Gypsy Masala

October 11th, 2007

Gypsy Masala – a story of dreams is one of my favorite quick reads. It’s a take on many hindu stories and follows the path of a family in transit. Anyone who has been on a retreat with me will be familiar with Chapter 12 which I often read out to groups in the closing meditation. It teaches us about hopes and dreams and guides us in following our hearts desire.

WHAT’S LIFE WITHOUT LOVE

September 26th, 2007

During a recent yoga session a student complains of a burning sensation in her leg and asks if this is normal? After defining the sense of burning and the reason why she felt pain. I ask the class “has anyone heard of the term burning with desire, burning with passion”. Other phrases like feel the heat, and go for the burn come to mind. When we are in need of comfort heat is soothing, often when we have pain heat is applied. We also apply pressure to the body when we need to heal for example to rub the skin after a fall.

When we breath we bring oxygen into the body and that intensifies the heat and we begin to burn brightly from within. We become radiant and glowing. these words are often associated with what we define as beauty. We all have an inner light that can shine through. Continue Reading »

WELCOME TO MY SITE

September 14th, 2007

Welcome to my site and many thanks to Arup for designing it and having it operational whist it wasn’t complete. Makes me think of karma, action in non action. That in life sometimes we think nothing is happening when in fact we are constantly moving and changing. The wise yogi knows when to act and when not to act.

I want to use the site to share with my students the stories and developments that come from classes. It’s a place where you can find the references to any quotes that I might use and or add your own feed back. Also on the site is much of the music that I use in classes and books that have inspired me.

I will also be pod casting yoga sessions for you to download if you miss any sessions.

Now we are all returning to regular practice after the summer or rather August break. Some of us were in Italy which was as beautiful as last year. Lots of great food and inspired company. Time to reflect and take stock of life. Many thanks to Santi for leading us through a discussion of truth and reality. Both thought provoking and very funny at times when we look at what we see as our own truth and others perception of that truth. The words of Krishnamurti will always give me hope.

I am trying to organise 2 separate weeks in Italy next year. It would be nice to go in the spring time, but for now I can confirm that I am booking 7 days from the 16th August, Prices to confirm but if you want to return put that date in your book.
More details will be on the site soon.

VINYASA

August 15th, 2007

VINYASA

FIND YOUR TRUE PRACTICE – the art of Vinyasa

What does Vinyasa mean?
A continual flow of movement. energy. Compatible links to postures. Often associated to astanga yoga featuring up dog and down dog link. But this can be limiting. Physically to those who find those postures hard but more for those who find it physically easy because it limits the expression of movement and the meaning to vinyasa.

Vinyasa is living and is not limited to a yoga practice, but practice is essential to vinyasa. Yoga is a practice therefore life is a practice. Yoga means union. Mind and body brought together to create balance. This is not limited to our mat. To
sustain vinyasa in our life we have to practice. Continue Reading »

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    Yoga is becoming more popular among men, and for good reason. Besides getting rid of stress and increasing flexibility, it may lower the risk of heart disease, depression, and high blood pressure.

