What is yin yoga?

What is yin yoga?
Yin yoga is a super-slow form of yoga, involving seated or reclined poses which are held for at least two to five minutes each.
Some say yin is a modern variant of Hatha yoga, initiated and developed since the 1970s in America. Others say that which we are now calling yin yoga is in fact closer to the original practice of the yoga asanas, which are thought to date back at least 5000 years. (1)
The theory is that you apply load to connective tissue such as ligaments and the fascia, which is the sheath which covers all muscle tissue, in order to increase flexibility.
A second focus within yin yoga is clearing the “meridians”- the channels carrying Qi (chi), the vital energy or life force, through the body. The map used for these meridians is the same used in acupuncture. Therefore you can have a sequence to promote kidney health, for example. Although this concept is drawn from Taoism and Chinese medicine, it is also found in yoga’s “Nadis”, or energy pathways through the body which carry prana, the yogic name for life force.
Because you hold the poses for extended periods, you are not expected to put as much muscular effort into each pose. We want the emphasis to remain on working with the fascia, and other deeper tissue beneath the muscle layer. You just put yourself into a position and stay there. There is less emphasis on alignment than there is in more flow-style yoga.
A third benefit of the yin approach is that it is very contemplative. It can be especially good for those who say “Oh, I can’t meditate, I’ve got a monkey mind”. Because we are tasking the body with sometimes taxing holds-and it’s fascinating how something you can do easily for 20 seconds becomes almost impossible after four minutes!- the mind can and must slow down. We maintain focus and develop patience and resolve.

Yin sequences will be offered at Shala Om from time to time within our usual schedule during 2017.

(1)”The practice of holding yoga postures or asanas for extended periods of time has always been a significant part of traditional yoga practice, both in the hatha yoga tradition of India and in the Taoist yoga tradition of the greater China area. Some regard Yin yoga as the oldest form of hatha yoga, since it is an effective method of physical conditioning for prolonged sitting in meditation, which was the principal concern of ancient yogic practitioners.”

-Wikipedia
Article ©2017 Unjay

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Build community from your dreams!

There is nothing more powerful than an idea. 
There is nothing more dangerous than a human with a belief that their idea is absolute truth.
To be certain is to be out of touch with reality- because we must know we cannot with certainty know anything. 
Astrophysics tells us this. Particle physics tells us this. The world’s biggest machine, the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, was built to find out what stuff is made of at the most basic level. And we still don’t know for sure.
So, choose. Choose honestly and wisely what your faith, what your picture of the Universe, is. And act as though you are right but be open to being wrong.
In light of this understanding I approach yoga or meditation. Without dogma. Without a guru.
My friend Vani is from the rich, ancient culture of India and has a legitimate direct transmission of practice from her guru.
I am from no particular culture, or no single culture anyway. And although I sometimes envy people like Vani who know where they fit and who their people are, I think my situation is more representative of the current age. The age of individualism.
Western European culture has been elevating the individual above the collective since at least The Renaissance, arguably since the High Middle Ages. That’s five or six hundred years of social, philosophical and spiritual evolution. And we have lost a lot in the course of that evolution. Westerners are more isolated, lonely and depressed than ever before. But we have gained the ability to stand on our own and say, “This I believe; this is me.” And that is empowering.
It is when we have no belief, take no position, that we fail so miserably. Then we fall between a place of community and individual faith. It is then that society degenerates into a hopeless, chaotic, alienating dystopia.
I think that, moving into the future, we are going to be ever more discarding the received authority of traditional cultures, traditions, social structures and religions. This can be frightening and so there is a temptation to join the backlash of the backward-looking. The offer of the certainty of the past through right-wing political nostalgia, fundamentalist religious beliefs, nationalism, militarism. All of these give you something to belong to, something to be part of. That sense of community, of “unity with”, with which we in the West seem to be losing touch.
I value individualism highly. I also acknowledge that we are fundamentally social beings. Nothing is more damaging than isolation. So how do we resolve this dilemma?
Follow your heart. Follow your dreams. Be open to exciting choices. Then look at ways those choices give you opportunities to build community. Or join community. 
My own mini “Eat, Pray, Love” story is one of leaving my teaching position and going to Byron Bay to do yoga teacher training. There was a time of uncertainty when I came home- I just wanted to go back and disappear into the seductive endless summer of a surfie/yoga/hippy Mecca. But then my friend Heather said to me, “Go and build community in Semaphore”. Her words were clear, true and inspired. One of those precious times when you know that what you are hearing is absolutely right. So I came home and Christy and I, with support from our kids, started Shala Om, a tiny yoga community in Semaphore. 
It’s not on a world scale. It’s not a commercial success. It’s not even a business really. There are only a few people who know about it. But it’s our little contribution, and it is so valuable to me and to others. 
It is community born of individualism.

