Friday, 31 July 2015

Easy Pose - not so easy

Few people who practice yoga would like admit that they do not find Easy pose, well, 'easy'. The very name of it suggests we should have no trouble at all sitting in it. The fact is since childhood when we may have sat cross-legged at infant school, (or do they not do that now?) we have got used to sitting with our knees forward on our sofas, at our desks, in our cars.
Easy Pose requires us to have flexibility in the pelvis, and inner and outer thighs. Practicing hip openers helps create this flexibility. Include poses such as Pigeon, Triangle, Warrior 2, Goddess Squat, Tree Pose, Baddha Konasana, and Janu Sirsasana.

When practicing easy pose make sure your knees are not higher than your hips. If they are you need to be elevated on a blanket or blocks. You should sit on your sit bones so move any excess, if you have any, to one side. Also make sure your back heel is a little way from your pelvis. If you have knee issues, support your knees with cushions. Your pelvis should be neutral and you should not round in your lower back. If you are rounding your lower back try sitting against a wall.

Be aware that you do not have to sit in Easy Pose or any other seated floor pose to meditate. In fact you need to be comfortable to meditate so that your physical body is not a distraction. So until Easy Pose is 'easy', sit in a chair or even lie down.

Hope this helps

Janet x

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Yoga for pain - fibromyalgia - first steps

Although your symptoms may never disappear completely yoga and diet can bring considerable ease to the condition.
Please consult your doctor before practicing yoga.

Please read the disclaimer on the blog before following these videos 

Article to accompany this series-

Please subscribe to my YouTube channel if you are enjoying my videos.

Thank you 

Copyright © 2015 Flexiladiesyoga

Fibromyalgia can be a distressing condition. Symptoms include pain in your muscles and joints, sensitivity to touch, muscle spasms, fatigue, headaches, dizziness etc. More women are affected than men. There are several theories as to the cause of fibromyalgia. It may be due to hypersensitivity in the nervous system, it may have a genetic cause where symptoms only show when there is a trigger such as an illness or accident or it may be linked to stress or depression. It does seem to be that people with fibromyalgia have lower levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter in your brain and gut that influences mood. Some, including myself, believe that there is a link to 'leaky gut' syndrome. I will talk more of this next week.

Yoga can help in many ways such as:- 

  • Yoga breathing techniques, by encouraging deeper breathing, help bring more oxygen into your body. This can help relieve fatigue and stress. Some breathing techniques which involve sound such as Ujjayi Breathing or Humming Bee Breath are calming for the brain.
  • Chanting sets up healing vibrations in your body.
  • By balancing the chakras which influence your physical and emotional body, yoga can improve your physical and mental wellbeing
  • Gentle backbends open up your chest encouraging deeper breathing while forward bends and gentle inversions bring the oxygenated blood to the brain which relieves fatigue and stress.
  • Yoga can gently open your body enhancing circulation of blood and lymph. The blood can nourish painful muscles and lymph carry away any toxins that are affecting the muscles.
  • Yoga can reduce inflammation in muscles and joints but little is known about how exactly this works. It may be that when under stress, physical or mental, the body loses its ability to regulate the inflammatory response.
  • Yoga stretches relieve muscle tension.
  • Yoga can restore restful sleep by calming your mind and relieving tension in your muscles.
  • Meditation and visualisation are 'tools' to aid the healing process. Meditation releases 'endorphins' from the brain which are natural painkillers. 
In this first video, my focus is to encourage you to breathe more deeply and to practice some poses which release healing energies. I am conscious that fatigue may be a problem so I have made the video shorter than I would usually. I would suggest that you follow this video by practicing the meditation on the following link 

Next week I will offer some dietary advice that may help with fibromyalgia and another video to help with fibromyalgia. In the meantime you may wish to practice the breathing technique that I show you in this video and the poses which release healing energies. Please let me know how you are getting on.

Janet x

Sunday, 26 July 2015

This week on 40plusandalliswell

Today's Meatless Monday on my blog is 'Walnut crusted tofu with sweet potato wedges'.

