A day in a tree with stour valley creative

While I sit here enjoying the sun with my two spotty dogs I contemplate going out and walking them and climbing some tree’s. It’s my main form of non yoga movement. The dogs go crazy and I find a cool looking tree to mooch around, climb and swing in.

Vaulting over a 4” high cut off limb

Vaulting over a 4” high cut off limb

 

A couple of weeks back I went and met up with Rebecca Robinson from the stour valley creative, who was interested in asking me some questions about how I went from being an uniformed nurse working in a&e to a barefoot yoga teacher with a keen interest in natural movement and climbing trees. I shall let you read the piece she has written in the link attached but it was an absolute pleasure and she got some awesome photos of me climbing/balancing/squatting and generally being a bit of dick (see pictures for evidence.) 

IMG_3062.JPG

For me, Becca totally captured silliness of me and this form of “exercise”. I do not, and doubt I ever will, understand why people go to a gym...go and walk on a machine and simulated stairs...that to me is insanity and all while being under sterile air conditioned conditions. Give me a bit of dirt and bark and roughness on the arms and legs any day. 

IMG_3060.JPG

If you are looking for a photographer for a family portrait, business or event photography or you want to get some nice little action shots of you doing something outdoorsy, head over to 

https://www.stourvalleycreative.com/wibbs-coulson

to read the piece she has written about me and also to check out some of the other work they do. They are an up and coming local business and I am all about supporting that type of thing...as you should be too!

IMG_3067.JPG

And you should go climb a tree...don’t climb for height just scramble around. 

IMG_3059.JPG

The oxygen advantage Pt 2

IMG_0135.JPG

So I figured it’s time to start writing part two of my little experiment into taping my mouth shut when I go to bed. You are going to see a lot of pictures of me with my mouth taped up haha

As a quick reminder the idea behind what all this about. It is taken from the bukeyko method and perfected to be called the ocygen advantage. It’s the brain child of Patrick Mckeown a guy who suffered with all kinda sleep and concentration issues as well as breathing issues as a kid all of which is pretty much down to mouth breathing. 

Now I am not really a mouth breather, my time doing yoga has taught me to breath through my nose quite well.....but at night I don’t know, I wake up in the morning drowsy and with a dry mouth quite often, both things being a sign that you have been mouth breathing. So here it is, my little take on mouth taping at night. 

 

IMG_9986.JPG

After 9 days of sleeping with my mouth taped up I am honestly noticing a massive difference in my breath rate, how quickly I am having to breath in and out and not just while my mouth is taped but in general Day to Day living. I notice that while I am in bed and reading and getting ready to sleep that I really must normally sigh quite a lot as the tape is stopping me from doing so, so I have to swallow that starvation sensation down and actually deal with that feeling that an increasing Co2 causes.  I feel that I am waking up at 6am and I AWAKE, I am ready to get onto doing my yoga practice straight away. This hasn’t been the case for a while, where I always just crawl back to bed after feeding the pups. 

 

IMG_0065.JPG

so I’m not going to go on much more because I’ve bored you all enough already but this is something that I honestly believe some of you should try, especially if you wake up with that dry mouth, those feelings of exhaustion and lethargy, just feeling as if you are walking around with your head in the clouds all day. 

Breifly what is happening is kinda called the Bohr effect. So when you breath hold/challenge your self with HIIT or high altitude you end up increasing the levels of CO2 in your blood and if you can learn to not blow that off straight away but yawning and sighing etc then the increased levels help to contract the spleen (our bodies own blood bank) and release more red blood cells (hello better oxygenation). The increased Co2 level will decrease the blood Ph and causes the oxygen to be offloaded from the haemoglobin into your tissue cells. 

So that she kinda where we are going with this. I have signed up for the teacher training in the oxygen advantage technique and will be looking forward to helping people with breathing issues, athletes who want to get fitter, general people who want to experience and clearer headed way of living.   

So go on maybe try taping your mouth up for a week of sleeps and see how you get on, make sure you tag me in any pictures you take. Make them silly (I have tried to with a chunk of mine.) Also go buy the book the oxygen advantage it’s well worth your time. 

The Oxygen advantage

So recently I have been reading a book by an author and teacher Patrick McKeown, called “the oxygen advantage”. In the book he posits that by using some simple techniques we can improve our metal clarity, our lethargy that we maybe feel when we wake up, our aerobic exercise tolerance Along with quite a few other benefits. How? Just breath through your nose. Simple right?!

1st night mouth taped

1st night mouth taped

well I have been practicing this simple idea for a little while now while I practice my yoga and my exercise (I know, I have started actual exercise now). I found that not stressing the shit out of my self and feeling like I am suffercating while exercising and still breathing through my nose was much harder than I thought it would have been. Walking up hills with mouth firmly closed?!? Definitely makes the body feel as if there is something wrong. 

 

So what is it?!? Why is it so hard?!? Basically it comes down to carbon dioxide in our body. Our bodies dont tell us when there isn’t enough oxygen in our bodies, it tells us when the levels of Co2 are rising. In our modern lives we pretty much ALL chronically hyperventilate and blow off all our Co2 (which is key to help with the usage of the O2 that is in our bloody stream) due to the fact that we are unable to relax, unable to switch from sympathetic to parasympathetic nervous system. This create a viscous cycle as the carbon dioxide play a part in switching our nervous systems. 

So last night I decided to try out what Patrick Mckeown suggests to ensure you nose breath throughout the night and don’t snore and mouth breath (causing a dry mouth and feelings of lethargy/feeling of sleeping badly) which was to tape your mouth shut. 

 

1st thing - having a tache meant that I had some real issues getting the tape to stick and the. When I woke up it was PROPER stuck and I was scared I wouldn’t have a moustache left after wards haha. 

2nd thing - there are a couple of effects that come from learning to nose breath and relax, one of these is that you will feel warmer...now it’s about 25 degrees here or something and there wasn’t much air moving last night so I felt as if my body was on fire hahaha. Should have tried this pre heat wave me thinks haha. 

