ABOUT Lorraine

 

Lorraine Ereira was working as a clinical Sports Therapist when when her husbands cancer diagnosis drew her to study nutritional health. Her quest to help her husband inspired her to write “Love and Wheatgrass” in order to help others going through a similar ordeal, which has been a huge support to many.

Her desire to live a healthy lifestyle compelled her to study further, where she discovered that to really enjoy a healthy life, we must first look within to find out what we are made of and how we fit into the natural world around us.

Lorraine is currently writing her fifth book, “Gaia’s Gift ” – a book that embodies the ancient medical practice of Ayurveda but with a very unique approach which teaches the reader how to train their intuition to know instinctively what is good for them physically, spiritually and mentally.

Lorraine now works as an Ayurvedic Nutrition and Lifestyle consultant with people who struggle with various health issues, or those who want to change their life to become the best they can be.

Lorraine grew up in Surrey in England, where she also brought up her two sons. She holds a bachelors degree in Sports Therapy, and wrote one of her first books in this subject “Sports Pattern Release

Lorraine and her husband now live in southern Spain, where she continues on her quest to live a life of love, health and happiness.

Heart Rhythm Meditation

When someone you love is suffering from any malaise, especially when it is a long term or challenging disease they are facing, it can be immensely challenging to watch them go through this and not feel totally helpless.

But there is something that you might like to try. It will do no harm to the person you love; it will lift your own spirits and it might just raise theirs too! The little known truth about this is that when someone’s spirits are lifted it puts their bodies in a much better place to heal.

Dr David Hawkins, first published the Map of Human Consciousness in his book Power vs Force in 1995, and is now widely used by university professors, government officials, and health professionals all around the globe.

The Map of Human Consciousness identifies that the more conscious we are the more we contribute to the harmony of the planet. This is both collective and individual.

Each emotion has a frequency e.g. courage  – the middle of the map – is 200.  The theory is that just one person, who exists at 700-1000 (enlightenment), will counterbalance the negativity of 70, million people below 200.

Dr David Hawkins map of human consciousness

This illustrates just how powerful positive human emotion really is and its influence over collective consciousness.
Lower frequency emotions keep us isolated, in a matrix of stress inducing thought patterns.
When we feel this way as our “norm” we are inviting malaise into our being.
It seems to be our human default reaction to thinking of a loved one who is sick or suffering in some way, with anxiety, and frustration because we feel helpless. These are both low emotions and do nothing to help them or ourselves.
Although it can be difficult when we are fearful for their health, try to think of them laughing, smiling, dancing, singing….whatever it is that makes that person shine. Focus on that picture until you can feel their happiness radiating from the image, enough to make you smile too. Surround yourself in happiness for that person.
Positive energy really does have a powerful impact!
According to one study*, research carried out by a German university in 1997 showed it is possible to raise visible light around the chest area of a person who was on the receiving end of a Heart Rhythm Meditation. There was a notable increase of sustained light emission (from 20 photons to 100,000 photons per second). This supports the theory that positive energy sent from one being to another via intention, raises the recipient’s frequency to one that is more conducive to their healing.
When one is not immersed in stress based emotion, their nervous system switches pathways, from sympathetic ( fight and flight, induced by stress) to parasympathetic (rest and digest, induced by calm, non-stressed based emotion). The parasympathetic pathway is the path to healing.

Try this Heart Rhythm Meditation. Its beautiful to do, and maybe you can change your own feelings of helplessness into a wonderful experience, for you and your loved one.
You may like to hold a small item that makes you feel connected to them in your *right palm. It is more beneficial if you can let them know that you are doing it, so that they may be consciously receptive to the intention, but if that isn’t possible for any reason, it is still a very worthwhile exercise.

