Day Two – Earthing

Oh Mother Nature you beauty! Being in nature is surprisingly an amazing mood-enhancer. For example, I was walking home from work a few weeks ago in heavy rain. I was soaked, tired and miserable. For some reason however I decided to take a detour home through the fields and woods near my home. I instantly felt better and knew that I had just needed some earthing, some nature, some fresh air, some greenery.

This is what we want to you to do. Take a walk in nature. Sit in a field and watch the world. Take a picnic. Walk bare foot in a field / park / garden (if you are in the middle on a city…)

Day Three – Nourish

FOOD GLORIOUS FOOD. I love food. I’m pants at cooking but I try and that the main thing. I absolutely love food. I 100% live to eat, not eat to live.

Today we want you to nourish yourself. Cook yourself a beautiful meal. Or if you are no kitchen wizard, head out to your favourite place to grab a bite. Try to be ethical and nutritious with your food. Nourish your mind, soul and stomach.

Day Four – Connect

The people in your life make you who you are. Your family, your friends, even your pets. They are who you are, and your loved ones have this weird ability to make you a happier and healthy person. Personally, my family are everything and since moving out I have a new higher appreciation of my family and really cherish the moments I have with them. The same with friends. My friends are dotted all over the country so when we are all back together we all cherish the opportunity.

We want you to connect with your friends or family (or pet). Spend some time with a friend you haven’t seen in a while. Ring your mum, or visit her if you can. Snuggle your puppy. Cuddle your cat. CONNECT with those who are most important to you.

Day Five – Be Brave

So many people are afraid to try new things. Venture out of their comfort zones and explore something they would never have. Be that new food, going to a class, going traveling, asking someone out. Change is something that, ironically, will never change. And it shouldn’t be feared – its is important to learn new things, venture out of our comfort zones and be brave.

Thats what we are challenging you to today – be brave. Try something new, do something you have never done before. Order something different from the menu. Go to that class you have been thinking about going but never have – go by yourself! Spend a whole day doing things by yourself (this is a common fear). Be brave!

Day Six – Meditate

When you practise Yoga, meditation comes naturally alongside. Meditation is one of those things that seems weird and scary – how can you just sit and think of nothing? This is one of the biggest misconceptions of meditation, yes sitting in Lotus Pose and closing your mind off is meditation but there are so many other ways you can meditate. For example guided meditation (you can find these online), mantra meditation, and even things such as dance meditations.

We want you to dedicate some time of your day for mediation, be that 10 minutes or an hour. This can be anything that works for you to help you switch off and turn in; journaling, those mediation colouring books, stargazing, reading or the ‘classic’ idea of mediation.

Day Seven – Smile

Smiling is the easiest way to brighten your day, as well as others. Share your inner joy with others. Feel great inside. Smiling has the ability to lighten your mood, even when you are feeling down.

SMILE! Smile as much as possible today.

Head over to my Instagram and to My Kind of Yoga’s Instagram is you want to get involved with this challenge and to get more information on how to get involved and when.

To get involved we want you to share a picture of each challenge. Understandably some may be harder to capture in an image, therefore you can post the daily image that we put up (or just anything!) with a caption about what you did and how it made you feel, your thoughts and musings.

Rise of Yoga With Young People

Yoga has been practised for hundreds of years, however more recently I have seen a vast increase in Yoga amongst young people. There has been an introduction of meditation in schools as a replacement for detention, as well as an increase in “Kids’ Yoga” classes in and out of schools.

I’ve seen a vast increase in Yoga with teenagers and young adults throughout the past years and I believe the introduction of Yoga in schools has given students who would otherwise never have gone to a Yoga class, the opportunity to experience Yoga in a pure form. As a result, teenagers and young adults have carried on this practice into their later years.

The pressures and stresses experienced by young people often go unnoticed, society turns a blind eye and notably older generations compare their youth to the current youth of today, dismissing the troubles they experience. Young people are frequently criticised for immaturity and ‘not growing up’ quickly enough, whilst being told they need to get good grades, go to University, get a job, be healthy – but still have friends, see the world – but only after Uni.. Honestly the list goes on.

When I think back to my exams (GCSE and A Level) they were notably the most stressful periods of my life. There was not much support regarding my mental and emotional wellbeing during this time, and I know this is still prevalent today. I didn’t go to University but the majority of my school friends did and I can see this theme reoccurring with them. The stress of exams on young people is something that needs to be acknowledged, as well as making resources and support more widely available.

