Sunday, 31 July 2016

This week on 40plusandalliswell

This week's Meatless Monday recipe 
is a vegan, 'Lentil and spinach lasagne'. It is easy to make and if you are feeding a crowd you can scale up the quantities.
Recipe on my 'sister' blog-

In this week's post which is part of the 'Vintage Natural Beauty' series, Becky tries out a Victorian exercise routine. 
Have fun trying it too!
Please see my 'sister' blog-

In the last of the series 'Natural travel first aid kit' we are looking at natural relief for bug bites.
Please see my 'sister' blog-

Yoga for Every Body- Kids' Yoga

Yoga is great to do with the kids.  It is a fun way to spend time together, it improves their concentration, and helps build strong, flexible bodies and is calming. 

Above all yoga with kids should be fun.  Remember children have short attention spans so 15- 20 minute sessions will be enough and as with adult practices end with 'quieter' poses or a short meditation.  Children may not to memorise sequences although 'mirroring' you do a short sequence may be fun to warm up or just have a good shake.  Children may not be as cautious as adults but as long as they are not practicing in a way that may injure themselves, it is best not to be too worried about perfect alignment.  

Children love imitating animals.  Many yoga poses are named after animals and you can make up some great stories using them.  Need some inspiration?  How about a jungle themed adventure?  You could have even more fun with this if you do some face painting too!  The children may be inspired to learn more about the animals they are imitating.  Below are some poses you might want to include.

Low Boat (your canoe to get about on the jungle rivers) - lie down with your arms by your sides. Inhale lift your head, chest, arms and legs.  Look  down your body. Breathe out to release.

Fish pose (be careful of the piranha fish!!)- lie back with two blocks (or equivalent) under your shoulders, one under your head. Bear your 'piranha teeth' and flap your 'fins'.  To come out of the pose roll to one side and come up. Amazing fact - piranhas have teeth and powerful flesh tearing bites.

Dolphin (the river dolphins use echolocation(a learning opportunity here!) to find fish to eat in the muddy river waters) - come onto all fours then come down your elbows and interlace your fingers. Breathe in, tuck your toes, breathe out lift your hips. Sway your hips a little from side to side as you swim down the river.  To come out, breathe in, drop your knees to the mat, breathe out take your bottom back to your heels, unclasp your hands, turn your head to one side and take a rest.  Amazing fact - river dolphins can sleep with just half their brains - the other half stays alert!!

Jaguar (the largest cat in the Americas) - when you are ready come back to all fours, breathe in and stretch out your right arm and left leg.  Make your right hand into a fist and roar!! Repeat with your left arm and right leg then take a rest like before turning your head to the other side this time. Amazing fact - jaguars can climb trees!!

Lizard (there are many reptiles in the rainforest including iguanas) - come back to all fours and bring your right foot forward between your hands. Bring your right hand inside your right foot and 'walk' your right foot out to the right and turn your toes out.  Come down onto your forearms, crouching low like a lizard. Amazing fact- lizards flick their tongues out to catch bugs for their dinner.  How far can you stick your tongue out? Don't forget to be a lizard with your other foot forward.

Cobra pose (there are many snakes in the rainforest including Anrwardacondas and Emerald Tree Boas so be careful!) - come down onto your tummy and with your forehead on the mat bring your hands to the mat by your shoulders.  Inhale press into your hands and come up hissing like a snake. When you are ready, press back bringing your forehead to the mat, your bottom back to your heels and make yourself as round as a jungle rock. Amazing fact- Emerald tree boas coil over a branch with their heads resting in the centre.  They can catch a bird in flight.

Frog (Poison arrow frogs can be brightly coloured ) - come into a squat position, interlace your fingers interlaced except for the first finger on each hand which points and cross the thumbs.  Breathe in, lift your arms up, breathe out lift your bottom up as your arms come down. Amazing fact - Poison arrow frogs secrete toxins from their skin. They get their name because their secretions were thought to be used to put on the tips of arrows. 

Monkey- make fists with your hands and bring your right fist into your right armpit and lean to the left. Take your right hand down as you bring your left hand up into your left armpit and lean to the right.  Keep going.  Can you 'oo-oo' like a monkey? Amazing fact- Amazon Howler monkeys are the largest monkeys in the Amazon rain forest and also the loudest land animal in the world.  

