Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Yoga for real life - lunchtime yoga

Please read the disclaimer on the blog before following these videos -http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/p/disclaimer.html

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

I have called this video 'lunchtime yoga' but if you work at a desk you need to be taking more frequent stretch breaks of just a few minutes.  Do not think these are a waste of time when you could be working-you will work all the better for taking a break.  Moving even a little each hour will boost your circulation, aid mental clarity and prevent the health risks associated with long periods of sitting.  In fact sitting for hours each day increases your risk of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, loss of muscle tone especially in the abdominal area and butt, varicose veins and aches and pains especially neck and back pain and headaches.  A few deep breaths as part of your stretch break will help calm your mind when things are getting fraught.

The poses in the yoga videos are some suggestions of what poses you might want to include in your yoga stretch break or slightly longer lunchtime yoga session.  I have included neck stretches and shoulder openers because necks and shoulders can get very tight when you are working at a keyboard for long periods.  Sitting can also lead to tightness in the hips, hamstrings and quads.  Often when we sit for long periods our posture becomes less than perfect so try to sit without rounding your lower back and keep your chest open - I have include some chest opening and a back stretch which should help.  

Meditation does not have to be long to be beneficial - just a few minutes will help relieve the stress of your busy schedule, help improve your focus and concentration and help you make considered decisions.  The meditation that we practice in the video is a guided body scan to release tension.  Alternatively you could spend a few minutes watching your breath or silently repeating a mantra.  

Sunday, 28 August 2016

This week on 40plusandalliswell

This week for Meatless Monday I have made a 'Mexican Cauliflower Pizza'. Using cauliflower to make the base means that the base is lower carb than the usual pizza. I have topped it with a Mexican sauce with chilli and black beans.
Recipe on my 'sister' blog- http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2016/08/meatless-monday-mexican-cauliflower.html

I love the idea of making a 'nice' cream out of our favourite desserts. I also love different textures so this week I have been making apple crumble nice cream with the smoothness of ice cream, the softness of cooked apples and a crunchy, nutty, oaty 'crumble'. The sweetness comes from the ripe bananas, apple and sultanas, so no need to add any other sweetness. It is also low fat.
Recipe on my 'sister' blog - http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2016/08/meatless-monday-mexican-cauliflower.html

Supplements for vegans- Iron and vitamin B12'. Read more on the blog -http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2016/08/supplements-for-vegans-iron-and-vitamin.html

Summer Fun - A yoga adventure

Summer Fun

Ideas for summer yoga fun

A camping trip

For your camping trip you will need a tent (Wide leg standing forward bend) – stand with your feet wide, toes pointing forward.  Breathe in and as you breathe out bring your hands to the floor and release the top of your head towards the floor.  To come out bring your hands to your hips, breathe in and come up slowly.  Where will you camp?  This looks a nice spot by the river with a wooded area behind it.  

You decide to explore the area.  Butterflies flit between woodland flowers (Butterfly Pose) – sit with the soles of your feet together so that your knees are wide and released down towards the floor.  To flap your butterfly wings bring your knees up and down.  

There are many birds in the woods too. Stand with your feet slightly apart. Breathe out and hinge forward lifting your right leg and taking your arms (wings) out to the sides. To come out breathe in, lower your right leg and bring your arms back by your sides. Repeat with your left leg raised. 

A cheeky squirrel comes over to see if you have any food for him – to pretend to be a squirrel stand with your feet a little apart, bend your knees and hold  your squirrel ‘paws’ out for a tasty morsel.

You will need something to eat – why not catch a fish for supper? (Bow pose) – lie on your tummy and bend both knees.  Reach round with both hands and take hold of your feet. Breathe in and push your feet up and back, lifting your chest off the floor.  If you can hold and breathe you will rock like a fish swimming.  Breathe out to lower back down and curl up into a ball.

Firelog pose – we need a fire to cook the fish (let an adult do this) so time to collect firewood. Can you stack your legs like logs?  Sit on a folded blanket and bring your right foot to your left hip then stack your left leg on top of your right – you can probably stack your logs better than me.  I think my stack might come down!

Frog – as night falls you might be able to hear frogs croaking in a nearby pond. Start on all fours and take your knees wide, flexing your feet. Come down on to your forearms, to come out straighten your arms, press into your hands and slide your knees back together.

