Sleeping in Savasana

My yoga journey

Eating Essential Oils

I’m not sure if it’s just me but there seems to be a lot going around just now about eating or drinking essential oils. It’s mainly from doterra suppliers and users so I’m not sure if this is something that they’re pushing just now. 

It seems a bit wrong to me. I love using essential oils both on my skin and in an aromatherapy sense. I have a water based unit in the studio that gives it a great smell and atmosphere. 


But drinking them mixed in water or adding them to food? Nope. To me no matter how pure you think your oil is, it’s still an unregulated industry. I’m sure that detorra oils are good quality and come from great ingredients but am I going to ingest it. Nope. 

I lived with an awesome aromatherapist after university and she was extremely cautious about using mixing up her good quality undiluted oils with carrier oils to ensure that none got on her skin due to the damage it could cause to her skin. Can you imagine what’d happen to your mouth if you left a drop on the side of a cup and drank it? Ekk! 

I’m sure most people who drink and eat essential oils come to no harm but it’s not something that I’m willing to do. 

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Back at Bikram 

As part of my plan of doing more yoga outside of teaching classes I’ve started back doing Bikram. I still don’t agree with the man himself and think he’s super creepy and weird but I love hot yoga and I love that it’s a fixed sequence. I guess it’s the same attraction as Ashtanga but I don’t seem to get injured with it and it’s more open and friendly than most ashtanga studios.

The timetable has changed a bit and one of the things that they’ve introduced is monthly Asana labs. It’s a 75 minute session looking at two or three poses in detail. I went along to the one at the start of March and it was really good.

It was quite informal with a lot of talking from Emma the studio owner. She’s super passionate about the benefits of Bikram and one thing that I got out of it is to keep coming along and get back on the mat. Even if injured and you only do 1% of the class that’s fine and better than doing zero.

We looked at locking the knee, not in any particular pose but in general. It was really interesting and good to be able to spend time looking in the mirror and focusing on just one part. I’m generally ok at doing it standing but as soon as I go into balances I tend to loose it and my hips go way out of alignment. I’ve got a clearer idea of what to focus on and how I can improve it.

The second pose we looked at was dancers pose. It’s a beautiful pose and one that the ego part of me loves to do. The focus of that pose was the shoulder opening. It’s not really something that I’ve thought about before but it was great to notice a difference and take time to work on it.

The class afterwards was great for putting the work into practice and I certainly noticed a difference in the poses where I focuses on just locking the knee and keeping it engaged. I didn’t get as far into the pose but if it means long term I’m doing the pose better then it’ll make a difference.

I’ve been back again since and I managed to do the entire class with only skipping a few poses and I hadn’t taken any painkillers since 8.30am that morning and didn’t need to take any afterwards. I guess it’s starting to work and I’m slowly getting used to the current depth that I can go to in poses without causing my hip pain.

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Edinburgh Yoga Festival 2017 

Last year I missed the Edinburgh Yoga Festival as I was away. This year it fell on a busy weekend and I’ve been lacking in motivation to do yoga but I still booked into a class.

I’ve written about before in the class that I attended before Christmas, Edinburgh Community Yoga do great work in getting yoga to people who wouldn’t be able to access it otherwise. As a result I try to attend fundraising things for them as I want to support their work.

The class that I was booked into was lead by Dawn from Rise of Dawn Yoga and was titled ‘A Celebration of Yoga’. Dawn is a great teacher and I really like her style of vinyasa flow classes which incorporates forest yoga teaching and isn’t super dynamic. Currently my schedule doesn’t allow me to make it along to her classes that often so it’s good to be able to make it to classes when they’re at different times.

The class was 90 minutes which flew by except a couple of poses which seemed to last forever. It was a really nice combination of seated mediation to start with, lots of twists, some sun salutation variations and hip opening. I really enjoyed it and the shared energy around the room.

The entire festival seems to have been a success and I think most of the classes were busy. I’m hoping that next year I’ll be a bit less busy and be able to host a fundraiser class in the studio as it’d be good to be able to give more to the charity.

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The Air Out There 

Last week I attended a lovely class organised by Lululemon and Helen from Yoga Folk to fundraise for Edinburgh Community Yoga. I’ve written about the work that ECY do before here. I donate a monthly ‘cup of coffee’ to them. It’s a small amount but if 50 people did it each month it’d make a huge difference and help those who really need it. If you’d like to make a small (or large) donation then you can do so via their website.

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The event started by meeting at Hunter Square and getting given candles to hold during our walk down to the venue. It was a really nice way to connect people and to share light. Quite a few went out on the walk down so we shared the flames at every traffic lights/junction stop so that people still had a lit candle.