Eagle (the Amazon eagle lives in the canopy of the forest) - stand tall and swing your right dowarm under your left. Either bring the backs of your hands together or bring your left arm in front of your right and bring your palms together.  Softly bend both knees a little and bring your right foot to the outside of your left or tuck your right foot behind your left calf.When you are ready to come out of the pose stretch out your right leg and your eagle wings and 'fly' like an eagle. Don't forget to be an eagle on the other side.  Amazing fact - Harpy eagles live in the canopy and prey on monkeys and sloths. They have a wing span of 2 meters!!!

Sloth - lie back on your mat and pretend you are holding on to a branch upside down. You might want to wrap your legs around the branch and hold on tight. Amazing fact - Sloths move very slowly to conserve energy. They have algae growing on their fur that helps keep them camouflaged.  

To end - lie back on your mat, close your eyes and imagine being in the Amazon rain forest. What can you see, hear, feel and smell? 

When you are ready to do something else, take a deep breath, open your eyes and stretch like a jungle cat. 

Have fun!

Janet x

Copyright © 2016 Flexiladiesyoga

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Protecting the back in back bends

Back bends are great for increasing circulation to the spine and stimulating digestion.  They open up the chest to deeper breathing which is not only energizing but can help relieve stress. 

They are also great counter poses to our lives especially if you work at a desk, drive a car etc because they open up the shoulders.  

Do not however make the mistake of deeply bending your back before your body is ready- you should always listen to your body and 'feel' your way into the pose.  My advice for safe on back bends would be to focus on gaining flexibility in the upper, thoracic spine firstly because if the thoracic spine is rigid then the lower back will take the strain.  Try the following two poses to help create openness in the thoracic spine.

Crocodile - lie on your tummy and cup your chin with your hands. Have your elbows wide so that you are working on opening your upper spine. 

Shoulder Bridge variation - lie on your mat with your knees bent.  Inhale lift your hips. Take hold of the edges of your mat and pull on the mat to help you create more lift in the thoracic spine.  

It is also important to lengthen the spine before you bend backwards.  For back bends lying on your tummy you can wriggle your hips back before you bend or tuck the toes of your right foot and press your heel back to create space in your lower back then repeat with the left foot. 

When moving into the back bend engaging your pelvic floor, Mula Banda and your lower abdomen helps protect your lower back.  As you come up move your tail bone down, and run your nose forward before lifting.  

After the back bend make sure that you lengthen the spine.  This may be achieved with a version of Child's Pose, Swan where your bottom is on your heels and your arms stretched forward. Keep your elbows lifted and stretch from your hips to your armpits then right down to your fingertips.  A standing forward bend is also a good counter pose as the weight of the head helps lengthen the spine.  

Swan pose

For more advanced back bends such as Camel Pose practice the modified versions and see how you feel in those before attempting the full pose. Please see 'Protecting your neck in back bends' - 

Stay safe

Janet x 

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Yoga to help heal after a tough time - opening up to love and trust again

Please click on the video below to watch, 'Yoga to help heal after a tough time -opening up to love and trust again', on my YouTube Channel'.

Please read the disclaimer on the blog before following these videos -

When you have been through a tough time you can be left feeling let down, disappointed, like you cannot trust anyone or full of self-blame. Unfortunately the price of love is that at some point you are going to feel pain.  The price of pursuing your dreams is that at some point you will fall short of your desired outcome.

As a result you may build a wall around your heart so that you cannot be hurt or feel again. On the other hand however you also block out love and pleasure.  The intention behind this week's yoga practice is to open up to love firstly for yourself then be open to love others.  A tough time may leave you neglecting to care for yourself but this is important, you are important.

The video practice focuses on opening all the heart area.  We can close down our heart area not only emotionally but physically so we practice heart opening back bends to encourage us to be brave enough to exposure our hearts once more.  In some poses we connect with our hearts by placing our hands on our hearts.  

We end with a meditation to connect to our heart.  

