This pose (upward facing dog) is often confused with Cobra Pose. Here’s the key difference:
In Upward Facing Dog (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana), just the tops of the feet and the hands press down to lift the knees, thighs and pelvis off the mat.
In Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana), the tops of the feet, knees, thighs, pelvis and hands all press down on the mat.
Which is your favourite?
Yoga with Seema
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Penny Brookes Streen
"The mind is everything; what you think, you become." -Buddha
This pose (upward facing dog) is often confused with Cobra Pose. Here’s the key difference:
Develop enough courage so that you can stand up for yourself and then stand up for somebody else.“ — Maya Angelou
Standing up for what is right is never easy and takes courage. It is no different to standing on one leg in the tree pose- it may seem hard and wobbly at first. However, with focus, intention and practice we can get better at the pose. Similarly standing up for oneself and for others is a quality that can be cultivated. Once we become aware of upholding our value system and extending our concern beyond ourselves, we can transform from being passive bystanders to people who take principled action - no matter how tough it may be. We may end up making a difference and helping someone else find their own voice. It is worth it.
Good start to the day!
The name "Gomukhasana" is derived from two Sanskrit words: "go," which means "cow," and "mukha," which means "face" or "mouth." I have always wondered about how this pose derives this name. Some yogis suggest that the crossed legs are said to look like a cow's mouth, while the bent elbows supposedly look like a cow's ears. I have even heard that apparently the arm that is raised overhead, resembles the ear of a cow, while the other arm, bent at the elbow and reaching behind the back, resembles the mouth or face of a cow. To be honest, I can’t see any resemblance either way. Irrespective of its meaning, I love this pose for being a great hip opener and excellent for shoulder mobility too.
After visiting the Ancient Greek stadiums at Olympia and Epidaurus, it was wonderful to visit the spectacular Panathenaic Stadium in Athens- home to the first modern Olympic Games in 1896. During the Olympic Games, the Olympic Flame travels from the ancient site of Olympia before finally arriving at the Panathenaic Stadium for the official handover ceremony to the new host country. This stadium is also the finishing line to the annual Athens Marathon held every November which begins in the city of Marathon and ends here in Athens.
I think my name looks prettier in Greek than in English! Handmade in 2 mins by this lovely chap. 🇬🇷💕
Awe inspiring Acropolis. 💕 🇬🇷
Honouring Dionysus- the god of wine. 😉🍷
The perfect spot for my yoga practice.
Salutations to the sun at the ancient theatre of Epidaurus. This theatre has the most amazing acoustics in the world- all without even a microphone!
For someone who is glued to the TV during the Olympic Games, it was wonderful to see Hera’s altar where the lighting of the Olympic flame ceremony has been taking place since 1939 🇬🇷
Namaste from the calm and crystal clear water of the Ionian sea in Corfu, Greece. 🇬🇷
Travel tip- pack in some water shoes. They will make life a lot easier in the flat, pebbled beach at Barbati. 😅
The best part of my visit to Bari has got to be the walk down Strada delle Orecchiette (the Pasta street) and watch the grandmothers lovingly knead, then deftly slice the pasta dough before magically shaping them into Orecchiette (ears👂) 🇮🇹
THIS is sheer bliss! The views from the top of the Lovcen mountains are simply spectacular and are well worth braving the hair raising drive uphill! (Warning- not for the faint hearted! 😱)
Later on, I even managed to keep my balance in my tree pose on the cobbled streets of Kotor despite sampling a Rakija ( Montenegro’s national drink) at lunch! P.S- a Rakija is much needed after THAT uphill drive. 😅🇲🇪
Learnt something new in Trogir today. In Croatia (and in Trogir) the god Kairos represents offering you the chance to grasp the opportunity for savouring a happy moment in life. This favourable moment can be achieved by holding Kairos’ tuft of hair otherwise the opportunity simply passes you by.
I can assure you that I did not miss my opportunity to a ‘happy moment’ despite not grabbing Kairos’ hair!
Every second of my visit was pleasurable -including exploring the Cathedral and the quaint alleyways, soaking in the local culture and history and enjoying a traditional Trogirian sweet called Rafiol (not to be confused with an Italian Ravioli- but you can see the connection). I definitely didn’t miss the opportunity to do a dancer’s pose right in the middle of the Trogir streets. I think Kairos was smiling at me. 😉
Trikonasana in Croatia 🇭🇷
Gorgeous day in Slovenia! 🇸🇮
Yogi in Venice 💖
Last summer I was fortunate to visit the Column of Marcus Aurelius at Piazza Colonna in Rome, Italy. This Roman Emperor’s wisdom and stoic philosophy has guided me through different phases of my life. Aurelius’ powerful quotes from his journal ‘Meditations’ has provided solace during challenging moments and has often revealed the answers that I have been seeking.
