yoga for kids

Mindful Eating by Emma Docherty


Mindful Eating

by Emma Docherty

It’s no secret that nutrition and yoga go hand in hand, so when Jill Hogan organised the “Food for thought” workshop with the wonderfully inspirational Swami Purnananda Puri, signing up was a no­brainer.

A beautiful morning set the scene for the weekend ahead. As sunlight streamed through the windows into the Namaste yoga room, the Swami greeted everyone entering with a welcoming smile and handed us a self­questionnaire to complete.

I can safely say I was one of many who looked for the extra writing space when I saw the first question on the form; “What are your stresses in life?” .
I filled in the questionnaire, easily ruffled by self­criticism. Sure, I am a healthy eater but I also love wine, chocolate, cheese, and probably too much salt. On top of that, I snack. I don’t “graze” on almonds, I snack on things that give me a 5 minute delight followed by 3 hours of guilt. “​Okay, after this square I’ll have no more chocolate for the rest of the month.”​Wait, didn’t I say the same thing last Sunday?

The Swami’s talk addressed all of these things and more. He roamed through the various topics of nutrition, stress, hydration, snacking, food groups, and more; touching on each with an array of science, humour, and philosophy that reminded me in spite of our mischievous diet at times, we are only human and we all do bad things from time to time like comfort eat, drink a bit too much, and so on. The talk encouraged us to listen to our bodies and learn to understand and respect our food in order to keep our bodies (our vessels) healthy and strong while we are here on this planet. Beautiful.

Following the talk we worked through a series of Pranayamas and Asanas; all aimed at promoting a healthier digestive system. With each Pranayama and Asana, the Swami gave a full explanation of the benefits and for what ailments they could help alleviate. Although the yoga was slow paced, it was thorough and tough. There was plenty of time to stabilise in each pose, breathe and push farther; and if you didn’t push, you can be sure that the Swami pushed you further if he thought you could go the distance.

Ending the practice with closing talk, I left the workshop feeling light and lifted. Swami Purnananda has a power with his words that can invoke thoughts in your mind for days. One of the main takeaways for me was the consideration of not the food itself that I consume, but the surroundings in which I consume. We spend so much of our time rush eating, doing 3 things at once, watching violent tv shows or news reports at dinner time. All these things create imbalance for our energy body.

Eat all the salads and quinoa you like, but if you do it with misaligned energy, then the benefit in what you eat is lost. Instead, let’s put mindfulness into our food. Let’s make a controlled effort to focus our thoughts and intentions to the food that we grow, buy, prepare, cook and eat. Enjoy the time that you have to sit down with friends and family for a meal. Pay attention to the flavours that you are tasting and give thanks to Mother Earth for blessing us with such wonderful nutritious foods.

From all the attendees, a huge thank you to Namaste, Jill and Swami Purnananda for this workshop!

My Womb and Me

Mayella Womb Blessing

My Womb and Me

By Mayella Almazan

I saw on Facebook somewhere that this week (Nov 1-8) is Womb Awareness Week.
When I googled it up I realised it sadly seems to be only a small movement by some colleagues trying to spread the word. More interestingly, as I typed the word on Google for the search, I saw that for the UK-based search engine, the most popular word search following the word WOMB is not AWARENESS, but CANCER (see atttached screenshot).This made me think back to the first time I came to be aware of my womb.
As a Mexican woman raised in a large extended family, I was never far away from pregnant women, women who had just given birth and women wanting to get pregnant (not always succesfully, may I add).
Pregnancy and labour were not unusual topics of table talk at family gatherings, however, the real interesting conversations came later, when all women withdrew to the kitchen after the meal. Away from the men, the talk turned to deeper ever so much more interesting issues for a 6-year-old: infertility, painful periods, hysterectomies, miscarriages, a huge world of emotions and things that united all of the women in my family through pain and loss but also through love.
My Grandma -and later on when she passed away my aunties and my Mum too- always had a herbal tea blend to share to ease menstrual cramps, a sobada (massage) to offer to the grieving cousin or niece, so on the whole I can say even as I child I was acutely aware of wombs. Eventually, my own period arrived as a calm, easy going affair. Nothing worth paying too much attention to. All was perfect until I left my homeland, that is.
I started to be painfully aware of my womb during my periods soon after I moved to London to study a Master´s degree. By chance, after a birthday call to the eldest of my Aunties I mentioned it to her and she told me she was not suprised. “The cold of homesickness has got into your womb, child”, she told me.
I had heard of “the cold” being a very bad thing to get anywhere inside your body many a times at home. She then went on to add, “nothing like a bit of flowers in some steam to warm you up, take you back to your centre again, bring you back home. Oh, and you mustn´t forget the oregano.”  She was talking about the “bajos”, an ancient Mayan practice whereby a herbal mix is prepared and infused to steam our reproductive organs through our vagina (picture of herbal blend attached). I did as I was told and things soon not only went back to normal but the aroma of the oregano during the steam session REALLY took me back to the Mexican fields up the mountains where it grows wild.
This was the first time that I became aware of the fact that WOMBS are not just places for holding and carrying babies (although they are of course that too! ), but also places where we can store grief and homesickness. As a therapist now, I see clearly how storing all of these in our womb can at times mean trouble for some.
Since those days, I have made it my mission to guide women who have not been as lucky as me growing up in the family I did to discover the treasure of information, joy, pleasure and power contained within our womb. To be aware of their wombs, not because of cancer, or because of the fact that there is a baby in there (or there is not), or because of dis-ease, but simply because our womb is our centre. Because our womb is our home. And who doesn´t love going home ?
If you wish to become more aware of your womb-home, please contact Mayella  07899771696

