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Sarah

Yoga

Taking Care of your Joints During Yoga

June 23, 2021 • By

As an Ashtanga yoga practitioner it’s almost inevitable that at some point during our dedication to practice we will endure some kind of injury. The most common complaints from an Ashtangi are wrist pain or knee discomfort. We spend a lot of our yoga practice pushing our bodies to the very edge of our comfort zone and, unfortunately, this can often result in twinges that delay our progression.

Before I started practicing yoga many years ago I used to suffer terrible knee problems. My knees would swell and become painful after 12 hours shifts and long distance runs. Eventually I had to seek medical help and was referred to a physiotherapist. I was given a recovery programme and vast amounts of anti-inflammatory medication. The moral of the story being, prevention is better than cure.

It wasn’t until I started to understand my body better through my yoga practice that I learned the importance of taking care of my joints. It’s not something we often think of when we are young, more interested in getting abs or a bigger bum, both of which become impossible tasks if you suffer joint problems.

In order to have a near perfect practice every time I roll out my mat I’ve started taking care of my joints from the inside out. I always ensure to warm up my knees and ankles at the start of every practice, I eat well, stay hydrated and I have started to incorporate Feel Joints daily vitamins into my wellness routine.

Feel are a subscription-based service that makes it super convenient to get your daily intake of goodness and stops you from running out as soon as you’ve got your body to a good places. When taken consecutively for a minimum of 90 days Feel Joints are clinically proven to alleviate knee osteoarthritis and sooth pain right at the source. The not so secret, secret is their highest quality, anti-inflammatory ingredients.

Think about what happens to your joints during your yoga practice, especially if you are new to the practice;

  • Downward Facing Dog – your ankles and wrists are closest to the Earth and are therefore taking the majority of your weight. A well seasoned practitioner may have built up strength in these areas overtime but would always benefit from extra nutrients to these areas.
  • Jump through: the hands and wrists take all the body weight on a jump through and there is also the added risk of injury from the movement (as soon as a joint becomes mobile, it risks injury)
  • Marichyasana B & D: the knee joints in these variations become temperamental if performed incorrectly. The knee joint should be kept locked to keep it protected, however if you have any issues with your patella these postures can often be problematic. Natural anti-inflammatory nutrients will help to alleviate this.

To ensure that your practice can stay consistent and you enjoy many, many years of a healthy yoga practice it’s important we take care of these often forgotten about areas of the body. If you’ve ever suffered an injury during your Ashtanga practice, either on or off the mat, you’ll know if can throw you off course for weeks, months or years, holding us back from progressing in our practice and feeling the full benefits of yoga.

I’ll be taking a holistic approach to my practice moving forward, taking care of my body from the inside and out.

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Yoga & Meditation

If the waters are too wild outside, we can’t get on with our inner work

July 27, 2020 • By

One of the most challenging aspects of a good mediation practice is your own self. You trip yourself up before you even get going. Your body gets uncomfortable and your mind is all over the place and how the hell is this suppose to make me feel good?

So you stop.

And you carry on ‘living’, all entangled in every little stress and emotion. It didn’t work for you, right?

I speak from experience. I wanted to be a meditator so bad when I first started. I wanted that enlightenment everyone is always raving about. I took pictures of myself in lotus pose with my eyes closed because maybe if I looked like I was meditating I would eventually, one day, be meditating.

As soon as I sat to practice my mind was all over the place. I’d spend 30 minutes or more, sitting on the floor looking like a meditator but thinking about; food, work, men, friends, family, health, that dream I had when I was 12, my body shape, my hair, the trees, the planet, how planes fly, if my dog could understand me, what death felt like, why I was so shit at meditating, why was I so shit at everything. You get the jist.

But I didn’t give up. I sat every day I thought the exact same messed up mind thoughts.

And then my life fell apart. Out of my control. I lost everything I’d once loved and felt the kind of pain that made me howl uncontrollably.

And the first thing I turned to?

Mediation? Nope.