 

So this is post 1 nights sleep with tape, I am going to re-blog in a few days after I have done it a bit longer. I had no worries at all with doing it for the 1st night and my only real downside was the sticky moustache so I am pretty excited to re-teach myself to sleep just through my nose and see if it can help with my something foggy/forgetful head.   

Mums and Dads, play time with kids is playtime for you too.

IMG_2511.png

So here we are again, what appears to be a kinda tricky annual blog because i am terrible at thinking of things to write about and then writing them. 

I have been playing with this idea for a while but finally i am getting round to putting the whole thing into effect. Some of you who have followed me for a while will know that i enjoy climbing trees and playing on the kids playground, Well this is the way that i get my movement time in outside of my yoga practice. Many people i teach and talk to always complain about finding time to exercise ESPECIALLY parents. So why not "stack your life". This is an idea that Katy Bowman talks about in her book Move your DNA.

When you are at the park with your children do you - A) Sit down and look at your phone while they play. B) Sit there with your friend while your kid plays with their kid and you both drink coffee? or C) Get in the park with your kid and climb an crawl and swing and climb like a good'n????

This is the first video i recorded this week and added to my youtube channel explaining ways in which you can bring some more strength, mobility and movement into your life ALLLLLL while you are just giving your kids their play time. Killing two birds with one stone. Your children will probably also love the fact that you are actually getting involved and partaking in their playtime too. You can watch how they skilfully and easily swing the whole length of the monkey bars while you just get the hang of hanging and letting your shoulders and elbows, wrists and palms get used to the weight of your body...it will take longer than you think as they have COMPLETELY forgotten how to. It will come back but just give it some time

As well as swinging and climbing, hanging and swinging, why not practice balancing and crawling. Your feet are itching to be used more and find life by having to balance over things. It will also make your core muscles fire up and support you without you needing to do all those sit ups you are struggling to find time to do and which are giving to tension headaches from clenching and tensing through your jaw and neck so much. The crawling with also really get your core working as well are teaching you a greater level of proprioception (understanding where your body is in space) when you go forwards and backwards.

Anyway thats about it, There is a couple of minutes of chat at the end of each video with some information about the benefits to what these movements will bring into your life. please share this with your other parent friends and let me know what you think. If you do go play in the park i would love to see your efforts, please share them on my instagram channel www.instagram.com/wib_yoga or on my facebook page. 

On being a male yoga teacher (and doing yoga while being a man)

Kapotasana in my home studio

Kapotasana in my home studio

So i was pushed to write this blog post after chatting with one of my fellow yoga teachers who i am also pretty lucky to have as a student too. As a male yoga teacher i have found that over the last couple of years of teaching i have been pretty torn at times as to what sort of teacher i should be. This sounds pretty silly right? just teach yoga, thats all i have to do. 

As a yoga teacher for one, everyone just expects you to have all your shit together and be the most relaxed and organised person ever (i would just like to say that the majority of yoga teachers i know are anything but hahaha...yes i know a couple of you are super organised). As a male yoga teacher, for 2, I have always taught a pretty strong Vinyayasa flow with its roots in the ashtanga system but even from day 1 found that teaching Yin and getting that slow relaxing part to be totally for me. I am also completely into the more traditional aspects of yoga such as Japa and mantra chanting, performing kriyas to help purify the cleanse the body. 

sutra neti cleansing the nasal passage and sinuses. 

sutra neti cleansing the nasal passage and sinuses. 

 

As a teacher i have felt i am stuck doing what i do and then not wanting to frightening off those stridently suddenly by bringing in deeper elements of philosophy and yogic practice because I'm "the male yoga teacher who gives you a really good work out". Bringing in and discussing elements of love, peace, chanting deity names and other things which people might see as airy fairy and hippy have been things i have ended up shying away from for nearly 3 years due to the fear that this has become as "career" for me. I am managing to survive from just teaching yoga having given up my full time jobs as a nurse in A&E last December. 

The end of 2017 has brought sometime to a head though, Yoga feels like it is my dharma, it is the path i am suppose to tread. It feels as if nursing has led me to a place in which i am able to help people only it has led me to yoga. I am hoping 2018 will be the start of me being truer to what it is i wish to impart and impact on my students and the society around me. I am trying to plan my own studio space working along side an osteopath to allow the therapy side of what i wish to do take flight but i also plan on doing more workshops on chanting and meditation, philosophy and pranayama to show that yoga isn't just about the fact that you can bend your back in half (see kapotasana picture at the top) or can balance around on your hands doing funny calisthenics type movements...after all without everything else, the deep introspective searching and questioning, the breath (always the breath) the vibrations of the names that we chant and the thousands of years of philosophy to give some point of context, thats all we are doing...jumping around on our expensive rubber mats. 

To my male friends who don't practice yoga, we can often find we bury things away which, apparently, we aren't suppose to really show (according to societal norms). Yoga allows us to get in touch with our selfs and have a greater understanding of our selfs. Suicide is the biggest killer of men under the age of 45....that says something about how much we do not know how to cope and deal with the thoughts/feelings and emotions that go around our heads and bodies. I am not saying yoga has all the answers, hell I'm a teacher of it and here i am saying that i am struggling to live and teach honestly to what i truly believe, but giving your self the time and space to just breath, move and be without the judgement of others is a really a good space to be.

This barefoot life

IMG_0285.jpg

So blog time about being barefoot. As a lot, if not all, of you know i have been completely barefoot for the last 7 months. This seems to get a whole lot of weird looks and constant questions as to why. I write this blog from the perspective of a yoga teacher and nurse who spends their life dealing with people with maybe some sort of knee valgus/varus issues, pain in the feet, hips, back. Tension and cramping in the feet and shins and hips, with a lack of mobility to even find the most basic of movements such as a hindi squat (the resting pose of pretty much 3/4 of the world population.) allowing the base of our body, the foundation of the structure we call "us" to do its job properly can have a massive impact of all sorts of pain and structure issues.

