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Health Matters

Yoga, Pilates or Body Balance; What’s the Difference?

Sometimes there are questions about the differences between things like yoga and Pilates. Even yogasana-inspired, gym-based Body Balance is often purported to be yoga. Really though, this is like comparing apples with oranges since the true meaning of yoga has little to do with exercise and actually comes back to levels of consciousness and maintaining a healthy mind. How we actively observe our thoughts and ego during the practice of asana, plus our lifestyle and attitude generally – this is yoga.

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I Went on a REAL Holiday – Without My Kids!

Oh, and without my partner.

And you know what? I can thoroughly recommend it.

My boys arn’t babies anymore. The older one will be off to high school next year and the youngest just had his seventh birthday. Five years ago we were lucky enough to spend a month in Europe. We planned this on the basis of a cousin getting married and it seemed like a great way to catch up with the whole extended enormous Big Fat Greek lot of them all at once (I’m not kidding about the Greek part either, although the ethnicity side of things has been diluted somewhat these days). Anyhoo, my partner had some frequent flyers that had to be used but this also meant that some of our flight options were limited. After much mulling and Googling, we decided we would fly in to Frankfurt (not as popular as London), head from Germany to Luxembourg, catch the train from Luxembourg to Paris, fly from there to Exeter (Devon) in order to spend a week in Cornwall and then drive from Cornwall to London for the wedding and the remainder of our trip.

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When Feeling Funky Has Nothing to do With James Brown…

Have you ever woken up in the morning and for no reason that you can fathom, felt a little funky and blah?

This happened to me a few weeks ago and although I can’t put my finger on anything tangible – because nothing actually changed or happened to me personally, “funkyness”, like inexplicable, physical pain, can sometimes seem to come out of nowhere. It’s almost like that one tiny, extra grain of rice that somehow tipped the scales.

The feeling hasn’t entirely gone away, although it has ebbed and flowed and I am starting to feel clearer. I have, on and off, felt tired in my head, flat, sometimes foggy, a little tearful, anxious and easily irritated. It’s not serious, but something is amiss.

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Call Me a Party (Pie) Pooper But the Kids are NOT Alright…

My teacher was accompanying his four-year old daughter to a party when the birthday cake came out, an array of bright green, blue and other intense rainbow colours. Alarmed, he whispered to his daughter quietly that he had some organic mango in his pocket but he didn’t have enough for all the other children. How would she like to come and sit under the tree with him quietly and share it with him while they were busy? She loved mango, so willingly obliged. When they walked back to the group five or ten minutes later, the cake was gone. Mission accomplished.

However, the mother of the child whose birthday it was took umbrage and reacted angrily. She told my teacher he was cruel because, “it was only a “treat”. Cleverly, my teacher responded by suggesting that in maybe 10 years time, when the kids were around 14 or 15, perhaps they would have another party where he might offer the same kids some illegal drugs. After all he said, I could argue the same thing and say ” but It doesn’t happen all the time, it’s just a treat!”.

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The Vital Energy of Master Yang!

On the weekend of 7/8 February, a medium-sized group of natural health seekers came together to find out what they could do to improve their health and happiness. They wanted to understand in simple terms how best to prevent the onset of annoying pain conditions, injuries and chronic illnesses from arising during the course of their lives.

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Calligraphy Sequence – Master Yang at YogaSphere

If you haven’t yet had the opportunity to meet or to do a workshop with Master Yang, I do hope you can join us the first weekend in June this year for our third. Master Yang’s ancestors were martial artists who were specifically employed to protect some of the last emperors of China.  Master Yang […]

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We Were Meant to Ferment!

Yoga and ayurveda are ancient holistic health sciences. Although we don’t know exactly how old, there is some evidence suggesting things go as far back as 5000 years. The reason it is all still relevant is because what these ancients appeared to know was amazing. Ayurveda and yogic science have always maintained that every illness was an issue that had the guts at its source. And finally, (yet) slowly it seems, some of those involved in modern medicine are getting it.

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How to Increase Energy & Improve Circulation: Creating Core Stability Without Tension

During my classes I often suggest softening the belly a little. I sometimes use the term “embrace your jelly belly”! which has been met with a bit of shock horror on some fronts!

Of course, strictly speaking, this is not something we should embrace “all the time”. It is not necessarily healthy to have a complete jelly belly as we all know. Excess fat around the midriff is linked to diabetes, heart-disease and many other life-threatening illness. However, neither is it healthy for us to be walking around with super-tight abdominals (or super-tight anything really!). This extreme has been linked to digestive problems, infertility, back and hip problems and goodness knows what else. Put it this way; if I walk around with my shoulders tense and tight all day does it make them stronger? Nope – it just makes them tight and tense!

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Ten Reasons You Might Be Feeling Stiff

For someone who teaches yoga, It can be a common cry from class participants: “I am feeling sooooo stiff!”. Luckily, regular yoga and stretching can help! Here are just some reasons your body might feel as if it is getting stiffer and some tips on what you can do to keep things feeling a little more free and easy.

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What is Meant By Bandah?

It may surprise you to know that when lots of people stretch, their stretching is ineffective. Often this is because the muscle they are trying to stretch is in a shortened position. It may feel stiff, sore, tight and tense but will get more so as the stretch reflex switches on – this happens particularly if the stretching is aggressive. It then becomes very difficult to lengthen the muscle because tension limits blood flow. If the whole body is constantly tense, we can see how this might restrict our range of movement.

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