  1. Posture.
    Sit with the spine straight and the chest open. Focus on stillness in your body.
  2. Conscious breath
    Become aware of your natural breath rhythm. Feel its ebb and flow through your body. As you inhale think – renew, rebuild; as you exhale think – discard, detox.
  3. Rhythmic Breath
    Synchronize your breath to the count of 6-8 on the inbreath, and 6-8 on the exhale. N.B. Choose either 6 or 8 depending which feels more comfortable for you.
  4. Full Breath
    Expand the breath. Bring in spirit on the inhalation. Spirit is inspiration, increased energy, and vitality.
    Hold at the top of the inhale just for a moment, while you notice the feeling of expansion in the ribcage and lungs then slowly allow the breath to leave the body, relaxing as it leaves, while you count to either 6 or 8.
  5. Heart Breath
    Wrap your left hand around your right wrist from underneath so that your index and middle fingers come to rest on the inside of your wrist. Now place your *right hand, palm open (with your item if you are holding one) over your heart area. Locate your pulse by relaxing your hand and your wrist, below your thumb. Also relax your shoulders. The more tense you are the harder it will be to locate the pulse. Count your pulse beats either 6 or 8 (whichever breath cycle you are doing), and inhale as you count. As you begin to exhale count the same again, without a pause.
  6. Swinging Breath
    Imagine the breath is coming directly from your heart, carrying with it loving healing intent. As you inhale picture a pendulum swinging its way towards you to collect your breath, with your intent (this can be a message, or perhaps you can visualize the healing colour green, also the colour for the heart chakra). As the pendulum swings away send your breath, your energy, your intent with it, to the heart of your recipient.
    If the photons around your loved one increase, as suggested in the study, then there is a reasonable expectation that your meditation with intention to your loved one can raise their frequency. Lifting their spirits however you can, can only ever do them good!

*Visible Light radiated from the Heart with Heart Rhythm Meditation Bair, P., 2005 Physics. Subtle Energies & Energy Medicine Journal Archives

emanticscholar.org/paper/Visible-Light-Radiated-from-the-Heart-with-Heart-Bair/a861ed3faa5fd6abc62aaa6710ed87efdbd6b923

Incense – How does it cleanse energy?

Smoke cleansing is traditionally used to “cleanse” the energy in a room, or around an object like a crystal for example.
This is very different from “smudging” which utilizes a specific sacred herb such as white sage or wood like palo santo and involves the practice of rituals handed down through generations.

Smoke cleansing – how it works and how to do it!
For those new to this practice it can seem a little “otherworldly”, as how can waving some nice scented smoke around make a real difference to the space or objects?
The best way to explain this is from my own experience.
Whenever I walk into a room where a nice incense is burning, I instantly feel good. It invokes emotions in me which make me feel calm, centered and at peace within. It literally brings me into my senses. In-sense. I am aware of my sense of smell, but also my other senses, begin to open as my worries and stresses recede.
Incense is used throughout many traditions and religions too. As a child going to Sunday mass, I would always really enjoy the part of the mass where the priest waved the receptacle of incense around the church. Again it made me feel calm and at peace within.
So how does it have this effect on our senses?
Anything that “lifts” us emotionally, or makes us feel calmer, happier, more centred or less stressed, is literally changing our emotional state from one of a lower frequency to one of a higher frequency or emotion. Once our emotional state has changed we are more receptive to other higher emotions. We may feel joy, or deep tranquility if we explore this frequency and allow our higher emotions to fill us.
It really is very simple and not something we must believe in, for it to work for us. Simply enjoying the aroma of the incense, in a room is enough to lift us up emotionally. This is what is meant by raising our vibration – simply allowing ourselves to experience emotions that are uplifting. We can also use music, poetry or beautiful art or objects that captivate us. Being out in a beautiful natural setting will also lift us emotionally and help us to heal from within.

Smoke cleansing can be done with any incense or herb found locally to you. Good ones to use are rosemary, lavender, cedarwood, juniper, pine, mugwort or sandalwood. Try to choose one that you really like and that makes you feel good when you light it. The blend or type matters less than how you respond to it. This is what makes it special.

