You Are Here – A review, competition and reader offer

 

Sometimes I’m sent the the oddest things to review (e-cigarettes?) but most of the time I’m sent really useful and inspiring products to share with my readers. I spotted You Are Here on Twitter and asked Emma to send me a copy of it so I could review it on the blog. I love it!

You Are Here is a travel journal taking you on a voyage of internal discovery and its fun! Mindfulness can be seen as serious and boring but oh no, its nothing like that and its great to see that Emma has bought this through in her book.

A mindful travel journal

A mindful travel journal

You can tell that Emma enjoyed creating this book and it comes through with its design and her sense of humour in her writing. Sit.Breathe.Love supports Village by Village and the Clean Hands Saves Lives project which helps to provide vital sanitation and health education for villages in Ghana. 10% of the profits from this book goes to these projects and you can also donate here Www.sitbreathelove.com/donate

READER OFFER

The first 100 readers of TYG to buy this book have been offered 20% off – enter YOGAGEEK20 at checkout. Buy Here

COMPETITION

Also one lucky reader will win a copy of their own journal – just share this post on Twitter and make sure you @theyogageek so I know you’ve done it and the lucky winner will be chosen on Monday 28th April and I will notify you on Twitter. Once you’ve sent me your postal address I will send the journal out to you.

 

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Elixir for Life…

This article was first published by elephant journal.Check it out here.

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I wrote this article one Sunday morning when I was lying in bed and thinking about how most people I speak to think they have to be flexible when I mention I teach yoga. It occurred to me that…

Yoga needs a new identity.

It’s something that’s been on my mind for a while now. It sounds shocking to us converted yogis, but I’m talking about a way to introduce more people to the incredible benefits of yoga.

Whenever someone finds out I’m a yoga teacher, I often hear similar responses, along the lines of: “oh I’d be no good at that, I can’t even touch my toes.”

What a shame. Before they’ve even tried it, they’ve dismissed it.

The fact is, there seems to be so many preconceived ideas that I want to relaunch the brand. (Relax, I’m being a bit tongue-in-cheek).

There seems to be this impression that you need to be skinny and flexible, eat pure foods, or act in a certain way.

No, no, no.

The message is “come as we are”—whatever our flexibility, whether we’re party animals or quiet mice, whether we are 100 pounds or 250 pounds.

If we can breathe, we can do yoga and feel the incredible effects.

Becoming more flexible is definitely a by-product of doing yoga, but there are deeper and more beneficial aspects to the practice that I want to bring to the masses.

Effectively what yoga asana practice does is shift the blockages in the body. Physically, the poses help us stretch our muscular and fascial systems. The breathing helps lengthen these systems and make space in the physical body.

In terms of our nervous system, calm breathing helps soothe it and tells the muscles to relax. Blending your poses with the breathing helps improve your digestive system and boosts your immunity.

In yoga we talk about “prana,” simply put: our life force, our energy.

Just like how in Chinese medicine there is the concept of chi, in yoga there is prana. It stokes our vitality, dissolving blockages whether they are mental, physical or emotional. That’s why after a yoga retreat we look so much brighter and feel so amazing—we’ve been shifting things and letting go of the ‘stuff’ we don’t need, bringing more prana into the body.

From my understanding, when we are living in a fast-paced and busy state, our bodies respond by producing chemicals that tell the body to be ready for anything.

This means the body is in a “fight or flight” mode ready to respond to any threatening situation. This is really useful if we’re in the middle of a road and a bus is coming at us and we can quickly react.

However, if we’re living in this state day to day because we are stressed, the chemicals build up and our systems get exhausted. No doubt we’ll feel tired, possibly even have anxiety and we are in this loop of constantly living on the edge.

Yoga helps break this feedback loop between the brain and the body.

Your calm breathing soothes the parasympathetic nervous system, which then tells the brain that it’s safe. The brain then stops sending out the chemicals that put the body into overdrive.

The practice of yoga helps to counter balance our modern day, fast-paced living.

If the word yoga conjures up fancy poses and balancing on our heads, then we should scrap that and start exactly where we are. With the breath.

