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My dance with yoga began when I was only 5 years old – as a hyperactive child that could not sit still. I was regularly overwhelmed with so much to do & was sent to yoga classes to keep me calm and centred.
Despite my early yoga training to keep me balanced, my personality has always been a less balanced VATA type – that is constantly busy, doing too much and getting stressed out or anxious….
Stressed out Science Student
For better or worse, I spent most of my early adult hood as a poor & stressed out University student finally completing a medical science doctorate, the highest of all post-graduate degrees. With very little income, I could not justify paying large sums of money for yoga classes and instead would jog in the streets and parks – jogging is free !!!.
Stressed Out Working Mum
Ten years later as a wife and then mother of two beautiful children, I continued jogging to destress with no time for yoga classes in my busy day as a working mother. My stress increased as my job and children became more demanding… I was heading for a nervous breakdown as I began shouting and crying at the smallest issues. It was clear that things could not continue as they were. My doctor then diagnosed me with a thyroid condition and the appearance of a small lump in my thyroid – I was frightened it could be cancer!
It was at this point that I left my job and began attending regular yoga classes to heal my thyroid condition. I had read that yoga was particularly good for balancing hormones.
Within six months of regular yoga practice and leaving my job, I began to feel better, my thyroid was back to normal and the lump had shrunk, and my relationships with my family, and friends as well as my career had improved.
A Scientific Yoga Teacher
I became intrigued to understand how yoga worked on a molecular and cellular level to balance my hormone. Ironically, my medical research doctorate was studying hormones, mainly for osteoporosis, so I knew lots about hormones already.
I decided to study yoga to be a teacher…That’s for another blog. Nowadays, my classes always include at least one yoga sequence that is critical in balancing hormones as everyone of us experiences hormone imbalances and may not even know it. I have integrated mindful meditation into my practice to quieten the mind and I look forward to sharing this with you.
That’s a bit about me and my yoga journey and I’d love to hear about you. Until then....
Click here for further information about yoga poses that may nurture the thryoid or watch the yoga video.
Tomorrow is International Calm Day and this is the perfect time to share top tips on how to use your breath to keep you calm.
We all spend so many of our waking hours rushing around getting stressed about things we don’t like & attending to our endless lists of Things to Do – for the day, the week or even the year ahead.
I’d like to encourage you to always take a breath to keep calm when you feel stressed out. Learn to access your breath on International Calm Day to help you keep centred when facing life’s more challenging moments. Your breath can help you destress and calm your body and mind - and its empowering to know that your breath is always with you no matter where you go.
Entire books have been written on the benefits of correct breathing and the many techniques that have been passed on from ancient teachings. If you find this blog interesting I encourage you to explore a range of books written by yogi’s BKS Iyengar, Donna Fahri and a recent one by. For now, here is a calming breath exercise that I teach in my yoga classes at the beautiful Wylie's Baths in Coogee and its for you to try out at home, in the office or wherever you are.
CALMING BREATH EXERCISE
The calming breath exercise can be practiced both in sitting or lying position and is ideal for beginners. Below is my instruction on how to practice this breath exercise which is variation of the viloma breath which is a B.K.S Iyengar technique. In this breath exercise inhaling and exhaling is not a continuous process, but one that is interrupted by several pauses.
I will also be teaching this at my yoga & mindfulness retreat coming up this weekend and later this year - hope you can join me.
How to Practice The Calming Breath (Viloma) Exercise
If you want to try some excellent on-line Mindfulness Tools, download the "calm" app. and you can use their on-line resources for free on International Calm Day.
Following the recent Body-Mind Centering Workshop with Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen, I am keen to share my experience and hopefully a lesson about Ahimsa - to do no harm to your body when practicing yoga.
Ahimsa "non-violence is on the top of the list of yamas, or ethical guidelines, that form the foundations of Patanjali's eight limbed system of yoga described in the classic, yoga sutras.
“Non-violence" (ahimsa) is not a garment to put on and off at will. Its seat is in the heart, and it must be an inseparable part of our very being.” - Mahatma Gandhi
Almost all the healthcare professionals attending the Body-Mind Centering Workshop were practicing yoga or yoga teachers themselves. Through gentle breathing and yoga (asana) practice, healthcare professionals are discovering the benefits for healing their patients.
Ms Cohen explained that healing is an experiential process which can be supported through touch, breath and movement. She facilitated the experiential tuning into your body's inner cellular movement such as blood flow or lymph movement and aligning this with the external expression of movement through space. The expressive movements Bonnie talked about were often similar to yoga flow movements.
I believe that meditation at the beginning of each yoga class is so important to give you the time and space to tune in and acknowledge how you are feeling in your body, mind and spirit, before you start your asana (yoga poses). Your yoga practice becomes nurturing and healing once the meditation is there to guide you.
