Friday, November 29, 2019

Benefits of the YOGA SANGA Yoga Retreat

1. Connect with Nature
No matter the weather – this is a chance to connect with nature and all things natural. Leave behind the hustle and bustle of city life, immerse yourself in natural surroundings and take advantage of them.

2. Disconnect from Technology
A retreat is a perfect opportunity to do a digital detox. Tell your family where you will be and mention that they may not hear from your for those days away. Mention that just for safety, if there is any form of emergency family will be notified; however, you will be in a safe environment.

3. Take stock of Current Life
Going on retreat allows you to take a step back from the stresses of daily life and often after a few days of relaxing, the brain is clearer and important decisions can be made to help you re-evaluate.

4. Deepen your Yoga Practice
The Yoga Retreat offers multiple classes per day. One can partake in every class without distractions of everyday life. Perhaps this means going deeper within on a mental and spiritual level, maybe it is on a physical level. Your choice!

5. Spend time with Experts in the Field
Talking with the Yoga instructors; interacting in workshops with the presenters and sharing meals in the dining room with other experts, leads to deeper knowledge and solutions to unanswered questions.   

6. Surround Yourself with Positive Energy
Taking part in a yoga retreat allows you to leave behind all negative vibes and stress. On an organised retreat you don’t even have to think about what to eat next... it is all provided with uplifting positive vibes. You will be surrounded by positive thoughts, feelings, conversations and like-minded people.

7. Healing
A yoga retreat can be healing for your mental and physical health. Going on retreat can change your life, and help you to deal with any emotional and mental issues you may be having. It can also be healing for your body if you’ve experienced injury.

8. Get a Taste of Living with Purpose
By choosing to take part (or not) in classes, workshops or events on the retreat; by partaking in healthy meals and activities; by experiencing love, compassion and kindness of others; by interacting with like-minded people – these are the things that can change your outlook on life!

9. Introduction to new Healthy ways of Eating
On the retreat healthy vegetarian /vegan food is offered with an option of choices, but all considered for health and well-being. Meal and food ideas to take into life back at home are vast.

10. Really Relax
A reason to go on a yoga retreat is to give yourself an opportunity to truly relax. Planning a vacation can be hard work, and sometimes it’s difficult to disconnect and really restore your reserves. On a yoga retreat, you can genuinely escape and have nothing to do but concentrate on the retreat.

TREAT yourself !!!  

See you on the Yoga Sanga Retreat:

Monday, March 17, 2014

Tips for the New Yoga Teacher

When asked what it takes to be a good yoga teacher,
Seane Corn, an acclaimed yoga teacher, replied:
“Having a committed personal yoga practice helps”

With that in mind here are some useful tips:

1. Remember why you are teaching yoga:
Most likely you decided to teach yoga because of YOUR love of yoga. It is up to you to impart this to your yoga pupils, so that they also develop this love of yoga.

2. Remember what yoga is:
Bringing harmony and balance to all levels of our being! Union, integration, balance!

3. Teach what you know:
Even though you may not be able to do a practice properly if you know how to teach it properly you can teach it! Be focussed while teaching. Be clear, simple and straightforward.

4. Be adaptable and prepared:
Prepare your classes ahead of time and stick to the plan, but at the same time be prepared to change or adapt something if the need arises. Have options for beginners and more practiced pupils.

5. Remember they are people, you are teaching:
They have feelings, emotions and want to feel good. Make the class about them - not you. Be engaged with your pupils. Do not get so involved in your practice in front of the class that the people are neglected or ignored.

6. Make eye contact with your pupils:
Watch students and walk around your class. If need be make soft physical contact to help correct a pose.

7. In the beginning keep it simple:
Teach asanas and pranayama that you know well yourself. As you incorporate more involved practices into your personal practice and become skilled at them, then introduce them into your class teaching. Repetition can be a good thing for newbies.

8. It’s not about you – be a light unto those attending your classes!
Ask yourself again: ‘Why am I teaching yoga?’

For Yoga Teacher training:

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Yoga for Recovering Injured Foot

In a hurry to get out of the shower to close a banging door on a windy stormy morning, I kicked my left toes against the ridge of the shower door. Oweeee, yoweeee…. was that sore and blood all over, and the worst of it all – I had a Yoga class to teach 20 minutes hence. Cleaned it up, wrapped torn toes with a band-aid, took loads of arnica, other homeopathic remedies and of course my own home-made FlexiBod (for healing and restoring muscles, ligaments and joints) and hobbled off to the class. Ironically the theme for the week’s classes – was – you guessed it – feet…. Grounded-ness; stability; taking weight down through our feet; balance; deep gratitude for what our feet do for us each and every day. Managed to get through that one hobbling and wobbling.

