Dear yoga friends, I am very excited to invite you to a yoga and mindfulness retreat, which will be in southern Spain from 26 to 31 August 2019. Whether you have been to a yoga retreat or not, this could be your time to relax and enjoy the benefits of yoga and mindfulness. The retreat is your opportunity to pause, step away from the stresses of daily life, release physical tensions and feel replenished.
We will be spending 5 days in the most beautiful and peaceful place in southern Spain, overlooking the sea and perfect for a yoga retreat. Next August, my friend and mindfulness teacher Monika and I will be taking a group of 10 to 15 students for five days to this fabulous location. Each day will include two hours of yoga in the morning, and one and a half hours of mindfulness in the evening. The aim will be to find more ease and freedom in the body, and to feel deeply rested.
Despite trying to avoid negative self-talk for many years, I can still occasionally catch my negative and critical inner voice. I don’t know about you, but I would never talk to someone in the way I sometimes talk to myself. While practising yoga, for example, this inner voice tells me that my slow practice makes me very boring, and with a faster yoga practice it is eager to comment that I must be very superficial…
During the past months I have been trying to be more aware of my yoga practice’s running commentary, and to introduce more kindness. Yoga is a process of becoming more mindful: we become more aware of our body, our breath, and also our mind. This blog suggests some ways in which we can quieten self-criticism while practising yoga, and transform our inner speech into a positive and supportive voice.
Many helpful stretches for the back are done on all fours: it feels wonderful to arch the spine in cat pose, rest in child’s pose, loosen the hips by circling them around on hands and knees. These are all simple and beneficial movements, especially if you want to release tight lower back muscles. But what if you can’t kneel easily? What can you do, for example, if your knees prevent you from putting weight on them, or if this position with the head looking down is counter-indicated for glaucoma? There are many soothing yoga poses that you can do lying on your back, but mobilising the spine in a seated position can be beneficial too. Today I am looking at how you can stretch your spine in a cross-legged position or seated on a chair.
If you feel unstable and even uncomfortable in standing yoga poses, balances and other asanas that require strength, it is possible that your abdominal muscles are not engaging properly. Weak abdominals will fail to hold the trunk steady in static or dynamic yoga poses. As a result you may feel wobbly and quickly tired. Even if you have done many abdominal workouts, your strong abs may have become too rigid to freely release and contract during movements. This blog demonstrates that if you know how to use them, abdominal muscles can improve stability in yoga poses.