I understand the pain of anxiety and depression first hand - truly and deeply. I understand the pain of not feeling good enough, of feeling powerless and out of control of your life. I understand the feeling of desperation and frustration. I understand because that was me or who I thought I was. Let me tell you what I also understand. Through the power of Dru Yoga and meditation, I understand the feeling of well-being, expansion and joy. I understand the feeling of strength and being sure footed. I understand the feeling of deeply knowing my true worth. This is who I really am. This is who we all really are. Your experience of life is a choice. It may not feel like it. It may feel like you have no control over your thoughts and emotions but I am here to tell you that you do have control. That you can find a way to take back control and when you do you can realise who you really are - beautiful - worthy - powerful strong. I hope you feel the energy behind these words - I hope there is a small part of you that is open to this truth. I believe in you - now it's up to you to take the next step. Check out our classes and one to one sessions on this site. In the meantime here is a beautiful technique to help you when those painful emotions overwhelm you.

This time of year is such a great time for focusing on new beginnings. There is the new growth of spring and a lot of the symbolism of Easter has pagan origins of fertility and new beginnings. Rabbits and eggs are ancient symbols of new life.

In the yogic science the chakras can be a wonderful way of understanding the deeper parts of ourselves and help us create change. They are part of the flow of subtle energy through the body referred to as prana or lifeforce. They are vortices of energy which develop along the spine –they have an effect on every aspect of our experience.

Anodea judith refers to the Chakras as "centres of organisation that receive, assimilate and express life force energy"

They are not physical entities, they cannot be held or seen, but, like emotions, they have a powerful effect on us. Aligning the chakras and rebalancing them allows free flow of energy enabling the body's own healing process to take place, thus freeing us to live in a more fulfilling way.

On a spiritual level in yoga they are also seen as sacred temples – a pathway to the deepest eternal part of ourselves

Two of the chakras particularly can be good to focus on when looking at new beginnings.

1) The base centre or Mooladhara - situated at the base of the spine

This chakra represents the solid foundation that supports everything we do. It relates to our sense of safety and security and our physical reality

Healing occurs through creating a new relationship with the physical i.e the body and the earth and our surroundings. It is only from this secure base that we can create lasting change.

Spending time in nature is very healing for the base centre.

In the yogic philosophy Ganesh, the elephant deity, resides in the base centre. He relates to that part of us that removes obstacles, and represents the unconscious mind. if you wish to get your unconscious mind on board with any change you can chant his name

'om sri ganeshaya namaha' (Reverence to Lord Ganesh) a few times

and affirm " I am safe, I am calm strong and centred and supported"

2) Heart chakra or Anahata – This situated in the spine at the level of the centre of

the breastbone. we tend to focus on the centre of the chest for this chakra. When working out which direction to go in the heart never lies.

It is related to the element of air, which is lighter and freer than other elements (fire and water) and therefore is expansive and linked with breath.

It is known in the spiritual realms that there is a field of universal love that envelops us, and through the connection with Anahata we become aware of that love –and open to it within and without. Like air, we cannot live without love

To give the heart room to expand, it is necessary to create space and time for yourself, do movements that expand the chest area, breathe well and perform acts of generosity. All of this will balance Anahata.

Try this simple meditation

Sit comfortably with the spine upright, perhaps with a candle nearby. Allow the breath to settle and be aware of your connection between the base of your spine and the earth.

Bring awareness to centre of your chest and imagine light or warmth there. Focus on the breath, imagine it flowing in and out from the chest and affirm 'I breathe in peace, I breathe out peace' Imagine light and warmth filling the heart centre. Sit in a peaceful space for a few moments

Contemplate on this quote by the great poet Rumi 'let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. it will not lead you astray'

Enjoy the time of new beginnings and may you feel the strength of the earth beneath you and be able to follow the pull of what you really love.

