Anatomy of a Pose

Anatomy of a Pose

Viparita Karani – Waterfall Pose

Restorative Yoga is all about slowing down and using props (blankets, bolsters, pillows, cushions) to allow your body to open through passive stretching. In a restorative pose, there is no movement; the key is to set yourself up so you are supported; then let the pose do its work, and it’s quite usual to stay in such poses for 15-20 minutes or even longer, to let that happen.

Viparita Karani is regarded by many as the most healing of all the restorative poses. Also known as supported shoulder stand, in this pose the body is gently inverted with the legs resting up against a wall. The hips and pelvis (usually on a bolster) are higher than the torso (which is usually on folded blankets), which is higher than the head (usually on the floor).

You can see why it’s called the waterfall pose, as the overall effect is to aid the return of blood flow to the heart, our spirit home, to enable us to embrace the power of rest. This is a good pose to reduce anger (that irritable hormonal induced kind) and heat; it also lowers the heart rate in those whose heart rate is elevated, and for all of these reasons is commonly prescribed in the peri/menopause, but it’s reach goes way beyond that. Somehow, it works to restore depleted energy and build energy resources for everyone. It’s also safe as it places no strain on the neck, and there are ways to adjust the pose if people have neck issues to make it super comfortable.

As we redefine ourselves and face new challenges and responsibilities, our need for solitude, reflection and spiritual practice increases, as does our need to nurture vitality and heart-peace. This pose will help you to achieve that.

To experience Viparita Karani and other restorative poses:

Join our weekly Women’s Yoga Circle

Book onto a Yoga Workshop

Attend a Women’s Yoga Weekend at Boggle Hole

What is Abundance?

What is Abundance?

“Interesting thing I’ve learned this year; the more I give, the more I receive.. it seems so simple but it’s only just hit me.”

Giving creates interactions and gratitude has a ripple effect that creates more giving. Let’s examine what that means.

We all have so much stuff that could be useful to others at the point they are at, just as others have so much that could be useful to us… whether skills, material objects, words. When it becomes a pleasure to remedy someone’s shortfall out of resources just sitting there, it’s bonus time for everyone. 

We’ve been taught to measure our growth in life through hard won debits and credits, but what if there’s a natural law that trumps this stale and limiting way? Because there is a sort of spiritual satisfaction that comes from this kind of giving.

It starts with recognising need (which takes us out of ourselves and our own front page headlines; needs are natural things), having an idea as to how it can be met (our natural creativity and problem solving abilities wake up and we feel connected to our resources), and then acting on it (the key that turns the lock and opens the door)

The pleasure of the act of giving helps us to experience how it feels to create happiness for someone by meeting their need so simply and with such little expenditure, just by either being you or giving something that was never really yours in the first place.

We realise then that anything is possible…. and if that’s how the whole universe is meant to operate, then it MUST MEAN there IS abundance. We just have to access it.

What’s more, that abundance isn’t just about material things, although that can be important. It can also be about our friendships, our health and our community.

Giving forms community at it’s very core.

Abundance can be practiced in anything we do. But it always starts in giving or receiving what is freely available.

Unplug yourself. When you recognise a need (even if it is your own!) and you have the solution just sitting in the palm of your hand, give. It shouldn’t feel heavy or difficult; it’s not about giving away what you need and it doesn’t involve suffering or giving away your power. It’s not done for show and there are no IOUs. The universe will find a way to give back to you what you need in return (if we are open to receiving; another thing we have been taught not to do!). 

There are infinite needs and infinite creators; as we co-create, harmony arises, along with a civilisation that doesn’t focus on debits and credits.

There is Plenty (there always has been); it is the way we access it that matters.

The Children’s Fire

The Children’s Fire

Chieftains of an indigenous tribe in North America told Mac Macartney the story of the Children’s Fire

[extract from www.macmacartney.com]

“The Children’s Fire is a story, a symbol, a fragment of ancient wisdom, a longing, and a way of thinking and perceiving. It was cast aside a long time ago and the consequences of this careless dereliction of duty have cost us dearly. It also has the vision and power to create waves and inspire action.

