Knees! πŸ™πŸ»

Like relationships, knees are pivotal to our well-being, more complicated than they appear and require care and attention if they are to last.

It’s possibly age-related (!), but I’ve started to notice that my knees are less happy than they used to be when pressing into a yoga mat. And afterwards they look like two squished, pale, leather purses☺️

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All in all, when it comes to physically strengthening your knees, yoga is great because it exercises and tones big leg muscles, such as the outer and inner quads – improving knee stability. Here are some key poses which can help your knee needs:

*Chair pose – tones hips, thighs and calves, which all assist knee function

*Bridge pose – tones hips, glutes and the IT band, improving knee stability

*Peaceful Warrior – strengthens quads, glutes and hamstrings; all good for knee support

* High Lunge – tones quads, calves and glutes, which all support the knee

*Eagle pose – strengthens inner thighs and calves, helping knee stability

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If you have damaged, injured, recovering or niggly knees, be careful of poses which put strain on them, such as Camel, Lotus, Hero and Reverse Triangle. And always, always gently come out of any pose which causes any discomfort or pain straightaway.

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Knee pain can be interpreted on more than just a physiological level. Louise Hay relates it to stubborn ego, pride, inflexibility, the inability to bend, and refusal to give in. If the reason for your knee pain isn’t obvious, you can find out what’s going on and gain insight by bypassing your conscious mind and asking your intuition, “If I did know, what would the message be?” Accept the first answer you’re given, however strange or unlikely this may be: your body knows more about you than you do about it!

Have fun communicating with your knees ☺️

Namaste πŸ™πŸ»

Ms Yogapot πŸ™πŸ»

Listening to Your IntuitionπŸ™πŸ»

Testing times continue! Luckily, several cherished and wise, close friends have reminded me this week to listen to my intuition, to heed the voice within and to observe the clues that the Universe is sending, so that I can reflect, develop, grow – and emerge stronger and wiser, both emotionally and spiritually.

Their wise words are valuable to us all in times of difficulty and hurt, so I will share some with you here.

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“Give yourself breathing space. Do whatever you need to do to find your centre.”

“Focus on calming down and detaching from the situation.”

“You can’t move forward if you don’t express your emotions and thoughts in whichever way you need to.”

“Uphold peace and love, because at your core, that is who you are.”

“Ask the Universe for guidance and keep your eyes open for signs and direction.”

“Draw strength from all the positives in your life, your close family, your true friends, your interests, your spiritual values and beliefs.”

“Be strong. You will come through this.”

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One of my closest friends described these intense, challenging and sometimes heart-wrenching times as “weathering stormy waters”. This was extraordinary because in recent weeks I have imagined myself in a coracle, desperately paddling with an oar as I ride up and down in high seas and while lighting forks, thunder crashes, rain lashes and wind whips around me. Yet, in the distance, I can see the pale yellow rays of the rising sun on the horizon – and I know that’s where I’m going.

I realise that this post isn’t yoga per se, but I aim for this blog to be an honest account of my life, yoga and spiritual journeys. And yoga can of course really help at such times; quiet meditation, eyes closed, sitting comfortably and warm with your back against a wall (or with your legs up a wall or just in Corpse pose), can bring moments of inner clarity, shifts in emotions and a new perspective.

Make room for the messages from without and withinπŸ™πŸ»

Trust your selfπŸ™πŸ»

Namaste πŸ™πŸ»

Ms Yogapot πŸ™πŸ»

Inner StrengthπŸ™πŸ»

Life challenges us almost as much as it delights us. Something is in the air this year: I know or know of so many people experiencing emotional upheaval and deep-rooted, heart-shaking revelations and changes.

How can we strengthen ourselves to prepare for, respond to and process such experiences?

πŸ™πŸ»Trust your instinct.

πŸ™πŸ»Remind yourself of past survival successes: how you did it, what you learned, the qualities you showed. You can do this again.

πŸ™πŸ»Turn to those few you truly trust; they will listen to you and support you, yet respond honestly. Just as you (would) do for them.

πŸ™πŸ»Look after your physical self. Eat well, sleep well, take whatever exercise you like, do constructive things, do what you enjoy. You’re worth it.

πŸ™πŸ»Remind yourself to ‘climb above’ the situation. Caroline Myss describes it as climbing up into the treehouse at the top of your tree of life, looking down on the situation and waiting – until you see it for what it is, without illusion.

πŸ™πŸ»Make time to reflect, in whichever way works for you. Meditate, practise mindfulness, sit in nature, quietly hold a crystal. Allow your heart, soul and mind to feel and show you the truths about what is happening, without casting your shadow over it.

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Physical strength from yoga can help us be and feel stronger. Good poses for this are: forearm plank, warrior II and III, chair pose and half moon pose. Strength creates confidence. High confidence leads to low stress and high energy – a combination which enables us to make a positive difference to our own life as well as the lives of others.

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Wishing you strength, clarity and courage,

Namaste πŸ™πŸ»

Ms Yogapot πŸ™πŸ»

PatienceπŸ™πŸ»

Feeling frustrated? Your day not how you planned? Things not as you hoped? Whether you’re weathering a storm or waiting for the weather to change – actually or metaphorically – patience is required!

Being patient does not naturally come easily to me. Practising yoga as well as working a schoolteacher and being a parent have helped to change this – although I have yet to embody patience!

In yoga, I have never been able to ‘do’ many of the harder postures and, although some have improved, others stubbornly have not. To combat my frustrations with this, patience is needed – hand in hand with acceptance: acceptance of where I’m at.