Janet x 

Sunday, 24 July 2016

This week on 40plusandalliswell

My Meatless Monday recipe today is for 'Sweet Chilli marinaded tofu with summer roast vegetable wraps'. The recipe uses some of the Golden Ball turnips harvested from the 40plusandalliswell organic garden. If you haven't got turnips then squash would be a good substitute. 
Hope you enjoy!
Recipe on my 'sister' blog-

The Victorians thought that a lovely-looking foot was a very desirable thing to have. 
On my 'sister' blog this week Becky looks at some of the ways they went about achieving this-

This week we have been harvesting the raspberries. We have had a bumper crop and so I have used some of them to make these 'Surprise ingredient chocolate and raspberry mug cakes'.
Please see my 'sister' blog for advice on growing raspberries and the recipe -

Yoga for seniors - keeping your heart healthy

Yoga is great for maintaining heart health.  Please see 'How yoga boosts heart health' - for a yoga video to practice and a blog post on how yoga can help keep your heart healthy.
Please note this video is not intended for you if you have heart problems. You should work with a yoga teacher on a more personal level.  

Please see also the wellness blog 40plusandalliswell 'Love your heart'- where we look at lifestyle factors that will make for a healthy heart.

If you need a more gentle practice try the following practice which will help relieve stress, and increase circulation. Always check with your doctor if you have any health problems before practicing yoga.  

You will need a chair, and a bolster or folded up blanket.

Start with a few rounds of Egyptian Salutation which is a more gentle version of Sun Salutation but it still has all the benefits of Sun Salutation.  You will find the sequence in the 'Yoga pose gallery' Move with your breath and play some meditative music if you wish as practice the sequence then lie back on your mat to receive the benefits of your movements.  

Shoulder Bridge - bend your knees and bring your heels towards your buttocks.  Breathe in, lift your hips, take your arm overhead, breathe out bring your arms back down by your sides, release your spine down.  Repeat several times working with your breath.
Cat/Cow variation - roll onto your right side and come up then come onto all fours.  Breathe in lift your head and chest, breathe out arch your back and take your bottom back to your heels.  Breathe in, bend your elbows out to the sides come forward and lift your head and chest and continue moving with your breath in smooth, flowing movements.  
Supported Sphinx Pose - place a bolster or a folded blanket under your hips and come onto your forearms so that your elbows are directly below your shoulders.  Inch your feet back so that you have a even back bend throughout your spine and are not feeling any pinching in the 

Triangle - stand in the middle of the mat and step the 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 hips. If you have high blood pressure keep  your gaze on your big toe and bring your top hand to 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.

Legs up the wall variation - lie back on the mat with your legs on the chair seat.  You can place your blanket on the chair if that is more comfortable for you.  Your arms can be by your sides or overhead.   You may stay here several minutes watching your breath.  When you are ready to come out, roll onto your right side and stay there a minute. Come up slowly.

Yoga Nidra-(yogic sleep-a deep relaxation)- please see 'Yoga nidra' on my You Tube channel

Janet x

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Protect your knees in floor poses

This week we are looking at protecting your knees in some floor poses.

Lotus pose - If you have knee issues I would recommend that you avoid Lotus pose.  Even if you do not have knee issues Lotus pose requires a great deal of external rotation of the hip joint.  If your hips are tight then your knee joint will take the strain and this has the potential to cause serious injury.  

Once you have flexibility in the hips from standing poses you may work with Baddha Konasana and Janu sirsasana, using modifications if you need to as detailed below.  Never force yourself into the poses.

Baddha konasana (Cobbler's Pose) sit on a block (or two) bring the soles of your feet together and draw them close into your body, holding onto your feet or your ankles or shins if holding your feet makes you round forward.  To modify the pose have your feet further away from your body as in the Yin Yoga Butterfly and support your outer thighs with cushions.

Yin Yoga Butterfly variation

Janu Sirsasana (Head to knee forward bend) - sit on a block with your legs outstretched. Bend your right knee and place the sole of your right foot against your left thigh.  Twist to the left so that your breast bone lines up with your outstretched left leg.  Hinging from the groin fold forward easing back if you are straining in the pose.  A cushion under the bent leg will help reduce strain on the knee.  Repeat second side.