A few hundred years ago, wise women and men, elders of a people who over a few short decades would see their former way of life disappear, enquired deeply into questions concerning life, living, dying, relationship and meaning. A recurring question that concerned the nature of leadership and the wielding of power was this.

“How shall we govern our people?”

It was understood that actions which yield short-term benefits may not always serve the tribe’s best interests over a longer-term. As with all their animal relatives they understood that children were their most important investment, the tribe’s future. This naturally led them to understand the necessity of ensuring that their leaders always sought to secure a safe and prosperous future by testing every major decision against the future wellbeing of the children.

In the indigenous culture from which the Children’s Fire emerged everything physical was an expression of the invisible spiritual life force flowing within it. Inhabiting a world of living symbols, the chiefs ordered that a small fire be kindled in the centre of their council circle. This small fire was called the Children’s Fire. It served to remind the chiefs of the first law:

No law, no decision, no action, nothing of any kind will be permitted to go out from this council of chiefs that will harm the children.

Each chief pledged themselves to the Children’s Fire. It was on this condition that they took their seat as a chief on the council. Similar insights emerged from many indigenous peoples, one of the most famous being the Haudenosaunee confederacy from which came the Great Law of Peace, and within this the Seventh Generation principle. 

The law of Seven Generations advises on the wisdom of considering the impact of any decision on those born seven generations hence. 

The Children’s Fire and the Seventh Generation principle are expressions of the same powerful insight into human behaviour. Well known by many and heeded by few. It insists on a circular economy and it views any action that compromises the wellspring of creativity from which our species has emerged as sacrilege, an act of betrayal, evidence hinting at insanity.

The Children’s Fire is a regenerative principle, a lodestar guiding the deliberations of leaders who are charged with the responsibility of governance and the long-term welfare of their people; the same meaning we ascribe to the concept of sustainability. It is a mindset, a design principle that I hope will one day find a home in our hearts, a location deep within the DNA of politics, religion, art, business, education, health, banking, cities. Everything in fact.

The Children’s Fire speaks to us about leadership and the tendency for leaders (chiefs) to forget their obligations and responsibilities to those whom they serve, and use the opportunity to feather their own nest. John Dalberg-Acton’s famous phrase:

‘Power tends to corrupt, absolute power corrupts absolutely.

comes to mind. It is an attempt to protect against this gross human failing.

The Children’s Fire is part of a spiritual wisdom tradition that did not rely on the concept of belief. In fact ancient Lakota dialects had no word for the concept of belief. The Children’s Fire simply mirrored back to the chiefs a spiritual truth that needed to be followed if the people were to be resilient and flourish over the long term. In this way the Children’s Fire doesn’t ask people to believe in anything, rather to simply acknowledge the insight and wisdom that it speaks of, and then apply the principle in action. It is very pragmatic. 

The Children’s Fire invites us to be the best we can be. It is an invitation to a lifetime journey of deepening alignment with life. It sets us a challenge. It invites us to walk in beauty, participate generously, appreciate the inner journey as much as the outer, and it defines value in terms of what we give, not what we pretend to own.”

The Children’s Fire is the work of Mac Macartney. The text in this article is extracted from his full article which can be found here: www.macmacartney.com

Community Yoga

Community Yoga

It’s only 3 weeks since Christmas, but already we can sense spring energy, ready to emerge! Now is a good time to invest in experiences that will help support your growth in the coming year.

In past decades of research into the benefits of yoga, academics were often frustrated that they couldn’t separate the positive effects of physical poses and breathing practices, from the general social benefits of people meeting and forming supportive communities. 

My sense is that both are equally important; when women meet in circles, the trust hormone, oxytocin is released. Meeting in circles is part of an ancient process of bonding. 

Equally, the need for positive voice, touch and movement when raising children is irrefutable. 

Bringing into this context yogic practices which are beneficial for women, babies, children and teenagers at particular gateways in their lives (for example as a baby, then a child, becoming a teen, or for a woman recovering postnatally, stabilising hormonally, or entering the long journey of peri/menopause) is an absolute no-brainer.

