Kids Yoga classes are back!

Yay! I am very excited to be announcing the return of my Kids Classes to a new venue… Harvest Yoga in Kensington.

Boy in frog poseKids yoga is full of opposites – noise and quiet, movement and stillness, activity and rest all with a sense of fun and exploration.

So what do you expect from a kids yoga class? Here is an example of a short practice we might do…

1. Squat down and curl up as tight as you can with your eyes closed. You are a tiny seed, deep under the earth. Think about what type of seed you’d like to be, a tree or a plant or a flower or something else, anything at all…

2. Now something magical is happening, you are beginning to grow! In very slow motion let yourself start to uncurl and begin to stand up. As slowly as you can, bit by bit…

3. As you start to grow up and away imagine your feet sending roots down into the earth beneath you, making a strong and stable base from which you can grow even taller.

4. When you reach your full height let your arms grow as well, they might be branches reaching wide or high, or petals blooming and opening or leaves uncurling and spreading. Let them be whatever shape feels right for your plant. Maybe your plant is still or maybe the wind is blowing and your plant is swaying side to side.

5. In a group now we might take turns to share what plant or tree we are, describing the colours, shapes and size of each one in turn.

If there are any children in your life try this practice with them, you’ll be inspired by what they come up with. If there are no children in your life feel free to have a go yourself, it is fun, grounding and a very fitting practice as Spring approaches here in Melbourne…

If you or someone you know would like to try out a kids yoga class there is a FREE TRYOUT class on Wednesday 24th September at 4pm, booking is essential as places are limited. To book your spot please contact Rick on 0431 163 130 or info@harvestyoga.com.au.

Classes will continue on Wednesdays at 4pm for two 5 week terms, 1st-29th October and 5th November-3rd December.

Cost $75 for a five week term, $17 casual classes. Generous family discounts for siblings – first child $75, second child $50 per term or first child $17, second child $12 casual. Earlybird special $5 off for term bookings paid before or at the free trial class.

Further information on the Harvest Yoga website, to book please contact Rick on 0431 163 130 or info@harvestyoga.com.au.

Girl with arms held high

 

Love and light,

Belinda

xxx

 

The Busy Week

We are nearing the end of one of my busiest weeks of the year. My two eldest childrens birthdays are one day apart on the 18th and 19th of August so it can be a little hectic.

The hive of activities generated this year by the proximity of their birthdays included a purple party last Saturday for my daughters 13th, a family gathering with cake on Monday for her actual birthday, pizza and trifle on Tuesday for my sons 15th actual birthday and a rock climbing party coming up on Sunday for his friends.

I love celebrating each childs birthday and try my hardest to make sure they don’t get thrown in together due to the proximity of their birthdays. Each has their own separate activities and celebrations which we organize with them ahead of time.

Yes it gets a little crazy but with some yogic thinking it is easily manageable and although by the end of it I am tired I have not felt overwhelmed by it all. I thought for this weeks post I would share the methods to managing busy periods without it all becoming too much.

1. Present moment awareness and one thing at a time – whatever you are doing try to stay present and not get carried away into the future with all of the things that still need to be done. I find writing lists very helpful, as soon as I remember something I have to do I write it on my list and get on with what I am currently doing. This is the secret to productivity, not multitasking but single tasking with focus and awareness and without distractions.

2. Prioritise those lists, when looking for the next task do the “must be done” items first, then the “it would be nice to have this done” leaving to last the “wouldn’t it be great it we could…”

3. Don’t ask too much of yourself. I often have grand plans or elaborate ideas and they don’t always all happen, so I might write things on my list that I don’t get around to and I’m okay with that.

4. Enjoy the journey, the process, the preparations. Don’t get so focused on the result that you can’t enjoy planning and getting ready. It is half the fun.

5. When you get to the main event let go of what didn’t get done and the need to control or direct what is happening and just go with the flow, let it unroll and happen. Even if things don’t go according to plan let yourself enjoy the fruits of your labours.

That’s all for now, hope these tips help you get through your next busy time or even just every day life!

Love and light,

Belinda

xxx

Bed Time Yoga Poses

At the end of my classes many students get up and say “Now I just wish I could climb straight into bed.” or “Can’t we just stay here for the night?”

This happens often enough that I have seriously considered running Sleep Over Yoga Classes where students get to do just that – rather than getting up, packing up and finding their way home (all of which tend to disturb that deep post savasana relaxed feeling) I just tuck them all in, tip toe out of the room, turn off the lights and let them sleep deeply and peacefully.

There are a few reasons why I haven’t run with this idea.

1. I pay to hire the venue where I run my Thursday Yoga classes in Braybrook, I pay by the hour and I think they would sleep for many hours so it would cost me a fortune!

2. My Wednesday night class in Williamstown is followed by a prenatal class and the lovely pregnant ladies might trip over the slumbering bodies of my students.

3. I teach yoga retreats where you do get to stumble sleepily straight to bed after the final relaxation of the day as well as being thoroughly spoilt with beautiful food and lovely surroundings.

These reasons, while good ones, are not good enough to completely eradicate the idea so maybe, one day, when the time and place is right, it will happen.

