Pranayama

What is Self-Care?

Do you practice Self Care?

The wellness savvy crew are familiar with the buzz around self-care. It’s often associated with being selfish or confused with self-maintenance such as having your hair cut or going to the dentist.

Self-care is the way we nourish ourselves on a deeper level. It’s the oxygen mask principle if we take care of ourselves first we are able to care for others.

If we are interested in being the best version of ourselves, in being of service, supporting others and being able to give back, self-care is non-negotiable.
Self Care for Busy People
‘Self-care for Busy People’ is a 6 week course, it starts March 3. This course is an opportunity to learn how to truly nourish yourself. Release anxiety, stress and overwhelm as we explore yogic habits to relax the nervous system. Strengthen your capacity to plug into the present moment with mindful yoga and meditation. An invitation to listen to your body….
Take charge of your health.
Learn how Self-Care can help you become physically strong, mentally clear, & emotionally stable.

This course is for you if:

You want to reduce fatigue and increase energy
You want to manage stress and anxiety with ease
You want to feel better in your body
You want to achieve an optimal body weight
You want to cultivate healthy, simple daily routines
You need to strengthen your digestion
You want to establish a regular exercise and meditation practice

Join my 6-week Self Care course and start living a more vibrant and inspired life.

The pillars of the course:

Daily routine and daily habits
Sleep
Movement and Breath
Meditation
Ayurvedic Self care
Managing Stress

What does this course include?

6 x mindful yoga sessions
6 x group coaching sessions
Live Coaching […]

2017 Yoga and Wellness Retreat :: Paperbark Camp

This Autumn I’m very excited to be offering another Yoga and Wellness Retreat in collaboration with Camilla at the stunning Paperbark Camp. This amazing bush setting encourages a very nurturing, relaxing and rejuvenating experience. Here is the scene last year, relaxing in savasana fireside…

Please get in contact if you are interested in future retreats as this one booked out fast.

Justine

x

How to use a Neti Pot

Benefits

The Neti Pot is a Yogic Tool that has been used for thousands of years to help alleviate sinus and allergy problems. It can also help with colds and infections. If you have a cold use the Neti Pot a couple of times a day to help flush out any infection. This practice also has a soothing effect on the mind and is often used before meditation.

Directions

Fill your neti pot according to the instructions that came with it. (Use approximately one teaspoon of good quality sea salt per half litre of water.) If you experience any burning or stinging sensation there maybe too much salt in the mixture.
Ensure the water is warm or room temperature and is either distilled, sterile or previously boiled.
Tilt your head over a sink at approximately 45-degree angle.
Place the spout in your top nostril and pour the water in – breath through your mouth.
Dry the nostril by blowing the nose or exhaling out the nostril.
If the water runs into the mouth or throat, adjust the position of the head.
Repeat on second side.

 

Give it a try and let me know how you go!

justine

x

 

Ujjayi Pranayama – Victorious Breath

Each yoga class begins by bringing our awareness to the breath. We concentrate on deliberately linking breath and movement. It is through the breath that we are able to start to connect to the subtle body and the deeper energy reserves in the body.

The breath we use mostly in a Hatha Yoga class as we move through the asanas (poses) is called Ujjayi (pronounced oo-jai) Breath. Ujjayi Breath can be translated as Victorious Breath. It is where we inhale and exhale through the nostrils while slightly contracting the back of the throat. This makes an ocean like sound.

Here are some of the many benefits of this type of breathing :
• Slows the breath down.
• Calms the mind.
• Strengthens the nervous system.
• Strengthens the digestive system.
• Improves concentration and brings awareness to the physical movement.
• Warms the body.
• Directing the ujjayi breath to certain parts of the body can release tension and tightness in specific areas.

How to do it:
• Find a comfortable seat
• Begin by exhaling through the nose
• Inhale through the nose, partially narrowing the passageway through the throat.
• Exhale through an open mouth as though you were trying to fog a mirror, making a ‘hhhhaaa’ sound.
• Try this a couple of times.
• Now repeat but close the mouth as you exhale.
• Repeat a few times allowing the breath to flow smoothly and softly like waves in the ocean. You can place your hands over your ears to hear the sound more clearly.

Relax and enjoy this deep smooth breathing as you feel the prana circulate around the body.

Justine
x

6 Ayurvedic Home Remedies that really work!

I’ve always been a seeker of natural remedies.
 
The beauty of Ayurveda is that the home remedies have been tried and tested over generations, they are usually simple and they really work! Another bonus is, you will find most of the ingredients in your kitchen or garden.
 
