yoga

Exciting LahLah news and a free class!

2018 brings change and some exciting news to share

I will be returning to hosting classes at my home, although now home is in Siggiewi, and I will also be starting prenatal classes! The classes will be very intimate, a maximum of 4 yogis per class which means you will get lots of personal attention and we can really focus on what YOU need.

LahLah Yoga Siggiewi

The last classes I will be teaching at Sanya will be on the 11th & 13th December. Following this, I will be offering a few complimentary classes at my new home studio (which is located here) to give you a taste of what is to come.

Complimentary classes

20th December 6pm - Gentle Flow Class

21st December 6pm - Dynamic Flow Class

See map for location

Book your complimentary class now - booking is essential

Following the complimentary classes, I will officially launch the classes in January 2018, with classes as follows:

Monday - 6pm Gentle Flow

Monday - 7.30pm Dynamic Flow

Wednesday - 6pm Gentle Flow

Thursdays 6pm - 6 week Prenatal Course (more details here)

Of course I hope you will join me in Siggiewi, but if this is not a convenient location for you there are still many other wonderful teachers at Sanya.

Why rest is the new hustle and how to make sure you rest properly

Every once in a while, in the middle of work, family, lover, dinners, parties, picnics, studies and gym time your body might begin to feel a little run down, a sure sign that you need some good old rest!

If we can learn to listen to our bodies messages with respect and love, your body will tell you when you need rest. Our bodies are much smarter than we think we are! Feeling exhausted, un-inspired, run-down, fluey, achey, headachey are all signs from your body to tell you to REST. A lot of the time in our modern lifestyles we push through these messages from our body, leading us to become more fatigued and for the symptoms to spread deeper into our body perhaps causing even more harm. 

We need to change our attitude to rest, and realise that it is OK to rest when we need it! Listening to your body's messages with love and respect is one of the most important parts of yoga - never mind doing a headstand. There is no need to feel guilty about needing to rest when your body needs it.

It's vitally important to remember that when you are not at your best, nothing you do will be at your best. When you are not cared for, how can you care for someone else?

Not only is it important to take a day once in a while to rest (I promise you the world will not stop just because you are taking this rest) and I know any mothers out there are probably thinking "as if I could ever take a day of rest! but even take an hour, or half an hour or 5 minutes whatever you can, and whenever you can!  Not only is it important to rest, but it is also important to use this time of rest wisely.

"I have come to believe that caring for myself is not self-indulgent, caring for myself is an act of survival" Audre Lorde

What is rest? A lot of the time you might think woohoo a day of rest, I'm going to stay in bed sleep all day and watch my favourite series in between sleep. Although this might be physically resting your body, it has been proven that modern technology (think ipads, phones, laptops - anything emitting an electromagnetic field (EMFs)) can cause the following side effects include headaches, dizziness, sleep disorders, benign tumours, dementia and Alzheimer's (this article has a lot more info on EMF's and the damage they cause us and how we can reduce this potential damage). So the sleep that you are getting in between watching the latest 'House of Cards' episode might not be the truly restful sleep that your body needs.

I really believe that mental stress and exhaustion also has a very physical effect on our bodies, and is much of the reason why we do feel so run down. So when we do rest, why do we neglect to rest our minds too? Remember that your body and mind are intrinsically connected. Watching a series or movie is hardly resting for our minds, and as mentioned above it means the sleep we do have may not be the healing sleep that we need. 