While there is probably about enough material for a book rather than a blog to be written on this subject, i while keep this fairly basic and short....(Psssst there are actually books written about this very subject, and written much more concisely than i ever could, hence me not writing one.....see in particular Katy Bowmans whole body barefoot and simple steps to foot pain relief) 

The feet and ankles make up 1/4 of the moving body

The feet and ankles make up 1/4 of the moving body

So as the picture above shows, there is a hell of a lot going on with each foot. 33 joints per side, so even without a decent maths GCSE (i did it 4 times haha) thats 66 joints JUST IN THE FEET ALONE. Your spine has also 33 but only 24 actually move, while 9 fuse as we become adults. Now just think about how important it is all those spinal facets are moving and gliding over each other as they should. As soon as they stop there is all sorts of pain and discomfort felt through out the whole body, not just the back. Well guess what, your feet are no different, in fact in many ways they are almost more important as they are your foundations, they are what your entire Bipedal structure is built off just them. This doesn't even account for the 200,000+ nerve ending that are in the feet.

IMG_0990.PNG

So briefly, i have been transitioning to being barefoot since around 2012 when i got my first pair of vibrato 5 fingers and since that time have just gotten to the stage where it just seemed a lot of work to put shoes on to just go to the shops, so now i have stopped. A lot of the questions i get asked are...Q: doesn't it hurt to ask on stones/concrete/acorns/whatever, just insert word there. A: is no....your feet are pretty amazing things, and the more you use them as they were designed to be used the more they get used to it. All those 66 joints suddenly start to find life that has been lost through wearing shoes (to use Katy Bowman's expression, shoes act as plater casts for our feet) al those nerves suddenly being to understand how lumps and bumps and digits and acorns are suppose to feel and so your feet begin to mould around the environment your are you. you begin to walk and step lighter, using your feet to feel your away through your walk. below is a video of me running barefoot across walberswick beach with my pups a couple of weeks back.

A few other questions i get asked would be things like Q: What Happens if you stand on something sharp and it gets infected? A: I look where i am going and i don't stand on anything so nothing gets infected. Q: What if you stand in dog poo (always ALWAYS the favourite to ask) A:i wipe and wash it off. exactly as you would do if you were wearing shoes, only it comes off that much easier...those waffle grip Vans are a bastard to get it out of. Q:Dont you care what other people think of you being barefoot??  A: If you know me at all then thats a simple one...No, people only care about how other people perceive them...if all you are worrying about is "will Fred and Jane think i am weird if i don't wear shoes" than your concerns are clearly aimed in the wrong place with the world as it is right now. Learn to be happy as you are in your self...maybe thats wearing shoes, but also make sure you learn and understand the issues that comes from wearing shoes/heels and the problems they can create (hello bunions)

Working with the Ipswich Town football players over the last 10 weeks has been a real eye opener as to what feet look like, even at a young ages, when you live in boots with a tight toe box. Toes squished together, metatarsal phalangeal joint enlargement (evening causing bunions) and toes which don't want to move as they should. The video above was filmed and shows Adam webster, Tom Adeyemi and Tommy Smith all playing with lifting the big toe and keeping the others on the floor and then web lifting the 3 middle toes and keeping the big one down. Great exercises to bring some of that neuro-plasticity back and remind those feet what they are capable of. Using th tennis balls to roll your feet on is also a great way to re-awaken the tissues in the nerves in the feet without beating the crap out of them like you would do if you used a golf ball...you aren't trying to "break down" any tissues or anything but just remind your feet what it is like to be awake, to be alive.

So if you are looking for shoes to wear there are a growing number of them on the market that make barefoot stuff shoes, the main two I've used and can vouch for are Vibram (they make the "crazy" 5 finger style glove shoes which you need to be happy with your self and not care about being seen as even weirder than being barefoot) and Vivobarefoot who make some pretty stylish nice shoes. like i say there are many brands these days and they are all trying to make the idea of wearing a shoe as close to being barefoot as possible. They have A wide toe box, a thin sole and a neutral heel rise. Traditional shoes pretty much constantly have a raised heel, and no i don't just mean girls and your high heels (or guys if you like). Your running shoe has a raised and padded heel to "take out the impact" that running causes through heel plant running. Go for a run barefoot and your body will not allow that style of running cos it bloody hurts so you shift to a mid foot running technique without even trying, your body just knows how it should run in nature. i wont go into the depths of running shod/barefoot and actually your body is great at adapting either way but if you are struggling with pain and injuries maybe its something you should think about. 

 

So to conclude, Whilst i am at the extreme end of the whole barefoot thing and i wouldn't expect, though i would love, people to suddenly start walking everywhere barefoot, i do hope that maybe you might look at the ideas behind being barefoot and trying to do it more often. The reason i do it is to find a greater understanding and comfort in my own body.  One of the reasons for this could be so that tescos don't kick up a stink when ever i walk in there (apparently its unhygienic being in there barefoot...even more so than the shoes that have never been washed) There are said to be calming benefits to walking on grass barefoot so maybe even just start there and slowly try to build up walking on your pea shingle drive, i shouldn't use these words as tescos quite often try to kick me out, but every little helps. You won't end up with super hard feet the whole soul of the foot adapts and just becomes harder wearing. If you have any questions about such things, feel free to drop me a line, this has already been WAY to long, but i will leave you with a clip of what your feet can be capable of if you used them like they can be used everyday 

Championship football Yoga

IMG_0099.jpg

So recently i have taken on the task of helping to get and then keep match fit a bunch of the Ipswich Town Football Club players. The 13 year old in me would be unable to control himself thinking that he would one day be hanging out at Portman road and the training ground.

Working with a bunch of guys a fair few years younger than me but who seem to have spent their lives running and doing a whole heap of strength training, its super fun to lead them through yoga sessions aiming to open up their hips/thighs/chests and shoulders....really its the whole bodies. 

Looking at them from the Biotensegrity viewpoint of the fascial body, we are working whole body movements from the soles of the feet up to the forehead and the crown of the head. Adam Webster, a defender, has been working through various ankle injuries while NZ international defender Tommy Smith, towns longest serving player, a longstanding back issue and recently a hamstring niggle. these guys have been open to new ways of moving and exploring the limits of their bodies while working through traditional yoga flows and into more functional mobility movements, always keeping the breath at the forefront. 

