Dear yogis… May’s newsletter here:
Respect, recipes, inspiration and
a tribute to the genius of Prince.
#Love #Yoga #Music #YWP
Dear yogis… May’s newsletter here:
Respect, recipes, inspiration and
a tribute to the genius of Prince.
#Love #Yoga #Music #YWP
Have you heard about London’s avocado pop-up experience? From cocktails to desserts, these pop-ups serve nothing but avocado-based dishes, and drinks.
The pop-ups are run by the Meredith Collective, whose website says:
The first of its kind ‘Avo-Brunch Pop-Up’ will be celebrating the brilliance of the our favourite food with a 5 course avocado inspired brunch menu for guests to experience with fun cocktails and a DJ playing weekend-disco for post brunch entertainment.
We flippin’ love avocados and now are going to celebrate them in every possible way.
As well as the five-course avocado tasting menu guests will be welcomed with an avocado margarita on arrival and not only that, because the journey can’t end there, everyone who attends will received a grow your own avocado kit to take home.
While I love avocado in all forms (avocado cocktails, why not?) this is perhaps an example of taking a good thing too far. As food trends go, five courses of avocado is certainly healthier and more appealing than, say, doughnuts topped with bacon. However diversity is essential for good health — in food as much as in society.
Our bodies (and minds) need the nutrients and stimulation they get from having a wide variety of foods, and experiences. It is tempting to fixate on eating a certain way, or sticking to a certain exercise plan. But what we really need is balance, variety and challenge. Avocados are amazing. So is yoga. We also need the occasional glass of wine and night on the sofa. It’s okay to go all-out with something occasionally and savour a five-course feast, but day by day we’ll be happier and healthier if we mix things up.
Related posts: Almond vs Peanut Butter
I have always loved connecting music with yoga. Music can change our mood, help us go further in the flow with yoga, and generate joyful energy.
This came to mind recently when I saw a great documentary called ‘Alive Inside – A Story of Music and Memory’ about the healing power of music. The filmmaker Michael Rossato-Bennett chronicled the experiences of people who were revitalised through the simple experience of listening to music.
The documentary followed healthcare experts including social worker Dan Cohen, founder of the nonprofit organization Music & Memory, as he fought against the USA’s broken healthcare system to demonstrate music’s ability to combat memory loss and restore a deep sense of self. Rossato-Bennett also interviewed family members who witnessed the miraculous effects of music on their loved ones.
It’s a touching film, and it brought home to me that music has the power to positively influence the interaction of our mind and body. We don’t have to wait until we’re in failing health to access the healing power of music. Instead, we can incorporate it into our daily lives and yoga practice to stay mentally and physically alert and flexible.
Have you experienced the healing power of music? Share in the comments or Tweet @YogaWithPaul
Respect is the essence of yoga.
In class I talk a lot about breath, mindfulness, focus, effort, daily practice, being present… these are all different ways of expressing respect.
Yoga means “unity” and it is born out of a respect for the fundamental bond between mind and body. Western culture historically, and modern life generally, strive to separate our physical and mental selves. Yoga teaches us to respect the healing power of the mind and the creative power of the body; it helps us reunite with ourselves.
Yoga encourages to cultivate respect towards ourselves and others in many ways. We respect our teachers by participating in classes and being open to learning. We respect our fellow yogis by creating positive energy in the studio We respect our hunger by nourishing ourselves with healthful food. We respect our emotional state by being aware and compassionate.
Ultimately, the more we do yoga, the deeper and broader our capacity for respecting ourselves and those around us. What begins on the mat spreads through our life, making us more grounded, generous, open-minded people.
Share your thoughts on yoga and respect in the comments
In yoga, there is always another pose to master. Crow pose (kakasana) is a forearm balance pose which challenges you to develop tremendous concentration, core strength and confidence. A lot of students have a tough time to start with because they’re afraid of face-planting onto the mat! The Yoga Journal has three great quick tips for developing your confidence and technique so you can fly in this pose.
