Friday, June 27, 2008


This is a fantastic piece, republished with permission from the author, Christine over at Yoga Every Day. I had not thought of brahmacharya in quite this way before!

Brahmacharya is one of the Yamas, or Suggestions for a firm foundation for practice. Brahmacharya means conserving your life force. As I was listening to folks discussing our current gas prices and “Energy Independence” on the radio, I realized that this is another application of Brahmacharya.

When we are aware of where and how we expend our life force - our precious time, energy and resources - we can make choices that reflect our deepest values.
Energy Independence begins with not using our life force carelessly. So if we’re sitting in front of the TV it’s because we mean to, and we’ve chosen the images we’re taking in. Or, if we realize mid-activity we are involved in something that doesn’t reflect our deepest truth, knowing we can choose differently any time.

The other part of Energy Independence is choosing the most efficient methods for moving through the world. On the mat this might mean being aware of whether we’re gripping in a pose, and releasing areas of unnecessary effort. A good rule of thumb is not to reach out further or with more vigor than we are reaching in.

In relationships, everyday interactions and helping others, our practice on the mat is really practice for respecting our own life force and the energy of everyone we meet. That’s why, though yoga makes us more flexible, healthier, thinner and happier, we have so many more reasons to find our feet on the mat.

And now, if you feel so inclined, you can do an asana session themed on this yama, from Kelly at SamadhiRUSH!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

I'm ba-ack!

Yay! Finally got home email sorted. Phew.

So now I can blog on a (hopefully) more regular basis; also, visit the blogs I love and have been missing (see sidebar) and actually respond to the lovely comments you leave. Instead of the deadening silence that has been meeting emails and comments.

Now for a little fizzle:
I got a rather nice email the other day. It appears I was 'blogged':

Just Breathe at Blogged

Stay tuned for the next few weeks: I plan a scintillating round of interviews and Melbourne studio reviews!

Now if you will excuse me, I am skipping off to waste time at Ravelry.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Settling in

I still don't have home internet access. If anything, the Australian state telecoms provider are slower than the South African! The home-phone saga has been going on for three weeks now...

So, still visiting the library whenever I can to check email, blog a teeny bit, and so on. Mostly, though, my days are filled with yoga. Lots and lots of yoga; partly in the interests of getting to know the yoga community, partly in the interests of getting the community to know me!

In general, I have been overwhelmed by the generosity of the yoga folks in Melbourne. This is a recurring them, since I have already said how wonderful most Melburnians are, but even more so the yogis. One teacher runs by-donation classes - just like in the old days, you pay only what you can afford, into a little tin. Two studios have offered me yoga classes for FREE. Why? Well, it seems, mostly because I have just arrived. Can you imagine that? Loads of free yoga just because I am a cash-strapped migrant? That is insanely generous behaviour, if you ask me.

So I have been going to lots of classes, and it seems there is a wider variety of yoga on offer here than in JHB - Jo'burg has a more polarised scene - either very vigorous yoga or very gentle. Melbourne seems to have more in-between stuff. Well-trained teachers, kind, safe. Safe being a big issue since I am just dipping my toe back into the world of non-therapeutic yoga after my back injury.

That said, I did attend a class last week where the teacher didn't ask about injuries at the beginning of the class and then gave me an adjustment which caused my injury to flare up again. I think I am going to have to find a chiropractor, actually. When I told my husband the story, he was furious with me. He wanted to know why I had let this happen when I so obviously know better. I said I really hadn't wanted to make a huge scene in the middle of the class: I moved away the first time the teacher tried to adjust me (non-verbal cue) and the second time, said something about my injury (verbal cue). Then I just gave up and took the adjustment.

My hubby is right though. I shouldn't have, since I was in so much pain that night I didn't really sleep. Bah!

Note to self: stick to the SAFE teachers.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Oh Dear

How did that happen?
What, you ask?

Well, it seems I am (clears throat) an endorphin junkie. Wow. I had no idea. I have been super-stressed and injured for so long, I had forgotten what it felt like to inhabit my 'real' body. Good, as it happens.

It also happens that I get cranky on days when I haven't done some heart-rate raising activity - brisk walk or fairly vigorous yoga practice, for example. This is how I know I am addicted to exercise. How did this happen to me? The kid who had to do cross-country because she was so bad at all other school activities? Who was quite sure that lying in bed reading was an Olympic sport?

It must be nature's way of inducing me to do what's healthy. Exercise, move, etc. Strangely enough, it seems that on days when I walk a lot (most of them, at the moment) my back hurts less. Although it hurts less in general these days. I can almost pretend no injury ever happened. But I won't. I promise to keep trotting it out on this blog for as long as I possibly can...

Now, limited internet access, must trot along and try to deal with my email.
Take care, all of you!


Thursday, June 05, 2008

Good for You: Yoga

little yogini, originally uploaded by hlkljgk.

Soooo, I've been rather quiet lately. Sorry. No internet access. Once my home phone is sorted I will be back in action, but for today's post, we have a guest post from Danielle Grilli. She is the content director of, and contacted me asking to do a guest post. Hell yeah, I said, I am not up to much, so go for it! I like that RVita quotes actual studies, not hearsay, so I can use the info from their site to offer my students proven benefits.

Read on...Publish Post

If I tried to count all the reasons why I’ve been doing yoga for 15-plus years, I think I’d probably lose track around about a thousand. I mean, yoga makes us FEEL good right? It makes our bodies feel tall and strong; it’s great exercise, and there’s no denying the small pride we all feel when manage to pull off some incredible feat of balance or strength or movement. It’s an evolution that, once you embrace, unfolds and unfolds before you in a seemingly endless journey towards…I’m not sure where, but it’s got to be good.

Any long-time lover of yoga knows well enough that yoga is curative inside and out. With roots in an ancient system of healing, an Indian philosophy borne from the desire to unify the body, mind, and spirit; yoga lays a path toward physical and emotional well-being. But how effective is yoga really? What do the scientific trials say? What can those who have never experienced yoga first hand expect from the practice and how can it be used as a treatment for various physical and emotional conditions?

Although many CAM (Complementary and Alternative Medicine) treatments have the disadvantage of being “clinically neglected”, yoga is an exception to the rule. In fact, over there years there have been hundreds and hundreds of reputable scientific trials which have touted the benefits of yoga. As a result, cumulative data tells us that there is “good scientific evidence” that yoga can be effective in the treatment of anxiety, stress, asthma, depression, heart disease, high blood pressure, OCD, schizophrenia, epilepsy and ADHD. Additionally, it has been suggested that yoga might be beneficial to those who suffer from fatigue, diabetes and reduced lung function among other chronic health conditions. To date, I don’t believe that there have been any scientific trials that have shown that yoga is a BAD thing to do although, as we all know, it’s important to watch yourself to prevent injury.

In the end it appears that yoga doesn’t just makes us FEEL better, it actually makes us better, healthier and stronger - inside and out.