What Is Ayurveda?

1st March 2021

I talk about it a lot and it’s a big part of my life, but what is it?

If we break the word Ayurveda down, Ayur means life and Veda means knowledge or science. Put those two words back together again and we have “the science of life”.

It’s an integrated system that originated in India over 5,000 years ago, that includes all components of life, physical, emotional, mental and spiritual.

I like to look at it as my holistic toolkit for everything in my life.

Ayurveda looks at each person as a unique individual. What I love about it, is there’s not a one size fits all/ quick fix. It is a holistic lifestyle that deeply nourishes the mind, body and soul.

The 5 Elements:

According to Ayurveda everything in the universe, living or nonliving, consists of 5 elements:
Ether, Air, Fire, Water and Earth. Everything consists of these 5 elements, us as humans, the chair you’re sitting on, plants, animals, the food we eat and even every single cell and atom in your body.

Ether
Ether is space. In the human body you find spaces or empty areas and outside of us wherever there is space, that is ether.

Air
Air is the element that causes all movement. It’s ether in movement. Every muscle movement, heart pulsation, lung movement, bowel movements and every movement of the nervous system – is possible because of the air element. Also, when looking at the mind, every thought is a movement. And every time an object moves in space outside of us is also the air element.

Fire
Fire is responsible for heat and all transformation in the body. It’s the digestive fire, transforming food into body cells, but it’s also your intellectual capacity, transforming information into knowledge and wisdom. It’s responsible for your body temperature, your eyesight and all metabolic processes in your body. You can find the fire element in the sunshine, gas, fire, lava.

Water
The water element manifests as all bodily secretions, juices, saliva, mucus and plasma. The water element makes sure that the functioning of all bodily tissues, systems and organs go smoothly. You can also find water outside of us in streams rivers the ocean rain and dew.

Earth
The earth element gives the body structure and stability. Without it we would collapse. It’s our bones, muscles, cartilage, tendons, skin, hair and nails. Think outside and around us, earth is our stable foundation without it we cannot build homes or walk steadily.

Within our own unique mind body soul make-up we each have a combination of dominant elements.

Some of us have really strong bones and muscles, while others have a much smaller bodily structure. Some of us have a really strong digestive fire and can eat a lot without gaining any weight, while others have a much slower metabolism.
This is the reason why we are all different and we all have different needs to stay healthy and feel happy with our lives. The composition of these 5 elements not only determine how our body looks and works, but also how our mind works, what our dreams are and what our emotional tendencies are.

Doshas

According to Ayurveda these 5 elements form three basic body-mind types otherwise known as doshas:

Vata, Pitta and Kapha.

These dosha’s also consist of all the 5 elements, but are predominant in 2
elements.
Vata = ether + air [movement and communication in the body and mind]
Pitta = fire + water [transformations in the body and mind]
Kapha = water + earth [structure and stability in the body and mind]

Ayurveda is such an in-depth system that works.

My 1-1 teaching is based on the foundations of Ayurveda and sees you deeply as you are, meeting you where you are at.

If you are keen to know more, book in a 1-1 session to get to know “you” better.

Get in touch here: contactus@yogawithelizabeth.yoga

Retreat at Home

14th January 2021

What does the word retreat mean to you?

Have you ever attended one?

What if i told you you could retreat right where you are whenever you wanted?

I have created a beautifully presented e-guide which supports you on how to do just that!

I’ve been working on this for a long time and i’m so excited to share with you.

My new e-guide provides you with ways to enhance your retreat at home. Filled with over 60 pages of worksheets, exercises, recipes and beautiful pictures. 

Retreats have been a big part of my life for a while now, I’ve taught on many, attended many and had all sorts of wonderful experiences. My NEW BOOK; Retreat At Home, takes you on your own retreat journey that can be created wherever you are and whenever you want.

