It’s newsletter time! Here’s your round-up from September.
It is definitely getting to be comfort food time of year and food doesn’t get much more comforting than this aubergine curry with a coconut milk base. It is it mellow and delicious, packed with good-for-you-ingredients like fresh ginger and tomatoes, and the perfect way to enjoy seasonal aubergine at its best.
If you want to make this vegan, just substitute firm tofu or tempeh for the paneer cheese.
Share your favourite aubergine recipe in the comments!
Last week I blogged about signs it’s time to slow down. If you’re like me, though, it’s hard to slow down when you need to the most. The buzz of being busy can be addictive!
So, for those of us who struggle to slow down… here is some expert advice on seven steps to better sleep…
What’s your best tip for getting a good night’s sleep? Share in the comments!
To not worry, try living in the past. This might sound strange, but Oliver Burkeman, in a fascinating article on how to cope with anxiety, writes:
We tend to live, it has often been observed, in a constant state of anxious anticipation of the next potentially stressful event. But the usual Buddhism-tinged solution – to be “present in the moment” instead – is notoriously hard to put into practice. It’s easier to look back at previous forthcoming events, and ask if your anxiety proved justified. You could try the exercise I recently undertook, following Cain’s line of thinking, which I trust the Stoics would have endorsed: every morning, make a brief note of what feels like your biggest problem. As the list accumulates, you can start looking back at earlier entries. Guess how many months it took for my former worries to seem laughably overblown? Five days: that’s how many months. Most of what troubles us turns out to be tolerable, or even wonderful, or just never happens at all.
Worrying is easy. We worry about work, money, health, family, what’s going on in the world…. One of the main reasons a lot of people do yoga is to get away from the daily grind of fretting about this and that.
Yoga trains us to tackle worry, to be with our bodies, to stay in the moment. The problem is, we step out of the studio and it all comes rushing back. So much to do, so much to, well, worry about. Instead of getting overwhelmed, why not give Burkeman’s advice a spin and think about all the bad things that didn’t happen in the past. I’m willing to bet it will help put things in perspective and ease the stress!
As he writes:
Next time you worry that something’s going to ruin your life, it’s worth remembering that if you’d ever been right about that before, even once, your life would presently be ruined.
Can looking back can keep you in the present? Share your views in the comments!
The magnificent Cuban dancer Carlos Acosta is debuting his dance company, Acosta Danza, in London! The company performs at Sadler’s Wells from 27-30 September.
The repertoire mixes ballet, modern and traditional dance styles in a fabulous multi-colour, multi-ethnic, multi-talented extravaganza of movement. “It’s a symbol of diversity, of unity,” he says. “Acosta Danza embraces everything.”
This will be spectacular.
Tickets via Sadler’s Wells.
Here’s the official blurb:
Based in Havana, the company is made up of the best dancers Cuba has to offer who have trained in both ballet and contemporary dance styles. They will perform new and existing pieces by Cuban choreographers who have rarely been seen outside the country, and commission new pieces from international choreographers who will take inspiration from their iconic nation.
For their first UK tour, in which Acosta himself makes a guest appearance, they will perform works by Cuban choreographer Marianela Boán, Spanish dance-makers Jorge Crecis and Goyo Montero, New York City Ballet resident choreographer Justin Peck and Sadler’s Wells Associate Artist Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui.
Have a tip for a great London event? Share in the comments!
We all get caught in the rush. There’s work to do and people to meet and birthday parties and yoga class and volunteering and travel and meditation and self-improvement and errands and catching that great exhibition and…
We are delighted with our full, rich, busy lives and we also feel like we’re barely clinging on some days. It can get hard to distinguish how we really feel through all the should-does and appointments. We run the risk of burnout. Of turning what should be joyous and rewarding into a tiresome chore.
There are times when we’re just unmotivated, a little down in the dumps, and going to an extra yoga class, or making the effort to meet a friend for coffee will give us the lift we need. Other times, we need to make a conscious effort to avoid spinning our wheels. Here are three signs you need to slow down.