To come into Crow Pose from standing, squat down and place your hands flat on your mat about shoulder-width apart with the fingers spread wide. Now, keep the hands and feet where they are but lift the hips way up toward the sky, bend the knees and lift the heels off the floor so just the balls of the feet are down. Gently press the knees in to the backs of the triceps and begin to shift your weight into the fingertips, picking one foot at a time off the floor. Bend the elbows if necessary for balance. Use the core to draw the navel in toward the spine to stabilize and find that “lift” in the center of the body that eventually allows you to straighten the elbows and hold. Be sure to bring your gaze just between the hands to maintain balance.
Fear: “But what if I face-plant?!”
Modification: Block under forehead
The biggest fear in Crow? The face-plant! When you’re trying to find your center of gravity, it’s pretty easy to lose sight of your focal point and fall forward. Before you come into Crow, place a foam block about 4–5 inches in front of your fingertips at the center of your mat. As you practice coming into Crow, let yourself lean forward without fear, knowing your forehead will touch a squishy block before hitting the mat or hardwood. Much nicer, trust me! This modification not only creates a safety net but also quickly gives you feedback when you’re slightly off center. Play it safe without missing out on the fun of trying.
Questions about a pose? Ask in the comments or Tweet @YogaWithPaul
Our annual Yoga Holiday With Paul is fast approaching (can it be we’re halfway to June almost?!) There are only a few spaces left. If you have any of the six signs of needing a yoga retreat email YogaHolidayWithPaul@gmail.com to reserve your spot!
(Thanks to It’s Time To Log Off for inspiring some of these tips!)
1) You’re stressed
If your first thought is “I’m always stressed” you definitely need a break. Yoga Holiday With Paul takes you away from the daily strain of commuting, work and personal commitments. It allows you to rest and focus deeply on restoring your physical and mental energy through twice-daily yoga sessions plus meditation and free time.
2) You’re too tired for yoga
If the thought of doing two yoga sessions a day makes you want to crawl under your mat, you probably need a retreat. Yoga, unlike the demands of your daily life, revitalises and restores. Yes, it’s a physical challenge, but you will be amazed at how quickly it revives you and gives you new energy.
3) You can’t focus
When you’re tired and stressed it is hard to concentrate. This affects every part of your life, from work to hobbies to relationships. Getting away from your routine and spending time every day on focused breathing, meditation and asanas will help you find fresh focus. The techniques you learn will help you when you get back to the “real world” too!
4) You feel stiff and achy
If you spend your day at a desk, or doing repetitive tasks, you probably have a few aches and pains. Maybe it’s your lower back, or your wrists, or you struggle to touch your toes. The truth is daily running around doesn’t help fitness and flexibility. Dedicating yourself to a yoga retreat is a chance to make a significant change in your body, to increase your flexibility and revive tired muscles.
5) You’re sad/angry/depressed/anxious/frustrated/bored etc
Our emotions are tied to our physical well-being. If you regularly struggle with sadness, frustration, anxiety or just plain boredom, it’s a warning sign that things in your life are out of balance. Yoga Holiday With Paul is a space where you can integrate your mind and body, rediscover the joy of movement and tranquility, gain perspective on your life, and look at ways you can make changes for the better.
6) You need some time to yourself
Feel overwhelmed by the demands of bosses, partners, kids, or friends? A yoga retreat is the ideal opportunity to combine alone time with the uplifting experience of group yoga sessions. You’ll find the daily classes give you a chance to be with other people and share positive energy, without placing any expectations on yourself. In your free time you can be as quiet or social as you like (our groups tend to make friends quickly!)
Why do you need a yoga holiday? Share in the comments or Tweet @YogaWithPaul
Email YogaHolidayWithPaul@gmail.com to reserve your spot!
The New York Times published an article this week called ‘Yoga For the Showoff’ about the popularity of headstands and handstands. Tongue in cheek, for sure. But is the gentle dig fair comment? Does wanting to do a headstand or handstand automatically make you a showff?