Here are a few tips to help you get some real, healing rest for both body and mind:

  • Do not feel guilty about taking some time to rest for you, the world will go on. Instead of associating this time with feelings of guilt, enjoy it, be positive and know that it will pass and you will be back to 100% in no time!
  • Rather than watching your favourite series/movie, try to disconnect from your phone, your laptop, your ipad etc etc. Take some time to get comfortable, close your eyes and focus just on your breathing: this breath coming in & this breath going out. Each time you notice yourself distracted in thought again thats ok, just let it go and come back to your breath. Try to find a quiet place inside you, and just let yourself be there without having to do anything or please anyone. NOTE: you may very well fall asleep during the breathing which is totally fine :-) obviously sleep is what your body really needs today, and it should be a healing, restful sleep.
  • Once you feel a bit more connected to yourself with your breath, ask yourself: How do YOU really feel today? What does your body really need today? Is there something in particular that has made you feel like this that maybe you could think about changing? 
  • Have a warm bath with a few drops of lavender oil in and again, close your eyes and just breathe.
  • If you find you really cannot focus on just breathing for too long and you can't sleep but 'NEED' to do something else, first I'd suggest asking yourself WHY you need to do something else? And then if you still really need to do something I'd suggest reading your favourite book, but please please try to stay away from phones/ipads/laptops!

Your body works so hard for you all day every day; treat it like your temple, and give it some time to replenish. You wouldn’t leave your car to run without a service! You even let your computer sleep! Treat yourself with even that level of respect.

Take care of yourself 

xx

The Benefits of Yoga for Skiiers

Have you ever thought about how perfectly skiing & yoga complement each other? Skiing is fast, adrenaline-pumping & risky. Yoga is calming, meditative & mindful. Combining the two creates a perfect balance of mindful fun.

The biggest benefit that yoga can bring to your skiing is injury prevention. Out on the slopes it is cold and we use our cold muscles in ways or in an intensity that we generally aren't used to. Yoga can help reduce stress, strain and possible injury.

If you're planning a skiing holiday I would highly suggest attending as many yoga classes as you can before you head into the snow. Balance, concentration, flexibility & strength form the basis of most yoga classes and these are also the most important skills to get you down the mountain with a big smile on your face!

See your yoga mat as you see you your skis…and see your skis as a yoga mat

Here are a few tips to help you find alignment on your skis:

  • Feet should be shoulder-width apart, as if in Mountain Pose, to create a stable base for the body.
  • Knees should be in line with the toes.
  • Hips should be tipped slightly forward. This is a somewhat unnatural position for most people; however, ski boots help encourage this shape in the lower body. This posture helps you gain control. 
  • Shoulders should be dropped, or relaxed, as in Mountain Pose.
  • Torso should be still & stable. Referred to as a “quiet upper body” in skiing, having a “still” torso is akin to riding a bicycle with the lower body doing most of the work while the upper body provides stability.
  • Hands should be in front of your body to encourage forward movement and to initiate pole plants.

Here are a few poses which will help strengthen, lengthen and balance you prior to skiing:

  • Forward fold: A yoga pose for hamstrings as it helps to loosen the back and stretch hamstrings and calves.
  • Warrior I and II : Stretches hip flexors and hamstrings on the back leg whilst strengthening feet, ankles, glutes and quads on the front leg.
  • Chair pose: classic ski and board pose, warms up and builds strength in quads. 
  • Reclined cobblers pose: improves flexibility of inner thigh muscles, which can cause knee injury in skiing if not stretched.
  • Tree pose: helps with balance, tones & strengthens quads, calves, ankles & spine whilst stretching hip flexors, inner thighs, chest and shoulders. Improves balance, promotes mobility in the hip and knee joint, very important for turns whilst skiing. 
  • Downward facing Dog: Stretches the back & opens the chest. Vinyasas can build core strength.
  • Crescent Pose (high lunge): stretches hip flexors & hamstrings on the back leg whilst strengthening feet, ankles, glutes & quads on the front leg. Low lunges are also good!

If the idea of yoga & skiing tickles your toes, have a look at our next escape:

Pause // Play // Ski

16th- 23rd March 2016

Morillon, French Alps

Daily morning yoga with a mountain view, afternoons to ski/board to your hearts content, a full body massage, meditation techniques for the curious, a B-EA-U-TIFUL chalet complete with a sauna and right next to the ski lifts. Oh, and of course stinky french cheese and wine are also included! 

New year.....New me? No, thank you!

Happy New year!