I chose wine. I got so fucking plastered to forget. I drank bottle after bottle. I wanted to feel anything but pain, so I chose to feel drunk, then sick.

But that is obviously not a permanent solution to pain.

I knew my next meditation attempt would be like sitting on shards of glass whilst swallowing acid. I was so scared to feel.

Ultimately though we have no choice but the feel, eventually.

So I sat. On my bed this time, no floor, no alter, no candles or malas. Just me, in pyjamas, wrapped in fear.

I waited for the pain. And you want me to tell you it didn’t come and I found some kind of peace?

Nope.

Pain came. That kind of pain that makes your throat close up and your breath become short and stomach burn. Tears flooded till my face stung and eye swelled. Everything was hot, fire, burning pain.

But in that very first painful meditation after grief I discovered something. I watched myself experience everything during that seated practice. And that person doing the watching (me) is what I needed to tap into in every meditation moving forward.

I became the observer. The observer is your true self. The experiencer (the one with the noisy mind) is who you perceive yourself to be in this world (ego).

Now when I sit I can separate. I can tap into me, not who I perceive myself to be (and no doubt who you perceive me to be too). I sit like ‘oh here comes fear, let’s deal with that’, ‘here’s sadness, the tears are rolling but I can’t feel them’, ‘here’s pleasure, arousal, temptations, desire. Let’s watch them till they are done and gone’

It’s a trip really.

I used suffering as a vehicle to elevate my spiritual path.

And if you want to know if it was worth it?

In truth, I don’t know yet.

Would I want to go through it again? Absofuckinglutely not.

Will I go through it all again. Definitely.

I’m not writing this so you’ll start meditating. That’s none of my business. But if you’re trying to meditate and finding it difficult maybe you can find comfort in the thought that you’re practicing something that will one day become your source of air when your suffering become suffocating. Keep going. Real You and ego You will meet eventually. In pain or not.
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Yoga

In the absence of love, nothing truly exist

May 18, 2020 • By

I watched a documentary recently on someone I admire.
She had fire in her. She was beautiful, strong, caring, assertive and, most importantly, full of light.
She pissed people off daily but made waves in her career.
She was a mother but not a wife.
She was a lover but not a partner.
She did everything she was told not to.
She died at 66 years of age.
No age at all.
66 years in a body.

It made me think, these things we choose to focus on in life. All of them are irrelevant in the absence of love.
Love of another person.
Love of a child.
Love of a twin flame.
Love of a passion.
In the absence of love, nothing truly exist.

Let’s be certain love is not something you can pursue. You can’t chase a person in the hopes they will love you. You can’t raise a child in the hopes that they will one day care for you. You can’t force yourself to be passionate about something. It all just exists, granted it is cultivated and cared for, but if you ask your lover why they love you they will produce a list of physical attributes and personality traits. In reality that isn’t an accurate answer, as when you no longer possess the looks and traits (i.e. when you die) that love from them to you will still exist.

Love already exists in you and, if you are one of the lucky ones, you will discover it at a young age, thus it will carry you confidently throughout your life. Once you find it within you will realise if another person, place, job or object doesn’t resonate it will, very quickly, cease to fulfil you and you will walk away where many won’t.

When all of your actions stem from that place of self love you will begin to attract those that can reciprocate; people that feel like home, careers that fan flames of determination, think sympathetic vibrations. Love resides in the feminine energy and from feminine energy creation happens. This allows you to birth new ideas, projects, even people (babies to be exact).

If you’ve spent your time in isolation wondering how you can improve your life post lockdown start with finding the traits within you can take you away from self love. Work on those traits, peel back layers of self discovery, are you holding on where you needn’t? Eventually you will find the source within you that will one day have you resonating from a place of the purest form of love and that will live on far beyond the 66 years old physical form.


Yoga

Practice with me during Covid-19 Lockdown

May 12, 2020 • By

Still wanting to stay fit, healthy and mindful during the Covid-19 lockdown? I’m really pleased to let you know you can now still attend my Sunday morning yoga classes but from the comfort of your own home.