As a community yoga teacher, I respond to need. From working in children’s homes with looked after children with special needs, to supporting mums on the day their baby is born and helping women recover after surgery, the practices we teach and sessions we run aim to knit together an inter-generational community of shared experience, where we value each other more, and see possibilities in bringing about the changes we wish to see in our own and others’ lives.

In truth, we were never meant to do it alone.

Postnatal Healing Workshop – Sat 22 Feb 2020

Postnatal Healing Workshop – Sat 22 Feb 2020

The postnatal years are a critical juncture in a woman’s life during which many of us experience a journey of transformation. By paying attention to our needs and following ancient, traditional, healing practices we can give ourselves the opportunity to correct many health problems and emerge from the postnatal years revitalised and reborn. Without taking this time to re-align, integrate and heal at such an important transitional phase in our lives, many health problems can occur later on in life.

In many traditional cultures, after a woman has had her baby, her nervous system is tremendously taxed and for this reason she is regarded as being as vulnerable as a new born baby. During the first few months she is taught practices to close the body and to start the journey and transition from birth to healing.

In the West, there’s a lot of guidance antenatally on: nutrition, exercise and birth preparation, and community midwives are there to provide medical care for you and your baby up until 28 days after you have given birth.
However, there’s a lack of non-medical practices to help women spiritually and physically move on after birth

Workshop Details:

Come and sit in a women’s circle and learn a set of yogic practices to enable you to close your body after the birth of your child(ren). This workshop is accessible to ALL women who have given birth and feel they would like to do these practices. It is also open to women who have previously done a set of postnatal practices and would like to revisit them again.

Date: Saturday 22nd February
Time: 9.30am – 12.30pm
Venue: Congregational Church Hall, Hatton Gardens, Newark, NG24 1TH
Cost: £30
Attendees: Women only (no babies)
Please bring: yoga mat, blanket, cushion and a long pashmina-type scarf or rebozo.

Please eat a light breakfast before coming. A selection of herbal teas will be available during the morning.

Who is this workshop for?

– Women who have recently had a baby
– Women with older children who have never done a set of postnatal yoga practices to help close the body after birth and who intuitively feel that they would benefit from doing so now

What can these practices help with?

The practices focus on deep relaxation and exercises to:

  • address exhaustion and fatigue
  • help parted tummy muscles
  • strengthen the pelvic floor
  • realign the pelvis
  • reset the endocrine system to support you when you need it the most
  • relax deeply

They are a route in to progressively giving you back your mental, physical and spiritual body after your child(ren)’s birth.

Where did these practices come from?

These are primarily a set of floor based practices and breathing exercises taught by Dr Francoise Freedman, founder of the charity Birthlight. Dr Freedman is a medical anthropologist and yoga therapist who has married her experience of studying traditional cultures with the practices of yoga. You will also experience a deep relaxation technique called Yoga Nidra, a practice which in modern times originates from the Satyananda School of Yoga. All practices are taught in a circle and include a time for sharing and affirmations; this is influenced by traditional Amazonian Women’s Circles.

To Book on:

Please fill in an online registration form: https://www.samyecentre.com/postnatal-registration-form/
It will take between 10-15 minutes to complete. The form asks detailed questions about your health prior to pregnancy and about your pregnancy, birth and health postnatally. It also asks questions about any previous pregnancies you may have had. Every pregnancy and birth is different. Providing as much information as you can for each of your pregnancies provides an understanding of your experiences, the effect it had on your body and helps focus attention to areas that need extra attention in class.

If you have any questions when filling in the form, have problems accessing it, or if you would prefer to fill in a paper copy or not to fill in a form at all, please get in touch using the contact details below.

Once we’ve received your form, we will email you instructions for booking on.

You do not need to fill in a form, if you are already doing yoga with Samye Centre. Please text: 07578 177445 or email: info@samyecentre.com to let Katie know you’d like to book on.