ANDREA - a full time Yoga, Pilates and Tai Chi instructor.

I fell in love with yoga over seven years ago, when I got a Nintendo DS and bought a game called Let's Yoga. From then, I began 'playing' yoga everyday, sometimes twice a day. At first, the practice was more physical for me, but after few months I started to really count on yoga to bring me a sense of calm during especially chaotic days. Soon after, I began recognizing the benefits of a regular asana and meditation practice and continued to incorporate yoga daily - not just during times of chaos. I found myself feeling more energized, more compassionate, happier, and with more awareness. Now, I teach full-time and couldn't be happier to do what I love. What began as a physical practice for strength and flexibility quickly became a lifestyle. I teach my students to take their yoga off the mat and apply the principles learned in the class to their lives outside of the studio. I do not only teach my philosophy, I live it.

pondelok 30. septembra 2013

Headstand with Eagle Legs I

Headstand with Eagle Legs I / Garundasana in Sirsasana I


(gah-rue-DAHS-anna shear-SHAHS-anna)
garuda = a fierce bird of prey, the vehicle (vahana) of Vishnu
sirsa = head

1. From Balasana or Child’s Pose lean forward and place your elbows on the ground directly underneath your shoulders and clasping your triceps.

2. Rotate your forearms out from your elbows and clasp your hands in front of you with your palms spread open and facing you so that the outside of your hands and pinkies are on the ground.  Make sure your pinkies are on the outside of your palms.  Feel the power in your upper arms.

3. Place the crown of your head on the floor in front of your palms so that your palms caress the back of your head.  Make sure that your neck remains straight and perpendicular to the floor.  DO NOT BEND YOUR NECK SO THAT YOUR FOREHEAD IS ON THE FLOOR.

4. Lift your hips in the air and walk your feet toward your head. SO AS TO TAKE PRESSURE OFF YOUR HEAD AND NECK ENGAGE YOUR ARMS and your core and lift one leg up bringing the other leg with it. Bring your legs together and straighten them. At this point you will form a straight line from your head to your toes.  Point and spread your toes.

5. For more of a challenge keep both of your legs straight and together and bring them up into the air at the same time using your core. Bend your right leg and wrap it around your left.  Bend your left leg slightly so that your right foot can wrap around your left calf muscle.





Preparation
1.Practice Dolphin Pose and Dolphin Plank Pose to strengthen your upper arms and get used to supporting yourself on your forearms.

2.Practice staying inverted with your head, forearms and feet on the floor until you feel comfortable in an inverted position.

3.Practice Urdhva Dandasana by placing your head on the ground your leg distance away from a wall and facing the wall.  Walk up the wall until your legs are parallel to the floor and your hips are over your shoulders.

4.Practice Headstands with your back against a wall before attempting them without support.

5.Practice Bound Angle Pose until you are comfortable in that position.

Benefits
- Strengthens arms, legs, abdomen and spine
- Stretches your groins and legs. Calms the brain
- Stimulates your pituitary and pineal glands

Cautions
- Do not perform if you are pregnant, if you have a back or neck injury, high blood pressure, have a heart condition

sobota 28. septembra 2013

Knee to Ear Pose (Variation) Knees to Shoulders

Knee to Ear Pose (Variation) Knees to Shoulders / Karnapidasana

(kar-na-pi-DAHS-anna)
karna = ear
pida = pain, discomfort, pressure

1. Practice Halasana following shoulder stand. With your legs straight up to the sky, keep your torso vertical and tip from the hips lowering the tips of your toes to the floor.

2. Either keep your toes curled on the floor or straighten them so the tops of your toes are in contact with the ground. Lift your hipbones up high to the sky and straighten your legs rolling the inner thighs towards each other.

3. Release your hands from your upper back and extend them in the opposite direction as your legs. Roll your shoulders under even more and place your palms flat on the ground or clasp your hands together. Press your arms firmly into the ground to help you lengthen your tail even further upwards to the sky.

4. Exhaling let your knees fall on either side of your head so that your knees touch the ground in front of your shoulders.