IMG_0401.jpg

Both these guys are super keen to get back on the pitch and get that backline back to its best so town can continue their amazing start to the season. look forward to the seeing more of these guys to keep them at the top of their game. As Ryan Giggs used to answer when asked How are you still playing at 37? How are you still playing for United?

" I say that one of the main reasons is the yoga, keeping me as strong and flexible as possible." 

Keep an eye out for these guys back on the pitch in no time helping take ITFC from the championship to premiership football next year.  

Mandukya yoga goes to croatia

So jenny and I have booked a retreat on the beautiful Dalmatian coast in Croatia. The venue is a short transfer away from the airport at split.  

   The retreat will be Friday morning to Monday evening, with the oppertunity to arrive on the Thursday and leave on the Tuesday. As you can see from the pictures below it's a stunning venue with just about everything we need, from swimming pools to tennis courts and garden space to relax. 

a poolside view at the venue  

a poolside view at the venue  

The final itinerary is still being confirmed at present but there will be morning and evening yoga classes, some meditation sessions and workshops to further aspects of your practice such as inversions and also plenty of time for acro yoga playtime too. 

gardens to relax in and yoga practice spot

gardens to relax in and yoga practice spot

The cost of the retreat will be £200 plus an additional cost for transfers to and from the airport if required! 

evening spot for some clean healthy meals

evening spot for some clean healthy meals

More space to relax than you can shake a stick at

More space to relax than you can shake a stick at

and a god damn tennis court....WTF!!!

and a god damn tennis court....WTF!!!


The venue is only 8km from the beach as well so there will be plenty of chances for down time to go and explore the local village and head to the beach as well as just hang out pool side.  

FullSizeRender.jpg

The accommodation is all shared, some with single beds, some with double.  

FullSizeRender.jpg
FullSizeRender.jpg

contact myself or jenny via www.mandukyayoga.com or Facebook.com/mandukyayoga

Life, death and life.

IMG_6716.JPG

So today I said goodbye to my grandfather. This man has been like a father figure to me, not that I don't have such an amazing family unit and an amazing real father, but Julian (my grandfather) has been like an oricle to many.

    I was fortunate enough to live with Joan and Julian for 8 years of my life and got to spend many an evening sitting around the dinning room table discussing everything from politics to poetry, current news to nursing. The two of them (by the way Joan is still very much alive and kicking at 92) have such a knowledge of everything from current affairs to the history of the Britain empire and the world. 

   Julian was a royal engineer from about 1943/4-1976(ish). He was fortunate enough to see more of the world than most of us will ever do and was also pretty much the last of the English officers to leave so much of the British empire, from Indian to Burma. He loved so much of the world he saw, spending Large parts of his life in India and Singapore. One of the main reasons that I really was interested in going to India to do my yoga training was to head to the areas of India which I had grown up hearing all about....mount Abu, nainital or roorkee. I ensured I did find these places and mount Abu was truely one of the most inspiring places I have ever been, it was stunning, welcoming and beautifully quiet. 

IMG_6717.JPG
IMG_6715.JPG

This picture shows a present I was given by this amazing man. This was his fathers pocket watch which I have worn on many occasion any time I have found the need to put on a 3 piece suit. I wore this watch today at his funeral and looked at it many times....each time it brought to mind the times I had sat discussing life and its many funny ways and also death and who whether or not the afterlife is real or not!

 

IMG_6463.JPG

I have been fortunate enough to have grandparents who view death from the view of agnostics, both sceptical of the afterlife but also with a respect for the church and an open mind to something that can't be certain of.  

   My life moving into a yoga practice and into the views of life in a different view point really has also opened me to "the afterlife"...Now I'm not sure quite how this works. Part of me does believe that Julian as a soul was an incredibly good and will totally still be around, but also part of me feels that he will be living on. Living on in both me, my brother, my cousin (all 3 of us lived with them) or any of the other 7 grandchildren. His wit and humour, His intelligence and willing to share it and also His smile and welcoming attitude to just about anyone who walked through his front door.  

     So much of my relaxed, welcoming and inquisitive mindset come from spending so much of my life with Julian and Joan. They are my heroes and my inspiration, they are why have allowed me to be so open to both science and faith. They have been two of the most encouraging people to this career that I am pursuing, even though they may not have fully understood quite what and where I am coming from. 

   Time comes and goes, family come and go. But in our hearts, really, time and family can stay forever. We don't have to find attachment to the physical person but what they are/were and what the teach/taught us can be with us forever and beyond. 

FullSizeRender.jpg

 

Julian, I will forever miss you and the encouraging nature of your being but I will also take your life's lessons forward into the rest of my life.  I finish this post with a little ditty (as he called them...most others would say a poem) written by the man himself. I was sitting with him looking out over the valley from the garden at broome hill with Julian in silence enjoying the sunset, where I spent so much of my life growing up and as an adult living with them, when a pheasant broke the silence and he started forming this poem. It sums up the beautiful spot in which we lived and the amazing Suffolk countryside that we as a family love and treasure. 

 

  The golden orb which was the sun

dropped slowly behind the trees

and as I sat in the garden

i felt the evening breeze

on my face and hands

 

There was silence

no sound of voice, no noise

'twas that the world was poised

between coming and going

 

Then suddenly the roosting pheasants called

the silence shattered and i, with great reluctance, 

returned to an actual world.  

But as I listened and waited

inheard the other sounds,  

the sounds of the bat and the owl

and was that a scampering rat? 

 

Then I listened but now i looked

and slowly the sky changed

and evening turned to night. 

The clouds were gone and slowly the sight  

of evening stars appeared.  

