Harnessing the power of yoga for women

The feminine life force energy is considered the creative force in yoga philosophy, the energy that brings all things into physical form.

 

This energy is radiant and powerful, it is active and creative as well as receptive and nurturing. 

  

I learnt my own way of what felt right in the yoga space and what didn't when I began to practice over two decades ago.

 

Although most participants were women many of the classes were very ‘yang’ based - Strong physical classes that felt quite competitive at times. It often seemed that we needed to be more, do more, be more flexible, and stay longer and longer in strengthening poses. 



Many times it just didn't feel right to practice in the way I was being told to, so instead I decided to listen to what felt right to me. 

 

Through experimentation and observation, I came up with the way to practice that resonated with me, and my mostly female students.

 

Many years of research,...

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POV - when you don't fit the 'industry standard' image for yoga -

POV - you don't fit the 'industry standard' image for yoga - 

 

Have you ever heard yourself say that you are too big, stiff or old to do yoga? Or maybe heard others say this, as I have heard 100's of times in my 23 years of teaching.

 

It's a fear that many people carry, and I too am not immune to the fears of being judged - in fact  many teachers carry shame - for not 'measuring up' to the 'standard' image of a yoga teacher. 

 

....And then comes the fear of being 'too old', so much so that many yoga teachers and students opt out of yoga - at precisely the time they are a well spring of knowledge, when they have the most to offer, or as a student, can benefit from it the most!

 

We all fear being judged, and with social media it has become a minefield, although this depends on what you look at and allow into your 'feed'.

 

Thankfully, there is also a growing movement happening now - a much healthier one that is embracing...

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5 things to include in your home practice

 - You are ready to start your home practice journey...

but you don't know exactly what to do?... you are not alone, this is something I hear often at workshops and classes, so this post aims to give you a simple way to look at what to do, with 5 essential things to include.

With a little home practice you create more space for true transformation, rather than just coming to a class once a week to catch up on your wellbeing, which is still an awesome thing to do!

Is your time in class like therapy? For many years I have often asked students what they would like in the session, and almost every time it turns into a list of body parts and muscle groups that need attention! This is understandable, but total focus on only the physical can be a block to going deeper in yoga. 

Is yoga physical therapy?

Yes it can be with a knowledge teacher, and it can be more too, because yoga is about the elimination of suffering.

 

However, remember that a 'general' yoga class is...

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Changes and new adventures

 

It's been a while since I have written anything for the blog - life has been way too busy!

 

I have many ideas for new blog posts, but I thought it might be good to simply update you on why I have been absent form writing, and the new changes that have happened since my last blog- which was Matariki!

Tuatahi - firstly, we have moved and I am now based in the Bay of Plenty, back in my turangawaewae - my standing place -  Rotorua.

 

I am still travelling to Tamaki Makaurau /Auckland a bit though, and will be up on Thursday 8th December for an in studio yoga class and pop up shops before Christmas.

 

My focus though is now firmly on teaching online, and creating online experiences and offerings that students will love, so that you can receive the gifts of yoga, where ever you may be.

 

I wanted to continue to share the gift of yoga, as there are sooo many gifts.

 

That has always been the kaupapa.

 

Share what I know to work - to enhance...

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Matariki - A new year begins...

Matariki for me is a time to reflect, look back to look ahead, and be grateful for all I have in the present.

This time the blog is a little different, as it is a little more personal, and is a look back on the year that has passed and some changes that are on the horizon!

So to recap here's some of the topics from the last year on the blog -

  • Tips for practicing yoga online
  • Rest is rongoā - rest is medicine.
  • Wish upon a star - Hiwa- i- te- rangi - the wishing star
  • Fall in love with your breath - yoga for stress
  • He iti noa ana, he pito mata-  From the withered tree a flower blooms - finding the right teacher for you.

 

 

For a big chunk of last  year we were in lockdown, and all classes were held online with the studio closed. So the blogs on tips for practicing online, and the benefits, were needed. I hope you found some of the tips useful.

 

We all adapted, and some even discovered they were completely happy with this new way of accessing the classes, and...

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'Iti noa ana, he pito mata' - From the withered tree, a flower blooms. A blog about finding the right teacher for you.

