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Hi beautiful people,

Hope you have had an amazing month filled with at least a little bit of time for yourself doing things you enjoy and love and just treating yourself with something special and delicious, like a morning walk in the bush, a quiet time in the garden, a hot tea with your favourite book or cuddles with your furry babies…or anything else that makes you happy…

Last month was full of beautiful classes and I just want to say “thank you” for keeping up your practice and for coming on Friday or Saturday morning to say hi.

Here are a few things I would like to share with you :-)
NEW CLASS

A new Vinyasa yoga class is starting from the beginning of September  (today :-)) every Tuesday 5:30-6:30pm at Anytime Fitness in Katoomba…it’s starting to get warmer which means we can start opening our bodies a little bit more, allowing the life energy inside us, prana or chi, to flow more freely and keep us at good health…keep up your practice, at least once a week, even if it means just doing a few sun salutations at home or just sitting quietly for a moment in the garden and taking a few deep breaths…
SEPTEMBER - PROJECT AWARENESS

Yoga is a great way to become more physically fit, stronger, supple and vibrant. But it is also a great way to become more conscious of what is happening in the body and your mind. Which thoughts are sneaking in over and over again and what kind of feelings do these thoughts give rise to.

Often when we feel something we don’t what to feel, we will have a tendency to do something about it. To fight what we feel, to run away, to numb our feelings in so many different ways…because we don’t want to stay there…however, when we do that, we don’t allow ourselves to gain a little bit more understanding into why, whether our response is appropriate or realizing that our mind has just taken us on a journey of imagination, filling in things that have not happened or totally distorting the reality.

Many times when we feel some resistance within us or when some negative feelings arise, the best thing to do is TO OBSERVE…to notice…to witness…to stay there with whatever you feel…and just breathe. Closing your eyes and taking a few nice deep breaths. And the feeling will eventually go away…

Sometimes we just want to run away from what we feel, because it may be too big for us to handle it RIGHT NOW…and it’s ok…don’t be hard on yourself and just allow yourself to take it one step at a time...start from little things…I do “love” to numb my feelings with chocolate, it feels good…for a moment…but many times now, I will choose not to…(don't take me wrong, I will have my chocolate whenever I want but when I realize it's because I want to run away from what I feel, I usually choose not to have it).

When we practice awareness in our yoga practice and our life, we become more compassionate towards ourselves…we start loving ourselves more, understanding why we react sometimes in some way, why we feel a certain way and we grow kindness and patience towards ourselves. The more understanding we gain into who we are, the more the inner joy, the inner peace, the harmony within us will shine through...and we will become more compassionate towards others as well.

So I thought why not to have a month (September) when we all try to tune a little bit more into ourselves, creating a habit of observing our thoughts, feelings and reactions and bringing more awareness and understanding into our lives...

And hopefully, at the end of the month we will know ourselves a little bit better...and shining more :-)
BREATH IN YOGA (part I)

The breath is one of the most important elements of the yoga practice. It is also something that differentiates yoga from other physical activities. Moving with the breath has a calming effect on the body and mind, allowing us to experience a little bit more of the meditative aspect of yoga. Different teachers will teach the breath differently, depending on their previous teachers, the style of yoga and their own experience. There’s no wrong or right, yoga is a vast tradition and it is normal to expect different styles of yoga will approach the breath differently. Some of them are supposed to make one feel calmer and more relaxed, some will be more energizing.

My teaching comes from Ashtanga yoga background and being a Vinyasa teacher (which is very close to Ashtanga), I follow my teachers in my teaching. In Vinyasa yoga classes, I teach breathing into the chest and upper belly (the part above the navel) while keeping a slight engagement (a slight firmness of the abdominal wall) in the lower belly (below the navel). With the breath out, we relax through the chest and upper belly and gently draw the lower belly in (towards the spine) and up. It is a very gentle subtle movement. Before the next inhale, the lower belly releases to come back to its slight engagement.

Both Ashtanga and Vinyasa yoga are very energizing practices and the movement of the breath and engagement in the lower belly ensure a gentle massage of the abdominal organs, bringing more blood, oxygen and prana into this area and keeping our organs healthy.

When we breathe in, the diaphragm (the muscle separating the chest and abdominal cavity) moves downwards and as we keep a slight engagement in the lower belly (without letting it expand), a slight pressure is created there, gently massaging the abdominal organs. When we breathe out, the diaphragm moves upwards and as we draw the lower belly in and up, the pressure in the lower belly is retained, allowing the organs to be massaged from a different direction. The slight engagement in the lower belly is released only in Shavasana, when we let the belly naturally rise and fall with the breath.

A good way to start is to lie down on the back or sit up with the spine straight, placing your right hand on the belly above the navel and your left hand on the belly below the navel. Start concentrating on the inhalation first and guiding the breath into your chest and upper belly (your right hand), feeling both the chest and upper belly expanding. And with the exhale feeling both your chest and upper belly relaxing. Repeat this a few times. After a few rounds, with every exhale, start gently drawing the lower belly in and up (you can even use your left hand to gently press onto your lower belly inward and upward). Remember to release the lower belly to its slight engagement before you take another breath in.

It may not feel very natural when you start working with the breath but I promise it will get better with every practice…as everything in life :-) So stay patient with yourself...and don't give up :-)
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