A Guide To Yin Yoga – Ann Morley

A Guide to Yin Yoga

A Guide to Yin Yoga - Ann Morley

What is Yin Yoga?

Yoga is an ancient practice, originating in India, originally practised with the aim of achieving enlightenment. As cultures change over time, so has yoga; it has been redefined depending on where and when it’s practised, branching into diverse different forms as it goes. In the West it has become popular as a predominantly dynamic physical practice which increases the strength and flexibility of our muscles.

Normally, meditation plays only a small part, or none at all, in classes. While this practice has great benefits both physically and mentally, it is only part of the yoga story.

Some yoga teachers have applied the Taoist concept of Yin and Yang to yoga with the aim of bringing balance to our practice – and our lives. All of our lives – and yoga – have aspects of both yang and yin. Yang relates to movement. Many aspects of the modern world are yang: the pressure to succeed, constant stimulation of the senses, our need to control our situation. In yoga, the yang aspect shows up in postures that develop our muscular strength, and in faster styles of yoga these postures dominate. While yang postures have many benefits, the negative side of this approach can be that it emphasises our need to be deeper, further, emphasising our ego’s drive to achieve.

Yin is about finding stillness and softness, acceptance of our situation. The yin aspects of yoga are when we achieve stillness, the ability to be comfortable with our own body, softening and releasing. Yin Yoga classes emphasise this to provide a counter-balance to our modern Western lives: we need both yin and yang to come into balance.

What do you do in Yin Yoga?

Suitable for all levels, Yin is a meditative form of yoga. You hold seated and lying stretches for 3-6 minutes, using bolsters or blocks to support the body when needed. These long, gradual stretches are used because it allows deep tissues (fascia) within our body to be stretched, and gives the body time to relax fully into the postures. Each class uses a guided meditation or contemplation, drawn from sources including traditional Yoga philosophy and Buddhism.

You’ll stay with your experiences rather than always rushing, exploring the sensations of breath and body. You’ll develop a sense of calmness and acceptance, taking the time to just be.

Why should I do it?

Yin Yoga is great for so many reasons. The most obvious is in maintaining or increasing flexibility, ensuring that we are able to continue to lead full lives. You don’t miss it until it’s gone! If you already have a more dynamic yoga practice, you will notice that introducing a Yin aspect can deepen your usual practice. This is because in Yin the longer holds affect layers of our body called “connective tissue”. These are made up of fibres that weave into and around our muscles, and can limit the opening of the body. When we start to stretch these, we can open the body more fully.

Yin is a deeply relaxing practice. When stretches are held for a longer time, the body often releases holding patterns that we aren’t aware of tensing, feeling as though you are shrugging off layers of stress and tension. We commonly use mindfulness techniques in the classes, increasing our awareness and understanding of the body-mind connection. We can become aware that sometimes physical tension patterns are there as an impression left on us by emotional events or traumas; by relaxing these patterns physically, we can often let go of our unconscious clinging to these events.

When are the classes?

Ann teaches Yin Yoga workshops on a monthly basis. Please check Ann’s website for the latest block dates. www.annmorleyyoga.co.uk

 

It’s A Wonderful Life With Homeopathy – Katja Behrens

The holiday season has approached and immediately so many images come to mind: snowflakes falling, Christmas music everywhere, cards piling up from relatives, children making their list of toys they want from Santa…

