Sitting here with a bad cough, disappointed that I won’t be able to teach my classes again this week.  I often say to my students ‘accept yourself exactly as you are right now’. Having to take a dose of my own medicine now, and it’s not going down very well! All sorts of thoughts going through my mind, including – you’re a yoga teacher, you can’t get sick (bunkum) and people will expect me to be healthy because I do yoga (but I’m human too). I also don’t like disappointing my students and feel like I’m letting them down because I don’t have a stand-in teacher. (That’s ego talking, as my students won’t attach the same importance to it as I do).

I’m also learning the lesson of appreciation. When I worked with computers, it didn’t matter so much if I got a cough and couldn’t speak. But as a yoga teacher, my voice is really important, and although I thought I knew that and appreciated it, I only truly value it when it’s not there.  How many things does that apply to in our lives? We need to be grateful for each and every part of our miraculous selves and our lives every day.

So, I’ll try to stop fretting, accept the situation and let go of the negative thoughts whizzing round my head using the lovely Dru earth sequence to help with this. Then I’ll have another honey and lemon drink to soothe my throat and be grateful for the gift of speech.

I apologise to any of my students reading this, and hope that normal service will be resumed next week!


Release and let go

bubbling stream

In Dru yoga, we work with sequences of movements called Energy Block Release sequences. We’ll usually do part or all of one of these sequences each week. They are very effective in releasing tension from the body, which in turn helps to release stress from body and mind. From the Dru yoga book – Stillness in Motion:

“You are a powerhouse of energy, but blocks in your inner circuitry may mean that you are operating seriously below capacity. The EBR sequence helps clear away these blocks and re-open inner pathways. This enables you to leave behind past conditioning and gives rise to a clear, open mind that can respond to each situation in a new, creative way.”

A stream that gets blocked with leaves and twigs becomes turbulent, muddy and flows more slowly in places, creating pools of stagnant water. So it is with our energy pathways.  If they become blocked, we’ll get more sluggish, emotional and dull. Like clearing leaves from a stream, clearing our energy pathways will make us refreshed, vibrant and glowing with health.

What does it mean to be grounded?

footprints in the sand

It’s one of the words I use frequently in my yoga teaching, and I know what it means to me, but wasn’t sure that everyone would think of it in the same way. When I looked it up in the dictionary, it hadn’t really struck me that it has some negative meanings, such as a plane being grounded because of bad weather, or being kept inside as a punishment.

I associate it with more positive qualities, such as stability, security and being in touch with reality. Another of the dictionary definitions is “mentally and emotionally stable : admirably sensible, realistic, and unpretentious.”

I started thinking about some of the expressions we use: they’ve got their feet on the ground, meaning someone is practical. Or they’ve got their head in the clouds, meaning the opposite, that someone is a dreamer. If your feet don’t touch the ground, you might be caught up in the excitement of something, not really appreciating the moment. Or plodding along, meaning that you’re in a bit of a rut, feeling heavy and lethargic.

Maybe you recognise a tendancy towards one of these qualities in yourself? The practical one or the dreamer? One isn’t better than the other – we need a mix of both and yoga helps us to find a balance between them.  This time of year is often associated with new beginnings at school and university, excitement, anxiety and rushing around, so a focus on grounding can help to restore that balance. Pause, breathe and connect with the ground beneath you.

We’ll be practicing the lovely Dru earth sequence, Prithvi Namaskara, that helps you keep your feet firmly on the ground, creating stability and security.

Autumn abundance

Yoga by the sea

Back refreshed from an invigorating break by the sea in Pembrokeshire. There’s nothing like doing yoga outside within sight and sound of the sea, filling the lungs with all that wonderful life-force. Still, my back garden’s almost as good! Red berries, apples, leaves beginning to turn and fall and seeds forming on the sunflowers and fennel.

We’re thinking of the abundance of autumn over the next few weeks, and doing a lovely sequence of movements in class this week to bring abundance into your life. As the nights draw in and it starts to get colder, the winter blues can start to set in. Doing some sort of exercise, whether it’s yoga, dancing in your living room or going for a brisk walk can get the happy hormones flowing. Light some candles, take a long bath and enjoy the cosiness of autumn. Take time to reflect on where you are in your life and think about what plans have come to fruition and what seeds you’d like to plant in your life to grow into the person you’re meant to be.