Benefits
- Helps to stimulate the digestive system
- Clarifies the mind and reduces stress
- Stretches open the back, legs and shoulders
- Helps to relive sinus congestion

Cautions
- Asthma
- Neck pain or injury
- High blood pressure or heart condition
- Menstruation

piatok 27. septembra 2013

Little Thunderbolt Pose

Little Thunderbolt Pose  / Laghu Vajrasana (Variation A.)

laghu= little, small, lovely
vajra= thunderbolt

1. Kneel on your knees with your buttocks resting on your heels and the tops of your feet flat on the ground.

2. Start to lean back until your elbows and forearms are on the ground supporting the weight of your torso.

3. Lean your head back until the crown of your head or your forehead is resting on the ground.

4. Reach for your mid thighs straightening your arms and lift your pelvis to the sky arching your entire back evenly along the spine.  Lifting your hips up will also pull your head toward your feet.



Benefits
- Stretches the front of your body from head to toe
- Strengthens your back
- Stimulates organs in your abdomen and neck

Cautions
- Do not perform if you have a back, neck or knee injury

štvrtok 26. septembra 2013

Plow Pose (Palms Clasped Variation)

Plow Pose (Palms Clasped Variation) / Halasana

(hah-LAHS-ana)
hala= plow

1.  Practice Halasana following shoulder stand. From your legs straight up to the sky, keep your torso vertical and tip from the hips lowering your tip toes to the floor.

2. Either keep your toes curled on the floor or straighten them so the tops of your toes are in contact with the ground. Lift your hipbones up high to the sky and straighten your legs rolling the inner thighs towards each other.

3. Release your hands from your upper back and extend them in the opposite direction as your legs. Roll your shoulders under even more and place your palms flat on the ground or clasp your hands together. Press your arms firmly into the ground to help you lengthen your tail even further upwards to the sky.

4. Lift your chin slightly away from your chest to maintain your breath. Hold the pose anywhere from one to two minutes and release rolling back down to the ground with control.


Benefits
- Helps to stimulate the digestive system
- Clarifies the mind and reduces stress
- Stretches open the back, legs and shoulders
- Helps to relive sinus congestion

Cautions
- Asthma
- Neck pain or injury
- High blood pressure or heart condition
- Menstruation

streda 25. septembra 2013

Pose Dedicated to the Sage Gheranda (Variation B.)

Pose Dedicated to the Sage Gheranda (Variation B.) /Gherandasana

(gir-ann-dahs-anna)
Gheranda= sage, classical hatha yoga text


1. Lying in prone position, place your palms beside your ears, fingers facing front and toes pointing back.

2. Inhaling, straighten your arms and lift your chest off the floor. Stop when your pelvis begins to lift off the ground. Pull you belly button toward your spine and keep your buttocks relaxed but firm.

3. Keeping your shoulder blades down your back and maintaining great length in your torso, concentrate your weight on your pelvis and upper thighs.

4. With your knees hip distance apart, bend both of your knees so that your toes point toward the back of your head.

5. With your left hand, reach around the front of your torso and grab onto your right foot pulling your heel toward the ground beside your right hip as in Frog Pose.

6. Concentrating your weight on your left elbow and forearm, torso, pelvis and right thigh, inhale and reach back with your right arm and grab onto your left toes. Pull your left toes upward until your left thigh is off the ground and your knee is level with your shoulder.


Benefits
- Stretches the abdomen, chest and shoulders, legs and knees
- Stretches hip flexors
- Strengthens the back, improving posture

Cautions
- Avoid if you have serious back, neck or knee injuries
- May exacerbate headaches

utorok 24. septembra 2013

Job offer...

I´ve just been offered an interesting job... Female Personal trainer specializing in Yoga / Pilates / Pre-Post Natal - Tax free salary of 15,000sr (around2500GBP) , Accommodation, Private driver, 1 month paid holiday , 1 annual Paid flight and Visa... 
Guess where - Saudi Arabia. 
Well, I am tempted to pack everything and run away! 

Monkey Pose

Monkey Pose (Binding Variation) / Hanumanasana
(hah-new-mahn-AHS-anna)
Hanuman = Mythological entity who resembles a monkey leaping

 
1. Start kneeling on the floor and extend your right foot out. Flex your foot upwards and rotate your right thigh outwards.

2. Exhale and slide your right foot forwards using your fingertips to support you as you lower bending over your extended leg bringing your knee to your nose. Hold here for a few deep breaths increasing the intensity of the stretch at every exhale. Release.