Other poses that you need to be aware of your knees in include:- 

Pigeon Pose - if you have trouble with your knees in this pose, it might be better to practice a variation in which you tuck your front heel under your buttock rather than take your foot out to the side and support yourself with cushions.  To practice the pose come onto all fours and slide your right knee forward to your right wrist.  Slide your left leg back and elevate your hips on cushions.  If you need to place your hands on blocks.  Inhale lift through your chest.Hold for a few breaths.   Come back to all fours and repeat second side.

Please also see:-
'Protect your knees in standing poses - Part 1'

'Protect your knees in standing poses - Revolved triangle and revolved side angle- Part 2'

Janet x

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Yoga to help heal after a tough time - rebuilding confidence

Please click on the video below to watch, 'Yoga to help heal after a tough time - rebuilding confidence-' on my YouTube Channel'.

Please read the disclaimer on the blog before following these videos -

Your confidence can really take a knock during and after a tough time.  Yoga can help by reconnecting you to your core, which refers not only to your physical core but your emotional and spiritual core.  In this way you can start to rebuild your confidence.  Rebuilding your confidence starts with accepting yourself just as you are and being compassionate to yourself as you would be to a friend who was going through what you are.  It is time to let go of guilt, self-blame and replace these negative emotions with self-respect, gratitude for the gifts you have and inner peace so that you can look forward to the future.  

In our video this week we focus on poses that require strength in order to develop inner strength.  This does not mean that you will be indifferent to tough times but it may mean that you will be able to stay centred when life throws you challenging times - you will have a 'core' of peace within you.  We hold poses longer for inner confidence.  The Warrior poses are especially beneficial, I believe for increasing confidence.  When you practice them you can almost feel like you are putting on your armour to protect you from hurt.  In Warrior 1, we practice the Lotus mudra, allowing you to release all the emotional baggage that is getting in the way of your healing to the universe and in Warrior 2 we cast away our blocks to healing (our 'spears') so that we can look forward to the future.

We end the video with a meditation for a sunny outlook.  

I hope that your yoga helps you through this difficult time.

Peace and blessings 
Janet x 

Sunday, 17 July 2016

This week on 40plusandalliswell

'Potato, cabbage and chickpea curry' which I have made using allotment-grown potatoes and cabbage.
Recipe on my 'sister' blog-

This week Becky is trying out some vintage natural beauty treatments for hands. See how she went on by following the link to my 'sister' blog below-

Last week we looked at some natural remedies for holiday tummy troubles. This week we look at natural remedies for sunburn.
Please see my 'sister' blog-

Yoga for seniors - healthy joints

Your joints are where two or more bones meet. In order to keep your joints healthy they need to have a good supply of blood to nourish the joint.  This can be achieved through yoga stretching. Yoga also ensures that the joints are put through their full range of motion that is the amount joints can move in  any given direction.  By teaching good posture and alignment yoga also helps prevent strain on your joints. Yoga also strengthens the muscles which support the joint.  

Please click on the videos below to watch them on my YouTube Channel'.

'Chair Yoga-Severe Arthritis/Elderly-Part 1, Yoga can help heal series'

'Chair Yoga-Severe Arthritis/Elderly-Part 2. Yoga can help heal series'

Please read the disclaimer on the blog before following these videos.

Always check with your doctor before starting a new program of exercise

In terms of diet make sure that you eat anti-inflammatory foods such as oily fish or if you are a vegan please see 'Where do vegans get their omega 3s from' - Ensure your intake of calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D is enough to keep your bones healthy by eating plenty of fruit and vegetables, dairy products or if you are vegan fortified alternative milks, nuts, seeds, oats and wholegrains.

Stay healthy, stay happy 
Janet x 

Friday, 15 July 2016

Protect your knees in standing balances

This week we are looking at how you can protect your knees in standing balances.

Dancer - there is a tendency in Dancer to swing the raised leg out to the side in order to take hold of the foot but it is better for your knee if you keep your knee pointing straight down. Also take care not to hyperextend the standing leg.

