I first met Emmeline a few years’ ago in India. Since then we’ve done AcroYoga together on various beaches and in London at TriYoga with Jason Nemer, one of the practice’s founders. In May we’re running a weekend of workshops together in St Albans, Herts.
I asked Emmeline why AcroYoga makes her tick.
I first got into AcroYoga in 2011 while doing my Yoga Teacher Training in Bali. I’d practiced yoga for 16 years but I soon became an AcroYoga convert.
I’d describe the practice as a fun combination of acrobatics, yoga, and Thai healing arts – Thai massage. It’s popular in the States and rapidly spreading worldwide. I’ve been addicted ever since. I guess there’s five reasons why:
It’s accessible to most people
It may look like the work of circus artists, but there are basic positions that nearly everyone can enjoy. I’ve done AcroYoga with my aunty and uncle, who are in their late 60s, much to their delight. And children absolutely love it!
You learn lots about yourself and others
Plato said “You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation”. In AcroYoga, we often test our limits and end up finding new strengths. Trust and communication are crucial – without them you’ll quickly end up just a heap of bodies on the floor.
It’s so engaging you won’t be able to think about anything else
When you’re balancing upside down on someone else’s feet it’s impossible to be anywhere else apart from the present moment. That can be hugely exhilarating and a great stress-buster.
You do it with other people
I love hatha yoga but it’s largely a solitary pursuit confined to your own mat. AcroYoga is done with a minimum of three people (a base, a flyer and a spotter) so it’s very sociable. Many towns have AcroYoga communities who meet regularly and ‘jam’ – it’s a great way of meeting lovely fun people.
It’s way more fun than the gym
I’ve never had much motivation to train in a gym. In AcroYoga we use each other’s body weight to build strength and flexibility. Balancing each other on our feet and hands is hugely entertaining and often involves a large amount of giggling. It’s a great workout and 100% more exciting than a stepmachine.
And did I mention already that it’s great fun?!
Emmeline and Clare’s AcroYoga weekend is suitable for beginners – to both AcroYoga and yoga in general. It’s 9-10 May at All Saints Studios, St Albans. For more information visit the workshop page.
When Emmeline isn’t AcroYoga-ing, she can be found on superyachts offering yoga instruction, massage and beauty treatments. To find out more about her, visit Angels on Board.
This is just a little blog post to let you know that I’m starting a new daytime yoga class at Sandridge Village Hall on the outskirts of St Albans, Hertfordshire.
It’ll be on a Thursday morning 9.30-10.30 and will be a yin yoga class. The first class will be 4 September.
What is yin yoga?
Yin yoga is wonderful. Of course, I’d say that as I teach it. It’s for those days when you want nothing more than to be still but you feel you ought to be doing some exercise. We spend the class sitting or lying in yoga poses and your body gets a good stretch. It’s also deeply relaxing.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve never been on a yoga mat before and I’ll give you lots of attention.
Why am I starting a yoga class at Sandridge Village Hall?
I don’t believe Sandridge Village Hall has a daytime yoga class. And it’s a lovely space. I’ve taught in a few local halls and when I saw this one, I was so happy with it. It’s got heaters for winter mornings, a wonderfully clean floor, and lots of free parking to the left of the hall.
Price of Sandridge Village Hall yoga class
It’s £10 per class. I’m also starting a special deal: £80 for 10 classes – for use in this class and the Monday morning Mead Hall gentle class in Wheathampstead.
When does the Sandridge yoga class start?
First class: Thursday 4 September, 9.30-10.30. See you there!
UPDATE: As of January 2015 this class is being held at All Saints Studios just up the road. Visit the class schedule page for details.
Last weekend I was at a party at a friend’s flat in Balham, South London. A few years ago it was the venue for a weekly class I taught to a group of blokey triathletes. You can read about that entertaining experience here.
Over a glass of wine I was chatting to a girl and it was revealed that I taught yoga. She said, “I’ve done yoga but I’m not very good at it.”
“I’m not very good”
Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we put ourselves down? We judge ourselves against others and against ourselves. We tell ourselves that we should or could be better.
We compare ourselves to before we had that injury or health condition. We compare ourselves with the body we had 20 years ago. We compare ourselves against someone who’s been doing yoga for years or against someone whose background is as a gymnast or dancer.
So much of our lives are lived as a competition. How much can we do before we have to pick the kids up from school? What can we achieve today? Can we improve our 10k personal best? We’re always striving.
