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Newmains United Football Club Do Yoga!

How does your yoga practice support you in your every day life?

One of the greatest gifts of yoga is that it can can be adapted to suit any body and used for so many different purposes!

When working with clients, whether individuals or groups, my aim is to help them build a toolbox of practices which will support them through the physical and mental demands of their every day life.

For the the guys at Newmains United Football Club this meant developing acute body awareness and mental focus for those intense moments on the field. Their unique program worked on building strength and stability in all of the muscle groups while finding softness in areas of tightness, such as the hips which can often become tight through players repetitive end-range movements.

Watch the video to hear what the players had to say about their yoga program.

Film work: Jack Hunter and Elizabeth j brown photography
Editing: Jack Hunter

Newmains United Football Club
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NewmainsUnitedFC/
Website: https://newmainsunitedfc.com/
Email: info@newmainsunitedfc.com

Kirsty Innes Yoga & Wellbeing
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KirstyInnesYoga
Instagram @kirstyinnesyoga
Website www.kirstyinnes.com.au
Email: kirsty@kirstyinnes.com.au

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Restorative Yoga vs. Yin Yoga – What’s the difference?

If you’ve been practicing at yoga studios for any length of time, you might have noticed a recent trend that’s gently sweeping over studio timetables… Yin Yoga and Restorative Yoga.  So… what are they all about? How are they different to ‘normal’ yoga? Are Yin Yoga and Restorative Yoga essentially the same thing? Well no, and yes. Let me explain…

The term “yin” comes from the Taoist tradition. A yin activity is based on finding stillness and cooling the body. The opposite of yin is yang. Yang relates to movement, often repetitive movement, creating heat in the body. And, the theory goes, we need both to come into balance in order to stay in optimum condition. Yang activities include running, cycling and some vigorous forms of yoga, such as ashtanga vinyasa and Bikram yoga (the hot one!). If we do ONLY yang activities over a prolonged period, our body can suffer fatigue and burnout.

A yin style of yoga is practiced without much exertion, usually sitting or lying on the floor. There are no planks, no warriors, no core work. No dynamic sun salutations or standing poses. In Yin, the pace is slow. Another main difference between a Yin and Yang yoga practice is that Yin postures are done with the muscles relaxed and held for a long time.

Restorative Yoga is a very slow-paced style of yoga involving the use of props (sometimes lots of props) to allow the body to feel totally supported so that the physical, mental and visceral bodies can begin to relax and release. Restorative yoga is often prescribed to students who are injured, stressed or ill and who need a very gentle practice to regain their strength. In theory, this sounds very yin compared to many yang Hatha yoga practices that include strong dynamic movements to energising tunes.  So, in many ways, restorative yoga is
yin but is it, Yin Yoga?

Yin Yoga, as a style of yoga, was popularised (and, in a sense, branded) by Paul Grilley and Sarah Powers, and is very different from Restorative Yoga. Yin Yoga encompasses long held, static stresses of the deep connective tissues, allowing them to be remodelled. It may include props and it does include long holds and mindfully reducing stress but it is not intended to renew ailing bodies in the way that Restorative Yoga does. In fact, Yin Yoga can still involve a lot of hard work. Like in Restorative, Yin Yoga also involves long holds of relaxed muscles, but the focus is on effectuating long, passive stretches on joints and ligaments. It is specifically
designed to access the meridians flowing through the body’s deep connective tissues.

Yoga teacher, Annette Knopp, gives a great example of how the same pose can be approached differently in the different styles of yoga. Let’s take the example of a Seated Forward Bend, or Pachimottanasana.  In more Yang Yoga styles, you activate your leg muscles, you engage bhandas and the muscles along the spine to lengthen your torso, and then tilt forward from your hip. In the same pose in Restorative Yoga we would place big bolsters and pillows under the torso, so we would lean forward, but resting and supported by the bolsters.