Repeated the remedies all through the day as well as binding the toes (thought by now, one was broken) and added a few rounds of tapping - for the pain, the discomfort, the bruising, the embarrassment of kicking the shower after 20 years of daily use, the thought of a lengthy recovery period if a toe was broken… and other aspects that presented themselves. The following day I taught the yoga class and still my achy, oh-so-sore toes and foot, but it wasn’t as bad as I had expected it to be! The next day I was scheduled to teach for an extra long yoga class/workshop – two and half hours of “Yoga for the Core” – managed to get through it okay but by the end the foot was super-sore. After the class continued the remedy/tapping routine and took some rest. Was amazed that there was hardly any bruising, swelling was already down, and when there was no pressure on it – no pain either. The following morning apart from the lacerations it felt astoundingly better, just a bit of a bruised feeling in that second toe and under the foot in that vicinity. Even went for a long walk with the dog. Yay….

But never-the-less now have to plan the week’s morning Yoga classes, so decided to do a routine that does not require putting much pressure on the feet or too much standing, etc (quite the opposite of last week’s classes!) So here it is – a ‘floor yoga class’ for a winter’s morning:

• Centre in Sukhasana
• Kapalabhati – 3 rounds
• Optional Sithali 3x (cooling breaths for those with the hot-flush reaction)
• Neck & shoulder looseners
• Baddha konasana and variations for opening the hips and preparing the lower back
• Side bends in sukhasana
• Twists in sukhasana
• Baddha konasana forward bend
• Janu sirshasana
• Pascimottanasana
• Uppavista konasana
• Gomukhasana for shoulders and upper back
• Navasana and variations
• Rolling ball with all variations; ending with plough to pascimottanasana rolls - 6x each
• Sarvangasana to plough to bridge to matsyasana sequence
• Apanasana both legs 4x
• Cobra sequence to warm up and energise
• Balasana
• Sit up for pranayama: repeat kapalabhati and sithali as above
• Yoga nidra in Savasana

Friday, April 5, 2013

Ayurveda Routine for Autumn

Many of us in the Western Cape enjoy the beautiful, cooler days of Autumn – I know this is my most favourite season. Instinctively as the days and nights become cooler we feel the need to change our eating and life-style patterns. Perhaps we add a blanket to the bed, a warmer top and socks in the evenings, and start making more stew-like or soup dishes for our main meals.

Autumn is predominantly a Vata-type season – cool, dry, light, rough are some of the qualities of vata and these attributes start to show within and without our bodies. Perhaps you notice the rough skin on your heels after the sandal season of summer. Vata dosha is the dosha of movement and thus it governs the other two doshas - pitta and kapha, and at this time of year if not carefully pacified will cause aggravation to the other two if it becomes imbalanced.

Vata is responsible for all movement within the body – think of neuron impulses of the nervous system, the movement of wastes out of the body, the breath flowing in and out, blood flowing through the blood vessels, even speaking uses the attributes of vata, and these are a few amongst many other functions relating to movement. Vata is seated in the colon (predominantly) therefore any aggravation or imbalance will most likely manifest here first, with symptoms such as bloating, gas, constipation. Other signs of vata imbalance are dry lips, dryness inside the nostrils, dry or parched skin, erratic sleep patterns, irregular appetite, stress and tiredness. If you notice any of these changes it is time to start a vata-pacifying regime and routine.

In autumn, we look to bring balance to the vata dosha by focusing on the opposite qualities to those of vata. Choose grounding, warming, moisturising and nourishing foods and lifestyle to offset the dryness and cold. Stillness such as meditation and routine, regularity and rest bring harmony once again.

All these tips are especially significant to do if your predominant dosha is vata, or you are in the vata stage of life (older age).

Ayurveda for Autumn Summary:
• Focus on warming, nourishing foods, rich in oils and ghee, warming spices such as ginger, cumin and cinnamon. Have warm soft breakfasts such as porridge to which you can also add some spice. To help you sleep, have a warm milk drink at the end of the day with some ginger, a grating of nutmeg and a bit of sugar added. Avoid dry foods like breakfast cereals, dry muesli, pop corn, and stay away from ice cold drinks and foods. Stick to regular meal times and for better digestion, try to have the main meal near midday each day.
• Stay hydrated by drinking sufficient pure water each day.
• Take care of your skin by self-massaging the whole body daily with warming sesame oil. Try nourishing face masks made with natural ingredients from your kitchen. See below.
• Increase times of stillness and meditation in your day, let this be a time to connect with yourself and settle any movement. Also reduce anything that contributes to excess movement, for example travelling, rushing around and fast and vigorous sports or yoga. Slow down by going for a walk in nature, practice calming and grounding yoga poses, do slow deep balancing pranayama, meditate, write in your journal, listen to beautiful music, etc.

Nourishing facial mask: Take 2 Tbs honey and blend well with 2tsp milk
Apply to face, leave for 10-15minutes then wash off with lukewarm water.

Use almond oil with a few drops of vata pacifying essential oil blend to the face and leave on overnight.

Monday, March 5, 2012

What is Yoga Therapy?

Over the weekend a group of Yoga Teachers gathered to start a new training journey, which will take 3 years to complete. Their goal is to become qualified as: Yoga Therapy Teachers.

One afternoon we sat discussing the concept of yoga therapy – how does it differ from attending a normal yoga class; why is it carried out on a one-on-one basis; all these questions required an answer.

The definition by International Association of Yoga Therapy is:

“Yoga therapy is the process of empowering individuals to progress toward

improved health and wellbeing through the application of the

teachings and practices of yoga”.