What else will you do on your camping trip?

Beach fun

Sandcastle – no trip to the beach is complete without building a sandcastle.  Stand with your feet wide and point your toes out.  Bend your elbows, bring your elbows to shoulder height and point your palms forward , fingers spread and open (these are your turrets).

Blowing bubbles (Cooling Breath) – breathe in through your nose then if you can roll up your tongue, breathe out through your curled up tongue.  If you can’t roll your tongue (not everybody can, just like everybody can’t have blue eyes) make an ‘O’ with your mouth and breathe out.

Swimming - make sure that you have an adult with you if you swim in the sea and only swim where there are lifeguards on duty.  To pretend to swim lie on your tummy, forehead on the mat, one arm by your side, the other stretched forward.  Breathe in and lift your head and chest and legs (Locust pose variation).  Breathe out to lower and try swimming with the other arm forward.

Now for a surfing lesson  (Warrior 2) - stand  with your feet wide.  Turn your right leg to the right and the toes of the left foot in. Breathe in, stretch your arms out at shoulder height, lift your chest, breathe out bend your right knee, turn to look down the fingers of your right hand.  Now try surfing in the opposite direction, bending your left knee and looking down the fingers of your left hand.

A trip to a farm

It's great to meet the animals on the farm.  Which is your favourite?

Cow- to be a cow come onto all fours, breathe in and lift your head, chest and tail bone.  Moo like a cow (Cow Pose).

Farm Cat - come back to all fours, breathe out, tuck your chin and arch your back.  Meow like a cat who has caught a mouse (Cat Pose)

Sheepdog - the sheepdog works hard to keep the sheep together.  From all fours lift your hips high to pretend to be him (Downward Facing Dog).

Horse - breathe in and come back to all fours then come back to kneeling. Take your right foot forward, take your arms back and neigh like a horse.  Now try with your left foot forward.

Chicken (Squat) - come to standing and take your feet a little wider than your hips, toes turned out.  Bring your bottom down and your hands on the floor and cluck like you are going to lay an egg.

A trip to a zoo

Which is your favourite zoo animal?

Elephant (Wide leg standing forward bend variation)- step your feet wide with your toes pointing straight forward.  Fold over your legs and interlace your fingers to make a trunk. Sway from side to side.  Breathe in to come up slowly and step your feet back together.

Giraffe (Up Salute variation) - step your feet apart and take your arms up to make the giraffe's long neck.  Did you know giraffes have blue tongues.

Kangaroo - stand with your feet a little apart, bend your knees and hold  your arms forward, elbows bent.  Can you hop with your feet together like a kangaroo.

Tortoise - sit with your knees bent and take your feet wide.  Take your hands under your legs, hold your ankles and tuck your head in like a tortoise tucking his head into his shell.

A trip to a marine life centre is fun too.

Sea horse - sea horses are fish and can hold onto weeds with their tails to prevent being swept away by the currents. The male gives birth to the baby seahorses.  Stand with your feet slightly apart and bend your knees.  Your hands can be the seahorse snout.

Seal - lie on your tummy with your forehead on the mat.  Bring your hands level with your upper ribs, breathe in and press into your hands.  Can you make a seal sound. To come out breathe out and lower back down. Press your bottom back to your heels and sweep your hands round to hold your heels like the seal's beach ball in the picture below.

Shark - lie on your back and put your arms under your body, lift your chest. To come out release your arms from under your back. 

Hope you had a great summer!

Janet x

You may also like:-

'Yoga for every body - Kid's yoga'- 'Amazon Adventure' - http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/2016/07/yoga-for-every-body-kids-yoga.html

'Yoga for every body - Kid's yoga- 'Space explorers- Start here' - https://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/2016/08/yoga-for-every-body-kids-yoga-space.html

'Pirates Ahoy - A yoga adventure'-

'Superhero- A yoga adventure'- http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/2016/08/superhero-yoga-adventure.html

Copyright © 2016 Flexiladiesyoga

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Ayurveda Morning Routine

Ayurveda, yoga's sister science can offer a great deal of advice about our morning routine. 

When you wake it is recommended that you scrape your tongue to remove the coating which contain ama, toxins which are the underlying cause of many health issues.  It also means that your food will taste so much better and you will not need to enhance the flavours of your food with sugars and salt. 

