In my ignorance I had reduced this 3,000 year old practice into a simple exercise class. I wasn't in it for the 'hippy dippy' chanting and veganism, I was in it for the abs. Irrespective of the whole 'cool' new revival you wouldn't catch me chanting cross legged, or wearing a red bracelet. I liked meat, wine and enjoying life. I liked having fun.
The very mention of yoga inspires common reactions such as "I can't even touch my toes, I can't sit still, it's too boring, I'm not flexible enough, I already do Pilates, I prefer the gym etc". I'll be honest, as a long time yoga instructor it kind of annoys me to hear these rote and banal responses and throw away comparisons to gym workouts and ab exercises.
There are certain choices in life that are "difficult". Often, this is not because we lack the information we need to make them. Neither is it because it's hard to gauge which option will benefit us more. Rather, it's because these choices are defining - they define who we are as human beings.
Is it just me or is the anticipation of a holiday a major part of the overall enjoyment? Just dreaming of those blue skies and padding about in flip-flops can be enough to keep you sane when sitting for prolonged periods at your desk or when standing nose pressed to the door in the tube.
Yoga is known mostly for the (asanas) aka the Yoga postures in the west. However, Yoga is much deeper than this. Whilst the asanas are an important element, it also teaches us to consider how we treat ourselves, others, how to stay calm and focused, and encourages us to overall look after ourselves and eat well. You can achieve inner peace with Yoga, it has been known to lower the stress hormone 'Chortisol' even after one session.
In Ayurveda summer is associated with Pitta and its qualities of heat and the element of fire. Although we need fire to digest, transform and metabolise, too much fire can literally cause burned-outs, anger, stress, heat rash and heart burn. When the external fire, the sun, is excessively hot we can try to create balance by reducing other sources of heat and embracing cooling practices.
It seems we are no longer assessing our self-development by self-inquiry but by the amount of blue thumbs up we get on our status update. When our sense of worth is hinging on social media, it's time we think about quitting. I mean, what the hell is going on here?
Meditation is not a religion. Nor is it a tradition involving levitation while sitting cross-legged on the floor pretending to be an all-knowing master of the universe. Meditation, sometimes disguised as boredom, slows our breath, lowers our heart rate, relaxes our mind and provides space for self-exploration while restoring our natural energy.
I, like many other agnostic young people living in the spiritual void of modern Britain, flirt with the idea of spirituality. As a spiritual dilettante, I reluctantly stretch through the odd yoga class or attempt to silence the endless flow of internal chatter using occasional meditation.
I felt as if I had arrived in the Garden of Eden - our home for a week was a luxury eco retreat, perched on the top of a hill, surrounded by four acres of fruitful Spanish gardens. The owner of Finca Paradiso, an artist, created a vibrant, colourful environment with Spanish and Moroccan influences.
What exactly does "conscious living" mean? In a nutshell, it means to be aware of your thoughts, speech and actions in every moment without causing harm to yourself or those around you. This basic approach to life may sound simple, but after centuries of tribal conditioning, living with absolute awareness requires deliberate observation and on going personal development.
Have you ever sworn at your yoga teacher whilst she/he counts S L O W L Y to eight in Boat Pose (Navasana)? Felt ecstatic in a deep backbend? Or shed a tear in Pigeon (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana)? Most of us have some kind of mental and emotional reaction to the shapes we put our bodies into during yoga class. Usually we just go with the flow. But once in a while certain poses trigger us.
Cycling itself has had such an upsurge in the past month, that cycle lanes are positively congested and cars are almost a thing of the past! With that in mind and lots of people coming to the studio with tight backs and thighs; I have put down a few key poses to bring some respite yoga to cycling mania.
Has anyone noticed that things are a bit 'off' in the world at the moment? How do we set about course correcting? Can anyone come up with a solution?
It seems anxiety has no friends. It definitely does not understand professional image or even social etiquette. My life was turned upside down in an instant. It gave me no choice but to ignore my good friends and my work which I was extremely passionate about. I was left with an empty buzzing of a turned on computer with no active user at home.
It's not often that you will find me at an event before 7:30am, but an invitation to an interview with Huffpost's very own Arianna Huffington was certainly a strong enough draw. And I am very glad I made it.