It’s not just the exam period. Young people are increasingly put under pressure to not only succeed in school, but to look, act and be a certain way to fit in with society and to conform to what social media portrays as an ideal / normal life.

After speaking to several students and young people it is clear that the increase in Yoga amongst the younger generations is somewhat down to the stresses and pressure they endure. Young people are often overwhelmed and often feel as if there is no escape, Yoga can help provide this escape. Yoga plays a role in supporting their emotional wellbeing – be that on or off the mat. They are given the opportunity to take time out of their busy lives (school, home, work, relationships, anything) and find a moment of peace in which they can be fully present and focused.

Being able to just breathe and not overthink can massively aid in the reduction of stress, anxiety and negative feelings. As someone who has been practising Yoga since the tender age of 15 I have seen the vast improvement it has made to my life – physically and mentally – particularly throughout my exam period.

We can also look at this in a physical way, not just a mental and emotional way. We think of the younger generation being technologically obsessed; glued to their phones, hunched over laptops. Yoga gives young people an opportunity to step away from the bright glows of their screens and focus their attention on themselves, not their phones or laptops.

Yoga provides a safe, non-competitive and diverse environment for young people as well as supporting their bodies and recharging their immune systems. It builds strength, helps alignment and corrects posture, as well as stretching the mind. Having a clear and refreshed mind is something that can only be beneficial for students and young people – just take a look at the University of Birmingham; they have started their very own Yoga society for their students:

“It’s been hugely successful and popular, each class is fully booked and often over subscribed! It’s an amazing way to get exercise and also take time out of our busy and stressful lives filled with the buzz of technology! …Yoga teaches you to forget your to-do lists and let go of anything which no-longer serves you which is so important to do when the affects of power structures influence everyone’s thinking.” Katie Macnamara, University of Birmingham Student.

It goes without saying, the rise of Yoga amongst Young People can only be a positive thing. I really hope it continues to be introduced in schools around the world, as well as mindfulness being encouraged in every walk of life.

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Sand Cloud – Live To Give

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Meet the towel company that wants to save the ocean. Sand Cloud wants to protect our oceans and marine life through their beautiful towels and accessories. 10% of their profits go to helping do just this.

85% of the litter found in the ocean is plastic. We all know plastic is awful for the environment. We all know that plastic has been amazing over the years in regards to advancing with technology and our general lifestyles, however this has causes such a negative impact on our planet. Plastic does not bio-degrade and stay plastic forever. I’m sure most of us have seen that video of that poor turtle with the straw stuck in her nose. And I do know that this has caused a lot of people to rethink the plastic they use in there lives. Plastic is one of the biggest negative impacts for our oceans as marine life ingest it, get stuck in, get poisoned from it; the list goes on.

71% of out planet is ocean, and in those oceans 93% of our earths inhabitants are there. There are 226,408 marine species know and from that 52% have ingested plastic and 30% being entangled in placates waste; leaving 18% of the plastic left in the ocean to end up on our beaches.

Sand Cloud want to change this. Out of their profits they donate 10% to marine life foundations like the SurfRider Foundation, Pacific Mtiedy_close_1024x1024arine Mammal Centre and San Diego Coast Keeper: all working to protect our beaches, oceans and marine life.

Sand cloud have created a beautiful array of towels (as well as accessories), in a variety of colours and patterns that are hand-loomed in Turkey our of 10

0% Turkish cotton, as well as the tie-dyed and acid wash designed being hand-dyed and “one of a kind”.

Their website features a blog with updates, photoblogs, as well as tips for helping to protect the oceans yourself. Here are there 14 ways you can help to save our beaches:

1. Take care of your trash (properly)

Be sure to recycle any plastics you use at home or bring to the beach. Always double check your packaging and the bin you are disposing it in to make sure you found the right match.

2. Change your packaging

Along with recycling disposable packaging, why not switch to a more eco-friendly option? Try reusable glass, wood, or metal instead. Also, try biodegradable plastics to decrease the amount of leftover packaging littering the shores.

3. Feed yourself, not the animals

If you do decide to bring food to the beach, make sure it’s for you, and only you! Don’t disrupt the diets of the animals, such as birds or fishes, that are sharing the shore and sea with you.

