Yin Yoga Training Day 5

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I’m in London on an 8 day Yin Yoga Training with Norman Blair and 12 really interesting and amazing yoga teachers and have committed to sharing my thoughts here each day …

Day 5 (Sun 15th April)

Musings on meditation

This week my resurrected morning 15 minute meditation practice is going. Not well, not badly, just going.  And we’ve been practicing quite a lot during the training too. Sometimes it’s sublime and I catch myself congratulating myself on having ‘done well’.  I sit up in bed to do it when I’m at the AirBnB because the bedroom is peaceful and very calming with good natural light and seems a good place for it, and I give myself full permission to be warm and comortable.

Sometimes my meditation has not been pretty at all. It’s hard, I squirm, sneak a peak at the timer, wonder what the point is – as the stillness and time and space uncover and reveal thoughts and emotions, body sensations, frustrations.

What to do? Meditation is not a practice of emptying the mind but instead of exercising the mind muscle.  It’s tough sometimes working on something that’s weak.  Think about how we may rehabilitate a weak ankle after breaking it. We can start to recognise that the struggle and the unpleasantness are the meditation.  The thoughts are the meditation.  Our mind becoming stronger, we are becoming more familiar with it and its demands.

Thoughts are a sure fire way of affirming you are human and you are alive.  Phew. Be glad.  We can be gentle but persevering, we can give ourselves time but not give up.  We can all use a little more softness towards ourselves.  This is the basis of a yin attitude. Let’s have a yin attitude to meditation.  Striving, trying to get somewhere and achieve are yang. They have their place. But you will find yourself learning more if you slow down and soften.

What are we trying to prove anyway?  No one gets a medal for meditating.  I didn’t noice it at the commonwealth games. What you will find though is that if you can sit in awareness of what comes up, choose to stay with it a while, you may uncover hidden gems. Or perhaps you need to turn away – that particular emotion/thought is too raw, too much for the moment. So you reconnect with your meditation focus (whatever it is – perhaps breath, mantra, image) to help you pass through that unpleasant patch – and more than that, sometimes discover something about yourself you didn’t previously understand, during the meditation or commonly a while after.

 

Are we ready to face difficult stuff that comes up in our meditation practice?  Maybe not, sometimes it’s kinder to ourselves to leave it, and turn away. Know it’s there, just don’t deal with it yet. Not ready. That’s fine. May be ready next week, next year or never. The journey the journey.

It’s a shame there isn’t more time to get to know this mind of mine.

Someone said today that SHAME stands for

Should

Have

Already

Mastered

Everything

How many life times do I have?

Are you wondering why I used a picture of a green-haired turtle that I screen-grabbed from Have I Got News For You? It’s simply because it’s so ridiculously funny.  And if you want to know what’s even funnier, check out this article

I have so much more to share from today but I’m leaving it there. It’s a good place to stop.

 

Yin Yoga Training Day 4

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I’m in London on an 8 day Yin Yoga Traiing with Norman Blair and 12 really interesting and amazing yoga teachers and have committed to sharing my thoughts here each day …

Day 4 (Sat 14h April)

Waking up to sun and some blue sky after days (and days – and a whole winter it seems) of wondering where the sun had gone. It’s back. Spirits soar and energy vibrates as the sap rises. Spring is here I’m pretty sure of that.

Another morning of the same and a settling into the pattern. Feeling slightly at odds with things and not quite grounded. Not used to so much quiet and time to myself and wonder how everyone is back at home brings tears to my eyes.

I walk deliberately the long way round from my AirBnB to the Yoga Studio to get as much walking and sun as possible and shake off my strange mood before settling into training.

Key learnings from today:

– Today was mostly focused on meditation, looking at the principles of practice, how we might choose to hold the body, find comfort – sitting, lying, standing, walking.

I know I have quite a strong aversion to a standing (still) meditation after really not enjoying it the previous times I’ve tried it.  I caught a fellow teacher Lucy’s eye and we shared a cheeky grimace. Felt like little naughty rebels.  We were having the same thoughts. We figured we could just sit down if it was really unbearable, but to my surprise, I experienced a pleasant sense of solidness and the ground rising up to support my feet. Nice.  And it is always uncomfortably instructive to be in the posting of being encouraged to do something you don’t really want to do. Is this how you feel in class when I announce we are about to do your least favourite pose?

