Pain in the Neck? Try this

Pain in the Neck? Try this

{WATCH} SEATED NECK RELEASE

Do you suffer with a tight or sore neck? We can often hold tension in the neck (as well as the shoulders and upper back) due to stress and the dreaded ‘computer/mobile phone posture’, among other activities.
In this short video, filmed at reCentre Health in Balham, I show you how to do a simple neck release to help ease tightness in some of the muscles in this area. This simple lateral neck stretch (which can also be practised easily at your work desk) is one of my favourites for targeting the sternocleidomastoid. Some of the other muscles targeted in this stretch are the trapezius and the scalenes.

Take slow deep breaths while your ear is moving towards your shoulder and aim to be here for 5-8 breaths on each side.

TIP – Tucking the chin slightly in towards the chest (as I show in the video) may intensify the stretch.

This neck release is one of the poses we regularly practise during in SLOW FLOW YOGA class, Mondays 6.30-7.30pm at reCentre Health. Join us for a mix of flowing postures and restorative yoga to release tension and unwind from your day.

Supported Bridge into Supported Shoulderstand

Supported Bridge into Supported Shoulderstand


This is one of the restorative poses we regularly practice during the second half of SLOW FLOW YOGA – Mondays 6.30-7.30pm reCentre Health in Balham.

In this short video filmed at reCentre I show you how to do this restorative inversion with the aid of a bolster and a yoga belt. Here, the sacrum (directly below the lumbar spine) is supported by a bolster (or you can use cushions or a sturdy yoga block if you don’t have access to a bolster). Just a few of the benefits of Supported Bridge Pose can include:

– Helps to relieve stress and low moods
– Helps to calm the nervous system (activates the parasympathetic nervous system which is in charge of the body’s ‘rest and digest’ activities)
– Can help to reduce fatigue
– Stretches the spine from the shoulders all the way to the tailbone
– Can help to relieve lower back pain
– Stretches and opens the chest

Start by sitting on the bolster and place a looped belt around your lower legs. With knees bent and soles of both feet on the floor, place your hands on the floor behind you, lift your hips and slide them forward so that you can rest your sacrum (the flat bony place just below your lower back curve) onto the bolster. Then using your hands ease yourself back onto the floor so that you are in a Supported Bridge position. Allow your arms and hands to rest where they feel most comfortable – you may wish to rest arms by your side, or rest hands on your lower abdomen or reach arms back to the floor behind you as I am doing in this video.

To transition into Supported Shoulderstand, lift your feet into the air. This can be a nice alternative to Legs Up the Wall if you do not have access to wall space.

Rest here for up to five minutes or for as long as you feel comfortable.

Fancy practising this is class? Join us for Slow Flow Yoga – Mondays 6.30-7.30pm at reCentre Health, Balham.

Winter Solstice Gong Bath & Yoga Nidra

Winter Solstice Gong Bath & Yoga Nidra

Sunday 18th December 2-4pm at reCentre Health, Balham

Join us for this special Winter Solstice workshop – an afternoon of soothing sounds and complete relaxation for the mind and body

The Winter Solstice marks the shortest day of the year as we transition from Autumn to Winter and is a time for reflection and rebalancing – acknowledging what no longer serves us, making space to welcome in the new.

In this special workshop we will invite the space to set our “solstice resolutions”or intentions (Sankalpa) with our Yoga Nidra practice (with Paula), clarifying what we wish to cultivate in our lives as we move forward.

Yoga Nidra (also known as ‘yogic sleep’) is a guided meditation that  will bring you to the edge of sleep, quietening the mind, reducing tension and promoting deep relaxation.

Following a short tea break, the second part of the workshop will commence with a glorious gong bath with Patricia Carlota.

A Gong Bath is a form of Sound Healing where the Gong and other related instruments are played to induce wellbeing. The term ‘bath’ signifies being bathed in sound waves. Participants are invited to lie down comfortably on a yoga mat, close their eyes, relax and be cocooned in a sonic immersion. The practice provides a space to re-generate, re-nourish, and re-set your whole being – mind, body, emotions, soul, and energy field.

Booking is essential as places are limited. Book your place here or call reCentre on 020 8672 4455.

Yoga Nidra – Dreaming of Yogic Sleep

Yoga Nidra – Dreaming of Yogic Sleep

“Yoga Nidra can be understood as a total practice of yoga itself… a state of ‘awakened sleep’ … in this state (we encounter) auto-suggestive experience of the power of the unconscious mind and its linkage with the soul.” – Sri Ram Sharam Acharya.