On Sunday, I went to an early morning advanced yoga class which I often attend. I arrived a bit late and missed the meditation practice before class. Throughout the class, I was neither tuned into my intention nor aware of how I was feeling in my body and mind, having missed the meditation.
On that day, yoga poses that I have done hundreds of times before seemed so much more challenging!
Meditation followed by warm up stretches are an essential component at the beginning of my classes at Wylies Baths. Mindful meditation and Savasana at the end of our yoga practice also have an enormous role in the healing process - that's a story for another blog..
The gentle yoga and meditation is key to nurturing & healing your body and doing no harm. The importance of meditation before you practice the asana (poses) is vital - so be on time, if not early so as not to miss it out one of the most important part of the practice - meditation.
Try this Mindful Breathing Exercise To Get You Started Here or download the Smiling Minds app. for mindful meditation for kids or adults.
Looking forward to seeing you on the mat at Wylie's Baths at our Beginners Yoga Class Tuesday 930am or our Foundation Class Friday 9am - both ideal for beginners and gentle yoga.
Join us at our upcoming yoga retreats 7-9 April at Swami's Yoga Retreat and in India for a 10 day yoga journey in October 2017. India Yoga & Wellness Tour is here. INDIA INFO NIGHT IS THIS THURSDAY.
As a working mum, my most precious & frightening memories were leaving my baby & toddler for a weekend yoga retreat to help me replenish my mind, body & spirit which were so utterly exhausted!
With grown up kids now, I have made it my mission to give back life balance to all those amazing mums (& dads) with heavy shoulders, as they do everything possible in their waking hours to nurture happy children, partner, friends, family, career and a home that is running continuously and smoothly without a break!!!.
As a mum (& dad) you give of yourself whole heartedly to those helpless & beautiful precious babies that continue to grow up to be busy children, then wicked teenagers and responsible young adults - hopefully.....
We tend to lose touch with our inner self as committed parents - that strong and centred person inside us of can become disconnected with our true self. It's important to have time out on our own - even though it is so terrifying!
It may seem so far out of your reach to take time out for a weekend away in the bush to nurture yourself & be amongst nature. Amazingly the earth continues to revolve and your family will step up (most of the time) when you decide to commit.
Our weekend Yoga Bush Retreat 7-9 April 2017 welcomes mums & dads of all ages inviting them to take time out to relax & replenish in a tranquil destination of 63 acres of bushland located less than an hour drive north west of Sydney.
Would love you to join - if you are ready to get back to nature & nurture yourself - please register here.
Yoga & Mindful Meditation class dedicated to World Peace & driving greater change for women and moving closer to gender parity on International Women’s Day, March 8 2017 held today (630-930am) in Sydney KGV Recreation Centre. The International Yoga Teachers Association's sponsored the IWD event with over 350 women registered for the yoga and mediation practise followed by a light breakfast. The charity Dress for Success created the initiative.
On International Women’s Day (IWD) 8 March 2017, women all around the world united are dedicating themselves to driving greater change for women and moving closer to gender parity.
Early this morning, I joined hundreds of women as they gathered from all parts of Sydney to be empowered & inspired by women at the largest Women's Yoga & Meditation Class at Sydney's KGV's Recreation Centre.
President of the International Yoga Teachers Association Marie-Louise Parkinson who led the sunrise meditation devoted to World Peace said, "Peace starts in the kitchen sink and it spreads to your family, friends, your workplace and to all those around you. Once you're peaceful inside than it will naturally permeate out to others.
"There's no use marching on the streets and raising the banner, when you're angry at home," she said.
"The meaning of yoga is to unite and so through our yoga & meditation practice today women in Sydney and worldwide were able to connect physically, emotionally & spiritually to acknowledge the power women have to bring peace to the planet".
Following this empowerment, recent surveys reveal that women believe that it is more challenging for them to climb the career ladder compared to married men.
Employers can perceive mothers as not fully committed to their job due to other family commitments and women can simply miss out on the opportunity to climb up the career ladder.
Almost 5 years ago, IWD changed my life when I was introduced to a small but powerful advocacy group, Chief Executive Women (CEW) that support Women leaders enabling women leaders. CEW was keen to make a difference, to empower women to connect, to help women climb the ladder in their field. I had felt the impact of being a working mother and was not recognised as being committed enough to my job.
Only a small number of women knew about International Women's Day back then and its wonderful to see it flourish worldwide impacting women and men of all ages. Both executive women and men addressing issues such as unconscious bias in the workplace - whether its gender equity in pay, board positions or in senior/executive management.
Personally I have felt the impact of unconscious bias in the workplace and have chosen to grow my own small businesses, yogarama – taking yoga and mindfulness to the people of all ages 8-80 years, starting with my committed yoga students at Wylies Baths in Coogee. Yogarama students experience most beautiful outdoor yoga studio in Sydney.