    Everyone experiences stress almost everyday, and men are not exempt from this reality. The contemporary man is expected to be physically and mentally strong and fit to cope with stress and to meet the demands of everyday life, together with sports activities. They usually see the gym as a way to achieve a fitter body, and often only do exercises like weight training. Some may do classes but many will run or cycle for the aerobic aspect of training . Weight training exercises combined with yoga can produce an even better result. Yoga not only brings flexibility, it can also improve concentration, and contribute to weight loss and redistribution of fat. Yoga is a mind – body experience where co-ordination, which is a vital part of a person’s health and general well-being, is enhanced. The practice of Yoga can also lessen the risk for age related illnesses such as insomnia, impotence, and prostate conditions. Yoga is also beneficial in counteracting asymmetries one may acquire through engaging in some sports like tennis and golf by loosening the tightness of the muscles in the hips, shoulders, hamstrings and groins. For many men the thought of attending a yoga class is intimidating. All those bendy women who make it look easy. Men’s bodies are very different to women’s and lack the natural flexibility that women have. So if necessary look for a class specifically for men where the emphasis can be on tight hamstrings, sports injuries, tight shoulders and maybe a stomach that needs toning. Take the opportunity to learn the benefits of yoga aiming not just at improving flexibility but approaching the more difficult and strong yoga poses that men have a natural ability to be able to do well. Lisa Askem has been teaching yoga in London, England for over 10 years. She is trained with the British Wheel of Yoga and teaches at various centres in South West London including the world renown Harbour Club in Fulham.
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    Yoga is for everyone, any age, men, women and children but is especially helpful at times of change in our lives. Pregnancy is a time when extra care should be taken not only in exercise classes but in all activities and living. Yoga will help maintain a healthy and strong body during all stages of pregnancy and help women to deliver their babies in a confident way. Pregnancy is a natural time for taking care of yourself. For a first time mother a yoga class will offer a chance to be comfortable in the changes taking place both physically and mentally. A chance to take a break, relax into the pregnancy and make contact with her baby. Yoga will also help prevent all kinds of back problems. It will help to keep blood pressure low, prevent cramps, varicose veins, it will improve circulation and prevent swelling of the joints. Breathing will improve and tiredness will be overcome, good sleep will be induced. The practise of yoga will also maintain a sense of self in a time of change. Postures will be taught with encouragement and ideas to help deliver babies confidently and often without intervention. Yoga can help with anxiety around the birth and possible depression. Many mothers come to classes as beginners with no experience of yoga but have seen articles on how beneficial it is in helping to give birth naturally. Maternity classes use modified yoga postures with the emphasis on breathing, strengthening and relaxation. Applicable to all stages of pregnancy. For those who already practise yoga a maternity class will provide many tips on how to continue yoga safely during pregnancy. I believe we should train to have a baby. You wouldn’t climb a mountain or run a marathon without training first, and there is also the other side to yoga – it is a mind and body practice. The postures will keep the body strong but the meditative side of yoga is vital. The transition into motherhood has to be addressed. We live in a culture where we have babies and rush back to work or put a wash on and go to the supermarket. There is an expectation that believes we will not change. Yoga can be part of the rite of passage into motherhood helping to prepare for the changes ahead. Lisa Askem has been teaching pre and post natal yoga in London, England for over 10 years. She is trained with the British Wheel of Yoga and has worked with the active birth movement. Lisa teaches at various centres in South West London including the world renown Harbour Club in Fulham. She is also involved in providing yoga classes for the National Health Service Sure Start programme.
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  • cresent_moon.jpg This traditional time for dieting has in recent times become a time of media hype around the benefits of detoxing. The benefits of raw fruit and vegetables stare at us from the magazines at the supermarket check out whilst in our basket we have a pile of comfort foods and a feeling inside that we will try start the detoxing next week. Well it’s better to wait until spring or a more traditional and natural time would be Easter. It’s not to say that you can not shift a few pounds and feel better in January through eating the right food for the time of year and fresh fruit and vegetables are still on the top of the list for good health and vitality. They can be eaten in soups and warm fruit drinks, stews, risottos or steamed and grilled. It’s just not appealing to start eating summer fruits and salad in winter. Foods should be eaten in the correct season. Think winter root vegetables, stewed apples and blackberries, warm food that is filling not light food that is unsatisfying. All that said if you are determined to have a go at detoxing I would recommend a light fast around the time of the New Moon. Yes this is the bit where everyone laughs but the new moon offers a natural light energy that is supportive to fasting. Also it gives us a chance once a month to let the system rest and begin to live more in harmony with the luna energy. The tides are governed by the effects of the moon, fisherman understand the force and know when to fish according to the moon time. Gardeners know that at different times the air has a different quality to it and some days are better for planting, watering or cutting than others. I would like to see this knowledge brought into our 21st century and out of the realms of witchcraft and folk lore and that we begin to respect the natural time of the luna