yoga holidays and yoga spa breaks from yoga at work

 

Yoga Weekends 2014

 

Our yoga breaks are relaxing and fun.

They are practical and non threatening. Whatever your ability you are welcome. The venues are picked because they offer great food, fine wines and are in areas of outstanding beauty. So for any non yoga person there is plenty to do.
 
There are 6 hours of practical yoga instruction spread over 4 classes
Special attention is given in helping you develop a home practice. learning to relax, using yoga to keep your body and mind in good health and lots more.
 
The classes are suitable for all levels so expect to be challenged in our normal smiley way.
Phil Aston

 

 

 

Selected yoga postures in detail

By Yoga teacher and life coach Phil Aston BWY Dip

There are many Yoga websites that feature  information on Yoga Postures.  Rather than compete with them I have endeavored here to feature and research postures that I personally recommend.  I have also included the benefits from and physical, mental and stress management perspective.  Phil

Number 1:- Matsyendrasana – Spinal Twist Pose (this page)

Number 2:- Vrikshansana - The Tree Pose


This is a very powerful yoga posture and rather than focus entirely on how to achieve the final position, I have endeavored to give a comprehensive overview of the benefits to mind and body whilst looking into the deeper aspects of this famous Yoga pose.

The posture was named after Sri Matsyendrasana who founded the Hatha Yoga system and was said to practice this posture.

Physical Benefits The important physiological aspects of this posture (asana) are that it stimulates the pancreas, liver, spleen, kidneys, stomach and ascending and descending colons.

It is useful in the treatment of diabetes, constipation, dyspepsia and urinary problems. It tones the nerve roots, and adjusts and realigns the vertebral column. The back muscles are pulled and stretched in a different direction than usual and this relieves them of tension. Matsyendrasana is therefore recommended in cases of lumbago, rheumatism and slipped disc.

In fact, it is a powerful yoga asana and its vitalising effects can be felt quickly.

The sitting twist stimulates peristaltic action, diminishes constipation, tones the abdominal organs, stretches the hips and external rotators, and improves the circulation and energy flow throughout the spine.

The twist begins with the right thigh pressed against the abdominal region, which increases the peristaltic action of the ascending colon and stimulates the liver, gallbladder, and right kidney.

The second side reinvigorates the descending colon, spleen, pancreas, and left kidney. In the upper body, shoulder movement is freed and the neck muscles gain tone.

Matsyendrasana / Mental Benefits - Releasing the mind

As the body releases enormous amounts of tension in twists, the mind also benefits.

We live in a culture that leads with the head. Instead of tuning into the heart or the intuition we can experience in the navel centre. Our intellect often dominates – and this is not always to our greatest benefit.

As the mind thinks, the body creates. For example, people can take on a forward-head posture, in which the misaligned head juts forward of the midline of the body, thus affecting the spinal curves and potentially stressing the discs, joints, connective tissues, and the tendons of the spine.

The sitting twist asks us first to align and lengthen the spine before it turns. Then we initiate our twist from the belly, inviting that serpentine movement to spiral gradually up through the torso. If you lead the pose from the head, neck strain and great discomfort can develop.

So the last to join in the twist are the neck and the head, giving the mind a needed break from leading.

Matsyendrasana / Reflections

In the yoga posture Matsyendrasana the body is twisted from a sitting position. The twisting of the spine touches on the basic foundation and functioning of the skeleton itself. A flexible mind and an inflexible spine can rarely be found together. If the body is tied in a knot, so are the mind and emotions. However it is worth noting that what has been twisted can also be untwisted. This goes for the mind as well as the body, such as stories we hear and retell, even the recording of our own dreams.

We want our body to be flexible and supple and we like to think that our minds are also flexible and supple, but how flexible do we want to be? If we are too flexible we can be manipulated, almost inviting manipulation; so one who is spineless must first firm up the spine and develop strength.

The twist may be thought of as a spiral, the movement of which can go either upward or downward. The downward spiral will enmesh you in your nature, while the upward spiral will increase awareness and expand limitations.

It specifically stimulates the navel centre manipura chakra. Under normal circumstances the rate of energy (pranic) vibration is slow.

Performing those asanas which direct the prana to the navel centre is very important for the awakening of kundalini (latent energy in the body)

Matsyendrasana / The Deeper aspect

This asana helps to focus the prana (body’s energy) in a particular direction so that awakening takes place in the dormant energy centres. You may have heard of these as Chakras

The navel centre (manipura chakra) is responsible for maintaining the body. When it is underactive or overactive, body functions are not harmonious and if it is sluggish diseases develop in other areas.

If the capacity of the navel centre is increased systematically, (which this posture achieves) it not only eliminates imbalances and disease, but the dormant potential of the body’s energy can be awakened.

The navel centre (Manipura Chakra) is directly connected to the digestive system. Proper digestion and assimilation is the key to good health. Many Yoga texts talk about the fire of manipura, that is the digestive fire.

The chakras below manipura are concerned with animal instincts and those above are connected with the higher qualities of mind. Manipura (the navel centre) is midway between the two and is said to be midpoint between heaven and earth.

Matsyendrasana / How to do it

  1. Sit on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you, buttocks can be supported on a folded blanket.
  2. Step the right foot over the left leg and stand it on the floor outside your left hip. The right knee will point directly up at the ceiling.
  3. Exhale and twist toward the inside of the right thigh. Press the right hand against the floor just behind your right buttock, and set your left upper arm on the outside of your right thigh near the knee. Pull your front torso and inner right thigh snugly together.
  4. Press the inner right foot very actively into the floor, lengthen through the body and continue to lengthen the tailbone into the floor.
  5. Continue the twist of the torso by turning it to the right
  6. With every inhalation lift a little more through the sternum, pushing the fingers against the floor to help. Twist a little more with every exhalation. Be sure to distribute the twist evenly throughout the entire length of the spine; don't concentrate it in the lower back. i.e. right shoulder rolling back as the left shoulder rolls forward. Stay for 30 seconds to 1 minute, then release with an exhalation, return to the starting position, and repeat to the left for the same length of time.

NB: The neck should be the last part of the body to turn and with least effort

Contra –indications

Women more than 2 or 3 months pregnant should avoid this practice. People suffering from peptic ulcer, hernia or hyperthyroidism should only practice this pose under expert guidance. People with sciatica or slipped disc may benefit from this asana, but great care should be taken.

 

Bibliography

Hatha Yoga Pradipika by Swami Muktibodhananda Saraswati

(Bihar School of Yoga 1998)

Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha by Swami Satyananda Saraswati

(Bihar School of Yoga 1997)

Hatha Yoga The Hidden Language by Swami Sivanda Radha

(Timeless Books 1995)

The Little Yoga Book by Erika Dillman

(Time Warner 1999)

Yoga for Wellness by Gary Kraftsow

(Penguin Arkana 1999)

Yoga for Body Breath and Mind by A.G Mohan

(Rudra Press 1993