Videos

3 minute breathing space

As it is mental health week, I was inspired to make this little video.

This is a 3 minute meditation helpful for stress and anxiety. The first minute you focus on your thoughts, the second minute focus on the breath and the third minute focus on the whole body. Inspired by the work of Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder of MBSR (mindfulness-based stress reduction).

3 Minute Breathing Space

Sal Flynn my mentor taught me this technique and I have found it really helpful, especially when you have busy days and don’t have time for a long meditation.

I hope you enjoy it.

Justine

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Eye Yoga – 2 exercises to Reduce Eyestrain and Improve Vision

You exercise your body, so why not your eyes!

If you spend a lot of time staring at screens then these exercises can relax the eyes as well as strengthening the eye muscles.

 

Bedtime Ritual: Foot Massage

If you’ve had a stressful day, a warm sesame oil foot massage is a wonderful way to help you relax and sleep well. Watch my short video (2min) to find out what to do…

When we are stressed our energy is contained in the upper body, tight shoulders anyone…. massaging your feet will help to ground this energy.

Use sesame oil to pacify Vata (wind and ether elements). Seasame oil is rich in vitamins (A,B and E) as well as the minerals iron, phosphorous, magnesium, copper, silicic acid and calcium. Sesame oil is also rich in antioxidants, linoleic acid and alpha-linoleic acid; its lecithin content is beneficial to the nervous system.

Sesame oil is warming so great to use in cold weather.

Have a beautiful sleep twinkle toes!

Justine

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Ref: Ayurvedic Massage by Harish Johari

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

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Do you oil pull?

Oil pulling is the simple act of swishing oil around the mouth. Along with brightening and whitening your teeth naturally, this practice brings benefits to the whole body including the immune system.

This ancient therapy has been around for thousands of years and has its roots in Ayurveda. I’ve been hooked on oil pulling for the last few years because I’ve noticed the benefits to my teeth and gums. My teeth look whiter and brighter, my gums no longer bleed when I eat spicy food or brush my teeth, and I notice the boost it gives my immune system.

Oil pulling is so effective at removing bad bacteria from our mouth because the coating on bacteria is attracted to the fat in the oil. When we oil pull we are literally removing or ‘pulling’ the disease causing bacteria from between the teeth, around the gums, from the roof of the mouth and under the tongue. By cleansing the mouth this way we are preventing oral bacteria seeping into the bloodstream and causing inflammation in the body.

Our bodies are constantly accumulating toxins. We live in a society that is becoming more and more polluted, through the air we breathe, chemicals in our foods, environmental pollutants and even in cosmetics. Oil pulling is a simple, natural and effective practice that reduces the toxic load on our bodies and doesn’t harm the environment.

To achieve the benefits of oil pulling you need to practice regularly, once a day is ideal. The recommended time to swish the oil around the mouth is 15-20min. The best time of day is in the morning, 15-20min may sound like a long time but you can use this time to take your shower or prepare for your day.

Traditionally sesame oil (a warming oil) is used but you can also use coconut oil (a cooling oil). Personally I prefer coconut oil because I like the taste. […]

How to make your own gorgeous Ghee!

Surprisingly, Ghee is very easy to make, it’s also really relaxing and creates a beautiful aroma of buttery popcorn in the kitchen.
 
You will need:
·       2-4 250g blocks of unsalted organic butter
·       1 cheese-cloth
·       1 sieve ladle
·       1 saucepan
 
Place butter in the saucepan uncovered and heat on medium for around 12 minutes or until it begins to smell like buttery popcorn. If you are using a really heavy saucepan you may need longer. Turn off the heat and leave it to cool for a few minutes. Use your ladle to skim off any white foam. Strain the liquid through your cheesecloth into a glass jar, discarding the curds from the bottom of the saucepan. When the ghee has cooled in the jar cover and store. (I keep mine in the fridge but this is not necessary, as it doesn’t go off.)  
Ayurveda has long proclaimed the extraordinary benefits of ghee, and just to name just a few:
 
·       Ghee has magical healing properties, enhancing the nutritional elements of food.
·       Ghee contains butyric acid, a fatty acid with both antiviral and anti cancer properties.
·       Ghee is good for the joints.
·       Ghee has long been used in Ayurvedic medicine to transport herbs and spices to the cells of the body.
·       Ghee is good for the brain and memory.
·       Ghee aids digestion.
·       Ghee promotes the healing of wounds.
·       Ghee tastes delicious, enriching the flavour of anything you make!
 
Check out my post about my grandmother and her ghee, here!
 
Now, please excuse me now while I go and enjoy some fat!
 
Justine
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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

Yoga for digestion

Hippocrates – ‘All disease begins in the gut.’

Did you know the biggest selling drugs in the west are for the gut & mind (antacids & antidepressants). These two areas are connected and both issues can be prevented and healed by diet – good digestion as well as exercise and relaxation.

Ayurveda advises a number of ways to help with digestion, everything from food combining, eating for your dosha to the company you keep while eating. Also, see blog next week on digestive fire.

The only yoga pose that you can safely take after eating is supta virasana (pictured above with blue background and featured in video below), it is also one of the best yoga poses for digestion. It helps to create space in the digestive system allowing for correct integration of our food.

While most yoga poses will assist digestion in one way or another, twists are fabulous! They stimulate the system by allowing fresh blood to flow into our digestive system and its accessory organs. Ardha matsyendrasana* (pictured above top) is a great twist and I try to incorporate it into my practice as often as possible. It’s important to remember to lengthen the spine (extend the crown of the head towards the sky) before you twist to create space between the vertebrae.

*If you have any back or knee issues you will need assistance from your yoga teacher to create a modified version of the pose.

enjoy twisting it out!

Justine

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