3. Come into a high lunge with your right leg forwards and drop your left knee to the ground. Shift your weight forwards and come down to your forearms placed in the inside of your right leg. Feel your back thigh start to open up as you lower your chest down. Hold here for a few deep breaths, again increasing the intensity at every exhale. Release the stretch and when you are comfortable, practice the full version of the pose by continuing on to the next step.

4. Again bring your right foot out as in steps 1 and 2 and slowly start to shift your weight forwards and back, lowering your tailbone down to the ground with the help of your hands into full splits. Keep the kneecap of your right leg turned upwards to the ceiling and keep your weight evenly distributed in the middle. Variation: To increase difficulty, place blocks under your front and back

5. Inhale and reach your arms over head, keeping the shoulder blades down and palms facing each other and bring your hands into prayer position in the center of your chest.

6. Stay in this pose between 30 seconds to one minute. Practice again, this time switching to the left leg forwards.



Benefits
- Intensely stretches the hamstrings, groin muscle and thighs
- Improves balance and focus

Cautions
- Hamstring injury
- Quadricep injury
- Groin injury

pondelok 23. septembra 2013

One-Leg-Over-Arm Balance

One-Leg-Over-Arm Balance / Eka Hasta Bhujasana

(eck-AH has-TAH boo-jah-pee-DAHS-anna)
eka = one
hasta = hand
Bhuja = place in Indina, Hindu Saint

1. Begin by sitting in Dandasana, legs extended out straight in front of you. Take your right leg with both your hands and place it over your right shoulder.

2. Place both hands on the ground on either side of you left thigh with your fingertips facing forwards. Use the pressure of the back of your shoulder and press back to help keep your leg securely in position.

3. Engage your core muscles and straighten your arms. Start to lift your buttocks off the floor as high as you are able. You may keep your left foot on the floor initially, but try to lift it off the floor for a second at a time. As you become more familiar with the pose, lift your left foot off the floor and hold it so it is hovering off the floor. Variation: To increase difficulty, lift your buttocks and leg off the floor at the same time. Keep your gaze forwards. Maintain the position for as long as you are able and slowly release. Practice again but switch to the other leg.



Benefits
- Develops core strength and stability
- Increases shoulder and arm strength
- Stretches the hamstrings

Cautions
- Carpal Tunnel
- Shoulder Injury
- Pregnancy

piatok 20. septembra 2013

Upward-Facing Open Angle Pose

Upward-Facing Open Angle Pose / Urdhva Upavistha Konasana

(OORD-vah oo-pah-VEESH-tah Cone-AHS-anna)
urdhva=upward
upavistha= seated, sitting
kona=angle

1. Initially, practice this pose as a forward bend until you are comfortable by first sitting on the ground with your legs extended straight out in front of you. Open your legs so they are a little more than 90 degrees apart and start to fold forward from the hips keeping your back flat. Walk your hands forwards until your chest can comfortably rest on the ground and grab on to the outside edges of your feet. Hold the pose for at least 30 seconds. Only when you have become familiar with this position, continue to the next step.



2. From sitting with your legs extended straight out, bend your legs and grab on to the outside edges of your feet. Lift your tail bone up and expand open your chest. Pull your belly button back towards your spine.


3. Tip back slightly and start to open your legs out to the sides at approximately at a 90 degree angle. Straighten your legs completely while still holding on to the outside edges of the feet. Make sure to place equal weight on your sitting bones.
As you lift, engage your core and keep your belly pulled in. Keep your chest expanded and shoulders down. Start to pull your self in closer so that your torso is as vertical as possible. Maintain the pose for at least 10 seconds and gradually increase the length of the pose as you develop greater core strength.




 
Benefits
- Strengthens and tones the core, abdominals and spine
- Helps to improve digestion by stimulating abdominal organs
- Improves balance
- Stretches soleus, gastrocnemius, semitendinosus (inside of legs).

Cautions
- Lumbar spine injury
- Pregnancy
- High or low blood pressure

štvrtok 19. septembra 2013

Revolved Seated Forward Bend

Revolved Seated Forward Bend / Parivrrta Paschimottanasana
(POSH-ee-moh-tah-AHS-anna)
pashima= west side of body
tana= to stretch out, extend
 
 
1. Begin by sitting with your legs extended out in front of you as in Dandasana.  Inhale and sweep your arms over head, lengthening up though the spine as you breathe in. Lower your left hand to your left shin. Exhale and bend from the waist lowering to your left side. Simultaneously, lift your right arm up and reach it to the sky gazing up. Rotate your chest up, but keep your shoulder blades down your back. Hold for a few deep breaths and release.