There is plenty of science behind these remedies, and when you think about it many pharmaceutical products are based on natural occurring substances.
 
Here are 6 ‘go to’ remedies I often use for my family…
 
Herbal tea for colds and flu
Dry roast 1 teaspoon of coriander seeds to release the flavour (approx 2min). Add 3 slices of ginger and 500mils of water; bring to the boil for 10min then strain and drink.
Viral stomach bugs
Peel two apples and then stew them until soft, add a teaspoon of ghee (or butter) a pinch of cardamom and a pinch of nutmeg. This works a treat!
Hangover
A glass of coconut water will rehydrate you!
Insomnia
A few options here…

Warm some milk add a pinch of nutmeg or saffron.
Snack on some cherries.
Try Nadi Shodana Pranayama a breathing exercise that will help you sleep.  Read my post here for instructions.

Hayfever
Eat some coriander leaves, as they are a natural antihistamine. If you have time you can make Coriander chutney go here for my coriander chutney recipe.
Liver cleanse
Add the following ingredients to a bowl

1 tsp of dandelion root (you find this in a health food shop)
1 teaspoon of fennel seeds
5-6 slices of ginger
3 cups of boiling water

steep for 5min, strain and drink!
On the topic of your Liver, click here to check out my post on 2 yoga poses for cleansing the liver.
 
Enjoy!
Justine
x
 

 

Visshudi Chakra – the Fifth Chakra

Breathe deeply….imagine or feel the breath traveling into your body. Take your attention to  the area around the neck and throat as you continue to inhale and exhale, think about the importance of this area of the body. It is an incredible intersection of vital channels, the jugular, the carotid artery, the windpipe, larynx and of course the spinal cord connecting the brain and the nervous system.

This throat area is the location of the fifth chakra, Visshudhi chakra. Its function is expression and communication and it is related to our dreams.  When this chakra is open we are able to communicate and listen effectively. We respond to the vibration of things for example the tone of a voice rather than what is being said.

Is your fifth Chakra Blocked?

Do you have a sore throat or laryngitis? Do you suffer from creative blocks?  Do you every feel like you have a lump in the throat? Do you  have difficulty getting your point across or have trouble communicating? Your fifth chakra maybe blocked. Here are a couple of yoga poses and a pranayama exercise to help to get in touch with Visshudhi Chakra.

Yoga Poses to try

Ustrasana – camel pose, for instructions please click here to see my page on the heart chakra as it opens both.

Salamba Sarvangasana – Shoulder stand

This pose has pages of benefits, just to name just a few:

Relieves insomnia and soothes nervous system
Improves functioning of thyroid and parathyroid glands (directly related to vishudhi chakra)
Improves digestion
Therapeutic for asthma
Helps regulate menstrual cycle

How to do shoulder stand*:

Stack 2-3 blankets at the end of your yoga mat.
Lie with your head and shoulders on the blankets so that the tops of your shoulders are approx.  1 hands distance from […]

Breath of Fire – Kapalabhati Pranayama

Do you need more fire in your belly, more ‘pep in your step’? Do you feel tired and sluggish? A bit of ‘Skull shinning’ breathing maybe just what you need!

Kapalabhati is translated as  ‘Skull Shinning’ and this breathing technique is also known as ‘Breath of Fire’ as it helps to spark the fire within.

This type of breathing is sometimes performed in Martial Arts and plays a big part in Kundalini Yoga. Note: this is an advanced breathing technique please don’t attempt until you know the basics of Yoga.

Benefits

Benefits lungs and respiratory system
Increases oxygenation of the blood helping to detoxify the body more effectively
Balances the nervous system
Increases vitality and clarity
Reduces sluggishness or fatigue
Improves concentration

How to do it

Sit comfortably, keeping the head and spine upright.
Close your eyes or keep your gaze low.
Place your hands on your lower belly.
Start by breathing in through the nostrils (mouth is kept close) and then making a forced exhale through both nostrils, as you exhale draw the belly button towards the spine. I like to imagine a conveyor belt of candles moving slowly towards my face, and I need to extinguish each candle with an exhale through the nostrils. You do not need to force the inhale, the inhale will happen naturally.
Take a couple of rounds of 30 breaths, eventually you may work your way to 108 breaths (108 is considered a sacred number in many Eastern traditions as well as yoga practice).
Notice the effect this pranayama has on you, you may feel a slight tingling sensation around the front of the skull, hence the name ‘skull shining breath’.
For more advanced versions using breath retention, please work with your yoga instructor.