– The walking meditation was promising to be excruciating as we were to walk in a loop on a little meditation path in the narrow back garden of Norman’s residential North London home (which is where his studio is). The neighbours were out in full force and the hedges were not high.  I realise I am quite a private person. Luckily none of us could understand what they were saying (it’s soo much more multicultural than Bath, I had forgotten how much so) and I think anyway that they’ve seen it all before and we were in fact being rather boring. It was a very nice practice indeed and helped me work through some deep seated issues with public displays of yoga practice!

– I learnt many many more things but it’s a Saturday night and I want to put the screen away.

No links today. Maybe turn your screen off too 🙂

Yin Yoga Training Day 3

 

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I’m in London on an 8 day Yin Yoga Traiing with Norman Blair and 12 really interesting and amazing yoga teachers and have committed to sharing my thoughts here each day …

Day 3 (Fri 13th April)

(Remember, useful links relating to content listed at the end)

Lucky for some. Lucky for me. Time to develop and work on my early morning routine. Plan is to fine tune and make it a habit so that I can bring it back from my ‘retreat’. Essentially, it’s 3 conscious breaths sitting on the egde of the bed, a bit of energy medicine ‘wake up’ body work (2 mins tops here), one simple chi gung practice (thanks Mark Pogson), a squat and a forward fold (a massive energy boost to the body) and a bit of face yoga (essential ego maintenance – whoops).

Then the many morning drinks I consume:
First, a large glass of quite warm water (actually I have this before the above) recommended by an acupuncturist to wake the body up and fire up the system. Then in no particular order, a tbsp of chia seeds in a cup of water, a vit c tablet in a cup of water (probably not the healthiest way to consume vit c but it’s what I do at the moment) and a Pukka green tea.

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Coffee is later but you can’t see that In this picture, although you can see the zen courtyard of ‘my’ house here where if I feel brave (i.e. it’s not wet and cold and horrid) I walk with barefeet to ground my body’s energy – earthing (more below).

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OK, so here’s the key learning from today’s training:

– that just as there is no one correct yoga practice, there is also no one way of approaching or talking about Traditional Chinese Medicine and the meridian system, although it is generally accepted that there are 12 meridians/energy channels in the body (plus two – see, never simple) and that they are pretty much in the same place in every person, as are the specific points where they surface and can be manipulated by needle or pressure (again, expect to learn some of these in our classes – I made sure to write down the ones for hangover in case anyone may need that…!)

– thinking again about proprioception and how key it is for our every movement, I was reminded about a film I watched a year or so ago which I’ll share below about a man who, after a viral infection, lost all proprioception and how he recovered. It is amazing – and also a social history lesson for the 1980s – fabulous hair styles, huge cathode ray TVs and type writers!

– don‘t do a three hour yin yoga practice and meditation after a huge plate of Vietnamese fried rice noodles. Groan.

To get inspired to drink warm water in the mornings:
https://www.doyouyoga.com/4-reasons-a-glass-of-warm-water-can-change-your-life/

To find out a bit about Energy Medicine Yoga:
https://www.emyoga.net

For a good chi gung practitioner in Bath:
http://www.ssoha.org.uk

To watch a 15 minute video, that I recommend, to explain grounding/earthing:
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=7qn_YnLudgg

To watch ‘The man who lost his body’:
http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x12647t

 

Yin Yoga Training Day 2

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I’m in London on an 8 day Yin Yoga Traiing with Norman Blair and 12 really interesting and amazing yoga teachers and have committed to sharing my thoughts each day …

Day 2 (Thur 12th April)

(Remember, useful links relating to content listed at the end)

An earlyish rise at 6:30am for the reinvigoration of my stalled meditation practice. 5 minutes a day, which is what I have been doing, is not enough and I want to build it to at least 20, possibly 30 (but I have to be realistic about what I can achieve in the time I have in my normal day). So I did a 10 minute practice. And loved it. I’ve been inspired to start working with a Yin Meditation technique of open awareness, as taught by acupuncturist and yin yoga teacher Josh Summers.

