Who is Simon Low? 5 things you should know!
Simon Low has over 20 years’ experience as a yoga teacher and is internationally acclaimed. Here are 5 things you should know about the charismatic man who will be visiting us next year!
1 – Simon spent 14 years in the music business. It was high flying and fast paced; a life representative of the ‘work hard, play hard’ moto. It wasn’t till he was in his mid-thirties that he first discovered yoga and started his path to become to yogic mogul he is today!
2 – Simon Low was a founding member of one of the first ever yoga studios in the UK – The Triyoga studios in London. Since then he has continued to delve into the world of yoga; founding the Yoga academy, running international courses, retreats, writing books and yoga videos (Yin and Yang Yoga with Simon Low), he has contributed and been covered by various national papers
3 – Simon is a LEGEND in Yin & Yang yoga (Yin and Yang to be explained in part 2) Simon is famous in the world of Yin and Yang yoga. He views yoga practice as a balance between the body and mind, the spiritual and the emotional, the physical and the mental. He talks of Yin yoga practice as a form of therapy to actively change negative patterns within our minds. This can have successively positive and lasting effects on our wellbeing and is something that is at times forgotten in the modern world within the focused ambition to improve the physical body. “the essence of yoga…is observing our mental attachments, observing our patterns – the whole process of yoga it to undo patterns and to really open us up to the reality of how our mind shapes our experiences”
4 – Simon is an open minded scholar. Simon first trained to be a yoga teacher with Dr Larry Payne at Samata in Los Angeles and has spent over 20 years studying and exploring a varietal wealth of physical, energetic and spiritual practices. You get a real sense that he has studied an incredible amount with gusto and he intertwines his style of yoga with what he learns about anatomy and physiology among other areas of interest
5 – Simon is passionate and outspoken about safety. He teaches his students that they must understand the need to protect themselves and that yoga can cause harm if not practiced correctly. If he believes a classic asana may have the potential to damage he will apply adjustments, for example with Warrior II pose, which he considers to put strain on the lower lumbar area.
In the proximate chapter of this blog we will focus specifically on Yin and Yang yoga and Simon’s teachings within it.
Simon comes to CAMYOGA in 2015: A weekend with SIMON LOW
Research and quotes taken from: Telegraph Interview by Anna Murphy. Interview by Christina Maningo for In The Loop and from Simons own website
Pete Blackaby – ‘Intelligent Yoga’
Pete Blackaby author of Intelligent Yoga’ and pioneer of the ‘Humanist Yoga’ approach pays a long awaited visit to Camyoga next week for a two day intensive open to teachers and students alike.
In his book ‘Intelligent Yoga’ Pete introduces the following ideas:
Themes that I think are worthy of debate are the following:
1. Yoga as a modern practice. Most serious students of yoga will know by now that there is a big disconnect between the type of yoga that is practiced in the majority of Gyms and yoga studios today, compared to the type of yoga described in the texts revered by most yogis. There have been a raft of books in recent years pointing out this disconnect. If we take this as our starting point that current yoga is a modern practice, what from the past can we legitimately carry forward into the future and what needs to change? What differentiates modern yoga from exercise?
2. Perhaps most contentiously can we take the ideas of chakras, kundalini prana, and other ideas of subtle energy as reality or are they simply a metaphor for experience, which is certainly the perspective I take. If we take this view and strip out much of the metaphysics how do we now differentiate yoga from other forms of exercise?
3. Anatomy. Yoga is flooded with books on the anatomy of yoga. Having taught the anatomy of yoga for many years, I now feel it can be a red herring leading us down un-useful ways of thinking. There is a place for anatomy, but largely to help explain why some movements are unhelpful, or why some people can do certain poses and others not. What anatomy cannot do is inform about how to move. To understand movement we have to study movement and see how anatomy supports it, not the other way round.
Join Pete 13/14 November Camyoga Shelford BOOK HERE open to teachers, trainee teachers and students
Alice’s Vegan Pumpkin soup recipe – Caribbean spiced
Delicious vegan pumpkin soup recipe from Alice at the Camyoga kitchen – spiced with Carribean flavour
A delicious way to use your pumpkin this Halloween, with just a little kick of chilli and a hint of creamy coconut. Enjoy with crusty bread- perfect as a chilly autumnal lunch or light supper!
