There is no place like Om for the holidays – Written by Kendra Thornton

As I have been in Goa with very limited internet access, ive been enjoying time being offline. However its nice that Kendra contacted me to share her ideas and tips about how to maintain your yoga practice during the busy festive season, enjoy.  Hari Om…

There is No Place like Om for the Holidays!

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It’s that special time of year again! During this season, the music carries a magical tune, people put pep in their step, and all we can think about is what to buy our friends and family members for Christmas. Although I love all the holidays, Christmas is my favorite because I get to spend so much time with my friends and family. Moreover, a spirit of giving, which makes me grateful to be alive, marks this season!

Many of us have already begun thinking about what comes after Christmas. Yet while you may have begun contemplating things like New Years Resolutions, concentrate on this very moment. For me, staying positive and peaceful in the present moment results from doing yoga. Although I do have a bit of trouble doing my practices during the busy season, it is very important to me. In fact, I have to find time to do yoga because it brings so much peace and joy into my life.

In recognizing how beneficial yoga practice can be for an individual, I have created a list of l tips and tricks that can help you benefit from this great practice. Whether you’ll be doing yoga in your home or while traveling, these strategies can work for you!

1. Music: Because I have three children and am perpetually busy in the house, there are some times when it seems like I never feel peaceful and calm. So when I do my yoga practice, I always enjoy playing some soft music. Doing so enables me to focus, connect, maintain my posture, and breathe correctly. If you’re looking for great “zen relaxation” music, check out Spotify or Pandora.

2. Mood (Aesthetics): To make the most of your yoga practice, be sure to find a quiet space in your home. Once there, be sure to light some candles or dim the lights. This creates the “yoga studio” effect, one in which the mood is marked by a subtle beauty and flair that results from muted light. In addition to candles, I like to keep a few Eastern statues in the vicinity when I do yoga. If you’re interested in statues, you might try a Buddha piece! Some other decorative options you could try include incense burners, mini-indoor fountains, and paper lamps.

3. Hardwoods: When you get ready to start your yoga practice, don’t practice on carpet. Choose a hardwood floor instead. This is the most pleasant and secure type of surface you could utilize. It’s very difficult to find your placement and balance if you attempt to do your yoga moves on a carpet.

4. Travel: If you’re traveling this Christmas, don’t worry about not being able to do your yoga practices. You can always get your ‘Om’ on as a guest in another person’s house. However, you may find it more advantageous to stay in a hotel that features yoga courses. Several years ago, I went on a business trip and stayed in an Orlando hotel with free rooftop yoga classes. This was a great way for me to remain stress-free while on the road.

Kendra Thornton Picture

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The Heart of Barecelona Yoga Conference 2013 David Lutt’s Osteothai Class

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The Heart of BYC – For me the grand finale of the Barcelona Yoga Conference this year.

Sunday afternoon and the conference ends with an offering of a prayer of light in the centre of the main hall.  David’s Lutt’s Osteothai class began with explaining embryology and why the heart is so important from conception, to ending the class with a huge beautiful heart of flowers with each person in the room lighting a candle and offering their prayer.   He described how his inspiration for the class came when he arrived at Sunshine House Greece and saw Pau wearing 2013 BYC t.shirt with a Heart on it.

Using Spheres, balloons and a kiss to his beloved (Dau) he expressed clearly the function of the Heart! The guided demo was all focused on the upper body and from the outside to some people it may have looked like not alot would be happening!  However as with all Osteothai techniques, the subtly of the touch combined with the gently rocking movement meant that the effect was super powerful.  The room of people practicing from their heart on the heart allowed for a deep sense of peace to fill the space.  Most people receiving drifting away into a land of bliss.  It was a joy to give such a sweet and powerful sequence and watch your partners breath deepen as their body and mind let go…  Finally it was so beautiful to watch  over 100 people light a candle & place it in the Heart of flowers accompanied by the beautiful sounds of Mischka & Lulu.  My prayer of light went to Babbs & Leigh,  part of the sangha who were with us in spirit & to family suffering from cancer.

A little clip of the joyful end.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ATBV7vKyo1A

As an avid lover of Osteothai I was excited by some new techniques, this is what I love about David his love for the practice means he’s constantly learning, exploring and innovating.  To learn more of this he has created Osteothai for the heart, neck and Crane.  Check out www.osteothai.com for all the courses.  Or hopefully he will be back at BYC 2014!!  Big Love x

Barcelona Yoga Conference is nearly upon us!

