I am thrilled to announce that I will be hosting a stress release focused weekend getaway at Granny Mouse Country House in the KZN Midlands from 29 June - 3 July 2017!Granny Mouse Country House is a luxurious and tranquil setting for what will be an enriching weekend of 8 specialised yoga sessions. We will focus on yoga practices as a means to calm the mind and release embodied patterns of stress. Through yoga sequences and techniques accessible to all levels of yoga practice and knowledge, we will be rewiring the neural pathways that programme our minds and bodies into existing in a 'flight or flight' mode of hyper-stress and anxiety.
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There is this hashtag that has gained currency on Instagram: #yogaeverydanmday. I would like to argue that yoga every day is not only unnecessary but bad for you - especially so for women.The same Vedic texts that the modern practice of Hatha yoga (yoga of postures and breathing techniques) are derived from, are quite clear in their advocacy that a woman's cycle is both powerful and fragile. This is a time when you are 'full mooning'. There is incredible energy and heat in the body (the start of creation of life) at this time. In order for this process of creation and then expulsion to happen effectively, a lot of energy needs to be drawn and then coagulated in the pelvic region and lower spine.
The practice of yoga mudra is grounded upon an understanding of the five elements that comprise the universe: space (or ether), air, fire, water, and earth. It is said that each finger corresponds to an element: the thumb represents fire; the first finger represents air; the middle finger is space; and the ring finger is earth and the little finger represents water. As we are grains of sands in the great theatre of the universe we too are made up of these elements. When all five elements are working in harmony the body is balanced, optimally operational and healthy; when any one of the elements becomes too dominant, polluted or weakened, the body shifts out of balance and discomfort, illness and disease develops.
It was the opening night of the year for Brookdale and the start of the Detox yoga retreat. As the yoga instructor for the week, I was fortunate enough to be staying on site. I had planned two classes daily, each on a different and focused theme to best achieve effective detoxification and rejuvenation. I was excited.
Our bodies have a natural capacity to detox. We have the grand detox-mechanism built in. From the liver, kidneys and digestive organs, toxic waste is filtered and packaged so it can be eliminated through urine, sweat, exhalation and solid waste. When we exercise and sweat, this detoxification process is given a super-boost. So whats the problem? We ‘exercise’ - the ‘exercise’ industry is huge - why are we feeling so toxic?
At some point during this dark void of frustration and flagellation (that loomed over every minutae of my everyday life, just like my research and dissertation had done for 4 years prior), I came to the realisation that I never wanted to fill a conventional job profile in any case. If my ‘skills’ and title were to serve me in any way it should be to enable me to not have to have a ‘9 to 5’. But, it is very difficult to think of oneself as a cog in the economy, and not employed gainfully, whilst being in a city.
As part of the Nafs: breathing solo art exhibition at the South African National Arts Festival, I filled a separate room entitled Interior room: interscendent with a series of paintings created with a flow of acrylic, guided by palate knife on paper. I began working with the idea of representing yoga asanas about six months ago, using charcoal and pen and concentrating on body forms. Over time, I have reworked, rethought and recreated the style. In conjunction with this, I have undergone an emotive and bodily healing process linked to my yoga, and fittingly the paintings have become more bold, free and abstract.