Take note of your emotional state before you begin. Clear and tidy the area you want to cleanse, and light your incense and breath in slowly and deeply. Notice what you feel upon your first encounter with the aroma. What emotions do you observe arising in yourself? Are they different from what you were feeling before you began?
Pass the incense around the room or area that you wish to cleanse, and allow the positive emotions that you observed to expand and infiltrate the space you are in, or want cleansed, with the smoke. Visualise feelings of peace, love, joy, floating in the air, around you, through you, around your room, around the objects. Let them flow with the smoke.
Inhale deeply and immerse yourself in the experience.
If the smoke becomes overpowering at any time extinguish the incense. It should always be pleasing and never overwhelming. If you use incense as a part of a meditation, it should never distract you from your inner peace, only help you to find it.
So next time you feel as though you’d like a little emotional boost, find some incense that appeals to you, choose a quiet space and get “in-sense”.

Self Healing. A Gift We Can All Access.

As humans, we use only a part of our brain. Its capacity to function is in fact much greater than we realise.

What things we could possibly achieve if we could use more of this vital organ?

There are many things no doubt, but one that we can do with a little practice is to to help our bodies heal from within.
You do not have to be a swami or a monk to be able to learn self healing. It is an amazing gift that we all have access to.

Of course having a healthy lifestyle is fundamental to being able to bring about any self healing, and the indulgence of eating processed
foods or drinking alcohol mindlessly will only serve to hinder this innate ability, that we all have within us.

So here are the simple steps to learning how to self heal from within:

  1. Eat a natural diet.
    The more home grown, organic, free range, grass fed choices you make in your diet the better.

Whole natural foods are what we thrive on. Whole wheat, whole grain, unrefined, unprocessed, natural food. If you are not vegan then include butter and whole milk from grass fed, ethically raised animals.
But avoid any animal produce from mass produced, unethically raised animals. Get to know your local farm and talk to them about their animals.
Maybe even go and see how they are raised. This means you are supporting the welfare of the animals, and choosing produce from animals that haven’t been pumped full of
pharmaceuticals, and are not producing high levels of stress hormones both of which will contaminate their produce harming both them and you.

Don’t be fooled by products that are labelled “natural”. Its usually a marketing ploy to get you to buy it!
How can we tell if something is natural or not? A good rule of thumb here is – If its an ingredient its a good choice, but if it has ingredients its usually not. e.g. oats are an ingredient,
as opposed to brand named cereals with fortified nutrients, flavours, E numbers, sugars, starches and corn syrup.

  1. Avoid alcohol
    Alcohol has a negative effect on the pineal gland in the brain, hindering its function. It is one of many things that can cause calcification or hardening of this gland. Other things include fluoride, and other mineral deposits found in our food and water supplies. The pineal gland works with the pituitary glad to regulate hormones especially those that govern and control our sleep cycles.
    Ancient sages and mystics believed this tiny organ in the brain to be the space for ascension and enlightenment through the brain/body. It is perceived as a bridge between our inner and outer worlds.
  2. Detox regularly
    For the reasons explained above a regular detox can help to support healthy brain function.There are many different ways to detox but choose one that helps to remove metals from the body.
  3. Learn about the power of the breath.
    Deep breathing is a practiced art – when we are not used to it its hard to breathe deeply. However when we do we bring fresh oxygen and nutrients into the lungs which permeate into the blood nourishing our vital organs not least of which is our brain. When we don’t get enough oxygen into our bodies, we simply do not function. We become tired, sluggish, and foggy headed. We cannot digest our food properly, and our bodies will be unable to effectively heal from injury or illness.
    Self healing requires a good grounding in breath work.
  4. Be disciplined
    The ability to heal oneself takes time. This means you need to set aside time in your busy life to learn, explore and really give yourself to this. Choose a time when you won’t be disturbed. Turn off your devices. Unplug from the world outside. Find a warm, peaceful space with natural soft light and dedicate time to this exercise.
  5. Align your spine
    To be able to breath properly it’s important to have the correct spinal alignment. Ideally learn how to sit with the spine aligned correctly so that your muscles don’t ache. When aligned fully, with the right muscles engaged, you should be able to “ switch off” all the big muscles and relax into the pose, without slumping in your spine.
    If you find this difficult it is better to lie in savasana ( supine with palms facing up), on a mat.
  6. Breathe
    Spend time with your breath, just focusing on its flow through your body. With each out breath, relax more, letting go of tension in your body.

