Let the music play on...

21 March
2013

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Lovely Yogis, 

As a yogi and musician, with equal passion and experience in both areas, I can't help but get such a buzz from music in my yoga practice and have decided to share with you a few thoughts on this topic as well as a few of my favourite tracks for playlists. 

I understand that there are two mindsets in terms of playing music during a yoga pratice. On one hand, the music can help pace the class, get into peoples heart strings and offer an extra element for transformation. On the other hand, some people argue that this takes away form the yoga practice itself and may act as a distraction? I find myself a bit biased here.. fusing music and yoga for me is the ultimate bliss.. I just cant help but put on a track that inspires me and finding my body flowing in a new way on the mat.

I have however found many benefits form a silent practice. At times turning off all noise and allowing yourself time in silence is important. It is also an interesting exercise to let your body flow to it's own natural rhythm.. finding the pace that feels natural to that spirit in that moment rather than moving to the beat of the music, which may not be fitting with your true rhythm at that time. 

Personally, I enjoy a lovely mix of th two, choosing music or no music depending on my mood and honoring what would be ost benefitial for my practice in that moment. Sometimes a silent practice can be very medatitve and soothing, however I can't help but enjoy turning up my favourite tracks and rocking on my mat! 

I have recently had many people ask me about my playlists and comment on how much they enjoyed it during their practice... thank you so much for all your comments.. and for those of you who have asked.. I have decided to post a few snippets of playlists to get you going, and hopefully inspire you the next time you get on your mat. 

So here is the first one.. Enjoy!

Mini Playlist For..

Shakin' Up Shakti 

Goodnight and Go - Imogen Heap

Sunday Shining - Finley Quaye

Porcelain - Moby

Shiva - MC Yogi

Save Me - Gotye

Free Fallin' (Live) - John Mayer

Skinny Love - Birdy

 

With love, light and music.. Namaste

Tash xx 

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Meditate the City Way - Part 1

12 March
2013

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Dear Yogis, 

Recently people have been asking me how I got into yoga and if I meditate.. the truth is I started meditating long before I started practcing yoga. I was naturally drawn to it from a very young age and would practcie meditation whenever I had the opportunity, often sitting quietly in my room or in the garden and finding my own ways to meditate. The more I practiced the more I fell in love and felt lost without this regular time to sit, reflect and swicth off.

I am a firm believer that you can't 'teach' someone to meditate, you can merely offer guidance and then it is up to the indicidual to practice and find their own way. It is a presonal practice and in my opinion there isn't necessarily one exercise or way to go about it that will suit everyone, it is improtant to find what works for YOU!

With this practice being very close to my heart I would love to offer a few tips and snippets, through a series online, that I find helps me along the way, this being the first one :-) I believe that anyone and everyone can benefit form these practices, you don't have to sit for hours on end or be a super yogi to enjoy it. I hope to offer you small chunks and accessible tools that you can use in your daily life so that you can intergrate these practices into YOUR life easily and successfully.

As I said.. these are only a few of the things that help me practice meditation, so please try it out and play around with it to see what works and what perhaps isn't as effective for you. 

Below is a very basic starting point, aimed mainly at those who struggle to sit quietly, swicth off and start a meditation or maybe like the idea of it but have never tried or don't know where to start...

 