I hope you've had a wonderful break and are ready to start this new year with a spring in your step! It can be easy to fall into the trap of New year = New me, but really we don't need to make any crazy resolutions about how we are going to move mountains (either literally because we will be so strong from working out SO much (!), or figuratively at work or in our personal lives) and become amazing at XY or Z. What we really need to do is learn to love and accept who we already are.

You don't have to move mountains

Simply fall in love with life

Be a tornado of happiness, gratitude & acceptance

You will change the world just be being a warm, kind-hearted human being. 

Anita Krizzan

If we could all learn to love and accept ourselves as we are, the world would be a much happier, peaceful place so my challenge to you this year is to stay you and to love you. 

x

On this note, I am not making any crazy resolutions but I am feeling very dull and heavy after the last few weeks of overindulgence so I will be doing a Cold Pressed Juicery 3 day juice cleanse this week to help me get back to feeling energetic and light again. If you're thinking about doing a cleanse too it's important to prep a few days before - here is a yummy, easy peasy recipe I made yesterday as a pre cleanse meal, enjoy!

Healthy Christmas Gift Guide!

Of course, we never want to be materialistic, but at this time of year, sometimes it is nice to give a gift. . . and if you're going to give a gift why not make it a healthy gift!

 

 

For the runner:

A pair of RUNDERWEAR, the lucky wonder pants for runners!

 

For the person who runs from the gym out for a drink:

A BIG, beautiful, warm & cozy wrap or cape to snuggle up in post exercise (and at any time of the day!). I love this Carla Grima wrap, which also ticks the box of being locally made and supporting a small Maltese business!  Zara also have some beautiful, big & cozy wraps. 

 

For the cook:

- Amelia Freer's book "Eat, Nourish, Glow", an easy-to-understand guide to nutrition with some great recipes.

-Ella Woodward's "Deliciously Ella" cookbook

- A spiralizer (so they can make my Zucchini Phad Thai ;-) )

- A nutribullet, I use mine to make my own almond milk every morning and it is SO simple and has absolutely no chemicals added unlike many store bought almond milks. Also great for making smoothies. 

- A bottle of exquisite olive oil such as Barbuto.

spiralizer.jpg
LahLah yoga malta

For the yogi in your life:

- a good quality yoga mat (available from LahLah Yoga for €30)

- treat your loved yogi to a membership for unlimited  yoga classes (LahLah Yoga has 1 month, 3 month & 6 month options available) email lisa@lahlahyoga.com for more details. 

- some beautiful yoga wear, I currently LOVE the upside, Teeki LuluLemon. If you're on a budget TK MAXX normally have some good bargains :-)

 

For someone who needs a bit of pampering:

- a massage or reiki session with Butterfly Therapies, every time I leave a session with Cat I am floating! Treat yourself or get a voucher for a friend.

- some wonderful, home-made, natural and sustainably made in Malta beauty products  from the Soap Cafe

-a luxurious scented candle (secret: although they can be considered a 'boring' gift, most girls love receiving a luxurious scented candle - it's the sort of thing you wouldn't splash out for on yourself but a great gift to receive!)

- a voucher for a private yoga consultation & class, for someone who would prefer to try yoga in the comfort and privacy of their own home. This is perfect for anyone, young or old, flexible or stiff so why not introduce or encourage someone you love to start a healthier lifestyle. 

 

Secret Santa Ideas:

- A beautiful, locally made Carla Grima headband €15

- A voucher for one LahLah Yoga Class €10

- A super duper personalised MAKK creation (price dependent on product!) supporting another small Maltese company too.

- A picture of a fun memory framed with a quote

- Not On The Highstreet has great gift inspiration too, and has a section just for secret santa/stocking fillers too!

Male Pampering:

-why not send him for an old fashioned shave and facial at Antonio's Barber Shop & Gentleman's Quarters

-the Soap Cafe also have a great old fashioned shaving kit. 