Two blog posts I have written about amazing classes happening at the BYC this coming   weekend (4-8th July).  Its not too late for a trip to Barcelona….???

ZORBA THE GREEK?

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With the BYC less than 3 weeks away you may have looked at the program and thought WOW, who to choose? There are so many wonderfully colourful teachers each expressing what yoga means to them.  Someone you may not know is Zorba the Greek, here is a little about who this teacher is and why you should go for a blessing at his classes!

Three years ago I was at the Sunday night market with the Chiang Mai community in Thailand when I saw a super happy smiley face looking back at me.  This smile is one you would not forget.  This is the smile of Zorba the Greek (Anastasis).  From that day a friendship was created with a super yogi.  He has no mobile phone and lives a humble simple life on the beautiful island of Crete.  Every year he welcomes into his home people from all over the world who he has met on his travels to experience the simplicity and beauty of his home and his way of life following the yogic scriptures and path.  His apartment overlooks the sea, with no furniture.  You can relax, read and practice on the floor.  Its the perfect place for yogis.  He has regular classes in a beautiful yoga studio in Chania where he welcomes everybody into his classes, those who can afford to pay and those who cannot.  Due to the crisis in Greece he now offers his classes for less than you pay in Chiang Mai. He does this out of his love for Yoga and his students.  He doesn’t want people to stop coming because of lack of money.

Coming from a professional dance career, Anastasis began studying yoga in 1994.  He has spent a lot of time in India and moved around studying with many different teachers and styles.  During his enthusiastic classes you will feel the presence of a joyful dance he takes you on.  Although he does not want to associate to one style or tradition of practice,  he states that his teaching is a synthesis of different traditions with the spirit and expression of “Zorba the Greek”, freedom, generosity, integrity, spontaneity, joy and inspiration with the state of grace of the dancer.

Words of wisdom from Zorba “I don’t know what yoga is.”

What to expect?  No long dharma talk! A flowing strong and dynamic practice with a creative dance twist not forgetting the breath.

An authentic yogi teaching from the heart in the moment!

At this year’s Bali Spirit Festival, Zorba the Greek was teaching with Danny Paradise, and at the BYC you will see the two teaming up together again, a cross between Shamanic Ashtanga with Zorba the Greek.

FOOD IS THE ANSWER, FOOD IS THE WAY… SRI RAM, JAI RAM, JAI JAI RAM

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Picture this…. Its monday 8th July, BYC main program has finished, your exhausted, yet energised from all the wonderful Asana, kirtan and dance.  You take a breath, enjoy the moment and then think about what an amazing weekend you had.  Then your stomach starts to rumble,  did I manage to eat over the weekend?  With so many classes it’s often difficult to find time for eating nutritious food and consciously.  Part of a healthy yogic living should include being aware of what you are putting on and in your precious human body.  We are what we eat after all :-)  As we become more conscious on and off the mat, food should be a huge part of our practice.  Fortunately for us all you can join an amazing Raw Food class with Javier Medvedovsky (Espiritual Chef) & Daphne Tsatsou  (Tr00 Food Liberation) on Monday 10-13h & 15-18h at the BYC location, to learn about healthy food and conscious eating.

As I spend more and more time with True Foodies (Troo Food liberation) I find myself now following in Daphne’s (a kitchen goddess’) footsteps.  When I have a kitchen available I’m inspired to share great vegan tasty food with my friends and family.  So I advise you, fill your mind, heart and belly with a taste of raw food and then share what you have learned with those around you.

Daphne and Javier will be holding this workshop as an Introduction on Raw Food, germination, fermentation, soaking and dehydration without cooking on the fire, and love as the main ingredient to obtain a positive, healthy and experimental dish with unforgettable flavours.

Food that’s nutritious, super tasty and creative, real food for the soul.  Dont miss out, you’ve done enough asana instead feed your sole and your tum!