Another Ayurveda recommendation is to drink the juice of half a lemon in warm water first thing to light the digestive fire in preparation for breakfast.  

A massage using warm oils is ideal before you take your morning bath.  Vatas should use sesame oil, pittas sunflower or coconut oil and kaphas sesame or almond oils.   Add a few drops of essential oil if you wish - ginger, cardamon or orange are good for vatas, sandlewood or lavender for pittas, eucalyptus, rosemary or sage for kaphas. Use long strokes for your arms and legs, circular movements fr your joints.  Massage your tummy in a circular motion - up the right side, down the left. PLEASE NOTE - do not self-massage if you are pregnant, menstruating or have any medical problems (check with your doctor).

If you can, leave the oils to soak in for 10 minutes before taking a bath (care you do not slip). Pittas should have a bath in cool water, vatas warm and kaphas warmer still. Splash your face and eyes with cold water. Use natural products - remember your skin absorbs any chemicals you put on it.  

If you practice yoga and meditation before sunrise when vata energy dominates is good.  It is also a quiet time for meditation.  Please see my blog post and yoga video, 'Yoga for real life-Morning yoga'- http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/2016/08/yoga-for-real-life-morning-yoga.html

Follow your yoga practice with a light meal for breakfast. Check out these 'Dessert Breakfasts' on my 'sister' blog for inspiration-http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2014/09/dessert-breakfasts.html   Your digestive fire is strongest at lunchtime when pitta energy dominates so take your main meal then.

Janet x

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Yoga for real life - morning yoga

Please click on the video below to watch, 'Yoga for real life - morning yoga' on my YouTube Channel.

Please read the disclaimer on the blog before following these videos -http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/p/disclaimer.html

In this new series, 'Yoga for real life', we look at how yoga can fit in with your daily routine. We start with a morning practice to energise us for the day.

Before sunrise is the ideal time to practice yoga.  At this time vata energy is dominant, but later kapha energy dominates which  can make you feel sluggish. Early morning is also a quieter time of day which makes it easier to meditate.   It is best to practice before breakfast.

Idealy your morning yoga practice will release any overnight stiffness, energize you for the day ahead, make you mentally alert and light up your digestive fire.  Sun Salutations are ideal - they boost circulation, work all the muscles and joints, and benefit to the respiratory system, nervous system, digestive system and endocrine system. It is also important to start the day with a positive outlook - it really does make a difference to how your day goes. Try it!!

Janet x 

Sunday, 21 August 2016

This week on 40plusandalliswell

Buckwheat noodles are a source of fibre helping you feel full for longer. The recipe below is also packed with protein from the tofu and so this makes a very satisfying meal that can be quickly made.
Here in East Yorkshire we are doing really well for warm sunny days at the moment. On days like these a cooling 'nice' cream is just the ticket. 
Recipe for ''Summer 'nice' cream lollies'' on my 'sister' blog- 

I believe that inflammation underlies many degenerative diseases including arthritis, diabetes, heart disease and cancer as well as accelerating aging.

Find out how we can eat to beat inflammation on my 'sister' blog- 

Superhero- A yoga adventure

Note to mums and dads, grandmas and grandads.  This adventure is another opportunity to dress up and have fun while getting all the benefits of yoga.  

My name is Asana woman and I patrol the city streets making sure good triumphs over evil. What will be your superhero name? When I am not being a superhero, I teach yoga and nobody knows that secretly I am a superhero.  

Let's pretend that one day you were soaring high in the sky checking all was alright in the streets below (Warrior 3) - from standing take your weight into your right leg.  Breathe in and stretch your arms out at shoulder height, breathe out and lean forward as you lift your left leg. Breathe in and come back to upright and try flying with your right leg lifted. 
Imagine the city far below.  You are higher than the skyscrapers.  Can you be a skyscaper - stand with your feet a little wider than your hips.  Breathe in and circle your arms up, palms together. 
Now you are circling over the city park (Locust pose). Come down onto your tummy with your arms down by your sides, your forehead on the mat. Breathe in and lift your arms, legs, head and chest as if you are flying. Breathe out when you get tired to lower.
Suddenly there is a cry for help (Goddess squat) - stand with your feet wide, your toes turned out. Bring your arms up level with your shoulders and bend your elbows so that your palms face forward.  Breathe out and bend your knees. Can you do a distressed face?
Time to dive down to see if you can help (Warrior variation) - step your left foot back, turning your left toes out. Breathe in and bend your front knee, breathe out extend your arms out, palms together.  Point your fingers down and lower your head.  

