Do you want health and happiness?

In Yoga we work with energy that we call 'prana' or lifeforce. This is the energy that drives the universe, including you! In order for you to be healthy in body, mind and spirit, your energy needs be high and flowing freely. How you move, breathe, think, eat and live all affects this energy flow.
Yoga has this understanding down to a science called 'pranayama' meaning to control prana and also to allow it to expand. As your breath is intricately linked with your energy, pranayama is concerned with breath control. Combining pranayama with yoga movements, meditation, mudras (hand gestures) and lifestyle gives you the best chance for optimal health, vitality, a calm mind and basically...a happy life!
Prana is much higher in the natural world, which is why you are instinctively drawn to, and feel better for being outside in nature
Energy is simply the potential for change. When you increase your energy and allow it to flow, you are more able to let go of thought patterns and beliefs that may be self limiting, empowering you on all levels.
Try this simple technique:
Either find a quiet spot out in nature or imagine you are somewhere in nature. Sit comfortably, any position, with your spine lengthened but relaxed. Tune into your breath and allow it to naturally slow down and deepen. Give your in-breath a count (e.g a count of 4) then let your out breath be the same count, so your in and out breath are the same. Sit quietly, absorbed in your breath, with no effort at all. Allow it to flow easily. After a minute or so, allow yourself to rest in silence for a while. Feel the support of the earth beneath you, feel the prana from the earth and the sun flowing into you, giving you a wonderful feeling of well-being. Bring yourself round in your own way.

"Breathing in, I calm body and mind. Breathing out, I smile. Dwelling in the present moment, I know this is the only moment" – Thich Nhat Hanh

For more about yoga and meditation please check out our website www.relaxwithlaksmi.com Yoga and meditation aimed at over fifties who are young at heart, but all are welcome, especially beginners.


5 things every woman (and man) should know about the menopause


The menopause can be a challenging time and I speak from personal experience here! If you are currently suffering with menopausal symptoms, the first thing to remember is that you are not on your own, and the second thing is that you can really do a lot to help yourself. It is a natural stage of a woman's life which in my opinion has been overly medicalised and stigmatised, which is why men need to be in on this too! Read on and profoundly change your experience of 'the change' – become a woman of wisdom.

1. Perspective - We refer to the menopause as the 'change' so why not change your perspective? Our view of the menopause is based on society's view that it is a time when women become less desirable as well as a collection of unpleasant symptoms. No wonder we approach it with dread! What about thinking of the menopause as potential for a profound new stage of development for you? Dr. Christiane Northrup M.D. talks about the menopause as "not simply a collection of physical symptoms to be "fixed," but a mind-body revolution that brings the greatest opportunity for growth since adolescence." She talks about this being a time when we move from our reproductive phase (giving birth to others) to a phase where we give birth to our deepest selves. Changes in brain chemistry, prompt us to make lifestyle changes as well as changes at deeper levels, which can lead to surges in vitality and creativity. Seriously, do check out Christiane Northrup she is a pioneer of women's health and wellness on all levels. Check her on YouTube here

Dru yoga is a wonderful way to bring about positive changes gently, yet powerfully to our mindset and make those changes with the support of others. If you feel weekly Dru yoga classes may be of help, please check us out here

2. Symptoms - To be practical here, there are symptoms of the menopause that are at best unpleasant and embarrassing and at worst can seriously impact quality of life. These symptoms are generally a result of hormonal changes which affect the brain and body chemistry in various ways. The more drastic the hormonal swings, the more severe the symptoms tend to be. Hot flushes, night sweats, sleeplessness, foggy head are just some of these symptoms. I think that we are conditioned to just accept this as a fact of the menopause, however, there are things we can do to help ourselves. The more we can do to keep ourselves in physical and mental balance, the better our body is at balancing the swings of hormone levels and the better equipped our mind will be stay relaxed about everything!

3. Lifestyle - Stress has a profound effect on the brain and body chemistry, which if prolonged is detrimental to our health. Female hormones are thought to linked with the stress hormones in the way they affect us. High levels of stress hormones are thought to exacerbate the effects of the hormone changes around the menopause, increasing unpleasant symptoms. Combined with the fact that the menopause can create its own stress, this can be a vicious circle. Combatting stress helps us balance symptoms, as well as see things in perspective. We also find that we cope better with everything when we are relaxed. Some research is now suggesting that thoughts are more powerful than our genes!