Contra-indications

Do not do this if you are pregnant or menstruating or […]

Use Chakras for Vitality and Healing

Are you interested in self-healing or increasing your energy?

Then tap into the Chakra System……

What is the Chakra System?
The Chakra System is powerful and fascinating; it is made up of seven energy centres located in the body. It is helpful that each energy centre corresponds to a physical position in the body enabling us to locate them.

The Chakra System runs up our spine starting at the Perineum and finishing at the Top of our Head. The seven chakras and their physical locations are:

Muladhara – Perineum

Swadhisthana – Sacrum

Manipura – Solar Plexus

Anahata – Heart

Vissudha – Throat

Ajna – Brow

Sahasrara – Top of Head

When we explore the Chakra system we are working with our subtle body rather than the physical body. Saying that, we access the subtle body and the chakra system through the physical body and through our breath.

On a non-physical level these energy centres are located on the Shushumna Nadi, the largest Nadi. (The Nadis are the channels that transport prana/lifeforce around our body). It is interesting that each energy center corresponds to different organs and glands in the body as well as meeting points of nerves.

How to use the Chakra’s for Healing and Increasing Vitality

The Chakra System is vast and complex, it is lifelong work to really experience, but the good news is, even a small amount of attention focused on the Chakras can help with healing and energy levels.

We can use Yoga – breathing techniques and yoga poses to help clear these energy channels.

Over the next seven weeks I’ll explore a different Chakra providing information about each centre and tips for working with them…..as it is Valentines day tomorrow I will start with Anahata Chakra, also known as the Heart Chakra….please stay tuned…..

Clear the Mind with ‘Nadi Shodana Pranayama’

 

 

Pranayama means breathing technique. One of my all time favorites is Nadi Shoda (Alternate Nostril Breathing). I include it in almost every Yin class I teach as it helps to calm the mind. You can practice this technique at anytime throughout the day and it is a great one to do if you are experiencing stress at work or if you are stuck in traffic!

How to do it

Sit comfortably, keeping the head and spine upright.
Close your eyes or keep your gaze low.
Take Vishnu Mudra (hand gesture) as shown in the diagram. Use your thumb to block the right nostril and use your ring finger to block the left.
Start by blocking the left nostril, slowly inhale through the right nostril, then block the right and exhale left. Inhale through the left nostril, then block the left, and exhale right.
This technique uses the ration of 1:1 inhale to exhale, as you progress you may use 1:2 extending the exhalation. For more advanced versions using breath retention, please work with your yoga instructor.

Benefits

Calms the mind, creates a feeling of peace and happiness.
Increases vitality
Reduces stress levels
Fantastic to do a few rounds of this breathing if you suffer from insomnia.
Improves concentration

Why this works

This pranayama (breathing technique) clears out blocked energy channels in the body. It works on the subtle energy channels (nadis), hence the name. Nadi = subtle energy channels Shodana = cleaning/clearing

Hot in the City

Our bodies are in a constant state of flux reflecting changes in the external environment. The Seasons are an important factor in this external environment and in summer Pitta dominates. In Ayurveda, Pitta is responsible for all the chemical and metabolic actions in the body. Pitta also governs mental perception, enthusiasm, joy and courage.

If you have a Pitta constitution, fire (heat) is already predominant in the elements that make up your body. As generally, like increases like, the heat of summer will increase this element. Understandably, people of Pitta Dosha don’t normally like the hot weather as the heat aggravates, and can manifest itself in the mind as anger, impatience or irritability and in the body as such things as inflammation, ulcers and indigestion.

Saying this, on hot days heat affects everyone!  If you feel that Pitta is increasing in your body, you can try the following tips to help counteract Pitta and cool your-self down.

Choose bitter, astringent and sweet food
Favour Sweet fruits Apples, Avocados, Cherries, Coconut, Figs, Dark Grapes and Mangoes
Hot spices are aggravating so favour the cooling herbs and spices  such as Basil, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Coriander, Cumin, Dill and Fennel.
Avoid excessive tea and coffee and limit salt and alcohol.
Expose your body to a cooling environment, taking cooling baths rather than hot ones & go for walks after the sun has gone down.
Drink plenty of liquid.
Favour raw, cold foods such as salad and fruit (if you are Vata or Kapha steam your veggies rather than eating too much raw food).
Choose food that is cooling, slightly dry and a little heavy.
Vegetables – good for pitta, especially raw vegetables in summer, but steamed vegetables in winter.
Oils – ghee & butter, olive oil and sunflower oil pacify […]