 
 
 
2. As you become more comfortable with this pose, try the next phase by lowering your left forearm down to the outside of your left shin and rotating the chest up to the sky. Exhale and lower even further this time grabbing on to the sole of the right foot with your left arm. Lower your right arm down to grab the outside edge of your left foot. Use your hands grabbing on to your foot to help lengthen your torso up and sink deeper into the pose. Try to work the top of your right shoulder into the ground as you rotate up to the sky.

 
3. Keep your gaze up to the sky and hold the pose for 30 seconds to one minute. Release and practice again this time switching to the left side.

 
 
Benefits
- Stimulates the liver and abdominal organs
- Stretches the hamstrings and calves
- Helps to relax the brain and de-stress
- Stretches the spine, shoulders, and chest
- Stretches obliques and side of torso

Cautions
- Knee or wrist injury, use modifications
- Asthma
- Back Injury
Revolved Seated Forward Bend / Parivrrta Paschimottanasana
(POSH-ee-moh-tah-AHS-anna)
pashima= west side of body
tana= to stretch out, extend

1. Begin by sitting with your legs extended out in front of you as in Dandasana.  Inhale and sweep your arms over head, lengthening up though the spine as you breathe in. Lower your left hand to your left shin. Exhale and bend from the waist lowering to your left side. Simultaneously, lift your right arm up and reach it to the sky gazing up. Rotate your chest up, but keep your shoulder blades down your back. Hold for a few deep breaths and release.
2. As you become more comfortable with this pose, try the next phase by lowering your left forearm down to the outside of your left shin and rotating the chest up to the sky. Exhale and lower even further this time grabbing on to the sole of the right foot with your left arm. Lower your right arm down to grab the outside edge of your left foot. Use your hands grabbing on to your foot to help lengthen your torso up and sink deeper into the pose. Try to work the top of your right shoulder into the ground as you rotate up to the sky.
3. Keep your gaze up to the sky and hold the pose for 30 seconds to one minute. Release and practice again this time switching to the left side.
Benefits
- Stimulates the liver and abdominal organs
- Stretches the hamstrings and calves
- Helps to relax the brain and de-stress
- Stretches the spine, shoulders, and chest
- Stretches obliques and side of torso

Cautions
- Knee or wrist injury, use modifications
- Asthma
- Back Injury

- See more at: http://www.mryoga.com/seated/#sthash.96YzpF2j.dpuf

streda 18. septembra 2013

Crazy Backbends I.


BACKBEND YOGA POSES:
Improves spinal flexibility and strength creating better posture, stimulates the central nervous system, abdominal organs and aids in digestion, tones the adrenal glands, kidney, pancreas and liver thyroid gland, abdominal organs and lungs, stretches the chest, lungs, upper and lower back, throat, shoulders, hip flexors, can relieve menstrual cramping and menopause for women, and calms the mind. - See more at: http://www.mryoga.com/backbends/#sthash.dcH4qROd.dpuf
BACKBEND YOGA POSES:
Improves spinal flexibility and strength creating better posture, stimulates the central nervous system, abdominal organs and aids in digestion, tones the adrenal glands, kidney, pancreas and liver thyroid gland, abdominal organs and lungs, stretches the chest, lungs, upper and lower back, throat, shoulders, hip flexors, can relieve menstrual cramping and menopause for women, and calms the mind.








BACKBEND YOGA POSES:
Improves spinal flexibility and strength creating better posture, stimulates the central nervous system, abdominal organs and aids in digestion, tones the adrenal glands, kidney, pancreas and liver thyroid gland, abdominal organs and lungs, stretches the chest, lungs, upper and lower back, throat, shoulders, hip flexors, can relieve menstrual cramping and menopause for women, and calms the mind. - See more at: http://www.mryoga.com/backbends/#sthash.dcH4qROd.dpuf
BACKBEND YOGA POSES:
Improves spinal flexibility and strength creating better posture, stimulates the central nervous system, abdominal organs and aids in digestion, tones the adrenal glands, kidney, pancreas and liver thyroid gland, abdominal organs and lungs, stretches the chest, lungs, upper and lower back, throat, shoulders, hip flexors, can relieve menstrual cramping and menopause for women, and calms the mind. - See more at: http://www.mryoga.com/backbends/#sthash.dcH4qROd.dpufedsw
BACKBEND YOGA POSES:
Improves spinal flexibility and strength creating better posture, stimulates the central nervous system, abdominal organs and aids in digestion, tones the adrenal glands, kidney, pancreas and liver thyroid gland, abdominal organs and lungs, stretches the chest, lungs, upper and lower back, throat, shoulders, hip flexors, can relieve menstrual cramping and menopause for women, and calms the mind. - See more at: http://www.mryoga.com/backbends/#sthash.dcH4qROd.dpuf