And this helps approach with being patient in life. It’s not about being passive: it means being with something – a situation, a difficulty, an obstacle – and accepting this as part of a process. And as you do so, keeping in your mind and heart the knowledge that it will change. Surrendering to the moment and going with it.

Easier said than done – believe me, I know! Yet, let us bear in mind that patience is like anything else; the more you practise it, the better at it you become.

In yoga practice, you can practise patience by holding some postures for longer – instead of counting six breaths, hold for a minute or more (use support if necessary). Also, when sitting or laying in relaxation, focus on and follow your breath – not your thoughts. Repeating a mantra such as So Hum (I am that) or Om in your head can also bring calm and inspire patience, alleviating the mind-buzz.

As Tolstoy wrote, “The two strongest of all warriors are these two – Time and Patience.” Give yourself and life time – with acceptance, trust and patience.

Namaste πŸ™πŸ»

Ms Yogapot πŸ™πŸ»

Practising Love❀️

On this beautiful day filled with romantic love (a cherished friend’s daughter has married today and a faraway and much missed friend is celebrating her 17th wedding anniversary), I thought I would consider what it is to practise love.

Love, which is at the heart of everything, floods into our lives through big moments such as weddings, births and celebrations and filters in through small moments of joy, laughter, kindness, affection and appreciation. These flames and sparks from the great fire of love which is all around warm us and nourish us, from outside in.

Yoga teaches us that we are all connected, all equal, all part of the same universal whole. Practising loving attitudes and actions promotes understanding as well as togetherness – forging links between each other and also with the universe. Practising being compassionate, accepting and kind can only improve our relationships and our experience of being human – of living.

One easy way of increasing your feelings of love towards others is to see and acknowledge the light of being human that burns within them – as it burns within you. Look into their eyes and see that light. Do you still feel annoyed, alienated, angry?

If love still hasn’t quite made it through, if less-than-loving thoughts and judgments continue to pop up, look at them and think this mantra (or even just one line):

May you be safe.

May you be happy.

May you be healthy.

May you live at ease.

Hopefully, their human-ness will dance before you and your love and compassion will flow. Or at least begin to trickle.

And don’t forget you. If you feel you need some self-love, repeat the mantra to yourself:

May I be safe.

May I be happy.

May I be healthy.

May I live at ease.

You can also create a warm and comforting nest on your mat and relax in Corpse Pose (Savasana), with any of these crystals near or on the heart chakra (anahata); rose quartz, morganite, green calcite or eudialyte. Breathe calmly, deeply, slowly and repeat the words above in your head.

Here’s to practising love, breaking down barriers and connecting us all in universal love.

Namaste πŸ™πŸ»

Ms Yogapot πŸ™πŸ»

Practising OptimismπŸ™πŸ»

Two ideas said by friends in recent weeks have been dancing around in my mind:

*the more you practise something, the better at it you get

*optimism has its own momentum

How often do you practise what’s good for your well being, for your whole person? Exercise, healthy eating (and drinking ☺️), relaxation? How often do you practise being loving, kind, patient, non-judgemental and being encouraging and supportive – to others and to yourself?

The more we practise treating others and ourselves well and also telling ourselves good stuff, the more accomplished we will become. So it stands to reason that, the more we practise being optimistic, optimism will have its own momentum.

Practising yoga helps with body, mind and emotional optimism: the poses (asanas) stimulate your circulation and organ function, muscle tone, and your body’s strength and flexibility. Breathing exercises (pranayama) increase the intake and absorption of oxygen and the expelling of carbon dioxide – giving your body more of what it needs and clearing it of toxins more efficiently. Breathing practice also gives you time to stop, to relax and to be. This also links very clearly to the relaxation and meditation elements of yoga, when you can deeply let go and clear the mind of clutter and chatter.

Whether you practise being good to yourself through yoga or just through your mind and manner, the result will hopefully be the same: being practised at living, thinking and being positively.

Wishing you happy practice!

Love, peace and joy πŸ’–

Namaste πŸ™πŸ»

Ms YogapotπŸ™πŸ»

Namaste πŸ™πŸ»

Bowing, we say this word as a goodbye at the end of most yoga classes. Meaning ‘bowing to you’, namaste can also be said and is often used in India and Nepal (as well as other countries) as a respectful greeting. You can say the word, or make the gesture of hands to heart, or do both. Terracotta figures in namaste have been found dating back to 3000-2000BC. So respect has been around a long time!

The Anjali Mudra (prayer hands to heart, thumbs touching the heart chakra) means ‘divine offering sign’ or ‘benediction or salutation seal’. It derives from anj – the Sanskrit verb meaning to honour or celebrate. The palms coming together represents unification of the two sides of the brain and of us with the divine in all things.

Anjali Mudra is part of a number of poses – Tree, Fish, Pigeon, Lunge etc. Mentally, the Mudra centres you and your focus, easing stress and worry and enabling meditation. Physically, it increases flexibility in the arms, wrists, fingers and hands. The heart chakra (anahata) relates to calmness, balance and serenity. By making the Mudra (gesture), we are inviting these into our hearts, into our way of being and into our practice.

Namaste has another, spiritual message of ‘I bow to the divine in you’ (literally, ‘the divine and self (soul) is the same in you and me’). This is what I like to reflect upon as the yoga class ends: to acknowledge and cherish the divine in everyone present – and indeed, everyone in life.

Namaste πŸ™πŸ» to you all,

Ms Yogapot πŸ™πŸ»