 

 

Although giving gifts is great and it is nice to buy thoughtful gifts for others, remember that there is so much more that one can give all throughout the year than a gift on one day a year. If we all gave more love throughout the year, the world would be a much happier, peaceful place :-)

Happy Christmas

xx

Be kind to your wrists & shoulders sun salutation :-)

I've had a slight injury to my wrist recently which has made sun salutations and vinyasas a no-go for a while. After a week of a very, very gentle practice my body was raring to step it up a bit again, but my wrist not so much, so I came up with this 'Kind for your wrists & shoulders' sun salutation.  

Hope this is useful, and whenever your wrists & shoulders seem a bit tired, listen to your body, give them a break and integrate this into your practice instead for a few days :-)

Namaste!


How to: Keep your yoga practice injury free

Yoga is supposed to be a very healing, nourishing practice for our bodies, but like any activity if not done properly there is always a chance of injury. 

LahLah yoga: injury free yoga practice

But how do we keep our practice injury free? Here are a few tips:

ALWAYS BREATHE, AND BE PRESENT

When we are breathing, noticing our breath and present in our bodies we are very aware of what we are doing and can therefore feel if something does not feel good or if we are pushing too far. As soon as we start thinking about our to do list, that email we received earlier etc we stop being present, we stop being aware and we can easily injure ourselves. Generally if breathing becomes difficult in a pose it means that you may have come a little bit too far into the pose. Poses should always feel steady and comfortable. ALWAYS! 

JUST BECAUSE YOU CAN DO SOMETHING, DOES NOT ALWAYS MEAN YOU SHOULD

Recently in my own practice this has been coming up again & again. Just because technically you 'can' get into this particular pose, does not mean you should be doing it. When we first start practicing yoga we sometimes surprise ourselves about the things we can do with our body. It can be a boost to the ego and getting into these poses is a fun challenge that the ego pushes however as my practice has progressed I have learnt that just because I can does not mean I should. Two questions to ask yourself in any pose are: Am I in alignment? and does this feel good? 

As a yoga teacher, I sometimes, probably wrongly, feel like I should be able to do everything, but the truth is I am just a normal person - I get pain in my lower back sometimes, I suffer from tight shoulders and hips when I spend too long at the computer and I am not a naturally flexible person. Yoga has helped me hugely with these issues, and continues to which is why I decided to share the gift of yoga and it's power to heal not it's power to injure. Getting to the flexibility I have today has taken dedication - it does not come naturally and I still have a long way to go. Any students of mine may have recently noticed that I no longer sit in lotus position, not because I can't but because when I am really present and listening to my body I know this pose does not feel comfortable on my knees yet. This is not healing and nourishing my body. My hips are not yet open enough for the pose so the twist is coming from my knees. So for the mean time I choose to focus on opening my hips to be able to get there eventually.

It's important to remember that just because I, or any other teacher is leading you through a sequence of poses, if one does not feel right for you then you should not do it. Even if every other person in the room is doing it, it doesn't matter. Every single body is different and only you know how it feels for you. 

All you really have to do is let your body & your breath guide you in your practice as opposed to your ego. Honouring the teacher that is in YOU! 

YOU are amazing!

This is your mid-week reminder that YOU are amazing. We tend to forget this fact all too often..

Take a moment just to stop, and notice your heartbeat, your pulse, moving inside of you. This energy which keeps us alive. Where does this energy come from? Our heart pumping of course, you say. But this pulse, this energy was in our bodies even before our hearts had developed in foetus form. Where did it come from then? "I got it from my MaMa" of course, but where did "yo Mama" get this energy from to begin with? From her Mama, who got it from her Mama, who got it from her Mama and so the chain continues. Feel your heart, feel your pulse again. The heart, supporting this pulse, but it did not create this pulse or this movement.  

This energy (or prana, or chi or magic, or whatever other name you may give it) inside of us has always existed long before we were here, and it will continue to exist long after we are gone, but for the moment we have inherited it, it is not ours to keep, but ours to cherish, ours to live, to love & to dance.

Sometimes we forget that we really are divine beings, made of stars with this wonderful energy inside of all of us. So here is your mid-week reminder that you are AMAZING and MAGICAL and you can do anything you put your mind to. 