- 700g pumpkin, peeled, deseeded and chopped in to 1 inch chunks
- 2 cloves of garlic, smashed
- Handful of fresh thyme sprigs, tied with string
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp coarse ground black pepper
- ½ tsp allspice
- ½ tsp chilli flakes
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 red onion, chopped
- 1 carrot, diced
- Around 500ml vegetable stock
- Half a can of coconut milk (around 200ml)
Heat the oven to 200°C. Place the pumpkin in a large baking tray along with the whole cloves of garlic, salt, pepper, allspice, chilli flakes and 1 tbsp of the olive oil. Roast until tender (around 45 minutes), removing the cloves of garlic halfway through so they don’t overcook and burn.
- Meanwhile, heat the other tbsp of olive oil in a saucepan. Fry the onion and carrot over a medium heat for about 10 minutes.
- Add the roasted pumpkin, garlic cloves and thyme to the pan, along with about 500ml of vegetable stock.
- Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes
- Before serving, remove the sprigs of thyme and blend until smooth. You may wish to add more vegetable stock to reach the desired consistency.
- Finally, add the coconut milk and season to taste.
Mmm mmmm mmmm Enjoy!
5 minutes with Pete Blackaby
This November, we welcome Pete Blackaby, author of Intelligent Yoga, back to Camyoga for Taking Yoga into the 21st Century – two days of practical workshops. To give you some background on Pete’s extensive body of work, here’s a potted history of his life in yoga:
“I started practicing yoga seriously in 1978 as a student of the Iyengar system of yoga, after six years I took their two year teacher training programme and qualified in 1986. I continued in this system for a further four years.
From 1987 -1993 I studied Osteopathy at the college of osteopaths at Regents college London, qualifying in 1994. In 1995 I co-ran a two year teacher training course with John Stirk and Sophy Hoare, and ran a second one in 1997. I also taught anatomy and physiology at the Chiron Centre for Body centred psychotherapy in Ealing between 1995 and 1997.
In 2002 I became involved in the British Wheel of Yoga, (the governing body in England) and ran a two year teacher training programme for them. I no longer train teachers, but have been running courses for teachers since then. My interest in the last 15yrs has been to put some scientific underpinning to the practice of yoga both in the bio-mechanical sense and in the mind /body relationship.
Currently I teach functional anatomy on the London yoga teacher training course and have input in two other local courses. I also teach the anatomy module at the Esther Myers yoga studio in Toronto. I am regularly invited to teach throughout England Wales and Scotland. The current project I am involved in is a two year course for teachers called ‘Grounded Yoga’. There are five faculty, myself teaching bio mechanics, Professor Peter Connolly teaching philosophy, Dr Christine McHugh teaching homeostatic regulation through yoga, Diane Farrell teaching the psychology of the body, and Taravajra, teaching mindfulness. Our aim is to help students understand how yoga can bring productive change to the body, the mind, and the breath and improve our sense of relationship to the environment in which we find ourselves.
What I hope students will gain is a clear and reasonable synthesis of the salient points of yoga practice. What is important to consider in practice and what is less so. These understandings will be based on recent research findings. Whilst recognising that there is no such thing as certainty when dealing with human beings it is useful to know the main perspectives that are out there when dealing with bio-mechanics and the body/mind relationship. At the very least I hope to clarify what the debates are, and more particularly help students navigate some of the ideas with confidence.”
Join Pete Blackaby for Taking Yoga Into the 21st Century at Camyoga Shelford, 13-14 November, 10.00-17.00. Camyoga graduates receive 10% off when booking the weekend. Click here for full details or to book online.
Camyoga Autumn Schedule Highlights
- Mysore! Tuesday & Thursday mornings
- Lunchtime Yoga Open on Mondays and Thursdays
- Lunchtime Mindfulness drop in class Tuesdays (from sept 16th)
- Hot Pilates (from 24/9)
- Hot Yoga Beginners and Yoga Basics 8pm Tuesdays
- Saturday Iyengar with Shali from 27/9
- Midday Jivamukti from Sunday 28/9
- Yoga Open Sundays 6pm at Shelford
- View the full schedule here
INTRODUCING OUR NEW TEACHERS…
- Mondays 8pm Hot Yoga and Yin
- Wed 11.30 Flow with Andrea Price at Shelford
- Thursdays Forrest with Rosalind and Yin Yoga with Andrea K
- Sunday Yoga Open and Flow at new times
- Paul Fox, Andrea Price, Andrea K, Karen Stamper and Mark Stevens are now back from their Summer hols!
- View the full schedule here
Meredith Gunderson – will be taking Yoga Open Mondays 13.00-14.00. She’s recently returned from teaching and living in Bangalore. Welcome back and welcome to the Camyoga teaching team, Meredith!.Rachael Blyth – will be taking Sunday Yoga Open at Shelford 18.00-19.15. Rachael trained with internationally renowned yogi and healer Ana Forrest, founder of Forrest Yoga, and has also studied yoga nidra with Uma Dinsmore-Tuli..FORTHCOMING WORKSHOPS:
Interview with Yoga Sports Expert Hayley WinterHayley Winter, New York based founder of Yoga Sports Science, and a member of the Camyoga Teacher Training faculty, took some time out of her busy schedule this week to answer a few quick questions about the benefits of yoga for sports people.I believe that sport-specific yoga is the new marginal gain and will be at the heart of future training for any sports person wanting to go further, faster, stronger and for longer..How long have you been practising yoga and how did you discover it was an incredibly effective tool for sports people?I have been practicing yoga for 30 years and teaching for 20. My first experience of introducing yoga into sport was through a colleague who worked for the English Institute of Sport. He wanted me to introduce a few mobility techniques to a track and field athlete. It was during that session that I began to question why yoga wasn’t being used by every athlete as part of their strength and conditioning training..In a nutshell, could you tell us a little bit about the benefits of a yoga practice for sports people?
Most people in sport recognise that yoga can help improve flexibility, but there are many other benefits. Some of the benefits of sports-specific yoga are:
.Is yoga a useful tool for those practising any sport? Who might benefit from this the most?
- Prevention of Injury Introducing yoga as part of an active recovery session, or as a cool down, can help the athlete to reduce the build up of lactic acid and reduce muscle soreness, which means they feel more energised and refreshed for the next day’s training or event.
- Improved Breathing Specific breathing techniques can be given to the athlete to either increase respiratory strength, or to introduce a breathing strategy which is particularly useful for long distance events. Breathing can also help athletes with their concentration, focus and with performance nerves.
- Improved Movement Efficiency Specific yoga techniques which consider the movement patterns and demands of the sport, can enable an athlete to expend less energy and become more economical in how they perform.
- Improving Awareness By helping an athlete develop an awareness of self can help them develop an awareness of others. This is particularly essential in team sports where the need for proprioceptive awareness is key. Initially for the athlete the development of self awareness begins with a sense of awareness of joint position and motion in space, through sensory feedback from the body. What occurs overtime is that the athlete starts to deepen their awareness of self and begin to explore aspects of their own nature. This opens up a whole new area of discovery for the individual, offering opportunities to integrate this level of awareness, not just into their performance, but also into their life.
Yoga can be a valuable addition to any athlete, in any sport and at any age. You are never too late to start and can begin to feel immediate benefits within both your sport and life. Communicating and delivering the benefits of yoga is both an art and a science, and the challenge in the world today is that because yoga is now widely accepted in the mainstream, yoga teachers are under more pressure to understand how and why yoga works..We’ve heard that even the German football team are using yoga now! Is yoga for sports becoming more widespread?
Over 12 years ago when I first introduced yoga to footballers, it was mainly the older players who were trying it as a last resort to achieving longevity in their careers. But what started to happen was the older players were getting less injured and with the wisdom of their experience, matched with a renewed fitness meant that they were enjoying opportunites to demonstrate their talents. In all of the clubs I worked in, yoga was integrated into both academy and first team squads to great effect.A number of years ago I was invited to meet Sir Dave Brailsford who was the Performance Director for British Olympic Cycling. He talked about how the training methods of the future would be looking to help athletes achieve the performance advantage by increasing the marginal gain. I believe that sport-specific yoga is the new marginal gain and will be at the heart of future training for any sports person wanting to go further, faster, stronger and for longer..How has your personal yoga practice helped you in your life?Yoga has been one of the most rewarding and essential tools in my own life. When life has thrown me a curve ball and presented situations that I thought I would never be strong enough to handle, I was able to access the resources within me. Each time I have been faced with something new, I have been able to find an internal way to navigate life’s external challenges.I am often asked how many times a week I practice, the truth is I practice all the time, but it is not necessarily the physical asana practice, but the practice of the other many wonderful aspects that yoga has given me to help me enhance my own performance...Interested in Yoga for Sports People? Click here to find out more about Hayley Winter’s forthcoming 2 day Introduction to Yoga for Sports People course at Camyoga, open to all. If you’re already a yoga teacher or fitness professional, and would like to undertake the Hayley Winter Sports Foundation course at Camyoga this August, you can find out more here.
What changes with mindful parenting for just 6 minutes per day?
- They sleep better
- They confide more of their feelings in you
- They calm down quicker (no, mindfulness is not the way to have calm children all the time, sorry if that’s what you want!)
