Welcome To Yoga For The Soul Retreat's Blog
Do you feel as though the chakras are a bit of a mystery — or perhaps too ‘out there’ to be relevant to you? Don’t write them off just yet.
When you spend a little time getting to know what the chakras really are, they actually become an incredibly useful way of thinking about your energy and your body. Crucially, you discover how a deeper understanding of chakras can, in turn, help you deepen your yoga and meditation practice and enhance your wellbeing.
The chakras are seven energy centres located at different points through the body; they radiate, receive and direct energy through all of the nadis, or energy channels.
We live in a fast-paced world, so much so that it is not uncommon for most of us to live a life constantly on the go…
Running from here to there engaging in one thing after another - at the end of the day, it stops one from being able to just be….
Does getting caught up in all the things you “must do” sound familiar?
When I’m asked “Why Bali? Why do you love taking people there so much?” it’s hard to know where to start!
Bali is a beautiful and inspiring place. It’s not trying to be anything other than its authentic self, and it makes you want to be your authentic self too.
No one speaks in quiet whispers about their spiritual practices here. Spiritual life and personal growth are valued and respected. It is assumed that everyone is making efforts, every day, to live with dedication to a higher way of being.
Daily life is marked by rituals — some big, many small — which reconnect people with their deeper purpose in this world. Over and over again: connection, reconnection, connection. Spiritual life is not separate from work or education; family or friendships. Spirituality, prayer and meditation are a part of everything.
Kapalbhati is a powerful pranayama practice which, traditionally, is used before meditation. It’s also one of the Shatkarmas — a series of traditional cleansing practices. This is because its forceful and cleansing effects allow any pent up emotion to be released, and clear the mind of repetitive thought patterns — leaving you feeling calm and ready to focus.
In Sanskrit, kapal refers to the cranium, and bhati means light, perception, or knowledge. Kapalbhati, then, is often translated as frontal cleansing breath. It awakens and moves energy through your brain, and both the subconscious and conscious mind. At the same time it revitalises the entire body by generating heat and building a rhythm from which momentum and motivation can grow.
When working with this technique, you put emphasis and force on the exhale, pushing the air actively out of the lungs; and allow the inhale to happen as a natural reaction to this forceful exhalation action. This is the opposite of our natural breathing process —
It’s that time of year when we could all do with an energetic pick-me-up. And your pranayama practice can do just that; filling your body and mind with vibrant energy and warmth.
According to Ayurvedic ( Yoga’s sister science), the mild months of spring time are heavily weighted towards the Kapha dosha — which means you are more likely to feel tired, lethargic, and might be prone to digestive issues.
This is especially so as the after-effects of winter are still present in us during spring time during the winter months we nourish ourselves with heavier foods and tend to do less exercise. So the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda teaches us to balance this heightened kapha energy by including pita foods and practices — like bhastrika pranayama — in our routine.
“The more we can begin to exert control over the finer details of the breathing process, the more possible it then becomes to control the finer details of the mental process”
- Saraswati Niranjanananda
Have you ever stepped into conscious, present moment awareness while performing an everyday task? And realised that your awareness allows you to develop skill and precision — which transforms that mundane task into something amazing?
Well; viloma pranayama is a little bit like that.
Viloma means to go against the natural flow. And in this pranayama technique, we interrupt the natural flow of our breath to cultivate skillful breath control and awareness.
You’re ready for an adventure. You want to step beyond your comfort zone and challenge yourself. And you know it’s time to focus on “YOU”, your yoga, your meditation and your spiritual growth.
Travelling to an unfamiliar country and culture holds the potential to kickstart the beautiful — but sometimes confronting and scary — process of reconnecting with your true self. So why not go it alone?
Why, instead, is it a good idea to fly off into the sunset with a small group of likeminded individuals, with the guidance of an experience teacher and traveller?
Apart from the obvious facts that yoga and meditation practices will be woven seamlessly into every day of your journey, and all of the stress of organisation and planning will be lifted from your shoulders — there are powerfully transformative elements of a retreat that you just can’t create on your own.
Over the last decade Bali has become known as one of the top destinations in the world for vegetarian and vegan food. People travel from around the globe to eat at its renowned restaurants and cafes, and to sip coconut water fresh from the tree.
When you come on a journey to this beautiful island with me you’ll be treated to the very best of Balinese cuisine — it’s seriously good!
Think of it this way…
Contrary to the idea that we should all be busy all the time and ‘getting things done’ at all hours of the day, entering into deep relaxation actually makes us more productive, focused and efficient.
On top of that, it reduces the chances of the body suffering from health issues that arise as a result of extended periods of stress. Yogis have known this for centuries; but now modern science is beginning to pay attention to the value of rest as well.
Next year’s retreat in Bali is focused on deep relaxation and restoring energy and joy. Each time I plan a retreat I look to new sources to weave together with the traditions of yoga and meditation; new inspiration to help you surrender yourself to the power of rest.
What Are the Scientists Saying?
While I busy myself planning the Yoga for the Soul Retreats journey in Nepal later this year, my thoughts turn to the idea of living a purposeful life. Because that’s the key intention of the retreat; to reignite passion and purpose.
But what does that mean? How do you know if your life is aligned with your purpose or not — and if it’s not, how do you change that?
Everyone goes through challenging times, and sometimes life doesn’t feel absolutely fabulous even if you are living authentically. But if you: