Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Back to basics-Standing poses-Parsvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch)

Parsvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch)

Intense side stretch can be a challenging pose but it is a good stretch for the hamstrings, opens up the spine, calms the brain and improves your balance.

To come into the pose start in Tadasana at the top of the mat and take the feet to hip distance.  Have two blocks handy at either side of the mat. Step back with the left foot and turn the toes of the left foot out to 45 degrees.  Ease the left hip forward so that both hip points face the short edge of the mat.  Take your hands to your hips, inhale lift your chest and as you exhale hinge forward from the groin into a flat back position. Keep easing your left hip forward as you do so. Release your hands to your blocks (remember 3 levels) if you need them. If you have issues with blood pressure, heart problem, glaucoma etc stay in flat back.  Otherwise inhale here, exhale release the crown of your head down. Take your hands back (with the blocks if you need them)Hold and breathe.  To come out of the pose,  inhale come up slowly, bend the front knee and step the feet together. Repeat second side. 

In the video below we also practice two more variations of this pose which open up the shoulders and release tension in the back of the neck.  These variations are also good for your posture if for instance you work at a desk.  

Common mistakes

  • If you do not level your hips, you may strain your lower back.
  • The pose is an intense stretch for the front leg which may cause you to hyper-extend the front knee.  If this is the case micro-bend the front knee.  
  • As you fold forward, your back heel may come off the floor.  If this is the case, try practicing with the back heel against a wall 

Please see the yoga video on my YouTube Channel, 'Back to basics-Standing poses-Parsvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch)'-

Janet x

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Lessons from yoga - Happiness comes from within

We all want to be happy.  There comes a point as a yogi when you realise that lasting happiness does not come from material things. Although a new dress does give me fleeting happiness (sukha),  true happiness comes from being content with what you have, not grasping for anything you do not need.  Please see my blog post, 'Taking your yoga off the mat - aparigraha' The blog post also includes a meditation entitled 'You are blessed'. I have written more on how yoga can help create feelings of happiness - please see 'How yoga can help make you happy', We have a tendency to put happiness on hold -  'I will be happy when I Iose weight (climb higher up the career ladder, win the lottery..........(fill in the gap))  but yoga teaches us to live in the moment, not carrying the burden of regret, guilt or resentment from the past or storing anxieties about the future.  Yoga is proven to change our brain chemistry in a way that lowers anxiety.  

Other ways you can increase your innermost feeling of happiness include selfless service. When we do good deeds for others, we find that we get as much happiness from that deed as they do.  I also find that connecting with nature helps generate feelings of happiness.
Please see my 'sister' blog,'The sadness of disconnection from nature'-

My intention in this week's video is to let go of the burdens we carry from the past and make space in our bodies and minds for positive thoughts so that for the most part we can have inner core of happines regardless of external circumstances. We open up the chest area to release anxiety and stress making room for joy. We will also use the breath to connect with our heart centre to release unconditional love and joy.  I also believe that unhappiness can stem from feelings of disconnection from others and the breath is a reminder that we are all connected through the breath. We end with a healing meditation in which we release the burdens from the past that weigh us down and get in the way of us experiencing happiness

Please see the video on my YouTube Channel-
'Lessons from yoga-Happiness comes from within'-

Janet x

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Happy Easter!

Over 2,000 years ago the Resurrection gave hope to a troubled world and continues to do so today.

Wishing you a joyful Easter x

This week on 40plusandalliswell

It's Easter weekend this week and if you are feeding a crowd this vegan recipe for ''Lentil, roast vegetable and 'bacon' bake'' is one that you can scale up. 
Recipe on my 'sister' blog-

A healthy snack for Easter-Hot cross bun loaf.
Recipe on my 'sister' blog-

A detoxifying face mask for spring. Please see the link to my 'sister' blog below-

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Yoga for every body - men - shoulder flexibility

Please see 'Yoga for every body-why men need yoga'- for an introduction to yoga for men.

In this blog post we will look at shoulder flexibility.  Men have larger muscle fibres and lean tissue in their upper bodies so that they tend to be stronger in their upper bodies but less flexible.   If shoulder muscles are tight, this may affect upper body posture which in turn impedes breathing and creates stress in the body and mind.  Tight muscles also impede the flow of blood and prana to the joint which over the long term may affect the health of the joint.  The video below is of some yoga poses that will help improve shoulder flexibility.

Please see my video on my YouTube Channel-'Yoga for every body - men - shoulder flexibility'-

Janet x

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Back to basics - Standing poses- Warrior 2

Warrior 2 is a good grounding pose that strengthens the legs and arms. 

To practice the pose, stand in the middle of your mat with your hands on your hips and take your feet as wide as is comfortable.  Turn your right leg to the right and the toes of the left foot in 45 degrees, lining up the heel of the front foot with the instep of the back foot (men) or heel with heel (women).  As much as possible have the hips level with the front of the mat but do not force the back hip point back because this will strain the SI joint. Inhale, stretch your arms out at shoulder height, lift your chest, exhale bend your right knee, turn to look down the fingers of your right hand.  To come out of the pose, inhale straighten the right knee, exhale hands to heart, turn your feet to face forward.  Repeat second side

Common mistakes 

  • Lifting the shoulders up by the ears.  Slide the shoulder blades back and down.  
  • Arms not parallel to the floor
  • Allowing the front knee to collapse inwards which strains the knee.  Press your knee towards the little toe side of your foot.
  • Allowing the front knee extends further than the ankle.  If this happens it is an indication that the legs need to be taken wider.
  • If you struggle to ground the back heel, try practicing with the back heel pressed up to a wall.

Please see the yoga video on my YouTube Channel- 'Back to basics - Standing poses- Warrior 2'-

Janet x

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Lessons from yoga - It's ok to fall

You will have seen me fall out of Tree pose many times and that is not important.  What is important is not giving up.  My grandad was a MacDougall and the clan motto is 'Victory or death'.  While this is extreme for every day life, my grandad loosly translated it as 'Macs never bred a jibber' (someone who gives up easily)- who in the family would dare to be the first?

In our lives, fear of failure should not prevent us from trying.  It is only by trying that we get to know ourselves better, something that is key to yoga.  We learn what we are capable of, what is not for us and what we could be capable of if we practiced.  We become stronger in some way whether this is physically or mentally.  

Sometimes 'failure' is dependent on your viewpoint.  When I started this blog my intention was to generate an income doing something I enjoyed which would also help others.  Financially the blog has been a 'failure' BUT doing the blog has helped me through stressful periods and the messages I have had from people who tell me how much I have helped them tell me that in many ways my blog has been a success.

'Failure' is also an opportunity to practice acceptance and forgiveness.  It is important to separate the 'failure' from you as a person.  You are not the failure and you must not slide into the way of thinking that 'nothing I do is right' etc

Our video this week focuses on Tree pose which is my 'bete noire'.  To be 'successful' in a standing balance you need to work with three elements of the pose.

The first is alignment.  In Tree pose we need openness in the hips.  We also need to be aware that as we lift one leg, the centre of gravity of your body changes and to compensate you need to tune into your body and make adjustments.  Try shifting your weight to the outer edge of the standing foot.  You also need to be aware that when you press into the standing leg with the foot that is raised, you also need to be pressing back into the raised foot with the standing leg and never press the raised foot against the standing knee.  As you raise one leg there is a tendency for your butt on the side of the raised leg to stick out.  To correct this, lengthen your tail bone towards the floor. There are modifications for Tree pose - you can cup your ankle with the lifted foot or take the lifted foot to the shin.  Be honest with yourself about where you are today and be aware that one side may be different to the other.  

The second is leg strength and ironically the best way to build strength in the legs is ironically through standing balances!!  To this end we practice Tree pose with the 'comfort blanket' of a chair or a wall, 'testing the water' by letting go to see if we have the necessary leg strength.  

The third is attention.  If your mind wanders off while you are holding a standing balance, you will fall out of the balance.  You have to be present, be mindful.  Drishti, a gaze point is a 'tool' that will help with attention.  In Tree pose this is straight ahead or down at a spot on the floor. You also need to bring your attention to small adjustments that you need to make to remain in the balance.  

The benefits of Tree pose include strengthening the legs, increasing focus and concentration and stress relief and if you fall out of the pose it also develops your ability to be patient and not get frustrated and your sense of humour!!

Please see the yoga video on my YouTube Channel- 'Lessons from yoga - It's ok to fall'-

Janet x

Sunday, 20 March 2016

This week on 40plusandalliswell

Spring may be on the horizon but there is still a nip in the air, so this Provencal soup may be welcome!
There's an old Welsh saying 'eat leeks in March, wild garlic in May and all the year physicians may play.' This is because leeks and garlic are anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti-bacterial and so help fight off the early Spring colds and flu. This soup is a great way to eat leeks.
Recipe on my 'sister' blog-

With Easter coming up, even if you have never enjoyed doing crafts before, it is a great time to get crafty! Doing crafts can increase your well-being. Read more on my 'sister' blog-

I have another healthy snack for you this week!
Please see my 'sister' blog for how to make apple crisps -

Yoga for every body - why men need yoga

Yoga originated in India more than 5000 years ago and at that time was practiced by MEN. If you go to a class these days, it is more likely to be full of women so WHERE ARE ALL THE MEN?  From my experience I think this is because men do not believe yoga is challenging enough and yet yoga can be as gentle or as much of a 'work out' as you wish. 

Yoga is much more than a physical work out however - it nourishes your mind, body and spirit.  Men also are more competitive than women but yoga is not a competition but a process of getting to know yourself and gaining control over the mind.

Men tend to be less flexible in their joints.  This may be partly because men tend to have greater muscle mass than women and if muscles are not stretched regularly they tighten which may limit the range of motion of the joints. Women also have more flexible hips due to their hormones.  Also because men have larger muscle fibres and lean tissue in their upper bodies, they tend to be stronger in their upper bodies but less flexible.  

Flexibility is important for several reasons.  Firstly when muscles around a joint are tight, blood and prana flow to that joint are impeded which can impact on the long term health of that joint eventually leading to impaired joint function and bone loss.  If you participate in sports, increasing your flexibility will lower your risk of injury. Increasing your flexibility also reduces your every day risk of injury to your back, shoulders etc.  

If your muscles are tight your posture will be affected.  For instance if your hamstrings or hip flexors are tight your lower body will be affected and back pain may result.  If shoulder muscles are tight, this may affect upper body posture which in turn impedes breathing and creates stress in the body and mind.

We will look more at increasing flexibility in other posts starting next week.

Up until the age of 55, high blood pressure is more common in men than women.  Even after this age women with high blood pressure tend to be less at risk from the complications of high blood pressure which include heart attacks and stroke.  High blood pressure might be caused by work stress, by being overweight etc. Yoga can help. We will look at reducing stress to help maintain a healthy blood pressure in another post but for now you might want to take a look at the following yoga videos on my YouTube Channel. Please see
'Yoga for weight loss-Part 1' and 
'Yoga for weight loss-Part 2'-
Please see the Playlist on my YouTube Channel, 'Yoga for stress series'-

It is true that there is a greater incidence of depression in women but women may have better coping mechanisms - they release their emotions by crying or by talking about their feelings to friends.  For men this would be seen as not masculine. Squashing down negative emotions however is not helpful and will result in dis-ease (spelled like this to indicate a body not in harmony).  Depression can also lead to anger issues in men. Here again yoga can help. Also meditation helps 'chip away' any negativity that accompanies depression.  We will look more into this in another post but for now please see
Please see the Playlist on my YouTube Channel-'Yoga for mild depression'-

Janet x

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Back to basics - Standing poses- Warrior 1

Warrior 1 strengthens the muscles of the legs, shoulders and back.  It is often used as a preparation for back bends as it stretches the chest, shoulders and psoas muscles.  

To come into the pose stand towards the back of the mat with your hands on your hips and your feet at hip distance.  Turn the toes of your left foot out as if to the 10 to position on a clock and step forward with your right foot. Inhale take the arms up, exhale bend the front knee. Gaze is straight ahead or if your neck allows up at the hands. To come out of the pose, exhale take your hands to your hips, inhale step your feet together. Repeat second side. Alternatively you can come into the pose from downward facing dog.  From downward facing dog, inhale and step the right foot three-quarters way forward, exhale lower your back heel, turning the toes of your left foot out. Inhale come up taking your arms up.  Hold and breathe.  When you are ready, exhale bring your hands down, step back to downward facing dog and repeat second side.

Common mistakes

  • Do not extend the front knee further than the ankle.  If this happens it is an indication that the legs need to be taken wider.  Alternatively the front knee may fall short of the ankle which indicates that you need to step the feet closer together.
  • If you cross the right foot over to the left as you step forward, you will find it difficult to balance - make sure that as you step forward your feet are still at hip distance.  
  • Your hips as far as is possible need to face the short edge of the mat.  With the right foot forward, the right hip will come forward so ease it back.  Do not force the hip back however as this will stain the SI joint.
  • There is a tendency for the shoulders to come up by the ears when the arms lift so ease the shoulders down.
  • The pelvis may tip forward in this pose, straining the lower back.  To correct this, ease the tail bone down towards the floor.
  • Do not allow the front knee to collapse inwards which strains the knee.  Press your knee towards the little toe side of your foot.
  • If you struggle to ground the back heel, try practicing with the back heel pressed up to a wall.

Please see the yoga video on my YouTube Channel-'Back to basics-Standing poses-
Warrior 1'-

Janet x

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Lessons from yoga - Go with the flow

To go with the flow means to let go of the need to control.  We like to have control of what is happening  in our lives but this is not always possible.  Life is unpredictable and often puts us in situations which were never part of 'the plan'.  We can feel 'stuck', unable to move forward with our lives, 'trapped' in relationships, work and lives where we feel we do not belong. As yogis we learn acceptance of what is and learn to trust that whatever happens in our lives, it is for our higher good - an opportunity to grow as a person and spiritually.  This is not suggesting that we should continue in toxic relationships, indeed we should not but sometimes a little compassion can make a huge difference. We learn the lessons, keep the love and then let go. Non-acceptance only leads to suffering.  

In our yoga video this week we  open up our bodies so that energy can flow freely.  To do this we practice several flows which encourage the circulation of blood and lymph.  We end with a visualisation based on the idea of 'going with the flow' that is intended to help remove 'blockages' in our lives when we feel 'stuck' .

Please see the video on my YouTube Channel, 'Lessons from yoga-Go with the flow'-

Janet x

Sunday, 13 March 2016

This week on 40plusandalliswell

This week's Meatless Monday is a vegan version of a Sicilian stew, Caponata. It is bursting with Mediterranean vegetables and flavours.
Recipe on the blog-

Great excitement down at the allotment when the horse manure arrived. Read more on my 'sister' blog about fertilising your organic fruit and vegetable garden-

Looking for a healthy snack? These chocolate and coconut bliss balls are just the ticket!
Recipe on my 'sister' blog-

Ayurveda health and beauty- kapha

People in whom the kapha dosha dominates are lovely people - kind, compassionate and tolerant.  They also stay calm in stressful situations, sleep well and have good memories.  
Kaphas have good complexions, thick hair and lovely eyes and tend to age well.  

However when kapha is out of balance their hair and skin can become greasy and they have a tendency to put on weight.  For greasy skin, cleanse with equal parts lemon juice and warm water.  Apply with a cotton pad.  Finish by splashing with cold water.  Lemon juice can also be used for greasy hair.  After you have rinsed off your shampoo, dab your hair dry with a towel then rinse with 8 tablespoons of lemon juice mixed with 500ml water, massaging the rinse into your scalp.   

When out of balance kaphas tend tend to have a slow metabolism and so put on weight. This may also lead to lethargy and depression.  Vigorous exercise can help with weight gain and depression. The following yoga videos are on my YouTube Channel. Please see 'Yoga for weight loss-Part 1' and 'Yoga for weight loss-Part 2'-
Please see the Playlist on my YouTube Channel-'Yoga for mild depression'-

A good diet should be include plenty of fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, beans, lentils, wholegrain cereals, fish including oily fish, poultry(no skin) and occasional lean red meat. Eat wholegrains and avoid refined carbs and processed foods.  Kaphas may need to avoid dairy as they tend not to digest it well. Spicy foods are good to include.  These measures will reduce the risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes that can sometimes occur when kapha is out of balance.

Out of balance, kaphas can also suffer from a sluggish digestion leading to constipation. They should include plenty of fibre in their diet and drink plenty. 

Other health issues that may occur if kapha is out of balance are sinus problems and respiratory congestion. Kaphas should keep their immunity boosted. Please see the Playlist on my YouTube Channel- 'Yoga for boosting immunity'-

Please also see 'Ayurveda Doshas-Kapha' on my YouTube Channel- 

Janet x

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Back to Basics- Standing Poses- Extended Side Angle Pose

Extended side angle pose strengthens your legs, stretches the legs and side body and engages the core.  It helps reduce stress, energize and can stimulate digestion and elimination.

To practice the pose come to the centre of the mat in Tadasana.  Step your feet wide and turn the whole of the right leg to the right, toes of the left foot turning in about 45 degrees. Ladies should line up front and back heels, men front heel to back instep. Bring your hands to prayer position.  Inhale stretch your arms out at shoulder height, exhale bend your front knee.  Inhale bring your right elbow to your right thigh, exhale circle your left arm down then up by your left ear.  With practice you may find that you can reach a block placed behind the right foot (remember a block has 3 levels) and eventually you may not need a block at all.  To come out of the pose, inhale windmill your arms up, straighten the front knee, exhale bring your hands to your heart, turn the feet to face forward.  Repeat on the second side.

