What makes a Healthy Asana?

Boat Pose

5  Essential Elements of Yoga Practice :

IMMOBILITY  - the ability to remain motionless in the asana for a number of breath cycles.

BREATH CONTROL – the breath is constantly in motion in a continuous stream.  The practitioner must breathe through the nostrils and be soft and complete in their breathing.

EFFORTLESSNESS – a healthy asana is achieved without straining or pushing oneself beyond one’s abilities.

MUSCLE STRETCHING - various muscles will be moved with equal emphasis on  surrendering and stretching as activation and contraction.

MENTAL CONCENTRATION - It is essential for a the aspirant to find a quiet focus which keeps the mind firmly anchored in the present moment.


Tree of Yoga


Tree of Yoga


Happy Eostre,  getting creative at home.  I did a wonderful guided meditation on Good Friday, where I saw myself as a tree.  It was a huge ficus with a giant canopy of boughs, providing a sanctuary of shade and shelter.  It had amazing flowers and delicious fruits, and it had just as much reach under the surface of the ground as was visible above.

The drawing is of the Tree of Yoga. The roots are the foundation or the Yamas / ethics, the trunk is represented by the Niyamas / codes of conduct and the Tapas / dedication to practice.  Leaves are the symbol of Pranayama / the breath or bridge between inner and outer.  The bark is the protection to allow Pratyahara / sense withdrawal to the sap which is the Prana / life force moving through the whole.  Flowers represent the Dhyana / meditation and the fruits are Samadhi / bliss.



Aries = Head

When the sun moves into Aries, it is the beginning of the new Astrological year.  It is Spring in the Northern hemisphere and the Autumnal equinox in the Southern hemisphere.  The corresponding body part for Aries is the head.  The head is where the brain resides;  central station for the majority of information collected by the five senses, and where it is translated into the experience of thoughts, feelings and perceptions.

Where and how are you looking?

The features of the face are the eyes, nose, mouth, ears, forehead, jaw and cheekbones.  It is the mask that we present to the world. The eyes are the windows to the soul and can reveal much about the body through the study of Iridology.  The markings in the iris reflect the condition of the various organs of the body. When practicing yoga the eyes should be open with a relaxed and consistent gaze at eye level.  If the gaze is towards the floor, we are often reflecting on past events.  If the eyes are looking up we tend to be speculating on the future.  Observe this in your practice as well as your daily life.  Soften your gaze and endeavor to remain alert and aware; in the present moment.  

The muscles of the brow, forehead and the cheekbones are exercised in conjunction with almost every motion of the face and exhibit chronic feelings and tension brought about through thinking and rationality.  Try to bring awareness to your facial expressions whilst practicing Yoga, aim for a relaxed and gentle continence.  Breathe through your nose at all times.  If you are struggling; bring your awareness to focus on releasing any tension with your exhalation breath.  Your mouth should be closed with a relaxed jaw.

The bearing of the head reflects directly the ego.  For example the person whose head is forward of the body approaches life through the rational self initially; followed by the body or the feelings.  If you are wondering about your head’s position in upright postures you can generally drop the chin slightly so the base of the skull lifts, slightly lengthening the back of the neck.  Imagine a thread lifting from the crown of your head to achieve this.

Aries Themes

The symbol of Aries is the Ram, a creature known for charging in head first.  The planet associated with Aries is Mars, it has a fiery and active energy.  Courageous and inspired; the Aries individual leads the way, forging ahead for others to follow.  Whilst the sun travels  through the sign of Aries we may feel compelled to act, connecting with a raw and vital energy to instigate new ventures.  This assertive energy of outward action needs to be counterbalanced with the internal path of self exploration.  Remember the power of inaction and take the time to also relax this month.

Remember to Relax, and rest the Head 

Savasana or Corpse pose is the ultimate in surrender.  Don’t forget to include it in your home practice.  Make sure that you support your head and neck, when reclining you do not want your chin to be higher than your forehead.  It’s relaxation pose, so take all the support you need.  Use an eyebag or fold a blanket so that it covers your eyes and ears and snuggle it around your head to enhance the inward retraction of your sensory organs.  Bring your awareness to your heart centre.  Surrender to the force of gravity and just be.

In Adho Mukha Svanasana or Dog pose the head should be allowed to totally relax and release, remind yourself to let the head let go in this asana.

When practicing Forward bends for any length of time; support the head.  You can rest the forehead on your folded arms on a chair or use a bolster and/or a block.  Poses with the head down relax the front of the brain and calm the mind.  If it is difficult to stretch forward without rounding the spine or collapsing the chest; use extra height under the sit-bones to make forward bends more comfortable and hence more beneficial.

Our approach to practicing Yoga must provide a balance of the inner/spirit and the outer/environment; between action and inaction, in order to create harmony and unity within our lives.



Delicious Kitchari to Balance the Dhoshas



1/2 a cup basmati rice
1/4 cup split mung dhal
1 carrot grated
1/2 cup of broccoli,chopped
1/2 a cup of cauliflower, chopped
1 tbs vegetable oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
6 cups of water
2 tbs grated ginger
5cm grated fresh turmeric
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp vegie stock powder
1 tbs fresh coriander, chopped

Wash rice, dhal and veggies.  Heat oil in large saucepan.
Add mustard and cumin seeds and fry til mustard seeds pop.  Add water, ginger and turmeric and bring to rapid boil.  Add dhal and simmer.  When dhal is half cooked, add rice and salt.  Continue cooking and stir occasionally to stop sticking.  Once kitchari begins to thicken, add chopped veggies. Continue to cook until thick and soupy.  Add more water if needed.  Serve with fresh coriander.  Serves 4-6.