And yes, the holidays can be also a whirlwind of emotions and activities that take their toll on us.
First and foremost, the amount of overeating and drinking can overwhelm this festive holiday. Holiday parties offer all that food that embodies the warmth and richness of the season and conjure memories of holidays past.
Eating wholesome meals high in saturated fats may help you resist those sugary holiday cookies. But if you find yourself overpowered by the sweet smells of cookies and candies or even just the delicious meal in general, Nux vomica 30 will restore your holiday cheer.
This remedy eases digestive problems at both ends of the spectrum, from constipation to diarrhea, which may occur from overindulgence. When the wine or holiday punch comes out, recall this remedy if overindulging makes you feel nauseous or worse.
When the kids dive into the cookie jar or get candy canes from school, this remedy can benefit their overall irritability. Nux vomica 30 will also help them get to bed after the rush of Christmas sets in, which is a little gift for you. However, it should be noted that once these issues cease, do not continue to take the remedy.
In order to stay in good health in times like ours, preparation is everything. I know many who plan to make 2015’s resolution one that includes knowing how to get treated their family’s illnesses so that there is less dependence on drugs and such. This is not to mention the reduced costs associated with this way of life. Indeed, I can’t help but note that in my life and the lives of many others whom I’ve treated, the solutions homeopathy offers far exceed the expectations of even the best of conventional healthcare, even when it’s available.
The information provided in this article is for educational purposes only and may not be construed as medical advice. The reader is encouraged to make independent inquires and to seek the advice of a licensed healthcare provider.

Katja Behrens

See her website for more information about Kajta’s work; http://realcurehomeopathy.com/.

Festive Mealtime Survival – Marianne Andrews, Nutritional Therapist

We all like to indulge a little at this time of year, but many of us live to regret it in the hours that follow a big meal.  The discomfort can go on for some time, but there are some measures we can take to try and avoid that feeling:

  1. Aperitifs:  If you often suffer from heart burn or acid indigestion, consider an aperitif using Angostura Bitters about 20 minutes before your meal.  These bitters can stimulate enzyme production and aid digestion of your meal, helping to get all of those nutrients that you are consuming to the right places.
  2. Use a smaller plate:  Making your brain think that you have a full plate really does work.  You are tricked into eating less without even noticing.  Then you can go back for seconds and still be relatively guilt free.
  3. Avoid drinking whilst eating:  Large drinks can dilute your digestive enzymes and hence give your gut a harder time trying to breakdown the foods in it.  Cut down the amount of liquid with your meal or better still, save your drinks until after.
  4. Mindful eating:  Think of why you are eating – at Christmas dinner it is more a question of enjoying the company of family and friends.  Bear in mind the words of a wise chef, “ You taste the first 3 bites, after that, it’s just eating”.
  5. Take your time:  This is part of being mindful. A large part of digestion can happen in the mouth, so make sure that you chew your food properly and help your stomach by giving it less to break down.
  6. Get moving:  After that big meal what better than a Christmas walk?  The movement aids peristalsis, which is the movement by which food is propelled through the gut.  Plus the fresh air will invigorate you – and should it be sunny, you’ll get some Vitamin D too!

Marianne Andrews

Nutritional Therapist

Make Mindfulness your New Year’s Resolution for Mental Health

Make Mindfulness your New Year’s Resolution for Mental Health

David Behrens is offering a new mindfulness meditation 4 week course starting in Mid January 2015 with CD and worksheets. Please call Cheltenham Holistic Health Centre or email info@chhc.co.uk to leave you details to register interest in this course.

Mindfulness

New Years is a traditional to time to start anew and begin again.
Life always gives us an opportunity to move forward and create what we wish for.

If you found challenges in 2014 with stress, anxiety, mood swings or just low energy.

2015 can be your New Year to rebuild . We all understand the value of exercise for the body and good diet for greater Health but often we forget about taking care of our own Mind.

Mindfulness Meditation is an effective way to take care of our Mind.

Did you know the word – Meditation: is derived from two Latin words: “meditari” – to think, to dwell upon, or to exercise the mind, and “mederi” – to heal.   Meditation is a way to focus and exercise the mind to heal itself.  
In 2014 as a Mindfulness Meditation teacher for the NHS recovery colleges in Gloucestershire I have watched how Mindfulness has been a great support for those dealing with the Mental Health Challenges.  Each participant gained greater resilience  and ways to experience the best in life.

When we are faced with mental health challenges such as anxiety, panic attacks, phobias, depression or just low mental energy.  Mindfulness gives us the ability to step out of the deep patterns of our minds. We become more awake and able to make the best choices in our life.

