When I went on my first yoga retreat, I had young children - I was sooo scared and had very mixed feelings.
The first day on retreat - I slowed down and slept & then I settled in to rejuvenating activities to care for me. The person I used to call "Daniella" returned and I had new energy to take back home to family and at work. The wellness gems I learned and friendships that I made on retreat were gold ! I kept practicing what I learned both on retreat and then after my yoga teacher training five years later, I set up Yogarama Retreats.
A few years after I began teaching - I had a devoted community of like-minded yoga students, for all ages and yoga levels. BUT... I wanted to offer my students and myself more than just a yoga class. I learned to teach meditation in India and incorporated meditation into my practice and teachings. Still, I felt more was needed to support our community.
Ten years on, my passion is hosting yoga and mindful meditation retreats that free you from a daily routine and inspire you to get out of your comfort zone. Designed to take you on a journey of self-discovery. To Find yourself. Reconnect with what matters most and disconnect from what doesn't. Find what makes your body deeply relax and destress. To find what energizes and inspires you to move, dance, or even sing.
I am truly grateful for all the kind and creative yoga teachers and students that have contributed over the many years. Each one of you has shown up in a unique and loving way to nurture and nourish each other and I honor and thank each and every one of you. ......
What if we could use the power of our breath to transform our overactive, high-energy mind into a more relaxed and calm state of being - releasing unwanted emotions?
Our bodies are programmed to easily access our flight-or-fight state response system, also known as an acute stress response. This release of hormones triggers our sympathetic nervous system to RESPOND! A characteristic that helped homosapiens survive predators, but in the modern era, sometimes this response is often triggered by things that are not life or death situations. We are programmed from a young age to keep our eyes on the future and our goals, always moving forward. However, this constant need to move fast has caused a society full of stressed out, overworked individuals, and too many shallow breathers.
As humans, when we enter an uneasy situation, our blood pressure rises and we subconsciously begin to enter our flight-or-fight mode. Our heart rate increases, our chest tightens, and without even realizing it we are breathing from the chest- shallow and quick. This shallow breathing essentially feeds into our overwhelming emotions offering zero assistance in calming our nerves. Panic rises and a foggy mind presents itself, hindering our ability to look at a situation with logic.
A calm, deep breath, and control over it, is needed to keep relative balance within the mind and body. But how do we tap into the power of our breath before we enter into our fight-or-flight state?
To activate our more calm side, we need to utilize our entire diaphragm while controlling our breath in order to tap into our rest-and-digest, or parasympathetic response. The belly must rise with every inhale and it must fall with every exhale, completely. To activate the parasympathetic nervous system, our calm state of being, our exhales must extend longer than our inhales. It is through our exhales we learn to let go and we truly feel that sensation of release.
Taking control of our breath takes work and can seem like a full-time job. At first, it takes a lot of conscious thinking and doing to establish a habit like deep breathwork. It will be challenging, but if you start small, like within your yoga practice, you will find that the tools you learn on your mat will only naturally carry with you when you venture off of your mat.
To understand our breath, we must first spend some time with it. Truly listen to the breathing patterns throughout the day. Carry a journal with you, take notes of how you feel during certain situations and the way you are breathing during them. We cannot control something we do not fully understand, so make friends with your breath. The more you sit with your breath, the easier it will become to navigate through your daily emotions. Anxiety cannot fully present itself if we are breathing completely, not just from the chest.
Below are a few breathing techniques we can use to help establish more breath and body awareness within our daily lives.
1. 3-Part Yogic BREATH
This simple breathing technique will be your go to during any moments of sadness, anger, anxiety, excitement, etc. I suggest beginning each morning with at least 3-5 minutes of deep belly breathing. Find a comfortable spot. Ideally, you want to be able to close your eyes, however, this technique can be performed at any time and anywhere.
Relax the shoulders away from the ears and lengthen through the crown of the head. Take a deep inhale through the nose and notice how the belly rises, the ribs expand to the sides, and the chest lifts. Exhale slowly, yet forcefully out of the mouth. Notice every sensation. Repeat.
Focus on nothing but the rhythm of the breath. The way it feels as it flows into your body and the way it feels as you release and let it go. Your breath is your anchor. Familiarize yourself with it, you’re here to make friends with it.