Then face yoga (don’t laugh, I am now officially on the wrong side of 45 and need all the help I can get), a 5-minute HITT routine (the first one I have ever done -I just googled and got a beefcake in the US – can anyone recommend good free online resources?), a handstand and a 10ish minute flow yoga practice (loads more during the day so I am going asana-light in the mornings). Various drinks (more on that tomorrow) and a sit with a coffee in my new Danish birthday mug that I brought all the way from Bath (I know, coffee not very yin but I can’t quite kick the one a day habit) in the zen courtyard.

Then to training.

Key learnings from today:

– Acupuncture point L3 on the top of the foot is one of the best for combating stress. We’ll be doing lots more acupressure in our Yin poses in classes because hell, why not.

– 1 in 10,000 people have their organs switched around, like a mirror image of ‘normal’. Just another reminder that not one yoga pose will fit everyone. “Your Body, Your Yoga” (as Bernie Clark would say)

– This one is a reminder really – fascia is the interconnected 3D body-wide web that gives us shape, stability and mobility and it contains sensory nerve endings (fact) so that – radical new theory coming up – the fascia can ‘talk’ to itself without involving the brain. Not everyone believes this to be the case but it makes sense. Your body is more intelligent from the head down guys. Or put another way “Your body is more than a brain taxi” – David Walsh

Listen to a podcast on yin meditation here:
https://joshsummers.net/p…/yin-meditation-relaxing-the-mind/

Find out about face yoga here:
http://www.faceyogaexpert.com

The HITT routine I randomly hit on, pun intended:
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=TkaYafQ-XC4

Find out about L3 point here:
http://www.acupressurewellness.com/acupressure-point-great-surge-lv3/

Find out about Bernie Clark’s brill book here:
http://www.yinyoga.com/YBYY.php

Listen to some of David Walsh’s interviews here:
https://www.facebook.com/theembodimentpodcast/

 

Yin Yoga Training – Day 1

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I’m in London on an 8 day Yin Yoga Traiing with Norman Blair and 12 really interesting and amazing yoga teachers and have committed to sharing my thoughts each day …

(Remember, useful links at the end)

Day 1 (Wed 11th April)

A bad night’s sleep, an early rise and a long coach ride to London mostly in the dark and the rain. A full day of practice and training. Arriving at the end of the day at my AirBnB to find a warm cosy beautifully decorated tiny house with a leafy zen courtyard and earthenware pottery in the kitchen and a bath. Essential. A trip to Tesco and a shop assistant who couldn’t believe how healthy my basket was and kept telling me so. I told her the chocolate was already secured. And I was buying coffee and Indian Rice Sticks so there were some treats 😉

Key learnings from Day 1:
Let go of expectations. No, really. Let them go. Listen. The importance of creating a safe space. The intricacies of fascia, which I have learnt about in great depth with Gary Carter of Natural Bodies but good to have a reminder and revisit Dr Jean-Claude Guimbertauts work. The very fashionable multi-armed vagus nerve and its myriad workings in the Parasympathetic Nervous System. A reminder that full complete, relaxed breaths have myriad impacts on the health of the body.

Read more about the vagus nerve here:
http://sequencewiz.org/2015/11/18/vital-vagus-what-is-the-vagus-nerve-and-what-does-it-do/

Read more about Gary Carter’s work here:
https://www.naturalbodies.co.uk

Watch a clip of Dr Guimbertaut’s work here:
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=_tZL4716HuY
or google ‘strolling under the skin’ for a 28 minute video with a lot of long technical terms but lots of amazing filming.

Read more about my training teacher Norman Blair here:
http://www.yogawithnorman.co.uk

Something from almost nothing

I love a bargain. Charity shops, car boot sales, clothes swaps, seed swaps, sales. Why would you ever buy something full price?!

I had a hankering after a new pair of leg warmers. Can’t beat warm ankles on a cold winter’s day. But I can’t quite bring myself to knit a pair. I know I could but I just don’t have faith that they won’t be a little bit wrong – too baggy, too tight, too bright.

So I bought a very soft jumper from a car boot sale and chopped it up. Just a pair of scissors. No glue. No sewing. Super quick results this one.

And extra specially cool, I got an infinity scarf in the bargain which was just essentially the body of the jumper. I’d add a pic of that too if I could figure out how to add another image to this post. I’m sure it’s easy but spending too long on this post is not feeding my peaceful wolf, so I’ll end it there.