Common mistakes in this pose include:-

  • Placing too much weight on the lower elbow or hand.  The work of the pose should be in the legs and core and there should therefore be very little weight on the lower arm.
  • Allowing the front knee to collapse inwards which strains the knee.  Press your knee towards the little toe side of your foot.
  • The front knee extends further than the ankle.  If this happens it is an indication that the legs need to be taken wider.
  • If you struggle to ground the back heel, try practicing with the back heel pressed up to a wall.
  • As in Triangle pose, the top shoulder sometimes comes forward, collapsing the chest. Keep the top shoulder rolling back.

Please see the video on my YouTube Channel- 'Back to Basics- Standing Poses- Extended Side Angle Pose'-

Janet x

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Lessons from yoga- small changes, big difference

In our every day lives, small things can make a big difference.  Feeling stressed? Breathe deeply for a minute or two for instant calm.  Feeling fed up? Try smiling- your brain does not know the difference between a smile that is not meant and one that is and so soon you will genuinely feel like smiling.  

If you work at a desk, try taking a 5 minute break in every half hour.  Far from 'wasting time' this will increase your productivity and be beneficial for your eyes.  If you use the time to do a few stretches, that time will help your circulation and reoxygenate your blood.  Other small changes that might a big difference include a daily foot massage. Please see the video on my YouTube Channel, 'Foot yoga'- or a few eye exercises (especially if you work at a computer, this can help reduce headaches. Please see the video on my YouTube Channel, 'Eye yoga'-

Small changes in your eating habits too could make a big difference.  For instance if we all had at least one meatless meal each week it would go a long way to reducing greenhouse gases, slowing climate change and feeding our growing populations.  If you eat eggs, please eat organic which means that the hens are free to roam, not caged. Similarly if you eat meat choosing organic means that the standard of animal welfare is high and it is better for you too as the meat will not have antibiotics/hormones in it.

A few minutes meditation each day has scientifically proven benefits for the brain- it increases grey matter in the pre-frontal cortex which improves cognitive function, focus and concentration.

But the small change that made the biggest difference to me was starting a yoga practice. When my lung was first damaged by chicken pox, I could barely leave my chair without collapsing in a breathless heap.  Then I started doing a few yoga stretches - I couldn't do much at first but slowly my strength returned.  I realised how far I had come one day while out walking with my daughters.  'Wait' they shouted, 'we can't keep up'.

Within our yoga practice too small changes can make a big difference.  Good alignment is key to how good a pose feels. For example lifting your chest and drawing your shoulders away from your ears can transform Sphinx pose and breathing into intense sensations in a pose can not only help hold the pose longer but also help create ease while you effort (please see he video on my YouTube Channel, 'Lessons from yoga-Balancing effort with ease'- for more on this).  Please note however that sensation is one thing but pain is another entirely and you should come out of the pose if you experience pain. Using props is another small change that can help your body open up gradually without creating tension in your body.

In this week's yoga video we will explore some small changes we can make that might make a considerable difference to your practice. We begin with a slower paced more mindful Sun Salutation. This allows you to be more aware of the breath and calm the mind.  In contrast a faster paced Sun Salutation will be more aerobic.  Sometimes in our yoga practice, as in life, a little support can help your body open up gradually making a big difference to your experience of that pose.  In our yoga practice the support would come from the use of props, and in life support might come from family, friends etc.  We continue in our yoga video to see how small 'tweaks' can make a big difference to a yoga pose.  We end with a simple meditation. You can find this week's yoga video, 'Lessons from yoga -Small changes, big difference' on my YouTube Channel-

Janet x

Sunday, 6 March 2016

This week on 40plusandalliswell

In these spring rolls for Meatless Monday, the marinade doubles up as the dipping sauce. The noodles and rice paper rounds are gluten-free. They are packed with tofu and crunchy vegetables. Delicious! 
Recipe on my 'sister' blog-

I am making a sugar-free, vegan Lime curd and lavender cake for Mother's day because lavender reminds me so much of my late mum who often used lavender essential oil. If you make this cake too, make sure that you use culinary lavender.
Recipe on my 'sister' blog-
This blog post was included in the paper-'Celíacos Informados Newsletter'-

Healing a 'leaky' gut is a three step process. Read more on my 'sister' blog below-
This blog post was included in the paper 'PMT Chronicle & PFC Journal'-

Ayurveda health and beauty - pitta dosha

People of pitta dosha would benefit from an Ayurveda massage

Pittas are usually of medium build with good muscle tone and they are intelligent.  They have bags of energy, are passionate about everything they do and highly competitive.  
When they are out of balance however they can suffer from inflammatory conditions arising as a result of stress such as gastric reflux, stomach ulcers, rosacea and other skin rashes. They may also suffer from insomnia and anger issues.  Left unchecked stress can lead to cardiovascular problems such as high blood pressure and heart disease. Please see 'Reduce stress, increase wellbeing'

In order to reduce stress, pittas should consider yoga, Tai chi or meditation. Pittas should also avoid caffeine and spicy foods. 

