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Yoga for Bendy People – Hypermobility and Yoga

The Trouble with Bendy Joints“The trouble with you Julia is that you’re knock kneed, bow legged and flat footed.” Sixteen years ago, this was the blunt conclusion of Jeanette Thomson, a highly experienced osteopath. When I told a student osteopath friend, he said: "it's impossible to be both knock kneed and bow-legged." However, Jeanette was spot on. Hypermobile people can go too far in the range of motion of their joints. This means hypermobile knees can turn both in and out and even extend backwards further than is usual. In fact, I didn’t (as yet) have any pain in my knees. That's another story! Yet, my neck had seized up entirely, partly due to the stress of completing my university dissertation. Looseness in my joints and...

fascia as a sensory organ

Fascinating Fascia Part 2: Fascia as a Sensory Organ

In part one of Fascinating Fascia we found out what fascia is. If you haven’t read this article, have a look here. In a nutshell, fascia is a body wide, three-dimensional interconnected web of sliding, fluid filled tissue. It cushions and connects each and every muscle, bone, organ, nerve and blood vessel. Every movement within the fascial web affects the web as a whole, due to its biotensegrity structure. Fascia As an Sensory Organ Scientists used to think that fascia was inert, just packing material. Yet we now know that fascia is highly enervated. New research is discovering that there are more sensory nerve endings in the fascia than there are in the eye or the skin. This recent revelation means that fascia may be viewed as...

yoga and stress reduction

Yoga and Stress Reduction – The Basics

What is Stress?Stress is a tricky subject for a number of reasons. It is pretty broad term. When we talk about stress we could be talking about physical, mental, emotional or environmental stress. Some people can withstand a huge amount of stress and seem to thrive on it. Whereas for other people the smallest amount of stress is barely tolerable. We actually need to able to withstand stress, in order to become stronger. Stress isn't inherently bad, yet how our body-mind systems deal with it is critical. But how much is too much and how do we know?  Traumatic StressIf we can recover from stressful incidences well, rather than staying stuck in stress, then we will suffer few ill consequences. However, if we fail to recover from the...

Fascinating Fascia Part One: What is Fascia?

What is Fascia? When I mention fascia while teaching a yoga class, I’m often asked: “What is fascia?” Fascia is a huge and complex subject. Consequently, I often feel I don’t have the time to answer this question properly. So I'm excited and delighted to finally organise my thoughts into an article about this fascinating subject. If you look at a medical dictionary or Wikipedia, you’ll get a definition something like this: Fascia is a “band or sheet of connective tissue, primarily collagen, beneath the skin that attaches, stabilises, encloses and separates all muscles and internal organs.” This definition alludes to parts of the body that are predominantly fascia. Such as the plantar fascia (the section of fascia under our heel that can get inflamed and sore if we walk...

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The Yoga of Brexit

We are living in crazy times… As the shock of the EU referendum result reverberates throughout our society a clearer picture of the forces at play in our country, in Europe and on a worldwide scale is revealed. Much of what we see is not pretty… Yet it all needs to be acknowledged and addressed if we are to find a way through to true unity and peace. Yoga and Unity You may ask what all this has to do with yoga… well yoga means “to unite” or “to yoke”. Yoga is about the unification and harmonisation of the forces at play in our bodies, minds and spirits. By balancing our own forces, we are much more able to bring true positive change to the wider world,...

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What Makes Yoga Yoga?

Since the beginning of 2015 I've become very skeptical of classical yoga. This marked a deeper questioning of yoga teachings and yoga truths. I began to be less interested in the original texts and to move further away from classical ways of practising asana. So is what I'm practising and teaching now still yoga? What makes yoga, yoga? Bihar School of Yoga Abuse Scandal Last Christmas I learned that Swami Satyananda and several of his colleagues, were part of a prolonged abuse scandal. The matter is currently being investigated by the Australian Royal Commission. Satyananda was one of the most respected, loved and revered "yoga gurus" of our time. I was shocked, disgusted and angry. His actions make a mockery of the great trust and devotion many fellow...

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