The final YWP newsletter of 2014. Enjoy!
Yoga With Paul newsletter DEC 2014
Peace & love & happy new year to all.
Instead of New Year’s Resolutions how about New Yoga Resolutions?
I was blessed to take part Dharma Mittra teacher training this past year and one of the things that emerged from it was a new resolve and dedication to my personal yoga practice. Even though I am constantly in the studio it reminded me that there is a difference between just turning up and mindful practice.
Take a few minutes right now to think about your yoga practice:
-What does it mean to you?
-How does it affect your daily life?
-Where would you like to improve or progress?
Then think about at least one thing you can do to elevate your practice, for example:
-Take an additional class every week
-Try a new style of yoga
-Do yoga with a friend
-Change your diet
Write down your resolution and share in the comments!
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It’s almost 2015 and that means another chance to take your Bikram practice to a higher level on a Yoga Holiday With Paul.
Yoga Holiday With Paul takes place on 19-26 June 2015 in the Algarve, Portugal. Every year we take off for seven days of sunshine, sweat, smiles and scrumptious food and come back stronger, fitter and deep in our yoga practice.
Spaces are limited. Reserve your spot by email: YogaHolidayWithPaul@gmail.com.
Here are some scenes from 2014 🙂
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Yoga practice helps us develop compassion and love to offset the pressures of the season.
For many of us the holidays are a chance to take a break, spend time with family and friends, eat, drink, be merry and generally unwind as another year comes to an end.
The flip-side of that is this can be a stressful, unhappy time of year for all kinds of reasons. Financial strain, family problems, unemployment, health troubles… anything that stops people living up to the ideal of a holly, jolly Christmas can be doubly painful due social expectations. You don’t have to be down-and-out to experience the pressure, either. Ordinary stress ad strife takes on an extra dimension at this time of “goodwill”.
According to the Bhagavad Gita:
Being absorbed in yoga destroys suffering. One absorbed in yoga is free from longings for selfish desires. Yoga steadies the thoughts, the mind, and rids one of suffering. Yoga should be practiced with determination and without entertaining discouraging thoughts. One absorbed in yoga enjoys boundless happiness, sees the Self present in all beings, and all beings present within the Self.
Yoga is our chance to cultivate mindfulness and to spread non-judgmental love and caring. What could be more Christmassy than that?
How does your yoga practice help you spread the love? Share in the comments!
For all you experienced yogis and beginners alike — remember to stay hydrated over the holiday season! With the cold and wet weather you’re less likely to feel thirsty this time of year, but your body still needs ample liquids. Spending the day in heated buildings dehydrates you, commuting dehydrates you, and most especially all those holiday parties and cocktails dehydrate you!
If you’re having trouble guzzling cold water this time of year, branch out. Dilute fresh juices with warm water to reduce the sugar hit and increase the hydration; drink herbal tea; eat lots of clear soups; ramp up your smoothie and green juice intake; and be sure to include lots of fruits and vegetables in your diet to take advantage of their many health benefits including high water content.
Remember to take it slow and easy in Bikram class. You’re probably under extra stress this time of year so listen closely to your body and drink plenty of liquids before, during and after your class.
Share your holiday hydration tips in the comments!
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Grab good-for-you seasonal goodies at the Real Food Christmas Market in King’s Cross and Southbank Centre. The market runs from December 17 to 23, inclusive.
You can pick up delicious gifts, buy the best seasonal artisan food and drink, and enjoy a range of sustainably and ethically produced treats.
KING’S CROSS: Wednesday 17th – Tuesday 23rd Dec, 12.00-19.00 daily
SOUTHBANK CENTRE: Friday 19th – Tuesday 23nd Dec, 12.00 -20.00 daily
I’m delighted that Melanie Klein, co-author of the book ‘Yoga and Body Image’ has agreed to do an interview for the blog. ‘Yoga & Body Image’ is about celebrating the fact that yoga is for every body. You don’t have to be young, thin, supple, and blonde to take part …. yoga is a truly inclusive practice. This is such an important message. So many people say “oh I’m too old/fat/stiff” to do yoga and it’s just not true! Never too old, never too sick, says Bikram.
Check out this lovely little video introducing the #yogabodyimage project.
You can follow ‘Yoga & Body Image’ on Twitter @yogabodyimage and the Yoga Body Image @ybicoalition. This is #whatayogilookslike 🙂
Over the festive season continue with your yoga practice be it Bikram or Dharma Mittra, or hatha yoga. It can seem impossible to find the time this time of year but you don’t have to do 90mins to get the benefits of sustaining your practice.
Wherever you are in the world, find a space put your mat down and make time for yourself. You don’t have to do an entire Bikram sequence. In fact, if you’re doing hatha postures I recommend several rounds sun salutations or two sets pranayama breathing, followed by head stand, shoulder-stand, fish, bow, standing forward bend, cobra and spinal twist.
These postures are especially good when you know you have been indulging a little too much and you feel your waistband is a little tight. These asanas will stimulate and give benefits to all your bodily systems. Not only will you feel fitter and stronger, yoga practice gives you a much needed mental break from the bustle, and time to ground yourself. So whatever your holiday plans, make sure you take your yoga mat with you, drop it wherever and funk-up your asana over Christmas!
There’s no getting away from sweets this time of year… and why should we?
I love the look of these molasses ginger biscuits (or cookies, as our American friends would say). Such vibrant, warming flavours, plus healthy ingredients and gluten free.
Thanks to Budding Lotus Body for the recipe!
Molasses Ginger Cookies
125g almond flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp ground ginger
60ml coconut oil (liquid)
30ml organic blackstrap molasses
60g crystalised ginger (diced)
Preheat oven to 180C.
In a mixing bowl, whisk together first four ingredients.
In a separate bowl combine coconut oil, molasses and agave.
Add liquid ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until you get a sticky dough.
Fold in crystalized ginger.
Scoop 2.5cm balls of dough onto a parchment lined sheet leaving space between as they will spread while cooking.
Bake for 6-8 minutes.
Share your favourite holiday treat (recipe) in the comments!
Karma is our actions. Its what we do, not what we get back. Our actions are the roots from which karma grows. What we ultimately receive is simply a response to the things we did, or didn’t, do.
Karma yoga is one of the four main paths of yoga (the others are Bhakti Yoga, Raja Yoga and Jnana Yoga — more on those later). It is defined as the Yoga of Action. “It purifies the heart by teaching you to act selflessly, without thought of gain or reward. By detaching yourself from the fruits of your actions and offering them up to God, you learn to sublimate the ego.”
Karma yoga is the practice of transforming everything you do into selfless service. There are many ways to serve. Helping at homeless centres or soup kitchens (especially at this time of year), visiting an elderly relative, shopping for some one with a disability, or checking in on a neighbour… are all ways to express your concern and kindle that human connection that can so easily get lost in our hectic daily lives.
Attitude and intention is key to karma yoga. Any interaction is an opportunity to practice karma yoga. If someone’s rude or upsets you; if the delivery’s late; or a colleague is slacking; or you really didn’t deserve that parking ticket… your response is karma. When you take life’s lumps with good humour and handle difficulties with grace you are truly practicing karma yoga.
Share your experiences of Karma in the comments!