Love and Light x

A new start for 2019!
A lot of people would like to try yoga but feel a little concerned that it may be too difficult for them, or that they will be the oldest or most unfit in the class. Or perhaps they feel very inflexible or have a health concern such as a knee or hip replacement and think that they could not possibly do yoga.
Here at Lakshmi Yoga in Adel, Leeds, we gear our classes to beginners / over fifties or those with some health issues so that you can be reassured that you will fit in.
We have recently added a regular weekly class to our repertoire, the Friday beginners classes at 2pm. If you would like to give it a go, please get in touch or book here. (Other time slots are available from this link and all classes are suitable for beginners)

Use code YOGA 10 at the checkout to get £10 a block booking of 6 weeks (blocks start on specific dates)
Or book a drop in session to see if you like it, and receive a deal on booking the rest of the block.

2 – 3.30pm
Adel Quaker Meeting House LS16 6AZ
6 sessions for £51 or £12 drop in

You can also book OTHER TIME SLOTS from this link, - Tuesday evenings, a more upbeat feel and Fridays at 12 noon gentle yoga - all suitable for beginners.

Dear friends,
I would like to take the opportunity to wish you a light-filled holiday season. When you focus on light you focus on the eternal unchanging qualities of love and truth that connect you to others. I believe focusing on what unites us as opposed to what divides us is the path to peace.
If you get chance, do take a moment to light a candle and spend a moment focusing on those qualities within you and within all those you come into contact with.
We will be focusing on just that at our next meditation class on Saturday 15th December 10 - 12, Adel. If you haven't already booked, there are still a few spaces and you are welcome to join us, you can Book here.

Male voice choir - One of our students sings in Leeds male voice choir who are doing a couple of Christmas concerts which sound amazing and promise to really get you into the Christmas spirit. I am going along on 22nd Dec at Dewsbury. There is also one on 15th Dec in Leeds. Details andbooking here

Raw chocolate recipe - after giving out my special raw chocolate hearts at class last week, I have been asked to provide the recipe. Raw chocolate is incredibly good for you and tastes wonderful
This is my recipe but there are many online and you can add whatever you like
Recipe -
100 g Cacao butter (buy online)
6 tablespoons cacao / cocoa powder (buy online or in store)
Around 35 g dried cranberries chopped
A squirt of agave syrup
A drop or two of vanilla essence

Chop Cacao butter into small chunks (if bought a block)
melt it gently in a bain marie (a bowl over hot water)
Sieve the cacao powder and mix into the melted cacao butter
Add the vanilla essence and agave syrup
Mix / whisk until all smooth
Place chopped cranberries into a silicone mould or bun case ( I like a high proportion of cranberries to chocolate)
Pour chocolate into moulds
Place in freezer for at least 20 minutes

Wishing you all a joyful Christmas season and a peaceful, prosperous and happy new year.
Very much love and light to you
Jane x

4 easy ways to live a longer happier healthier life - your future self will thank you!

There is so much information out there about health that you can be forgiven for feeling overwhelmed and then just switching off from it. Information can also be conflicting and can change from one year to the next. However, please don't give up. Your health is the most precious thing you have and yet many people take care of their car better than their health, or they only make changes when there is a problem. It really doesn't have to be complicated. Without good health it is difficult to enjoy your life. Sometimes it helps to get a little inspiration or even to understand why it is important to make these changes. Ask yourself what would your future self think of your lifestyle decisions right now. If you don't like the answer, then this could be a wake up call! So here goes...

1. Learn something new for 15 minutes every day. This could be anything. Find something that you really enjoy, perhaps a language, musical instrument or learn some poetry. There are internet programmes you can use to exercise your brain. You could even practice writing with your non - dominant hand. Anything that really makes you have to use your brain. This keeps the brain healthy by creating new neural connections. As we age our brain loses capacity unless we use it.