When we arrived at the Roxy, where the main class was being held, the space was quite darkly light so the candles added a nice glow to the space. The class was a vinyasa flow class and started with a guided meditation. The meditation was in the theme of The Air Out There, which is Lululemon’s seasonal theme. It was a really nice connecting meditation about sharing breath and air with others. I personally would have liked another short meditation after the vinyasa practice to connect the beginning and end but it was still lovely.

The vinyasa class was was relatively relaxed and slow but still flowing enough that it felt like effort. It was quite a mixed class with some people doing full crow balances and others dropping down into child’s pose on a regular basis.

 

My hip wasn’t 100% happy with lots of vinyasas and warrior variations but it held up and wasn’t too bad afterwards. I really enjoyed being back in a large class as it’s something I’ve avoided for a couple of months. I think it’s mainly been due to fear of judgement about skipping poses and overdoing things as a result. I need to work on managing my ego in class and my expectations of classes. I will be back to a more regular vinyasa practice in January.

 

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Yoga Beet 

One of the awesome things about yoga teacher training has been enjoying lunches prepared by Yoga Beet.

She’s a yoga teacher and cheif. She makes vegan, gluten free food that is super tasty. I don’t normally eat fully vegan but I’m trying to eat more whole foods and more natural things. 


The food has always been delicious, simple and awesome. 

I would love for some of the salad recipes as I think they’d work on a smaller scale. She’s hopefully going to do a recipe book next year which would be awesome for ideas. 

We also got either energy balls, brownies or chia pudding every day. They were all sugar free and tasty. 

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Catching Up

Oh dear, it’s been a month since I last posted anything. I’ve been better at using instagram and posting photos on there but I’ve not been great at writing. I keep on thinking on things that I should write about and then never quite having the time to write them. It’s something that I’m going to try to change. It only takes half an hour at most to write a post so I’m aiming for one a week for the rest of 2016. That’s only 4 hours of time in the next eight weeks. That seems achievable.

So in news over the past few weeks, I’ve been to Portugal, done a couple of new yoga classes and tried some new things that I’ll write up shortly. My hip has been both better and worst, I’m still waiting for an appointment with the specialist to get an MRI and actually work out what’s wrong with it.

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Yin Yang Yoga with Tribe Yoga and Deliveroo

On Wednesday night I joined 99 other yogis for a one off class at the Assembly Rooms. It’s a beautiful venue usually used for dinners, meetings, exhibitions and many other things.

It was a mix of both yang and yin yoga. So about half an hour of active yoga and then more relaxed poses and holding things for much longer. It was run between Tribe Yoga, Deliveroo and Lululemon.


Though the venue was beautiful, the acoustics were horrible. The speakers were in the middle of the room and as we were up the top end we could only hear about half the instructions. It was ok most of the time but a bit annoying. Especially for one of the girls with us who hasn’t done much yoga before so spent a lot of the class looking about trying to work out what to do.

The class wasn’t necessarily one that I’d do again but it was nice to try and plus we got a nice goodie bag as part of the class. It included a fresh juice, I went for beetroot and apple, a £5 Deliveroo voucher, a voucher for a class at Tribe, a nice water bottle, a voucher for Sodaberg and a pastry type thing. I kept my juice and pastry for breakfast the next day and they were a nice change from my usual overnight oats. I’m not that keen on beetroot juice even though I keep trying it.


I’m looking forward to using my voucher for the class to try a different style of the next couple of weeks as I feel I’ve not tried much new stuff since I got injured.

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Branding and Starting Classes

I’ve been having a dilemma over the last few weeks, I’ve needed to start thinking about branding and a name for how I’m going to advertise classes. In the next few weeks I’m planning on starting leading groups rather that the one to ones that I’m going currently. It’s still going to be small, 3 or 4 maximum but I still feel that I should start having an online presence and somewhere to post information that isn’t just my own facebook page. I don’t want to annoy the friends that don’t have an interest in yoga and I want to be able to keep it separate, especially for when I start to teach people that I don’t know so well. It’ll still be later in the year or early next year before I start teaching proper formal regular classes.

So my dilemma, do I use this website? I’ve already built up an online presence, got an instagram account linked to it and it’s a lovely name that resonates with me. But if I do that then I have to stop it being a personal blog as well. I’d need to remove various old posts and make it much more professional. I’m planning on remaining a yoga student and continuing to attend classes and workshops etc. I quite like that I have somewhere online that I can post what I think and how a class made me feel and my experience of it.

