Griffins Hill Retreat yoga and food blog

A blog about Iyengar yoga, organic food, and cooking.

A hidden problem: Men’s pelvic floor

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Women often report pelvic floor problems after childbirth. But men have a pelvic floor too (of course) and sometimes it needs special attention in yoga.

 

My friend John, a regular guest at Griffins Hill, was diagnosed with prostate cancer shortly after his Easter holidays a year or two ago. John's a private person, but he kindly agreed for me to write about his experience so he could help other men who might be suffering in silence and might be inspired by his recovery.

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Let go, Let in

Let go, Let in

By Kimina Lyall

Have you ever noticed when you hold your breath it is always with the air in? Have you ever “held your breath” after your out breath? It is possible to do for a few seconds, but not without conscious awareness and focus. Inevitably, the body fights for life. Yet holding your breath in is as easy as … well, breathing. For me, the practice is almost automatic. I especially do it when I am stressed, anxious, or stepping out of my comfort zone—in almost every difficult asana (and life situation), in other words.

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Orient to the journey

Orient to the journey

Orient to the journey ...

The other day I found myself you-tubing instructions for learning how to free handstand. On the one hand, it was astounding that I was even thinking a free handstand would be within reach for me. On closer inspection, it demonstrated that I had lost the yoga plot.

Let me rewind for a bit. When I first started practicing yoga, I had little ambition for my own physicality, preferring to reside almost exclusively in my busy mind. It was a little over ten years ago, I was living a crazy life as a foreign correspondent based in Bangkok, driven by deadlines, competition and sheer determination to succeed. 

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Taking yoga on the journey of life

Taking yoga on the journey of life

Jenny Green, 71, is just weeks away from embarking on a 270km walk along the hills of Massif Central in southern France – named the Robert Louis Stephenson trail after the author who walked it in 1878.

A daily practice of yoga asana and strength-building exercises is part of Green’ preparation for her big walk. “I am going to the gym to build strength, and I tend to finish my gym session with yoga,” Green says. “I think flexibility is a really important part of the walking process.

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Adho Mukha Svanasana – downward facing dog pose

Adho Mukha Svanasana – downward facing dog pose
By Frank Jesse Adho Mukha Svanasana is an incredibly versatile asana. Not only is it an important pose in its own right, it can be used throughout a sequence to link poses or as a preparatory pose. Adho means down, Mukha is face and Svana is dog. The name Adho Mukha Svanasana arises from the pose’s similarity to a dog stretching to wake itself up after a nap. We generally do downward facing dog before inversions because the pose helps prepare the shoulders and arms. As a semi - inversion, the pose also prepares the mind and nervous system for full inversions like Adho Mukha Vrksasana (handstand), Pinca Mayurasana (forearm balance) and Salamba Sirsasana (headstand). Downward facing dog pose provides some of the benefits of a full inversion. Because the head is lower  than the heart the brain is flushed with fresh oxygenated blood, reducing mental fatigue. Adho Mukha Svanasana...
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Between yoga poses

Between yoga poses
  By Frank Jesse Yoga poses began centuries ago as a practice to prepare the mind and body for meditation. Keeping this in mind can help yoga students to overcome a common problem in the early years of their practice – maintaining focus during the transition in and out of yoga asanas. When we start yoga, many of us are unused to focusing on anything for a long period of time – we face many distractions in our day-to-day lives.  Even keeping ourselves focused during a yoga pose can be difficult. However, the teacher’s instructions and the challenge of aligning the body in unfamiliar ways help keep us in the present moment. The instant the teacher says ‘release’, however, students tend to collapse both physically and mentally – the action is over, and so we slump back into our usual distracted state! But yoga is both action and reflection; without...
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How I tricked myself into daily practice

How I tricked myself into daily practice
By Kimina Lyall What is it about home-alone yoga? I’m a grown-up, right? There are lots of things I can do every day, all by myself. I can eat. Shower. Brush my teeth. Check my emails. Even cuddle the friendly next door cat. These little daily tasks come easily, effortlessly almost, and I achieve them no matter what else is distracting me. But get on my yoga mat? Now there’s a tall order. It seems to be not an unusual one. Lots of my friends, who have been regularly attending yoga classes for many years, admit they still fail in their aim for daily practice. For me, there’s been the usual excuses: I’m so busy, I’m so tired, I wouldn’t know what to practice (after all, there’s so many asanas to choose from!), I don’t have all the props … Every now and then I have managed to get myself...
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Home Practice: The benefits of not doing

Home Practice: The benefits of not doing
0 0 1 234 1335 Griffins Hill Retreat 11 3 1566 14.0 544x376 Normal 0 false false false EN-AU JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman";}   By Frank Jesse A lot of people tell me they dislike pranayama (breathing) and restorative classes. They’d rather be doing active classes full of dynamic poses. But there is a lot of benefit to not doing, and just being.  We do so much in our busy lives! I’m not quite sure why people want their yoga classes to be always actively challenging as well. Of course, when we are doing poses actively, it can be easier to focus and to still the mind – which is the main purpose of yoga. However  when we are asked watch our breath or do poses with a lot of...
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