Practice these 7 steps as part of your daily style.

When you have been practicing the above for sometime, and you begin to feel that letting go of your anxieties and is possible during your practice, try this:

If you have pain in your body, begin with the last 3 steps above (5-7).
When you feel your body is relaxed and your mind is empty, allow it to travel to the source of your pain. e.g. a neck ache.
Notice exactly where the ache is e.g. at the base of your neck.
Firstly make sure the neck is aligned and not compressed. The joints must be free and not restricted by poor posture.
Next draw a long slow breath through your nostrils to the area that you feel the ache in. As you breath out ask your mind to allow this place to relax. To let go with the out breath.
Do this with every breath. As many times as you can.

Even if it is an external injury that is causing pain, you can train your mind to relax the tissues around that area. This will allow greater blood flow to those tissues, and induce healing.

This is the path to self healing.

Is Yoga Good or Bad?

Nourish by Samantha Jordaan. (Calle Terraza, Estepona, Spain)

The word Yoga comes from the Sanskrit which means yoke or union. Traditionally, this refers to the union of the individual self with the Divine, Universal Spirit, or Cosmic Consciousness.
It dates back to pre-vedic Indian times (c. 1500 – c. 500 BCE), and has its roots in Hindu philosophy.
In the western world it has been taught largely as a series of physical techniques, which is commonly known as Hatha Yoga – Hatha, meaning “force”. These are body postures or “asanas”, which are taught to students of yoga so that they may learn to hold the postures both steadily and comfortably. The main goal of this is to be able to sit for extended periods in half lotus, in order to achieve calmness and stillness of the mind.
But yoga is many things to many people, and while some feel nourished by its practice and find it enhances their lives, others are afraid that it opens the doors to dark forces, and is something that should be avoided at all costs.

Christianity frowns upon the practice of yoga, and teaches its community that it draws one away from god and towards paganism. A Catholic church in Kerala, India explains it, like this : “ some of the main traits of yoga are conflicting with Christian beliefs. The experience of yoga is that the practitioner, nature, and God become one, but according to Christianity, nature and God cannot become one,” the report said.
But firstly, if one feels strongly this way, then they can still practice only the asanas, and focus on the word of God during their practice. It can be used as a time of quiet prayer, if that’s what the practitioner wishes to do or simply on what one is feeling in their own bodies with relation to their muscles, joints and deeper tissues that make up our physiology. And secondly as much as i’ve read on the subject I fail to comprehend how any regime that offers such a myriad of health benefits can be any thing that God could frown upon. Physical yoga is a cellular exercise increasing blood flow to areas that it would not normally reach. This also includes the brain and hormonal system. It provides fresh oxygen to the blood, brain and organs of the body through deep, focused breathwork. So practicing yoga may give you a natural euphoria or enhance a meditative state.

As a Sports Therapist who has worked with a range of professional athletes, I’ve seen first hand how yoga practice helps athletes perform better, by lengthening tight muscles, strengthening weak ones and also helping them to train their minds to be more focused on their sport. This is just one of many examples of how yoga helps people.
But it was while working for the British military that I saw how yoga was truly a gift to us, as humans. A wonderful yoga teacher, who first inspired me to study yoga, held classes for injured personnel. Most of these people had lost limbs or were in some other way badly disabled, both physically and mentally. But when they came to yoga, they shone. You could visibly see the light from them as they experienced relief from pain, greater movement, increased strength and tools to help mentally manage the challenging lives they now led. How could God not support this?
Christianity teaches us that to try and clear one’s mind only creates space for evil to potentially enter. However the notion of creating a vacuous space that an entity or energy may enter, is different from clearing ones mind to simply stem the barrage of worries that plague our daily lives and just to experience peace and tranquility, in order to recharge, our batteries. Living in a state of constant stress, with worry and fear as companions leaves us little or no room for love, peace and hope.