If pittas work with computers they may benefit from using crystals to absorb negative energies.  Please see - 'Using crystals to clear negative energies'-
Pitta ladies may have mood swings resulting from hormone imbalances.  Please see- 'Balancing hormones for youthful skin and hair' on my YouTube Channel-  

Like vatas, pittas would benefit from a few drops of lavender on their pillows at night to help them sleep.  

A daily Ayurvedic massage (abhyanga) would help pittas relieve stress and relax their bodies. Before your morning bath or shower apply warm massage oil and leave for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes massage the oil in with light, even strokes then relax for 10-15 minutes before having a bath or shower.  A drop of lavender added to the oil would add to the calming effect.  

In terms of beauty rosacea or adult acne can be upsetting for pittas.  Please see 'Stop seeing red' Pittas are also sensitive to heat and should be sure to use a good sun screen.  Please see 'Sun protection- what you need to know. Pittas would also benefit from a cooling facial spray.

Wishing you health and beauty
Janet x

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Back to basics - Standing Poses - Triangle Pose

Triangle Pose is still my favourite pose. It opens up your shoulders and chest and is a good stretch for the sides of your body, hips and legs. By opening the chest, Triangle encourages deep breathing which helps relieve stress.  

To practice Triangle pose, stand in the middle of the mat in Tadasana.  Step your feet a leg length apart, turn the right leg out and the left foot in 45 degrees.  Ladies should align their heel, men should align front heel to back instep. Bring your hands to your heart then on a breath in stretch your arms wide and lift your chest. Breathe out and shift your hips to the left and you extend over your right leg, bringing your hand to rest on your ankle, shin or thigh.  If you are very flexible you can bring your hand down to the floor behind the right foot.  Your gaze can be up at your right thumb if your neck allows, or down at your right big toe. If you have neck issues, you may also want to place your top hand on your hip. To come out of the pose, breathe in and windmill your arms up, breathe out turn your feet to face forward and your hands to heart centre. Repeat second side.

Common mistakes

  • Being so determined to get your hand to the mat that the top shoulder comes forward collapsing the chest - keep the top shoulder moving back and try not to have too much weight on the lower hand.
  • Trying so hard to get the shoulders stacked that the top arm comes over the head.
  • Pressing the back hip backwards which may torque the SI joint.
  • Placing the hand on the knee which might strain the knee - your hand needs to be above or below the knee or you can use a block (remember a block has 3 levels), placed behind the front foot.  
  • Hyperextending the front knee - if you have this tendency, microbend your front knee.

Please see the video on my YouTube Channel-'Back to basics - Standing Poses - Triangle Pose'-

Janet x

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Lessons from yoga - be true to yourself

Being true to yourself means acting in accordance with your values, beliefs etc.  It means accepting yourself for what your are and not striving to be what you think others want you to be.  Sometimes this means saying 'no' and that takes courage.  

Before you can act in accordance with who you are you need to get to know yourself. Getting to know yourself means looking inside yourself to find the divine that resides in all of us for your true self is kind and compassionate.  Being kind to yourself is something some people find difficult - we tend to much harder on ourselves than we would be on others.  But love for self and self-respect provide us with a solid base from which we can reach out to others.

Through our yoga practice we can open up the throat chakra, to know our truth and be able to communicate it to others.  We also have a tendency to absorb negative energies from other people and our solar plexus, third chakra is a barometer of this.  Though our yoga practice we can strengthen the third chakra to help protect us from these energies and rid ourselves of any we have already absorbed.  The throat and naval chakras will therefore be the focus of our video this week.  I have also included Eagle pose arms to help give us insight to know our true selves, Dancer, a heart opener to open our hearts to who we truly are and Goddess Squat for courage to be our true selves. end with a rainbow meditation which involves all of the chakras in being our true self.

Please see my yoga video on my YouTube Channel-'Lessons from yoga - Be true to yourself'-

Janet x