The joy of yoga
For me, the great thing about yoga is that it isn’t competitive. PE was never my forte at school. I hated netball. I got motion sickness on a trampoline. I’ve got a funny running style. I always got picked last for any team.
But with yoga, you just move your body in a way that feels good for you. And some days it feels ok, and on other days you feel like you’ve got the body of Dorothy’s buddy the Tin Man… and that’s ok.
You become aware of what’s going on inside. Emotions come up. Sensations come up. You simply witness that stuff and you accept it.
To hell with the competition.*
“The renowned seventh century Zen master Seng-tsan taught that true freedom is being “without anxiety about imperfection.” This means accepting our human existence and all of life as it is. Imperfection is not our personal problem – it is a natural part of existing.
We all get caught in wants and fears, we all act unconsciously, we all get diseased and deteriorate. When we relax about imperfection, we no longer lose our life moments in the pursuit of being different and in the fear of what is wrong.”
* But if you beat me at Scrabble, I’ll never forgive you.
I’ve started teaching a yin yoga class for cyclists, runners and other athletes. At the first class there were nine people. Women were outnumbered two to one – a rare thing in the world of yoga! The majority were new to the practice. It felt great to be sharing yoga with so many newbies.
If you’re thinking about coming along – or you’d like to find a class near you – here are my reasons why yin yoga is great for cyclists and sports people.
I’m focusing on cyclists as the class is run with The Hub, a cyclists’ cafe in Redbourn, Herts, but it can equally apply to runners, swimmers and any other endurance athletes.
1. Injury prevention
A handful of athletes may get acute injuries – broken bones and such like – but most injuries are from overuse. It’s the repetitive nature of endurance sports.
Imbalances in your body can cause inflammation and excessive wear on tissue. A regular yoga practice brings your body back into symmetrical alignment and corrects flexibility and strength imbalances. You’ll be able to compete for longer. Take Ryan Giggs for example. He credits yoga for the longevity of his football career.
2. Stretching out
Most athletes know that having a stretch before and after exercise is good. If there’s a freer range of movement, your body can find the most efficient path and use the least energy.
Also, cycling long distances with the body fixed in one position takes its toll. Spines become rounded, shoulders hunch and the connective tissue around your hips tightens. Yin yoga counters these positions – offering backbends to open and lengthen your spine and improve posture. We’ll also work on postures to improve the flexibility in your hips and your lower back.
3. Yin vs yang
You may have heard of the terms ‘yin’ and ‘yang’. They come from Taoist thinking. Yang relates to movement, creating energy and heat in the body. Yin is about finding stillness, being calm and cooling the body.
You need both to come into balance and stay in optimum condition.
Cycling is yang activity but if you only ever focus on the yang, your body can suffer from fatigue and burn out. Yin yoga provides the balance.
4. The power of the breath
Your breath gives you energy and power to carry on and complete the race – even when you think you’re done in. Yoga teaches breathing techniques to allow you to inhale more and encourage more gaseous exchange in your lungs – sending more oxygen to your internal organs.
If you find yourself struggling to pedal up a never-ending hill with the wind in your face, focus on your breath. Time your breath with your pedal strokes and you’ll be up it in no time.
Doctor and triathlete John Hellemans recommends that the best breathing for top athletic performance is deep diaphragmatic breathing… Dr Hellemans also notes the importance of getting into a rhythmic flow with your breathing and synchronizing your breathing with your movement.
You can do that by taking a breath when you plant your foot during a stride or when pedalling on a cycle. Find a rhythm and speed of movement that allows you to work within the confines of your breath capacity so that you are not building up an oxygen deficit.
In yin yoga we aim to spend a minimum of five minutes in each pose (all are seated or lying down). This builds mental stamina. You breathe and you get through it – whether it’s the final minute in a yin pose or the final few miles of a race.
Of course, you can always ease off and make adjustments to your pose, but you become more aware of what’s going on inside and more in tune with your body. Surely that’s no bad thing for an athlete.
6. “I’m going to win!”
Endurance athletes like to win. It’s all about the competition – with each other and with yourself – trying to improve your personal best.
Yoga teaches you that there’s more to life than going faster or further. It’s not about looking around the room to see who’s struggling to touch their toes and whether you’re doing ‘better’ than them.
