Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Yoga Mangala Uganda

I am very happy that classes have now been underway for the last couple of months here in Kampala; Uganda with two new yoga spaces and a little growing community consisting of 19 children from the age of 8 up to teenagers and 8 adult practitioners.  I am extremely happy that almost all the children attending class are Ugandan and I am able to share this wonderful practice of yoga with them and impart health and knowledge for them to build on.  These kids are our future so it really brings a big smile to my heart to begin with them and see them really enjoying either the peace they gain after a long day at their studies as they lie in Savasana, or the fun they are having learning with patience and excitement such postures as handstand and the crow, tipping themselves upside down and showing their feet to the sky!
It is always a challenge to start somewhere new and find new people to share a practice with growing together, but I am determined to make a go of it here, I have been walking the miles giving out flyers, posting on social network sites, maybe I should start shouting from the rooftop, but I am ready to put my energy into bringing classical yoga here and sharing its benefits.  It seems my way of teaching and trust in the classical approach is a little different from what may have been experienced from a yogic point of view here in Africa, where the word power seems to crop up a lot!!! But with that I will find the power within to keep to a traditional approach, I have great faith in my Guru’s and all that I have learnt so far, but I would love to see a few adult Ugandans coming to see what this is all about, maybe the community class on the 7th of November will tempt some to the mat!
Let the adventure continue!!!
Please come across the miles to join me, or if you are here in Kampala then come across the jams to Butabika, breathe fresh air and join a group class at Gems Cambridge International School, times as below.


Hatha Yoga

Hatha Yoga
Free class
Every first Saturday of the month.
Hatha Yoga
Gems KS2 students

Hatha Yoga
Gems KS3 students

Hatha yoga

Meditation and breathing techniques

Hatha Yoga

Community classes are free on the first Saturday of each month, so come on do something different and put yourself on the mat and take a leap into a journey of your beautiful self!!

Private sessions also available at my home shala
If you are in Uganda come and see me, If you are not in Uganda come and see me!!!!!

Om Lokha Somasta Sukhino Bhavantu
May all beings find harmony, balance and peace
Have beautiful days
OM Shanti
Mangala / Nicky

Friday, October 16, 2015

Kyphosis - combating a rounding of the upper back.

Kyphosis – Combating a rounding of the Upper Spine

In todays world we tend to spend large amounts of time in front of screens, driving cars, and generally stooping forwards which can play havoc with our posture and the spine itself.  In a normal adult whom is standing erect the spine should curve naturally in four parts, it begins curving forwards slightly beginning at the head, then slightly backwards sweeping under the shoulders, then again forwards around the mid body and again backwards to the tail bone.  However due to lifestyles often it is the case that the curve backward at the top of the back and shoulders becomes exaggerated, giving a forward rounding of the shoulders and even a hunch to the upper back, some rounding is normal but an exaggerated rounding is known as Kyphosis.  This condition can be common is such people as teachers who are stooping over children all day or guitar players, drivers and office workers.  However the regular practice of certain yogic asana (postures) can help to combat the problem and improve posture and indeed the general health of the whole spine.  It is an old Chinese proverb that the healthier the spine the healthier the mind and the younger we become, so if you feel you are beginning to slouch then these three postures practiced regularly and with the right intention will gently help to bring the spine back into alignment.
Dhanurasan - Bow Pose
This posture is a backward bending pose that lifts both halves of the body at the same time, it opens the heart, draws the shoulders back, strengthens the abdominal muscles and gives relief to the upper back.  Actually this posture has many benefits including working with the digestive system, the reproductive system in women, it is great for people suffering with diabetes but in the case of kyphosis it keeps the whole spine elastic and that region of the whole spine is expanded, the chest is broadened and the pectorals are stretched.  Lie on your tummy with your legs apart, bend your knees and catch hold of your ankles from the outside.  On an inhalation push your feet and knees up into the air and at the same time lift your upper body pushing your head back.  Hold for as long as is comfortable, then on an exhalation come back down to the mat.  Repeat several times.  Note this posture should not be practiced by pregnant women.
Matsyasan – Fish Pose
This pose stretches out the shortened muscles in the shoulders and the chest and helps to eradicate the hardened fascia or connective tissues in that area.  Also it strengthens the muscles in the upper back and increases the blood supply to these parts.  There are also benefits here for people suffering with asthma as it throws the chest open and increase the strength and capacity of the lungs.  Lie flat on your back and take the arms underneath your body, palms flat down to the mat and elbows as close together as possible.  The feet are together and the legs straight.  As you inhale push on your elbows and raise the upper body up, then drop the head back until the crown of the head is connecting with the mat, pushing your chest and heart upward.  Breathe deeply whilst in the pose and hold for as long is as comfortable.
Variation of Bhujangasan – Cobra Pose
By bringing the arms behind you in this version of cobra it really helps to strengthen weak upper-back and neck muscles.  The connective tissues from the chin to the abdomen are stretched.  Lie on your tummy legs and feet together, take your arms behind your back keeping them straight and clasp your hands together.  With an inhalation lift your head and chest upward off of the floor and keep the arms parallel with the floor, hold for up to 30 seconds breathing, then on the exhalation come back down and repeat several times.  Again this posture shouldn’t be practiced if you are pregnant an alternative is Ustrasan – the camel pose using the support of your hands to your lumber, lower back or if strength is there purvottanasan – the inclined plain, which to soften you can have the knees bent.