This is such a powerful tool of yoga. It is said that pranayama is to the mind what asana is to the body. You will feel stronger, clearer, lighter and frankly much better!

When I teach one on one, more often than not I’m really teaching people how to relax and how to be okay with breathing deeply and fully. I love seeing how their eyes soften and their shoulders drop as they realise they’re in  a safe, held space where they can let go.

One of the teachings I pass on is is that less time we have for relaxation, the more we need it.

Yoga doesn’t have to be fast paced, it doesn’t mean we have to touch our toes. We can get the essence of what yoga has to open up in ourselves with some simple breathing and relaxation.

Please don’t get caught up in this idea that we have to be a certain way.

If you’re feeling on edge all the time, have no time to relax and are in need of some calm, as you’ve lost yourself in the midst of life, then your answer is right here: yoga.

Okay, so I don’t really want to change its identity, I just want people to be better educated in how transformative and life-changing it can be. Big words but true.

When are you coming to a class?

This is me!

This is me!

Kirsty Norton is a self-professed yoga passionista. She lives by the the seaside in the UK, living her dream of teaching yoga and travelling when she can. She is mum to Lyra who keeps her on her toes—her most challenging yoga teacher so far. Kirsty blogs for fun and enjoys quiet moments whenever she can. Feel free to connect with Kirsty via her websiteInstagramFacebook, or Twitter.

An awakening – a personal account

When I first began my yoga journey there was something that kept calling me back. It was like a love affair where I kept falling in and out of love with what it presented me with. I’ve been frustrated over the years when I’ve retreated from the practice as I couldn’t understand how something that I enjoy so much suddenly becomes hard to do. And I’m talking about actually going to classes or getting on the mat. A huge resistance appeared. I didn’t understand it.

Then recently I was sharing my frustration/experience on Instagram and in response I was tagged in this this quote by Jack Kornfield ‘For almost everyone who practices, cycles of awakening and openness are followed by periods of fear and contraction’.

That 'aha' moment

That ‘aha’ moment

Hallelujah, yes of course! Finally it all makes sense and I totally feel that’s what has been happening. Phew.

Back to my resistance, I really had to battle with it to make it to a class, other times I gave into it enjoying lazy moments on my sofa or socialising with friends. More often than not my social life won. Back in the day anyway.

Eventually I trained to become a teacher and the resistance still continued despite me knowing yoga was unravelling something special.

Nearly 20 years on, I’ve had a few moments of really ‘getting it’ and on some level I know I’m diving deeper into the true self.

However, on this retreat something really powerful has happened. I’ve had the deepest connection and awakening I’ve experienced so far. I am glimpsing that expanse of bliss that is inside each of us. I’ve fallen in love with what’s inside and it’s limitless.

Suddenly the Rumi poetry I’ve been reading for years has a deeper meaning, I get what it means to feel that one breath, that deep sense of being part of everything. I know that when I dip into the sutras again I will unfold another message from them.

In terms of the physical world everything seems more vibrant, more alive, a sparkle around it all.

I remember walking out of my first class knowing id found something special but I could never put my finger on exactly why. Yes my body felt better but now I know how to out that feeling in words, the practice gives me a sense of connection way beyond words.

“You are not a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean in a drop.”
Rumi

 

 

Avid Traveller

Sri Lankan Skyline

I like that title, travelling inspires me and gets me feeling vibrant and truly alive. Everyone that knows me knows how much I love it and interesting that all the training I have done is in things that mean I can travel with my career.

Recently I was interviewed for the blog, Raise the Beat. It’s written by Lauren who I met out in Goa a couple of years ago. We spent the morning of New Years Day doing  yoga together on a pagoda overlooking a cove whilst in the background we could still hear some music pumping as the parties continued into the day. It was such a sweet practice and so nice to share it with someone so in tune with their flow too.

Our view from the yoga pavilion

Our view from the yoga pavilion

Lauren, like me, is an avid traveller (she’s in Costa Rica at the moment) and it’s so nice when you meet someone who has that same sense of freedom and flow. We are talking about hosting a retreat somewhere hot this coming winter. I’m so excited about what we will create as I know it’ll be special for all of you that can make it. We both share a true desire to help people change their lives, to feel alive and vibrant and to shift the ‘stuff’ so they can feel lighter and brighter. More on that project as we concoct our magic partnership.

