Posts tagged balance
Three Questions: Rachael Moore

Three Questions: Rachael Moore

rachaelCould you explain how you went about learning to teach flow? Are there specialist training programme?

RACHAEL: Although I have always been drawn to more of a 'flow style yoga practice' I opted for a more general yoga teaching training when I took my first 200hr teacher training. I felt I wanted to have a good grounding and understanding of 'yoga' and how to teach safely and effectively whilst leaving room for my personal growth and exploration . Once I had a few years of teaching experience and I had had the chance to see what style of teaching I was drawn to and what felt 'authentic' to me in my teaching and practice, I took the decision to embark on a second teacher training specifically in the art of Vinyasa flow yoga with Claire Missingham. This second tt offered me the opportunity to explore all the layers that go toward making a rounded, accessible vinyasa class. As both a student and teacher of yoga , I feel I am constantly evolving and making subtle changes to how I interpret certain aspects of this practice. Both tt courses have enabled me to do this and also provided me with sound theoretical knowledge so as I can continue to grow as both a student and teacher of Yoga.

Why does yoga always make me so emotional? Sometimes I feel myself on the verge of tears in savasana and I have no idea why! Is this normal?

RACHAEL: Bless you! Yes it is normal and If we are honest I think we have all been there at some point in our practice. A regular practice will help to align not only the physical body but also our subtle anatomy. Our yoga practice teaches us about the intwined relationship between our state of mind, our breath and our bodies so it stands to reason that our passed experiences and our current emotional state is imprinted in our bodies which will affect the balance of our our energy and the harmony of our whole being. Energy is constantly moving around the body but through habitual holding patterns in the body, or past injury/trauma (emotional or physical) ,this energy can get blocked in certain places in the body. In our yoga practice, we stretch, strengthen, twist and fold our bodies, our bones, muscle , organs and skin and in doing so help release this blocked/stagnant energy both physically, energetically and also emotionally It is partly for this reason that you may notice a release of emotional energy seemingly unrelated to the specific moment at hand. Sarah Powers a well respected Yin yoga teacher, says in relation to this that "Yoga is a great way of moving these patterns through you... I suggest neither blocking nor seeking to mentally figure out these feelings as they emerge during your practice. Simply stay with the feeling-tone itself and notice the way it affects your experience in your body……There is nothing wrong with emotional release during our yoga poses, this is healing."

Q5) Do you think it's important to be able to do advanced poses? Should we always try to work towards these?

RACHAEL: Hmm…. Do I think advanced poses make you an advanced student of yoga? An emphatic 'no'! Do I think it is important to be working towards something and enjoy experiencing the journey as you travel toward the destination? An emphatic 'Yes'. It is good to challenge yourself, to take yourself out of your comfort zone , to work towards a different place from where you started, but at the same time, it should be done with a clear intention and approached in a mindful way. Yes some of the advanced poses will offer you increased strength and focus but only if your ready for them, otherwise there will be no sukha (ease) in the body, just Dukha (heaviness and dis-ease). There are many, many 'advanced' poses that I continue to practice and work towards. Some of these I may one day be able to achieve, others I will not. As Desikachar states 'we start where we are and with what we have, and whatever happens, happens". Enjoy the challenge of some of the more advanced poses but don't make it the goal of your practice. There is so much joy in discovering all the subtleties of this practice that to get hung up over never being able to perform an unsupported handstand (for example) would be such a shame!

Rachael Moore teaches Yoga Flow and Pregnancy Yoga at Camyoga. She is also a member of our esteemed teacher training faculty. Click here to view her class schedule.

On Balance Hermione Fairbairn

Hermione Fairbairn: On Balance


Finding balance is central to Yoga in the same way it is central to fulfilled and happy lifestyle. 'Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony' (Thomas Merton).'

However, in the same way that finding balance in life is not a static achievement, in yoga you are also continually working at balancing not on the one-off achievement of being balanced. This is constant process of regulating, reconfiguring and adapting. Working with this ongoing and constantly changing process (not against it) is essential to any success. Let each pose be a balance of effort and engagement, and softness and grace (Sthira Sukham Asanam). Find focus, relax into it then equally importantly, embrace falling and get back up...this works for life too!

Just observe how wobbling strikes the ego and draws you instantly away from your inward focus altering your mode of mind towards criticism and comparison. It feels very public, and we are quick to direct judgement. 'Why can't I do it like I did it last week?', 'What's wrong with me today?'. The point however is...'Simply to be with yourself, however you are in that moment. To smile, breathe and go slowly' (Thich Nhat Hanh).

In life, we need to mindfully and graciously accept that things change, we have a part to play in how things unfold but not control. Finding ts state of balance at any one time is not a 'forever' state. We need to let go and accept that things can't always be the way you want them to be. In more practical terms, perhaps the aim of arriving somewhere obtainable, livable and lasting is more likely to be a workable balance.

A further challenge is to balance the doing with the being. Without this, life easily gets unsteady. Taking time to be attentive, sense and really feel, has been shown to really help balance our mental state.

In our own Yoga practice, balancing on the mat helps us deal with challenges and setbacks off the mat, to bounce (or to balance!) back. This is where the real yoga begins. Hermione Fairbairn




Hermione Fairbairn teaches Yoga Flow at Camyoga. Her classes incorporate a Jivamukti flavour, elements of mindfulness practice and an eclectic soundtrack. Hermione is currently on maternity leave, but to discover Yoga Flow at Camyoga, click here to view our full schedule.


