Ah the magical mystical green juice, one of my favourite morning beverages. I seem to be forever on a quest to find a new favourite to enjoy and I think I’ve found it in the Prana juice. The numerous health benefits of drinking a daily green juice have been sung from many a webpage – I was lucky enough to attend a yoga workshop with yoga master Dharma Mittra and he said “Drink green juice everyday because it gives you more power in meditation”. Well if that’s what Dharma Mittra has to say on the subject, then sign me up! I also love the fact that they make me feel light and energised and give my cells a quick injection of nutrients. Here’s the Prana juice recipe, be sure to use organic fruit and veggies. Wash the fruit and veggies well then juice them in a juicer. I often lace mine with a teaspoon of wheat grass powder:
1 Granny Smith apple
3 stalks Celery
1 lemon peeled
2 cups kale
1 cup parse
2 inch piece ginger
For more yoga lifestyle and other private yoga lessons or one-to-one yoga in the Muswell Hill and surrounding areas please contact Claire at firstname.lastname@example.org
Autumn well wishes to you all. Tomorrow is World mental health day and the focus this year is on mental health in the workplace. The latest statistics are really quite sobering:
“At least 1 in 4 of us will experience some kind of mental health problem each year, with anxiety and depression being the most common.”
“It is estimated that some 70 million working days are lost each year due to mental health illness, costing businesses around £70-£100bn per annum.”
We can see from the figures that a large number of people suffer with a mental health issue each year, it’s fairly common and having worked with anxiety myself, I know firsthand how awful and difficult it can be to go about daily life, with the fear of having a panic attack lurking in your mind. One of the things I’ve found helpful in dealing with anxiety is pranayama, or yoga breathing techniques. This is because pranayama helps to light up the parasympathetic nervous system or the rest and digest response. When your brain perceives something real or imagined to be a threat, adrenaline gets released by the adrenal glands stimulating the sypathetic nervous system response which means the message that your nerves are getting are to fight, flight or freeze, i.e anxious feelings, racing heart and lots of thoughts. When we calm the nervous system we stem or reduce the flow of adrenaline, therefore stopping the sypathetic nervous system from lighting up which means anxiety reduces. The nervous system is like a seasaw, when one end lights up, the other end goes down. To calm the nervous system I’ve found that the breath ratio of 1:2 is most helpful. The 1:2 breath ratio means that you count your breath as you inhale and you make your exhale twice the length. If this feels too difficult in the beginning, particularly if you’re feeling very anxious or panicky, then start with 1:1 ratio, the inhale and exhale being the same length. Are you sitting comfortably? Here’s the technique:
Start to inhale through your nose for a count of 4 counts, at the end of the inhale pause for 1 count to equalize the breath, then exhale slowly through the nose for a count of 8. At the end of the exhale pause for a count of 1 before continuing with the next breath cycle. You can continue with the technique for a few minutes or until you feel that your anxiety spike has passed. For best results I recommend practicing this technique daily. If it’s too difficult to breathe in for 4 out for 8, change it to in for 3 and out for 6 or in for 2 and out for 4. Make the breath count work for you so that it feels relaxing and inside of your comfort zone. It shouldn’t feel like there’s any strain or force.
For this or any other private or one-to-one yoga lessons in Muswell Hill and the surrounding areas please contact Claire at email@example.com
Statistics at the beginning of the article from Francessca Lopez – Associate Kingsley Napley.
After spending a wonderful week on a vegan yoga retreat in Mongolia recently, one of the things i’m noticing more and more on my return is how important diet is to yoga and how the correct diet can really either support a dedicated yoga practice, or hinder it. After sampling such inspiring food on retreat, one of the things i’ve been trying out on my return is almond milk and after discovering the shop bought variety can often have lots of added sugar, i’ve been making my own! There are sweater recipes out there using maple syrup but here’s the recipe I really like and have been using. There’s no cholesterol or saturated fat in almond milk. It’s also low in sodium and high in healthy fats and B vitamins and tastes delicious! You will need a food processor, glass bottle, funnel, muslin cloth:
100g almonds (soaked for 8-12 hours overnight in enough water to cover)
500ml filtered water
- After the almonds have been soaked over night, discard the water and place them in a food processor
- Add 500ml filtered water and blitz for a couple of minutes
- Strain the almond milk through the muslin cloth and funnel into glass container
- Keep refrigerated (keeps for 2-3 days)
Pincha Mayurasana is a posture i love to practice when i’m feeling strong and solar in my energy. It’s a wonderful posture to help relieve stress, find inner strength and a sense of balance. You can use a wall if you are a beginner or new to the posture. When you feel ready you can practice in the centre of the room. This posture can bring up fear (it did for me for many years!), breathe through it and be gentle with yourself on your journey.
- Come onto the hands and knees and place the forearms down with the elbows shoulder distance apart (you can wrap the top third of the fingers around the upper arms if your unsure how wide to go)
- Place the wrists shoulder distance apart, making a capital letter L shape between the thumbs and middle fingers
- Tuck the toes under and walk into dolphin, trying to get the hips as high up above the shoulders as possible
- Look forwards and down between the thumbs and raise one leg as high as possible to almost be able to step up into the pose. It’s all about the top leg so really energise it and extend it up to the big toe and beyond.
- Inhale, then as you exhale take a small hop and use the top leg to take you up into the split forearm balance, trying to use as little momentum as possible
- Press the forearms down into the mat as you engage the core and inner thighs to bring the legs together, reaching the toes up towards the ceiling/sky
It is said that the bits we don’t like in others are really the hidden parts of ourselves that we don’t like. The parts of ourselves that we’ve decided are so ugly and so unlovable that we’ve shoved them down there in the basement of our consciousness where we can no longer see them. I’ve had one of those situations recently, where something about myself (something I’d shoved down there in the basement), was shown to me by another. You know, when a big ol button gets pressed? Well, something in me is shifting today as i practice in learning to open to that part of myself…my dark side. Name it, feel it, open to it, accept it, love it. A simple but powerful practice in finding more peace and balance within. Me lately on walking meditations: “Dear rudeness, thank-you for being with me I know you’re there. Breathing in…i acknowledge my rudeness, hello rudeness,….breathing out I smile and i embrace my rudeness tenderly with the energy of mindfulness…breathing in I acknowledge my rudeness….hello rudeness, thank-you for being with me…breathing out I smile and embrace and love my rudeness”….(repeated lots). It’s taken a while but im finally ready to say thank-you. Thank-you universe for showing me where I’m stuck, for showing me where I need to heal, i’m feeling better now, feeling more whole, more rude.
New Beginners Hatha flow yoga class commences Saturday June 6th 2015 (weather permitting).
I have a new offering that I’m just too excited to keep to myself any longer, there’s a new yoga class I’m starting up in the park amongst the trees and nature woop woop! Saturday mornings 10am- 11am at Ropemaker fields in Limehouse. We seem to spend so much time cooped up inside these days, even for our yoga practice so I’ve decided to take this one out in the fresh air, amongst the sounds of the birds, the energy of the trees and under the big blue spacious sky. It really is lovely to practice yoga outside when the weather’s warm enough. You can expect to feel lighter, calmer, energised and recharged after this practice so I do hope you can make it. The first class is free and we will be starting from the beginning so it’s open to complete beginners. As the weeks progress I expect we will build into a flow style class where everyone is welcome looking at practices that are built around the elements; earth, water, fire, air, space. What better place to practice these sequences than out in mother nature herself. Please bring your own mat and I really do hope you can make it along for this one! The class starts June 6th (weather permitting). First class free, £10 thereafter drop-in or 6 classes £50.