   

IMG_6720.JPG
IMG_6721.JPG

So here ends 2016...2017 here i come

So, as we come to the end of 2016, I have taken what feels like maybe the biggest decision of my working life.....I have handed my notice in at the hospital, in A&E. I have spent the last 9 years working (mostly) full time as a nurse and have certainly at times loved it, other maybe hated it, but its certainly set me up to hopefully be a well rounded (again mostly) caring person. Since i started my yoga journey more seriously 2 years ago, i started to see the advantages of yoga..yes the physical asana but more importantly the meditation, the stillness and most importantly of all the mindfulness that comes with all aspects of it. I started wanting to be able to look after people a bit more holistically, not just at the point that they have had to come to A&E or the cardiology department etc etc. 

 

So here it is, 2017...the year i try to make this crazy little thing become a reality...take that lifestyle and hopefully turn it into a living. I have been the luckiest guy going so far with all my amazing yoga students. Many have been with me since day one, many of them have brought their friends and families along and many of them have then stayed to be my students too.

 

2016 has seen me take on a second night a week in Martlesham on a tuesday evening and then take on more and more classes around ipswich and Hadleigh. Teaching at the beautiful kersey Mill, Suffolk yoga, with the spirit fitness girls in Hadlegh and most recently taking on the class at stoke by nayland golf club. All this growth with basically no advertising, just you guys awesome word of mouth work. i feel pretty humbled to have been taken so far by you guys. 2017 is going to be bigger and better...My beautiful wife has started to take on this crazy little journey with me and is starting to learn acroyoga with me, so you can look forward to some workshops with us where we can all have a good laugh, stretch and find new boundaries of ourselves all while playing with our partners :-). I have also started an advanced Asana class on a tuesday which has seen a few of you guys all develop your arm balances and inversions

Looking forward to 2017 i Am starting 2 new classes in january, both at a beautiful new studio just built in needham market. The classes will be on a monday and friday evening at 19:45 (that could be subject to change haha) and it will be hot yoga. I won't be teaching the Bikram series, just be doing some hot flow classes....Who knows i may even attempt one of those crazy hot yin classes (though not sure thats something i really think should be a thing hahah) i will also be aiming to find some more classes in and around the place, with hopefully another one in the ipswich area for all you long term students who have been asking for another class. I will also be looking at putting my prices up just a little bit to hopefully try to cover my costs and make this crazy little dream a long term reality (i know, i know...money grabbing bastard)...so the cost of a class will go up to £8 and £7 for the parkinson class. I am sorry to have to have to do this, but i just wanna make sure i can pay my mortgage hahah. I am setting up an App that you can all download from either google play or the app store called Mindbody, this allows you to book onto classes and pay in by bank transfer/electronically rather than paying in cash. I am hoping to move payment much more to this method over the next few months too. 

 

the final thing, Christmas is coming up pretty quickly, So what better to get your loved ones than a love gift voucher for either 1-1 lessons or for a bunch of group classes. If you book group classes there will be a buy 4 and get the 5th free. Bargain right!!! so get in touch if you would like one of these really snazzy vouchers to put in your loved ones stocking

 

 

So every one, Merry Christmas and i hope you all have a bloody marvellous new year. I still have a few classes left of 2016, so go check out my website and come long for a last few classes. You know it will make you feel better about eating that extra bit of turkey ;-)

 

light and love, wibbs mandukya yoga

Honeymoon Myofascial release and a bit of a romcom

IMG_4540.JPG

So all has been a bit quiet on the mandukya yoga front for the last few weeks. That's cos I went to Croatia with my BEAUTIFUL fiancée and became her husband. Since then we have been doing the whole thing again in the UK one week later and then running away to northern France (where I currently write this from) for our honeymoon

Obviously when in France eat cheese and drink wine.  

Obviously when in France eat cheese and drink wine.  

So having been away for the last 3 weeks I have to admit that my yoga practice has also gone! I have taken time away from work, from teaching and yes as bad and unbelievable as it sounds I've done no yoga for two weeks (since the morning of my wedding in the beautiful sunny sky's of Croatia)  

Wedding morning headstands are normal right? 

Wedding morning headstands are normal right? 

Now while I have to say that the not getting myself up at 5am has been marvellous and I have truly felt as if I needed the break from physical activity I can now say that I am also starting to miss it and those tight spots I had been working on are starting to come back (see I'm now coming to the title of the blog)

 

So tight spots...."muscle knots".....trigger points, what ever you wish to call them, are something that at some point we all deal with. Now I've rearly, if ever, found that a sports massage does more than limber me up and make me feel a bit looser for more than half and hour. That is until I recently discovered a guy in ipswich called John Reynolds. He is a sorts and remedial massage guy. All the runners in ipswich go to see him to help sort out their knee problems and so I thought, maybe he can help me out with mine. Well my massage couldn't have been more different to what I am used to, no excessive use of oils, hardly any rubbing me down, just assessment of my posture and gait and then long held pressure into trigger points to release the bundling of myofascia that were building up in my glute min/med along with a muscle very close to my arse that I can't remember the name of. 

 

Now this isn't going to be a lesson on what fascia is or how it works etc (il maybe try and do one of those in the next couple of week) but this stuff is the missing link from all of your anatomy text books. This stuff is like a net that binds every cell in your body together and so when you feel pain somewhere in the left knee it could well be tightness in the right side of the body causing compression issues twisting your posture out of alignment. There are obviously many many causes and issues that don't necessarily get covered by this but more and more, causes of pain can be looked at being treated through release of these deep connective tissues and then using functional movements and strengthening patterns to help keep the body in the improved/corrected posture. 

 

For me on my honeymoon, this involves starting with my feet to keep me occupied while my wife watches the classic "in her shoes". The small ball in the first picture rolls around my sole to help break up the bundles of forming tightness around the muscle fibres. The large tennis ball helps to target those trigger points in my hamstrings as it's big enough to hit all 3. That leaves the hockey ball, this can be pretty brutal to begin with but after a bit of practice is like heaven in the outside of hip/bum and deep in the actually bum cheek (glutes and deeper).

