Welcome To Yoga For The Soul Retreat's Blog
Do you catch yourself humming absent-mindedly while you’re walking round a shop, or filling in paperwork? Studies show that the sounds in our environment have a direct impact on our stress levels — so it’s no surprise that lots of us make sounds to soothe our own stress, or aid our concentration.
Bhramari Pranayama is a breathing which does exactly that. It uses the creation of sound in the throat, combined with closing off the ears to external sounds, to calm the nervous system and settle the thoughts.
How Bhramari Could Help You
The steady, bee-like humming sound you create during bhramari pranayama has an instant soothing effect on the mind. It’s an ideal practice for you if you ever feel anxious or overwhelmed because its effects are so immediate.
You can use it to calm down at any time.
As well as this wonderful, speedy anxiety relief, the benefits of bhramari include:
Ayurveda is a close sister of yoga. It’s an ancient and holistic system of medicine, developed in India thousands of years ago. It’s grounded in the simple principle of balance — because with balance comes good health.
An extensive study by two health scientists in 2016 highlighted the potential of ayurvedic knowledge to influence contemporary healthcare. They defined health from an ayurvedic viewpoint as:
“a state of equilibrium with one’s self (svasthya) but which is inextricably linked to the environment.”
Balance means adapting to changes in your environment that affect your physical and emotional wellbeing. What works for you in the heat of summer will be different from what makes you feel healthy and nourished during the winter.
Nadi Shodana is a traditional pranayama practice — a breathing technique — which promotes free and flowing movement of energy throughout the physical and subtle bodies.
The nadis are the energy channels that carry prana (our incredible life-force-energy) through and around the body all the time. There are a lot of them: around 72,000! And Shodana means ‘to cleanse’ or ‘to purify’.
So Nadi Shodana does exactly that; cleanses the energy channels to ease out any blockages or imbalances so that we can benefit from all of the energy available to us. It’s particularly effective at balancing two of the main nadis (energy channels) in the body, called Ida and Pingala.
As many of you know Nepal holds a special place in my heart, and for good reason.
It is stunningly beautiful, rich in spirituality and culture and the food is absolutely delicious!!
Oh, and did I mention that past participants have said it to be transformative, heart-opening and utterly fabulous?
For those of you who haven’t yet had the pleasure of experiencing the spiritually rich culture of this beautiful country, read on for three reasons that make it an incredible place to deepen your practice of yoga and meditation.
Nepal’s culture is imbued with spirituality, and the two main religions that live side by side here are Hinduism and Buddhism. Both religions have important customs surrounding food — from the things that are eaten to the ways that food is prepared.
In Buddhism, food is produced and consumed with non-violence in mind; that means that most meals are vegetarian or vegan. Certain pungent foods are also avoided — including onions and garlic — as they’re said to cause emotional disturbances.
Hindus, too, abide by ahimsa (non-harming) in their culinary cosmology. Food is believed to be a gift from the divine, and to be treated with respect. From early childhood, followers of Hindu religion partake in vibrant rituals in which food is the centre point; a child’s first feeding is called annaprasana, and is celebrated as a samsara (a rite of passage).
In Hinduism, food that is worshiped brings strength and wonderful nourishment to the body.
One of the wonderfully unique things about a Yoga For The Soul Retreats journey in Nepal is that it isn’t a typical escape-from-the-world retreat. The journey begins in Kathmandu, where you can embrace the bustle and cultural richness of this vibrant town.
There’s no hiding away in Kathmandu. Life is right there in front of you at every turn.
The colourful prayer flags decorating the streets are a constant reminder that there is more to being human than meets the eye. The temples and monasteries serve to show you how inner beauty can reflect out into the physical world.
And then the journey will take you out of the city and into the mountains — because culture is not just about cities. The spiritual traditions of Nepal are as present in its rural villages as they are in its busy towns.
Recently, I shared a brief introduction to Pranayama to give you a sense of what Pranayama is and what it does.
Today, this introduction continues: in this blog post you’ll find an overview of the pranayama techniques you might learn during my classes, courses and retreats.
Over the next weeks and months this post will become an index of pranayama practices, with each technique listed below linking to another blog post that goes into close detail about that practice.
So bookmark this page, and keep checking back to learn more and more!
We live in a fast-paced world. Most of us are constantly on the go; running around doing one thing after another, and never feeling like we’ve completed everything on our to-do list. The result?
Feeling unable to just be.
Do you have a tendency to get yourself tangled up in the idea that you ‘must do this’ and ‘must finish that’? Do you magnify the important tasks and allow this imagined pressure to send you into a panic?
Living in a constant state of urgency might seem productive — but it can become destructive for your health and wellbeing.
You’re not alone, though. We live in a non-stop digital age and it takes conscious effort to step outside of the expectation to buy into a culture in which being busy is valued above being happy.
Full yogic breathing is a deep breathing pranayama practice with a number of profound benefits.
- Embodying an understanding of effective use of the diaphragm
- Expansion of the Alveoli — improving oxygenation and circulation of the blood
- An experience of becoming centered, or grounded
- Full motion of the diaphragm improves digestion and metabolic function
- The release of endorphins which make you feel calm and happy, reducing the effects of stress and anxiety
In order to practise full yogic breath correctly and effectively, a number of
Bali is known for its spiritual qualities, with many travellers going there in search of healing and enlightenment. If you need a place to go to embrace spirituality, Bali will surely welcome you with open arms.
Once there you will experience unique culture and fascinating daily rituals like no other.
To prepare you for your adventure to Bali, we have created a list below of some unusual facts you may not know already about the Island of the Gods.