Once again a lovely class !!!!
Really enjoyed the chocolate meditation -- we never really stop
and take a bit of time out to really appreciate treats !!!!
The water meditation was brilliant and very relaxing 😌
Student comment after this morning's session
It's that time of year again - the last Sunday class before Christmas is usually a celebration with light hearted, seasonal activations, meditations and, of course, chocolate mindfulness. Today was no different except that the students had to supply their own chocolate and unfortunately the internet let me down slightly by throwing me out a couple of times. I found out afterwards that my son was using the internet downstairs, letting his bosses in Germany know we're now in Tier 4 and all the implications that brings for his business.
My apologies for a less than ideal class this morning but hopefully it was still enjoyable. Let's face it zoom is never going to be quite the same as being together in person but it is better than nothing. Let's hope and pray that next year we can meet and have a proper party with shared food to finish (and no masks in sight).
In the meantime, here are the movements and meditations for you to use again over the holiday.
We went on a journey across the water to a mysterious but beautiful island. We swam or rowed (your choice) to the island - warming up the shoulders.
We climbed out of the boat or out of the water and on to the shore. There was a steep flight of stairs to climb and a rope to pull up with suitable actions. Once on the island itself we looked around and saw trees filled with candy cane.
Cue Christmas poses with thanks to: https://yogainternational.com/article/view/11-holiday-yoga-poses
Candy Cane Stretch (aka standing crescent)
Begin standing in tadasana (mountain pose) with your feet either together or hip-width apart and parallel. Stand tall, lining up the back of your head with the back of your pelvis.
On an inhale, reach your arms up overhead and hold on to your right wrist with your left hand (your left palm can face up or down, depending on what feels best for you). Bend your elbows to start, and on an exhale, side bend to the left. Keep the back of your head and the back of your pelvis aligned (avoid dropping your head forward or back) as you reach up and over. Once you’re in your side bend, you can let your hips shift to the right a little to enhance the lateral stretch. You can straighten your arms as much as feels comfortable for your shoulders. Breathe into the side and back of your rib cage and keep your face and jaw relaxed. Stay for a few breaths, then return to centre on an inhale, and repeat on the second side.
Christmas Tree Star (aka star pose)
Stand with your feet wide apart, turn your toes out slightly, and extend your arms up overhead in a “V” shape, spreading your fingers wide (think “jazz hands!”)—making a five-pointed star that’s fit for the top of the tree.
Elf on the Shelf Pose (aka standing figure four stretch)
Begin in chair pose with your feet slightly apart (about two fists-width is generally a good distance). Glance down to make sure you can see the tips of your toes. If you can’t, shift a little more weight into your heels until you can. Next, bring your hands to your heart and shift your weight onto your right foot, picking your left foot up off of the floor and crossing your left ankle over your thigh. Keep your left foot flexed and active! Sit your hips back evenly (just as you would for a two-legged chair). You can keep your hands resting at your heart or place your elbows on your left shin, even resting your chin on the back of one of your hands, as though you were one of Santa’s diligent helpers, gazing down from your perch. Remain here for a few breaths before repeating on the second side.
Ice Dancer I (aka digasana, or “airplane” pose)
From mountain pose, keep your left leg as it is and bring your right toes to rest on the floor behind you. Turn your palms to face forward. Inhale here, and on an exhale, begin to hinge forward, shifting weight into your left foot, and maybe allowing your right toes to lighten away from the floor. Avoid lifting your right leg higher than hip-height. Aim to keep your hips level (avoid rolling your right hip open). Broaden through your chest and keep all sides of your neck long. Imagine that you’re an ice dancer, gracefully gliding across a frozen pond! Enjoy a few breaths here, then switch sides.