Within this e-guide you will find:

  • What a retreat is
  • How to prepare for a retreat
  • A retreat schedule to follow
  • Recipes for meal times
  • Activities
  • Reflection exercises
  • …AND SO MUCH MORE!

Available to download as a pdf on your digital device or print off and use as a workbook.

Invest in your well-being and purchase a copy by clicking here

Hi everyone! How’s your lymphatic system?

First up if you’re thinking..”my what system🤷“that’s ok. A lot of people are unsure on what this actually is..

The lymphatic system is made up of nodes, ducts and fluid. It runs close to your skin, it helps remove products of metabolism and serves as a pathway for the cells of the immune system.

In short it’s closely linked to our immunity, health and happiness. It is especially important in times of stress on the body and mind, so if you’ve been unwell, are recovering from surgery or are burnt out, some therapeutic yoga focusing on the lymphatic system may be of benefit.

In general yoga is good for keeping the lymph actively working, here are some simple and gentle things you can do to get the lymphatic system moving:

  • Reach your arms up in the air and take a few breaths then relax them back down

Elevate your lower body with props and take some slow deep breaths:

Standing side bends.

  • Plant your feet firming on the earth, slightly apart.
  • Reach one arm up in the air. Stay here if that feels enough or if you would like reach up and over to the side.
  • Breathe in to come back upright and relax the arm down.

Always listen to your body and if something doesn’t feel right stop. Enjoy moving slowly and safely.

#gentleyoga#therapeuticyoga#lymphatichealth#lymph#stressrelief#yogaforstress#yogaforcancerrecovery#yogaforhealth#bodysystems#melksham#yogainwiltshire#onlineyogateacher#yogaforlymphaticsystem#surgeryrecovery

Our mind and bodies are made up of elements just like the world around us. Learn how to access simple hand gestures designed to help with overall well-being.

The elements in each finger.

In Yoga and Ayurveda (yoga’s sister science: the knowledge of life) it is explained that we have each of the five elements within our body and through the changing seasons, lifestyle, diet and personality we can have more of one or two (dominant).

One way to balance elements within the body is by practicing something called mudras. A mudra is a gesture/shape made with the body, a hasta mudra is a gesture with the hands.

In the picture above I’ve labelled each finger to show which elements they represent. This is the same for both hands.

Before practising any mudras, make sure your hands and the joints are warmed up by trying the following exercises:

Warm up those joints

  • curl fingers into a fist and squeeze, then open and spread fingers wide (repeat a few times)
  • You can try clapping to remove any stagnation (clapping also evokes joy, think about when you usually clap!)
  • Rub palms of hands together for 10 seconds or more

Mudras

Anjali mudra/ Atmanjali mudra (gesture of prayer/gratitude)

This gesture brings harmony, balance, silence and peace.

Bring both palms together in front of the chest, gently press/rest the thumbs into the chest. Take 10 slow breaths and concentrate on your hands, when you feel ready to finish gently bow your head towards your heart and take a moment to think of something you are grateful for.

This mudra makes it into most yoga classes as a lot of teachers use it as a greeting to open or close a session. In terms of the elements, it symbolizes a balance and a coming together of/ union of all the elements. All fingers gather together at one central point. It also helps to balance the left and right hemispheres of the brain. A great mudra for balance, inner reverence and a great opportunity to give thanks.

Chin mudra/ Jnana mudra The gesture of knowledge/consciousness

Supports memory concentration, relaxes the mind, encourages a sense of grounding.

Bring the tip of your thumb and first fingers together, all other fingers stretch outwards slightly. Relax the back of your hands on your knees, close of soften your eyes and focus on your finger tips.

This mudra brings together the fire (thumb) and air (index finger) elements bringing a balance to the mind and is said to connect us to our higher self. For that reason this mudra is used a lot in meditation practices.