 

so by this time Cameron Diaz has moved out of her sisters after sleeping with her man and stealing a dog from somewhere...Toni collet is obviously upset so leaves the law firm to go and walk dogs for a living....as you obviously would (good rocky type moment up some monument steps though with 4 dogs)

 

That funny shaped green thing is called a Thera Caine. This is where myofascial release is at...foam rollers have always seemed a weird invention that I can never seem to access the right spot with as they are just the wrong shape. This little beauty can be bought for £25 online and just hits the spot. My whole back and under scapula, into my QL, my glutes and calfs all targeted with it, and if you look online at function patterns (check out their Instagram) you can get your abs and chest wall too.. Now from my yoga point of view, I honestly think anything is yoga if done with attention/intention and with the breath and that's how I try to approach this sort of work. The breath especially the exhale isnused to relax and let go of the tension that is being held in those deep tight tissues. Yoga doesn't have to be a headstand/handstand/warrior or lotus. It can be taking 5 minutes to sit on a hockey ball and breathing until you feel that release that we look for in our body's when we hold long yin poses. 

 

Anyway, that's enough of a ramble for tonight, it turns out Cameron Diaz wasn't such a prick and that Toni Collette got the nice guy and everyone lived happily ever after....THANK GOD!!!!!!!! 

 

 

(P.s. I know this isn't referenced and I make statements/claims etc but il put together a blog that goes into further details very soon. You can always message me for further details/reading or people you can contact.)

A&E nursing, yoga teaching and the art of zen

So as a yoga teacher and someone who practices yoga everyday i am totally chilled out and fully "zenned" out all the time right?!?! As much as i would love that to be the case it is not. You can ask just about anyone from my fiancee to the porters at work and they will tell you that i am a very laid back (kinda horizontal or maybe worse at times) and i can pretty much be found with a a little dance in my set or a sing to whistle on my lips, but of late i have found that all my daily yoga practice and regular teaching isn't really helping me remain all that chilled and laid back.

I am exhausted, i have found that there appears to be a very large wall in front of me of late and i have hit it and continue to hit most days. I am currently working near on 40 hours a week of mixed shifts including nights, weekends, 10am-10pm etc etc and on top of this my yoga teaching life as picked up to the stage that i am teaching 10-12 classes a week in and around ipswich and suffolk with more potential classes coming. Now don't get me wrong, this is the best news i could possibly ask for. In under 18 months i have taken my little classes from 1 a week with 6-10 people to sometimes 12 a week with numbers of up to 24 in a class. But life is coming to the stage where something has to give

I was working in accident and emergency a few days ago and was told that i really needed to learn to smile and not let things bother me so much. i was about 8 or 9 hours into a 12 hour day and it had been BUSY. This kinda got me thinking about peoples perception of the chilled out yogi/yogini. Whilst i was in india and was meditating for 60-90 minutes a morning on the beach with my guruji, Upendra, and my dear dear friend Cathe (i still miss you and wish i could have got to head to the himalayas with you), and had not a worry in the world then yes i honestly cannot say i could have been more chilled out and relaxed, but unfortunately this "real" world that us westerners have built for ourselves in which work is placed so high in importance and being happy and humane with those people we interact with either daily or in one off meetings is seen less important has totally drained it from me.

I have been looking at the important things in my life over the last few months as i have become busier and tireder and have come to the conclusion that something has to give. I am so busy right now that to get in my own practice time (which i see as being totally key if i am going to ever be a remotely half decent teacher) i have to get up at at least 5am and then sometimes be up and awake until 10-11pm, so i feel i am having to choose between yoga practice (and yes that is meditation/pranayama and asana) and having time to actually sleep. So after my wedding in October i am going to attempt to re-find my zen and my happier more cheerful self (i'm pretty certain my soon to be wife will also be happy with this too) and cut my hours at work to two days a week in A&E and double down my focus to be the best yoga teacher i can. More time to dedicate to my self and my students and my family and friends. 

 

So next time you are feeling stressed at home or work or anywhere you find your self, please remind your self that even us yoga lot who spend their loves trying to practice non-attachment and to stay present with their mindful breath, that we all fail at it on a daily basis, we are lucky that maybe we remind ourselves to notice when we fail at it, but we still get exhausted, grumpy, short and told to cheer up and smile while at work.

If you're all about the destination then take a f@*king flight......

ARRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHH IM GOING DOWN

ARRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHH IM GOING DOWN

So here i am.........Falling with all the grace and elegance of a heard of giraffes and elephants out of a handstand. Yoga is a funny old game, we practice it to become more aware of our true selves, yet we try to put ourselves in weirder and weirder postures and quite often get annoyed with ourselves when we are unable to do them. I know that as much as some days i am able to not allow my ego and my competitive side of life to get the better of me, there are days when i just keep throwing my self up into the air and getting more and more frustrated by it. How very un-yogic of me i hear you all say and yes...i would probably agree EXCEPT.... how do we go about dealing with this frustration in the immediate moments after we feel them. 

The picture above was taken this morning whilst trying to get a video of my handstands, so i could look back at it from an outside perspective and see if i could see what i was doing wrong. Whilst watching it i said to my self out loud (and two my to spotty dogs who were joining me) "Well these handstands are certainly showing me the meaning of what a journey is". At which point the title of this blog came to mind. They are lyrics from a song by frank turner and have always come to my mind when anyone has stated they cant understand why i go off travelling or have not been keen to settle or even just tried to just push to their end goal in their job and completely missed the whole of the bit leading up to it. The whole verse goes 

"But if you're all about the destination, then take a fucking flight
We're going nowhere slowly, but we're seeing all the sights
And we're definitely going to hell
But we'll have all the best stories to tell"

