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It was a fantastic journey into myself - and a great exit! - Rob
Yoga & Relaxation on Sura Detox Retreats
on The UK's Leading Detox Retreat
Developed in India, Yoga is a holistic discipline with roots going back about 5,000 years to a confluent point with other such disciplines like Chi Gung. On the whole Yoga is a many armed path, covering all aspects of life from diet, philosophy, attitude, and of course - its most famous aspect in the west - exercise.
Yoga means union, and classically this is the union between the individual soul and the universal spirit. Yoga unites the body with the mind and the mind with the soul. There are many paths or styles of yoga, yoga encourages us to follow the path that most appeals to our hearts.
Hatha Yoga is derived from two roots Ha meaning the sun or solar force, and Tha, the moon, or lunar force. Hatha Yoga is a systematic approach to bring these opposing elements of our nature into balance.
Yoga teaches us to love and honour ourselves and to live in harmony with our environment, nature and the seasons. The practice of Yoga aims to develop a feeling of well- being, and wholeness: bringing us from darkness into light. The light of the soul revealed through yoga, is said to be like a candle flame burning brightly and steadily in a windless place!
These days the focus is often on the more down-to-earth benefits of Yoga, including improved physical fitness, mental clarity, greater self-understanding, stress control and general well-being.
Spirituality, there is a strong underlying theme to most practices. The beauty of Yoga is in its versatility, allowing practitioners to focus on the physical, psychological or spiritual, or a combination of all three.
By making yoga a part of your daily routine, you may become aware of subtle changes in your approach to life. In your yoga class you may well begin to glimpse a state of the inner peace, which is your true Nature.
Asanas (yoga postures) strengthen and tone the body, improving the flow of energy, bringing the physical systems of the body and breath into balance. Moving with awareness of the breath we learn to still the mind for meditation. The objective in asana work is not how far you can stretch or contort your body, but to combine stability with ease and relaxation in the mind and body.
The practice of pranayama (yogic breathing excercises) aims to lengthen, expand and extend our capacity to breathe. Through the breath, we not only calm and focus the mind but we receive life- giving oxygen and energy, as well as releasing toxins from the body. To increase the absorption of the life-force through the breath, lies at the heart of yoga.
Correct breathing has a wonderful power to soothe and revitalize a tired body, a flagging spirit, or a wild mind. The ancient sages taught that prana, the vital force circulating through us, can be cultivated and channelled through a panoply of breathing exercises. In the process, the mind is calmed, rejuvenated, and uplifted.
Pranayama and breath awareness can provide a direct link to our true nature, and who we really are. The breath serves as an important bridge between the outward, active practices of yoga--like asana--and the internal, surrendering practices that lead us into deeper states of meditation.
We often hold our breathing in certain stiff patterns, and do not fully use the diagphram to breathe. This creates tension and represses the flow oxygen and carbon-dioxide within the body. On top of this, because the body, mind and breath are intrinsically linked, the inability to relax fully and let go of the breathing can be very hindering to our lives and mindset.
The Yoga plays a very therapeutic role on the retreats. Many people would simply curl up in a ball and become as sedentary as possible. And there certainly are times in the week when that is the best attitude to hold. However, as a general rule of thumb, if the body is able to move, without strain and stress.
Moving of any form helps the process of detoxification by motivating the blood. As the blood is the major vehicle, along with the lymph, for moving toxins around and out of the system, it is important to keep this flowing. Too little movement and the blood will become a dumping ground for toxins, without being able to shed them fast enough, and will become congested, leaving you feeling drained and depressed.
However, too much exertion, and the system will very quickly run out of available energy, and slump thereafter. So a fine balance is required, that is dynamic and surprisingly inconsistent. Only you will know what that balance is as any given moment.
We clearly recognize that as the week progresses, retreatants become less able to perform the more energetic postures, and so, the sessions become progressively horizontal. However, there is as much to explore in this position as any other, and people are frequently surprised how much more relaxed they can become consciously on the floor, rather than on a sofa watching telly !
Yoga & Diet
The science of Yoga holds that the mind is formed from the essence of the food we eat. Yoga and Ayurveda the science of healing use food to balance the three characteristics of all matter of the cosmos - the gunas: tamas, putrefied or inert, rajas stimulating or active; and sattva, pure. A yoga diet should stick to a sattvic diet of fresh foods that are untampered with.
For those that practice Yoga there is a natural desire to complement the good you are doing to your body with a better diet. Gradually yoga teaches us to eat nourishing foods of raw or slightly steamed vegetables, fruit and grains, nuts and seeds.
The discipline of yoga works in tandem with a good diet to help break old habits and patterns of behaviour. All the stress of modern day life can be eased with diet and specific yoga postures asanas, and combined with breathing techniques pranayama, and meditation will help cure most aliments both mentally and physically.
Fasting, like all natural cures, is based on the principle that the body itself contains the most efficient healing agents. Fasting gives the digestive system a much-needed rest and releases energy for elimination of toxins and restoring the body to health. Yoga helps the detoxifying process physically, by focusing on asanas, pranayama and relaxation techniques to help eliminate toxins from the body, but also yoga is a wonderful practise to support us holistically, on all levels: physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.
To the retreat, I shall be bringing the following:
On retreat, I hope to create an inviting space where the body can be warmed and rested to assist the detox; the mind can be focused and calm; the spirit has time to be; and to facilitate deep breathing and relaxation, from where the body finds the balance to relax and heal itself.
About Lisa - Sura Detox Yoga Teacher
I had a wonderful carefree upbringing in a once quiet suburb of North London, during which I was very athletic and enjoyed gymnastics which all deteriorated with the pressure of studying for exams and this was the start of my troubles with back pain.
I started yoga in my late teens in the late 1980s and for 12 years my weekly yoga classes, were my space for me to escape the rat race and pressures of life. This helped alleviate my back pain. I had built a successful career in buying for retailers in London and was absorbed in materialistic culture. At the start of the new millennium, I was a buyer for Tesco, at a time when Tesco had started to accelerate its world globalisation dominance. I started to become disillusioned with my successful career, so I decided to explore yoga further and trained for 3 years to become a teacher in 2002.
Yoga taught me to look within to understand the way the body reacts to stress and the food we it, both physically and emotional I changed. Yoga slowly integrated to become part of my way of life. My health improved and my bad back healed, but my spirit was struggling still working in a corporate environment.
To free myself from my old corporate world I applied to appear in a ITV series called the Real Good Life, a study to see if you can survive modern day self-sufficiency - 30 years on from the Goods. My husband Stephen and I embraced the year living of the land while ITV filmed our progress. Much to ITV's surprise, at the end of filming we decided that we would quit the security of our good jobs and lovely house to live our dream of seeking a more grounded existence. We decided to relocate to Devon from Hertfordshire last year and have set up a vegetable farm called Moon Farm using biodynamic principles.
Lisa has continued with her yoga teaching in Devon and runs weekly classes at hotels, local town halls and a specialist pregnancy class. I am also involved in corporate yoga events and retreats. Lisa's philosophy to yoga and life is to keep it simple and follow your heart, less is more to make you happy and healthy.
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