It’s about accepting where you are today – not comparing yourself to before you had that hip/knee replacement, or thinking about how fast you were ten years ago. Gushy and naff as it sounds, if we’re able to accept our bodies as they are today, we’ll be happier individuals.
So there’s my six reasons. If you’re in Hertfordshire, feel free to come along to the class on a Wednesday evening in Redbourn. You’ll be made to feel very welcome and you don’t need to be flexible in the slightest. In fact, the less bendy you are, the more you’ll fit in.
A few months ago I was asked if I’d like to do an hour of yoga in the new Sweaty Betty St Albans shop on the day of the opening. I didn’t say yes immediately as various thoughts were going through my head. I felt torn and here’s why:
4 reasons AGAINST doing yoga in Sweaty Betty St Albans
1. The practice of yoga is about reducing your ego i.e. that sense of ‘I’ and the self. We associate ourselves with everything that’s about the ego – for example: what we look like, what job we do and how we behave. By practising aspects of yoga – the physical asana practice, chanting mantras, and doing selfless service (doing things without an expectation of reward) – we are reducing our ego and connecting with our inner nature i.e. who we really are.
Surely doing yoga in the middle of a shop is simply drawing attention to yourself and boosting that sense of self, fuelling the ego.
“Always watch that ego. Control of the mind and annihilation of the ego are the essence of all yoga disciplines.”
2. Linked to this, humility is the greatest quality for a yoga teacher. As a yoga teacher, it’s about passing on the teachings you’ve received in a humble way and your focus is on your students, ensuring you give them your energy and attention.
You could say that ‘performing’ yoga whilst being surrounded by gawping onlookers instead of students isn’t very humble.
3. Sweaty Betty can be seen as commercial. It’s a business – a successful one – and it makes a lot of money. Indeed, I was reading an article the other day about how they’re starting to give Lululemon a run for their money having opened their first stores in the US.
Should yoga be about making money? It’s a debate that’s been had time and time again. The ancient physical practice of yoga postures in India came about as a way of preparing your body for long periods of seated meditation. It’s really only since the West has got hold of yoga that the physical practice has become what it is today and it’s much more commercial as a result.
4. When you practice yoga, it shouldn’t be about what clothes you wear. This has been drilled into me from my Sivananda background where you wear the baggiest clothes ever and anything goes. Branded clothes are yet another way of increasing our sense of ‘self’. What do those clothes say about us?
However, I must say that now that I practice more ashtanga, clothes are much more important. You get pretty hot and you want that sweat to be taken away from your body quickly. I’ve learnt that technical clothes have their benefits.
4 reasons FOR doing yoga in Sweaty Betty St Albans
1. It’s a chance to meet new local yogis. I have my familiar places where I like to practice. It’s a chance to meet other people who are into the same things.
2. Taking me out of my comfort zone, trying something new, practicing in a new location… I might find it challenging in different ways. I might learn something as a result. We can get stuck in a rut with our practice.
3. You get given free clothes. I know, I know, they give you the free clothes so you’ll wear them when you teach and then students will say, “Ooooh that’s nice. Where’s that top/those leggings/jumper from?” But you know, their clothes feel nice, they’re flattering and yes, I like clothes. So shoot me. Ok, don’t really shoot me. That would be violent and yoga isn’t big on that. You can see that I still have some way to go on the whole ego front.
4. Finally, it takes yoga to new audiences. If you saw someone doing sun salutations for the first time, you might stop and watch. You might not have expected to see such a thing whilst you’re having your normal Saturday morning wander around the shops.
It might encourage you to find out more about yoga. It might even make you go to a class. Yes, it would be great if it was one of my classes but I’d be happy if was any local class.
It’s about raising the profile of yoga. The more people that practice, the more the world will be a happier and healthier place.
And so I did it.
Doing yoga at Sweaty Betty St Albans
From 11-12am on Saturday I found myself on a yoga mat in the window of a shop. It was weird and it was fun.
Sun salutations were interesting as you couldn’t stretch your arms out to the sides as you’d simultaneously hit the glass and take someone’s eye out. At times I felt I was showing the shoppers of St Albans a little too much of my bottom.
I did an hour of ashtanga primary series. In ashtanga there’s talk of ‘drishti’ – where you look during each pose. It might be towards the tip of your nose, your knees, or elsewhere on your body. Also there’s the practice of ‘pratyahara’ – withdrawing your senses and going more inward. I tried to keep both practices in mind during the hour. It was hard.