utorok 17. septembra 2013

Bridge Pose Variations

Bridge Pose - Setu Bandha Sarvangasana
(SET-too BAHN-dah)
setu = dam, dike, or bridge
bandha = lock 

BACKBEND YOGA POSES:
Improves spinal flexibility and strength creating better posture, stimulates the central nervous system, abdominal organs and aids in digestion, tones the adrenal glands, kidney, pancreas and liver thyroid gland, abdominal organs and lungs, stretches the chest, lungs, upper and lower back, throat, shoulders, hip flexors, can relieve menstrual cramping and menopause for women, and calms the mind. - See more at: http://www.mryoga.com/backbends/#sthash.PaEYVQFA.dpu

Benefits

  • Stretches the chest, neck, and spine
  • Calms the brain and helps alleviate stress and mild depression
  • Stimulates abdominal organs, lungs, and thyroid
  • Rejuvenates tired legs
  • Improves digestion
  • Helps relieve the symptoms of menopause
  • Relieves menstrual discomfort when done supported
  • Reduces anxiety, fatigue, backache, headache, and insomnia
  • Therapeutic for asthma, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, and sinusitis

Therapeutic Applications

  • Stress






BACKBEND YOGA POSES:
Improves spinal flexibility and strength creating better posture, stimulates the central nervous system, abdominal organs and aids in digestion, tones the adrenal glands, kidney, pancreas and liver thyroid gland, abdominal organs and lungs, stretches the chest, lungs, upper and lower back, throat, shoulders, hip flexors, can relieve menstrual cramping and menopause for women, and calms the mind. - See more at: http://www.mryoga.com/backbends/#sthash.PaEYVQFA.dpuf
BACKBEND YOGA POSES:
Improves spinal flexibility and strength creating better posture, stimulates the central nervous system, abdominal organs and aids in digestion, tones the adrenal glands, kidney, pancreas and liver thyroid gland, abdominal organs and lungs, stretches the chest, lungs, upper and lower back, throat, shoulders, hip flexors, can relieve menstrual cramping and menopause for women, and calms the mind. - See more at: http://www.mryoga.com/backbends/#sthash.PaEYVQFA.dpuf
BACKBEND YOGA POSES:
Improves spinal flexibility and strength creating better posture, stimulates the central nervous system, abdominal organs and aids in digestion, tones the adrenal glands, kidney, pancreas and liver thyroid gland, abdominal organs and lungs, stretches the chest, lungs, upper and lower back, throat, shoulders, hip flexors, can relieve menstrual cramping and menopause for women, and calms the mind. - See more at: http://www.mryoga.com/backbends/#sthash.PaEYVQFA.dpuf
BACKBEND YOGA POSES:
Improves spinal flexibility and strength creating better posture, stimulates the central nervous system, abdominal organs and aids in digestion, tones the adrenal glands, kidney, pancreas and liver thyroid gland, abdominal organs and lungs, stretches the chest, lungs, upper and lower back, throat, shoulders, hip flexors, can relieve menstrual cramping and menopause for women, and calms the mind. - See more at: http://www.mryoga.com/backbends/#sthash.PaEYVQFA.dpuf
BACKBEND YOGA POSES:
Improves spinal flexibility and strength creating better posture, stimulates the central nervous system, abdominal organs and aids in digestion, tones the adrenal glands, kidney, pancreas and liver thyroid gland, abdominal organs and lungs, stretches the chest, lungs, upper and lower back, throat, shoulders, hip flexors, can relieve menstrual cramping and menopause for women, and calms the mind. - See more at: http://www.mryoga.com/backbends/#sthash.PaEYVQFA.dpuf
BACKBEND YOGA POSES:
Improves spinal flexibility and strength creating better posture, stimulates the central nervous system, abdominal organs and aids in digestion, tones the adrenal glands, kidney, pancreas and liver thyroid gland, abdominal organs and lungs, stretches the chest, lungs, upper and lower back, throat, shoulders, hip flexors, can relieve menstrual cramping and menopause for women, and calms the mind. - See more at: http://www.mryoga.com/backbends/#sthash.PaEYVQFA.dpuf

