The May Yoga With Paul newsletter MAY 2017 is here for your reading delight!
Radishes are in season right now. Red, white or purple, they are a perfect, crispy, nutritious snack, and a colourful addition to salads and stir-fries. Radishes contain
B vitamins including folate, riboflavin, and B6; potassium; copper, magnesium, manganese, and calcium. They are also high in water content, making them great for a light snack before practice.
If you need some radish inspiration try this BBC Food noodle salad recipe. You can substitute soba (buckwheat) noodles and tamari to make it gluten free
Share your favourite radish recipe in the comments!
Side plank pose (Vasisthasana) is a terrific way to build arm, wrist, shoulder, core and leg strength. As a balancing pose, it challenges you to develop greater stability and confidence while strengthening major muscle groups.
You can move into side plank from plank pose. You want to glue your legs together and roll onto the outer edge of your right foot, stacking your left leg and foot on top. Then press down through the inner edge of your right hand and inhale your left arm up, stacking the shoulders and hips.
These four tips will help you perform the pose correctly for maximum benefit:
Your hand is the foundation to this pose. Press down into the floor through the inner edge of your hand, with your index finger is pointing forward.
Your supporting hand should be just in front of its shoulder, so your arm is slightly angled relative to the floor. Straighten the arm by firming the triceps muscle, and press the base of the index finger firmly against the floor.
The first and most important thing is to engage your muscles. Start with your core to ensure you are keeping your body in a straight line. Activating your legs grounds you through your feet and aids the balance, while your arms provide support and stability.
When you extend your arm above your head to the ceiling keep it parallel to the line of your shoulders. Your head should stay level in a neutral position, or you can gently turn it to look up past your fingertips. However, this can challenge your balance at first though, so be sure you are confident in the pose before shifting your gaze.
Once you are comfortable holding side plank for 20-30 seconds with your legs together you can increase the difficulty by raising your top leg so it is perpendicular to the floor.
Questions? Ask in the comments or Tweet @YogaWithPaul
On the meaning of: OM MANI PADME HUM The jewel is in the lotus or praise to the jewel in the lotus by His Holiness Tenzin Gyatso The Fourteenth Dalai Lama of Tibet It is very good to recite the mantra OM MANI PADME HUM, but while you are doing it, you should be thinking on its meaning, for the meaning of the six syllables is great and vast. The first, OM, is composed of three pure letters, A, U, and M. These symbolize the practitioner's impure body, speech, and mind; they also symbolize the pure exalted body, speech and mind of a Buddha. Can impure body, speech and mind be transformed into pure body, speech and mind, or are they entirely separate? All Buddhas are cases of being who were like ourselves and then in dependence on the path became enlightened; Buddhism does not assert that there is anyone who from the beginning is free from faults and possesses all good qualities. The development of pure body, speech, and mind comes from gradually leaving the impure states and their being transformed into the pure. How is this done? The path is indicated by the next four syllables. MANI, meaning jewel, symbolizes the factor of method- the altruistic intention to become enlightened, compassion, and love. Just as a jewel is capable of removing poverty, so the altruistic mind of enlightenment is capable of removing the poverty, or difficulties, of cyclic existence and of solitary peace. Similarly, just as a jewel fulfills the wishes of sentient beings, so the altruistic intention to become enlightened fulfills the wishes of sentient beings. The two syllables, PADME, meaning lotus, symbolize wisdom. Just as a lotus grows forth from mud but is not sullied by the faults of mud, so wisdom is capable of putting you in a situation of non- contradiction where as there would be contradiction if you did not have wisdom. There is wisdom realizing impermanence, wisdom realizing that persons are empty of self-sufficient or substantial existence, wisdom that realizes the emptiness of duality (that is to say, of difference of entity between subject and object), and wisdom that realizes the emptiness of inherent existence. Though there are