This again totally resonates with me and how my yoga journey is progressing, infact its how i feel my whole life is progressing. In yoga, for a man, i am maybe more flexible than the average man but certainly compared to alot of woman i am still a man with some tight hips and shoulders. I can also look at the progress of my many amazing yoginis and yogis who are totally stomping and mastering all sorts of hanstands and inversions that i am not. Now at times i ask myself why is that...again, as a man i am certainly stronger than they are and here i am stuck firmly to the ground. I then also ask myself.....WHO BLOODY CARES. i look at my yoga journey which started about 8 years ago and i think how exciting it was to start learning new poses and go further into those poses. As someone who is now fairly (i hope at least) competent in my asana there are less poses that i get that same feeling for. Handstands while not the only part of my practice are something that do get worked on regularly and actually the length of time it takes me to get them just mean i see a whole lot more of the sights. By that i mean i get to spend more understanding how my body moves and works, i get to spend more time learning how the hands, which arent designed to hold our weight can be taught to do so. I get to practice NOT HOLDING MY BREATH while moving. These are all things which we should all be looking for in all our postures and as a beginner a downward facing dog totally does that job. Sometimes its nice to be humbled by your own body, by your own mind and reminded that it really isn't all about the destination and that if you enjoy the journey, as slowly as that may be, you are actually getting far closer to the point of us getting on our mats in the first place (enjoying that weird feeling of sitting for long periods of time with just ourselves, no one else hahaha. weird right.)

 

So that enough of ramble, Whether in yoga or in life just try to remember that the goal is very rarely the bit that you will look back at and remember, but all the fun you had falling, stumbling, getting up, laughing, crying and laughing again will be the bit you remember.

Life is getting Busy

A group of super strong warriors on International day of Yoga

A group of super strong warriors on International day of Yoga

So life as an A&E nurse and a yoga teacher is hotting up pretty well these days. For those of you who weren't aware, i spend the majority of my life holed up in Ipswich hospital wearing blue pyjamas (scrubs) rather than my big baggy harem pants. Life as an ED nurse and a yoga teacher certainly have there differences and i do like to think that yoga is my Yin to the hospitals Yang. My grounding, calming, more lunar relaxed side to the flat out, manic, more up in the air solar side that ED provides.

   So i have been teaching in ipswich for the last 14 months and so many of you have been lovely about my classes, spread the word and repeatedly come back with your friends, family and at times maybe even strangers you have pulled off the street. Though all the positive feedback it seems my class schedule is about to get pretty damn busy over the next couple of months. I have been teaching regularly in Martlesham and Kesgrave since april last year and that has grown to incorporate a class for parkinson's patients too. 

    In the last month i have also just started teaching 3 classes at the beautiful Kersey Mill pilates studio. Its been pretty super lovely to have such a positive reaction to the classes to so soon. My tuesday morning (10-11am) class has been fully booked as as the first of my thursday evening (6-7pm) classes. I am hoping that in the coming months this will also develop into more classes, Including men only classes/kids classes/complete beginners/meditation and relaxation as jenny (the big boss) seems really happy to develop the yoga side into the studio. 

In the last week i have also had offers of work in and around Hadleigh and in Ipswich with some super lovely people, both yogini's and fitness instructors. The ipswich classes will be at the lovely little studio www.www.suffolkyoga.co.uk. The exact days and times are yet to be confirmed but as i work three to four 12 hour shifts a week, its hard to offer regular classes. 

This blog is a little bit of a heads up that life is pretty sweet in my little yoga world and that is all thanks to you lot, i also would kinda like to use this to beg and plead (well beg an plead could be a bit strong, just hope) that as my time table becomes busier those of you who come regularly will continue to do so and maybe even increase your class numbers (we all know that you need to be practicing at least 3-4 times a week). Please continue to be so lovely and bring people along to spread the good word of yoga. I hope that if all keeps going in the same direction i will be able to cut my hours at work to start realising this crazy dream i have to teach you beautiful people full time and give myself more time to live my life with my STUNNING fiancee and our spotty pups.  

Namaste one and all, thanks for reading and see you all soon.

Yoga day at Henham Hall

image.jpg

Hey one and all

so this week I am privileged enough to have been invited to teach at Henham hall near southwold. One of my students was super kind and past my details onto the lovely Sarah Rous who invited me to teach 1hr 45minutes class of yang and yin! 

 

The setting is totally beautiful in an old beamed barn, with a beautiful energy and atmosphere! 

 

 

image.jpg

The long morning will involve a great meditation to set the day off, with a beautiful slow hatha flow to get warmed up and Into the day! There will also be talks on ayuveda and the great Indian health system of doshas, along with a some chat time on reflexology and how we can incorporate it into our yoga practice! 

 

If you are interested in coming along please get in touch at wibbs@mandukyayoga.com or Sarah@henhampark.com

 

 

This is such a joy after just finishing teaching 3 classes at the yoga day at dance east last weekend, here is a little picture from that great day...cannot wait for me like it this Saturday! 

 

image.jpg

Yin yoga teacher training in Milton Keynes

Sooooooooooo, i have been away for a couple of weeks, from my regular teaching, ok partly i was away in Croatia putting the final touches to my wedding plans, but i have also just spent the last week in sunny, cheerful Milton Keynes at an amazing studio studying for my 50hr Yin yoga teacher qualification. It was a little bit of a nightmare start to the trip as my car broke down on the way there and i ended up turning up 2 hours late. All the same once i got there i was greeted by some lovely folks in what was clearly an old converted church building of some type.

 

For those who aren't aware of what Yin yoga (sometimes called taoist yoga) is, it is a type of yoga that came around in the 80's combing long held floor based poses with a taoist view of meridian therapy/acupressure. Along with this a strong mindfulness element has been integrated into it. In the yoga world we call practices such as vinyasa flow, ashtanga, power/rocket etc Yang practices. They are stronger more fluid, quicker active forms of movement whereas Yin yoga is a very deliberately floor based, slow long held practice that gives much more time to meditate and allow yourself space to start working through the physical manifestations of your repetitive, destructive nature, that we all hold.. On the less "hippy" side of the practice it also targets different tissues in the body, rather than trying to stretch the muscles/fascia of the body (which are more superficial) we are aiming to apply a stress...(NOT STRETCH, BUT STRESS.....and no not a stress in a bad, IM REALLY STRESSED type way) to the deeper more connective tissues of the body (the ligaments, join capsules and bones). Yin yoga give us a very deliberate practice allow your selves to listen to our bodies and not push through what feels comfortable, we call this our edge. Because we hold poses upwards from anywhere from 2 minutes to 10 minutes we have to really start to listen to our bodily sensations and just learn to sit and not let our ego push us further than we are ready....the body is pretty amazing at letting you in and go deeper if you just give it a few minutes to do its thing.