To practice Dancer Pose stand with the feet slightly apart and find a gaze point,a drishti.  Take your weight into your right foot and raise your right arm. Bend your left knee and take hold of the outside of your left foot or your left ankle.  Use a belt looped around your foot if you cannot reach.  For a different stretch on your shoulder hold the inside of your foot or ankle. This may be your pose or if you can press your raised foot up and back as you hinge forward from the groin. Inhale to come back to an upright position, exhale as you take your foot back down to the mat. Repeat second side. To modify practice with a wall, bringing your raised hand to the wall as you hinge forward. 

Tree Pose - in Tree pose the raised foot is pressing against the standing leg which can move the standing leg out of alignment.  In order to avoid this press into the raised foot with the standing leg with an equal force to the foot pressing into the standing leg.  This also helps you 'hug into the midline' making for a more stable balance.  Also the raised foot should not press against the knee.  If you have knee issues, the variation of Tree pose known as Half Lotus Tree is best avoided.

To practice Tree pose, start in Tadasana, hands to your heart and take your weight into your left leg.  Find a drishti then bring your right foot to your left ankle, shin or reach down and bring your right foot to your left thigh.  Inhale and stretch your arms up.  To come out of the pose breathe out and bring the raised foot back to the floor, your hands back to your heart. Repeat second side.

Half Moon Balance-  there is a tendency in Half Moon Balance for the foot of the standing leg to turn inwards.  To protect your knee make sure that the foot of your standing leg points the same way as your knee.  Do not hyperextend your standing leg, microbend your knee if you need to.  Also with the raised leg have your foot flexed, heel pressing away and your foot and knee facing forward.  

To practice the pose start in Tadasana. Bring your hands to your hips and step your feet wide. Exhale bend your right knee. Keep your left hand on your left hip and take your right hand to the mat or to a block (remember a block has 3 levels).  The block or your hand should be positioned 6-12 inches forward of your right little toe and slightly back.  Start to transfer your weight onto your right foot and slowly start to lift your left leg.  Breathe in and raise your left arm.  Your gaze can be straight ahead or up at the left hand.  

To come out of the pose lower the left hand to the left hip and drop the back leg to the mat. Inhale come up, front knee bent, arms to shoulder height, exhale bring your hands to your heart, turn your feet to face forward.  Repeat second side.  You can modify the pose by practicing with your shoulders and hips resting on a wall or you can bring your hand to the seat of the chair.

Extended Big Toe Pose - take care not to hyperextend either the raised leg or the standing leg. Keep the raised leg bent if you need to.  This pose requires openness in the hamstrings so if your hamstrings are very tight it may be best avoided while you work on bringing flexibility to your hamstrings.

To practice the pose start in Tadasana and take your weight into your left leg.  Find a drishti and bend your right knee in towards your chest and bringing your right arm inside your right leg, take hold of your big toe with your first two fingers.  Keep the raised leg hugging into the midline. Breathe in and extend your right leg.  If you feel balanced take your leg out to the side. To come out of the pose inhale , bring your leg back to centre, exhale release. To modify you may use a belt.

Eagle - to protect your knees ensure that the knee of the standing leg points straight forward. Eagle pose, a bent leg standing balance is very beneficial for your knees. 

To practice Eagle Pose, start in Tadasana.  Take your right arm under the left and bend both elbows.  If your arms allow, take the left arm in front of the right and join the palms. To modify the arm position you can have the backs of the hands together with the right arm under the left, or simply have the elbows and palms together. Lift the elbows level with the shoulders and find a drishti, a gaze point.  Softly bend both knees and take your weight into your left foot.  Take your right foot to the outside of the left, or take the right foot to the outside of the left calf or tuck the right foot behind the left calf. Hold and breathe.

To come out of the pose, stretch the arms and right leg out as if you are flying like an eagle. Repeat second side.

Please also see:-
'Protect your knees in standing poses - Part 1'

'Protect your knees in standing poses - Revolved triangle and revolved side angle- Part 2'

Stay safe, 

Janet x 

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Yoga to heal after a tough time - finding pleasure in life again

Please click on the video below to watch, 'Yoga to help heal after a tough time -finding pleasure in life again ' on my YouTube Channel'.

Please read the disclaimer on the blog before following these videos -

When my youngest daughter was born with a hole in her heart and we were told to 'take one day at a time' my mum said that we would never be able to laugh again.  Then my daughter threw back her head and laughed and we could not help but laugh with her. 