cycle and live with change instead of the unreal expectation that we can be the same each day. . There is a lot to be said for ritual and anyone who has started a fast or detox programme will have been advised to prepare and take a month in the process for full benefits. If we use the luna cycle you will repeat the pattern each month to maintain maximum health benefits which include not just weight loss but will also give you a new and dynamic energy. The effects of the moon at each stage. THE NEW MOON On the day of the new moon the body’s capacity for detoxing is at it’s highest. You can not see the new moon, in diaries it will be marked as a black dot. I interpret this as the moon being empty (not full). We are at out lightest weight in the 28 day cycle and feel better. It’s a great time for breaking bad habits and starting a fresh. Any strong withdrawal symptoms are generally kept at bay at this time. Mentally people tend to react more calmly – think of the opposite when the moon is full, when the “lunatic” within us is in full force. At this time set aside time to have a quiet 10 minutes or meditate. Think of the moon as an empty gold fish bowl and you are going to fill this bowl with positive energy, thoughts and attainable goals, remember to throw some love in there we can all do with a little more. If you are wanting to give up a bad habit this is a great time. Focus on the bad habit and pay no attention to opinion around you, if you choose to give something up don’t keep asking for a reason, just do it. The new moon will support the new time. THE WAXING MOON This is a time for regeneration, absorbing and supplying. The waxing moon supplies, plans, absorbs, builds up, breaths in, stores energy, gathers strength, promotes rest and recovery. The closer to the full moon the more powerful the force. During this two week period you build up strength. Go back to the gold fish bowl. All that you put in it will enhance you. You are pouring new energy into the bowl – when you look at the moon you will see the light pouring in. This is a time to eat good healthy food. Your body absorbs all the nutrients easily and stores them for the time of fasting. It’s a time when you will become heavier but do not think it’s license to eat more. Be aware of the natural force – you are filling up so make sure it’s good stuff you are bringing into yourself. When you repeat this cycle after a full detox the benefits will be greater, so improving your health each month. Strengthening more effectively. Deficiencies can also be remedied more easily whilst the moon is waxing as minerals and vitamins are more easily absorbed. THE FULL MOON You are now at the strongest force and the body will absorb all kinds of substances well including artificial additives that are in our food. Water accumulates easily and we are full – at our most heaviest. A good time to fast for a day is on the full moon. The system can afford to take a rest. THE WANING MOON As the moon goes from full back to new this is the period when detoxing is at it’s most beneficial and easy to do. Return to the concept of the gold fish bowl. At full moon it is full – marked in the diary as a circle. Now the moon is waning it is beginning to empty. There is a natural flushing out of the system. This is a fourteen day period towards the new moon when the success rate for detoxing will be at it’s greatest. Now having prepared the body with ingredients that are healthy and nourishing you continue but feeling lighter than the previous week when the moon was forcing the storing up and holding of water. You will feel lighter after the full moon and the process will be easy. This statement is worth remembering. The waning moon detoxifies and washes out, sweats out and breaths out, dries, consolidates, prompts to action and the expenditure of energy. The closer to the new moon, the more effective the force. This is it. As you reach the new moon and ready to fast for 1 day at that time it will be attainable and beneficial, you will feel new. When you start the process again and live in harmony with this cycle you will feel the benefits of adding and building up new health and well being in an on-going way. Remember to rely on your own instincts and less on the authority of another. Use common sense and trust your own instinct. This article was written on the 26th January 05 and refers to Moon Time by Johanna Paungger and Thomas Poppe for some of the references. The main article is original and comes from my practising and teaching yoga and own experience of living with the moon cycle. Lisa Askem January 2006
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  • by Lisa Askem Platinum Quality Author 1. Check your posture. Observe how you stand, sit and walk at all times. Being aware of yourself is a reminder of who you are. 2. Use your pelvic floor and stomach muscles at all times. Not only will this strengthen the spine and tone the abdominals but you will feel up lifted all day long. You will also reduce any need to do stomach exercises as the transverse stomach muscles will be working all day long. 3. Pelvic floor muscles this needs repeating, no-one wants to be an incontinent old lady – that’s enough to make everyone lift them high. It’s said in classical yoga that those who have control over the pelvic floor (Mulha Bandha) will regain the vitality of a youth of 16! 4. Moderation. Eat, drink, play, work in moderation. Do not do things to excess. 5. Blessed are those who live without expectation. Learn to let go of what your trying to control. You’ll be surprised by the outcome. 6. Breathe well. learn to let go of your breath. Do not hold on to it. Be aware of your breathing rate and how it changes in different situations, especially when under stress. 7. Take time to be still and quiet. Next time when sitting in traffic observe your breathing whist waiting for the traffic lights to change. If you relax your face muscles and take long out-breaths you will arrive at your destination relaxed and happy. 8. Learn to relax. 20mins of relaxation is as beneficial as 5 hours deep sleep. Lie on the floor in a quiet warm space. Give your mind a rest. 9. Look at everything in a positive way. Work out your profit and loss in all situations. 10. Don’t be afraid to stop. It’s only when we are still that we can really move. Lisa Askem, Yoga Teacher Article Source:
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