  1. Find a time of the day that feels appropriate to sit quietly - usually first thing in the morning or just before bed works well. 
  2. Switch OFF! Turn everything off, phone on silent, tv off, anything that might ring, beep, buzz tonotify you that you have something to do.. it can all wait :-) 
  3. Find a comforatble seat. This doesn't have to be corssed legger in the 'meditation' pose, it can be sitting on a chair, against a wall or even laying down, as long as you are comfortable. 
  4. If you struggle to sit in silence then playing soft instrumental music can help. Sometimes sitting in complete silnece and not doing anything when we aren't used to it can atually feel a little uncomforatble, so i highly reccomend investing in some relaxing classical music (Ludovicio Einaudi is a personal favourite) 
  5. Sit comfortaby either with your eyes closed or soft on a spot on the floor on front of you. If you would rather not close the eyes, let your gaze be soft and eye lids heavy.
  6. Relax the whole body, if this is difficult then tense each part of the bodt at a time and on an exhalation let it go and completely relax
  7. Relax your face and jaw, notice your expression and can you let it soften?
  8. Become aware of your breath - notice the movement of breath flowing in and out of the body
  9. Without trying to change or force anything, simply observe the breath and become aware of the subtle movements of the body, the belly and chest moving as your breathe. 
  10. Allow all your attention and focus be on your breath 
  11. As it settles start to think about lenghtening your inhlataions and exhalations, each round becoming a little fuller and slower. 
  12. Stay with this steady breath, letting the mind settle on the rhythmn of the breath for as long as possible
Spend as long as you can with these first few simple steps, practcing it as often as possible and each time maybe sitting with it for a little longer. This will offer time for you to get more used to sitting quitely and even just a few moments of this exercice will start to calm the nervous system, settle the mind and offer clarity and a fresh perspective to your day. 
This can of course be done anywhere, anytime, so if you find this useful then please do introduce it into your day, at work, ont he tube, whereevr possible, just a few moments like this can make all the difference :-)
I hope you enjoy these first few steps. The next phase will be posted in a few weeks to allow time for you to work on this part first :-)
Please let me know if you have any questions.. I am so happy to hear your voices and help you find that calmness you are looking for, so get in touch! 
With much love, 
Tash x 

 

 

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Ain't no mountain high enough

14 February
2013

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Dear Yogis, 

I don't know about you but sometimes I find it's easy to get a little stuck in a rut with my practice. I can be drawn to certain poses, families of poses, or even a praticular flow that I practice as a default in my self practice. I try to shake this up as often as possible and have found the best way to do this is by setting myself some wonderful goals. 

Goal setting doens't have to be big and year long, sometimes the smaller mid-way goals are all that bit more ahcievable and can help break down that biy ultimate goal. So make a plan.. 

I invite you to think of ways to shake up your practice, maybe even intorduce poses that may be a little daunting, and perhaps make that a long term goal, for example giving yourself a year to master it? Then what I suggest is looking at ways to build up to that, or smaller phases inside it, and set yourself goals to achieve them within that time frame. Let it be realistic! And make it fun! :-)

Mix it up, so you don't get frustrated, but give yourself a target of times you have to work on it in a week or month.. because practice really does make perfect. 

Don't let the fear come in here.. believe in your own abilities and potential and know that it is all about working on the smaller managable chunks to eventually get to the bigger goal.. and you will get there! You are already one step closer.. 

Namaste, 

Tash x 

 


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Forget your troubles c'mon get happy..

17 October
2012

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I often find people look very serious in class as they concentrate on what they’re doing. You can see the cogs turning as they think about work, whether they have the limbs in the right place, if they’re breathing the right way and so much more.

As much as our practice is an opportunity to delve into our inner landscape and a time for contemplation that often provokes a more introspective quality, occasionally it feels really good to mix it up a little.

This has led me to offer up a little variation you might enjoy from time to time, to practice what I like to call 'freestyle happy yoga'. As one of my dearest friends suggests ‘ put on my happy song and dance around’. It can do wonders for your spirit and your energy. I invite you to practice the same way, let your mat become your own little party space!

Put on some fun music...music you would want to dance to, sing to.. it can be anything, rock, reggae, pop.. anything that brings a smile to your face and makes you want to tap your feet and swing your hips.

 

HAVE FUN!!

 

Practice while singing along and dancing to the songs and don’t think about what you’re doing.. just do it!

Flow as if you’re dancing to the music and just see where you end up.. it may end up as a conventional yoga pose, it may just end up off the mat dancing around the room, it doesn’t matter. The point is that you move intuitively and let your body shake out whatever it might be holidng. It can feel so liberating to break free from our regular practice for a moment, and the movements and music will raise your vibration, leaving you feel energized and free for your practice to follow.  After a while if you find yourself wondering off.. come back to the mat and see if you can fuel the energy, excitement and fun into the practice. Let your yoga practice be an expression of who you are, the fun free spirit that is all of us!

Enjoy, smile and have fun!

With love and bundles of happiness to you all,

Tash x

 

 

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Pleazzzzze can I have more zzzzz’s

28 September
2012

Oh 8 hours sleep.. how I miss you!