What is Yoga Nidra?

The word ‘nidra’ translates as ‘sleep’, hence the term ‘yogic sleep’. Put simply, Yoga Nidra can be described as a form of meditation, though it is not so much a practice or technique as a state of being. It can be seen as an altered state of consciousness – neither being asleep or awake, but a state in-between. Sometimes, Yoga Nidra is referred to as ‘conscious sleep’ as the physical body is resting, but the mind remains awake and aware. Yoga Nidra brings about total physical, emotional and mental relaxation. Just a few of the reported benefits include reduced stress, improved sleep and a greater sense of wellbeing but Yoga Nidra can also be used as a means to help heal emotional and physiological wounds. For instance, the work of Richard Miller with US Army veterans with PTSD has produced impressive results. As one US Marine veteran comments on Richard Miller’s iRest (‘integrative-Restoration’ Yoga Nidra) website,

I truly believe that iRest helps to save my life every day. It has given me the hope and strength I needed to reconnect myself to the world again.” 

For my own personal experience of Yoga Nidra, it has helped (and continues to help) me find self-acceptance. As Rod Stryker (teacher, founder of ParaYoga and author of The Four Desires) describes, Yoga Nidra,  “…opens a doorway to a place where we can see ourselves and our lives in the most positive light.”

As a student I have experienced Yoga Nidras across a range of traditions – Himalayan, Satyananda and iRest (Richard Miller) – and experienced different benefits from all of them, and so when I wanted to deepen my studies in this area in order to share Yoga Nidra with more people, I trained with Uma Dinsmore-Tuli, Nirlipta Tuil and Ben Woolf in Total Yoga Nidra. Total Yoga Nidra delves into all these different lineages and shows us that there is no one ‘right way’.

How do I ‘do’ Yoga Nidra?

One of the great beauties of this is that you don’t have to do yoga or meditate in order to experience Yoga Nidra, making it accessible to almost anyone. As a practitioner, all that is required of you is to lie down (or sit) in a comfortable position, listen and be willing to become effortless, or in other words, enter an effortless state of being. Restorative Yoga poses such as a Basic Relaxation Pose (Supported Savasana) or Supported Reclining Pose are ideal positions for Yoga Nidra as the body is completely supported and comfortable, thus creating the conditions for both body and mind to let go more easily. If you have classes available in your area then it can be wonderful to experience live ‘in person’ Yoga Nidra, but you can also listen to recordings meaning that you can access Yoga Nidra whenever you need it at the times which work best for you.

I have recorded short 10-15 minute practices which are available through my website here. I will be regularly adding more Yoga Nidra and meditation recordings to this page. I have been asked by many people over the past couple of years for recordings, so I hope you will enjoy them.

If you are based in London I teach a weekly Friday Flow & Restore class at Embody Wellness Vauxhall. This class concludes with a 15 minute yoga nidra. 

And don’t forget, if you sign up to my mailing list through www.ucanyoga.co.uk you will receive a complimentary 15 minute Yoga Nidra too.

NEW Monthly Gong Bath & Yoga Nidra Workshops

NEW Monthly Gong Bath & Yoga Nidra Workshops

 

Sundays 2-4pm at reCentre, Balham – from September 18th

Join us for an afternoon of soothing sounds and complete relaxation for the mind and body.

The first part of this workshop is a Yoga Nidra session led by me. Yoga Nidra (‘Yogic Sleep’) is a guided meditation that will bring you to the edge of sleep, quietening mental chatter, promoting deep relaxation for the body and mind.

Following a short tea break, the second part of the workshop will commence with a glorious gong bath with Patricia Carlota.

A Gong Bath is a form of Sound Therapy where the Gong and other therapeutic instruments are played to induce relaxation, meditation and general well being.

During a Gong Bath, guests lay down on yoga mats, close their eyes and experience a deep listening experience as they are enveloped by the sounds of the Gong, Singing Bowls, Chimes, Bells, Rattles, and Shakers.

Booking is also open for our October Gong Bath & Yoga Nidra workshop which is scheduled for Sunday October 16th 2-4pm. Keep an eye on the reCentre website for November and December dates.

Booking is essential as places are limited. Book your place here or call reCentre on 020 8672 4455.