Although going to a class is great, there are many ways to start your yoga journey. Mine started with Richard Hittleman's Yoga 28 Day Plan. You can buy a secondhand copy. I followed it when I was 17 years old and I found it a great introduction. Not quite free but well worth investigating.
Other people swear by Yoga with Adriene. She is a very engaging accessible teacher and has free courses you can follow on YouTube. Again, they are 30 days. You find that if you stick with something for 30 days, it becomes a habit. Believe me, yoga is a great habit!
Ekhart Yoga is also an invaluable resource. The teaching of poses is very precise so you get a good understanding of what you are meant to do. Again, you can follow for free.
But don't just watch, try to faithfully follow a 30-day program. It can transform your life and give you a good basis to go out and sample classes.
Frighteningly, there are 41 days until Christmas. But look on the bright side. That's plenty of time to carry out a 30-day course. Just imagine how great you will feel going into 2019!
You hear it all the time. 'Do exercise.' 'Keep mobile.' 'Get off the bus one stop earlier.' Of course you know it is good for you, but do you know exactly why?
One reason is that white blood cells (the ones that fight infection) are carried around the body in the lymphatic system. Unlike the blood system where blood is pumped around your body by the heart, the lymph system uses the movement of your body to push lymph fluid around. This is why it is so important to remain active. It is also why people who are confined to bed often find it much harder to fight infections.
Being active doesn't have to be running marathons. Walking is pretty good, as is keeping limbs, hands and feet moving. Whether you move them in bed, on a chair or in the bath, doesn't matter. Just think of those happy white blood cells.
People think you have to be very bendy and thin to practise yoga. It seems to be what is presented on the internet. But yoga is for everyone, you just need to make sure that you find the right class. Choosing one that doesn't suit you can put you off for life. I have added a page on the website that gives a round up of all the different types of yoga that seem to be on offer.
Teachers usually put their contact details on classes (or are on facebook). It is worth getting in touch in advance to check what type of class they teach.
After lake to lake sunshine in Italy, I am back in Glasgow. Many thanks to Claire Rodgers and Julian Hearne who covered my Glasgow Club classes.
As the mornings are getting a little darker, the sunrise yoga is starting at 7am next Tuesday (21 August). I look forward to seeing any early risers in Kelvingrove Park (next to the skate park).
I am lucky enough to have an Italian mother who came from Lake Como. I try to spend six weeks there catching up with family and village. Yes, how hard can that be!
So for the next six weeks my classes will be covered by Julian Hearne (N Woodside, Emirates and Whitehill Pool). Claire Rodgers is covering my classes at Scotstoun. The Sunrise Yoga classes in Kelvingrove Park are due to resume on the 21 August until 18 September.
I always say it is good to try out different teachers. You always find the one that suits you.
Have a great summer. I am back at my classes from Tuesday 14 August.
Park Lives in Glasgow (www.parklives.com) runs outdoor yoga sessions. I have always wanted to teach an early morning class outside. So we had the perfect match. Do come along. We have had a few brave souls (and a lovely dog called Leo) turning up. Mainly to learn Salutes to the Sun. The perfect way to keep your whole body in shape. Keeping your body in shape is your first step to keeping your mind in order. Check it out here.
I am a great fan of Eknath Easwaran and the Blue Mountain Center. In his book The Mantram Handbook, he refers to a Sufi proverb which has great relevance from a social media perspective by replacing 'speech' with 'tweets', 'comments' and any form of digital opinion. Here is the passage from his book:
There is a Sufi proverb that each word we utter should have to pass through three gates before we say it. At the first gate, the gatekeeper asks, ‘Is this true?’ At the second gate, he asks, ‘Is it kind?’ And at the third gate, ‘Is it necessary?’ If we applied this proverb strictly, most of us would have very little to say. I am not recommending silence, however, but control over our speech.
By applying this approach, think how much kinder the world would be. The digital world is much more unforgiving and unforgetting. Digital unkindness and prejudice don't go away. They come back to haunt us.