How to do it: Nadhi sodhana can be done seated or lying down. To start, empty all the air from your lungs. Using the thumb of your dominant hand, block your right nostril and inhale through your left nostril only. Be sure to inhale into your belly, not your chest. Once you are full of breath, seal your left nostril with the ring finger of the same hand, keeping your right nostril closed, and hold the breath for a moment. Then release your thumb and exhale through your right nostril only. Be sure to exhale all the breath out of the right side and pause before inhaling again through the same side. Seal both nostrils once you’ve inhaled on the right side and exhaled through the left side. A complete cycle of breath includes an inhalation and exhalation through both nostrils. If you’re just starting out, you can do a four-count inhale, holding your breath for four to eight counts, then exhale for four counts. Perform up to ten cycles and notice how your body responds. You may feel more relaxed and calm in both your mind and body.
3. UJJAYI PRANAYAMA (OCEAN | VICTORIOUS BREATH)“You and I are all as much continuous with the physical universe as a wave is continuous with the ocean.” ~ Alan Watts
Ocean breath is a very calming, yet energizing technique primarily used while holding asanas (poses) Ujjayi has a balancing influence on the entire cardiorespiratory system, releases feelings of irritation and frustration, and helps calm the mind and body
How to do it: Close your lips and start to take sow, long, active inhales through your nose. Take an inhalation through your nose that is slightly deeper than normal. While contracting the muscles in the back of your throat, exhale slowly through your nose.
Simple breath awareness is an excellent meditation technique. As you breathe consciously through the nose, recall that this magnificent function has been with you since the moment of your birth and will be with you until your final exhale of this precious life.
HELPFUL TIPS FOR GETTING STARTED
Asana, Pranayama, Mudra, Bandha. Saraswati. Bihar School of Yoga. 1999
Information from article by Joella Erin
In the coolers days of winter it can be a real struggle to get up & onto a yoga mat. At this time of year the idea of hibernating until spring grows ever more appealing! What we do know is that a regular yoga practice is one of your best defences against illness and remedies when a bug does strike.
It is important that we change with the seasons just as nature does by adapting our daily habits, yoga practice and food choices. During the winter , the energy of the Earth and its creatures is drawn inward. We can use this time for restoration and introspection, just as many plants and animals use it for hibernation. In preparation for the spring, it is important to slow down and rejuvenate.
Here are your top Winter survival tips:
WINTER YOGA POSES
The winter months are notorious for colds and flus, so poses that open the chest, throat and sinuses will aid in improving congestion and supporting your respiratory organs. The following poses are metabolically invigorating and help to warm the kidneys and clear phlegm.
1. SUN SALUTATION (SURYA NAMASKARA):This invigorating invocation to your yoga practice helps build heat in the body.
2. FISH POSE (MATSYASANA):This supine backbend/inversion opens the throat and chest.
3. BOW POSE (DHANURASANA):Open your chest with this backbend.
4. SHOULDERSTAND (SALAMBA SARVANGASANA):This supported inversion helps with stagnation of lymph. Hold for at least eight breaths
5. LOCUST POSE (SALABHASANA):This “baby backbend” opens the chest while strengthening the back.
6. KAPALABHATI BREATHING,a practice that builds internal heat and eliminates mucus from the respiratory tract. These are rapid, sharp exhales, passive inhales, and a snapping of your lower abdomen. You can start with cycles of 30 breaths and gradually increase up to 100, for 3-5 rounds.
WINTER FOODS- WARMING THE BODY AND SOUL
If your natural tendency is to eat warmer and heartier meals during the winter, you are on the right track! In response to cold weather, the body constricts the pores on your skin and the superficial connective tissue to prevent heat loss. This directs heat away from the peripheral tissues and into the body’s core. Because of this, your appetite becomes stronger in winter.
However, although we are designed to eat more in the winter, the selection of foods is still important. Try to pick foods that will keep your immune system vibrant and that minimize congestion.
Addressing Creaky Joints
To address the creakiness and stiffness that seems to get worse at this time of year I moisturise my skin with warming oils such as almond or sesame and use extra oil on my food to nourish my body inside and out. (its WD40 for the body!).
Benefits of a winter yoga practice
1. Yoga is Warm
Chances are, the cold makes you feel stiff and sluggish. All the more reason to roll out your yoga mat.
Warming up your muscles and joints is good for the body, improving circulation, reducing stiffness and cramping, and helping you warm up. Building heat from the inside can keep you moving all day.
2. Yoga Boosts Your Immune System
Regular exercise strengthens the immune system, making your body ready to fight off the cold and flu viruses floating around this time of year. And unless you live in a bubble, you better believe you will be exposed to something.
Keep that first line of defence ready to battle the germs with lots of rest, water, and of course, yoga three times a week or more.