In 2015 at CHHC we will be offering regular 4 week courses Mindfulness Meditation Courses based upon the international (MBCT) mindfulness-based cognitive therapy model.

Offered by David Behrens regular course tutor for Mindfulness Courses at the NHS funded recovery college for Mental Health in Gloucestershire.

Call for more information at CHHC 01242 584140.

More information see excerpt from the article at –    http://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/help-information/mental-health-a-z/M/mindfulness/

Mindfulness is a mind-body based approach that helps people change the way they think and feel about their experiences, especially stressful experiences.
Mindfulness exercises or mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) are ways of paying attention to the present moment, using techniques like meditation, breathing and yoga. Mindfulness training helps us become more aware of our thoughts and feelings so that instead of being overwhelmed by them, we’re better able to manage them.

It’s been known for millennia that the way we think and the way we handle how we feel plays a big part in mental health. Taking a mindfulness course can give people more insight into their emotions, boost their attention and concentration and improve relationships.

MBCT is recommended by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) for the prevention of relapse in recurrent depression. It combines mindfulness techniques like meditation, breathing exercises and stretching with elements from cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) to help break the negative thought patterns that are characteristic of recurrent depression. Mindfulness is a potentially life-changing way to alter our feelings in positive ways, and an ever-expanding body of evidence shows that it really works.

Evidence
Mindfulness meditation has been shown to affect how the brain works and even its structure. People undertaking mindfulness training have shown increased activity in the area of the brain associated with positive emotion – the pre-frontal cortex – which is generally less active in people who are depressed.
More than 100 studies have shown changes in brain wave activity during meditation and researchers have found that areas of the brain linked to emotional regulation are larger in people who have meditated regularly for five years.
Research shows that Mindfulness can help with:
·       recurrent depression
·       anxiety disorders
·       addictive behaviour
·       stress
·       chronic pain
·       chronic fatigue syndrome
·       insomnia
·       plus more mental and physical problems.

There is growing evidence that Mindfulness in the workplace can improve productivity and decrease sickness absence, and increasingly employers are looking to benefit from its effect on workplace wellbeing. Find out more at Mindfulnet.
Almost three-quarters of GPs think mindfulness meditation would be helpful for people with mental health problems, and a third already refer patients to MBCT on a regular basis.

(Source: ICM survey June 2009 of 250 GPs). With the increase in talking therapies being instigated across the UK this is something that you can raise and discuss with your GP.

If you’d like more information about David Behrens and his Mindfulness classes, please see his website:  http://realcurehomeopathy.com/mindfulness-meditation/

 

Festive Mealtime Survival

We all like to indulge a little at this time of year, but many of us live to regret it in the hours that follow a big meal.  The discomfort can go on for some time, but there are some measures we can take to try and avoid that feeling:

  1. Aperitifs:  If you often suffer from heart burn or acid indigestion, consider an aperitif using Angostura Bitters about 20 minutes before your meal.  These bitters can stimulate enzyme production and aid digestion of your meal, helping to get all of those nutrients that you are consuming to the right places.
  2. Use a smaller plate:  Making your brain think that you have a full plate really does work.  You are tricked into eating less without even noticing.  Then you can go back for seconds and still be relatively guilt free.
  3. Avoid drinking whilst eating:  Large drinks can dilute your digestive enzymes and hence give your gut a harder time trying to breakdown the foods in it.  Cut down the amount of liquid with your meal or better still, save your drinks until after.
  4. Mindful eating:  Think of why you are eating – at Christmas dinner it is more a question of enjoying the company of family and friends.  Bear in mind the words of a wise chef, “ You taste the first 3 bites, after that, it’s just eating”.
  5. Take your time:  This is part of being mindful. A large part of digestion can happen in the mouth, so make sure that you chew your food properly and help your stomach by giving it less to break down.
  6. Get moving:  After that big meal what better than a Christmas walk?  The movement aids peristalsis, which is the movement by which food is propelled through the gut.  Plus the fresh air will invigorate you – and should it be sunny, you’ll get some Vitamin D too!

Marianne Andrews

Nutritional Therapist