štvrtok 12. septembra 2013

Tree Pose Variation

If the Tree Pose is easy for you, try this variation :)

Vrikshasana/Tree Pose 3
“Vriksh” = Tree, “Asana” = Posture
Tree Pose brings balance to Body and Mind.
Brings Harmony and concentration.

- Strengthens legs, feet, ankles, and spine
- Stretches chest and shoulders
- Reduces flat feet

Cautions: Headache, insomnia, operations and low blood pressure. Any injury ask your doctor.
High blood pressure: Bring hands to hart center.



streda 11. septembra 2013

Tiddenfoot Leisure Centre

Another gym where I cover classes :)

Tiddenfoot Leisure Centre
Mentmore Road
Leighton Buzzard, LU7 2AF

22nd September (Sunday) 10:30-11:30am       Pilates
29th September (Sunday) 10:30-11:30am        Pilates

piatok 6. septembra 2013

Yoga & Crohn's Disease

Crohn's disease, an autoimmune disorder of unknown origin, causes inflammation in the lining of the digestive tract. Signs and symptoms include abdominal pain and cramping, diarrhea, blood in the stool, ulcers, reduced appetite and weight loss, fatigue, fever and skin disorders. Depending of the severity of symptoms, Crohn's disease can limit daily activities and, in some cases, threaten life.

Considerations

While stress does not cause Crohn's disease, it can worsen signs and symptoms. Stress has a physiological impact on the digestive system and can alter normal processes with excessive production of stomach acid, slowed digestion and constipation. Activities including relaxation and breathing exercises can help a Crohn's patient manage stress, which may help prevent flare-ups.

Benefits of Yoga

The practice of yoga combines physical exercises, known as postures, with meditation that focuses on breathing. Yoga postures relieve stress while they strengthen and tone muscles, promote flexibility and massage internal organs. You can practice the meditation aspect of yoga by combining it with postures in a form of moving contemplation or as a separate technique on its own to relax and quiet the mind.

Yoga Postures

Because yoga increases blood flow and stimulates internal organs, a folding posture, such as Standing Forward Bend, or "uttanasana," improves digestion, reduces fatigue, calms the brain and relieves stress. To perform "uttanasana," start with your big toes touching and your heels slightly separated. Slowly fold forward, reaching your hands toward the floor as you lift your sit bones upward. You may find gentle twisting postures, such as "Bharadvaja's twist," useful in combatting symptoms linked to Crohn's disease because they stimulate the digestive organs and improve digestion while relieving stress. Yoga poses help to detoxify your body and can help to speed up the removal of toxins and bacteria in the body. Twisting poses, such as the Triangle Pose with Spinal Twist or Half Spinal Twist give a deep and gentle massage to the internal organs of your body and help to energize the gastrointestinal system. Yoga poses help to improve flexibility, tones and strengthens muscles. For example, the Bow Pose and Cobra Pose helps to tone and strengthen your back muscles and maintains the elasticity of the spine. A strong spine is essential to support and hold you upright. The Fish Pose relieves stiffness in the neck and shoulders and helps to strengthen the arm muscles. On an emotional level, the Fish Pose opens and expands your rib cage which energetically helps to release sadness and sorrow in your heart centre, which leaves you feeling calmer and more expansive. 



 





Meditation

As we know, many physical conditions are aggravated by stress, anxiety and worry. Digestive tract ailments are even more sensitive to these mental states. In addition, suffering with a chronic illness can wreak havoc on our thoughts and emotions. We can begin to start falling into unhealthy and unrealistic thoughts such as worrying that we will never feel better, fearing the unknown future, and even sinking into a woe-is-me pattern. In addition, we can sometimes lose focus on what's positive in our lives- our blessings, and sometime we might not notice that we are taking out our frustrations and fears on those around us- maybe being critical, snippy or jealous. Practicing meditation can help us increase our awareness of our own thoughts and behavior at any given moment, and train ourselves to think logically and positively. We can also help ourselves to avoid thinking about our illness constantly- and to be aware of all the beauty and joy around us.

