Creating a Yoga Space at Home

Yoga BagI always dreamed of having my own yoga space at home. When I was training to be a Yoga teacher, I would go to a class at least 4 times a week, where the structured environment allowed me to focus. The problem of course was that it felt like I was going to class because I had to, not because I wanted to. One thing I  never fully mastered, was simply being able to practise yoga on my own at home.

Yoga SpaceFinding my own Yoga self practise has taken a long time. For about a year it was only about meditating. I tentatively made my way through the Headspace packages, created a small tiny space in my walk in wardrobe and began to simply connect with my breath. For about 20 minutes every morning I would sit  and let the calm sounds guide me through a gentle meditation, with the sweet smell of a scented candle for company. At time went on, I began to envisage creating my own yoga space at home. I needed a private spot, with room to stretch and a solid floor to roll out my mat. I pondered on where and how I could make this happen in my house, the living room was too public, the bedroom too tight and the guestroom carpeted.

Yoga SpaceAround about this time, I started the decluttering course. My most major excavation was in fact my walk in wardrobe. I narrowed the whole wardrobe down to 2 rails of clothes, along with shoes and bags and by doing so I created a lot of space. I ripped up the carpet and put down wooden floors. I also had the walls painted a clean pure white. In the corner of the room, I placed a small table and with precious bits and pieces creating a yoga alter, complete with incense sticks, precious stones and calming statues.

Yoga SpaceIt seems like such an indulgence to dedicate space in the house to a pastime I only get to do every other day, if I’m lucky. But in reality I feel so blessed to be able to have this space. I like to think that it represents the space that I so badly need in my brain and in a crazy frantic world it is my own personal oasis of calm. My mat is permanently rolled out and the convenience of this means that I can fall out of bed in the morning and plant my feet on its familiar surface without even thinking. Some evenings I wander upstairs and simply sit in its calmness and appreciate its stillness. My yoga practise is still evolving. Ashtanga provides a natural flow and depending on how much time I have in the mornings, I always start with a series of sun salutations. In fact its really quite easy to work my way through the standing sequence without stopping and starting or giving up.  Sometimes I play some soft gentle background music or sometimes I count the sanskrit movements that I learnt (by heart it seems) when I was training to be a teacher.

Yoga is of course a journey – a life time journey and right now creating a Yoga Space at home is where my journey is at.

 

 

Photographing Cornwall

CornwallIt was the draw of pretty Cornwall that made me sign up for the trip, that and the knowledge that my wise photography teacher was hopefully going to calmly reintroduce me to my camera and tripod.  But by the time I arrived in Lands End, it was already dark and having listened to my taxi driver regale me with Cornish folklore all the way from Newquay airfield, I was beginning to have my doubts. With my kit bag and luggage, I stumbled out of the car, to howling wind and the crashing sound of the sea that most certainly was registering on the Beaufort scale.  I was back with Light and Land for a photography tour around Cornwall as well as some tutoring on printing techniques. I had last been in Cornwall in 2006, for a culinary tour of Rick Steins eateries, now here I was in a rain jacket and hiking boots thinking oh my God where have I landed.

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Dead Sea Spa at the Kempinski Ishtar Jordan

By Dearbhla Doyle, Guest writer for Unwind and let go.
JordanThe Kempinski Ishtar Hotel at the world famous Dead Sea was the perfect place to end a wonderful five day tour of Jordan. Having spent a dusty day in the Wadi-Rum desert, undergone the trauma of losing my luggage for more than three days, and spent two days hiking in blistering heat through the spectacular city of Petra in flip-flops (I kid you not), myself and my travel companion were in serious need of some rest and recuperation.

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Vinyasa Flow at Samyama Yoga – Palo Alto, California

Samyama Yoga CenterAfter an intense week of meetings in and around Palo Alto, I finally coaxed myself into doing what I had been meaning to do for ever and visit a local yoga class. Whilst there were several listed in the area, I liked the look of Samyama yoga and decided to book an uber and attend their Saturday morning Vinyasa Flow. The class was already in session as I crept into the back row in my bare feet on white wooden floorboards. In fact the whole room was white with a large shell shaped yoga room, complete with mood lightening, floor to ceiling windows, and a feature ripple effect wall at the front of the class. This shala was most certainly on the chic side of the scale.

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Deep Tissue at the International Orange San Francisco

Golden Gate bridgeWhile in Switzerland last year, I was introduced to one of the worlds top Spa consultants and over an interesting exchange, he offered me several insider tips on city spas around the globe.  And so when I was last visiting San Francisco based on his recommendation, I took the opportunity to visit the International Orange Day Spa on Fillmore Street, located in Pacific Heights and close to Union Square.

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Volunteering for Strictly…

By Ingrid Miller,  guest writer for Unwind and let go.

Volunteering for StrictlyI’m glad I didn’t listen to my dad, his advice has always been never to volunteer, but there I was, a volunteer member of the Parents Association of my children’s school. “We need a new soft surface playground” the Principal said. An emergency meeting of the Kitchen Cabinet was convened – in my kitchen. After a few glasses of wine and some serious brainstorming we agreed as a team to take on “Strictly”. As the bottles were emptied, our confidence grew… and so

it began.

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The Delamar Hotel Spa in Greenwich Connecticut

Delamar Hotel SpaAs part of a recent work assignment on location in Greenwich Connecticut, the schedule included (much to my joy!) a complimentary treatment at the Delamar Hotel spa. Located on the waterfront, the hotel overlooks a pretty marina with fancy sailboats and kind of reminds you of a laid back Summer postcard. Having flown long distance to get there,  I opted for a Swedish massage as my treatment du jour. Perfect for weary travelers but not too demanding for already jet lagged muscles.

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