In Yin Yoga we also lean over our extended legs, but with the spine round and the muscles of spine, neck and head relaxed.  We don’t stretch and engage muscles or energetic locks to get deeper into the pose, nor would we support our torso up like in Restorative Yoga. While initially appearing easy, like lying around Restorative Yoga may actually be seen as an advanced form of
yoga, more akin to meditation, where we have the time to observe sensations, our breath, our emotions and mind, and where we may welcome all of these experiences. This is not necessarily easy at all. Through this practice, we may come face to face with aspects of ourselves which are not comfortable to be with. In more active Yoga we may be so busy with our we don’t give ourselves the time and space to notice these deeper levels. (ref: Neal Ghoshal)

It is sometimes questioned whether we need as many props as we do in a Restorative Yoga practice. The answer is yes. Whatever posture we practice, whether it’s a forward bend or backward bend, inversion or supine, we set ourselves up so that every joint in our body is supported and we can allow gravity itself to work its magic and release held tension. Every posture should feel sustainable and incredibly comfortable. New Zealand-based Yoga teacher, Neal Ghoshal, suggests that without the distraction of an uncomfortable body, we have the freedom to soften and release deeply, to ease through layers of tension, into profound relaxation, quietness and stillness. Why stillness? The simple answer is to quote a much-loved teacher who now resides in the USA – Baba Hari Das: When the mind is silent, the heart speaks. The language of the heart is love, compassion and peace.

The more we can anchor into this ground of silence (and Restorative Yoga gives us the tools for this), the more we may respond to whatever happens in our life from our True Nature, which is love, compassion, peace and kindness.

Kirsty Innes offers regular Restorative Yoga Afternoon Retreats and customised Private Sessions. She is also co-facilitating a wonderful Mindfulness-Based Restorative Yoga Teacher Training in February 2019 on the beautiful Sunshine Coast, Australia.

References and inspiration:
Yin Yoga: Outline of a quiet practice by Paul Grilley
Relax and Renew by Judith Hanson Lasater
Inspiration from teachings and writings of Donna Farhi, Neal Ghoshal and Sarah Powers.

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Restorative Yoga and Mindfulness: Complementary Practices to Promote Relaxation and Optimal Wellbeing

Both mindfulness and restorative yoga have the same desired outcomes: a quieter mind, reduced stress, a sense of calm and an overall improved sense of wellbeing. While both of these practices can lead us to those outcomes, the paths to get there are quite different. Let’s dive a little deeper into these two distinct practices…

The intent of restorative yoga is to provide optimal condition for self healing through deep rest. Marinating for 10-20 minutes in each fully-supported restorative pose allows the nervous system to reset, bringing us out of the flight or fight mode of the sympathetic nervous system and into the parasympathetic system’s functions of rest and digest. An important recalibration for many of us who operate mostly from a place of overstimulation and busy-ness.

There are some contradictory ideas around the ‘best’ way to practice restorative yoga. One school of thought suggest that, the practice is purely physical poses and once in a pose, no further effort is required. While I agree with this in terms of physical body, I know for myself that, when the physical body is given this opportunity to slow down, the mind can often jump in to fill the void. So, while the body rests, the mind wanders. This is where the gift of mindfulness comes in…

Mindfulness is the practice of being present.  It is about noticing and contemplating thoughts and feelings and focusing the mind. One way we might do this in a restorative yoga practice is to bring our awareness to the breath, to use it as an anchor to the present moment. Students time and again report that practicing mindfulness and restorative in combination allows them to go deeper into both, leaving them with an even greater sense of insight, relaxation and renewal.

Of course, the best way to truly understand how these practices weave so perfectly together is to come along and experience it for yourself.

Kirsty Innes runs regular Restorative Yoga Afternoon Retreats in Brisbane. Upcoming Sessions are:
+ Sunday 2nd December 2018, 2-4pm at Soho Yoga, Ascot
+ Sunday 13th January 2019, 2-4pm at SohoYoga, Ascot

For those wishing to dive deeper into the practice or learn the skills and techniques to share it with others, Kirsty Innes is joining with Tammy Williams of Yoga NRG for a very special Mindfulness Based Restorative Yoga Teacher Training module on the Sunshine Coast in February 2019.

Kirsty will also be offering Restorative Yoga Afternoon Retreats and Teacher Training in the UK and Europe on her 2019 tour.