At one point I noticed an elderly couple standing watching on the pavement. Then there were families with children, and teenagers taking photos on their phones. Drishti… pratyahara… drishti.
I thought about those new audiences. Those new potential yogis in the waiting.
It felt great to share the practice with people who weren’t familiar with it. The staff at the shop were lovely and I was made to feel very welcome. I saw some familiar faces and I met
some new ones too. I was aware of my ego and tried to keep it in check throughout. I was
just doing my practice.
I (and my yogi friend April) might even be doing some guest instructor things there next year so keep an eye out.
Would I do yoga in a Sweaty Betty shop window again?
Yes I would. I’m all up for having a bit of fun and trying something new. And you know, if I wasn’t up for trying something new, I’d never be teaching yoga.
What do you think about this? Would you have done it or would you have run the other way? All comments are valid…
With winter in the UK closing in and the early mornings becoming darker and colder, snuggling under your duvet is likely to feel increasingly appealing. But how do you stay connected to your home practice?
I’ve heard people say that the hardest step to practicing on your own at home is rolling out your mat. But once you’re standing on that mat, you’re half way there.
I’ve asked some teachers for their tips to help you stay motivated through the winter months…
One of my favourite sayings is: A little a lot is better than a lot a little. Make it accessible. You could just sit for five minutes. Go with the morning. When does the evening start? When you get in from work? After dinner? Before bed? The morning is better.
If you can’t work out how to fit it in, just get up five or ten minutes earlier. It’s not rocket science. We can be so disciplined in reading the paper, watching the latest boxset…
People forget that Rome wasn’t built in a day. It takes time. We have to be realistic about what we can do and we just have to do our best. Be less ambitious.
Get support. It’s great to have a home practice but a sense of community is important. In Buddhism it’s called ‘sangha’. The support that we require in these hard and difficult times isn’t unique to now – they were difficult in the times of Buddha too. But we need support. We need sangha.
Norman has been practicing yoga for more than 15 years and teaching since 2001. If you’ve enjoyed reading this, I’ll be interviewing him for the blog very soon – sign up on the right to make sure you don’t miss it.
Dedicate a specific time each day to practice which is realistic and manageable.
Let go of the idea that you need to do a full primary series practice. In an ideal world this is great, but with the many pressures we often put ourselves under, this is not always possible. Be happy to start with ten minutes and let the universe decide if you are able to do more.
Remember what you feel like when you finish your practice and reconnect to that feeling if you are struggling to get on your mat. Have you ever regretted getting on your mat? I know I haven’t.
Aim to get to a certain posture in your practice each time you start. This may be the sun salutations, standing, or maybe navasana. When you reach that posture, see if you feel like doing more. If not, be very happy that you have achieved your goal. Don’t forget to allow time for your relaxation at the end.
Avoid beating yourself up if, at the end of your day, you didn’t manage to get on your mat. Trust me, it doesn’t help! Look to smile inwardly as you progress through your practice, trust it, and enjoy it.
Cathy runs BAYoga Studio in Berkhamsted, Herts. Her favourite class to teach is a Mysore self practice and can’t wait to visit the place itself in India next year.
When it comes to starting a home practice or keeping one going my best advice is to find something to motivate you and let that motivation be fluid.
BKS Iyengar says that practice “waxes and wanes like the moon”. Some days I spend several hours luxuriating on my mat with my books and pen to hand. Other days it’s all I can do to stick my legs up the wall in vipariti karani. It took me about three years to be ok with that.
I’m pretty sure that since you’re reading this blog something’s motivating you, but in case you’re stuck here’s my top list:
1. I’m going to a workshop/training/retreat I better get a bit fitter
2. I’ve been on a workshop/training/retreat and I’m pumped with enthusiasm
3. No reason, I just gotta do it
4. I really don’t want to do this today but I’m going to anyway
5. I am going to nail that pose
Christina Sell would say that every second you put into practice is a deposit in the bank. If you see someone striking a perfect pose and the words “I could never do that” enter your thoughts, the truth is that for the majority of us, we’re not born like that. What you don’t see are the hours, blood, sweat and tears which went into that asana.
Adele describes herself as a yoga teacher and spiritual adventurer. She’s very excited to be currently studying towards her 500 hour qualification with Chris Chavez. This requires regular trips to Istanbul. Can’t be bad.
So keep it up people! And do you have any advice? What keeps you motivated in your home practice? You can leave your comments below.
