Going Matless

I read the article, “Yoga Mats Are They Really Necessary” about a month ago. It briefly summarises the history of the yoga mat, and makes a few possibly controversial points about using them-

A) that they may be causing an imbalance in our practice by allowing us to stretch too much without the strength needed in some poses.

B) they define us, make the practice space ours and give us boundaries from other students.

It really got me thinking about the mat, I thought ‘hey let’s try it’. I gave myself a month to go matless in my home practice. It was challenging at first, not to reach for it, but eventually I really enjoyed the freedom, feedback and sensation I got from practising matless. It was very different, and quite challenging (especially in downward facing dog). In public classes it was impossible not to have a mat, I tried to explain- it’s OK, I don’t need one- but people bent over backwards to get one and I felt guilty refusing. After a month, and a very challenging week, I gave in, and crawled back to my mat, relishing the comfort it gave me. This particular mat was a special gift. It not only gives me a space to practice, but it reminds me of a thoughtful friend who encouraged me and gave me confidence.

Go matless for a while and see how it feels for you. If you have tried this, or if you have any thoughts on the article from Yoga International, leave me a comment, it would be great to hear your thoughts. I should mention, a few of my students practice on camping mats, instead of yoga mats- they seem to be doing just fine!  I will be doing 50/50 for now, at least I know what it feels like, and it will make travelling a bit lighter!

Home yoga practice

As a new student of yoga, I loved going to class and soaking in everything I was learning about yoga and my body. My teacher really encouraged home practice and I found this quite intimidating at first, not knowing where to start and how to be safe. I am eternally grateful for her support and encouragement. You really start to learn the benefits of yoga through your own practice.  I thought I might share a few thoughts on home yoga practice, whether you have one or would like to start one.

-Give yourself time, however much time you can spare. It doesn’t have to be 2 hours, 10 or 20 minutes to explore a few poses, your body will thank you.

-A morning practice is easier to keep the mind still and get into some of the more meditative aspects of yoga, be gentle with yourself in the morning and give your body time to wake up.

-In an evening yoga practice, your body will be warm from your natural movement of the day so you can explore more difficult and challenging poses, but it may be more difficult to still the mind. Bringing awareness to the breath will help focus the mind.

-Take notes from your classes and from your own practice on poses you try and how you feel after.

If you haven’t tried a home practice before, start simple and slow with something you feel comfortable with. A sun salutation, or legs up the wall or even a few moments of savasana! If you have a home yoga practice and have any questions or thoughts I would love to hear from you.

Asparagus and Noodles- Easy Asian twist recipe

This is another easy spring recipe.  I hope these make sense.  If you have questions please leave a comment or send me an email.  Here is a quick link to the Nettle Recipe

Ingredients
asparagus- handful per person
soy sauce tbls per person
sesame oil tsp per person
lime juice tsp per person
sesame seeds handful or so
2-3 crushed garlic
egg noodle estimate per person

 Method
Cook asparagus (I usually steam about 7-8 minutes). Cook egg noodles according to packet.  Mix rest of ingredients together a few minutes before and let rest.  Toss altogether and serve.  Might need to add more sauce according to taste.

 

asparagus noodles

5 minute super simple healthy recipe- tomatoes, nettles, barley or quinoa

People have been asking me for recipes lately, which is flattering, but intimidating to share.  I am a very lazy cook, and I don’t follow many rules so I am not too sure about quantities.  Things are simple and easy (I think).  I thought I would share two spring seasonal recipes that I have been enjoying lately. Here is a link to the Asparagus recipe.  If you try them I would love to know what you think.  And if you like them, please share with friends!

This stew is very flexible.  You can make it 3 ways-
1. plain add nothing but ingredients
2. spicy add hot sauce or a bit of chilli
3. italian add herbs like basil, oregano, thyme

Ingredients (serves 2-3)
1 can chopped tomatoes
handful of greens per person- kale, nettles, cabbage, spinach
handful of carrots per person
handful of frozen peas or beans per person
handful of pasta, barley, rice, quinoa per person
stock, or spice optional.