New Year, new you? This is the time people often decide to take up yoga. Which can only be a good thing. Glasgow has to be one of the best cities for this through its Glasgow Club classes and its many qualified yoga teachers.
For someone new to yoga, one of the most frustrating things are the different labels: Iyengar, Ashtanga, Hatha, Vinyasa, Bikram, Dru... Already you probably want to give up! The names indicate the way the yoga is taught and is often the name of the teacher that set up that particular school of yoga. Essentially yoga is a series of poses (often referred to as asanas) and breathing techniques (often referred to as pranayama) that enhance your physical health and mental wellbeing.
Hatha yoga is the umbrella term for the poses and breathing techniques. Because you have a body, you need to make sure it is healthy and strong. Then you will be free to move on to a more spiritual level. In my experience, if a teacher refers themselves as a hatha teacher, you will be taught the basics in a more gentle, embracing way. The poses in hatha yoga are the ones you find in all the other different types of yoga. So it might be the best starting point for your yoga journey.
Iyengar (named after and developed by B. K. S. Iyengar). Expect a lot of strong standing poses and holding them for while. The instructions are very precise. Blocks and belts are often used.
Ashtanga (also sometimes referred to as power yoga). Expect to move swiftly and powerfully through a series of poses.
Vinyasa (refers to the flowing sequence). Some classes (such as Iyengar) can be quite static and you are expected to hold a pose for a number of minutes, in vinyasa you use the breath to move from one pose to another. Again, it can be quite challenging.
Bikram (or Hot) yoga. Not for the faint-hearted or completely new to yoga. This is a sequence of 26 poses done in a hot studio (over 40 degrees). The sequence is always the same as is the delivery of the instructions. You should really learn the poses before you attend the class. The sequence takes 90 minutes.
Dru yoga was established in Wales in the late 1970s. Its emphasis is on soft, flowing movements which aim to increase energy levels, ease back pain, and wash away stress.
If you see other labels (Scaravelli, Forrest, etc), just google them to find out a bit more about them.
So when you begin your yoga journey, expect to try out various classes until you find the teacher or type of yoga that suits you. The wonderful thing about yoga is that it can embrace all the different stages in your life.
And if you are not a member of Glasgow Club, you can still drop in at a very reasonable cost. What is not to like? Why not start your yoga journey trying out the different classes to see what might be the one for you. Once you find the one for you, there are many yoga studios throughout Glasgow you can also try out.
Usually I am so healthy. But since the beginning of December I have been suffering from a horrible chest infection that has seen me scuttling to the doctors and unable to do my daily yoga practice.
Two months ago I told you that I was going to amend my portion sizes and try to keep it equivalent to what I can hold in the palms of my hands What's in a portion?
And it works, I have pretty much stuck to the three meals a day and kept portions moderate. I must have lost about 3 pounds. Not a great deal, but at my age that is good.
Since then I have listened to this great lecture by Prof Robert H. Lustig of the University of California. It is an hour and a half but well worth every minute (even if you do get a little lost in the science). In essence it tells us that manufactured fructose (not the one you find naturally in fruit) cannot be processed by our livers and becomes a fat deposit clogging us up. That's a very simplified view. Oh yes, and exercise isn't going to shift it.
I urge you to listen and judge for yourselves. Then decide if processed food is something you want to nourish yourself and your family.
What I find particularly galling is that blame for fatness is put onto us the consumers or us the parents of fat children. No one wants to be fat but it is increasingly the effect that food (and especially fizzy drink) is having on us. Shame on the food industry for not regulating this harmful substance. Especially in a digital age where young people are fixated on appearance.
The answer is simple. Cook food from scratch. Three balanced meals a day. And learn to love water.
So that is what I am going to do. And I will make sure I exercise gently - walk, cycle and teach yoga. I hope to include swimming because I like it.
In a month I will tell you how I get on.
Caroline practises and teaches yoga in Glasgow Scotland and runs The Publishing Cupboard. She is the creator of the Nod off Series (where yoga meets grammar learning). If you want to get to grips with French, Spanish, Italian or Portuguese grammar, in a pain-free yogic way, visit www.nodoff.co.uk
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