There are many mudras that can help with your overall well-being if you’d like to know more or if I can be of any service to you personally then do get in touch 🙂

Have a blessed day

Hridaya Mudra

3rd April 2020

HRIDAYA MUDRA (heart gesture)♥️

It is written in the ancient yoga texts that performing this gesture diverts flow of prana (energy) from the hands to the heart. The heart is the centre of emotion.
HRIDAYA MUDRA can help to release pent up emotions and unburden the heart. It can be useful during emotional conflict or crisis. – simple, safe and easy, even in acute situations!
.
BENEFITS that you may feel from this practice:
– A release or calming of emotions
– Giving yourself time to process and deal with emotions
– Energy/ sensations in your hands/arms/chest
– A slightly clearer head
– A pick me up/ energiser/ recharger (could replace your afternoon coffee with it?)
.
TO PRACTICE:
Place your index fingers at the root of your thumbs, join the tips of your middle and ring fingers to the tips of your thumbs. The little finger remains straight.
Place the hands on your knees or lap, palms upward.
Sit up tall and take a few breaths
Close your eyes if you like.
Try to relax your body slightly.
Focus your attention on the sensation of energy moving from your hands up towards your heartspace.
Stay for as long as you feel comfortable, try for a minute or two and see how it feels. (If this position isn’t available on your body you can use the wonderful power of your imagination)

 

The sound of the water boiling, the feel and smell of spices. The sense of making magic. There is nothing more satisfying to me. As a kid I used to love making mud pies and fairy cakes in the garden and I guess the act of making teas and decoctions reminds me of that magic.

Anyone who knows me and has mentioned their digestion is probably sick of me talking about this herbal tea recipe. I drink it daily and especially when im trying to cleanse my digestive system a little (after one to many donuts the week before ha!) So here it is in all its glory.

Ayurvedic CCF tea

You will need:

2 cups of water

1 tsp each of coriander seeds, cumin seeds and fennel seeds.

Place the water and the spices in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Turn it down and let it simmer for a few minutes. turn off the flame let it steep for another minute, strain and pour. Top of with a squeeze of fresh lime and some ginger if you fancy. This tea is a digestive and isn’t sweet, you can add some sweetener of choice, although for its benefits its better to have without.

You can pour this in a flask and sip between meals.

Do you want to practise yoga but fear you can’t get into some of the bendy shapes?
Or do you already practise but find theres not really any support or options for certain postures in your body?
Yoga should be accessible to all adn I’m on a mission to make my classes a little more inclusive. (If you have any info or ideas on how I can improve my skills and offerings as a teacher do let me know!)
1. If you suffer from sore knees, pad the knee with a blanket or whatever you have handy in a class (a jumper or scarf works well too, or an extra mat). For support you can use two blocks either side of your front foot to hold on to.
2. If you have access to a chair sit on the edge of the side and slide one leg back. Press into both feet and either hold the back of the chair or reach both hands up.
3. If you are in a class and there’s no props, use the wall. Place one foot towards the wall, step the other back and press your hands into the wall for support.
I’m a British wheel of yoga teacher who is trying to make general yoga classes a little more accessible and inclusive. Let me know what you need more of in a yoga class!!
Have a great week!
.
#accessibility #accessibleyoga #inclusiveyogalondon #yogateacherlondon #bwy #balance #gentleyogalondon #modifiedyoga #yogaforall #lunge #supportedyoga #wellnessthatworks #yogalifestyle #thisgirlcan #thisiswhatayogilookslike

LEARNING HOW WE BREATHE

6th August 2019

The ability to breathe is known as a normal function of the body. We don’t think about it, we don’t have to put any effort in, the body just takes in and expels air on its own. It’s not something we are taught as children, like tying our shoes laces. It just sort of happens. (And when you think about it, it’s an unappreciated miracle!)

However, what we are unaware of, is how we are breathing, especially in times or stress, panic, anger or upset.

Often we aren’t breathing at our lungs full capacity and this can have a huge impact on how the mind and body function.