The Northern Lawn Club and I are working hard to ensure you still get your weekly dose of yoga (and other fitness classes too!), all whilst staying safe and adhering to government guidelines.

If you would like to receive my weekly classes please email reception@thenorthern.com to sign up to online classes. Members this will be in your newsletter.

This lockdown won’t last forever and we will one day be able to practice together again. Until then, roll out your mat at home, stay fit, stay healthy and stay sane!

See you all very soon.


Wellness & Lifestyle

The Sense Collection: Smell

April 14, 2020 • By

The scent that takes me back to the time we had hope.

Together.

Every time things got grey.

We’d go back to that place that wasn’t ours but felt like ours.

The scent that reminds me of optimism.

Of a life we promised ourselves.

Of looking out over private gardens in Notting Hill.

Watching the families play and the rich folk take tennis lessons.

The scent that makes me remember the dreams I once chased.

Alone but supported by you.

Body heavy from exertion and fear.

Locking the door to the smell of the familiar.

That place was not mine.

Or yours.

But the scent will always be ours.


Yoga & Meditation

Today Felt Like The Right Day To Write You

October 10, 2019 • By

Yoga for anxiety | Northern Yogi

 

For You,

Today felt like the right day to write you. I’m unprepared and still scared of what may fill these pages, scared of discovering something I’ve buried deep inside, an acidic wound that burns to touch. But today felt like the right day to write you.

I wanted to tell you I’ve noticed you this year. I’ve noticed every time you’ve disguised the heaviness in your eyes with a smile, I’ve noticed your fear of silence each time you’ve burdened yourself with busyness and I’ve been there in the cold hours of the morning as you lay awake, mind whirling.

I’ve bared witness to all you’ve had to deal with this year. The soul shattering grief and the heart fracturing loss. I walked beside you as you carried the boxes of clothes and the boxes of ashes. I was there when you locked the door for the final time on that lifestyle you once lived.

I know you’re scared of being lonely and yet aloneness is all you seek. That’s why you’ve devoured the words of others who have walked your path before, as crutches to stop you from stumbling. Reading poetry by salt lamp as some kind of ancient medicine. Letting the thick words coat your painful wounds like some kind of patented blister plaster. But we both know what is unexposed will never heal.

You need air. I sense every time you want to run away; flow like water, eroding everything in your path, never stopping until you’ve reached a greater ocean to drown in. It’s your nature to run when what you truly need is air.

I will act as your Earth, grounding you to every possible moment, but it’s up to you to take in the air.

Breathe as I anchor you.

Breathe as it frees you.

I’ve seen what you’re capable of. Through all the heaviness you’ve ever carried you have always managed to hold on to your lightness. Though the weight of darkness bore down upon your shoulders I’ve seen you able to carry such burdens for others.

Do you see what you are capable of too?

The strength you’ve always managed to muster, for yourself and for others. The space you have allowed yourself as the howls of pain left your body, the comfort you have given yourself as you wiped yet another tear from your now painful skin. Your vulnerability became your strength, goodness like yours cannot exist without ever knowing the bad, light like yours can never exist without the shadows of the dark.

Today felt like the right day to write to you and tell you your aloneness can never be lonely when I have always been right here by your side.

I will anchor you to every moment, good and bad, as you breathe the air you are so desperately gasping for.

As the wind calms, the waters will still. As the waters still the wounds will dry. Scars you can carry as war wounds to guide others who will inevitably walk the path you’ve now cleared the way for.

I can see you healing. I can see your shadows fade. I can feel the lightness in every step you choose to take.

You now need to see it too.

With love, light, gratitude and grace,

From You.


Wellness & Lifestyle

Copenhagen

September 23, 2019 • By

Visit Copenhagen | Northern Yogi

If you’ve read this blog before or follow me on social media you’ll know I’m a huge fan of Scandinavia, having fallen in love with Stockholm last year. Continuing on with my Scandinavian love affair, this year my travels took me to Copenhagen. The city just happens to be one of the most relaxed, cool and vegan friendly cities I’ve visited in 2019.