Garland Pose (malasana)
Begin in mountain pose with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart and turned out a little bit (try about 45 degrees to start). Bend your knees and sit your hips back and down (as far as you’re comfortably able) to come into a low, deep squat. Bring your elbows inside your knees and your hands into a prayer position. Press your elbows out against your legs and lift your chest up toward your thumbs. To ensure that your knees are pointing in the same direction as your toes, narrow or broaden your stance as necessary (you may need to come up out of the pose to do this) and turn your toes more in or out as needed.
It’s okay if your heels lift up off the floor a little bit, though you may find that by adjusting your stance slightly (making it a little wider and/or turning your toes out a little more—still ensuring that they’re tracking in line with your knees) you can enable your heels to touch down; however, if your heels still don’t reach the floor, you may find it more comfortable to prop them up with a rolled or folded blanket. And if going super-low bugs your knees, you can practice goddess pose with your hips at or above knee-level. Enjoy a few breaths here (and maybe hang a few of those ornaments while you’re at it!).
Stand on tip toes, raise arms to the side, look forwards into blue, clear waters and slowly tip the upper body forward from the hips as though you are going to dive into the water. Only tip as far as you feel comfortable and can keep your balance. Slowly return to standing and lower your heels to the mat. Repeat two or three times challenging your balance a little more each time.
Then came the Chocolate Meditation:
Try to keep quiet during the exercise and focus all of your attention on the chocolate. Approach the exercise with an open mind and a gentle curiosity.
How was this different from your normal way of eating chocolate?
What did you notice during the exercise?
Any thoughts about how these principles might apply to eating or other areas of your life?
Finally, savasana to find your tranquil place:
We might complain of others disturbing our peace, but there is always a place of tranquillity within. Scan your body for a point inside you where you feel complete stillness. It might be at your brow, at your heart or in your belly. visualise a candle flame softly glowing there. This week, whenever you need a moment of peace, close your eyes and envision the flame burning there brightly.
Quote for this week:
Nothing can bring you peace but yourself.
Task and quote both taken from Every Day Matters 2020 Diary by Dani DiPirro
Wishing you all a peaceful and restful Christmas to find that tranquil place within us all.
"Lovely Sunday session again on this rainy dull morning.
Lifted the spirit,"
much appreciated feedback from one of this morning's yogis
This morning's Stretch and Flow celebrated the new moon due to appear in the sky tomorrow. We practised Chandra Namaskar (Moon Salutation), part of EBR2 and Flowing Tree before seated stretches, Flowing Bridge, Belly Twist and blissful Savasana, Dru style.
The Moon Meditation
In the new moon I feel at peace with deepest self. I let go of regrets and things not done or said, and look back at how things have unfolded this year. I feel love for who I have become this year and accept all of me.
Taken from Moon Journal 2020 by Ingvild Skodvin Pretegard.
When Ingvild prepared her diary she couldn't have imagined how strange the coming year would be. Spend some time reflecting on her words. Do you feel at peace with your deepest self? Do you know yourself better than you did a year ago? Do you have regrets? There are so many big and little things we planned but couldn't do this year, from every day shopping trips and coffee with friends to elaborately planned wedding celebrations and dream holidays abroad.
It's not wrong to be sad but we shouldn't get stuck in regret. How do you feel about the future? Do you want to dwell on what didn't happen and couldn't be or are you excited to move into next year with different plans, new skills and a determination to succeed? Most of all do you love who you are and accept yourself?
Our affirmation is:
"The pursuit, even of the best things, ought to be calm and tranquil."
Marcus Tullius Cicero, Roman Statesman
Your task is to do it slowly
We often rush excitedly into the things we love only to find they are then too quickly over. Embrace the notion of slowing down this week by savouring your favourite time of day. If it's the start of the day, get up a little earlier to enjoy the sunrise or a longer breakfast. If it's lunchtime, take more time over each mouthful of your lunch, enjoying the food mindfully, noticing all its flavours and textures.
Taken from Every Day Matters 200 Diary by Dani DiPirro
I qualified to teach in 2015 but my yoga journey started much earlier, way back in the 1970s. Here I share my experiences and passion about everything yoga.