Before I found yoga, I lived in a state of low level stress. I ate nutritionally weak food, I drank my fair share of mind numbing alcohol and I gave little thought to others, unless they were in my immediate circle. There was no God in my life. I’d been brought up a catholic but never really understood the institution of the church, so had walked away as a young adult. I didn’t think about God, or anything beyond my own daily grind.
But through practicing yoga, I learnt to slow down. I found ways to literally exhale stress out of my body, and inhale peace. I felt my heart expand as kindness made its home there. I felt more love for my fellow humans, more compassion to all living beings and more at peace in myself than id ever felt. My whole outward appearance changed, to a healthier, brighter and younger looking version of myself. This was not because of what I wore, or how I portrayed myself, but because I had become and was still working on becoming a better person. I had found the power of loving kindness; of goodness; of God. One might say that yoga brought me back to God, but this time through my heart instead of the church.
God is good. They are one and the same. God is everywhere. Good is everywhere. God is in all of us; good is in all of us ( albeit to very varying degrees). We were made in Gods image; we were made in the image of good. Perhaps to say you don’t believe in God is akin to saying you don’t believe in good. Good exists, and so does his opponent, evil. They co-exist in all of us.
However, we get to make the choice, as to which one of these forces will dominate us – do we choose to exist in the light of goodness, or are we tempted by the fruits of evil, and allow our minds to be filled with useless material longings that serve no purpose in enriching the power of good in our lives?
Yoga has played such a fundamental role in my path to being a better version of myself. I know in my heart that for me personally, it has delivered me on to a path of light, of good. I have also seen how the light shines from the hearts of my own yoga students as they grow from within themselves in to more beautiful souls. And if when turning to God I find myself asking whether he really would disapprove of yoga, I only have to recall the joy I saw in the eyes of the soldiers who’d lost limbs (and almost their lives) when they practiced yoga to know the answer.

A Lesson For Us All

No matter how we feel about the world and all that is happening around us,  a different perspective can sometimes offer us a way to deal with the stress we are feeling.

 We could ask ourselves why it is we are experiencing the world in its current state of affairs? Why us, now and not the many generations that have passed before us – our ancestors and more recently departed relatives who lived and died without knowing about what lay ahead for their descendants. Many lived through world wars, civil wars, famine, disasters both natural and generated by man. Those people they can lay claim to surviving through the most perilous and terrifying times, only to come out stronger and often humbled by the rawness of the event and the devastation left in its wake. When you are in the company of a veteran or anyone who has experienced such an event you know you are in the presence of someone who truly values his life because he has seen the hand of death, and knows that being alive is the greatest gift we ever receive.

Perhaps we are somehow given our life with its own unique set of challenges at a certain time in history because it is what we somehow need. That may seem tough to fathom especially when we see innocent people with huge challenges in their path. But if we can try to learn from each experience however small or large, then we begin to see our problems as lessons to be learned, and they are no longer problems. As we go through life taking one day, one problem (lesson) at a time, then we have time to reflect and learn.

When a ´lesson´ presents itself, ask yourself what it is you can learn from it, to be taken forward? Sometimes the answer is quite clear, but often we need to really step back and take an objective view to be able to see what it is we need to learn in order to move on.

When we take a retrospective look at our challenges faced previously, we can often find patterns in the way we dealt with them. The pattern is often repetitive. A good example would be, in being attracted to partners because of a weakness in ourselves, rather than because there is a genuine connection.  Its only when we change our response to our challenges that they stop re-occurring. It is then that we have learned our lesson, so we no longer need that same challenge to keep showing up.

Of course the world events seem as though they are happening around us, and that we cannot effect them in anyway. We may indeed worry about them and feel consumed by them, but how can they be lessons in our personal journey, when we feel we cannot change them in anyway?

Perhaps it is we, the human race, who is being shown a lesson? A collective lesson. Did those who lived through war, emerge as a better society? Many individuals became better people, but collectively, what did we learn? Maybe the lesson is still to be learnt. Perhaps that’s why history repeats itself, in much the same way we do when we keep making bad choices, because we haven’t heard the message. What is it we need to see right now about ourselves during this time? Perhaps there is a lesson here for all of us, and maybe it’s the same one, but we must each confront it and deal with it ourselves.