In the organic garden some of the beetroot is ready for harvesting as baby beet! Read the benefits of beetroot for your health and ideas for how to use it.

Why not try this unusual way to use beetroot which is in season at the moment? These buns are sugar free and dairy free too!

Blog post to help you cope with 'brain fog' caused by the menopause.

Taking your yoga off the mat - satya (truthfulness)

On the mat we practice satya by being honest with ourselves about how far we should go into a pose in order to feel a stretch but not strain. 

Off the mat, most of us would claim to be truthful but sometimes the truth can cause upset to others which is not in keeping with ahimsa. In this case the truth will need to be expressed with a great deal of tact or not expressed at all. Practicing satya off the mat also means that you should not be afraid to be yourself in the presence of others, that is not 'tailoring' who you are to be the person you think they want/expect you to be. How many people do you know who have been 'channeled' into careers that make them unhappy because of the expectations of others?

As we continue with our yoga practice we develop a greater awareness of our thoughts, our emotions, our needs, our true self and our divine purpose.  It is at this stage we can live in accordance with satya. 

Meditation is a 'tool' for accessing our deepest thoughts and emotions if practiced regularly. In the following meditation we work with a mantra 'Sat nam' which translates as 'I am true'. 

Sit in a comfortable position either cross-legged or seated in a chair. 

Close your eyes and release any thoughts from your mind as you begin to watch your breath.

When your breath has settled into a smooth, natural, rhythmical pattern, begin to work with the mantra. As you breathe in silently say to yourself 'Sat' and as you breathe out say silently to yourself 'Nam'.  

Continue in this way for several minutes. If thoughts come into your head, gently but firmly let them go and return to the breath. 

When you are ready sit for a minute feeling the effect of the meditation before opening your eyes. Please make sure you are fully awake before continuing with your day.

I would also suggest that you work with the throat chakra which will enhance your ability to communicate clearly and with compassion.  

Janet x 

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Yoga for pain - shoulder pain

Yoga to help relieve pain: Shoulder pain-

Please read the disclaimer on the blog before following these videos 

Article to accompany this series-

Please subscribe to my YouTube channel if you are enjoying my videos.

Thank you 

Copyright © 2015 Flexiladiesyoga

When it comes to shoulder pain there is not a 'one size fits all' yoga practice because so much can go wrong with the shoulder joint. If you are experiencing shoulder pain, you should consult a doctor initially for a proper diagnosis. Your doctor may prescribe rest, at least initially.  

If you are suffering from bursitis or tendonitis rest will allow the inflammation time to subside. Your doctor may then consent to you doing some gentle yoga shoulder stretching and strengthening poses. If you have a torn rotator cuff (these are the muscles that stabilise the shoulder joint), it is only after healing has taken place that your doctor may consent to some yoga poses to gently strengthen the muscles of the rotator cuff. If you are suffering from shoulder joint instability, you should especially avoid poses such as Side Plank where you bear your weight on one shoulder or poses with a strong external rotation such as Cow Face Arms.

The practice in the video focuses on putting the shoulder joint through a full range of movement to lubricate the joint. It also helps stretch and strengthen the muscles supporting the joint. There is also some gentle chest opening too, as when the chest muscles tighten which they often do because of modern day lifestyles, this impinges on the muscles of the shoulders. The practice would be suitable for several shoulder conditions once the initial healing has taken place and with your doctor's approval. Also the practice would be suitable for arthritis in the shoulder joint, again with your doctor's approval. As always listen to your body and if you experience any pain let the pose go.

The video ends by releasing pain into a balloon. Often imagining the pain external to your body can effectively reduce pain.   

I really hope this helps. Please let me know how you are going on.


Janet x

Sunday, 19 July 2015

This week on 40plusandalliswell

Meatless Monday this week was for 'Red kidney bean fritters'. Enjoy!

This week in the organic garden we have been harvesting blackcurrants and making a simple blackcurrant sorbet. Enjoy!

Suffering from the effects of the menopause? See how changes to your diet can help ease your way through

Friday, 17 July 2015

Taking your yoga off the mat - ahimsa

Please read the disclaimer on the blog before following these videos 

I love inverted heart shape marking on the great tit's chest. Great for a loving kindness meditation. Thank you to Hannah who took the photo.