Frequency

Practice yoga regularly, two to three times per week, to feel the effects of yoga on countering the discomfort associated with chronic illness such as Crohn's disease.

Guided Meditation

Just like learning any new skill (like how to play piano), meditation takes practice. Be prepared to to practice regularly and to have trouble at the beginning. That said, meditating is very easy- especially if you don't put any pressure on yourself. Try to dedicate a minimum of 15 minutes per day. If you can't find that much time, even every-other day or just whatever time you can find, will be helpful.

Find a comfortable place to sit. Some people may find sitting cross-legged on the floor or on a cushion to be hard on their back or knees, so try sitting either on the floor with your back against the couch, on the couch with your legs crossed, or on a chair with your feet flat on the floor. The key is to be comfortable so that you are not waging a war against physical aches and pains- but not so comfortable that you feel sleepy. The goal of meditation is to remain alert and aware- so sit up straight with your back and neck aligned vertically- use back support if you need to, but do not sink your whole weight back into a sofa-chair or you may get sleepy. If you feel sleepy during meditation, try meditating during a more alert time of day, or this may be a sign that you need more sleep.

For the purposes of this tutorial we will use one of the most common objects to meditate on. Your breathing. The in and out of your breath is a natural and rhythmic thing to focus on. Don't try to control your breathing or to breathe in any kind of purposeful or special way. Just breathe naturally and follow it with your mind. As your breath goes in and out you might focus on various aspects of it- the sound, the feeling in your chest, the breeze at your nose- it doesn't matter- focus on what ever aspect of the breath is most noticeable for you. Beginners might also find it easier to stay focused if you count the breaths. Count to 10 then start back over at 1. We aren't keeping score here.

Here's how it goes. Turn off all sources of noise like TV or radio. Find a quiet room. You take your seat, close your eyes, and say to yourself (silently if you want) that you are going to meditate now. Mentally put all other worries, thoughts and tasks aside for later. Take a few deep calming breaths and physically relax your body - especially points of tension like neck, jaw, back, shoulders and stomach. But don't get so relaxed that you aren't sitting up straight.

Now that you're ready, allow your breathing to return to it's normal pattern. Place your mind gently but firmly onto the breath. This means you are focusing on the breathing and not thinking about anything else. You aren't even thinking about meditating or wondering if you are doing it right. Your only thought is the in and out of your breath. Completely clear of all other thoughts or emotions. Keep your mind there firmly but without force. This isn't a wrestling match with your mind.

Since you're a beginner, the first thing you'll notice is that your mind is a spoiled child. It absolutely does not want to remain in one spot. Other thoughts are going to sneak in as subtle thoughts behind the breath, or even full blown distractions where you totally forget about the breath. What am I going to make for dinner? Did I check the mail? Am I doing this right? My leg is itchy, my butt is sore, my throat is dry. Tomorrow I'm going to the movies and that will be fun. Did I pay the phone bill? Remember that time we went to the beach? I like the beach. etc, etc, etc.

Your child-like mind will try to convince you that all these thoughts are suddenly so very important. Your mind is tricky. It will do anything to avoid sitting still. It will even try to snooze if all else fails. The untrained mind does not like to be held in one place on one single mundane, uninteresting thought. But that is the whole point!! Shouldn't we be able to expect our mind to do what we tell it to do? Aren't we in control? What's with all this spoiled-brat chatter? Part of Mindfulness Meditation is training our mind to do what we tell it to do.

Each time you realize your mind has wondered, don't chastise yourself or be disappointed. You haven't failed. The mere act of catching your mind wandering is what we are going for here. Catching your mind wandering means that some tiny corner of your mind was disciplined enough to notice the wandering. That corner is what we want to build on. So when you catch yourself wandering- be happy that you have succeeded in noticing the chatter. Then, gently let go of the current thought, put it on a shelf for later, then place the mind back on the breath. In and out. Clear. Focused. Wandering...... hey! Let go of the chatter. Re-focus. In and out. And so on!

Each time we catch our minds wandering, we make that tiny mindful corner of our mind stronger and more aware of what's going on. Over time, with regular meditation practice we get better and better at staying on the breath. The length of time that we are distracted shortens. The amount of subtle background thoughts lessens. We learn that holding too tight or too loose to the breath causes the mind to slip out like a wet bar of soap. Our ability to remain focused and mindful strengthens.