However much pain you have been through, life does get better and yoga can help with this process.  Sacral chakra healing can help create emotional stability, help release feelings of guilt, help us let go of what is no longer serving us from the past and make room for new opportunities.  The sacral chakra is our pleasure centre - when balanced we are able to 'go with the flow' opening to life just as it is.  

In our video this week we will focus on hip and groin opening to balance the sacral chakra, bring acceptance to what has happened to cause us pain and release that pain in order to find pleasure in life once more. 

When things happen in our lives which cause us pain, we can remain attached to those events for a long time afterwards.  It is almost as though we have 'cords' attaching us to those painful situations.  Our meditation this week is a cord cutting meditation and because you might want to practice this several times, I am posting it as a separate video as well as at the end of our practice today.

Janet x

Sunday, 10 July 2016

This week on 40plusandalliswell

This 'Moroccan chickpea, squash and sweet potato bake' is a complete vegan meal which is quick to prepare and tasty. It was created out of a need to prepare something quickly but 'different'. We enjoyed it - hope you do too!
Recipe on my 'sister' blog-

Happy 4th July to all my American readers!
Here are some recipe ideas for your cookout!
Please see my 'sister' blog-

This week Becky has been taking inspiration from the Victorians about natural hand and nail care. To read her guest blog post please see my 'sister' blog-

It's holiday time again, hurray! You do not want anything to spoil your well-deserved holiday but many of us are prone to tummy troubles while on holiday.
Take a look on my 'sister' blog for my 'natural travel first aid kit' to prevent and treat holiday tummy troubles-

Yoga for seniors - upper back pain

Upper back pain can result from poor posture over time.  It may also be accompanied by shoulder and neck pain or even lower back pain.  Most of our daily activities such as driving, working on a computer etc are done with our arms and shoulders forward tightening the shoulder and chest muscles and stretching the muscles across the back.  Eventually this causes rounding of the upper back and possibly uneven wear and tear on the vertebrae of the thoracic spine.  If you have worked on a computer there may also be a forward thrust of the head.  Your head is heavy - up to 12lb in weight and the lower back may try to compensate resulting in lower back pain.

The following sequence stretches the shoulder and chest muscles and releases tension in the neck.  The sequence can be practiced on a chair so it is suitable for all.

Please note - always check with your doctor if you have back issues before practicing yoga or any other exercises. 

Neck releases (all movements of the neck should be slow.  If you come across any tight areas stop and breathe into that area)- sit with a straight spine, your chin level with the floor. breathe in and as you breathe out take your chin to your chest, breathe in lift your chin up towards the ceiling.  Breathe out bring your chin down to your chest. 

Breathe in and as you breathe out circle your chin to your right shoulder.  Breathe in circle back to centre, breathe out circle your chin to your left shoulder and continue working with your breath.  After several movements breathe in come back to centre, and on your next breath in bring your chin back level with the floor.  

Breathe out drop your right ear to your right shoulder.  Hold for several breaths then inhale come back to centre, exhale drop your left ear to your left shoulder.  Hold for several breaths then inhale come back to centre.

Chest opening stretches - come towards the front of the chair and take your arms behind your back interlacing your fingers.  Inhale lift your chest as you take your arms up and out. Breathe out to release.  Take your hands into the right side of your waist, inhale and squeeze your elbows together, exhale to release.  Take your hands into the left side of your waist, inhale and squeeze your elbows together, exhale to release.

Eagle arms as a counter pose and to release any stiffness between the shoulder blades, take your arms up and sweep the right arm under the left bringing the backs of your hands together. This may be your pose or you may wrap your left arm in front of your right so that you can bring your palms together. Another modified version would be to bring your elbows and palms together. Lift your elbows up level with your shoulders. Hold for a few breaths then breathe out to release, repeat second side.

Seated Cat/Cow - place your hands on your knees, inhale lift your head and chest, exhale tuck your chin and round back.  Continue working with your breath for several movements. 