3. Yoga Boosts Your Energy, Too
The short days, dark evenings, little sunshine, and drab winter clouds can leave you feeling sluggish. The best way to boost your body’s energy level naturally is with regular exercise. As little as 3-4 hours per week is all it takes to kick your body into gear.
Have trouble getting out of bed in the morning? Sleep in your yoga clothes, then roll out of bed and into the studio — no excuses!
4. Yoga Improves Those Long Winter Naps
You might find yourself tossing and turning, making those 8 hours not as efficient as they could be. Make sure you stick to your bedtime routine — don’t stay up 'til midnight drinking spiked vegan egg nog and expect to wake up feeling refreshed.
Stop eating two hours before bed, go to bed at a decent hour, and try some soothing lavender tea or a chamomile eye pillow. I always down a glass of filtered spring water mixed with a teaspoon of magnesium (for restful sleep and relaxed muscles) and a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. The vitamins and probiotics do their work overnight while I sleep, leaving me feeling energized in the morning.
5. Yoga Opens Your Heart
Want to say “Bah, humbug” to the holidays this year? Don’t get yourself down. Hitting the yoga studio will help you deal with the blues that often accompany the season.
Practicing simple principles such as compassion and being in the moment in your yoga class will help you be a duck in the water — the negativity will simply roll off your back. Make time for pranayama and meditation practice. When your mind is happy and calm, you will be happy and calm.
6. Yoga Keeps You in Balance
Winter seems to give us a reason to over-indulge. All the holiday parties, cookies, candies, treats, and cocktails can pack on the extra pounds. Shed the guilt by balancing your indulgences with some calorie-burning asana classes. There should be no reason why you can’t enjoy the tastes of the season as long as you keep it in balance.
Go ahead, enjoy a cranberry martini and chocolate cannoli! Just limit your portion and burn it off the next day in class.
7. Yoga Will Keep You Grounded
The seasons come and go. Winter turns to spring, and fall into winter. We go through times in our lives full of prosperity, and others are in poverty. As the world changes around us, our time on the mat can be a consistent source of comfort and grace.
Knowing you can count on your yoga practice promotes mental clarity, a sense of security, and a healthy muladhara chakra. Keep it up. No matter what is changing in your life or in the world around you. Yoga is peace, and peace is the language of the world
Thank you. Article taken from: https://love2yoga.co.uk/blog/f/maintain-a-regular-yoga-practice-in-winter
MINDFUL IN MAY
Throughout May, I have continued to practice a daily 10 to 20 minutes of mindful meditation - for me, meditation set up a foundation for being more grounded and present in all my thoughts words & actions.
The benefits of the 10 mins practice are cumulative including:
- reduced stress
- learning to communicate more calmly
- managing difficult emotions - anger, fear and anxiety
- greater focus and clarity
- increased presence in your life
INCREDIBLY & REWARDING HARD WORK...
There is no doubt that mindful meditation is incredibly HARD work....It is almost impossible to sit in stillness. It took 6 months of connecting to a guided soothing voice to give me permission to be still and accept whatever thoughts and emotions were going on.
The mind is extremely busy and it is always a struggle to achieve a deep sense of relaxation. Yoga, through its asana (movement) and pranayama (breath work) is a tool to release the agitation in the body, by connecting mindful movement and breath. As the layers of tightness, tension and stress are released, in a practice, space is created in the body and in the mind.
EMOTIONAL ENERGY RELEASE
Mindful in May experts have revealed to me how the body holds emotional energy - in the heart we hold sadness, in the belly we hold fear and in the jaw & throat we hold anger and are silenced from expressing our true creative yourself. This science aligns to the ancient wisdom of the Chakra energy wheels (the essence of Yogarama classes).
NEW MINDFUL BEGINNING
Now is the time, to invite in the practice of 10 mins of mindfulness - invite a new beginning. Start TODAY ... with our mindful meditation on-line and/or in person and continue the practice daily...
Dance movement to music can be freeing and healing to the body and mind - particularly when it holds excess stress and tension.
At Yogarama Retreats in the bush, we shared a freeing dance movement as the sunset - retreaters wore blindfolds or some simply closed their eyes for a full hour of free movement - each mindful movement feels great in the body,
Chakradance™ is a well-being movement practice that uses spontaneous dance, to specific chakra-resonant music, for the purpose of healing and re-tuning your whole mind-body-spirit energy system.
Similar to other free-flowing dance programs the benefits include better relationships, improved confidence, and self-esteem, inspired creativity and the freedom to express yourself.
At the heart of Chakradance is the music and the beat. For all of us, the seven major chakras are the energetic gateways through which body, mind and spirit come together, literally embodying the soul.