It seems even many practitioners of yoga do not know how beneficial yoga is! Not only is yoga an ‘exercise system’ as most class attendees think, but it is a powerful way of transformation for body, mind and soul. Yoga is both a science and an art. Yoga is a scientific system of self-investigation, self- transformation, and self-realization that originated in India, over 5000 years ago. The art is dependant on the skilled Yoga Teacher who puts it together into a sequence that supports and balances all levels of the practitioner’s being. A Yoga Therapy teacher who works with a person in a one-on-one situation plans the session to directly benefit that particular person’s constitution and imbalances within that.

If you attend a yoga class and develop a problem – whether it be physical, internal, mental, or anything else discuss it with your teacher first! Perhaps you need not go for that painful, costly surgery that is recommended by the Surgeon you just visited! Unless it is an emergency, Yoga Therapy may just be able to help.

The Yoga Therapy teacher requires specialized training and skill development to support the relationship between the yoga practitioner and teacher to effect positive change for the individual. Perhaps you should approach your Yoga Teacher as a first resort and not the last resort…. If she is skilled at yoga therapy you may be pleasantly surprised at the wonderful benefits you can gain.

"Yoga is preventative, maintaining and corrective…

so where ever you are on your healing journey …

YOGA is best!"

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

How does a Yogi view 'Life after Death'

Today I was asked an interesting question from a Christian's perspective: What do yogis believe happens to them after dying? An interesting topic to start this blog run for 2012!

I am no expert on what happens after death.... just as no-one else can be either, as no-one knows until they experience it and then are not here to tell the rest of us.

As I said in my interview in the Yoga Awakening Africa magazine ( I am not religious but respect all religions. The spirituality that I practice is an inward worship of God and reverence for all that is. I do however, hold Jesus (who attained what is referred to as Christ-consciousness, hence his title - Jesus Christ) in the highest esteem as my opinion of him is that he was most definitely a well-practised 'yogi' in all respects (Chap 3 of Patanjali's - Yoga Sutras - describes the gifts given to one who attains the highest states of consciousness (samyama=dharana, dhyana, samadhi), such as he demonstrated with various 'miracles' he performed. His example in life has influenced humanity for 2000 years and that says something in itself.

Modern day yogis can be of any religion or no religion so may have differing beliefs dependant on that! The origins of yoga come from the country of India where the predominant religion is Hinduism and hence many think that Yogis "believe" the same as in Hinduism, which is the belief in reincarnation -taking on another physical body depending on their karma 'accrued' in this life-time. I prefer not to have 'beliefs' as 'knowing' is readily available to each of us if we can still the mind sufficiently to tap into it.

After this long explanation.... the question 'what happens to us after death?' boils down to the religion/beliefs of the one who practices yoga.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

FlexiBod (not only for increased flexibility)

Not many people in the 'yoga/EFT' world know that I am an ex-chemist, because I don't often talk about it. I loved being a scientist and chemist but chose to give it up due to the passion I have for Yoga and also the toxins that I worked with in the laboratory. Dreadful things like mercury, lead, cadmium, vanadium, aluminium, tin, to mention only a few!!

So a few years ago when I was going through a particularly 'stiff and sore' phase I decided to research and manufacture a natural product for this. As the guinea pig I took it for a number of months and had good results. Muscle pains disappeared, feet aches were non-existent, and the bonus increased flexibility - good for yoga - that's for sure! My students noticed and soon I was making it for them too..... and still do!! It has also morphed into another product for elderly pets... called (you guessed) "FlexiPet"

Here is a basic run down of the product - a beautiful light green powder, which is swallowed down with a glass of water (or put into the pets food).

Flexibod - Nutritional Supplement

Formulated by Anne Combrinck (ex Analytical Chemist) with natural ingredients that have been well researched, tried and tested.

Contains MSM, Spirulina, Barley Grass, Vitamin C, Calcium, Magnesium, Trace Minerals & Tissue salts

What it does:
· Increases flexibility throughout the body –good for yoga! Less joint & muscle stiffness
· Reduces recovery time if you injure a muscle, tendon or ligament
· Increases energy
· Promotes elasticity, strength, and the general health of our bodies' tissues
· Detoxifies at cellular level
· Balances acid/alkali levels reducing joint problems
· Relieves inflammation
· Boosts the immune system, fights free radicals
· Healthy metabolic processes such as tissue growth, digestive metabolism, and water retention
· Trace minerals aid absorption and effectiveness of other constituents
· Improves collagen repair in skin & other tissues (no more wrinkles?)
· Delays aging effect
· Speeds up wound recovery, treats constipation, eliminates excess fat
· Contains organic iron – helpful for anaemia
· Spirulina is a probiotic that protects intestinal flora, improves digestion
· Barley green is anti-arthritic, anti-gout & anti-carcinogenic. It is a cell food.
· Reduces joint, muscle and 'bone' pains

These are only some of the benefits!!

To take – before breakfast – on tongue (or mix 1 teaspoon into a small quantity of water or fruit juice, swallow) and then follow with a full glass of water – the taste is tolerable - but oh so worth it.