I’ve decided to keep them separate for now and to build up a new brand, which I think I’ve decided on a name for and a friend is hopefully going to design a simple logo for it. I look forward to sharing my professional yoga facebook page with you in the next couple of weeks.

 

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Whole food with a little on the side

It’s been a few weeks since I posted an update about my diet and how I’m getting on. In general the week of my yoga teacher training was both good and bad. I was eating gluten free, vegan lunches, which were all freshly prepared for us and gorgeous. However the evenings were a different story. There was building work that was overrunning in my flat so I didn’t really have the energy to clean the kitchen of dust  cook and then tidy up and put everything away so it didn’t get covered in more dust the next day. I ate takeaway, convenience food and a bit of leftovers from the freezer.

This week however I’ve been back on top of things and am feeling much better for it. I’ve been avoiding gluten, dairy and sugar at least 5.5 days per week.

Above and below are a few photos of what I’ve eaten in the last two weeks, including turkey bacon and eggs, turkey chilli, sweet potato soup, overnight oats with blueberries, bean and rice salad with chicken and tomatoes. I’m quite glad that it’s so colourful and fresh. It’s been really good to expand my diet to include more raw vegetables. I’m eating more meat than I was when I started eating whole. I’m trying to be more conscientious about my meat though and only eating free range or equivalent birds. I also am having at least one day per week that I’m eating entirely vegan. It’s helping me feel more energetic and I’m not sure if I’ve lost any weight as I’ve not weighed myself for a few weeks.

I also have started trying wheatgrass and other green powder added to my morning smoothie. It’s not been that great as I think it tastes slightly like a lawn. I don’t think I’ll get more after I’ve used up the current lot but it’s been not too bad.

The other thing that I’ve added to my routine this week is to try to drink more water. Not with added juice or anything, just simple water. img_0046Last weekend I bought a water flask with a lid and every morning I’ve been filling it up and taking a glass to my desk. My aim is to drink the liter of water that it holds during the working day. I’ve managed it for over a week and I think I can keep it up. It’s amazing how easily I drink this much ‘extra’ water without thinking about it if it’s just there rather than having to go and fill a glass up.

I’m still having the odd night off from being strict about it and making time to have a glass or two of sangria with friends.

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2016 Aims Update

I keep on meaning to write this post but getting distracted by other things or it not quite being the right time to do it. So here is my update on my 2016 aims 

So my aims in January were

  • Do two yoga classes/practices each week.

I’ve pretty much consistently managed this. I’ve missed a few weeks due to injury but I’m being much better at listening to my body and not pushing myself on things at the detriment of others.

  • Enroll in Yoga Foundation Training

I haven’t done this but I have signed up for my yin yoga teacher training. I’ve also bought quite a few yoga books on anatomy, teaching styles and yoga philosophy. It’s meant that I am reading lots about yoga and learning so much.

  • Be able to hold a handstand free of the wall for 30 seconds consistently.

I’ve had to limit the amount of impact exercise that I do so I’ve not been training handstands that much. I’m hoping that I can start again in the next month and see how it goes.

  • Don’t buy any new clothes until May (underwear excluded).

I did ok with this, towards the end I bought a few things but I certainly wore a lot more of my wardrobe that I would usually. I now need to find the time to sort out my wardrobe again and come up with a list of things that I need to replace over the next few months. I’m still trying not to buy many new clothes for the rest of this year.

  • Finish decorating two rooms in my new home.

The living room is pretty much done. I need to get a new curtain rail and hang the curtains and also replace the lamp shade. So that should be done in the next month or so.

I’m also not that far away from finishing the toilet. It is getting plastered on Thursday and then it just needs to dry and then I’ll get it painted.

  • Find somewhere to teach aerial yoga and teach at least five workshops.

I’m still working on this. One potential space is fully booked for week day evenings but I’m going to try to hold some weekend workshops and see how it goes.

  • Travel to three new cities

I’m not sure if I’m going to manage this. I’m using quite a bit of my annual leave this year to do Yoga Teacher Training so I’m prioritising visiting family and relaxing in the remaining time off.

  • Start planning a trip to India for 2017.

Again I’m not sure if this is going to happen. I need to see how the finances are working at towards the end of the year and if I spend more time and money on further training or on going to India.

 

I have two new aims to add to the list,

  • finish 150 hours of my yoga teacher training.

I’ve got 2 more blocks to do this year and then the final one in early 2017.

  • Lead 20 hours of classes with friends and family.

I want to start practicing teaching and getting things in place for when I finish this course.

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