Beverley Nolan Answers Your Yoga For Women's Health Questions

Beverley Nolan Answers Your Questions on Yoga for Women's Health

1379628_724778600883176_837062249_nQ1) Sometimes I feel like my hormones rule my life! Can you recommend any poses to help me to feel more balanced? BEVERLEY: Hormones are chemical messengers in the body that are secreted by glands and certain cell clusters in response to internal and external stimuli. I like to think of these happenings as conversations in my body that I overhear by experiencing changes in my moods and emotions. When the conversation is loud and disturbing, we can be overwhelmed by the drama and be praying for it to be over, but at this time it is incredibly useful to engage wholeheartedly with what is going on and not to plough on regardless. First and foremost, I recommend establishing a dialogue with the body. It is easier than it might seem: you simply ask what the body needs and give room for your innate wisdom to reply. It could be anything from a particular food, a particular pose or activity, spending time alone or in company – anything, be prepared to be surprised! In terms of specific yoga practices, Mindfulness in all things can reduce any disturbing feelings of being out of control and certainly Supported Reclined Bound Angle Pose (Salamba Supta Badha Konasana) is a peach, as it promotes overall rest but importantly bring space to the pelvic organs and glands. (NB – emotions are not the exclusive domain of women – so I would encourage men to have body-conversations, practice Mindfulness and Salamba Supta Badha Konasana too!)

Q2) Do you have any recommendations for practices for the perimenopause stage of life, perhaps looking to help ease into the menopause itself? BEVERLEY: All that is certain is that perimenopause is a time of a physiological remapping similar in power and impact to the onset of menses in adolescence, and for some women the experience of pregnancy, birthing and motherhood.  It is a metamorphosis that may go lightly or tempestuously but either way it is unavoidably made. It is a time of deep intimate conversation with your very identity. For many women, the quieter practices of Restorative Yoga, Yin Yoga, Gentle Hatha and Slow Flow are helpful to ease the physical symptoms and give time for self-reflection, but sometimes there is a fantastic wildness to the transition that generates a sudden surge and flow energy and creativity and this can be embodied by revisiting old challenges or seeking new ones. Every woman is different, but again establishing a dialogue with the body is key to navigating the changes that will reshape your  identity.

Q3) Lots of teachers have different ideas about whether it's ok to do inversions while menstruating. What do you think? BEVERLEY: True! I think there are mainly two strands to the opinion that inversions should not be practiced. One is based on the energetics of the pranic system that indicates that ‘apana’, a specific flow of prana located between the navel and the perineum, by its essential nature is downward and outward flowing and that the menstrual flow is an embodiment of this. The second is based on an assumption that retro-flow presents a risk of endometriosis, a condition where cells from the womb lining are found outside of the womb in the abdominal cavity, for example. To the best of my knowledge there is no definitive clinical evidence to prohibit inversions during menstruation. My own recommendation is once again to tune into the body and the symptoms that are presenting and follow the specific needs that arise – it’s as simple as asking “do I really want to turn upside down today?”. To be honest, most women I work with more often than not really don’t want to turn upside down and welcome the chance to do something else in class. What we need to be careful of as teachers is honouring the need for some women to maintain discretion around menses in the class situation, and maintaining inclusivity during any alternative practices.

Q4)  Is yoga historically a men's practice or have women always done it too? BEVERLEY: We have to remember that surviving documents and archaeological fragments are only a glimpse into the history of humanity’s search into the nature of being. It is true to say that many of the images and stories that have survived depict more male than female participants; but it is certainly not exclusive. I would imagine that along with many culture and traditions the Divine Feminine and the role of woman in understanding the nature of being will have at times been revered and encouraged, and at times will have suffered from the rise and dissemination of partriarchal influence. The important thing to remember is that Love is completely unconditional, completely unjudgemental and in fact totally indifferent to gender, and it is Love that lies at the heart of it all.

Q5) How often should I practice yoga?                                                            

BEVERLEY:This question comes form mind – answer it with your heart and you won’t be wrong!

Beverley Nolan is one of the region's most beloved teachers and a member of Camyoga's prestigious teacher training faculty. Find out more here

Getting rid of stress through Meditation

Meditation Meditation is a wonderful way of waking up to our life. Our minds are often preoccupied with endless thoughts of tasks ahead of us or by recapitulating and reliving moments that upset us in some way. This way we often miss out on what is happening around us as we, in a way, loose the ability to see.

By meditating you will learn to clear the information overload that builds up everyday and contributes to your stress. You will achieve this through few simple steps in meditation; first of all you will learn to balance your body in the right posture, secondly you will learn to find your focus while having eyes closed, and lastly, you’ll become aware of your breath.

Not only will meditation give you a sense of calm, peace and balance but mediation may also positively change your brain. Scientist now came up with studies stating that those who meditate on regular basis had measurable changes in gray-matter density in parts of the brain which are associated with memory, sense of self, empathy and stress.

"It is fascinating to see the brain's plasticity and that, by practicing meditation, we can play an active role in changing the brain and can increase our well-being and quality of life," Britta Holzel, PhD, first author of the paper and a research fellow at MGH and Giessen University in Germany, said.

If you feel like you need that little push before you start meditating on your own or if you simply want to treat yourself to an hour of blissfulness then come to one of our Sunday’s Meditation classes starting at 5.30pm. This week - Satsang with Anna Jackson.

Source of the study.