Method-
Put tomatoes and 2-3 cans of water in a pot.  Add your starch depending on cooking time.  Add your veg depending on how you like them cooked- add carrots first usually and leave them in longer if you like them mushy, shorter if you like them a bit crunchy.  And greens like kale, nettles, cabbage, spinach last as they don’t take long.  Spice to taste if you like.  We make it without stock for the baby and add in a little later if needed.  Enjoy!  (this recipe is also fairly cheap and a great way to get at least 4 of your 5 a day!)

A note about nettles-
I really encourage trying this tasty wild food.  Nettles are best when young.  Use leather gloves to pinch the tops off and then wash well.  You can use nettles in spring time for any cooking recipe that calls for spinach or kale.  The first time you try it you may be a little skeptical.  You may not be that impressed, but your body will love it and you will soon crave it.  We have been eating them for four years now and I can’t tell you how much I look forward to them each spring!

IMG_5643

 

 

Simply Breathing

Breathing is so important in our yoga practice. The breath is such a powerful tool, something we do each day without realising,  and yet it can have a profound impact on our health.  Begin to examine your breath, a few moments each day and you will begin to notice how it is connected to your state of mind, and how you are reacting in your body.  It is so simple, and yet so often overlooked.  Begin to notice how you breath and the impact it has on your emotions.

Where are you breathing?  Through your nose, or through your mouth?  Where are you breathing?  Into your belly? Into your chest?  Into your back?  Into your whole body?  How are you breathing?  Short and Shallow?  Long and Slow?  Are your holding your breath?  Are you sighing or yawning often?

Your breath can help you fight off viruses, tone your belly, and massage your spine.  It can help with digestion and give you more energy.  Notice your breath this week in different situations, in meetings, in bed, in the car.  I would love to hear your observations.

I am still learning about my breath and trying to improve it, but I believe in the power of the breath because I used it myself during childbirth, to calm my mind and give birth without any pain relief.  What can your breath help you overcome?

Yoga for babies, mums, toddlers, children, schools and adults

Yoga for babies, mums, toddlers, children, beginners, and families

Yoga in Cullingworth
Mondays 6:45-7:45 and 8-9pm
Wednesdays 9:30 am
Yoga in Cullingworth is a dynamic class, including a variety of poses, breath work, mindfulness and relaxation. Suitable for all levels, beginners included.  £30 for 5 class yoga pass you can use for two months.

Yoga Explorers Toddler Yoga in Saltaire
Tuesdays 10am
Yoga and mindfulness practices for crawlers to four years old.  We have fun learning about our breath, to help calm us down.  We practice yoga poses to help build strength, balance and coordination, using music, singing, stories, and play.  And a little bit of relaxation. Carers and little ones enjoy bonding through this practice. Regular courses, Term time only.  Cost is £6 for block bookings or £6.5 pay as you go.

Post-natal/Baby Yoga in Saltaire
Tuesdays 11am
Breathing, singing, movement, and relaxation, yoga for mums and babies.  Each session is different, as they are completely baby led.  Join us to learn practices to help baby and mummy bond, stretch/strengthen and relax after birth.  Cost is £6 for block bookings or £6.5 pay as you go.  Suitable for birth to crawling.  Regular courses, Term time only.

Kids Yoga Club
Wednesdays 4:15
A special course for kids, (3-7) we will practice mindfulness, breathing, explore yoga through stories and games and finish with a lovely relaxation. Children will be able to explore their yoga practice in safe, supportive, relaxed environment while they build their strength, balance and coordination.
Parent supervision is not necessary, but welcome if needed.  Book Now

***Please contact Kellyannyoga@gmail.com or 07965582530 to book on or with questions.

For more information on what to expect at each class please see- About Yoga

Private classes- tailored yoga practice, for one or more people, in your home or business. Please contact for more information.

Yoga and Mindfulness in School- Help students to develop confidence, stay calm, focused.  Mindfulness helps improve student’s well-being and concentration.  Sessions tailored to school’s preferences and needs.

Family Yoga Sessions once a month in Saltaire- BOOK NOW