Believe it or not I used to be one of those people who struggles to get up before 8am. Ok.. I still am! Haha But I have managed to find ways of making sure that the quality of sleep I get makes the quantity not so bad!

Ever have trouble sleeping? Get so tired that once you’re actually in bed you can’t relax and switch off?

Yes we can all suffer from the good old insomnia gremlin form time to time so here are a few tips I find helpful when I’m struggling to doze off… hope they help you sleep like a baby!

1. Switch Off!

As in completely switch off.. I don’t just mean mentally, I mean switch off the phone, the computer and the TV!  I know sometimes it’s nice to ‘switch off’ the brain watching some mindless TV, but it feels even better to turn it all off altogether. Instead how about trying one or more of the following….

2.  Evening Yoga

Certain yoga postures can induce a calmer more restful nights sleep. Just a few simple stretches and poses can make a massive change to your nervous system, preparing you for a restful nights sleep. Try some of these and hold the poses for a few minutes at least, close the eyes, focus on a long steady breath and release into them.

Eka Pada Rajakapotasana – Pigeon Pose. Lower the head to rest the forehead on the floor, back of the hands or on a brick.

Upavista Konasana  - Seated Wide Legged Forward Fold. 

Supta Baddha Konasana – Reclined Cobbler Pose. This works well with a bolster under the back

Viparita Karani - Legs up the wall. A bolster can also be used here under the hips (as shown below).

Savasana – Corpse Pose. Finishing a practice with this can lead you straight into your sleep (so don’t be far from your bed).

3.  Listen to music

Something calm… maybe trying out a little classical music. Classical music has actually been proved to help the production of serotonin in the brain, helping ease tension and increase our sense of joy and pleasure. I highly recommend the incredible artist Ludovico Einaudi, who’s music can transform us.. his beautiful piano pieces are often heard during relaxation in my classes.. pure bliss!

4. Have a Bath

Creating a bedtime ritual can do wonders for preparing the mind for rest. I recommend having a bath, with candles and soft music, creating your own mini home retreat. Add some lavender bath oils to soothe the mind and body and then get straight into bed… it won’t be long before you’re snozzzzzzing away!

5.  Read a Book

Reading it a wonderful way of ending your day without over stimulation the brain before sleep. Have a book by your bedside that is purely for nighttime reading. I would recommend it be nothing academic or to do with work or studying, let it me something lighthearted and fiction to help the brain move from the thinking side to the more creative dreamlike state.

Know that you can pick one of the above, or try them all out. I find that a nice combination of them all can make for a lovely evening ritual, preparing you for a peaceful sleep. Once you’ve done this a few times the body starts to recognize this ritual and it become easier to unwind each time.

These are only a few of the tips on this vast subject topic so there is plenty more on this to come!

Enjoy, goodnight and sweet dreams J

Namaste,

Tash x

 

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In with the new…

27 September
2012

Welcome to my new blog… it’s very exciting times in the yogic world of Mata Yoga with a new website, new blog and new classes! Woohooo!

With all things new, it has me thinking about how we approach new beginnings… with an element of excitement, a fresh perspective and an air of openness to all possibilities.

We celebrate a new year, a new home, a new birthday.. so why not celebrate a new day.. everyday!

This week I invite you to celebrate each and everyday. Every morning let’s look at the new beginning that has revealed itself for us to enjoy – a day with endless possibility!

Each morning this week I invite you to approach each day as the exciting start of something new, by joining me in picking one or more from the list below…

Dance for 5 mins to holiday music - you know the kind that makes you feel like you’re on a beach somewhere sipping cocktails with umbrellas in it!

Wear something in your wardrobe that you save for special occasions – Today is that special day!

Start the day with a lovely morning practice – but shake it up a little and try something different – a new pose, new soundtrack or new space to practice in.. maybe even take it outside and sun salute to the sunrise!

Sing a ‘pick me up’ song – whether it be in the morning shower or while you’re waiting for your toast, go on.. wake the neighbours up as you warm up those vocals!

Relax! Get up 10 mins earlier to sit in peace and quiet and do absolutely NOTHING before your day kicks off. The peace and quiet won’t last long so savor every second of it to ease you through your day.

Feel free to join me and let me know how you get on

Namaste,

Tash x

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