I was intrigued by evidence that children need mindfulness as much as adults do, so I decided to spend five minutes a day (sometimes less) using mindfulness techniques with my children, and began to notice tangible changes within just a week. Keep reading to find out more about the techniques I used and how they worked.
The longer read…
I have four children; a teenage girl, a pre-teen boy and two young twin girls. I’ve been practising mindfulness for 12 years but only began practicing with them over the last two years.
Lets begin with the main reasons I actually moved from wanting to practice with them to actually practicing with them. I’d started to feel like there was always one child missing out on some attention. I worried that when the children were sad or anxious, I didn’t really understand an effective way to help them release their anxiety. I also felt like I was failing because I couldn’t empower them with a way to help themselves when other children were unkind at school. I found myself growing increasingly frustrated by the fact that at least one of them would get up every night, and my lack of sleep meant that I felt unable to be as kind as I would like to be and had no “space in my head” to work out a way to make it better.
Most of my working life has been spent on projects which help organisations and people to create habits for increasing effectiveness and satisfaction. This meant that I had learnt from various scientific studies that anything I did would have to meet this criteria;
- aim low
- feel easy
- do at same time of day
- had already been proven to work by others so I really believed in it – motivation
I started by asking the children to practice as part of mealtimes, before pudding, as an incentive. This took the form of a Tiny Pause – 4 mindful breaths. This went okay, but felt more like an opportunity for the children to demonstrate how ridiculous they could make 4 breaths sound/be/last. Plus my plan of fitting into a daily routine meant that none of them were really getting the high quality attention they needed, or thought they needed, from me.
My next plan was bedtime. I would do a guided mindfulness practice with them (all parents taking our Mindful Parenting learn to do this, its really quite simple once you have the technique). I would do this at bedtime for the youngest three (individually, apart from the twins). This initially lasted 10 minutes or less, which I shortened to around 5 minutes because I felt too tired.
This worked really well – mindfulness lends itself to a moment when children naturally want to relax. Within four days they were asking me to do it! Within a week I noticed that they were all sleeping through the night (wake up times before had been 3-4 times per night, first week of mindfulness this dropped to just once a night).
I was so pleased with this promising start. But I also wanted them to confide in me the stuff they were anxious about. (You know when your child is anxious and you ask them if they want to talk about it and they just shake their head? No matter what you do for them, in that moment you feel like you’re failing, you feel like the truth is out, that “I am a rubbish parent”). The technique of mindful listening would be my next approach.
I decided that aiming to do this everyday with all children was unrealistic for me. So I just aimed for one child a day. After school before supper, I would sit down, ask them to sit with me. Wait and listen. (Mindful listening is a recognized practice with an incredibly easy method). This was much harder than I expected as I was very tempted to ask, or prompt them in some way. Sometimes we would cuddle, sometimes we would just be next to each other on the sofa. No screens on around us.
So if I could keep from trying to guess the root of their problems or asking them all the questions I had tried before (its amazing how as parents, we know some things aren’t effective but we just keep repeating the same behaviours hoping, like a miracle, it will change the outcome). Anyway with my lips kept firmly shut and my attention focused on them, something magical began to happen…
They would just start telling me stuff. From what they had just been building with lego or who had done what/ said what at school both funny and sad things. This continued. They began to express more of their feelings. The quieter I kept, the more they would share. Although sometimes they would ask me, “Dad, why are we sitting here?”, I would reply “ because I love you and want to be with you”, with the simple reply “Oh, ok.” And then after a short pause, “I’m going to go and play”. So this moment of mindful listening would last between 1-5 minutes, depending on what they felt like saying. I would always leave it to them to end that moment (although I confess to sometimes finding my attention drifting, to what I will make for supper, or why the school couldn’t do choir at a time that meant we could get to swimming, or why was there new bit of pen on the wall…you know the drill).
And I noticed something else. I felt better. I felt better because I was making it clear, really clear through my actions, that I loved them, that I was making time to give them high quality attention. Sure it was short. But I least I did it and it was definitely an improvement from “ yes thats lovely”, while work my way through house chores or “ I’m just in the middle of something can’t you go and play? “ hoping, but knowing, they really don’t understand why I couldn’t just be with them.
Although it may seem obvious, it’s important to understand that part of the success was down to me feeling a bit better about me. Less internal criticism meant a reduction in exploding moments, when I shout because I’ve had it up to here (imagine my hand well above my head!) with all parts of life; work, play, relationships.