Shala Om is moving!

We are excited to announce a new venue for 2016.

The council has closed access to the community room, at least for now, so sadly we bid that fabulous, unique, somewhat bizarre ambience farewell.

This year we will hold classes in The Chapel, Semaphore Uniting Church.

This beautiful restful space shall help us enter that yogic place of inner awareness.

We are also excited to announce a second evening class, along with our Summer Saturday morning outdoor class.

More Om for everybody!

Shala Om 2016 Classes

  • Saturday    9.00 am     On the lawn next to the Timeball Tower (top of Semaphore Road, opposite jetty)
  • Tuesday      6.30 pm     Semaphore Uniting Church Chapel 
  • Thursday    6.30 pm     Semaphore Uniting Church Chapel 

All classes $10


Enquiries to Unjay, 043 1928 663 or unjay@shalaom.com


See you on the mat!

Christmas and yoga

Christmas and yoga
Christmas… A celebration of the birth of Jesus dating back to around at least the third century A.D., with uncertain origins, but certainly including both Christian and pagan content.
Yoga… A philosophy and practice dating back maybe 5000 years or more, possibly to the Indus Valley civilisation. 
They are the same. Essentially.
Huh!? You may say… How can they be the same?
It’s actually simple and clear. The word yoga derives from a Sanskrit verb meaning to “yoke together”, specifically yoking together body, mind and spirit through physical, mental and spiritual practices, disciplines and virtues.
Christmas (Christ’s mass, or the sacred feast day dedicated to Christ) celebrates the embodiment of the divine in human existence.
Yoga teaches that the deep essential nature of each of us is perfect, pure and divine. Christianity says the same about Christ.
Thus yoga and Christmas are celebrations of the spirit embodied. “Hail the incarnate deity”, as the carol says. In yoga terms, “Ham sa”: I am that [which is pure perfect and divine].

The glass floor

When I was in yoga teacher training, we had a very restrictive structure. There was a set number of specific asanas we had to present, and almost a set script where we had to state counter indications, modifications and benefits of each pose. I can see why a teacher training regime would have this structure, but I did find it frustratingly rigid and predictable.
Now as a teacher in my own shala, I find classes anything but predictable. I have an outline of each class worked out in my head, but I have learnt to abandon it at a moment’s notice. Instead I take as my starting point my students’ needs at that moment in that place. My sequence starts with them.
I have regular students, but every class they have different needs. Maybe there are injuries. Maybe everyone is exhausted. Maybe they are up for a challenge… I can never predict what my students’ needs will be, so each class is a surprise to me! I may have planned a vigorous class filled with sun salutations and side planks but end up teaching a restorative class where we don’t even get off the mat. But no one has left disappointed. (Or else they are really good liars.)
In my other work, both as a kindergarten teacher and a musician, I have come to realise that I can wing it and it will work. (Almost) always. Relying on intuition and inspiration taps into a magical flow where I can connect with my “audience”, whether they are music fans, yoga students or four year olds. I don’t really know how it works, but it does. Ideas always come. Inspiration is infinite and available. It just takes a little bit of courage to step out over the ravine onto that glass floor that doesn’t appear to be there. My parachute is that I can always return to something I know if the glass floor cracks. Play the chords, read a story or return to my yoga training sequence. But I almost never need that parachute. Anyway, what is the ravine under the glass floor? Nothing life threatening- just the risk of embarrassment, an awkward moment when I don’t know what to do or say. It passes.
And the payoff for that tiny bit of courage? Thirty four-year-olds completely entranced by a story I am making up on the spot- yogis looking sleepy, relaxed and renewed as they come out of śavasana- people dancing and singing as I play.
I say the risk is worth it.