Learning how we breathe; TRY THIS SIMPLE EXERCISE to learn how you are breathing:

-Begin laying down on the floor/ bed/ sofa and take a moment to notice where you feel your breath move in your body. You don’t need to do anything, just observe how your body receives and lets go of each breath. Notice where there is movement when you breathe. If possible, breathe in and out through the nose.

-To help you feel your breath, place one hand on your abdomen and one hand on your chest. Notice the gentle movement beneath your hands for a few breaths. Keep observing.

-Then see if you can start to deepen the breath by taking a longer inhale and a longer exhale. Notice how this feels.
See if on your next exhale you can breathe right to the end of your breath, getting rid of the last drop of air in your lungs.
Then taking a longer in breath, filling your lungs with fresh air. (This should feel really good! If it doesnt, you might be over-straining yourself.)

-Continue this process of a long exhale and a long inhale for 4 more breaths. Then relax your hands down beside you, return to your natural breath and observe how you feel.

Do you notice any difference from before and after? Are you aware of where your breath moves in your body? Do you feel you breathe more into your belly or your chest?

Sometimes it’s as simple as learning how we are breathing in a situation and seeing if we can take a deeper longer breath.

 

Savasana, known as the “corpse pose”, is practised as a relaxation at the end of a yoga class. For some this can be the hardest posture as it involves staying still, relaxing the areas we sometimes naturally hold on to and trying to slow down the mind.

At a symbolic level, savasana represents the death of our limited beliefs. The process of yoga is said to dissolve these limited beliefs and the suffering associated with them.

To making the process of relaxation a little easier here are my top tips for RELAXING LIKE A QUEEN 🙂

Support your body with props! Props can become your best friend if used correctly!

  1. If you find your chin is pointing high up to the ceiling and the back of your neck is compressed, try placing a folded blanket or a thin yoga block under the back of your head.
  2. Can’t keep your eyes closed? If you are in a class and a teacher offers you an eye pillow say yes! Eye pillows gentle soften tension around the whole eye area. A little bit of weight around the eyes stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system the “relaxation response” in  the body.
  3. BACK PAIN? Keep the knees bent! Trying placing a rolled up blanket/towel/ pilow or bolster under your knees to help you relax but take some tension off of the back.
  4. PREGNANT? Try lying on your left side, knees bent with a folded blanket or pillow between your knees.
  5. MIND WANDERING? For me a good savasana has a little bit of guidance to help you relax, some teachers leave a complete silent space and for some this situation can be even harder to relax in. If that is the case, focus on your breath and add a count of 4 to your inhale and exhale. Each time your mind wanders off, take a deep breath and focus on your exhale relaxing each part of your body.

When used correctly props really can make yoga so much more enjoyable and ACCESSIBLE! Yoga is not about what shape you make, but how it feels for YOU in your OWN BODY!

EXTRA SUMPTIOUSNESS:

  1. If you know you can safely use essential oils, choose some to help you relax like lavender or clary sage.
  2. If you are touch sensitive and respond positively from touch, ask a teacher for hands on adjusments to ease the body into the earth more.   Try these tips and let me know if they make a difference to your relaxation time.

Yoga Chill Club

8th July 2019

The all new, delicious YOGA CHILL CLUB has officially started!

Fed up of all the trendy bendy fast-paced yoga classes that happen around the city at the moment?

Don’t feel like a sweaty workout but more of a work-in?

Want to find a small group community based class where everyone is friendly and chatty and welcoming?

Want to find a session where you can connect with your own body and mind in a gentle way?

Want to find a class that includes gentle movement, breath-work, guided deep relaxation/meditation and offers a cuppa and a snack after and a place to sit for atleast 5 extra minutes?

LOOK NO FURTHER!! THE YOGA CHILL CLUB HAS YOUR BACK!

Limited to 11 spaces each week, join us as we journey in together.

Yoga Chill Club Tuesdays 7pm, pophub 41 Whitcomb St, London WC2H 7DT