may different types of wisdom, the main of all these is the wisdom realizing emptiness. Purity must be achieved by an indivisible unity of method and wisdom, symbolized by the final syllable, HUM, which indicates indivisibility. According to the sutra system, this indivisibility of method and wisdom refers to one consciousness in which there is a full form of both wisdom affected by method and method affected by wisdom. In the mantra, or tantra vehicle, it refers to one conciousness in which there is the full form of both wisdom and method as one undifferentiable entity. In terms of the seed syllables of the five conqueror Buddhas, HUM is the is the seed syllable of Akshobhya- the immovable, the unfluctuating, that which cannot be disturbed by anything. Thus the six syllables, OM MANI PADME HUM, mean that in dependence on the practice which is in indivisible union of method and wisdom, you can transform your impure body, speech and mind into the pure body, speech, and mind of a Buddha. It is said that you should not seek for Buddhahood outside of yourself; the substances for the achievement of Buddhahood are within. As Maitreya says in his SUBLIME CONTINUUM OF GREAT VEHICLE (UTTARA TANTRA) all beings naturally have the Buddha nature in their own continuum. We have within us the seed of purity, the essence of a One Gone Thus (TATHAGATAGARBHA), that is to be transformed and full developed into Buddhahood. (From a lecture given by His Holiness The Dalai Lama of Tibet at the Kalmuck Mongolian Buddhist Center, New Jersey.) Transcribed by Ngawang Tashi (Tsawa), Drepung Loseling, MUNGOD, INDIA
Go deep in your practice with my Bikram masterclass at Bikram Yoga Fleet this Saturday, 20 May, 11AM-1PM.
Come join in! Don’t be intimidated by the term “masterclass” — all levels are welcome and you will benefit no matter where you are in your journey as a yogi.
We will focus on key elements such as the breath that initiates the movement and deepens the posture. We will also explore the bandhas and how important they are to the Hatha yoga practice.
See you then!⠀
Lots of us like to have something more than plain water after a sweaty hot yoga session but don’t want a commercial, sugary sports drink. There are options, thankfully, and the forthcoming No Meat Athlete Cookbook — a vegan recipe book for yogis, runners and everyone else who loves to be active — has a great, simple all-natural sports drink recipe.
The drink is called “switchel” which is unusual enough to be memorable. The ingredients are super-simple though.
Good for: hydration • before, during, and after a workout
Makes: about 4¼ cups (1 L) // Time: 5 minutes to prep, plus resting overnight
Switchel is the original sports drink, what farmers drank in the fields to stay hydrated during the summer. It’s a clever combination of simple, real ingredients. Maple syrup contains magnesium and potassium, which help to prevent cramps, and the apple cider vinegar prevents nausea, stomach upset, and indigestion. (You really want raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar here, so you get the minerals and other good stuff.) The ginger adds flavor and also helps with nausea. The drink is refreshing, mildly sweet, and tangy and, when made with fruit juices, tastes surprisingly like the convenience store sports drinks we grew up with. You’ll want to refrigerate it overnight to allow the flavors to mellow and mingle. This recipe makes an entire pitcher; it’ll keep for a few days in the fridge.
- 4 cups (960 ml) water
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1-inch (2.5 cm) piece ginger, minced
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
Shake all the ingredients together, refrigerate overnight, strain, and drink.
Nutrition info (for the entire recipe): Calories 110 Total fat 0 g Sodium 481 mg Potassium 129 mg Total carbohydrates 28 g Dietary fiber 0 g Sugars 24 g Protein 0 g
The whole No Meat Athlete Cookbook is based on this principle: whole food ingredients, easy preparation and maximum nutritional value. It goes on sale 16 May and you can get it on Kindle which makes for a great portable recipe collection.
What’s your favourite whole-ingredients hydration tip? Share in the comments!
Spring is a wonderful time of year — unless you suffer from allergies and the beautiful blooms and bright green grass reduce you to a sneezing, red-eyed mess.
Yoga can help fight allergies and, combined with a lifestyle that integrates clean eating and mindfulness, help you sail through seasonal sniffles.
Here are three yoga practices to help you keep a clear, comfortable head.