Please subscribe to my YouTube channel if you are enjoying my videos.

Thank you 

Copyright © 2015 Flexiladiesyoga

Ahimsa translates as non-harming. On the yoga mat this means not practicing beyond your limitations. In yoga we talk of 'finding your edge' that is where you can feel the stretch but you are not straining. We should also not strain in breathing practices.  

Off the mat ahimsa means so much more than not physically harming anyone. It also means not talking about anyone in a negative way or even thinking negative thoughts about them. Often however, it is ourselves that we think of in a a way that is not in keeping with ahimsa. We all tend to have an 'inner critic'. You know that voice which undermines our confidence, playing on our hurts and insecurities, and keeping us from the peace that we all desire and deserve. The inner critic tells us we are not 'good enough', 'pretty enough' 'flexible enough' etc, etc, etc. Ahimsa means silencing this inner critic which can lead to physical symptoms if left unchecked. There are several ways you can do this but key is cultivating self-love. It is only by having this core of self-love that we can then reach out with love for others.  

Yogis often take ahimsa to mean that they should be vegan. While it is good for many people and for the planet to be vegan, it is not for everyone. This is difficult because if a vegan diet is not right for your body, adopting a vegan diet may be detrimental to your health. However, I do think that it does no harm to be vegan one day each week and it does help the planet since it takes more of the earth's resources to produce meat than grain. I do not believe we need to eat animal protein more than once a day. If you do eat meat and fish, you should ensure that it is responsibly sourced, that is the animal has had a 'good' life and was killed humanely.

The planet should be a concern to all of us. Our lovely planet is struggling with global warming partly caused by deforestation, overuse of fossil fuels etc. The result is melting ice caps, animals in danger of extinction, food shortages, changes in the weather, changes in the ocean currents and wildlife etc. Since I have been living in the countryside, I have felt really close to nature, loving it more each day. Every day there are subtle changes as season melts into season. Sometimes I am greatly saddened by what I see. This year the blue tit pair in my garden built their nest, laid their eggs but did not incubate them. I have talked to various people about this and the general opinion seems to be that there must not have been enough caterpillars for them or at least the right sort of caterpillar. This has left me wondering if because of global warming the birds and the source of food for their young has got out of sync, that is the caterpillars are arriving too late for the birds to successfully breed. 

We can all do a little to help. Even if it is just leaving a patch of our lawn to grow wild for the bees, which are now in decline, not leaving electrical appliances on standby, turning down the central heating down a little, or making a home for wildlife.  

Janet x

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Yoga to help with knee pain

Please read the disclaimer on the blog before following these videos 

Article to accompany this series-

Please subscribe to my YouTube channel if you are enjoying my videos.

Thank you 

Copyright © 2015 Flexiladiesyoga

Many people suffer with knee pain commonly caused by injury, muscular imbalances or if both knees are affected the cause may be osteoarthritis. You need to get a proper diagnosis from a medical practitioner and discuss whether yoga may help your particular condition. 

Yoga can help several conditions that affect the knees by:-

Correcting muscular imbalances 
Correcting postural defects so that muscular imbalances are less likely
Lubricating the knee joint
Stretching and strengthening the supporting muscles of the knee joint
Increasing circulation to the joint so that nutrients are brought to the joint
Yoga can help reduce inflammation of the joint
Yoga can reduce stress which is one of the factors that opens the ‘gate’ to pain. Please see

The video focuses on relieving knee pain caused by imbalance in the muscles supporting the knee joint.  This may be caused by poor posture.  Often it is the inner thigh muscle that is weaker than the outer thigh muscle. We focus on strengthening the weaker muscle by attention to alignment in the Warrior postures, in Tree posture and in a Wide Leg Seated Forward Bend.  We also practice squeezing the block in Bridge Pose and Fierce Prayer to strengthen the weaker inner thigh muscles.

