'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 genealogy or family tree, 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.
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...
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!
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...
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...
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;
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...
For many it is the next step in their yoga journey, for some it has been an unwelcome necessity during this pandemic. But either way, you CAN develop a beautiful home practice that will have many benefits for your wellbeing, self-care/ self-aroha.
A yoga practice with intent is called a Sadhana, and it's powerful, personal and may even change your life! (Your Sadhana is of a spiritual nature and the focus is not only on doing poses to gain physical mastery. It's about what's on the inside as well.)
But there can be many obstacles along the journey, and initially it can be helpful to have some guidance and to know that although there may be barriers, there are also solutions.
Here's some of what I've heard and may have even said myself sometimes in my 21 years of yoga teaching -
Ngā mihi o te tau hōu ki a koe! - Happy New Year to you!
And welcome to Kohitātea - or the eighth month ( January at the time of writing ) according to the maramataka māori.
The Maramataka is the moon phases that māori lived by pre-colonisation, and also today many māori and non- māori are turning back to it's wisdom, for planting crops, fishing and hunting, and doing other activities such as hui, or resting verses being active.
To me, as a wahine, it makes perfect sense to be in tune with the moons subtle yet powerful energy and flow. That energy which effects our environment, the oceans, the plants and animals, us, as we are a part of the environment, and so it is natural to be in rhythm and harmony with it.
So whether you consider it to be the 1st month of the year, or the eighth, a way that I like to combine the two systems (because we are all living within the Gregorian calendar too), is to think of this time as a time to take stock,...
I have often been asked what do I receive from my yoga practice? It's a great question because it reminds me of the reasons why I practice, and teach, so that others can also receive the gifts yoga has to offer. But the question of what are the gifts you receive can actually be a bit different from your why.
Your WHY might be to stay healthy, to have more energy, to be better able to serve those you love, to gain happiness, to become flexible etc. So yes we can receive those things from our practice, but they are not the only gifts. They maybe the initial reasons you were drawn to yoga, but a 'gift' is so much more than a result.
Different people receive different gifts from their practice, but it is definitely worth reflecting and asking - what gifts do you receive?
Over the years I have been teaching and sharing yoga, many people feel they have experienced some form of healing or release through yoga. Sometimes subtle, sometimes...
"Hā ki Roto - Hā ki Waho" -" Breathe in - Breathe out"
Sometimes this simple instruction is all we can do in life and yoga!
"Don't forget to breathe", as a great teacher once told me many years ago.
Sounds simple, but it is the simplest things that can sometimes be the most profound, both in practice, and in practice off the mat- also known as - life!
A simple way to tell how you are doing in yoga is- to be aware of your breath.
āroa hā = breath awareness ( see how close this is to aro-ha )
In our classes the awareness of the breath, the Hā in Māori ( also sometimes known as hau, ngā , manawa and tā to name a few of the words to describe the breath ) is all important, as important as what you do with your body, if not more.
Hā also means your essence.
The breath is the bridge between our bodies and our mind in yoga. It contains the life force, and links us to our divine nature.