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4 Day Yoga Detox Wellness Program with Jennifer Greenlees

4 Day Yoga Detox Wellness Program

Wednesdays 8-9pm

10th, 17th, 24th April 1st May

Cost £48

Toxins come in many shapes and forms…

Too much screen time,

Too much of the wrong foods

Too much alcohol

Sitting around too much

Not enough exercise

Not enough time with our friends and family

Not enough fruit and veg

Not enough water

Not enough time outdoors

For more info and to sign up click on the link below….

This link takes you straight to the booking system….

During this 4 day program Jennifer will be sharing lots of different techniques including kundalini yoga, meditation, bodyrolling  to help you detox physically and mentally. She will also be sharing healthy detox drinks and recipes to try to promote a healthier diet. 

Often it is because we haven’t got the balance right.  So we need to continually detox, physically and mentally. We process food, thoughts, and all forms of energy. When that flow is continuous and clear, we are steady and flexible. The trouble is that we accumulate more than we process. We become weighed down under the ash of metabolism and the remnants of old emotions. 

Detoxification, from a yogic perspective, is a process of cleansing and purifying the body, mind, and energy systems. It involves removing accumulated toxins and impurities that hinder the free flow of vital energy, known as prana. The practice of detoxing, combined with a healthy vegetarian diet, offers several benefits in the context of yoga.

Physically, detoxing helps to eliminate toxins and waste materials from the body, improving overall health and vitality. It supports the proper functioning of organs, enhances the immune system, and boosts metabolism. By eliminating toxins, the body becomes lighter, more energised, and better prepared for the practice of yoga asanas. Detoxing also promotes healthy digestion, absorption, and assimilation of nutrients, which are essential for optimal physical well-being.

From a mental perspective, detoxing facilitates the purification of the mind. Through the removal of physical toxins, mental clarity and focus are enhanced, allowing for deeper concentration during meditation and yogic practices. Detoxing also helps to reduce mental and emotional blockages, freeing the mind from negative thought patterns and promoting a sense of calmness and inner peace. As the mind becomes clearer and more balanced, practitioners can experience heightened self-awareness and a deeper connection with their true selves.

In yogic terms, a healthy vegetarian diet plays a vital role in detoxification. A  diet, rich in fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and plant-based proteins, provides essential nutrients while being light and easily digestible. It supports the body’s natural detoxification processes by supplying fiber, antioxidants, and phytonutrients that aid in the elimination of toxins. Additionally, a vegetarian diet aligns with the yogic principle of ahimsa (non-violence) by promoting compassion towards all living beings.

Detoxing and maintaining a healthy vegetarian diet are integral aspects of yogic practice. They support the purification of the body, mind, and energy systems, promoting optimal physical health, mental clarity, and spiritual growth. By embracing these practices, individuals can embark on a transformative journey towards holistic well-being and self-realisation.

During this 4 day program Jennifer will be sharing lots of different techniques including kundalini yoga, meditation, bodyrolling  to help you detox physically and mentally. She will also be sharing healthy detox drinks and recipes to try to promote a healthier diet. 

Helping you kickstart healthy living so that you feel revitalised and rejuvenated as you enjoy explore new wellness experiences during this 4 week program.

Suitable for beginners.

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