Breath-work has many benefits for allergy sufferers. First, regular pranayama practice increases your lung capacity and flexibility. This helps if you get short of breath or suffer asthma related to allergies. Second, it eliminates stale air and toxins to cleanse and rejuvenate the body. Third, yogic breathing calms the body and mind, reducing stress and inflammation due to allergies.
Going upside down is a great way to clear your head. Inversions like headstand or shoulder stand (step-by-step instructions here) open your nasal passages and encourage drainage through the body. They also promote the circulation of lymph fluid. The lymphatic system transports immune cells through the body and works to detox the blood, helping clear those aggressive allergens.
When you’re down in the dumps from allergies sometimes all you want to do is lie down. That’s fine! Taking some time in savasana is a great way to mindfully connect to your body and encourage self-healing. Breathe evenly and steadily, allowing the sensation of the breath to work through your body and calm any tension. This will help your body integrate the benefits of vigorous postures like inversions while promoting circulation and detoxification. Taking the time to relax in savasana is also a way to signal your mind and body that there is no emergency — allergies are a temporary irritant that will pass.
Share your allergy-fighting tips in the comments!
Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with this delicious vegan chilli recipe. Packed with vitamins, minerals and fibre, it will fuel you through a long day of work, yoga and anything else.
This recipe is courtesy of Veganuary which has loads of other great recipes and tips for vegan eating. Well worth checking out and bookmarking.
Share your favourite Mexican recipe in the comments!
Self-awareness can transform our lives. When we understand why we do what we do, we have the power to change. Without self-awareness, we falter in our attempts to make even small changes — for example, or be more patient with work colleagues.
Why is self-awareness so important? Because it reveals the motivation behind our actions. If we think our irritability at work is due to a colleague’s annoying habits, we keep being irritated. If we examine the situation with the goal of becoming self-aware we may discover our irritation is actually a mask for resentment or for insecurity. Shining the light of self-awareness on a situation lets us to address the real problem.
Self-awareness is something we can cultivate through yoga, in and out of the studio. The following three practices will help to develop self-awareness and create new avenues for growth and change.
Breathing is a fundamental element of yoga that you can tune into at any point in your day, this makes it a powerful aid to self-awareness. ArtofLiving.org suggests this five-step Ujjayi ritual to begin a meditation:
- Sit comfortably in a chair. You may also sit cross-legged on the ground or on a yoga mat.
- Slowly breathe out while making a “Ha” sound.
- Now stretch this “Ha” sound, so that it becomes a long deep breath “Haaaaaaa”.
- Breathe in while slowly making the “Ha” sound, but this time close your mouth. Feeling the throat slightly constricted and air flowing at the throat
- With the mouth closed, continue breathing like this, in and out, for 10 long deep breaths. As you take in a long deep “in” breath, breathe an equally long “out” breath.
If you’re on the train, at work, in a shop, or anywhere, you can tune in to consciously taking long, slow, equal in and out breaths to calm your mind. When you do this, you calm your body’s stress reactions and slow racing thoughts. This gives you the space to analyse your mind and bring full consciousness to a situation instead of reacting.
Use your time in yoga class to practice observing and understanding your body-mind connection, this will increase your awareness of how you respond to your surroundings and condition. Ask yourself questions as you move through your practice: Why do you choose your particular spot in the studio? What thoughts do you observe as you wait for class to begin? Do you anticipate or dread certain poses? How do you respond to other students’ presence and energy? What emotions arise if you fall out of a posture? As you become aware of your reactions to the asanas you begin to understand how you relate to the physical world at large.
Meditation teaches us to observe our feelings without being carried away. When we meditate we observe thoughts and feelings that arise, without attaching to them. Emotions are waves that sweep in and knock us off our feet. When we develop self-awareness through meditation we begin to understand their origin, just as scientists, through study, learn how waves are generated. As we do so, we may find areas that need healing or care — such as grief, disappointment or loss. Once we know what needs attention, we have the chance to work towards positive change.
What is your definition of self-awareness? Share in the comments?