Hyper-extending the knee can cause problems for the knee. So often in yoga we focus on stretching the hamstrings and rightly so because hamstrings do tend to be tight. But this flexibility in the hamstrings should be balanced by strength which is why we practice Locust Pose and Bow Pose in the video.  The poses also stretch the quadriceps muscles and strengthen the glutes. Any imbalances in the feet, ankles or hips can cause problems for the knee joint and a comprehensive yoga programme of yoga for knees should include hip openers, ankle and foot stretches.  

For further practices to help with knee health, please see

Yoga for Knee Health Part1
Yoga for Knee Health Part 2

Janet x 

Sunday, 12 July 2015

This week on 40plusandalliswell

Find out the health benefits of eating strawberries and enjoy them in this 'Strawberry shortcake sundae'

Looking for a more natural insect repellent? Find out how to make an insect repellent using essential oils

Saturday, 11 July 2015

Ayurveda summer diet

Have you noticed that since summer arrived you are feeling irritable?  It could well be that your pitta dosha, one of the three Ayurvedic doshas, is out of balance. The doshas are the energies in our body that according to Ayurveda govern our physical, mental and emotional bodies.  Everyone may have a dominant dosha or be a combination of doshas. At any given point in the year also, one of the doshas will be dominant. In summer, in fact from July to October, the pitta dosha rules.  If it is not balanced you may be angry or irritable, have digestive problems or skin problems.

You can balance pitta dosha through your yoga and your diet.  Please see the link below for a yoga practice to balance pitta dosha, 'Ayurveda Doshas-Pitta'

You could also try Sitali pranayama (Cooling Breath).  Sit in a comfortable cross leg position or on a chair with a straight spine.  Stick your tongue out and curl the outsides of your tongue towards the midline.  This is not genetically possible for everyone so if that is the case, simply stick your tongue out.  Breathe in drawing the air over your tongue, place your tongue back in your mouth and breathe out through your nose and continue in this way until you feel cooler and calmer.

You can also balance your pitta dosha through you diet.  Focus on foods that are sweet, bitter and astringent.  This means you can enjoy the summer fruits (hurray!) such as peaches, melons, cherries, grapes, pineapple, mango and summer pears.  Salads are great too (include cucumber and avocado) as well as vegetables (especially green, leafy vegetables), lentils and beans.  Use coconut oil and drink plenty of cool water, coconut water or herbal teas such as green tea (good for skin) or camomile (calming).  

Avoid spicy curries and chillis and also sour foods such as pickles, ketchups, vinegars in salad dressings etc. 

Enjoy your summer
Janet x

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Yoga to help relieve pain: Headaches

Please read the disclaimer on the blog before following these videos 

Article to accompany this series-
Please subscribe to my YouTube channel if you are enjoying my videos.

Thank you 

Copyright © 2015 Flexiladiesyoga

We all can have occasional headaches but many people suffer headaches regularly.  If you suffer from migraine, I can empathise with you.  I have had migraines since the age of 12. My triggers are chocolate (I have forgotten what this tastes like), strobe lighting, and changes in air pressure and changes in routine.  

Other causes of headaches include tension in the muscles of the neck and shoulders often caused by poor posture. If you work at a computer just notice how many times you strain your neck forward.  Dehydration, skipping meals leading to low blood sugar, lack of sleep, hormone changes as in the menopause or at certain points of the menstrual cycle and stress are other causes of headache. Eye strain can be a factor so if you are experiencing many headaches, it may be worth a trip to your optician. Rarely headaches have a more serious cause so see your doctor urgently if you are worried.

This week's video focuses on preventing headaches although I do show you some postures that could ease the pain. Yoga can help by reducing stress, correcting posture, relieving tension in tight muscles, especially the neck and shoulder muscles and relieving fatigue.  

Breathing techniques are a useful tool to prevent and relieve headaches and for this reason I have included Alternate Nostril Breathing. This helps calm the mind, balances right and left hemispheres of the brain and if practiced at bedtime helps relax you ready for a more restful sleep.

The video ends with a mudra to prevent or relieve headaches. The mudra should be held for 6-8 minutes. While we hold the mudra we visualise cooling blue light concentrating on the head soothing and healing.

I sincerely hope that this helps.  Please let me know how you are going on.
Janet x