Just last week I blogged about the benefits of headstand and as a teacher I stand by it. There are many ways inversion strengthens and supports the physical body. On that basis, even if you did headstands or handstands purely to showoff they would still make a contribution to your well being.
On a mental level, what’s wrong with being thrilled and energised by doing inversions? They’re fun. They give you a new perspective. They make you feel like a kid again. They give you confidence. That new-found confidence might mean that you more willing to speak up, stand up, take on a challenge, or assert yourself in a difficult situation. That’s not being a showoff, it’s being a strong, confident person, in mind and body.
Tweet your showoff yoga selfies to @YogaWithPaul !
Nut butters are great good-for-you-snacks, full of protein, healthy fat, minerals and vitamins. Almond butter is delicious, trendy and, er, expensive. Peanut butter is delicious, inexpensive and frankly not that stylish. Is there a big difference, nutrient wise? I was curious so had a look online. This is what I learned via Nuts-n-More:
Peanuts are known for some incredible health benefits, such as,
1) Their high monounsaturated fat content. This is the good type of fat that you might find in a Mediterranean diet. These fats help lower the bad cholesterol and increase the good cholesterol.
2) They are nutrient dense. Those little nuts are full of great things such as folate, Vitamin E, Vitamin B6, magnesium, iron, potassium and so many more!
3) Peanuts are a great source of protein. Protein is essential for growth and development! Who doesn’t want to grow up to be big and strong?!
4) Peanuts are an excellent source of resveratrol. Resveratrol has been shown to protect against diseases such as cancer, heart disease, viral infections and more!
5) They improve the uptake of sugar into the blood. Yes, that little thing resveratrol that we just mentioned? Well, it also helps control how your body utilizes sugars and the growth of fat cells!
Some of the excellent health benefits of Almonds include:
1) They are a great source of phosphorus. Phosphorus helps improve the strength of our bones and teeth!
2) They help improve our immune system. They are a great source for alkali material which is known to strengthen our immune system and fight off disease!
3) They are a natural anti-inflammatory. Almonds contain two very important sources of fat, linoleic and linolenic. Since our bodies don’t produce these fats, we must get them from healthy sources such as almonds. These two fats help reduce inflammation in the body, something that is very common in humans today.
4) Regulate blood pressure. These little powerhouses are chock full of potassium, which helps keep your blood pressure in line.
5) They improve digestion. Almonds are loaded with fiber, which helps regulate the movement of food through the digestive system.
What’s your favourite? Share in the comments!</strong
Headstand is such a powerful pose. If you are a regular Bikram practitioner you may never have done a headstand. Or maybe you’re into Vinyasa flow but haven’t progressed that far.
It doesn’t matter. Wherever you are in your practice is a good time to turn yoga upside down. Headstand has a host of benefits.
Turning upside down increases blood flow to your brain. This can help to improve mental function, increase your focus, and help you concentrat. Learning headstand will help keep your mind sharp and clear.
Headstand shifts things inside you, for the better. Reversing the effects of gravity the digestive organs helps move stuck material, release trapped wind, and improve blood flow to important digestive system, speeding nutrient absorption and delivery to your cells.
To hold a headstand you push into the ground with your forearms, and use the strength of your arms, shoulders and back to keep the pressure off your head and neck. This pumps your upper body strength remarkably fast!
When you are at a desk all day, or on your feet, fluid can build up in your legs and feet. Flipping upside down lets the excess water flush away, relieving the feeling of swollen legs, feet and ankles.
Headstand literally turns the world upside down. Seeing the world from a totally new perspective is the perfect antidote to stress, anxiety, self-importance, and all the other nagging problems we encounter in daily life. Not to mention that learning to do headstand is a huge confidence booster.
One of my students said: “Learning to do headstand is one of my biggest achievements this year. I feel like, If I can do that, I can do anything!”
Love headstand? What to learn headstand? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Happy Mayday yogis!
Please find below the April Yoga With Paul newsletter. Here’s to another month of life-affirming practice… Namaste