Outside the Bathroom Door – a short story.

Sweat ran down my back, making my shirt stick to my skin. My heart beat fast, hammering me from within my chest. A nausea swirled in my guts, tying them in a jumble of knots.

My breath came in short, ragged gasps as though I’d been running, although I hadn’t.

I had been sitting in my front room, staring blankly at the TV. I wasn’t seeing the bright moving images on the screen, because something I was watching, its relevance now lost on me, had triggered a stress response in my body. As I sat shaking on the sofa, my body had reacted as though I’d been running away from a predator, and I was racked with fear. I was now lost in a personal minefield of thoughts which jumped out at me at every twist and turn. The trigger, whatever it was, had opened a pandoras box; a muddle of worries and fears that squirmed inside. As I tried to focus on one, it commingled with another and yet another, all of them writhing together gaining strength from each as they began their twisting invasion on my mind.

I stood up shaking and walked towards the kitchen. A bottle of whiskey drew my eye, and whispered a promise of refuge in its amber nectar. I hesitated and the door tempted by the ease of which respite could come with the taste of its warmth on my lips. But the reprieve would be brief, and my worries would be worse tomorrow with a thumping head.

I walked past the kitchen and found my way to the bathroom. Locating some salts I poured a generous handful under the hot tap and let them dissolve. I added a few drops of essential oils, and inhaled as the aroma merged with the jets of hot steam.

As I slid my body into the warmth and let the water draw me in, I visualized my squirming, writhing ball of worries and stress outside the bathroom door. I knew they wouldn’t go away, I still needed to deal with every one of them, but right now I needed to re-gather my strength and my energy in order to be able to untangle them and see them all as the individual challenges they were and not as an ever-increasing mass, that were seemingly all  conspiring against me together.

I allowed my senses to indulge themselves in the experience of taking a bath. The water cocooned me; a warm blanket around my whole body, its gentle pressure protecting me from the world outside. As I moved my hand through I focused on the “whoosh whoosh” sound the water made and felt conscious of the vital part water played in our physiology, our every function relying in some way on its properties.

I inhaled deeply and received the sweet smell of lavender and jasmine into my nostrils, welcoming its delicious perfume. I felt the effects of the aroma on my psyche, as I slipped deeper into relaxation.

Fleetingly my mind was drawn to the writhing mass outside the door where I’d left it, but not for long enough to re-awaken it from its current slumber, in fact it barely stirred.

Back in the soothing waters, my mind let go once more. I closed my eyes and filled my lungs with a deep breath, allowing my chest and shoulders to rise above the water, as my ribs expanded to take the breath fully. At the top of my breath I held it for a moment, feeling its energy in my body. With deliberate slowness, I allowed it to leave my body, taking some tension with it. For a few long moments I lay in the water, inhaling fully, and exhaling slowly. Every time I exhaled I visualized the stress leaving my fingers and toes, in rivulets through the water.

After some time, when I felt the bath begin to cool, I stood slowly and turned the shower onto cool. Still sitting in the warm bathwater as it flowed away, I let the cool water wash over my head, cleansing the stress from my body into the water, where it was slowly flowing down the plughole.

After stepping out of the tub, and gently drying my skin, I noticed how it tingled, feeling refreshed, and enlivened while my muscles felt warm and relaxed.

 I slipped on a robe and remembered the monster, id left outside the door. I checked myself for feelings of fear or stress, and currently found none. I took a breath and smiled as I opened the door. I was greeted with a very small creature who looked up from where id left it on the floor, and said “I´m still here, but my power over you has gone. You’re the boss of your life, not me.”

The moral of this little tale is that we all have problems. No-one goes through this life without having to face very tough challenges sometimes on a daily basis. We may not be able to change or effect some of these challenges in the moment, but we can make them more manageable, by taking a break from them. Allowing our senses a rest by indulging them in a simple but fulfilling experience. This story illustrates this by the example of taking a bath, but it can be anything where you can focus on the present moment and place your worries somewhere else so they cannot occupy the space you need to restore.  You will find that when you return to your tasks they don’t seem anywhere near as menacing as they did before your break and you will be able to deal with them in a calm, and more efficient manner.

