Friday 2 September 2011

A new term begins

It only takes a couple of weeks off and you begin to notice that your body is stiffening up a little and that maybe you haven’t taken as much time as you would have liked to just focus on yourself. Sometimes the only way we get to do any yoga practice is when we are disciplined to go to a yoga class or you book for a private lesson.

Well the yoga classes are starting again from 5th September. The Monday evening class at St Michael’s Primary School now starts at the later time of 7.30pm, which I hope will be better for those of you who need time to get back from work through the rush hour, and also for those with families to sort out.

Please note that the classes are open to both men and women, and beginners are always welcome. My new website has not been updated so the class details are as follows:

Monday Evening Intermediate Level
St Michael’s Primary School
7.30pm – 8.50pm
The cost will be £9
£5 for a missed lesson

Thursday Evening Intermediate Level
High Halden Primary School
from 8th September 2011
7.30pm – 9.30pm
(£8 if attended Monday’s class)
Advance payment of £5 per class payable in 5 week blocks (£25)

Tuesday Morning mixed ability
Please ring me for the location
10.00am – 11.30am

Enjoy exclusive daytime private and semi private lessons in the comfort of your own home or at Diane’s

01233 850711
07946 629 310

I look forward to hearing from you
Diane x

Friday 20 May 2011

Yoga for Osteoporosis

What is osteoporosis?
It is a chronic disease that causes brittle bones or reduced density in the bone. It can progress until the bone breaks. The hips, spine and wrists are most susceptible.

Why am I writing this article?
I read a piece in the Yoga Journal magazine dated May 2011 entitled ‘Good to the Bone’. At first I was fascinated, then I was scared as I read the facts, as I read on I was pacified when I discovered how yoga, amongst other things, can help.
I was inspired to create a lesson based on poses that can help increase bone mass.

Who suffers from it?
I don’t know the number of people who suffer from it in England but 10 million Americans have it and 34 million Americans have osteopenia, which means they have low bone mass. 80% of those with osteoporosis are women.
Around the age of 30 our bodies reach maximum bone mass and then after that we have to maintain what we’ve got. After menopause women can loose up to 20% of our bone mass.

Can the symptoms be reversed?

Practising yoga can help
Yoga is a weight baring exercise. You hold the weight of your body up against gravity. Resisting gravity puts a mild stress on the bones. The stress forces bones into laying down new growth.
Yoga is safe and gentle. It allows the body to build up strength over time. The difference between practising yoga poses from other weight baring exercises like walking, jogging or tennis is that you won’t stress the joints or damage the cartilage. As I said in class the muscles are lengthened and while we take time to breathe into a pose it holds them there, creating tension on the bone. Those of you who practise yoga will be able to visualise this action during a pose. It is this pulling action of the muscle on the bone improves the bone density and strength.

Studies have shown that any amount of yoga will help prevent bone loss. The more you do the more beneficial it will be.

If you have osteoporosis make sure that you practise yoga safely, that you focus on correct alignment. Be particularly careful when doing forward bends and seated and standing twists.

Nutrition and Diet for strong healthy bones

Foods you are recommended to eat:
Foods that are low in acid – some of these alkaline foods as listed below:
Vegetables – especially broccoli, cabbage, tomatoes, kale, courgettes
Dried fruit
Fresh fruit – especially apples, pineapple, bananas, oranges and peaches

Limit high acid foods such as:
Cheese, meat, eggs, fish

A suggested salad in the YJ magazine sounded lovely made up of lettuces, fresh berries, mango, pine nuts, dried cranberries and raw kale chopped superfine like parsley.

It is important to have a good balance of lots of vegetables and fruit to a small portion of protein-rich food. Too much protein in the diet may weaken the bones. Protein is acid forming. When too much acid enters the blood stream, the body pulls calcium, which is alkaline, from the bone to neutralize it.
We need to think about strengthening the bone.
For those with osteoporosis the intake of calcium from dairy products, especially yogurt and cheese is recommended along with calcium rich veggies like greens, broccoli, kale and spinach.
Fish oil is a good source of vitamin D and this vitamin improves the absorption of calcium.