Enjoy your practice and feel better and better with beautiful posture.
Let the life shine through you
For now Om Om shanti Om
Mangala / Nicky

Thursday, October 8, 2015

A Quiet Practice- Reasons to love Yin Yoga

The practice of Yin yoga gives you the time to really feel every part of the body that we are using, it gives us time to feel both physically and then emotionally as we are holding postures for a longer period time we can move on from all the physical sensations and start to work on a deeper level.  In a Yin practice we try to relax within the asana’s instead of a concentration on engagement or contraction and lengthening of the muscles we relax them, this then gives the prana; the vital life force a chance to move freely around our system and go right into the bone structure as well as tendons, ligaments and muscles.  We work on a deep cellular level where the cells themselves are breathing, turning the breath inwards as well as working with external breath through the lungs.  And then there is time to begin to forget the body and watch the mind, observing the thoughts coming into the mind, which lead onto another thought.  It gives us the opportunity to really slow down and be with ourselves and maybe work through a few issues we may be facing.  Actually practicing in a yin way was how yoga was always intended to be practiced: slowly so as to feel every part of our existence and giving us an opportunity to really know ourselves our needs and the areas of our lives that we maybe need to work on or simply accept and move forward.  However it is challenging, being still is not easy when we are used to running here running there, the mind here the mind there.   But when I am in a Yin pose and am simply breathing it really gives me the time to tune into my breath and allow that breath to carry me to another place, my mind slows down, and I can really feel things beginning to open within myself both physically and mentally and I always feel really wonderful after the practice, refreshed and ready for the rest of the day.  The Yin way to practice offers so much more than simply stretching, it gives us a chance to become still, to evoke patience, silence, gratitude and bring back balance and harmony to our whole system. It can bring us back to simplicity and bring us out of the fast paced world that actually everybody is desperately needing whether they know it or not.  When illness comes no matter to what degree it is because our prana is out of balance, our energy is out of balance and a slow practice allows that energy or life force to re-align itself or work towards that.  And as we give ourselves this chance to slow down to observe ourselves we might just find that we become less reactive and bothered by the things that normally bother us what could be better than that!  I love to slow myself down in a meditative practice, feel throughout my whole self and begin to feel complete again hmmmmm yes a yin practice is a delicious one so let us enjoy it!!
Wishing you all very beautiful days of self-discovery mindful over all our actions and enjoy every breath.
In stillness man and nature can become one.
Om shanti Om
Wishing balance and harmony to all living entities
Mangala / Nicky