Diet has been shown to have a balancing or unbalancing effect on the body, which can exacerbate menopausal symptoms. This includes caffeine, alcohol and smoking. Refined foods which are high in sugar and artificial ingredients have a very destabilising effect on blood sugar and inflammatory response in the body which can worsen symptoms due to hormonal changes. Some people find spicy food can make things worse. As we are all different, do your own experiments on what works and doesn't work.
Small changes to a healthier diet, reducing caffeine, alcohol and smoking and keeping hydrated can make a difference. Making dietary changes can be difficult, but if we can reduce our stress and get support from others, we have more chance of success.
Yoga and meditation, incorporating relaxation and breathing techniques are all proven ways to reduce stress and improve sleep. Our monthly yoga and meditation sessions provide you with whole toolkit of techniques for dealing with stress and allow you to gain support from like-minded people. The classes suitable for beginners or those with experience. Click here if you think this may benefit you.
Or why not treat yourself to a relaxation workshop? Find details here

4. Health considerations - Natural supplements can be a great alternative to medical interventions. I myself have found Menopace products, evening primrose oil and Sage supplements to be of benefit in reducing symptoms such as hot flushes, night sweats and sleeplessness. However, there are a few things to say about supplements. Firstly, everyone is different and what works for one person may not work for another. Secondly, supplements can stop working after a while. Thirdly, please do your research and be knowledgeable. Some supplements such as Black Cohosh, have some question marks over their safety and may be linked with liver problems. This may be due to dosage and overall health but the jury is still out, so please make an informed choice. If you have any underlying health issue or are taking prescribed medication, please consult a health professional before taking any supplements. Also, hot flushes and sweats can be due to other causes, so if you are unsure, again get check out.

5. Long term health - Post menopausal women can be at greater risk of conditions such as osteoporosis, heart problems, reduced brain function, reduced muscle tone. Much research is pointing to the fact that yoga and meditation has shown to help combat these health risks. Find out more about what Lakshmi yoga offers http://www.relaxwithlakshmi.com/home
More interesting articles ...
Yoga health benefits
Meditation health benefits
Yoga and help with osteoporosis

I hope you feel empowered to take your health into your own hands, even small changes can make a difference. I hope you enjoyed this blog and please feel free to catch up with me on Facebook, If you have any great tips I would love to hear from you.
Or come along to a class or workshop, where you will be welcomed into a friendly environment of like-minded people. We are geared towards over fifties, but all ages are welcome. relaxwithlakshmi.com

Dru yoga classes in North Leeds
Is stress making you ill?
What is stress and how does it affect us?

The body's reaction to stress is due to our fight or flight survival mechanism and is perfectly adapted for situations where we are in imminent danger. We produce stress hormones such as adrenalin which have the following effects (designed for ability to react to danger quickly)
  • Increased muscle tension,
  • Increased heart rate
  • Fast breathing –
  • Brain narrows focus to immediate situation
  • Less energy for systems not needed to deal with danger, such as the digestive and immune system
Once we have fought or run away quickly, the stress hormones are dispersed, the brain then signals that danger is over and the body returns to balance. The problem is that many people are in a chronic state of stress, linked to lifestyle and thoughts.

As we look at the above list of effects, it's no wonder that stress causes, among other things, tension leading to aches and pains, high blood pressure, spinning thoughts, inability to see the bigger picture, digestive upsets and susceptibility to common bugs.

The stress response then becomes a habit pattern and a vicious circle.

How can Dru Yoga and Dru Meditation help?

The mindful and relaxing approach of Dru Yoga and Dru Meditation can significantly reduce the impact of stress and break that vicious circle.

  • Physical movement helps disperse build up of adrenalin and release muscle tension
  • The relaxation element of Dru Yoga signals to the brain that the danger is over so that it can stop producing more stress hormones and return to balance
  • Energy block release sequences are specifically designed to release physical and mental tension
  • Breathing techniques work effectively on changing troubling thought patterns
  • Meditation calms the mind and helps give us a better perspective.
  • These techniques together allow the whole system to relax and rejuvenate and helps us to come up with creative solutions.
  • Support of like-minded people can reduce any feelings of isolation.
Don't just take my word for it, take a look at the videos and try it for yourself!

I am always interested to hear how you are getting on. Check out our classes / events and one to ones.

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