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JUNE 2018



The Bhagavad Gita is one of India’s ancient texts and speaks to anyone who feels like their mind is a battlefield and is struggling between the true self and the ego. 


The story of the Bhagavad Gita takes place on the battlefield of, telling a story of how Arjuna, the great warrior is about to engage in battle but then suddenly is unable to fight. Krishna, the Cosmic Lord comes to his aid to counsel him. There is no real battlefield or fight to be one, the entire text represents the battle that goes on in our minds and is teaching us how come we can overcome difficulty, self-doubt, and ultimately how to live a life of truth and purpose. 


When we try to practice challenging poses, such as inversions, this battle in the mind can come up.  Many fears, expectations and judgements can come up for us as we navigate these poses, so it is important to see through the eyes of truth and understand that we are doing the best we can.  


 Next month we will look at how we can use we too can use the wisdom of the Bhagavad Gita to meet our own difficulties and decisions with fearlessness and honesty and learn to live life authentically and fully. 


Jump to Inspiration of the month:



As Part of the Inspiration of the month, our teacher, Caroline Bakerman has written a piece concentrating on 'Learning to Love Yourself.' 



I stopped being angry and disappointed in myself for not achieving that handstand. Instead, I observed what was happening in my mind, the emotions that the thoughts triggered, how they felt in my body.  I made a point of making neutral observations like ‘mmm… my balance is off today. That’s ok. Tomorrow is another day”. During yoga practice, this new way of dealing with my perceived failures gave me the confidence to keep trying and improve. I no longer felt like impressing anyone, because in the process the path of self-study found me. Off the mat, I became a lot less harsh with myself and became kinder to myself, like a good friend or a nurturing mother would. I started perceiving myself under a different light, giving myself permission to not be perfect, and be fine with it.



Forearm Stand Pose - Pincha Mayurasana

Forearm Stand Pose strengthens the upper body, opens the heart ad the lungs and aids concentration. It is also a very awakening pose so a great Asana to practice if you are feeling sluggish or need to focus.  This pose also improves balance and is great for boosting overall circulation. 


In Sanskrit, this pose translates to 'Peacock's Tail' because the legs resemble the way a peacock lifts its tail to display its colourful feathers.






  • Strengthens the shoulders, arms, and back

  • Stretches the shoulders and neck, chest, and belly

  • Improves sense of balance

  • Calms the brain and helps relieve stress and mild depression


Contraindications for this pose:


  • Back, shoulder, or neck injury

  • Headache

  • Heart condition

  • High blood pressure

  • Menstruation

You will need a block and strap for this practice. 


Place your mat against the wall and come onto your hands and knees with your toes tucked facing the wall. Place your block at the wall as shown in the image to the left and your strap shoulder-width apart, above or below the elbows (never on the elbows). 


From here the set the forearms on the floor, hands at block width, pressing the inner wrists firmly into the floor.


Inhale and lift your knees off the floor into Downward Facing Dog. You can practice staying here or gently bunny hopping your feet off the ground. 



USING props 



1. Bring your forearms to be shoulder width apart, either using a belt, shoulder-width apart, above or below the elbows (never on the elbows).

with or without a belt. Inhale and lift your knees off the floor into Downward Facing Dog and try and hold for as long as you can. Make your way down and do some shoulder roles to release. 


2. Turn to face the wall and position yourself about a foot away from it. From here there are three arm options:


- Palms down, hugging the block with thumb and index finger 


- Little fingers on the floor with the palms pressing into the block


-Back of palms to the floor with your  little finger against the block


3. Inhale and lift your knees off the floor into Downward Facing Dog before carefully walking your feet closer to your elbows, heels elevated. Actively lift through the top thighs, forming an inverted "V." 


4. Exhale and lift one leg, kicking up to the wall. Try to move one leg, then the other, you may even try both.

5. As you come down, make your way to a seat and practice shoulder rolls forward and backwards to release. 

6. Well done!

Ujjayi Breath - Victorious Breath

Ujjayi Breath - Victorious Breath

Ujjayi (pronounced oo-jai) is commonly translated as “victorious breath,” and has been used for thousands of years to enhance hatha yoga practice. Also commonly referred to as the “oceanic breath,” the sound that Ujjayi provides helps us to synchronise breath with movements during yoga, making the entire yoga practice more rhythmic.This powerful breathing technique, is a pranayama that is easy to do, yet can take you through all the stages of your yoga practice.

 Ujjayi Breath Instructions:

The guidance of a teacher is always recommended.

If you ever feel unwell or dizzy - stop the practice immediately. 

These practices are to be done moderately and with much observation, as they are extremely powerful.

  • Seal your lips and start to breath in and out through your nose.

  • Take an inhalation through your nose that is slightly deeper than normal. Exhale slowly through your nose while constricting the muscles in the back of your throat.

If you’re having trouble getting the right sound for your breath, try this:

  • With your mouth open, try exhaling the sound “HAAAAH”—it’s similar to the sound you make when you’re trying to fog up a mirror. Get comfortable with this sound to get the hang of the practice.

  • Close your mouth and attempt a similar sound, feeling the outflow of air through your nasal passages. Once you have mastered this on the outflow, use the same method for the in-flow breath, gently constricting the back of your throat as you inhale.

  • If you’re doing this correctly, you should sound like waves in the ocean—the inhales can be compared to the sound the ocean makes as the water is gathering up to form the wave, the exhales can be compared to the sound of the waves crashing to the shore. Some people compare Ujjayibreathing to Darth Vader from Star Wars, if that’s helpful.

Benefits of Ujjayi Breath

Ujjayi has a balancing influence on the entire cardiorespiratory system, releases feelings of irritation and frustration, and helps calm the mind and body. With Ujjayi, there are so many benefits, providing good value for a simple practice. Here are a few benefits you may enjoy as a result of practicing the Ujjayi breath:

  • Increases the amount of oxygen in the blood

  • Builds internal body heat

  • Relieves tension

  • Encourages free flow of prana

  • Regulates blood pressure

  • Helps yoga practitioner to maintain a rhythm while they practice

  • Builds energy

  • Detoxifies mind and body

  • Increases feelings of presence, self-awareness, and meditative qualities

  • Increases the amount of oxygen in the blood

  • Builds internal body heat

  • Relieves tension

  • Encourages free flow of prana

  • Regulates blood pressure

  • Helps yoga practitioner to maintain a rhythm while they practice

  • Builds energy

  • Detoxifies mind and body

  • Increases feelings of presence, self-awareness, and meditative qualities

When to Use Ujjayi Breath

When you’re agitated: Since the Ujjayi breath is especially good for settling agitation and stress, and balancing the mind, try shifting into Ujjayi breath whenever you find yourself becoming aggravated or stressed. You should notice a soothing effect promptly.

When you’re practicing hatha yoga: Try focusing on Ujjayi breathing while practicing yoga to help you stay focused and centered as you flow from one posture to the next.

When exercising: Ujjayi is also useful when you’re doing aerobic exercise such as running or cycling. In fact, some Olympic-level athletes have introduced Ujjayi into their training routines to improve their respiratory efficiency. Experiment with this breath technique when you’re working out and see if it reduces wear and tear on your body.

When you’re nervous: The slow and rhythmic nature of the Ujjayi breath is incredibly helpful to calm nerves. Next time you find yourself with a case of the jitters, try some yogic breathing to settle the worries.