This month’s round-up of yoga tips, recipes, interview and inspiration. Enjoy.
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I can’t believe how fast the year is going!
In three months we’ll be heading to the Algarve, Portugal, for Yoga Holiday with Paul from 19-26 June 2015.
Spaces are limited. To reserve your place or for more information email: YogaHolidayWithPaul@gmail.com
To reserve your place or for more information email: YogaHolidayWithPaul@gmail.com
Yoga is a powerful tool for healing. There are many healing arts, however, that can help overcome injuries, increase strength and flexibility, develop greater body awareness, etc.
One of these is osteopathy. I reached out to Monica Blackburn of MFB Osteopathy, to learn more about the practice and benefits of osteopathy. She responded with wonderful, thoughtful answers. I’m going to post her info on osteopathy today and put her excellent tips for general health and wellness in a separate post.
Monica practices in central London, and does acupuncture and sports massage as well as osteopathy.
Contact her on: email@example.com
What is osteopathy exactly?
Osteopathy is a manual therapy that helps alleviate musculoskeletal aches and pains. Osteopaths treat pains in any area of the body, not just backs. Your osteopath takes a detailed case history, including information about your diet, exercise & lifestyle, and then performs an examination to find the root cause of your pain. As a holistic discipline, we treat the whole body, not just the painful bit. Your osteopath will then give you some home-care advice to both speed up your recovery time and prevent recurrences.
How is it different from conventional sports medicine or chiropracty?
Osteopathy differs from other manual therapies in its philosophy and treatment techniques. We believe in “optimal function” whereas chiropractors believe in “perfect alignment.” Osteopaths don’t see the body in a symmetrical manner, as we don’t ever start that way. Our treatment focuses on working to “normalise” forces and pressures through the body so it functions to the best of its ability. Osteopaths are more hands-on than sports medicine or physiotherapists. Our treatment includes deep soft tissue/myofascial release techniques, joint stretching and manipulations (the clicking one!) to help joints move better and prevent the muscles from pulling the joints back out of alignment.
What is your background?
I have always been interested in the human body and health. Before Osteopathy, I did a degree in Pre-Medical Sciences with the intention of going into something medical. I grew up in Portland Oregon, USA – quite a liberal & alternative place – so I was always more interested in the non-traditional side of healing and in preventative health. I toyed with different disciplines including being a nutritionist, acupuncturist, naturopath and physiotherapist.
How did you get into osteopathy?
After moving to the UK, I came across Osteopathy. Every person I spoke to swore by their Osteopath and I thought, “I want to be that person!” I studied at the British College of Osteopathic Medicine in London, because of its naturopathic outlook. I practice cupuncture, naturopathy and nutrition within my scope of an Osteopath.
What are the most common problems or injuries you see?
My clinic is surrounded by offices so I see a good mix of sporting injuries and desk-related aches & pains. The most common problem I see is neck and upper back pain. The 21st century isn’t doing us any favours. We spend pretty much all our time in front of a screen — at work, at home, even during our commutes. This, coupled with poor posture and muscle imbalances around the shoulders and neck, means increased strain on the muscles. This tension ultimately pulls joints out of alignment and leads to pain and even headaches.
How does acupuncture complement osteopathy?
In my clinic, I use acupuncture in different ways. A patient might be in too much pain to allow me to touch them, so acupuncture can be used to bring their pain and sensitivity levels down, so I can then practice my osteopathic techniques.
It can also be used for long standing (chronic) conditions that are being stubborn in getting better; so in this case the acupuncture needles are used to re-stimulate the area and immune system back into a healing process.
I can use acupuncture in a more myofascial way to treat trigger points (muscle knots) and connective tissue adhesions. This is a more mechanical affect to free up the tissues, so they can glide and contract more freely.
Questions? Contact Monica firstname.lastname@example.org
Bikram hot yoga, Bikram London, Bikram yoga, clean eating, hot yoga, hot yoga studio, how to do yoga, nutrition, weight-loss, yoga advice, yoga injury, yoga questions, yoga teacher, yoga tips, Yoga With Paul
The aim of the Yoga With Paul blog is to write specific, relevant content for my students, friends, and the worldwide yoga community. That means I like to get your questions about yoga, nutrition and life.
If you have a question about a posture, injuries, fitness, food, clean eating, weight-loss, using yoga to address a particular physical or mental challenge, integrating yoga practice into your life, the history of yoga, what you should eat/drink/wear/read/listen to, or anything along those lines please ask a question in the comments!
I will reply to as many as possible both personally and via the blog, so everyone can share in the knowledge.
If you have yoga tips, favourite websites, inspiring stories, great healthy recipes, or anything else you’d like to share with our yoga community please do.