Seated twist - breathe in lengthen your spine, breathe out twist to your right holding the back of the chair (do not use the chair to force yourself into the twist).  Keep your chin in line with your chest if you have any neck issues. With each breath in lengthen your spine, with each breath out draw your navel back to your spine and maybe twist a little more.  To come out of the pose, breathe in lengthen your spine, breathe out release the twist.

Seated forward bend - breathe in lengthen your spine, breathe out fold over your legs. Hold for 5 breathe then breathe in slowly come up. 

To finish sit with your eyes closed and spend a few minutes watching your breath.  

Please also see, 'Yoga for seniors - lower back pain'-

Janet x

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Protecting your knees in standing poses - Part 2 - Revolved Triangle and Revolved Side Angle

Revolved Triangle - to come into Revolved Triangle start at the back of the mat with the feet at hip distance. Turn the left toes out to 45 degrees and keep the width between your feet as you step the right foot forward.  Lift through your kneecaps and bring your hands to your hips.  Ease your right hip back so that your hips line up with the short edge of the mat.  Breathe out an hinge forward pressing the tailbone back and the crown of the head forward.  Take your left hand to a block placed on the big toe side of the foot.  Breathe in and as you breathe out engage your core and rotate to the right.  Raise your right arm.  Your gaze can be straight ahead or down at the mat. For a more advanced variation line up the feet heel to heel and take the block to the little toe side of the foot or take your left hand to your right leg.  To come out exhale bring your right hand to your hip. inhale release the twist and come up.  Step your feet together and repeat 2nd side.

Protecting your knees - as in Triangle pose, take care not to hyper-extend your front knee - micro-bend your knee if you need to.  If you are practicing the variation of the pose in which the left arm is on the outside of the right leg, the left arm may press against the right leg creating stretching on the inside of the right knee.  To correct this and protect your knee, press your right leg into your arm with an equal pressure so that your knee remains aligned. Also if you have your hand on your right leg make sure you do not place your hand directly on your knee joint. 

Revolved Side Angle - to practice Revolved Side Angle pose start in Downward facing dog, inhale and bring the right foot forward.  Breathe out and drop the back foot, bringing the top of the foot to the mat.  Inhale come up, exhale bring the hands into prayer position.  On your next breath out, hook the left elbow over the right thigh and twist to the right.  Lengthen through the crown of your head and release down to close the gap between right thigh and left ribcage.   This may be your pose.  To go further lift the back knee.  To go further open the arms taking the left hand to a block, right hand towards the ceiling.  For the full pose bring the back heel down, turning the toes to the left at 45 degrees.

Protecting your knees - if you are practicing the variation of the pose with your back knee down on the mat you might want to roll your mat up under your knee to cushion it.  Make sure that your front knee is directly over your ankle - if it extends beyond your ankle try taking your feet further back in Downward facing dog before coming into the pose or closer together if your knee falls short of your ankle.  There is a tendency for the arms to press the right knee in so actively press the knee out. 

Please also see:-
'Protect your knees in standing poses - Part 1'

Next week we will look at protecting your knee in standing balance poses.

Janet x

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Yoga to help heal after a tough time - feeling insecure

Please click on the video below to watch, 'Yoga to help heal after a tough time - feeling insecure' on my YouTube Channel'.

Please read the disclaimer on the blog before following these videos -

We all have times in our lives that are tough.  It might be because of a bereavement, a break up or other relationship problems, redundancy, financial difficulties or physical or mental illness such as depression.  

Tough times can leave us feeling vulnerable, insecure.  We may be left with feelings of worthlessness, feelings that we cannot cope.  We may not know how to move forward or we may be angry at life for throwing you a mean curved ball.  

At times like these it is important to focus on bringing our root chakra, which is to do with our security into balance.  Once we regain balance we feel supported, we can let go of fears and feel safe and start to trust once more.

In our video this week we focus therefore on the root chakra.  We start by focusing on our feet, our connection to the earth.  We also include some poses that work with the downward flow of energy in order to bring energy away from your head where there is anxiety.  Warrior 3 can be a difficult pose.  In our video this week we use a wall as a support to make the pose easier- in life too it is easier to move forward if we have support.  We end with a tree meditation which you might want to practice any time you are feeling insecure.  

You may also like to watch:-

'Yoga to help heal after a tough time - releasing physical tension' -

Hope this helps,