Sounds obvious, right? But you’d be surprised how many people ignore exhaustion. Or take pride in it. You might get by on coffee and adrenaline for a while but you can’t fool your body. According to the NHS sleep deprivation sets you up for serious illnesses like heart disease, diabetes and obesity. In other words, think twice before dragging yourself out of bed after a few hours sleep to make 7AM yoga. Your body isn’t going to absorb the benefits of your practice, or your good nutrition, or anything else, if it is scrambling to function because of lack of sleep.
We all have off-days but if you find yourself in a permanent bad mood something is out of balance. We humans have finite energy. If our minds and bodies are busy and stressed we don’t have much bandwidth left to be open-minded, thoughtful, patient, attentive, compassionate. The effort to be our best selves can inadvertently bring out our worst. This is especially true in our intimate relationships with partners, family and close friends. They almost always bear the brunt when we’re too busy, so if you’re over-committed step back and give yourself and them a break.
If your desk at work looks like a Boots outlet, you need to take a look at your schedule. Getting sick occasionally is normal. Being constantly unwell is a sign your immune system is run down. A meta study of research on the relationship between stress and immunity found that “for stress of any significant duration, from a few days to a few months or years, as happens in real life, all aspects of immunity went downhill.” So if you don’t feel well, don’t try to work through it. Make space in your schedule and give your body time to heal itself naturally.
How do you know when it’s time to slow down? Share in the Comments.
Start your weekend with 90 minutes dedicated to your practice and healing your mind and body. The class is open to anyone. We will pay attention to detail, step-by-step throughout the master class. We will focus on the breath that initiates the movement and deepens the posture. We will also look at the bandhas and how important they are to Hatha yoga practice.⠀
Spaces are filling up fast! Click here to sign up.
Check out @yogaloungebournemouth on Instagram
Our Achilles tendons connect the ankle and calf. Literally every step we take puts pressure on the tendon and overuse can cause pain and stiffness. Runners are particularly prone to Achilles tendon problems, but it can strike anyone.
Yoga is a terrific tool to stretch and strengthen the Achilles tendon. An ounce of prevention, as the saying goes, is worth a pound of cure, and regular yoga can help avoid injuries. One important thing: take it easy. Relax, breathe into any resistance and listen to your body. Never force a stretch to the point of pain.
Practicing these three Achilles tendon yoga poses will increase the power and flexibility of the lower leg, creating a stronger more stable tendon.
Downward-facing dog is a great whole body awakening and strengthening stretch that targets your Achilles. Press your hands to the floor, draw in your belly, and let your legs find a comfortable stretch. You may not be able to get your feet flat on the floor, which is fine. You can “walk the dog”, flexing alternate knees to loosen your calves and hamstrings. As you build flexibility work towards having your feet flat, but don’t strain.
Eagle pose is a fantastic stretch and strength and flexibility fast. The ankle of your standing leg is working hard to keep your whole body connected and balanced, this strengthens the small muscles in your lower leg, creating more support for the Achilles tendon. Because this is a challenging pose, take it slow. Start with just a few seconds and gradually increase how long you hold the pose. Keep the weight evenly distributed on the foot and your hips straight. Wrapping the other leg creates a fantastic stretch that works deep into the muscles and connective tissue.
Also known as the yogi squat, garland pose is a great stretch for your back, ankles, Achilles and groin. Separate your feet to about shoulder-width, or to the sides of your mat, heels in a line, toes turned out. Squat down and bring your palms together at the centre of your chest. Your torso should be firm and back straight. You can intensify the stretch by pressing your elbow into your inner thighs. Inhale and exhale through the nose, relaxing into the pose for maximum flexibility.
Questions or concerns about your Achilles tendon? Ask in the comments!
September is a fantastic month for British seasonal food. With a huge variety of fruit and veg at its prime, it is the perfect time to experiment with salads and soups. This simple slaw of fennel, apple and celery is crisp, full of flavour, and travels well. Pop it in Tupperware for lunch or a refreshing post-yoga snack. For more inspiration and to read the original recipe visit Epicurious.
Share your favourite fennel recipe or tip in the comments!
Something special to start September: a beautiful rendition of om mani padme hum.
This is a very deep, sacred Buddhist mantra that was an important part of my Buddhist retreat in Bhutan. We would join and chant “om mani padme hum” to all beings.
You can read the Dalai Lama’s explanation of its meaning in this post. He says, in part:
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.
Chant along or simply listen and let the profound meaning of the mantra infuse your mind and body.