Doesn’t it feel great when you know more about people? Learn the story and the background to Yogafurie here.
I couldn’t rate my experience so far on the teacher training course more highly. I applied for the course because I wanted to take my understanding and practice of Yoga to another level. Having tried out various classes over the years and seen the benefits of it for me both physically and mentally, there seemed to be so much to it and I really wanted to learn more. The prospect of being able to teach, when Yoga has provided me with so much, seemed like an incredible opportunity.
Within minutes of starting the course I knew I had made the right decision.
Globally it has been a rough ride. And we have all come together. We are all doing our best to support others and get through this as best we can.
Yoga is in fact a huge support structure. It’s vast and varied and offers a wide range of practices, meditations and techniques. Yoga Teachers and those that have studied Yoga in depth know where to turn to help them find the energy that they need to face up to each challenge. Whether it’s a daily challenge, or something more long term.
Take for example the range of emotions and thoughts you might have been feeling throughout lockdown:
What motivates you to keep on track?
We know all the facts already. We’ve been told it plenty of times. Sleep more, eat healthily, exercise regularly, practice Yoga, meditate often – do all of these things and we will be much happier and more healthy. Follow the rules and we’ll live longer, we’ll be happier in our lives, we will be rewarded with great mental and physical health.
And yet sometimes it’s so hard to stay motivated right! Especially when our worlds have been turned upside down. We’re all living through uncertainty. When will schools reopen? When can I see my friends and family again? When will it be safe to go back to normal? Will I, and everyone I care about, be safe?
Everyone, collectively, is going through a difficult time. One way or another. And at these times you might hear health experts and yogis say that this time, more than ever, we need to take care of our health.
But for some of us the motivation isn’t strong enough! Maybe we just don’t want to think about it at all. We have too much on, working from home, home schooling little ones, making runs to the shop for vulnerable people. Or perhaps we have so much time on our hands we are in a strange limbo, not knowing what to do each day, and then before you know it, it’s time for bed again
We’re all very different right? Different lifestyles, family commitments, upbringings and work patterns. Differing levels of fitness, body shapes and movement patterns. We all think differently, eat differently, react, love, respond and move differently.
When you think about it, we are all SO very different!
And so it would make sense that when we go to a Yoga class, one alignment cue could work well for you, but not for the person next to you. If you run a lot it would make sense that you might need a little extra help in forward folds. If you’re rebuilding strength after pregnancy, it would make sense that you need some help with support and regaining strength.
So… should we use Yoga equipment or not?
One of Plato’s books offers us a thought experiment. He describes a scenario in which prisoners are chained facing a wall. All they can see are shadows of events, all they can hear are echoes of the sounds of the events. Between them, the prisoners find explanations for what they can see and hear – they build a whole reality based on echoes and projections.
We talk about this a little during Yogafurie’s 230-hour Yoga and Hot Yoga teacher training course, because it illustrates a really important concept handed down the long history of Yoga. Eyes can see – but they can only register a small band of wavelengths, the rest is undetected and invisible. Ears can hear, the nose can smell – but again, in a narrow range: for instance, dogs can see and smell far more keenly. We have a sense of touch – but the nerves in the skin can only react to thde textures and temperatures we see commonly on Earth. The majority of what’s “real” is undetectable, invisible. Yet we all build our rationality and reality on what we experience, as if that was the whole truth. We’re just like the prisoners from the story.
The best way to boost your immune system (in my opinion) is to practice Yoga and Hot Yoga regularly, and to maintain a really healthy diet. That’s pretty much it! But there’s more – Hatha Yoga offers practices from way back that directly work on your health, and I described three of them in a recent blog. Keep an eye on the Yogafurie online videos to: very soon, there’ll be one showing you Bristol (and beyond!) how to do the practices described in the blog.
And there’s more again, because we live in a technological age of information and study. Now, we’re aware that there’s a lot of misinformation around, not just about coronavirus, but about all sorts of important things going on in the world. Thankfully, there’s also a lot of hard fact to be had as well. My thanks to a facebook friend who posted a link to a central repository of research articles, all about coronavirus. There are lots! Depending on what you’re interested in, you can look at the virus and its spread from lots of different angles through this research. However, here at Yogafurie in Bristol we love Hot Yoga, so I’m going to dive in on the question: does heat affect coronavirus?
Yoga has evolved a specific approach to body care, which is particularly relevant in today’s world of the viral epidemic. The six actions – or shatkarma – are documented in a classic fifteenth-century text called the Hatha Yoga Pradipika. They are likely to have originated long before the Middle Ages of course.
One of these kriya exercises is Neti: it’s basically saline nasal irrigation. This is routinely prescribed by doctors. And there is evidence that it does help control infections in the upper respiratory tract. At the start of the outbreak in the UK, there were articles stating that nasal irrigation would not help: and in fact, once you have a serious infection, irrigation probably won’t kill it. But, you can keep the tract clean with daily Neti, helping prevent any infection taking hold.
“For me the main reason I wanted to share this story is that there are a lot of people who live with chronic pain and there are a lot of people who live with joint problems, and they might feel limited by the pain, and even the fear of the pain. Coming and exploring this with the guidance of the teachers has been really powerful for me in realising that I wasn’t as disabled as I thought I was. I would encourage anyone to try.”
Joe’s story is an incredible tale of transformation, from living with chronic pain in his hip, needing a walking stick and pain killers, to improved strength, flexibility, no walking stick and a whole lot more self confidence.
That’s not a spelling mistake. I did mean Not-Yoga! Hopefully it will all become clear as you read on…
Mindful movement develops strength and skill. When this extends to breath, ease comes. Movements are light and precise: it’s energy-efficient and sustainable. Attention to technique lays a foundation of ability, literally hard-coded into the structure of the brain and body. The more challenging the activity, the easier it is to lose technique. Movements are brutish, forced; breath is harsh and shouty. Energy is wasted and it’s not efficient.
Yet continuous challenge is necessary for change. Tissues is the brain and body respond to loading patterns. We will never have different outcomes from repeating the same things. If change or development of some kind is what we seek, then some new loading is required. This could be lifestyle changes, variations in existing activities or new activities. In other words, it’s advisable to be doing something that challenges our breath, our movement, and our mindset regularly.