 

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Donna Farhi: Yoga for Lower Back Pain Mini Video Tutorials

Donna has recorded an introductory ten-part tutorial series to introduce the main concepts in her longer online course Keys to Sacroiliac Stability and Ease and Movement. These 5-12 minute video tutorials will be released one every 2 days from 16 May until 03 June. Click on the link below to learn more, and subscribe now to gain complimentary access to over an hour of teaching, and feel free to share these videos with colleagues and student

This last year gave Donna unique insights into the challenges faced when the sacroiliac joints are unstable. Like many yoga practitioners, she has suffered from intermittent SIJ issues, but she had largely resolved these through the strengthening activities of horse riding for two decades. Last year she had a bad fall which fractured her pelvis in two places leaving her with debilitating hypermobility in her left SIJ. The long process of rehabilitation has proven to her that it is possible to heal and restore sacroiliac stability.

Although this personal perspective is new, instability and discomfort in the sacroiliac joints (SIJ) is commonplace throughout our community and is getting worse with the current emphasis on extreme range-of-motion. Teaching around the world over the last three decades, she has witnessed how frequent SIJ problems are. Varying from chronic low-grade discomfort to debilitating pain without respite, SIJ issues are often resistant to standard interventions. But her experience has renewed her confidence that gentle Yoga therapy can be an effective strategy for recovery.

Earlier this year she designed a course, based on her extensive research and robust evidence, to help Yoga teachers and their students to learn how to prevent sacroiliac problems and also how to restore stability and ease when function has been compromised. She believes we have an obligation as teachers to be better informed and equipped to prevent this unnecessary suffering.

The videos can be accessed here.

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On Rest…

REST

“…is the conversation between what we love to do and how we love to be. Rest is the essence of giving and receiving; an act of remembering, imaginatively and intellectually but also physiologically and physically. To rest is to give up on the already exhausted will as the prime motivator of endeavor, with its endless outward need to reward itself through established goals. To rest is to give up on worrying and fretting and the sense that there is something wrong with the world unless we are there to put it right; to rest is to fall back literally or figuratively from outer targets and shift the goal not to an inner static bull’s eye, an imagined state of perfect stillness, but to an inner state of natural exchange.

The template of natural exchange is the breath, the autonomic giving and receiving that forms the basis and the measure of life itself. We are rested when we are a living exchange between what lies inside and what lies outside, when we are an intriguing conversation between the potential that lies in our imagination and the possibilities for making that internal image real in the world; we are rested when we let things alone and let ourselves alone, to do what we do best, breathe as the body intended us to breathe, to walk as we were meant to walk, to live with the rhythm of a house and a home, giving and taking through cooking and cleaning.

When we give and take in an easy foundational way we are closest to the authentic self, and closest to that self when we are most rested. To rest is not self indulgent, to rest is to prepare to give the best of ourselves, and to perhaps, most importantly, arrive at a place where we are able to understand what we have already been given.

In the first state of rest is the sense of stopping, of giving up on what we have been doing or how we have been being. In the second, is the sense of slowly coming home, the physical journey into the body’s un-coerced and un-bullied self, as if trying to remember the way or even the destination itself. In the third state is a sense of healing and self-forgiveness and of arrival. In the fourth state, deep in the primal exchange of the breath, is the give and the take, the blessing and the being blessed and the ability to delight in both. The fifth stage is a sense of absolute readiness and presence, a delight in and an anticipation of the world and all its forms; a sense of being the meeting itself between inner and outer, and that receiving and responding occur in one spontaneous movement.

A deep experience of rest is the template of perfection in the human imagination, a perspective from which we are able to perceive the outer specific forms of our work and our relationships whilst being nourished by the shared foundational gift of the breath itself. From this perspective we can be rested while putting together an elaborate meal for an arriving crowd, whilst climbing the highest mountain or sitting at home surrounded by the chaos of a loving family.

Rested, we are ready for the world but not held hostage by it, rested we care again for the right things and the right people in the right way. In rest we reestablish the goals that make us more generous, more courageous, more of an invitation, someone we want to remember, and someone others would want to remember too.”

‘REST’ From

The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words.

