Did you know that muscles have a ‘stretch response’? They are suspicious of stretching which is the body's way of guarding against injury. Specialised cells send panicking neural signals screaming to the spine. The spine sends back an immediate message to protect and contract. No need to consult the brain!
We have to override this automatic response with a shift to the parasympathetic nervous system to relax the body. This is why we focus on the breath so constantly in yoga class. Calming music, a warmth room, soft lighting, incense and candles... muscles are a sucker for all that stuff!
There are other mindboggling factors at play. Connective tissue responds to how you are feeling; happy, sad, aggressive, positive, negative, and so on. Also, your muscles might not like the yoga teacher if they are aloof or critical. Muscles like a teacher who is complimentary, warm and encouraging! Just like a child!
That’s not all, the connective tissue also responds to all your experiences to date! It’s not just how you feel on the day but everything that makes the person you are... aggressive or kind, complaining or accepting, morose or sunny. If you are aggressive, fast and without love, you are more likely to micro-tear and add injury. Interesting, eh! Our moods and gestures become habits, habits become structure.
The end of the early bird offer for the retreat (1st June); more and more people are showing an interest in coming. Last year a few people were concerned about their dietary needs. This year, Porto Delfino, the home of our retreat, has a new chef, Georgos, who will cater vegetarian, vegan, gluten free. Of course, there are the tavernas which all have vegetarian and some vegan. You’ll be well looked after! Have a look at the photo gallery of all the retreats.
Classes really filled up last week... then emptied out! Please make sure you give 24 hours notice to move a class and please let me know as soon as you can if you can’t come – email or text. You can see class availability on my website (which I update often). The latest availability is actually not too much because it’s bank holiday Monday. I’v added at 6.00pm class on Thursday.
New Yoga Studio Opening! All day tomorrow is the Grand Opening of Healthy Wealthy, 3 Brecknock Road, N7 OBL. There’s an evening Guided Meditation followed by Kirtan and a meal from the Healthy Wealthy Vegan Restaurant. You have to book.
Tomorrow afternoon, 2.30-4.30, I’m going to Sangye (used to be the Jivamukti Centre) for an inversions workshop with Doug Whittaker. We will ‘explore preparatory sequences as well as modifications on how to safely, and mindfully, approach inversions’.
I’m teaching at Virgin Active Chelsea tomorrow, 25th, at 10.30-11.30 and at Virgin Active Fulham Pools on Sunday, 26th, at 11.00-12.15. Also, I’m covering Alain’s 90 minute Ashtanga Primary Series class at Eden this Wednesdays at 2.00 for the last time.
I’ve been asked what would be a good yoga present to give a friend. Anything involving Charlie Merton and her delicious Gong Bath would be a lovely present. She holds Gong Baths at The Gerkin! What about a yoga weekend like Soul Circus or Wanderlust 108? Others here, including Gwyneth Paltrow’s £1,000 one-day event! Here’s what I did last weekend, present for myself! Yuuga Kemistri two-hour vegan cooking lesson! It’s in a community centre so this is not birthday present territory but I would do it again in a heartbeat. Another great present... Our Magical Kythera Yoga Retreat!
Yoga in the news
The Metro has: How learning laughter yoga changed my life. ‘Simulated laughter can be just as good for your wellbeing as the real thing...The mind will take cues from the body and it triggers the brain to think it’s happier, creating more deep breathing and the release of happy chemicals (endorphins) in the brain’