“The tranquillity that comes when you stop caring what they say. Or think, or do. Only what you do. (Is this fair? Is this the right thing to do?) < . . . > not to be distracted by their darkness. To run straight for the finish line, unswerving.”
-Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
In essence, focusing on what other people think and say about us prevents us from doing anything worthy. We must stop caring about their opinions -if it doesn’t lead to a higher purpose or a common good in life. We have no control over what others think or say about us. However, we possess control over how we respond. We mustn’t allow ourselves to be dragged down by their negativity. Instead, we must remain focused on our goals towards building a positive and fulfilling life.
Social validation and being part of a tribe is ingrained in our evolutionary psychology, however, it is liberating to break free from the shackles of others’ expectations of us. In doing so, it enables us to choose a path in life that we genuinely believe in. It is by no means easy to face the criticisms and rejection that arise when we do not fit into the mould of being a ‘certain kind of person’, but we must remain true to our personal mission and values. We have to build the courage needed to follow our own goals and thus carve our best life possible. When we break free from the prisons of others opinions about us, is when we achieve true freedom and tranquility.
Isn’t that a liberating thought?
"There are always flowers for those who want to see them"- Henri Matisse
French artist Henri Matisse loved flowers. His canvases came alive with abundant use of colours for which he was best known. He drew inspiration from the colours of the flowers around him.
In life, beauty, opportunities and positive aspects are all around us. We just have to SEE them. Whether we notice them at all, or how we see them depends on our perspective. If we possess an open mind, a willingness to discover new things, a positive outlook to learn then we become receptive to the wonders around us. We are able to find the goodness and the beauty around us. We too can then bloom - just like the flowers that we see.
With the weather being so nice, it’s the perfect time to Om outside the home! (and even the studio) Enjoyed teaching an outdoor yoga session this morning. 🧘♀️
Yoga Nidra has always been a big part of my yoga practice. All my yoga sessions conclude with lying down in savasana, also known as the co**se pose. This simple yet transformative posture involves lying flat on your back, with arms and legs relaxed, allowing your body and mind to find deep relaxation. While it may seem easy or even unnecessary to some, yoga nidra offers a multitude of benefits that extend far beyond a few moments of rest. It helps to achieve a state of emotional balance, mental clarity and focus, relaxation and stress reduction, physical recovery, improved sleep quality and instills a deeper spiritual connection.
The true essence of yoga nidra lies not just in the physical act of lying down but in the conscious awareness and surrender to the present moment. By giving yourself the gift of yoga nidra, you can embrace a holistic practice that nourishes your body, mind, and spirit.
“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” So true. It never ever feels like ‘work’, when I’m heading to teach a yoga class. 💕🧘♀️
On this International Yoga Day, I encourage everyone to explore the transformative power of yoga. I would like to remind you that yoga is not just a physical exercise but a holistic practice that nurtures our body, mind, and spirit.
Yoga has been a source of deep spiritual growth for me. It has opened my heart to a greater sense of connection with the universe. The philosophy of yoga has encouraged me to live in the present moment, to appreciate and be grateful for the beauty that surrounds me and to find joy in the simplest of things.
On this special day, I wanted to share one of my treasured Yoga photos taken a couple of years ago at the Ayyuthaya Temple in Thailand. It was the perfect sanctuary to tune inwards and cultivate mindfulness.
Hello again! Once upon a time, THIS is where I spent most of my Wednesday afternoons after I’d finished teaching my yoga class 🤭🛍️
The end term at QMUL- the year went by so quickly! It’s been a real pleasure to teach this lovely group of students, and although I am sad to say goodbye to the graduating students, I hope that I have instilled the love of yoga in them, and they will continue their practice elsewhere. I look forward to the new term and feel deeply grateful for the opportunity. 🙏🧘♀️
After a considerable hiatus in Chester, I am delighted to announce that I will be running some yoga sessions in Chester from 5th till 8th June.
Join me as I guide you through a series of postures that will increase your vitality, enhance your body awareness, and promote a sense of inner calm. The sessions have been specially designed to help you reconnect with your practice, find balance, and regain strength and flexibility. Whether you are a seasoned yogi or a beginner, the sessions are open to all levels of experience and will provide a welcoming space for everyone.
I will be offering Private, Semi Private and Small Group sessions ( 5-6 participants). For further details, please do get in touch via private message or email ( [email protected])
Looking forward to embarking on this journey of rejuvenation and rediscovery together. 🧘♀️
Who is in your inner circle?
Do they inspire you? are they a positive role model? do they lift you up? teach you something new? help to unlock your potential? make you the best version of yourself? help you to see things from a different perspective? help you to learn from your mistakes? encourage you to progress towards your goals? fill you up with positivity, joy and optimism? add value to your life? make you feel content with your life?