One of the great lessons of yoga is regular practice. We come into the studio every day to reconnect with our mind and body, and be present in the moment.
This simple wisdom often gets lost in our busy lives. We chase the fantasy of a perfect future, or dwell on an imperfect past. We forget that everything we want to be we have to create, day by day. If we want to be patient, kind, loving and mindful we can’t meditate once a week and consider it done, we have to practice daily. Just like with yoga.
True happiness and satisfaction arises from living in the present. I like this quote from Alan Watts:
If to enjoy even an enjoyable present we must have the assurance of a happy future, we are “crying for the moon.” We have no such assurance. The best predictions are still matters of probability rather than certainty, and to the best of our knowledge every one of us is going to suffer and die. If, then, we cannot live happily without an assured future, we are certainly not adapted to living in a finite world where, despite the best plans, accidents will happen, and where death comes at the end.
Living in the present goes against the grain of much of our culture and habits. We’re taught to always want more and dream bigger. It is essential, of course, to have ambitions and plans for our lives. The trick is not to mortgage our happiness to them. We build the future by our actions in the present, so if we learn to live with joy and mindfulness we will create the future happiness we crave.
How do you practice living in the present? Share in the comments!
I can usually spot someone who’s new to Bikram before the first posture: they’re the ones wearing tee-shirts and tracksuit bottoms. Once they get hooked on Bikram the Lycra comes out! In fact, I’d say Bikram yogis are more devoted to their skin-tight, streamlined outfits than just about any other athlete.
You might think it’s because Bikram buffs are all super-toned or maybe just vain. While those are possibilities, the truth is simpler: Lycra is practical. I see new students of all shapes and sizes in over-sized exercise gear that quickly gets soggy, floppy and makes getting in and out of poses more difficult. Regular practitioners of all shapes and sizes choose minimal, stretchy yoga gear that hugs the body and allows them to focus on the asanas.
Doing Bikram will help you trim down and build strength, so experienced students are often more comfortable in less clothing. But more important, it promotes a mindset that goes beyond weight. It teaches us to be present in our bodies and to appreciate all they can do, regardless of size, age or shape. Bikram yogis are less hung up on social pressures about appearance because they have a deep appreciation for the integrity and function of their physical body. They are comfortable wearing Lycra because they are more interested in the mind-body experience of yoga than how they look in the mirror.
Don’t feel at ease in teeny-tiny shorts quite yet? Ask yourself, why not? Your body takes you into the hot yoga studio and through 26 postures in 90 minutes. That’s amazing! Appreciate yourself and embrace the flex 🙂
What do you wear to yoga? Share in the comments!
I came across this recipe for baked tofu sticks with peanut sauce via vegetarian blog Tinned Tomatoes. It’s perfect for a dinner party appetiser, snack, or to make in advance and pop in your packed lunch. The tofu and nut butters give it a good protein hit, plus healthy fats, while ginger has anti-inflammatory properties. Also, if you want to make this gluten-free replace soy sauce with tamari.
14 oz. firm or extra firm tofu, pressed to remove water
4 tsp. toasted sesame seeds
1 tsp. peanut oil or other high smoke-point oil
1 T sesame oil
1 1/2 T soy sauce
1 tsp. rice vinegar
2-3 tsp. agave nectar (or other sweetener of your choice)
1-2 tsp. Sriracha Sauce
1/2 tsp. ground ginger (or grated fresh ginger root)
1 T ground ginger (or grated fresh ginger root)
2 T smooth natural peanut butter (Use peanut butter without added sugar, such as Adams 100% Natural Peanut Butter for South Beach Diet.)
2 T Tahini Sauce (or if you don’t have Tahini, use 2 T more peanut butter)
3 T soy sauce (I used reduced-sodium.)
1-2 T agave nectar (or other sweetener of your choice)
2 tsp. rice vinegar (not seasoned rice vinegar, which contains sugar)
3 T water
One thing that turns people off from healthy eating is the idea that there is one “right” way to eat. The truth is, we’re all different, with different physical bodies, backgrounds, preferences, routines, and so forth. Instead of hunting for the “perfect” diet we should focus finding the best eating habits for ourselves and our lifestyle.
This post from No Meat Athlete identifies the one essential for better eating: more whole foods, less processed. If you stick to that, whether you’re vegan, vegetarian, paleo, pescatarian, or eat a little bit of everything, your body will be getting more nutrients and less junk. Which equals better health overall (it’s also budget friendly — those ready meals and M&S sandwiches add up fast!)
Here’s what No Meat Athlete’s Matt Frazier has to say about healthy eating…. To read the whole post click here.
