Chilling out on retreat in Sardinia

Chilling Out in Sardinia

Even yoga teachers need time out to reset, recharge and be re-inspired 😊… this summer I participated in this truly blissful yoga retreat at the beautiful and tranquil Balaiana Eco Resort. It was the perfect blend of Yin and Yang with dynamic & slow vinyasa flow, yin & restorative yoga. Plenty of time to just relax or go to the beach. Great company, delicious and exquisitely prepared vegetarian food…what more can I say.

This retreat was led by senior teacher Erika Shapiro and Youla Faita
*See www.yogiyoga.co.uk for future retreats including one coming up 22-29 September 2018*

Favourite Yoga Resources

My Favourite Yoga Resources

I am often asked by teachers, trainees and students to recommend useful yoga texts and other resources. But there’s so much out there and soooooo much to learn, it can be a minefield…..so where do you start?  Here are just a few resources, my staples, that I continue to find really helpful and inspirational, returning to them again and again.

1. These 4 texts provide a very practical and easy to follow introduction and foundation for yoga asana (the postures), pranayama (the breathwork), background to yoga and yoga philosophy.

2. For a more in depth look at the background to yoga and historical context on and off the mat I have found these texts to be very useful.

3. I believe these texts are the ‘must reads’ for all aspiring yoga teachers and provide the nitty gritty detailed background to the history, background and yoga philosophy.

4. A few years back I participated in a week long teacher training intensive in Yoga Therapy with the renowned Doug Keller. It’s one of the best trainings I have ever attended in terms of its practical application. Since then I have found his 2 Yoga Therapy volumes an invaluable tool particularly when working with students who are presenting with injuries, recovering from injury or have other issues such as low back pain.

Other resources that I dip into regularly include online sites like Yoga Journal and Yoga International for all sorts of inspiration ranging from class themes and sequencing, gemming up on yoga philosophy, meditation, etc.

For online classes I like Movement for Modern Life.

For podcasts Triyoga have recently started airing Triyoga Talks which feature inspirational interviews with experts from the yoga world like Richard Rosen and Maty Ezraty.

Yoga…

Yoga...

The word ‘Yoga’ means union as in uniting the actions of the mind, body and breath to bring about steadiness and focus. Essentially it’s a way of living to calm and steady our minds, reduce stress from the pressures and challenges of everyday life and put us more in touch with the workings of our bodies and our real selves.

Originating in India more than a thousand years ago, Yoga is rooted in Samkhya philosophy, a branch of Hindu philosophy and based on the wisdom of centuries of spiritual experimentation.

Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra probably offers the most comprehensive and practical account of yoga, defining yoga as ‘Yoga citta vrtti nirodhah’(I.II) – ‘Yoga is a state in which the minds agitations are resolved’, as interpreted by Judith Hanson Lasater. Patanjali sets out a very practical 8 step path to purifying the body and mind with the goal of cultivating a quiet steady mind, eventually leading to a sense of calm and wholeness.

And as Judith Hanson Lasater explains, that although the Yoga Sutra may seem ancient, written in another culture and time and things have moved on since then, its wisdom is still relevant today. What hasn’t changed is the human mind, human emotions and the human heart and the fact that we live in a community. The Yoga Sutras are about the mind and the ways we create our own happiness and contentment, a course in mindfulness and much more. They teach us the basics of a well-rounded practice, what prevents us from reaching a state of yoga, advice on how to practice and how to make progress. They help us understand ourselves and they encourage us to realise there is a way not to be at the mercy of our thoughts.

To quote Prime Minister Narendra Modi on International Yoga Day in 2016, “Yoga embodies unity of mind and body, thought and action, restraint and fulfilment, harmony between man and nature. It’s a holistic approach to health and well-being. It is not about exercise, but to discover the sense of oneness with yourself, the world and nature”.