Archive for category Yoga

From Creaky to Bendy double-quick

Bend, breathe and smile if you want to stay young

I sin­cerely believe that yoga is the secret of eter­nal youth, or maybe of pro­long­ing a frisky, jaunty, devil-may-care mid­dle age.

Look up any ail­ment — from the myr­iad stress-related stuff to arthri­tis and osteo­poro­sis — on the inter­net and you’ll find yoga men­tioned some­where as being a use­ful anti­dote or pre­ven­tive.
On which topic, check with your doc­tor if you have spe­cific aches or pains, high blood pres­sure, injuries, back, arm, neck or knee trou­ble, con­trary ham­strings, osteo­poro­sis, heart prob­lems, her­nia, swollen joints or eye prob­lems such as detached retina or glau­coma.
Doing the poses, you should never feel sharp pain — but a kind of dull ache, mean­ing that you are work­ing your body, awak­en­ing unused mus­cles and joints, is a good thing. Yoga teach­ers always say ‘lis­ten to your body’, and while I’m not sure what that means, I think it is pos­si­ble to be a sym­pa­thetic friend to your body, firm but fair, treat­ing it kindly and sen­si­bly, much as you might your grand­chil­dren. Expect great things, applaud gen­er­ously, don’t push or bully. And — where appro­pri­ate — boost your immune sys­tem by giv­ing your­self a hug, or stroking recal­ci­trant bits fondly, as you might a way­ward puppy.

Doing the Tree at Riad Maizie

Yoga is absolutely a non-competitive pas­time. You will be able to do what is now impos­si­ble very quickly, with gen­tle and reg­u­lar practice.

War­rior Women

It is bril­liant to be rac­ing up the down escalator.

Reg­u­lar. You have to keep at it. It will soon stop being a chore, and become the best bit of the day – grad­u­ally you’ll notice that your hips don’t jud­der like they used to, that you can reach your feet, that your shoul­ders don’t ache, that you are con­scious of your pos­ture. With a bit of luck you’ll find calm­ing, even sooth­ing per­spec­tive in the practice.

My Anchor Posture

Annie's Anchor Posture

Every sin­gle body is built dif­fer­ently, and while your part­ner may do a superla­tive dog, your taste may be more in the­gen­eral area of spit­ting cobra. Some peo­ple have nat­ural bal­ance, some have unex­pected strength. Lit­tle skinny peo­ple tend to be good at tying their feet behind their heads. The thing is, it is only your, one and only, fab­u­lous body that mat­ters. And accord­ing to sur­geons – who com­ment favourably on the tidy inte­rior of a yoga practitioner’s body – reg­u­lar yoga takes care of it.

Home­work

Four rounds of Sun Salu­ta­tion every day. Four left and four right. Morn­ing, or mid-afternoon if morn­ings are impos­si­bly creaky.
This ver­sion is aimed at Chakra One, Mulad­hara, which looks after fun­da­men­tal secu­rity, sta­bil­ity, ground­ing, and is sit­u­ated as you would expect in the per­ineum. It con­cerns your right to be here and to have what you need, and is the vital foun­da­tion upon which every­thing else rests.
Don’t give your­self grief if you can’t face doing it every day.
Sun Salu­ta­tion stretches and strength­ens every major mus­cle group and exer­cises the res­pi­ra­tory sys­tem. It is a reminder to be grate­ful for the exter­nal source of light and life, and stokes the cre­ative fire that radi­ates from within each of us. Start by doing it slowly and con­sciously. If you like to buzz, get faster, warm up, get your heart trot­ting (leave rac­ing for boys).

Sheila’s Per­fect Crow

Sun Salu­ta­tion 1

Start with hands to heart

1. Reach hands to the sky, arms par­al­lel, palms fac­ing

2. Jack-knife from your hips with heavy head, hands some­where near your feet, bend­ing your knees if nec­es­sary, in for­ward bend

3. Hands to floor, right leg back and straight, left bent at right angle in a lunge. Look up

4. Left foot joins right foot in plank posi­tion — FANTASTIC for your stom­ach mus­cles

5. Bot­tom up in the air in inverted V in down­ward fac­ing dog

6. Bot­tom back to rest on feet, arms extended for­ward in extended child’s pose

7. Tuck toes, raise bot­tom in another down­ward dog

8. Right leg for­ward and knee at a right angle, left leg back and straight in lunge. Look up

9. Bring both feet to front of mat, head down, heavy, hands near feet in for­ward bend. Bend your knees if it hurts

10. Slowly raise arms to sky as before

11. Hands to heart. Catch breath. Repeat on the other side.

Well done. Just three more rounds to go…….