Gaia’s Gift Hormone Health

Harmony with Nature brings Harmony Within

“Invite nature back into your system and allow her to re-tune your inner orchestra”

Women’s hormonal health workshop (including lunch)

  • Why your menstrual or menopause symptoms differ from those of friends and how understanding your uniqueness is key to balancing your system. 
  • How to synchronise your bodies rhythms with the rhythm of nature. 
  • Oils, herbs and food to bring your body into balance. 
  • A recipe for hormone balancing perfume. 
  • Gut healing and its relevance in hormone health. 
  • The effect of stress on the reproductive system and how to manage it.

Date: Friday 21st May. 

Location: Coin, Malaga (please contact for more details)

Prices
FULL DAY 11am-3pm
Includes : 
Yoga, coffee, workshop and  lunch. €27.50

WORKSHOP AND LUNCH ONLY. 12.30-3pm €20

To secure your place on the day a €5 deposit in is payable in advance at the time of booking which will be discounted from the total.

YOGA – Are You Too Shy to Try?

“I would love to try yoga, but I’m just not flexible”

“I would love to try yoga, but I’m just not flexible”

This has to be one of the saddest reasons I’ve ever heard of as a reason not to try one of the most wonderful experiences in life, an experience that if we let it, will transform us inside and out.

When someone sets foot into a yoga class for the first time, and they see ( or think they see) a room full of lithe, extra bendy bodies creating inconceivable shapes, it is most natural to feel overwhelmed and feel like turning around on the spot.

However perception can be incredibly cruel, in that it makes us feel inferior in some way if we are a beginner, or have a misconception about what yoga really is. The truth is that every single yoga student, including the teacher, is always learning and always seeking to deepen their practice, so all feel the same need to learn as the beginner does. The class is united in this desire to discover more about their bodies, and with a good teacher they will learn to surpass their own expectations and leave self-perceived limitations outside the yoga classroom door. Flexibility, is not the core of yoga however how to safely lengthen tightness in the body, by letting it go with the breath, is most certainly a very key part of it.

Yoga teaches us not only to lengthen our tissues but also to strengthen areas of weakness. When taught correctly, the student should learn how to align their joints, stacking them so that they can articulate in the most efficient range. When the student begins to understand how to move their joints from a position of stability, then tightness will slowly lengthen, and weakness will strengthen in the opposing muscles, reinforcing correct joint alignment and efficient movement.

Learning how to move the body efficiently, enables us to find long term relief of aches and pains as we release the build up of possibly years of misuse, and help us correct poor habits and will ultimately help to protect our joints from decline, especially as we age.

This coupled with learning how to focus on one’s breath, introduces the student to the world of tranquility that lies deep within every one of us; the place where we can take refuge from the chaos of the world outside, and find the keys to self-healing on the inside too.

Everyone, at any age or stage in life can try yoga. As long as you find a good teacher who has the time to consider your personal requirements, and help you to grow into someone who learns about their own body, and how to move without pain, restriction or weakness, and how to turn down the noise of life and benefit from inner calm and peace.

So if you would like to join a class, please remember that most yoga teachers and their students will welcome you with open hearts as a fellow traveller on a wonderful journey. Come on in, climb aboard your yoga mat and don’t look back.

Water and Earth Dominance

Are you well-grounded or simply “stuck”? Sparkling with lustre or drowning in sluggishness?

In Ayurveda the qualities of water and earth are usually combined because they share so common attributes.

They are both heavy, cold, smooth and dense in their natural state. Although both share many characteristics, they are still different elements and recognizing them within us, helps us to learn about who we are and how we work.

Earth

Do you sometimes have to really push yourself to feel motivated to get off the sofa and get on with things? Although once you do, you usually finish the task and enjoy doing it! Can you sometimes feel complacent about things, preferring familiarity and routine over spontaneity? Do you feel contented to the point where sometimes you can get “stuck in a rut”? Do you feel threatened by change, preferring things to remain constant in your life? Are you a bit of a horder, protective over tings you have acquired and attained over the years? Are you compassionate, but resolute in your beliefs?