© David Whyte & Many Rivers Press 2015

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Teaching Students to Trust Themselves

A pedagogic model is about forming a strategy for teaching that is based on principles that support true education. These principles serve to act as an invisible web that gives cohesion to the learning experience. Our pedagogic model is ‘in between the lines’ of everything we say and do within the context of the Yoga studio. – Donna Farhi

One of the things I appreciate most about the teaching methodology of my teacher, Donna Farhi, is that she teaches from the inside out. She encourages us as students to befriend our self and listen to the wisdom of our own perceptions first and foremost. As a trained classroom teacher and Yoga teacher, I am always interested in different teaching methodologies and how, as a teacher of two very different subject areas, I can best support learning in my students. 

The word educate is derived from the Latin word educare, which means to bring or draw out. This may seem contradictory to many of the teaching methods we experienced in school, when education was seen as a transfer of knowledge from teacher to student rather than a drawing out of the inherent intelligence within an individual. 

Whether you are a newly trained teacher, or a teacher with decades of experience under your belt, you are undoubtedly motivated to teach Yoga in the best way you can.  

– How do you create a context for your students to gain confidence in listening to their own perceptions?

– How do you pave the way to move students from dependence to independence? 

In her article, Teaching Students to Trust Themselves, Donna Farhi outlines some of the preliminary steps that lay the foundation for teacher and student to work together towards this independence.

What are your experiences, as a teacher or student, of these different approaches to teaching? If you feel drawn to do so, leave your comments below.

 *If you found this article of benefit, you are welcome to make multiple copies of this download for your students and also to share with your colleagues.

Donna Farhi leads intensives and teacher training programs internationally. In 2016, she will be holding workshops in NZ, Australia, China, UK & Europe. Her full teaching schedule can be found here. We are delighted to have Donna returning to the Gold Coast in October for her 5-day Spinal Integration Intensive.

Donna and Assitants May 2015
Donna Farhi and assistants – Origins of Alignment workshop on the Gold Coast, May 2015
Jackie, Sue, Donna & Kirsty

 

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Full Moon Ritual

 

The Full moon has arrived. Each month, the full moon shines light into our inner world, inviting us to tap into our feelings, intuition, knowing and alignment, while gently reminding us of the power of surrender and release. Below is a beautiful Full Moon Meditation Ritual from Raelene Byrne, which can be done under the full moon’s rays to cleanse, calm and clear the mind.

Full Moon Ritual

Find a quiet place to be with yourself.

Take a few deep breaths to cleanse and clear.

Scan the area you are situated in, take in all the details, and have gratitude for what you have created in your physical world.  Remembering if you can create, you can uncreate.

Close your eyes and just feel the ease of the breath as it flows in and out of your body.

Connect to the earth beneath your feet and then connect with the moon above.

Breath into your heart space a few times then connect with the moon and ‘intend’ you are bringing that moonbeam straight into your heart. Breath with this energy for a few moments.

As you intend, imagine or visualise this moon energy filling your heart space, allow it to expand with each breath, until you ‘know’ or have intended you are sitting in a huge bubble of moonlight energy. All your energy bodies are being lit up, your physical body is full of this light.

As you sit in this, surrender to it, and give permission for any and all things that no longer align or have purpose to dissolve.  Feel or see this bubble expand and constrict with each breath you take.

Patiently and lovingly, stay in this light filled bubble for a few moments. Allow the moon rays to cleanse, clear, calm your monkey mind.

If you are ready for a new start, a new direction, a new purpose, then in this time, ask your soul/spirit to help you have awareness of any other ‘unknown’ limitations still hidden, to be offered to the light of surrender, to be dissolved. You may not be shown exactly what it is, but you will feel something shift.

Once that is done, TRUST yourself, you will feel it, take a breath and imagine/intend that bubble of moon light to shrink back to your heart space. See the connection from your heart to the moon through this ray of support. Visualise that ray of light between your heart and moon for a few more breaths. Offer gratitude and thanks, then disconnect.

Keep your eyes closed for a few moments to have full awareness in your body

When you open your eyes, if you feel the need, write down whatever you want to release to this moon cycle. Burn the paper, be safe with this and cast the ashes wherever you feel is important for you. Freedom arises when we let go.

Happy full moon.

Like to know more about the full moon? Here are some great links…

The Science: How Moon Phases Work
The Spiritual: Full Moon In Virgo (22nd February, 2016)

Blessings,

Kirsty Innes x