The full moon is a wonderful time to release energy so downlaod the FREEDOM Chakra dance MP3 below and get some movement flowing in your body aligned with the next powerful full moon...
Although dancing has not been my thing since I was a teenager - the type of yoga dance is a free-flowing meditative yoga experience that I am so pleased to share with you - women of all ages from - particularly those like that have not put on their dancing shoes for many decades.
You are invited to download a free gift - the FREEDOM Chakra dance music and get some movement flowing in your body... EMAIL ME: to request the MP3.
Why Is Sleep Important?
Sleep is sooo important because it can help us physically heal, recover from illness, deal with stress, solve problems, consolidate memories, and improves motor skills. A good night’s sleep isn’t just about how many hours of sleep you get, but also the quality of that sleep. There are two essential kinds of sleep: non-rapid eye movement sleep (NREM) and rapid eye movement sleep (REM).
There are many ways that yoga can help improve the quality of sleep:
Yoga and Insomnia
Insomnia is the inability to fall asleep or stay asleep. Insomnia can have many long-term effects, including daytime sleepiness and impairment, memory loss, and mood changes. Studies have demonstrated that yoga can be beneficial in managing sleep problems such as insomnia. Yoga can especially benefit particular groups of people with insomnia, such as postmenopausal women and women with breast cancer.
What Types of Yoga Help You Sleep?
There are many types of yoga that provide health and wellness benefits. During the day, any type of yoga practice is appropriate, so long as the user is comfortable. High-activity forms of yoga, such as vinyasa or hot yoga, are a good type of moderate to high exercise. Such exercise, when done at least several hours before bedtime, can help you sleep better at night.
Since high-activity yoga forms elevate the heart rate, it’s best to avoid these practices right before bedtime. People who wish to practice yoga nearer to bedtime will find a slower and restorative type of yoga more suitable:
Poses done before bedtime should encourage the body to relax and sleep. Recommendations among yoga instructors and physicians vary, but the following poses are commonly suggested:
If you have concerns about your yoga practice, consult a yoga teacher for a private session or a clinician. Remember that yoga is not a substitute for medical treatment. In the event of persistent sleep disturbances or other concerns, consult your physician to develop a treatment plan.
Yogarama is doing our part to help make your sleep serve you. Sleep Week is 13-19 March 2022
Chronic inflammation is something you want to avoid long-term. At the 2021 Global Yoga Therapy Conference, I learned how a regular yoga & meditation practice can reduce chronic inflammation, that underlies so many modern day conditions from irritable bowel syndrome to eczema to heart disease.
The Science Behind Inflammation
Inflammation is actually an essential defense mechanism - its a protective process to ensure an infection or injury can be dealt with. It typically lasts a short while and is referred to as acute inflammation, where the body then returns to a state of balance. The immune system sends out signaling molecules to the site of issue and this signaling initiates an inflammatory response to promote the removal of the issue and healing.
Unlike acute inflammation, chronic inflammation can cause more harm than good. A prolonged inflammatory response is often due to factors relating to our diet and lifestyle.
Chronic Inflammation underlies many modern day diseases
In our modern world, chronic inflammation is most commonly caused by our intake of sugar, alcohol and preservatives, our exposure to toxins in food and the environment and infections and sedentary behaviours.
These factors put pressure on the body's systems. They cause imbalances and increase the damage and injury within the body’s tissue.
Weeks, months and even years of damaging activities cause inflammation to continue. It's purpose is to repair the damage in your body, but this level of inflammation may be too much and certain body systems may become dysfunctional as a result. We may not see the consequences of this low level of persistent inflammation for some time, until a body system can no longer perform its optimal function because of it. That’s when disease sets in and the symptoms start to show.
Sometimes the symptoms can be mild and affect a non-essential body system. Other times it affects a critical organ, with severe and dangerous accompanying symptoms.
This type of chronic inflammation can cause heart disease or autoimmune disorders like irritable bowel syndrome, eczema, hormone imbalances, even forms of arthritis where inflammation begins to destroy otherwise healthy tissues in the body system.
In summary inflammation is a necessary and essential defence and repair process of the body in the short term, but can result in chronic disease if left unchecked.
The good news
Managing inflammation can help you achieve optimal health. The good news is there are plenty of diet and lifestyle changes along with therapies, including yoga therapy, that can be implemented at any age to reduce the impact of inflammation in your life.
Reach out if you would like to know more about the benefits of yoga and meditation to help reduce conditions related to chronic inflammation. email: email@example.com
To all Yogis...