As we continue to practice we see benefits in our daily lives. We can remain more focused on a task, activity or project. We become less easily distracted. We are more mindful of what's going on around us and what we are thinking. We catch ourselves being too critical or depressed. We notice when we have been thinking about our Crohn's Disease too much and need to let go of those thoughts and have some fun. We develop a more realistic outlook on life and our stress is reduced as we find solutions to our problems or realize that our troubles are not as insurmountable as we thought. We become more compassionate because we realize that just like us, all of our fellow human beings are suffering with their own troubles and worries that we probably can't even see.

Meditation is used by millions of people around the world. Us westerners are late to the realization of what a powerful tool it can be. Even science has begun quantifying proof of the benefits of meditation. Practice your meditation regularly for the best results, and be patient with yourself. Just like learning piano, it will take time to see results- but it's more than worth it!

Guided Meditation

Once you are comfortable laying on your back with palms up, shoulders rolled back, and eyes closed. Breath and relax,  return to your regular breathing pattern. Clear your mind.

Begin to see a beautiful bright red orb forming between your legs just below your gentiles. This is the first chakra, Muladhara chakra. This chakra rules connection, support, money and community. Focus on this red orb, just observe it, do not try and change it. Then as you inhale feel this beautiful red energy flow up your spine and through your body, feel connected and supported as you do this.
Next move up the the space just above the gentiles between the hips. See a beautiful bright orange orb there. This is the second charka, Svadhistana charka. This chakra rules the sex organs, the bladder, lower intestines and everything fluid in the body. It deals with sexual energy, creativity and fluidity. Watch this beautiful orange orb, see its size, if it moves, what is its shape? Then as you inhale, watch this beautiful orange energy move up your spine and through your body, move with the flow, and feel creative.

Now move just slightly above the hips to the solar plexus, just below the bellybutton. See the beautiful yellow orb there. This is the third chakra, Manipura chakra. This chakra rules self-esteem, ego, confidence, and the balance between them. Notice the color and size of this chakra. How large? How small? As you inhale feel this beautiful yellow energy flow up your spine and through your body, feel confident and humble with this.

Bring your attention to the heart. The heart is either green or pink in color, use whatever one comes to you first. The heart is the fourth chakra, Anahata chakra. Anahata rules the chest, breasts, arms, circulatory system and lungs. Anahata also holds all of the deeds that we have never forgiven ourselves for, love and kindness. As you breath this beautiful heart energy up your spine and through your body, forgive yourself for the past, feel love fill you.

Focus on your throat, see a beautiful turquoise orb of energy there. This is the fifth chakra, Vishuddha chakra. Vishuddha rules the modes of communication, speaking and hearing. It allows to hear the truth in other’s words, and to speak truthfully and clearly. Notice this orb, how fast or slow is it moving? Inhale and bring that beautiful energy up, and through your body, feel understanding and clarity with this.

Notice the place between your eyebrows on your forehead. See a beautiful dark midnight blue orb there. This is the sixth chakra, Ajna chakra. This the the space of the true Self, the Spirit, and rules the aspect of sight, both inner and outer. Ajna gives us wisdom and insight. As you inhale this beautiful energy up to your crown and threw your body, feel wise and true.

Finally notice at the crown of your head a beautiful royal purple orb of color. This is the seventh chakra, Sahasrara chakra. It connects us the whatever power we believe is above and/or greater than us. It could be God/dess, the Universe, or just Karma. Whatever you believe to be above you, connect with it threw this chakra. Notice the orb and ask yourself how you can be more like this power above you. Exhale and feel this beautiful connection as a blanket of pure white light wraps your body. Feel open, fluid, free and safe.

Now relax (take at least five minuets).

When you are ready to come out of your meditation, slowly bring your awareness back into your physical body. Deepen your breath, then wiggle your fingers and toes. Start making circles with your wrists, ankles and finally your neck. Curl up into the fetal position and lay to either your left or your right, whatever feels best. Feel refreshed and revitalized by your practice. Each moment has never been lived before, it is always new and fresh. Slowly come back up to a seated position. Bring your hands to a prayer position at your heart bow and say “Namaste”

pondelok 2. septembra 2013

Luton Bannatyne Health & Fitness

Bannatyne Health & Fitness Luton
1 Regent Street, Luton, LU15FA


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