These are the characteristics of someone who is earth dominant. Earth is steady, stable, strong, and not easily movable. Its reliable, and we know we can count on it to be there supporting us. When the earth dominant person is in balance they are the most loyal, trustworthy friends we can hope to find. They are methodical, diplomatic and are often the ones to keep the peace and make things run smoothly. They don’t worry too much, as long as they have the comforts of home and a loving family. If they don’t have these fundamental foundations, they can be prone to depression. An earth dominant person will be your friend for life. They are calm, sympathetic, patient, steady and usually kind. But when imbalanced they can become overbearing, withdrawn, unable to accept change, insecure and greedy.

Challenges for the earth element will often occur in the musculoskeletal system, as the bones, ligaments, muscles and fats can be the most effected physiologically. They can be prone to weight gain, heaviness, slow bowel movements or constipation. Another challenge for earth types that are imbalanced, is depression. Because they are disinclined to reach out, this can quickly become a deep pit of despair that feels impossible to “climb out of”. They have a tendency to withdraw from the world, bottling up their feelings and putting on a brave face. They can be the last to ask for help, as unlike those who are dominated by the water element, they don’t wear their heart on their sleeves!

Water

Water being the more mobile of the two elements is very evident in a person who is water dominant. They are usually quite emotional, and quite opposite to our earthy friends who hide their feelings our watery types are like open books with their feelings. This does make them more sensitive and more prone to heartbreak and hurt. Although they are easily upset they often blame themselves for problems. The water dominant type is romantic, sentimental, and often fall in love easily. Water types can have sweet melodious voices, although the pitch tends to be on the deep side. Peaceful and calm, but with a tendency towards over sensitivity or stagnation (think stagnant pool) if imbalance occurs.

Challenges for water element will often also show up in the MS system but usually as water retention. Like for earth dominant types weight gain is also a weakness in the water dominant person. Swollen, stiff joints, with poor circulation, often feeling cool to the touch, can be an issue for imbalanced water types. Other issues include excess mucous production, in the lungs, throat or sinuses; lethargy, stagnation, and being overly sentimental.

Both earth and water dominant people are most vulnerable in cold, damp weather. Keeping warm and dry is important especially during the late winter and early spring, which is their most vulnerable time of year. Much like our air friends, warm spicy soups, stews and casseroles will help keep the body warm and gently stimulated. Heavy rich food should be avoided, along with cold food and drink. Any cold drinks should be taken away from food as they will greatly hinder the digestive process. Instead try a little apple cider vinegar in warm water with some black pepper and rock salt, taken before food. This can boost the digestive system, and help it to break down and metabolize food more efficiently. A warm ginger tea sipped through a meal can also help. They should choose heating stimulating foods and practices, to help avoid congestion, in the tissues. Sweet, dense food like heavy desserts, especially cold ones, should be avoided. Water and earth types need to take care of too many heavy grains, meats and cheeses, as all of these will congest the tissues of these elements. Kitchen spices like ginger, black pepper, cayenne, cinnamon, rosemary and garlic will help to balance these elements.

Taking care of the lymphatic system although important for everyone, is especially significant for water/earth people. Activities like trampolining, dancing, running, will all help to move stagnant lymph. Also hot and cold alternating showers, dry skin brushing and being upside down ( headstands, handstands and shoulder stands for those who are experienced to do these or simply lying with the legs raised, are all examples)

Engaging in social activities is really good for these elements – they need exposure to stimulating activities on a regular basis. Parties and lively social scenes are great for these types. A good exercise regime is imperative – one that includes heart pumping, aerobic activity like jogging, hiking, marshal arts, team sports or ashtanga style yoga would all be great options.

When earth and water dominant types are in balance they are the strongest of the elements. They heal easily, sleep well, and are content, stable, loving, kind people. They make loyal friends and romantic lovers. They often have beautiful hair and a soft supple complexion.