Sunday, 30 December 2012


I've recently been concentrating a lot on the breath as the means of deepening my yoga postures. I realised that I've been straining and struggling to get into them and hold them, using all the RI (reciprocal inhibition) and PNF (proprio-neuro-facilitation) cues I could find....the result being I've over-stretched my hamstring / glut and have been in discomfort for a while now.

These cues are great, don't get me wrong and I actively use and recommend them to students as ways to deepen the postures and learn engagement of the correct muscles. However, I have been over doing them, they should be used sparingly, very sparingly, maybe just once a week even....

The one thing which I have realised that I have not been doing is letting the breath do its work. Funny eh? The only thing that makes the practice yoga. I've been rushing the in breath and  I'd noticed it was half the length of the exhale. So I've double its length, in fact, I'm breathing the entire length of the natural inhalation, man it's long...I note the top of the inhale, then let go.....the exhale comes naturally; freedom, surrender, the natural path of the breath. The lengthening of the inhalation gives me physical length in the spine and a greater softness in the muscles but more importantly has given me back the natural ability to really LET GO. 

So as new year dawns once again, along with those wishes for new beginnings and renunciation of bad habits, the negative and destructive samskaras, I suggest you take a few seconds to watch your in breath and begin to lengthen it to its full capacity in order that you can find the real space to "let go", both within and without, in 2013. 


Thursday, 20 December 2012

Bhujapidasana...are your legs too high on your arms?

Today I got my first chin down, feet through bhujapidasana!

I've always had a struggle with it until Sunday when Ben said 'try lowering your legs to just above your  elbows'. I did this and low and behold, I have more control and can really squeeze the legs onto the arms and pull my feet through my arms whilst getting my chin to the floor. It's not perfect, my feet at still brushing the mat, but the main form of the posture is there now!

Just shows how helpful it is to have a teacher there to suggest new ways of approaching postures when your clearly stuck in a groove, or have a certain samskara...mine being getting my legs as high up the arms as possible. I loe little breakthroughs like this :)

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Ashtanga Yoga Bali Conference 2013

Although my practice has felt awful for the past week or so due to the minus temperatures here in the UK, I am still slowly cultivating certain elements of it slowly, subtly...

My early morning pranayama / meditation practice is cultivating a more subtle awareness of mula and uddiyana banda. This new subtle awareness is working its way into my more 'gross' asana practice. It's enabling me to work on the light and floatiness of the jump through and handstand.

But the most exciting thing is that I have booked my place on the Ashtanga Yoga Bali Conference 2013 which will be held in Ubud in November with Prem and Radha and other revered teachers at their research centre!!!

I am so excited! Let me know whether you will be attending, it would be amazing to meet up with other ashtanga bloggers at this great event!

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Goodbye to the Halcyon Days of Summer Practice!

It was -2 this morning when I rolled out the mat. (-2 outside, not in my house...thankfully!)

But my body was so cold and stiff that I might as well have been outside! My hips, oh, my hips... goodbye Baddha konasana, farewell upavista konasana....kurmasana? Looked like it did 4 years ago!!

A harsh reminder of that you cannot attach yourself to the postures, you cannot expect the body to react to the practice the same each day. Every day is different. Environments are ever changing. Prakriti is ever changing. The only thing we can be sure of is purusha, pure awareness, this is unchanging and will always be sitting in the background watching, still, enduring, eternal, immutable. Watching your every reaction to the conflicts of your senses.

So tomorrow, I will roll out the mat, do surynamaskara as if today never happened and let purusha watch how tomorrow's practice unfolds.