So, this avid traveller is ready to flow, coming soon to a studio, beach, pagoda near you.

Children’s Yoga

Children love yoga, they’re natural little yogi’s who love to move their bodies. Yoga helps them with concentration, balance, co-ordination and expressing themselves. I’ve watched quiet reserved children turn into wonderful yoga lions and louder more boistrous children turn into the quietest little mice.

IMG_1303The classes are fun and different each time. Not only does yoga help them with the things above but they have fun and it gets them moving their bodies to keep them fit.

I teach at several schools and nurseries in Sussex – each class varies depending on the age of the children and the time we have together.

Sometimes we head to the mists of the jungles, other times we go on an underwater dive meeting pirates as we go. Sometimes I bring with me some special friends to help me out, Rachel Rabbit, the snow breathing dragon and Super Cow.

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For the older children we make up yoga routines, practice some of the more challenging poses and also bring in yoga musical statues for those days when they just need to let off some steam.

All classes get a chance to wind down at the end so the children feel relaxed and able to be still for a few moments.

For more information please fill out the form below.

 

2014 – I love you

This year (2014) has gone off with a bang, my feet haven’t touched the ground and it feels like all the hard work I’ve been putting in is coming together.

 

I have to say that I’ve been pushing teaching evening classes and trying to get them off the ground but it’s not been easy and at the end of last year I decided that I would not teach in the evenings anymore. I felt like it was an uphill struggle so I’ve left it behind and oh how I love what happened.

 

As soon as I stopped the struggle, everything started to flow, my morning classes were full, the weekend workshops have been full and I began working with schools. It’s all been an absolute joy.

 

Seeing the children at the schools going through their class and being able to be calm and still is just such a joy, not always easy when you have over 20 children involved.

 

Alongside the children I’ve also been teaching some of the staff, you can imagine how busy these wonderful people are and how little time they have to breathe themselves. I look forward to helping them find some moments and give them some skills they can use in day to day life.

 

So this is just really a thank you note to 2014, you’re making my dreams come true.

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Your 2014 Vision

IMG_0032There is one space left for the vision setting workshop on Saturday – grab it while you can and join us on a lovely morning of mood boards, movement and journalling.
Details – Saturday 4th January
10am-1pm

Focus: Setting up your visions for 2014

This will be a morning of movement, meditation, journalling, ideas and inspiration.

Come and have some fun as you take some time out to focus on yourself, your intentions and your visions.

We will start with some pranayama and flow into some gentle yoga asana followed by meditation and yoga nidra.

Once we have grounded ourselves we’ll have some tea and do some journalling together, Ill guide you with some questions to help focus you.

Then we will do a vision board exercise.

It’s going to be such a fun and inspiring gathering. I hope you can join us.

You need to bring:
Your journal or a notebook
Some large card to make your vision board
Old magazines
£35

Competition Time

I have TWO of these wonderful journals up for grabs.  Yogagendas are full of great articles whilst also being a useful diary for your year, or use it as a journal to note your own practice.

To enter:-

1) like Facebook and follow Twitter

2) Share this with your friends on Facebook and Twitter

Good luck. Winners will be announced on 6th January.

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I need you!

Dear readers,

I am looking for your input please as I move forward with the blog and website. It is currently being redesigned (exciting!) as I originally did this one myself and now it needs a professional as I enter the wider blog world.

So with that in mind I’m looking at what new content to include and would love to know what you’d like to see.

  1. Teacher notes including class plan ideas, ways to sequence, video tutorials, playlists, adjustments, what to do when you get stagefright or lose your mojo and so on.
  2. Business help also aimed at teachers including ways to market your classes, ways to get more students, how to find a venue, doing your CV, you get the idea.
  3. Interviews with inspiring teachers and reviews on retreats, yoga studios and classes
  4. Notes for students including tutorials, how to begin a home practice, what to look for in a good yoga teacher and so on
  5. A shop selling only the coolest, tried and tested yoga gear, books and accessories.
  6. Posts about my yoga experience in order to help you with yours
  7. Guest blog posts from yoga students and teachers
  8. Competitions

Please comment below or post onto Facebook and let me know the numbers youre interested in, or any other ideas you have.