4. Cut the 6 pack

Don’t worry, you don’t have to cut root beer out of your diet to help out! Simply grab some scissors to cut apart the plastic wrapping of your 6 pack to make sure marine animals don’t get caught in the holes.

5. Join a clean-up!

If you live near the beach, tag along to a local clean-up. Team up with an organization or plan it yourself! Check out the San Diego Pacific Beach clean-up we hosted with San Diego Coastkeepers this past June.

6. Adopt a beach

Wanna go a step further? Take a beach under your wing! As an organization, community, or group, you and fellow beach-lovers can adopt an area to regularly maintain and clean up.

7. Contact your local rep

Get political! Call or write your local congressman (or woman!) about important issues facing your ocean community. Be the voice for the marine life that can’t speak up for themselves.

8. Consume sustainably caught seafood

If you eat seafood, research the fish you buy and restaurants you eat at to. Make sure you are not contributing to an unethical and unsafe practice.

9. Change your sunscreen

Buy organic sunscreens, or look with a sun protectant with safe ingredients. Keep your skin safe from harm, while also decreasing potential threat to the ocean.

10. Be an ocean-friendly pet owner

If you bring your pets to the beach, make sure to clean up after them. Even if you are no where near the sea, read pet food labels, never flush cat litter down the drain, and don’t mix wild-caught saltwater fish with your aquarium friends (or the other way around).

11. Take a safe trip

When you’re planning on taking your trip off-land, be sure to travel the waters responsibly. Research eco-friendly cruise lines, and be a respectful kayaker, canoer, or boater by acknowledging the presence of marine life (don’t throw anything overboard!).

12. Donate to the cause

Give money to charity! You can donate to one of our three partners, or another local organization close to your ocean-loving heart. You can also contribute by supporting a marine national park in your area.

13. Spread the word

Hey, why not talk to your family and friends about all you learned? Educate everyone you love so that they can help do their part to protect the oceans we all love.

14. Buy a Sand Cloud!

That’s right, even online shopping helps out! Sand Cloud donates 10% of our net profits to protect marine life. (Spending hours on our online store isn’t such a guilty pleasure anymore, huh?) “

I have the Wanderlust Tie-Dye Beach Towel and I absolutely adore it. It is incredibly soft and you can honestly use it for ANYTHING. I use it all the time for yoga. But also as a  blanket, bedspread etc – just waiting for it to get warmer in the UK so I can take it to the beach! I honesty could recommend this company anymore. Not only do they create beautiful products, but their mission and work alongside is something truly inspiring and something I hope a lot more companies feel empowered to do.

https://www.sandcloudtowels.com

What is Ashtanga?

Ashtanga. What is it?

Ashta = 8, Anga = limbs.

Ashtanga is the 8 Limbs of Yoga, and is therefore an eightfold path to Yoga.

Here is a brief summary of the 8 Limbs:

1. Yama – behaviour towards others
2. Niyama – behaviour to yourself
3. Asana – posture / physical movement
4. Pranayama – expansion of energy / breath awareness
5. Pratyahara – withdrawing the sense / turning in
6. Dharana – power of concentration / focus
7. Dhyana – meditation
8. Samadhi – absorption / enlightenment

When the majority of (the mainly Western) world think of Yoga, we think of being flexible – being able to touch toes, jumping up into handstands and headstands and holding a pose for hours on end. Yes, this is a part of Yoga, but it is only one of eight parts. Asana, the physical practise, is the third limb and to be able to truly practice Yoga, you have to be aware and conscious of the other seven limbs. For some, just the physical side of Yoga is all they want, and thats great! But for those who are curious of the other seven, it offers a way to enrich and deepen our practise.

Patanjali outlined in his Yoga Sutras that the path to ultimate enlightenment was to go through life following these eight spiritual practises. For most Yogi’s, these Yoga Sutra’s are a way of life and a way of practise.

Ashtanga follows a dynamic set sequence which is structured to detoxify and align the body. Both B.K.S Iyengar and Pattahbi Jois studied and refined this practise, in different ways, after both being taught by T. Krishnamacharya.

Iyengar’s style of teaching (which I am personally trained in) attention and focus is drawn to correct alignment in the core poses as well as building core strength and combining breath and movement.

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