Be at Peace
From India's Ganges River to Sydney's Wylies Baths -
A yoga & meditation Ritual
India is a spiritual and healing place for me.
Having travelled through India with a group of nine adventurous and bold women in 2017, I returned in 2019 to an Ayurveda healing retreat where I spent 10 nourishing days in Rishikesh India with like-minded yogis.
It is devastating to hear how many people in India including the yogis I met, are suffering from the COVID pandemic. On international yoga day I am calling on the Yogarama community to support the people in India the birthplace of yoga.
Swami Ji is an experienced & inspiring yoga teacher trainer and has taught thousands of yogis world-wide online to practice and teach yoga during COVID. My sister, Monica, became a yoga teacher during COVID in gratitude to Swami. He has an amazing team in Rishikesh and we hope these funds supports them too.
INTERNATIONAL YOGA DAY Fundraiser for INDIA
From India's Ganges River to Sydney's Wylies Baths yoga & meditation ritual:
FUNDRAISER EVENT IS LIVE ON-LINE
1200 pm Sunday 20th June 2021 - from Rishikesh to Wylie's Baths
1200 pm Monday 21st June 2021 - International Yoga Day - On-Line
0600 pm Monday 21st June 2021 - International Yoga Day - On-Line (Repeat)
1155 am Set yourself up in a comfy space in your own home
1200 pm: Welcome and Introduction
1205 pm Swami Ji, D'vine yoga - Integrating yoga in daily life through asana & pranayama.
1210 pm Pranayama - shining breath
1215 pm Asana - movement meditation
1255 pm Svasana - rest and meditation
0110 pm Wrap up by Daniella
0115 pm Close and Thank you
This event is honouring the birth place of yoga, India. Yogarama is hosting a fundraiser for India to help support those suffering from the COVID pandemic. From the Ganges River in Rishikesh to Wylie's Baths, Sydney our yogi, Swami. Ji will lead us in an uplifting yoga class for all, from beginners to experienced.
Swami Ji is an experienced yoga teacher trainer and has taught thousands of yogis world-wide online to practice and teach yoga during COVID. He will be leading the class on Zoom.
Please make your donation and find your sacred space on the mat at home on zoom or at Wylies Baths with the Yogarama community.
Bookings are essential and donations are encouraged.
Funds donated will provide medical supplies to those in India in need.
Clinical Trials Support Health Benefits of Yoga & Meditation - New Podcast Series
Give someone you care about a special xmas gift of your presence - a precious present and it costs nothing!
With silly season upon us, I believe it’s important to prioritise your presence, over presents.
With the COVID pandemic related stress and the stress of the silly season, you may find yourself worrying about your health, your finances, your loved ones, or your sense of security. These concerns are all valid and they’re shared by millions of other Australians.
Worry and stress can seriously distract from the here & now. I’m here to help you manage your stress to stay healthy and happy and mindfully present.
How to Mitigate Stress and Manage Symptoms
It's important to know the impacts of stress:
Acute stress, or short-term stress is brought on by one specific event, increases your heart rate and tenses your muscles. Our fight-or-flight system kicks on and helps us through short-term stressors, such as the acute stress giving you the energy to get to the hospital in an emergency like a broken arm.
Chronic stress affects you over months or even years. It can cause painful muscle tightness and headaches, hormonal shifts, lowered immunity, gastro-intestinal disruptions, and changes in libido as well as psychological issues like anxiety, depression, and burnout. There is evidence that chronic stress may serious impact your health. It leads to chronic conditions such as depression, anxiety, obesity, diabetes, psoriasis, irritable bowel syndrome and more.”
The best advice I can give is to eat healthily, do regular exercise like gentle yoga and cardio workout, meditate & continue to keep a healthy distance to stop the pandemic spread. All of this can have positive impact on your overall physical and mental health.
Stress management tips:
Try to understand why you feel stressed and figure out what you can do to decrease that sense of stress.
Pay attention to yourself as a whole human, not just as someone who deals with stress. Stress should not affect you giving plenty of self-care to yourself (take a hot bath, walk in nature) or seek care from others.
Don’t forget to stay connected. Even though many of us are still physically separated from friends and family, lean on support groups around you, including your family, friends, and fellow chronic warriors. They can provide the comfort of a listening ear and a shared experience, and remind you that as difficult as this is, we’re all in it together.
Daniella Goldberg has a love of yoga and a passion for mindful meditation. Through her Hatha-Flow classes, she gently guides her students to grow strong, be flexible, focused and mindful, on and off the mat.