Stress is also a contributing factor to osteoporosis. It creates acid in the blood. We should take a little time to practice breathing techniques, deep relaxation or meditation so that the blood can become more alkaline.

Other factors to help keep the bones strong:

§ Sunlight – it is advisable to sit in the sun for 15 minutes a day. Vitamin D can be absorbed from the sun. This has the added bonus of giving you that feel-good factor helping to reduce stress. Vitamin D is the essential nutrient that increases calcium absorption.
§ Don’t smoke – cut out cigarettes
§ It is advisable cut out alcohol as this increases the likelihood of brittle bones.
§ Lower your salt intake as salt takes calcium from the bones

To conclude:
I hope that you have found these few facts helpful. I believe that if you can do even as little as 10 minutes of standing poses, forward bends, backbends, twists and inversions a day you will be building up your bones. As the experts say ‘it is never too early to start saving bone’. And if you are a little more mature it is never too late.
Whenever we do some yoga we are also building up our muscles. If you have firm muscles these can act as a shock absorber and can help to cushion a fall and help prevent damaging your bones.
Do look on my previous blog articles where I have spoken instructions on how to do the bridge pose and the 3 way stretch.

Those who would preserve the spirit must also look after body to which it is attached.
Albert Einstein

Thursday 4 November 2010

“Smile and don’t forget to breathe”

New Yoga Class in High Halden for Men and Women

I am starting a new classic Yoga Class in High Halden Primary School in the lovely new hall on Thursday evenings from 7.30 – 9.30pm. All the proceeds from the first two classes on 4th November and 11th November 2010 will be donated to The Pilgrims Hospice. It will cost £10 (students £5). If I can raise £200 over the two weeks this could pay for a visit to a patient’s home by the community services team or pay for Christmas dinner for 30 patients. We just had one visit and it was just so beneficial.

I think it is pretty amazing that Yoga has been practised for over two thousand years and here we are in Kent, practising today and still reaping the benefits. I qualified with The Victor Foundation in 2004 and have been teaching yoga since 2002 in High Halden and St Michael’s.

Everyone thinks that you have to be fit to do yoga but with practise stamina improves and the body becomes more flexible and stronger. I started going to yoga classes in London twenty years ago and was not sporty at all and really stiff. It’s a different story now and my practise of yoga has really helped me to cope with the ups and downs of life. This is because yoga draws focus to the breath as well as movement of the body and this in turn calms the mind.

This class is absolutely suitable for men and women. It was the men in India who used to do yoga but, although brought to the West by men, it seems that women have often been the most keen to take it up. Everyone can benefit. Times are hard and we don’t have so much money to spend but this is when yoga comes into its own. As an example, when we loose our job, if we practise yoga on our mat, the focus and breath control can help to relieve stress that this causes and brings you into the present moment.

The classes will continue to run during term time and compliment the Monday evening class at St Michael’s and the Tuesday morning class in High Halden. Please call 01233 850711 for details.

Wednesday 27 October 2010

A DVD to try at home

A review on a Kunalini Yoga DVD to detox and de-stress with Maya Fiennes

On Friday I was recommended a Kundalini yoga DVD. I have mentioned this style of yoga in an earlier blog (in 2009) and will remind you now that it is quite different from Iyengar and Ashtanga flow classes. The movements are small, the actions repeated over and over again aided by the breath. In this particular DVD all the poses are seated or reclined on your back. The teacher is Maya Fiennes (I think sister to Ralph Fiennes) and because of this I immediately jumped to the wrong conclusion that she could make the DVD because of her famous family. I was wrong. Maya is lovely. She’s very calm and inspiring and I really love her DVD. I have since done the DVD session on 4 mornings. Each time I have understood her instructions a little more and have felt a little more body awareness. Afterwards I feel calm, my nerves soothed by the actions and breathing.
The Pranayama breathing may take a little practise if you have not done this before. If you have grasped the concept of diaphragmatic breathing and the Ujjaii breath then the techniques will make sense as the abdomen pulls in as you exhale.
My students and I all live in the countryside and it confirms to me that if we go to a local yoga class regularly and learn the basics then it allows us to try other forms of yoga in our homes. Yoga is just so beneficial, I just want everyone to try it and reap the benefits.
I love the music too and there is a bonus CD of music by Maya. My only advisary note before you rush out to get this DVD is that you do need to be able to sit cross legged comfortably, either on a block or without. With that in mind following this DVD will work to energize, cleanse and make you feel uplifted. I highly recommend this DVD for relieving stress and I truly believe it helps to detox the body.
Thank you Theresa