True.….

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Six Slinky Sirens do the Downward Dog

Riad Maizie — see raidmaizie.eu

YOGA

From 2nd to 9th Novem­ber 2010
Reprise from 14th to 21st Feb­ru­ary 2011

Maizie the Yoga Dude

Morn­ings began with a cup of tea and an hour of yoga on the roof in the sun with the glit­ter­ing snows­pan­gled peaks of the Atlas, clear and sharp in the win­ter light on one side, the Ben Saleh mosque on the other, and a loud alter­ca­tion of bird­song burst­ing from the bougainvil­lea on all sides.

Happy Yogini


We worked our way through the seven chakras one day at a time, start­ing with the Mulad­hara and ascend­ing to the Sahas­rara chakra. I was amazed by how good we all were, espe­cially Beth and Anthea who had maybe been to one yoga class twenty years before. Sheila did a per­fectly bal­anced crow, and they all man­aged the beau­ti­ful King Dancer, no prob­lem.

Sheila’s a Dancer


There was a bit of groan­ing par­tic­u­larly with the locust and the eagle, but sun­warmed savasana with cute laven­der eye bags and a spot of hyp­notic guided relax­ation soothed indig­nant and unac­cus­tomed joints and mus­cles.
This healthy exer­tion was fol­lowed by break­fast — local vanilla yoghurt, lit­tle pas­try things made by Amal, scram­bled eggs, Berber bread, fig and apri­cot pre­serve, cof­fee, tea, avo­cado and pome­gran­ate milk­shakes. It just about replaced the calo­ries lost by two rounds of surya namaskar.
Then there was usu­ally a dis­cus­sion — which sounded a lit­tle as though a fox had got into the hen­house — about how to spend the day.

Annie, shop­ping for STUFF incognito


The favourites were:
1) shop­ping for devore vel­vet caf­tans near the Badi Palace
2) dri­ving to the moun­tains, lunch by a river in a fairy­tale deserted adobe vil­lage
3) shop­ping for candy-coloured car­pets in the magic souk
4) brav­ing the mys­ter­ies of a typ­i­cal Moroc­can ham­mam
5) shop­ping for love potions and amber­gris in the spice mar­ket
6) tak­ing a horse­drawn caleche to visit Yves St. Laurent’s Jardin Majorelle
7) shop­ping for embroi­dered boots in Gueliz, the French quar­ter
8) destroy­ing the diet with ice cream and cakes in Le Prince
9) shop­ping for scarves and rain­bow bright leather bags in Souk Sema­rine
10) tak­ing a guided tour of his­toric sites with nice, clever Youssef cul­mi­nat­ing with a visit to the Berber phar­macy (Her­boriste du Par­adis), a flurry of spice buy­ing, and a shoul­der mas­sage with argan oil and arnica that trans­ported us to pink fluffy­dom.
We did it all. We also dined under the stars at La Ter­rasse des Epices, less glam­orously at Aisha’s Num­ber 1 stall in Dje­maa el Fna, and at the Marakchi over­look­ing the square where a cou­ple of trainee belly dancers made us quite dis­grun­tled by demon­strat­ing what seri­ously bendy, youth­ful peo­ple can do with­out the ben­e­fit of yoga. We ate cheap and cheer­ful up on the rooftop at Chegrouni, and had a cou­ple of feasts made by Amal and Nezza in the can­dlelit din­ing room at Riad Maizie.
The ham­mam Mille et une Nuits was a rev­e­la­tion. We went for the full €40 job with vig­or­ous clay cleans­ing, abun­dant black soap and slosh­ing, and a full hour of heav­enly argan oil and neroli mas­sage. I’m very shy of remov­ing my over­coat let alone every­thing down to my knick­ers, and had never pre­vi­ously had the courage to ven­ture into the steamy dark inte­rior of a ham­mam (men am, women pm). I was so grate­ful there­fore for my brazen mates, with whom being pum­melled and soaped, sand­pa­pered and sluiced by female Sumo wrestlers was not only bear­able, but hilar­i­ously fab­u­lous. An absolute Marakchi essen­tial, best with a cou­ple of friends. We fol­lowed it with watch­ing the bus­tle of magic and mun­dane below us in Radha Lakdima, while we downed cornes de gazelles and cof­fee on the roof of the café des epices under a Pucci sun­set.

Me doing the Beam­ing Tree

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