I do believe in magic, do you?! 

LahLah xx

P.S. I would like to thank Leslie Kaminoff and his Yoga Anatomy Principles Course (which I am currently taking online) for inspiring this blog post and for reminding me that I am a divine being full of this wonderful energy too :-) !

6 Reasons to Downward Dog

Downward dog is probably one of the most well known yoga poses, which even if you have never been to a yoga class you have probably heard of. When you begin practicing yoga, downward dog can be a little bit like torture, but the more you practice, the more comfortable it will feel and it will become more of a resting pose than an active pose. I LOVE this pose and cannot get enough of it at the moment. It makes me body feel sooo good, that sometimes I want to spend my whole practice just breathing in downward dog. 

 
 

But why exactly does Downward Dog feel SO good?

  • Downward Dog elongates and lengthens the back - a stretch so crucial in our modern sedentary lifestyle. The pose greatly helps to decrease back pain by strengthening the entire back and shoulder girdle and elongating shoulders and shoulder blade area.
  • Downward Dog is also a mild inversion which means it helps improve circulation therefore flushing toxins, regulating blood pressure, and boosting immune health.
  • The pose also stretches the hamstrings, toes, calves and arches, and feet- and keep wrists strong and supple. 
  • Downward dog promotes upper body & core strength; and also strengthens bone density and helps to prevent osteoporosis.
  • The pose is energizing: according to B.K.S. Iyengar, a mere minute in this pose will “bring back lost energy for runners after a hard race”. This works equally well for anybody just tired after a long day :-)
  • Downward dog focuses the extension of the cervical spine and neck, releasing compression and stress on the entire spine. If you’re able to shake your head gently yet loosely to the left, right, and up and down during this pose, you’ll be tapping into the anxiety-relieving muscle and mind benefits of the pose.

Downward Dog How to:

  • Come onto the floor on your hands and knees. Set your knees directly below your hips and your hands slightly forward of your shoulders. Spread your palms, index fingers parallel or slightly turned out, and turn your toes under.
  • Exhale and lift your knees away from the floor. At first you can keep the knees slightly bent and the heels lifted away from the floor to be able to really lengthen your spine and lift your sitting bones toward the ceiling. 
  • Once you feel the length in the spine you can begin to straighten the legs (as long as you can keep the length in the spine whilst doing so, otherwise keep legs bent for now) and take the heels down towards the floor - they may not touch yet but keep at it! Don't let your knees lock. Roll the upper thighs inward slightly.
  • Make sure your fingers are still spreading wide, pressing the base of all fingers actively into the mat. Firm your shoulder blades against your back, then widen them and draw them toward the tailbone. Keep the head between the upper arms; don’t let it hang.

Rememeber to always enjoy the pose, not pushing so much that it becomes uncomfortable. Keep breathing & keep smiling.

N.B. Downward dog is contraindicated for anybody with carpal tunnel syndrome, during late stages of pregnancy and for anybody with high blood pressure. 

Balance is Key

Balance is key. In everything we do. 

Over the past week, this message has kept appearing to me in various different ways, and this post from Cold Pressed Juicery Malta says it so perfectly. 

Cold Pressed Juicery Malta LahLah Yoga

Be it through diet, exercise, work, fun or relationships, balance is ALWAYS key!

This past week, I have also been exploring the balance in my yoga practice, not only trying to find ease in balance poses, but more specifically the balance between stillness in movement, and the movement in stillness. 

Finding the stillness & peace of the mind during movement on the mat helps me to physically focus & balance in many of the challenging balancing poses . Finding the movement within stillness: the movement of the breath through the body, the movement of your muscles in a stretch, your heartbeat, and the movement of heat & energy through the body all help me to become truly present with myself. When we actually slow down enough to really feel and listen to our bodies, it can be magical :-)

Next time you venture onto your mat, I invite you to notice this difference and try to find this balance of stillness in movement & movement in stillness.

Happy Thursday! xx