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Author Archive

guided meditation

here’s another ‘invitation to breathe’ from Sandra Sabatini.

find a warm place to lie on your back with your feet flat on the floor. some of the practice is seated, so if you need support, have your blocks or chair nearby.

i hope you enjoy it.

practice

work through the sequence in this order – 1-2-3-4-3-2-1

1) sit or lie down comfortably letting your body settle. keeping a lively relationship between your body and the ground – feel the ground beneath you, take your time to notice your breath too – this might take 5 minutes or longer…

2) when you feel ready – lie on your back with your knees bent over your chest – listen to what your body would like you to do to release it – you might want to rock on the pelvis, or extend your legs upwards. eventually, use upward raised leg pose to wake up your legs and open the backs of the knees – no hurry…

3) when you are ready – come onto all fours. focus on your hands first – spreading the fingers, keeping the palms springy – take as long as you want. as you exhale drop weight into your hands and as you inhale, ease back a little. let your breath and spine inform you. notice the way your spine responds to this – you might like to co-operate with your spine by imagining a wave of movement up and down the spine with the breath. rest in a kneeling forward bend/child’s pose at any time.

4) when you feel ready – tuck your toes under and come up into dog – keeping your feet and hands springy – exhaling into the earth – softening back a little as you inhale. look at the ideas from the previous post to help you with this part of the practice. take as long as you want – moving between number 4 and number 3 and eventually scrolling back to number 2 and number 1.

i hope you enjoy the practice x

dog pose

a simple favourite for grounding ourselves, here are some ideas to explore in dog pose…

allow the palms of your hands and soles of your feet to yawn open – encourage them to be sprung, mobile, lively.

keeping life and movement in your feet and legs, let your out breath pour down your arms into your hands – they settle, then sink onto the ground

let your neck lengthen, emerging from your shoulders as you breathe out – feel how the spine can lengthen now and how free the head feels – just hanging

when you feel you have a lively earth connection from your tail through your upper body, send some breath out to your feet – connect with the earth through your feet

‘To be healthy, one needs the earth and the sky.’ Chinese Proverb

springy

‘To be sensitive is to be alive.’ Vanda Scaravelli

our one task in practice is not to aim for a particular shape but to undo tension in the body, allowing our breath and body to move freely, without strain.

here are three ideas to try:

let the movements of your springy feet free your legs all the way up to the pelvis and lower body…

let the movements of your loose, open hands free your arms to the shoulders, rib cage and upper body…

let your easy flowing breath play along your spine and watch the subtlety of the ripple your spine makes.

‘There is no such thing as an ideal template to which you must force your body to conform. There are only feelings, sensations, and awareness. Let them continue to be your primary guide.’
Will Johnson

us

I read this and thought of us…

‘There were no formerly heroic times, and there was no formerly pure generation. There is no one here but us chickens, and so it has always been: a people busy and powerful, knowledgeable, ambivalent, important, fearful, and self-aware; a people who scheme, promote, deceive, and conquer; who pray for their loved ones, and long to flee misery and skip death. It is a weakening and discolouring idea, that rustic people knew God personally once upon a time – or even knew selflessness or courage or literature – but that it is too late for us. In fact, the absolute is available to everyone in every age. There never was a more holy age than ours, and never a less.’

Annie Dillard – For the Time Being.

mat matters

how is your home practice?

‘finding a place for observing what is happening, verifying day after day the silent presence of the ground and its unceasing sustenance and support, we encounter a sense of trust and trust brings the assurance of being able to do what is needed.’ monica smith.

some practitioners advocate that the two optimal times for yoga practice are 45 minutes either side of sunrise or sunset (and there is certainly something charged about practising during the dusk chorus at the moment). but i don’t think it matters when you choose, as long as you choose!

for inspiration in practice try ‘Bringing Yoga to Life’ by Donna Farhi and ‘Autumn, Winter, Spring, Summer – Yoga through the seasons.’ Sandra Sabatini

and finally…

I have some yoga mats to give away.

there’s no charge, first come-first served – leila@theyogastudiosomerset.co.uk

I have…

2 very fancy, practically new, top of the range BLACK mats.
1 bright ORANGE mat that has never been unrolled.
1 not so new but still lovely, ROYAL BLUE mat, washable in a normal washing machine.

and…

1 large meditation cushion with a removable red cover
and several foam yoga blocks

just let me know …

love

at the beginning or end of the practice

sit or kneel comfortably

rest your hands on your head so that your head feels embraced
let your hands love your head
stay a while

when you are ready move your hands to your chest – placing them comfortably
offer love to your heart
stay a while

when you are ready, move your hands to your abdomen – laying your hands gently
offer love to your belly
stay a while

take your hands to the ground or your feet, whichever you can reach from here – be gentle
let your hands love the earth
stay a while

“Our body is the most direct and perfect path to profound spiritual transformation. Through our body, we connect with the inherent, self-existing wakefulness that is already present within it.”
— Reggie Ray

longer

‘In a society that almost demands life at double time, speed and addictions numb us to our own experience. In such a society it is almost impossible to settle into our bodies or stay connected with our hearts, let alone connect with one another or the earth where we live.’ Jack Kornfield

to encourage ourselves to practise, we sometimes make our yoga practices very short – and what a good idea this is.

however, i’d like to put a word in for the longer practice too. even if you only have the chance to do this every now and again, yoga rewards a slow settling in.

it is not a question of adding more postures or breathing practices but rather of giving whatever you choose to do, more space.

you can let go more thoroughly, relax more deeply and give peace the chance to rest in you.

still raining

in the midst of this wet winter – something uplifting

The Dipper

It was winter, near freezing,
I’d walked through a forest of firs
when I saw issue out of the waterfall
a solitary bird.

It lit on a damp rock,
and, as water swept stupidly on,
wrung from its own throat
supple, undammable song.

It isn’t mine to give.
I can’t coax this bird to my hand
that knows the depth of the river
yet sings of it on land.

Kathleen Jamie