Grounding Yourself With Bare Feet

By Bailey Keatley, podiatrist

We are approaching holiday season, and this has got me thinking about how much I enjoy seeing the difference in people who are refreshed after a break. On holidays like this, many of us kick off our shoes and enjoy the feeling of freedom that being barefoot brings. Are you like me?

You might not expect this to be coming from a podiatrist, but I am an advocate of spending time barefoot. It can have powerful effects on your overall health and wellbeing. Getting your daily dose of barefoot time can have you feeling more grounded and connected to yourself and can be an important part of a healthy balanced lifestyle.

Have a think about it…. How do you feel walking barefoot on the beach? Skipping on the grass in the park or wandering along your garden foot paths in your backyard?

This is known as ‘grounding’ or ‘earthing’. Recent research evidence supports the practice of barefoot time. The concept of grounding is where you spend up to half an hour connecting your gorgeous souls….Oops I mean, SOLES… to the earth. This can be dirt, grass, sand and even cement. It is something our ancestors have done for thousands of years. I know I love the feeling of getting back in touch with nature.

We spend so much time walking on synthetic surfaces in synthetic shoes. This can lead to a build up of harmful static energy in the body that can cause pain and inflammation and may be a factor in the myriad of chronic diseases that can affect the body. Negative charged electrons from the Earth help the body balance out excessive positive charged electrons that build up in the body, which has an antioxidant effect that can protect your body from inflammation and disease.

Potential benefits of grounding:

Reduce inflammation
Reduce affects of stress by lowering stress hormones such as cortisol
Improve heart health
Increase energy levels
Reduce and prevent chronic pain
Improve sleep
Balance your nervous system
Improve blood pressure and blood flow in your body
Relieve muscle tension and headaches
Shorten recovery time from injury or physical exertion/sporting activities
Speed healing

If you experience pain in your feet when you’re barefoot, or if you are worried about the potential risks, please see your podiatrist. Podiatrists can help you enjoy your experience of grounding by ensuring your feet are functioning at their best when they don’t have the support of shoes or your orthotics.

People with Diabetes, nerve damage or circulation problems in their feet should check with their podiatrist to discuss the best ways to benefit from earthing without putting their feet at risk of injury.

For everyone else, give it a try and see how your body responds. Walk, stand, jump, or skip on the earth… You may be just a step away from better health and vitality through the power of your feet 🙂

image

Source: Grounding Yourself With Bare Feet

Bailey Keatley is a Podiatrist at Posture Podiatry in Adelaide.

Spring has sprung!

…Well and truly!

Shala Om is open again.

Come along and refresh your spirit with yoga.

Thursdays 6.30- 7.30 pm

Sundays 2.00-3.00 pm

Community Meeting Room,

Semaphore Library

14 Semaphore Road

Semaphore (above Take Two)

Still only $10

Beginners welcome- come and try yoga!

photo ©2015 Unjay

What is yoga?

 

This answer is one I found on the Yoga Australia website..

https://www.yogaaustralia.org.au/what-is-yoga

…As my teacher Madhuri says, “each asana (pose) not looking a certain way”.  Photo: Punnamjai

There are many different ideas related to Yoga, where it comes from, what it is all about, and how to practice a range of techniques.

Generally, it is recognised as an ancient system of philosophies, principles and practices derived from the Vedic tradition of India and the Himalayas, more than 2500 years ago. It is a system that recognises the multi-dimensional nature of the human person, and primarily relates to the nature and workings of the mind, based on experiential practice and self-enquiry.

In Yoga, the body, breath and mind are seen as a union of these multi-dimensional aspects of each and every human being. The system and various techniques of Yoga cultivate the experience of that union, leading to greater integration of being, internal peacefulness, and clarity of the mind. It is a system that is designed to cultivate health and happiness, and a greater sense of self-awareness and higher consciousness.