It’s now routine for us, and has helped with exams, best friends falling out school, new teachers, general arguments, school productions, even football matches.
Yin + Meditation Sequence 3: Backbending
The following Yin sequence has been designed by Andrea Kwiatkowski. It is only suitable for those with Yin experience and should not be done by anyone with medical conditions which affect their practice. Please consult Andrea after class for further guidance. Click here to find out more about Yin and Meditation, as part of our Focus: On series.
Thank you to Andrea for so generously sharing these powerful practices with us.
SPHINX 5 MINS
SEAL 5 MINS
HALF SADDLE 3 MINS EACH LEG
CAMEL 3 MINS
SADDLE 8 MINS
CATERPILLAR FWD BEND 5 MINS
Three Questions: Rachael Moore
What yoga teacher has had the most influence on you?
RACHAEL: I have been lucky enough to have met and been taught by some really amazing teachers over the last 16 years . Each one in their own way has had an impact not only in my own evolving practice but the way I develop as a teacher myself. I really do believe you are drawn to particular teachers/styles of yoga at certain times in your life that will enrich and evolve your practice as well as yourself as an individual. My very first yoga teacher was Camyoga’s Iyengar teacher Karen Stamper. Karen had a huge impact on me as she was responsible for igniting this little flame in me that has lead me to where I am today. My first pregnancy teacher Francoise Freedman was also hugely influential in demonstrating to me just how powerful and transformative the practice of yoga could truly be. More recently, vinyasa flow teacher Claire Missingham and Beverley Nolan have continued to inspire me with their knowledge and passion for this beautiful, ever constant but evolving practice.
Which is your least favourite yoga pose?
RACHAEL: Hmmm, tricky! I think that actually depends on whats going on for me at the time and as cliche as it sounds, the ones you don’t particularly enjoy are usually the ones that can offer you the most ! Core strengthening poses are always challenging for me, as are arm balances for the simple reason that they are hard work and extremely humbling!! However, the flip side of that is that there is always somewhere to be aiming for, to keep you interested and switched on to the sensations in your body as they arise. It is a constant voyage of discovery so whats not to like!
What is the best way to build up strength for chaturanga? I find lowering down slowly really difficult as my arms are quite weak.?
RACHAEL: Chaturanga is a really strong demanding pose and although visited frequently in a flow class is often not ‘taught’ in a step by step way. To avoid injury, Chaturanga demands huge core and upper body strength as well as careful attention to alignment. Whilst building up towards the full pose, there are a few ways of building the upper body strength required. One way is to practice against the wall. Stand a few feet away, arms level with the chest. Slowly lower toward the wall, bending the elbows so the forearms are at a right angle and the forehead comes to the wall. Hold for a breath (or two!) and then slowly press back. Gradually build up the number of times you can comfortably repeat this. Other ways to build the necessary strength is to come to plank and before lowering, lower the knees to the ground before lowering your body or come to the knees, chest and chin variation both of which develop your strength and awareness of alignment. Dolphin (forearm dog) and forearm plank are also great for building core and upper body strength. In terms of your alignment, always ensure your wrists are in line with your shoulders and never ‘behind’ as this can cause huge stress in the wrist joint.
Vegan Squash + Cinnamon Muffin Recipe
These tasty muffins are so filled with vegetable goodness, but if that puts off the kids then there’s no reason they ever need to know! We’ve made them with butternut squash but this recipe works just as well with courgette if that’s what you have in. If you’ve a sweet tooth then you could whip up a quick batch of vegan icing, otherwise a dusting of icing sugar works just as well. Here we’ve topped them with rolled oats before baking, which adds a pretty touch and an interesting texture. These measurements are American cups. It’s absolutely worth getting yourself a set – they make baking and cooking a whole lot easier. Just use a 250ml mug if you don’t have a set of proper measuring cups.
2 cups butternut squash, grated
2 cups sugar
3 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup plant-based oil (ie. sunflower)
1/2 cup apple sauce
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp cinammon (or less, if preferred)
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped
handful of rolled oats
1) Preheat your oven to 180 degrees and grease your muffin tins or line them with muffin cases. Leave the grated squash in a sieve over the sink so that it drains for around an hour. Squeeze out the remaining moisture.
2) In a large bowl, mix the squash, sugar, oil, apple sauce and vanilla. Add flour and other dry ingredients and mix until just blended. Fold in the nuts and raisins.
3) Fill muffin tins with the batter, sprinkle with the oats, and bake for 18-24 minutes, or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Tops should be golden brown. Allow to cook fully on a rack before eating.