Now what seems to be the problem.  Ah a cat is stuck up the tallest tree in the park (Cat pose)- come onto all fours, breathe in lift your head and chest, breathe out arch your back and meow like a cat stuck up a tree.  
What frightened him? 

Can you be as tall as the tree?  Take your weight into your right leg.  Find something to gaze at - a spot that is not moving.  Take your left foot to your right ankle, right shin or bend your right leg, take hold of your left foot and bring it to your right thigh.  Breathe in and lift your arms (branches) up.  

Oh no, your arch enemy is trying to stop you rescuing the cat.  What is your arch enemy's name? What is he like? Prepare to do battle! (Warrior 2) - stand  with your feet wide.  Turn your right leg to the right and the toes of the left foot in. Breathe in, stretch your arms out at shoulder height, lift your chest, breathe out bend your right knee, turn to look down the fingers of your right hand.  To do battle with your arch enemy on your other side, breathe in straighten the right knee, breathe out bring your hands to your heart, turn your feet to face forward  then repeat second side.  
That's sorted him out!

Result- one happy cat! (Cat pose) - come onto all fours, breathe in, lift your head and chest and make a happy meow sound.
'Yoga for every body - Kid's yoga'- 'Amazon Adventure' - http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/2016/07/yoga-for-every-body-kids-yoga.html

'Yoga for every body - Kid's yoga- 'Space explorers- Start here' - https://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/2016/08/yoga-for-every-body-kids-yoga-space.html

'Pirates Ahoy - A yoga adventure'-

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Protecting your wrists in yoga poses - stretch and strengthen

Please note the advice below is not intended for people with wrist inflammation, wrist injury etc. - consult your doctor.

The wrist is a particularly vulnerable area. It is one of the most commonly broken bones in the body.  After 40 years of age, women are more at risk of a broken wrist than men. I broke a wrist two years although considering the severity of the fall (while out walking), the break was small.  

Wrist strain is also often a problem for people new to yoga who can often be seen rotating their wrists after such poses as Cat/Cow or Downward Facing Dog.  Our everyday activities do not usually require us to hold our wrists in full extension, that is at 90 degrees to our arm.  It is not surprising then that when you first start yoga, the ligaments and tendons in your wrist are going to protest in weight bearing poses such as Plank or Downward Facing Dog,and other poses which strengthen the wrist. But wrist flexibility combined with strength gained through weight bearing poses is important in order to avoid injury.

If your wrists are really uncomfortable below are some of the ways you can modify yoga poses to be more comfortable.

Cat/Cow - instead of placing your flat hand on the mat, make fists or come down onto your forearms.

Downward Facing Dog - the problem here may be that your weight is concentrated on the heel and little finger side of your hand. To correct this tendency, take your weight into your knuckles, where your fingers meet your palms and press down with your thumb and first finger. You can also practice a similar pose with your forearms down.

Plank pose - you can build up strength in your wrist with this pose by practicing it initially with your knees down and your hands forwards of your shoulders. If this is too much for your wrists try doing a forearm plank instead. Lie on your tummy with your arms extended.  Slide your elbows back until they are under your shoulders.  Breathe in tuck your toes and lift your hips.  To come out of the pose breathe in drop your knees, breathe out and take a Child's Pose.

To stretch and strengthen your wrists try the following exercises:-

Sit in a comfortable cross-legged position or in a chair with your hands in prayer mudra at your heart.  Slowly move your hands down as far as you can without strain and while still keeping the heels of the hands together.  

Extend your right arm and with the left hand draw the fingers of the right hand back then press the top of your hand down.  Repeat with the left hand.

Come onto all fours with your fingers pointing back towards you.  Slowly move your bottom back towards your heels until you feel a stretch on your wrists.

You might also like my YouTube video, 'Wrist yoga'

Please read the disclaimer on the blog before following these videos -http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/p/disclaimer.html