Wishing women all around the world a Happy International Women’s Day.
2017 is the Chinese Year of the Fire Rooster.
“The rooster shines like a bright star in the dark sky, bringing hope and transformation to those who know how to act harmoniously around prevailing circumstances”
For those of us celebrating Chinese New Year today, you will know that 2017 is a year of immense change. What does this mean for our yoga practice ?
January 28, 2017 to February 15, 2018 is marked in the lunar calendar as the Year of the Fire Rooster, a period when the fiery temperament of the Rooster is expected to infuse enthusiasm and energy into our activities increasing hopes for better prospects for everyone.
In our yoga practice, we will be doing asana to brace ourselves for this period of change and transformation.
Yoga for Change and Transformation
Asana to open you up for change are inversions of any kind where the heart is lower than the head. Asana like downward facing dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana), forward fold (uttanasana) are good ways of achieving this. Full inversions like supported head stand (salamba sirsasana) or supporte shoulder stand (salamba sarvangasana) where your body is turned upside down so that your heart and feet are above your head are wonderful for opening your mind to change and transformation in your life.
Importantly, whilst you are transitioning through the sea of life ebbs and flows, during these ups and downs, you must stay present and grounded. In our class, we will be practicing asana such as the warrior 1 & 2 (Virabhadrasana 1 & 11) poses that are grounding as well as child’s pose to the earth.
Look forward to exploring this in class. See you on the mat in our outdoor studio at Wylie’s Baths.
Wishing every one a Happy Chinese New Year filled with positive change.
With love and gratitude
As I reflect back on the year, I am filled with gratitude to have spent time with so many inspiring yogis. Each of these gurus have influenced my personal yoga practice and teachings in so many ways.
Jasmine Tarkeshi, the beautiful yogi dancer from Laughing Lotus in San Francisco returned to Sydney after the wonderful response to her Chakra teacher training workshop in Sydney in 2015. This year, Jasmine was here to teach us about her Ayurveda approach to yoga in a 50-hour yoga retreat.
Ayurveda is the holistic science of health, focusing on maintaining a physically and emotionally balanced state. It began over 5000 years ago by monks in India who were looking for new ways to be healthy. Over thousands of years of observations, they gathered all their conclusions and advice and preserved it for future generations. This collection of knowledge came to be known as the "science or knowledge of life" -- Ayurveda.
In the five day teacher training course, I gained an appreciation of Ayurveda and the principles of three doshas: Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Importantly, I now understand how yoga practice is influenced by the seasons and have incorporating these into my yoga class sequence plan. You can read more about Ayurveda all in an article here http://www.mindbodygreen.com/wc/nadya-andreeva
Donna Fahri, an enlightened yoga guru based in New Zealand was in Sydney to explore the best yoga practice for a healthy spine at a four and half day workshop in Sydney for yoga teachers and students. One of the highlights was learning the importance of our psoas muscles that lie deep in your core to maintain stability and strength of your spine. The pair of psoas muscle are the only ones that wrap around and connect to the front and to the back of the body. The psoas is critical in almost all yoga poses (asana). Many yoga poses focus on releasing the tension in the psoas muscle as the tight psoas can cause lower back pain. You can read more about psoas here. https://yogainternational.com/article/view/a-sequence-for-your-psoas.
With 35 years of yoga experience, Donna has written many books including, The Breathing Book, Yoga Mind, Body & Spirit: Bringing Yoga to Life and more. She is a brilliant teacher who knows so much more than she was able to share with us during her four-day intensive. Keen to do another Donna intensive.
Good things come in threes. Jacinta MacDonell, co-founder of the huge franchise Anytime Fitness studios in Sydney (photo of Jacinta & I) is the third yogi that has truly inspired me this year. Not because she is a yoga teacher, rather because yoga has been transformative in her life. As a female entrepreneur (there are fewlike her in Australia) she has now followed her passion and set up Urban Yoga studio in Sydney’s CBD offering a unique immersion experience. After listening to Jacinta share her personal story and life long commitment to help others in the third world through the Human Kind Project, I was determined to meet her in person. We have met and are now connected with an intention to catch up again soon, I hope.
2016 has been an intense and exciting year that has inspired my yoga practice and teaching in so many ways. Look forward to sharing all this inspiration and learnings with you on and off the mat in 2017.
WYLIES BATHS YOGA SUPPORTS INTERNATIONAL YOGA DAY - 21 June 2016
To show our support for INTERNATIONAL YOGA DAY, Tuesday 21 June, Wylie's Baths Yoga and Pilates will be offering free Sunrise and Sunset Classes to align with the world-wide activities to promote the physical and mental health benefits of yoga to prevent and manage disease.
FREE Yoga Classes:
Tuesday 21 June- International Yoga Day
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.