Yogi Life | Northern Yogi

Yogi Life Copenhagen | Northern Yogi

I visited Copenhagen in early Spring and, considering how much further north it is from the UK, the weather was beautiful. I took coats and big jumpers, but most days found myself not needing either, stowing my jumper in the basket of my bike. The average weather is around 11 degrees which, if you’re reading this post in Oz, will think ‘that’s bloody cold!’ Maybe it’s because I’m used to the chillier weather (being Northern and all...) but I found it pleasant, sunglasses on drinking cappuccino outside kind of weather. We even did cocktails outside one evening, the danish kindly provide blankets for outside seating.

Speaking of cappuccino’s and cocktails, lets chat about the vegan spots I found to dine at (with a little help from my good friend HappyCow)

SimpleRAW Copenhagen | Northern Yogi

SimpleRaw: Quite possibly one of the best vegan restaurants I’ve eaten in. We started with the Rice paper (asparagus, marinated tofu and greens. Served with ginger and chilli dressing) and went on to Tempeh in red wine marinade with pea puree, red wine sauce, miso glazed mini carrots and peas. The place has a really chilled vibe, great wine and great service.

Souls Copenhagen | Northern Yogi

Souls: We ate here twice in our four night visit to Copenhagen, an indication of how good it is. At lunch I opted for the ‘Fall Salad’ and for dinner I chose the Soul burger and truffle fries. Neither did disappoint. A very cool place to eat.

There are lots of vegan street food options but my best tip for finding good ‘eats’ in Copenhagen is to venture away from the main tourist areas as these tend to be a little pricey. Download HappyCow, a free app that will let you search for veggie and vegan friendly places all over the world. I wouldn’t eat when travelling without the help of the little app.

Yogi in Copenhagen | Northern Yogi

Top Tips for Copenhagen:

  • Hire a bike! The danish are big lovers of getting around on two wheels and so Copenhagen is a really easy and safe place to travel by bike. There are bike lanes away from the traffic and you’ll blend in with the locals (always fun). We hired bikes from our hotel for 20kr per day.
  • Go cashless: Copenhagen is a cashless city, like most of Scandinavia, so don’t bother changing your money to Kr. I changed around £70 for taxis and ’emergencies’ but everything else went on the card. Most places don’t take cash, so neither should you.

Yoga, Yoga & Meditation

Lululemon X The Refuge Manchester

July 4, 2019 • By

Lululemon Yoga Event | Northern Yogi

This past month has been a difficult one for me personally. I’ve had a lot going on in my private life (more on that at a later date) and I’ve been spending a lot of time trying to heal some hurts. As a dedicated yoga practitioner I know my yoga practice is my anchor when I’m feeling unsettled so I was really pleased when Lululemon invited me to attend their Bank Holiday Yoga event at The Winter Garden in The Refuge.

The class was held in the Winter Garden, an amazing, bright space for a yoga class. Lululemon rolled out their sticky mats, which looked great against the contact tiled flooring. The room is filled with greenery and trees so you really feel a calm aura as you soak in the environment.

Yoga Event Manchester | Northern Yogin

The class was taught by a wonderful teacher, Jen Possamai. She taught a beautiful Indian inspired yoga flow that focused on our Agni, our fire. We started with some calming breath work and gradually built up heat flowing through Vinyasa, warriors, balances and even grasshopper pose!

Refuge Manchester X Lululemon | Northern Yogi

I’m a great believer in messages from the universe and with all  the difficulty I’ve been managing lately I was very surprised to find a little quote left at the end of my yoga mat as I rose from Savasana, it read:

“Inner peace begins the moment you choose not to allow another to control your emotions” 

Let us sit with that for a moment.

If you are interested in attending a free Lululemon event you can find them here: CLICK