“Contentment comes from mental well-being that moves us to consider the positive in all beings and situations.”
This was the reading on which I decided to base this morning’s gentle yoga class in Wheathampstead. And how apt it proved to be.
I arrived early to the little Mead Hall in Wheathampstead village to find a hive of activity. Normally it’s silent but there were people inside arranging tables and making tea. I peered through the door, dragging in my bags of mats and props only to be told that it was a WI (Women’s Institute) meeting and they’d had the booking in the diary for months.
“Bugger!” I thought. Of course, it was only a matter of minutes before regulars started arriving for the class. I explained the situation and we stood in the car park debating the options. The park was ruled out as they didn’t want to be watched by dogwalkers… living rooms weren’t big enough… what to do?
My yogi mum volunteered her back garden and so it was decided. Directions were given and five minutes later we were at Amwell Lane and people were marvelling at the beautiful flowers and the lush green lawn.
“Oooh I daren’t walk on the grass, it’s so immaculate!” said Liz. The joys of having a dad who’s a landscape gardener. I’ve been saying for ages that they should open it to the public.
We progressed through the class. When we did our sun salutations, we really did stretch our fingers towards the sun, and when we ended our savasana, we brought our awareness to the sensation of every blade of grass touching our fingers and the backs of our hands.
It was a lovely class and here’s the full reading:
“Contentment comes from mental well-being that moves us to consider the positive in all beings and situations. Often our frustrations come from regrets, agitation, suffering or comparing ourselves with others. Focusing on what others have – or don’t have for that matter – instead of nourishing gratitude leads to everlasting discontent.
Contentment is a dynamic and constructive attitude that brings us to look at things in a new way. It calms the mind, bringing a flowering of subtle joy and inner serenity that are independent of all outside influences and perishable things.
It is very difficult however to sustain contentment. Though it may be easier to be happy when we are successful, only an exceptional soul remains positive in the midst of adverse currents. Contentment means looking at every event with a smile. It helps to have a sense of humour too.”
Bernard Bouchard defining 2.42 in the Yoga Sutras (Santosha)
We sat on the swing seat afterwards drinking herbal tea saying how special the class had been. People loved feeling the breeze and hearing bees buzzing around them.
And so I’d like to say a hearty thank you to the ladies of the WI. If they want to book the Mead Hall again on a Monday morning, please feel free. But just make sure it’s on a day when the sun is shining…
Last weekend I taught a yin workshop at BAYoga Studio in Berkhamsted. We did happy baby pose and I suggested to students that they took hold of the inside of the soles of their feet, allowing their knees to relax towards their armpits.
Afterwards, a friend in the class mentioned that it feels much better for her to take hold of the outsides of her feet. Holding the insides made her shoulders and chest feel restricted. “That’s odd”, I thought. Trying it at home, my shoulders and chest felt open, no problem. And then I thought about my hips. I have very open hips so my knees are wide enough apart to allow for my shoulders to relax in the space between my knees. Her hips aren’t quite as open as mine and so by holding the outsides of her feet, her chest broadens and she feels the benefits of the pose.
This got me thinking about different people’s bodies and how we approach poses. Not too long ago, someone asked me whether I could get my heels down to the mat in down facing dog. I said yes and they looked amazed. But is that due to having super stretchy hamstrings or just because of the way I’m built?
Perhaps my hamstrings have lengthened somewhat through practice, but getting my heels to the floor has never been hard. It’s surely got more to do with the fact that that I have a wide range of movement in my ankle joint due to the shape of my bones.
Likewise, I’m restricted in movement in my wrists. When I stretch my hand backwards, it hardly comes back. So when I try to do handstands, I need to place the edge of a cushion or a wedge between the heel of my hand and the floor to lessen the angle and pressure on my wrists.
Take my sister’s elbows as another example. She hyperextends through her elbows meaning that when she stretches her arm out, palm facing up, her elbows bends beyond 180 degrees. There’s no pain, it’s just how she’s made. When she practices yoga, some of her poses might look a bit odd. Ok, so she may never make it into a book of beautiful yoga poses (sorry Katharine, I still love you), but it works for her.
It’s just how we’re built and we need to work with the body and bone shape we’ve been given. We might feel a need to strive to create the ‘perfect’ pose, but for many of us, our bodies can’t do certain things because of ‘compression’ i.e. the range of movement we can achieve due to the shape of our bones and also how they meet at joints.
