Thursday, 13 October 2011

Outreach Yoga Challenge - Day 4 Seasonal pigeon

‘To change your world all you have to do is manage your thoughts and feelings on the inside of you, and then your whole world changes’

Early morning Vinyasa Power Flow class is a quieter more advanced class, and I feel ready for the challenge. Ujjayi breath comes much more naturally, not forced and I feel it warm and strong as I send it around my body from the tip of my head to toes. If you close your eyes, you can visualise your breath literally swimming around your whole body filling every cell with oxygen, try it and see! It’s sometimes called the ocean breath because of the sound air makes as it passes through your windpipe. Constrict your airway in the back of your throat and keeping your mouth closed, breathe. Ujjayi breathing tones internal organs, increases internal body heat, improves concentration, and calms the whole mind and body.  On the inhale, expand your tummy breathing in as much air as you can, its a deep deep breath, then on the exhale put your navel to the back of your spine, squeezing all of the air out again.  This can be done at anytime, anywhere you like, not just in yoga! Be grateful for the clean fresh air that we have in this world, and do your bit to stop pollution of it. That could be anything from using environmentally friendly sprays, perfumes, or using your car less maybe cycling once a week, think about your carbon footprint on the world.  A nasty polluting habit that I kicked in the ‘butt’ (pun intended) is smoking. YES AGAIN. Never give up giving up! Smoking depletes any nutrients and vitamins you put into your body, it clogs arteries, kills air sacs in your lungs, create free radicals in your body which kill good healthy cells that will give us longevity and health, age your skin, restrict your social environment, and it stinks! Not cool. Time to give up?
Smoking will kill you, so chose life.

The flow class started in child’s pose, with some cat cow breaths, then into downward dog. Most classes will always have these 3 poses combined into the sequence, they stretch out the spine, lengthen and relieve. We worked up to some Warrior 1,2, side angle, side splits, half moon (wobble) and side planks with leg raise. Now they are a challenge indeed, something for me to work on, having weaker wrists and arms from breaking them BOTH last year (waiting for karma to come good) I find the poses requiring arm strength like crane, crow and other manoeuvres like 'Chaturanga Dandasana' very difficult, you can see pose: BUT I’m absolutely determined to not let that accident ruin any part of my love for yoga whatsoever. On the positive side, it’s enabled me to be kinder on myself and to use other parts of my body to compensate, it helps with side plank to lift your hips and reach up into the air with the extended arm pulling yourself upwards and elongating your limbs as much as possible.  The sequence is ended with one-legged king pigeon pose, and shoulder stand, plough. I have felt the benefits of some stretching and posture work taken from a book (recommended by a warrior living in Costa Rica) called  ‘Stretching and Flexibility – Kit Laughlin’, and its greatly helped with poses like pigeon, you can see some of Kits work on if you search his name here is one for the hamstring He’s really easy to follow, and great for guys who think yoga isn’t a work out J Remember to keep your hips squared forward throughout the pose, I can feel mine slouching a little, and sit as deeply as possible into the leg position drawing your groins to the floor. Avoid pressing your lower back! It’s an advanced pose, so take a modification as you see fit, leave the bent leg on the floor straight behind you and lower your chest and forehead to the ground instead, oh and always breathe! I came home after class and practiced in my spare room thats waiting for visitors, it will eventually triple up as my yoga room, study room, and film room! I just need a desk and a futon to be donated, its good to recycle your unwanted furniture to good homes, saves chopping down another tree right :)

Some nutritional advice for today is eating seasonal foods only! Think about what’s in season, and eat these foods only, the earth does this for a reason you know, and it provides us with what’s best for our bodies in the season. Eating foods that are not in season, means only that they are either genetically modified foods, full of chemicals and no nutrients, DEAD FOOD, all of this puts a massive strain on your digestive system and will eventually wear them out. Or the mango on your plate has travelled thousands of miles to reach it, losing most of the nutrients and damaging the earth with the huge costs of distribution pollution. Try the 100 mile diet, only eat within a hundred miles of where you live? It may seem difficult and you may not be able to do this 100%, but have a go, it’s a great way to think about your food, and where it comes from, you’re also supporting your local economy and local business. Say NO to companies, and support your local businesses, farms, try growing some herbs and seasonal vegetables yourself and see how rewarding it feels J Remember all vegetables that maybe don’t get eaten at once, can all go into a delicious soup and frozen for those days when you forgot to shop, or its cold outside. Some dishes I recently made;

Organic Harvest Squash frittata; ½ butternut squash, ½ acorn squash, ½ pumpkin squash, ½ yellow courgette, handful sundried tomatoes, garlic, chilli, rosemary, 8 free range organic eggs.  Method; cut the vegetables into misshapes and bake in the oven using coconut oil, sprinkle on chopped garlic, chilli, rosemary when almost baked. Whisk the 8 eggs with the sundried tomatoes and pour into a big glass baking dish with the baked squash and put back into the oven for about 15 minutes, or until done. Feeds 10 million J
With the left over veggies, skins kept on, I boiled them all up in a pan keeping the lid on with a couple pints of water and let it simmer for an hour. I mashed up all the squash, added a pinch of natural salt rocks and some organic olive oil and pumpkin seeds and had a massive batch of soup that has lasted over a week, don’t forget you can freeze individual portions. These yellowy and orange vegetables are a great source of beta carotenoid (vitamin A) which not only helps you see in the dark (see how the earth gives you the right veggies for the season as the nights get darker?) but it also is proved to have anti cancer oxidants and is absolutely amazing nourishment for your skin, inside and out. So ditch all those expensive creams you have been brainwashed to buy for your face, for your body, for your feet, for your middle finger, all of which contain harmful chemicals your body does its best to eliminate, and just eat some healthy squash!
Nomnomnom J

Thanks for following the challenge, if you would like any advice on a particular yoga pose, or on anything in general, don’t be shy, ask! I’d love to hear from you, maybe you’d like to practice with me? J
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  1. I can testify that the frittata was delicious because I ate some!

  2. Thanks! Mmmmmm I think its time to make another one, I want to use up the seasonal roots I got!