A lot of seemingly “extreme” diets work. But just when you’re tempted to buy into one, you hear about a diet that’s extreme on the other side of the spectrum that also works.
The Paleo diet (and its close relative, Primal) focuses on high-protein, high fat, and lower carbohydrates. And it’s become huge among athletes, most notably the CrossFit crowd.
But then there’s fruitarianism (also known as “30 bananas a day“), which is 80 percent carbohydrates. And Michael Arnstein, the most visible leader of the movement, just won the Vermont 100-miler.
And of course, there’s “plain old” veganism, which today I’ll call “plant-based,” to remove any moral or ethical connotation. Ultramarathon great Scott Jurek eats what appears to be a pretty traditionally-balanced vegan diet. Then there’s Brendan Brazier, Thrive author and former pro Ironman triathlete, who also eats plant-based, but focuses more on raw and alkaline-forming foods.
How can such wildly differing diets all produce healthy people, elite athletes even?
The only logical conclusion is that the mix of nutrients you eat simply doesn’t matter all that much. (Which is why its ridiculous to obsess over nutrition numbers.)
What these diets have in common is that every one of them focuses on whole foods and avoids processed food. That’s what you have to do to make your diet healthy.
Share your best tip for better eating in the comments!
Bikram yoga, Mel Klein, practice yoga, YBI Coalition, Yoga and Body Image book, Yoga and Body Image Coalition, yoga body positive, yoga books, yoga diversity, yoga health, yoga philosophy, Yoga With Paul
I’m excited to share an interview with Mel Klein, co-founder of the Yoga and Body Image Coalition and co-editor of Yoga and Body Image: 25 Personal Stories About Beauty, Bravery + Loving Your Body
I love the Yoga and Body Image philosophy of “yoga for every body” — like Bikram says, “never too old, never too sick…”
Mel is a writer, speaker and Professor of Sociology and Women’s Studies at Santa Monica College, and of course a dedicated yogi. As you can imagine she is insanely busy so it is an honour that she took the time for this interview. Thank you Mel!
How did you begin your yoga journey?
My younger sister asked if I wanted to sign up for a Kundalini yoga class with her in the fall of 1996. Yoga was far from becoming the cultural phenomenon it is now. The class seemed to be composed of odd physical movements and chants but I was intrigued and felt compelled to return week after week and we signed up time and time again for new a series of sessions.
Eventually, I wanted to practice more consistently and found Bryan Kest on a friend’s recommendation. His rhetoric and the practice appealed to me immediately. I felt open, connected, and completely alive. The physicality of his class was appealing given that I was coming off a major gym obsession. Eventually, I cancelled my gym membership and that was the start of liberating myself from some incredibly toxic behaviors associated with an abusive and disrespectful attitude toward my body and replacing it with a nourishing and loving yoga practice.
How has life changed since you discovered yoga?
My yoga and meditation practice has taught me how to practice forgiveness, compassion, gratitude and mindfulness. Yoga has allowed me to get to know myself in new and mysterious ways and it’s helped me create a strong community. Events and experiences that would have completely knocked me off my feet years ago are lessened in intensity. There’s a greater sense of balance because I am able to remain present, feel deeply while knowing that my current state is impermanent and will change.
What is the one posture you can’t live without?
Child’s pose and savasna!
What do you say to people who say, “I can’t do yoga because…”?
If you have the ability to breathe, you have the ability to practice yoga. I think a lot of people get caught up in the “yoga body” stereotype as well as the misconception that yoga is a series of gravity-defying arm balances or strength poses. It’s unfortunate, because a yoga and meditation practice has the potential to bring about great healing and integration.
Who inspires you?
Everyone working through their stuff and creating social, political and personal change.
What is your favourite quote?
It is a waste of time to hate a mirror or its reflection instead of stopping the hand that makes glass with distortions.
~ Audre Lorde
What’s your favorite post-yoga treat?
Justin’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
What is the mission of the Yoga and Body Image book and coalition?
We are committed to creating social and political change to shift the limitations and exclusivity of the current yoga paradigm.
We are committed to creating safe spaces for bodies of all types, devoid of body shaming, while offering a comprehensive body image education for yoga teachers, community and media outlets. We believe that every body is a yoga body.
YOGA IS FOR…
Every race & ethnicity.
Every class & socioeconomic status.
Every gender identity & sexual orientation.
Every size, shape, height, weight & dis/ability.
We believe the slogan, “love your body,” is a fully dimensional mantra promoting body acceptance in ourselves and each other. We believe body positivity is more than a #hashtag, marketing slogan, or commodity – it’s conscious action and lived practice.
Share a comment on how yoga influences your body image!