Without you lot, this blog would be pointless so I thank you for being a part of it and cherish your interest.

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Overcome traumatic experiences with Yoga

FBYlogo (2)Trauma Sensitive Yoga Teacher Training

Brighton Dec 13-15, 2013 

In this 16-hour training, yoga teachers and other clinicians will learn how to build a trauma sensitive yoga class and how to teach yoga-based self-regulation techniques to meet the needs of a wide variety of individuals.
 
Trauma Sensitive Yoga is an evidence-based approach that can help survivors overcome past traumatic experiences, empowering them to live connected and embodied lives. Traumatic events may lead to isolation and feelings of helplessness. Traumatic stressors can cause symptoms including anxiety and depression that lead individuals to develop a variety of dysfunctional coping strategies.
We will explore:
  • how to offer healthy self-regulation strategies, better coping skills and the use of breath and body sensations to connect safely to the present moment
  • how trauma is understood in Western allopathic medicine and through the holistic lens of yoga therapy
  • current research supporting yoga and mindfulness’ efficacy in treating trauma and practical tools to apply this information
  • how to successfully offer yoga programs in diverse settings including healthcare and social service facilities

Trauma survivors often come to the practice of yoga upon the recommendation of their healthcare providers in order to cultivate as Babette Rothschild, M.S.W., L.C.S.W. states, “the simple body awareness that makes it possible to gauge, slow down, and halt traumatic hyperarousal, and to separate past from present.” But not all yoga and meditation classes are designed to meet the unique therapeutic needs of individuals living with the somatic aftermath of trauma. Trauma-sensitive yoga classes help survivors gently reconnect with their bodies in a safe, supportive manner that emphasizes choice, mindfulness and ease.

Who should attend? This workshop is open to yoga teachers, clinicians and healthcare practitioners interested in learning practical tools to support clients using an evidence-based approach to Trauma Sensitive Yoga.
When: Dec 13-15, 2013 (Fri 5-9; Sat 12:30-6:30; Sun 1-7)
Where: St. Michael’s Community Hall, St. Michael’s Place, Brighton (a short walk from Brighton railway station)
Cost: Earlybird special £145.00 until November 8, then £160.00
Contact: sarahhdc@finebalanceyoga.ca
Feedback from a recent training: “You have such a gift, Sarah. I am so grateful for you sharing your experience, time, knowledge & compassion with us…you have a real obvious passion & connection to this work. I will absolutely use the tools I have learned in this workshop…in groups and 1:1 work.”
 
BIO
FineBalanceSHDC_cropped (2)
Sarah Holmes de Castro has been conducting yoga classes with a theraputic focus since 2003 with clients who are impacted by trauma and/or addiction. She is the Program Coordinator at Vancouver-based charity Yoga Outreach where she facilitates over 20 yoga programs in a wide variety of venues with clients living with mental health and addiction issues and the imapcts of trauma as well as offers trainings in trauma sensitive yoga for yoga teachers and healthcare practitioners.
In 2010 she completed a Trauma Sensitive Yoga Teacher Training at the Trauma Center, Boston, MA, and is currently completing a 1000-hour certification as a Yoga Therapist with Integrative Yoga Therapy.Fine Balance Yoga is a Canadian organization delivering trauma sensitive yoga teachers’ trainings and providing yoga therapy for trauma, addictions and chronic pain.

Information & tickets are available here: http://finebalanceyoga-es2.eventbrite.co.uk/. I’m originally from Eastbourne but have been living in Vancouver for the past 10 years, working with Vancouver-based charity Yoga Outreach for around 8 years, coordinating anywhere from 20-25 free yoga programs in partnership with mental health, correctional, addiction & youth facilities and offering teacher and clinicians’ trainings. I now also work as a therapeutic yoga teacher with Fine Balance Yoga, where with my partner, & (in collaboration with a trauma consultant with 30 yrs’ experience) specialized yoga programs to support people living with the effects of trauma. My partner & I came to this work ourselves through our own recovery from trauma, using yoga as a means back into a fully lived life.