Regardless of how many hours of practice we put in, we can’t change this. It doesn’t mean that her pose is ‘better’ than yours, it’s just different and yoga teaches you about gratitude and acceptance: accepting where you are in your practice and more broadly who you are as a person.
If this sort of thing interests you, check out Paul Grilley. He talks a lot about anatomy. His DVD ‘Anatomy for Yoga’ is rather good too.
Yes, it’s true, I’m going to use this blog post to promote the various yoga things I’ve got going on. I apologise in advance and normal services will resume shortly.
So you may have noticed that I have a new website! The Diary of a Yogi blog has now been subsumed into my Shanta Yoga site so everything’s now in one place. Much easier. If you get a chance, have a look around the site and feel free to give me any feedback. All my old blog posts are still available on here.
I’ve started teaching yoga classes in Hertfordshire and it’s going well. I’m teaching a yin/yang yoga workshop at Breathing Space in Harpenden next month with my friend and wonderful ashtanga teacher April Nunes Tucker. She’ll lead 1.5 hours of ashtanga and then I’ll teach yin for 1.5 hours.
I’m also teaching at a little place called the Mead Hall in Wheathampstead. It’s a WI (Women’s Institute) hall and has central heating and a lovely wooden floor. Before teaching yoga, I would never have got quite so excited about flooring or heating. Yoga at the Mead Hall is a gentle affair and we do lots of warm ups, some standing and seated poses and a lovely long relaxation at the end. Everyone goes at their own pace and it’s very friendly.
I’m also trying out teaching a weekly yin class in a yoga/pilates studio in Southdown, Harpenden. I can’t seem to find anyone else offering a regular yin class in the county. I’m aware that that might be because no-one’s interested but you’ve got to give these things a go, right?
I’m spreading the word by going door to door getting my hand squished in letterboxes (some are lethal. Lethal, I tell you). I’m also getting really good at laminating and asking shops to display them. Even the village butcher got a flyer. I had a lovely yoga natter in the beauty salon with a lady who was getting a manicure.
Yin yoga Berkhamsted
BAYoga Studio is a great ashtanga studio in Berkhamsted run by Cathy Haworth. I’ve been going to Mysore classes there and will also be running a yin yoga workshop there on Saturday 15 June. It’ll be two hours of yin yoga and it should be lovely.
If you’ve never heard of yin yoga before, have a read of a blog post that explains the practice.
And if you’d like to find out more about my classes, all the details are listed on the class schedule page.
Anyway, that’s about it. Thanks for bearing with me while I go on about my classes. It’s not all about me, me, me you know.
I have shamelessly nabbed the above title from Nadia Narain – a great London teacher whose classes first got me interested in yoga a few years ago. And it’s true. You look around the room in a class and you see some students desperately trying to go deeper into poses. They’re looking round the room at their fellow students, seeing that perhaps one of them is able to get their chest down onto their thighs in a seated forward bend, and our old friend the ego rears its ugly head and says, “I can do that!”
They strain, shoulders inching up around their ears, their fingertips turning white as they grip for dear life on their big toes, their knees buckling and their backs hunched as their noses teeter so very close to their kness. But are they breathing? I bet your bottom dollar that any thoughts of deep, lovely, full yogic breath have disappeared from their totally sattvic uncompetitive thoughts.
That person who is able to almost effortlessly hinge into a beautiful forward bend may be a professional dancer. Or someone who at least doesn’t spend eight hours a day tapping away at a computer. But as Nadia says, just because they can do that, it doesn’t make them happier. They’re likely to find certain asanas or postures challenging as no-one can be good at everything. Maybe they’ve got other things going on in their life that they’re finding seriously hard.
Yoga is about being true to yourself, listening and working with your body – not against it. Indeed, you often find that you can go deeper into a posture by taking more time and using your breath to release.
We need to be grateful for what we’re able to do and with our lot in life. It’s so easy to get caught up with comparing yourself to others and wanting “what they’ve got”. In the new year I decided to start a gratitude diary. Next to my bed I have a little notebook and in it I write five things for which I am grateful on that particular day. It’s a great practice to help cultivate positive thoughts and I recommend everyone to do it. You can be thankful for the big things but also it’s worth remembering the everyday ordinary things too.
And now back to my mat… if… only… I could just get my body to look a little more pretzel-like and wrap… my… ankles… round my neck…