Wednesday 4 February 2009

Stimulate Your Immune System

After John had his cold I thought how could I prevent myself and my students from catching the bug. I decided to focus the lesson on poses that help stimulate the immune system. Back bends are heart opening and invigorating and as you breathe deeply in the poses you can almost feel your body becoming stronger. The three poses we are focusing on are Bhujangasana – the cobra, Setu Bandha Sarvangasana – the bridge, and Matsyasana – the fish.

We warmed up with stretches, neck warm ups and standing poses Trikonasana and the dancing Warrior I (see Jan blog). These heart openers stimulate blood flow and the immune system and therefore practicing these three poses once a day can help prevent colds and flu.

If you are a beginner each of these poses can be lightened. After preparing for the cobra by lifting, lengthening and releasing each leg 3 times, place finger-tips in line with the eyes rather than level with the shoulders. This gives a more gradual curve in the spine. Always remember your pelvic tilt and take long breaths in the pose.

Take nice long breaths visualise the energy travelling from your feet, up along your legs and up through your spine to your heart centre.

Draw back into Virasana Forward Stretch or child pose to release tension in your lower back.

The bridge can be lightened by lifting the hips to create a line from the shoulders, hips and to the knees. Start with the back of your neck long and feet close to your hips. Work your gentle pelvic tilt as you keep the hips lifted so keeping tension out of your lower back. As we’ve been thinking about protecting knees work to keep the knees facing up and not falling in to each other or out.

Take nice long breaths visualise the energy travelling over the front of your body all the way to your knees and down to your feet.

After releasing from the bridge bring your knees to your chest and hug them to you.

In the fish pose the chest lifts and there is no tension in the back of the neck.

Bend your knees, place your hands palms down under your buttocks, elbows tucked in. Don’t think about this next movement too much. Think light thoughts and lift your chest, arching the upper back and rest on your forearms.
Then energize your heart centre with nice long breaths.

Afterwards bring your knees to your chest or the Garland adaptation we did in class to lengthen the spine.


Sunday 1 February 2009

A View From The Bridge

My step son Peter has made his debut in the West End at the Duke of York’s Theatre. On Friday we went to London to see ‘A View from the Bridge’, a play by Arthur Miller. Pete plays a small (but, of course, important) part at the end of the play and is also understudying. It was an excellent play. The audience was spellbound and nobody dared to cough while anyone was talking on stage. The actors got us really hooked especially Ken Stott who you see pictured below. This photo so reflects the intenseness of the play and the emotion of Eddie (the main character). Every character was interesting and engaging. It is a great play and it deserves to have a great run over the next 6 months.