Last one of the year, friends! The #YWP December newsletter is here. Enjoy & share.
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!
Vibeka, one of our lovely yogis on the 2015 Yoga Holiday With Paul retreat, wrote this piece about her experience.
To join the 2106 retreat email: YogaHolidayWithPaul@gmail.com
The bustle of city life becomes a faint memory on the Yoga With Paul holiday. Imagine fruit orchards where you pick fresh figs or oranges still warm from the sun, lovingly converted farm buildings with a personal pool and twice daily yoga and meditation.
Each day is different and inspiring. Some days have yoga with music that weaves seamlessly into the practice. Each tune is selected to fit the yoga poses, and after a few sessions you start to flow with the beats. Silent mediation before each class also adds a new dimension, helping ease you into a strong, balanced yoga practice.
Poses you may have been doing for years become more open and free with Paul’s support. You’ll also learn new types of yoga, improve your breathing technique and do a bit of dancing. One person described feeling ‘high’ towards the end, as the energy and breathing of the class united and the yoga moves synchronized.
But it’s not all about the yoga. The nearest beach, easily accessible by car or bike, is not a tourist trap, allowing for pure and quiet relaxation by the sea. The retreat centre offers daily massages; the pool is a great place to catch up on a book or some rest. I came on my own and easily made holiday pals to take trips to the beach with and have bike rides.
Special note must be made about the food. The cooks varied and tasty vegetarian cuisine is a delight for foodies, and designed to energise and aid the yoga practice. Some of the favourites were cauliflower rice tabbouleh and banana bread with coconut cream.
Yoga With Paul is a great holiday to relax and improve your yoga practice at the same time. While the emphasis is on exercise and health, there is plenty of time for the beach and the evenings provide a great opportunity for a glass of wine and good conversation at the communal meal.
Share your Yoga Holiday With Paul memories in the comments!
To reserve your place or for more information email: YogaHolidayWithPaul@gmail.com
To improve your practice talking (before or after class!) is the best and quickest way to get the direction you need.
I do my best to offer corrections in class, but no teacher can watch every single posture by every student. More importantly, teachers are not mind readers. Things you find difficult, or don’t understand, or would like to work on might not be obvious and visible. The only way a teacher can help is if we know your concern!
So please, take the time to come a bit early, or stay a few minutes after class, and ask questions, or tell me what’s on your mind. You may think you’re doing something wrong when it is just fine; a minor adjustment might give you new strength and confidence; you might learn something new about a posture that will help you go deeper.
It is easy to rush into class, do your yoga, rush out to shower and go on to the rest of your day, but taking the time to talk can change your practice and outlook for the better.
Questions about anything? Ask me in the comments, or Tweet @YogaWithPaul
The essential practice of Bikram, or any yoga, is simple: never quit.
We all have moments, days, or even weeks sometimes, when we think “I want to quit.” Yoga is too hard. Life is too busy. We have jobs, partners, kids, debts, commitments, houses, pets and our sanity to look after.
Sometimes yoga feels like one more line on a never-ending to do list. In those moments it can be tempting to quit. But yoga teaches us that quitting is not a solution. If we quit yoga when the going gets tough we are putting down the one tool that can help us hack through the jungle of stress and strife and come out smiling on the other side.
Yoga is where we hone our minds and bodies. It is where we return to ourselves. It is where we learn to breathe, be in the moment, and let go of external things. Yoga is also where we find community. Even if we dash in and out of the studio, we spend 90 minutes in a room with people who share positive energy and affirm the power of our practice.
Quitting is a temporary fix, like getting drunk after a bad week. But you wake up with a hangover, and feel worse than before.
If you are truly struggling for time and energy to practice yoga, it is better to modify, adjust, reschedule, or practice at home. Don’t quit on the one thing that will, over time, build a stronger mind, body, and spirit.
Have you ever quit yoga? What did it feel like?
Wishing all of you – my friends, students, fellow yogis, fellow travellers in this life – a wonderful holiday. May you live in bliss today, and always.
Peace & love … Paul
‘Bliss’ by Rabindranath Tagore
Remain in bliss in this world,
Fearless, pure in heart.
Wake up in bliss every morning,
Carry out your duties in bliss.
Remain in bliss in weal and woe.
In criticism and insult,
Remain in bliss unaffected.
Remain in bliss, pardoning everybody.
Water, water everywhere is not the best policy in Bikram yoga.
The key to staying hydrated is to drink plenty of water before you come to class. Otherwise, as soon as you start to sweat you’re playing catch up. This is especially important in the summer when you’re probably sweating more outside of class.
When you come to class make sure you have enough water with you. A 500ml bottles might be enough for some people, but I recommend bringing a 1.5 litre bottle. It’s better to have plenty, even if you don’t drink all of it. Running in and out of class to refill your water bottle is a distraction for the class and yourself, so please don’t!
Another thing I’ve noticed in some classes is students pouring water over themselves. Not just a little but practically a whole bottle. Water is for drinking, not showering! In Bikram class you should sip, not gulp, and certainly not splash.
Some experienced practitioners prefer to only drink water after class, which is fine if you are properly hydrated in advance, and fit enough to sustain the 90 minutes. This practice helps to eliminate toxins by building heat in the body. Drinking excessive water or wasting it is not going to help.
Sometimes, as a treat, I have a coconut water after class — it has electrolytes to replace salts lost through sweat, and natural sugar for an energy boost. Avoid juice or other sugary drinks though, as they don’t really offer any other benefits for your body.
How do you hydrate for Bikram? Share your tips in the comments!
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There are a lot of things you SHOULD do in a 90-minute Bikram class. Remembering all of them (the breathing! the grip! the meditation!) can be a bit overwhelming. If you struggle to remember everything you are supposed to do just remember five things you SHOULDN’T do.
This rule is easy to forget if you’re new or, on the other hand, if you’ve been practicing so long you’re friends with everyone in your class and fancy a chat. Practice the discipline of being silent from the moment you step into the studio until the moment you leave. It will enhance your concentration and clarity, and it is a basic courtesy to your fellow yogis.
2. Eat before class
Meals and hot yoga don’t mix. At best, you’ll feel uncomfortable and sluggish, at worst you might find yourself dashing out to the toilet. If you’re very hungry and worried about low blood sugar pre-hydrate with coconut water, or have a very light snack such as a few slices of fruit or a rice cake with nut-butter.
3. Breathe through your mouth
The breathe is what moves you through the postures. If you start panting, you throw off your body’s rhythm and risk breathlessness. If you feel like you can’t get enough air breathing correctly in and out through your nose, ease off the postures until you return to equilibrium.
4. Move too fast
Regulars often get in the habit of anticipating postures instead of following the dialogue, while novices can make the mistake of pushing too far in poses or not relaxing completely in savasana. I say it all the time in class: Follow the dialogue. Whether it is your first or 500th class you get maximum benefit when you follow the teacher’s instructions and move mindfully, without haste.
5. Compare yourself to others
Bikram yoga is not a competition sport. One of the quickest ways to get distracted is to compare yourself to people around you. As soon as you start thinking in terms of ‘better’ or ‘worse’ your ego gets involved. Whether the result is getting discouraged, feeling smug, or something in-between, your mind has left the yoga and you’re only getting half the benefit of your practice. Focus on your own body and practice and let everyone else worry about themselves!
Share your top Bikram ‘Don’t’ in the comments!