In the meantime todays post is inspired by a request from Lindsay from Casper Sleep who asked for some yoga you can do in your own bed at home before you sleep at night or when you awaken in the morning.

You are probably already doing some informal yoga when you climb into bed, snuggle down and adjust to your most comfortable position at night or when you awaken and stretch and wriggle before you rise for the day. Here are a few poses you can do in bed, under covers to expand that informal practice. You can pick and choose the ones you like or practice them as a short sequence.

1. Apanasana – lie on your back and hug your knees into your chest and have a little sideways then back and forth rock here. This pose releases and expands the lower back so is great both at the beginning and end of your day. You can work for a few breaths to stimulate the digestive system ready for a tasty breakfast by hugging the knees in tightly to the belly as you breathe out then releasing them arms length away again as you breathe in.

2. Gentle twist – bring the feet to the mattress with your knees bent and find a comfortable distance between buttocks and heels. Bring the arms out to the sides in line with the shoulders and on an exhalation let your knees move to the left while you turn your head to the right. Hold for a few breaths then inhale back to center and exhale to the opposite side. Like apanasana this pose releases the lower back and tones the digestive system but it goes a little further by involving the hips and neck as well.

3. Suppta Baddah Konasana – reclined bound angle pose is lovely in the morning to open up in preparation for the new day. From the same base posture as the twist above allow the knees to open outwards and the soles of your feet to come together. If it feels too strong for your hips try putting a pillow underneath each knee to support them. Now try one or more of the following with your arms:

– Palms together in prayer position and work with the breath by exhaling and pushing the palms and soles of the feet together, just enough resistance to feel the whole of the arms and legs engaging. Release on the in breath and repeat a few times. This one is more suited to a morning practice to wake up all of the joints and muscles but can also be used as a release at the end of the day.

– Arms open to the sides of the body with palms facing up, feel the openness of this posture, open through the hips and the heartspace. Rest here for a few full breaths. A really nice way to end or start your day.

– Take your hands to rest on your belly, release your shoulders and send your breath to your hands, feeling the gentle rising and falling of the belly. As above, lovely anytime of day or night!

4. The big stretch – take your arms above your head and stretch in the following ways in order:

– Laterally by stretching first through the left then through the right sides of the body.

– Diagonally by lengthening the left arm and right foot in opposite directions then swapping sides.

– Completely and indulgently by lengthening through your whole being, imagine arms and legs being gently tugged in opposite directions, like one of those medieval torture devices but not to the point where it is painful. Feel the front, the back, the sides of the torso all getting involved. Make some noise here, a yawn or a sigh or whatever sound naturally comes to you.

Sleep well…

Love and light,

Belinda

xxx

What lies beneath

I am back from my cruise having seen many wonderful things, experienced many magical events and enjoyed many delicious meals.

It is difficult to pick a favorite moment from my top 3 or 4 but when I think about it there is one that stands out above all others.

Cruising was new to me and I very much enjoyed it as a way of travelling and hope to do it again. I spent lots of time gazing out at the ocean, there is nothing quite like it. It stretches from horizon to horizon in every direction many times unbroken by land. Most days it was choppy and one day it was so smooth it looked like a mirror, overall we were lucky to have smooth sailing (or should I say cruising?) so it was never very rough.

IMG_1404

One afternoon towards the end of the cruise my husband, Richard, and I were on a balcony gazing out over the water when someone from a balcony above us called out that there was a whale. We looked in the direction they pointed and saw ahead of the ship a spout rising out of the water. It was a way off but very exciting, luckily the ship was moving in that direction so we tried to keep track of where we were in relation to the whale as we approached it. Just as we thought it had dived below it breached right in front of us, around 20 metres away. I was completely overwhelmed, the luck of being there at just the right time, the beauty of this huge creature so close to me in its natural environment, the impressive size of it (we only saw the top of its back but that was enough). I felt truly blessed to have witnessed this at such close range. It must have only been seconds but it felt like much longer, then it sank below once more. We saw it surface twice more in the wake of the ship as we moved away, one time there were two spouts at the same time so we are pretty sure our whale friend was not alone.

There is something very special about seeing wild animals in their own environment and this has to be one of the most special of those experiences I’ve ever had. It was made more special that besides us and the couple on the balcony above no one else saw the whales.

We did see one other whale, further out, and a pod of dolphins at other times during the cruise. Every time I looked out over the water I would wonder what lay beneath, not just whales and dolphins but the myriad of other sea creatures. I began reflecting on how many hidden wonders there might be just below those waves, or deeper down far below.

Like the ocean we all have wonders hidden beneath our surfaces, sometimes we are aware of them and work hard to keep them hidden but others they can surprise even us with their appearances just like the whale surprised me.  I like to meditate on what lies beneath for me, below the face I show to the world, behind the eyes I see with, beyond my self awareness. To reflect on what has arisen during my life, what paths I have found myself on and what roles I have played and what led me to these places. To wonder what might surface next…

Every time I meet someone new I do my best to see all of them, not to judge by appearances or go with first impressions but to look beyond to what lies beneath. To give it time and space and await the opportunity to be surprised by something as wonderful as the whale. We all have this potential within us.

Love and light,

Belinda

xxx