Good food is the answer, Raw Food is the way…. Sri Ram, Jai Ram, Jai Jai Ram

daphne tsatsou barcelona yoga conference

Javier Medvedovsky barcelona yoga conference

Crete Yoga Holiday

Here are some pics from my last yoga holiday that I led at Kissamos Beach, Crete – May 21-28th.  Thanks to Zoe and her Mum for being the first to re-book from the previous year, they officially win the award of being the fastest bookers! Also to Kasey, Athina & Karrine for returning for another yoga holiday with me.  A big thanks to my Mum who came again and made it to nearly all the classes.  Also to Jill, Simone and Chris who took a risk coming on a yoga holiday with an unknown teacher and style.  Im so happy that everyone enjoyed the holiday and would return again.  Mike and his Mum make your stay so welcoming and homely that you feel you have to come back to see them.  I will be re-booking and leading the holiday again next May.  Check out http://www.freespirituk.com/

Falasana Beach - 10 mins from Kissamos

The Yoga Deck

Partner Yoga

Simone, Chris & Karinne - Partner Yoga

Partner Yoga

Kissamos Beach,

 

 

BYC Blog Post March 2013

STUDY THE DIVINE DANCE OF THAI MASSAGE

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Over the last couple of months I’ve been fortunate enough to spend time in the traditional place to study Thai massage; Chiang Mai.  My love for the sangha community that congregates at this time of year, means that I get to meet my favourite teachers and practitioners of Thai massage.  Like Chiang Mai, the art of Thai massage is constantly evolving.  With innovative teachers such as David Lutt holding courses in Dynamic Thai and Osteo Thai both inside the city and out at a magical place “Om Waters”, Sri lanna national park (http://www.facebook.com/omwaters?fref=ts).  His OsteoThai for internal organs held with water all around was the best course yet in my oppinion!  Check out www.osteothai.com for courses.

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Then there are the traditional masters such as Argent Pichet who teaches 30 minutes outside of Chiang Mai.  A visit to him is an experience in itself, as you enter the temple room, it is filled with candles, incense and offerings from everyone who is studying with him.  He may or may not turn up to teach and if you’re lucky enough to see him, the morning will consist of a dharma talk (‘too much thinking, tension tension, too much yoga!!) and chanting.  He may then pick someone to work on and tell them how many problems they have! The afternoons are spent practicing.

Teachers such as Krishna Takis and David Lutt, Kaline, Till Heeg and many more all began their sacred journey into Thai massage at Lahu village (http://www.thaiyogamassage.infothai.com/coursesvillage.html), one hour from Chiang Mai.  A traditional village where you go back in time, live in nature with the pigs running around, enjoy local dance and music, Lahu language and traditional dress.  If you are thinking of learning this wonderful practice, Lahu village is the place to begin and I’d recommend Sunshine network.  You will get into the basic living as its your roots living in nature and your heart will be full with joy and love by the end.

If Thailand is a little out of your reach and you cannot get there anytime soon, do not despair as there are lots of courses happening in Europe this Spring and of course you get to experience Takis, Kaline and David together at BYC this year. (Early Bird tickets available nowhttp://www.barcelonayogaconference.cat/index.php/en/register ).  Takis will be teaching a pre-conference day and both David and Takis will hold a 4 hour workshop through the w.end.  Check out the Sunshine House video for a taster of what the 10 day Thai massage courses are all about.

http://youtu.be/zSH4oSONM54

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The next upcoming course that I can highly recommend is with two wonderful teachers Till and Pau at Om Shanti, Barcelona (http://omshanti.cat/index.php?option=com_contentandview=articleandid=229andcatid=4andlang=en).  Till and Pau have spent many years studying at Lahu village and with Takis at Sunshine House, Greece.  Till has been a physiotherapist for many years and Pau is an incredible acro yoga teacher, this provides a winning combination of structure, anatomy with the fun and games of acro yoga , all blending together into one amazing 10 day course.  This course is almost full so if you want to learn with them sign up ASAP.  I was lucky enough to receive a massage from Till in Chiang Mai and what a wonderful 2 and half hours it was.  As one of my friends described this kind of massage, “it’s like you’re taken apart and then put back together again, whilst creating a connection to one another hearts”.  Till’s touch is gentle and caring, working throughout the body combining dynamic Thai, OsteoThai and Till.Thai’s own sweet touch.  I was taken on a journey around my body, rocked into a dream state with many deep moments of silence and then gently brought back around with a gentle hand on my head and heart.

Begin a journey that will change and rock your world.  Join the Sunshine Thai Massage Sangha.

Metta xx

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