 

'Iti noa ana, he pito mata'

'From the withered tree a flower blooms'

 

This whakataukī ( māori proverb ) is the inspiration for this months blog.

The whakataukī reminds me that knowledge and wisdom are passed down through generations from our tūpuna (ancestors), like the tree that passes its energy and nourishment to the flower.

 

Like te ao māori, the māori world, yoga also has a form of whakapapa…-  a lineage, with knowledge passed from the elders of the tradition down to students - the next generation. 

  

In past blogs I have talked about the importance of practice, however, one crucial element of your journey is your teacher.

 

MY JOURNEY: 

 

I have been blessed to have begun my journey with yoga over two decades ago.

 

My teachers came out of the yoga brought to the west from India, and most followed a path or lineage with a particular guru.

 

It was the nineties and yoga wasn't often practiced to...

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Tips for doing yoga online

With many of us now taking yoga classes and courses online I  wanted to share with you a few tips to enhance your online yoga journey.

You may already be familiar with these but a wee reminder now and again is often helpful.

For live classes on Zoom download the Zoom app before classes start and have a play with it, ask a friend to have a meeting with you to test everything is working and then when we have classes you are ready to go!

  • Devote yourself to this time as you would going to the studio - turn off your notifications or leave your phone in another room (unless using it for joining the class!) This is your time for you and you are worth disconnecting from the outside world for a while.

 

  • Inform your whānau/ family, or flatmates that you will be practicing yoga for your self-aroha, a gentle 'please do not disturb' reminder can be helpful! They would not have access to you if you were in a studio so please remind them and set your boundaries.

 

  • ...
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Rest is rongoā - rest is your medicine

 

 

There is a saying - listen to your body whisper so you won't have to listen to it scream...

 

Intentionally resting - like taking time out for mindful movement, meditation or guided deep relaxation, is a gift to give yourself in order to keep your cup full, and inner light shining brightly.

 

'Intentional rest' is not the same as relaxing on the couch in front of the tv, having a glass of wine, or going out with a friend. The benefits are different.

 

It is a practice of self care that takes you into a certain state, brain waves are at a certain frequency, and the body - mind is better able to heal, let go, release tension, improve interoception and process life. 

 

By practicing mindful yoga and guided deep relaxation you are taking that time to focus on intentional rest, your well-being, and refilling your cup. 

 

Adopting a balanced approach and incorporating nurturing practices into your lifestyle you can counter the effects of...

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Wish upon a star...

Mānawatia a Matariki - New year greetings!

During our yoga this term we spent the last two weeks setting intentions- called a Sankalpa in the yoga tradition I am trained in. This was to honour and mark the beginning of Matariki, before the re-emergence of the star cluster known as Matariki or Pleiades. To harness the energy of this powerful time, the power of the stars and ritual, to bring our desires and wishes from our hearts and minds into fruition...

 

The kaupapa involved focusing on one of the nine stars-

 

Hiwa-i-te-Rangi - The Wishing Star... 

 

... sending our wishes, hopes and dreams to the stars ...that is one of the roles of Matariki wā, when the star Matariki rises she brings with her her children, one of which is Hiwa-i-te-Rangi, the wishing star...so now is the time to release your wishes and dreams for the coming year.

 

In yoga we use the power of Sankalpa - a resolve or intention for that which you wish to bring into your life - this...

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Fall in love with your breath - yoga for stress

 

More and more people are coming to yoga for help with stress management... 

 

What is it about yoga that makes it an option for helping with stress ? 

 

Some of the ways yoga helps with stress are;

  1. Breathing 
  2. Movement 
  3. Meditation 
  4. Relaxation 
  5. Meaning 

 

Today we are looking mostly at breathing to alleviate stress. This starts with becoming aware of your breath. This is simple yet profound and often enough for many people to feel calmer. 

 

There are two parts of the autonomic nervous system, the parasympathetic- “rest and digest “- and the sympathetic- “fight - flight -freeze “. 

 

Our bodies respond to life threatening events by releasing hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol , blood is pumped away from the centre of the body to enable the limbs to run, or fight the danger, it is all about survival and an important part of the survival mechanism. However our bodies don’t...

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