Monday 18 October 2010

Wise words from a strange source

Life certainly has its ups and downs. I was watching Rocky Balboa, staring and written by Sylvester Stallone, and I loved his pep talk to his son. I know it’s a film and Rocky is a boxer but although his words relate to his life they are positive and can relate to anyone.

Rocky: “The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there if you let it. You, me and nobody’s gonna hit as hard as life but it ain’t about how hard you hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward, how much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how living is done.
If you know what you’re worth go out and get what you’re worth, but you’ve got to be willing to take the hits and not pointing the finger at him, her or anybody…Until you believe in yourself you ain’t gonna have a life.”

It is surprising what can have an influence you. Regular yoga practice will help you build self esteem, confidence and help you to love yourself and you learn about yourself as you work on the poses on your mat. Sometimes when things are getting you down it helps to hear some positive words whether it be from relatives, friends or the actor on the DVD.

Saturday 21 August 2010

Indian Head Massage

Today I learned how to do Indian Head Massage at I was lucky to spot this one day course when looking online for local indoor activities for a young friend. It was a very intensive one day course. I have picked up some massage techniques over the years in the Victor Foundation workshops but I have never thought of taking it further. This was a good opportunity. It is very therapeutic, both being the giver and being the receiver of a massage.

The massage is divided into four areas:
1. Massage to the upper back, shoulders and arms
2. Massage of the neck
3. Massage to the scalp
4. Massage of the face

Today there were 7 of us and we had two teachers. Each section was demonstrated first. Then we were talked through the massage techniques while we had our first go, then we did it again by ourselves under observation. After that we changed places with our partners so that we would have the opportunity to be massaged and feel what the massage felt like and we’d have both done the massage twice. This also gave more opportunities to asked questions. We finished up the day with a complete run through of the full Indian head massage. I forgot to time myself. I think this took between 20 to 30 minutes. We can also do a 10 minute treatment, which I’m sure would be lovely too.

Unfortunately, although this was a very thorough course it was not a certificated course so I can only massage friends and family. I know my family in particular will benefit from and enjoy this treatment. It has also been suggested that I can offer this treatment in exchange for other services. I can already think of some friends who I’d like to say thank you for your help.

Sunday 1 August 2010

Talking about love and life

Life has its ups and downs, twists and turns. We learn to adapt and to accept the good and the bad that’s thrown at us. Hopefully we become stronger, understanding ourselves and our path.
I have been deeply in love but recently lost my husband and, yes, as the saying goes; ‘ is better to have loved and lost, than to never have loved at all’. I am, at present, somewhat consumed with heartache and grief and quite strongly the feeling of the importance of love.
This is a gentle nudge to remind you to tell your partner and your family that you love them. In the film Fiddler on the Roof, Topol asks the question, ‘do you love me?’, of his wife and she lists all the jobs she does for him, but that’s just being a wife. Be prepared to consider if your love is returned. We have to live life honestly, so communicate your love and then let that love flow out to everyone you know. Live with no regrets. I was reminded of the importance of communication and what good advice that was. What we do and say in the present creates our past. When I am sad in the present I look back to the past for comfort and then I let that feeling comfort me in the present.

My latest advertising says:
Love Life, Love Yourself, Love Yoga
I don’t think it really matters which order these words go, they are all important and they go hand in hand. A less catchy line could be: respect yourself, respect life and, if you discipline yourself to practice yoga regularly, you’ll love it, love your body and love life.