Our teacher sarah Lo has been teaching for a fair few years now and is a student of Sarah Powers who is one of the main teachers of Yin world wide. We spent the first 2-3 days feeling a little out of our depth (im pretty sure i can speak for everyone) getting in touch with ourselves emotionally through our physical bodies. Lots of partner work talking through sensation we felt, how we felt interactions with people and ourselves effected us, and talk of mindfullness on a pretty deep level as to how it can be used for emotional issues and not a whole lot of actual physical yoga. there was talk of "I did not sign up for this" "when are we actually going to do some Yin" . well that came on thursday and friday, lots of sitting in long held postures and lots of practice at helping adjust our colleagues into more comfortable versions of what the "book" might say is the "ideal". After wards though it was quite funny how everyone of us actually came away at the end of the week getting much more from those first 3 days then we would ever have though we would.

 

i was lucky enough to have my birthday while on course too and my word wasnt i spoilt rotten, i had known these girls for 4 days and the love i was shown was amazing. this is one of the best things about doing yoga. The people who do it to are just so full of giving, loving accepting energy. i was given 3 birthday cards, a tiara, an amazng set of leggings and a tealight holder, plus we had cake. it was totally a birthday i wont forget in a long time. 

said birthday leggings and tiara.

said birthday leggings and tiara.

i truly hope that these amazing yogini's will cross my path again as i continue along my journey, im sure we will, its far to small a world to not haha. If you have never taken a Yin class, i cannot recommend it highly enough, especially if you spend to much time rushing around work and home life, not finding time to slow down and just spend some time getting to know and understand your self and how happy you can be just in your own body. il close this blog with a quote from my teachers teacher, Sarah Powers

"I think one of the main benefits is being more at home in our own skin. Whether we’re a large person, or very slight, and through the seasons of our lives- this body is our particular garden to take care of. And we start to have more respect and therefore more embodied dignity in the body. Rather than treating it like an object and comparing it to the ideal that we see in glamour magazines."

Yoga for Parkinsons Disease (PD)

As some of my students, friends, and family will be aware, i am planning on taking my yoga practice and teaching in the direction of being a yoga therapist. For those that are not aware, yoga therapy is the use of yoga as an holistic practice to help live with, manage and in some cases improve many illnesses and long term diseases and conditions. As a practicing register nurse working in an accident and emergency as well as having a background working in cardiology, i have long felt that the old saying of "meditation and not medication" is far to true. There has been numerous research papers that have been published in the last 10 years or so demonstrating that through a regular yoga practice, including the physical postures, the breath work of pranayama and the use of meditation/mindfullness, stress can be reduced, blood pressure lowered, heart rate lowered, peak flow increased and problem solving time decreases. Yoga uses none competitive physical movement to help increased range of motion through joints and attempt to re-lengthen our muscles, when done with a very mindful breath and intention/attention.

So then, coming onto yoga and parkinson's. I was asked by one of my work colleagues who recently has been diagnosed and was eager to practice yoga to try and keep her mobility and find some techniques for relaxation. Some side effects of parkinson's medications are that they affect sleep, possibly from the dopamine having a stimulant effect. One of the advantages of yoga is that we work on total relaxation, we work on learning to move our attention away from the physical senses and switching from the sympathetic (fight or flight) nervous system to the parasympathetic and allowing the body to fully let go. Whilst some of accounts are more personal that scientifically researched, there are an awful lot of accounts of PD sufferers who state that the time they get to spend on themselves, learning to use their breath to enhance the parasympathetic (rest and digest) nervous system and feel how their body is feeling and moving and working has a very positive effect on their lives. The use of asana's (physical postures) to focus the attention on how we move our legs/feet and how we move our arms/hands also allows the PD sufferer to be aware of the slowing down and shortening of their gait, the typical shuffling motion seen in PD patients. The use of standing postures focuses our attention towards the extensors and flexors in our hips/knees and ankles which may well help towards the overall stability of the practitioner. This stability also goes hand in hand with the balance that begins to decrease with patients as their PD progresses. In america up to 40% of admissions to hospital for patients with PD come from a loss of balance and as we all know a large part of yoga is learning the proprioceptive ability of the body, learning to understand where your body is in space. Balance exercises are used in traditional PD therapy and so the use of the breath and additional attention to how the body/feet/hands feels on the floor means that there can be a large benefit in reducing falls in PD patients.  

So yeah, this has just been a very brief look at how yoga can be of benefit to people who are diagnosed with parkinson's disease. I am looking forward to really taking these classes on to as many people as i possibly can and bring my knowledge of western medicine/nursing into the setting of yoga and eastern practices. Next year i hope to take my training in Yoga Therapy and will begin to widen my reach in take on private patients as well as class, not only for PD, but also for conditions such as stress/anxiety/depression, heart failure, other cardiological issues and also respiratory illnesses. If you have any questions of would ever wish to talk to me about anything to do with yoga therapy, please feel free to get in touch with me through my website. 

 

light and love 

namaste 

 

wibbs @ mandukya yoga

Welcome!

Namaste and hello from my new site and the centre of what will, hopefully, be the place for all the information you could possibly need in regards to my yoga classes/retreats/me and what it is I am up to. There will hopefully be regular blogs going up which will hopefully keep you entertained. These will be to do with courses I attend and how these could affect our practice or just day to day lives, interesting things I read in regards to recent yoga research and anything I think you may find of interest!

Please have a look around the site, share it around and try and come along to a class or two! If you have ever fancied trying meditation but thought it seemed far to hard (it's really not) then get in touch and we can arrange a taster for you! Same with general yoga asana (the physical side of it) practice!

Look forward to seeing you all at a class soon! 

Light and love
Namaste
Wibbs