If so, rest easy - you’re in the right company. According to notable researcher and psychologist Dr. David McClelland of Harvard, “The people you associate with determine 95% of your success or failure in life.”
Undeniably, the people we surround ourselves with have a huge impact on our lives in terms of attitude, behaviour, interests, value systems, likes, dislikes, the list goes on..
We tend to pick up the habits of people we consistently associate with. We start to think like them, we talk like them, we work like them and we become like them.
So always raise your standards for who you want to be around. Spending time in the company of positive minded individuals can increase your sense of well being and boost your self esteem and confidence.
Keeping good company helps us in becoming the person we want to be. Remember the old adage - Man is known by the company he keeps.
‘Our greatest glory is, not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.’- Confucius
So happy to be supporting a good cause. 🙏
‘Your mind is like an umbrella.
It works best when it’s open.’ - a saying I once heard.
An open mind can enhance self growth as you learn new things about the world and the people aground you. Contrast that with a closed mind that can inhibit growth as it hinders you from challenging your existing beliefs and prevents you from gaining fresh insights. When you limit your horizons and are unreceptive to new ideas or perspectives, it’s no surprise that you may continue to be besieged with the same problems without any effective solutions. People with open minds tend to actively seek knowledge, think critically and re evaluate their beliefs in the light of new evidence. Open minded individuals evolve into becoming more optimistic and have a positive outlook on life.
How do you cultivate an open mind?
A simple way is to step outside your comfort zone and consider other perspectives and learn new things. In doing so, you can discard the implicit biases that may have crept in as a result of surrounding yourself with the same old ideas. Diversify the people in your life and reach out to people with different perspectives, and new life experiences that you can learn from. Constantly ask questions- not just to others but to yourself. Become mindful of where your ideas are coming from and if have have considered multiple sources of information that has led you to that conclusion. Self questioning and analysis is a wonderful exercise and can either deepen your existing beliefs or can provide newer insights that you hadn’t considered before. Being open minded also means being humble. It enables you to rethink the things you thought you knew and admit that you could’ve been wrong. It gives you the courage to re examine your past experiences in light of what you’ve learned. It helps you to revise your conclusions. It takes you on a lifelong learning journey. It makes you - a better you.
Here’s an article that I wrote many summers ago, about the different styles of yoga - Ashtanga, Hatha, Iyengar etc etc…
It doesn’t really matter which style you adopt. The only one that I have a problem with is Beer Yoga!!!! Yes- it ACTUALLY exists!!!! ( it didn’t at the time I wrote the article.) What next?!!!!
‘The Frog in the well knows nothing of the sea.’ - Japanese Proverb
I first heard this proverb from my Japanese friend in Singapore and was struck by it. My friend explained that it comes from a Chinese fable about a frog that always lived in a well and believed that it represented the entire universe; until a visit from a sea turtle debunked the myth! The sea turtle marvelled about the vastness of the sea and all there was to explore in the openness…
Just like the frog in the well, we are limited by the narrow confines of our own experiences. We often believe that what we have encountered in our lives, is all there is to know. This proverb is a reminder to have the humility to accept our own limitations and to broaden our horizons and learn from the experiences of others. It is often difficult to accept what we have not experienced firsthand. But remember, there is a whole world outside our borders of understanding and once we begin to see new perspectives, we can break free from the shackles of our own ignorance.
Was interesting to re read this article that I wrote about the anti ageing benefits of yoga nearly 13 years ago! Yep- I still stand by it, especially with the wealth of real life experience! 😁🧘♀️🙏
“It may seem difficult at first, but everything is difficult at first.”- Miyamoto Musashi
Yesterday, a young man walked up to me to say thank you for the yoga classes. He took the time to show gratitude and to recognise how my classes have benefited him. In response, I said a thank you too- for feeling supported and affirmed. Never underestimate the power of a simple -thank you. Each time I am on my mat, I strive to give the best of myself and I work towards a purpose of bringing a positive outcome for others. That brings me the deepest sense of personal fulfilment. An expression of gratitude from my students and from myself for having this opportunity to teach, makes me feel more interconnected and makes my job even more meaningful. 🙏💕
This photo was taken a few years ago, while I was on holiday in Thailand. The Buddha head entangled in the roots of the banyan tree is one of the most iconic images of Ayutthaya and of Thailand in general. It remains a mystery as to how exactly the Buddha head came to rest amidst the roots of this banana tree. It is widely believed that the roots grew around the sculpture as the Wat Mahathat temple lay abandoned after the Burmese invasion of Ayutthaya, the ancient capital of Siam in 1767. Fascinating!
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