2. Diet is a big area, but you don't have to be a nutritionist to know that sugar is bad for you. Sugar causes inflammation in the body which leads to illness. It also attacks the brain cells. So make a start by simply cutting down on refined sugar. If that's the one change you make to your diet, your future self will be eternally grateful to you. Why not do it with a friend? Set yourself some simple targets.

3. Exercise. You don't need to run a marathon, but exercise is a massive factor in physical and mental health. It is good for your heart, brain and state of mind. Aim to do 20 minutes aerobic exercise a day, something that gets your heart going. Go for a brisk walk, with an incline if possible, join an exercise class, walk up and down the stairs a few times! (If you have a health condition - you may want to consult your health practitioner)

4. Reduce stress levels. Stress is a major factor in creating illness in body and mind. It has been linked with heart disease, dementia, depression and much more. It also feels terrible to be stressed and is exhausting and ageing. It can be insidious, we get used to being stressed and think it's normal. Chronic stress can lead to hyper stress, where your brain thinks that being stressed is it's natural state and it becomes almost impossible to relax. You can retrain your brain though. Learning to relax properly is one of the best things you can do for your health. No matter what is going on in your life, learning relaxation techniques will help. The brain does not know it is stressed until you tell it!

Some of the many benefits that relaxation can bring -
Protects the heart
Lowers chances of catching colds
Aids sleep
Aids brain health
Lowers risk of stroke
Reduces depression or chance of becoming depressed
Helps make better decisions
It feels good enabling you to enjoy life more, appreciate what you have, the people in your life and helps foster a positive outlook

If you would like to really really really relax and feel good why not book onto our Relax and Rejuvenate yoga and meditation workshop Sunday 18th November.
You can book here

Thank you for reading and I hope it inspires you to make some simple changes that your future self will really thank you for!

From emotional pain to Joy.

Moving from emotional pain towards Joy is an inside job, but what does that mean?

Increase your vitality and create an amazing life!

Life can be hectic. We may want to make changes to help us feel healthier in mind and body, but maybe we don't know where to start or haven't got the energy to think beyond our next task.

If you are feeling a little lacklustre and in need of an energy boost, I may have just the thing for you. We don't necessarily need to do amazing things to create an amazing life, it is built on the small choices we make every day. These choices can either help us or hinder us on the way to an amazing life!

This programme is designed in bite sized chunks to help encourage you to choose some time for yourself on a regular basis and hopefully you will start to notice small changes, which will build up into big changes, as you feel calmer, more balanced and more energised
The videos are designed to be done on their own or to build up into a simple programme that you can use at home, all the videos are less than ten minutes. Increased vitality starts by making better choices moment to moment and gradually you will start to build your amazing life!

The challenge is for you to put these techniques into practice, either individually or together in various combinations.

Day 1 - is about easy 'wake up' movements to release physical tension and energise your day.

Day 2 - I will take you through the finer points of the wonderful cat pose. This can be done on a chair if kneeling is difficult. If you are a complete beginner, you may need to practice this a little, but it is so worth it, a real gem for spinal and digestive health, leaving you calm and energised.
Day 3 – is about a big key to vitality; breathing well. This a very effective breathing technique. It is great for everyone, but especially if you have asthma, hayfever or breathing issues.
Day 4- This technique involves lying down, watching the breath and relaxing- great to do after some movement at the beginning of the day, but also before bed for a better quality of sleep. This technique on its own will increase your vitality if practiced regularly.
Day 5 - If like me, you sometimes have thoughts buzzing round in your head that you can't get rid of, you need to feel grounded. This posture involves lying on your front, but if that's not comfortable, lie on your back and follow the video. This will help connect you with the earth element in your body and so calm the whirring mind. Don't underestimate the power of this simple posture to create change. You can also visualise letting go of physical and mental tension into the earth..... ahhhhh x
Day 6 - one of my favourite subjects, meditation. In my opinion, this should be taught to everyone. Imagine being able to control your mind and emotions, even a little bit? The techniques work through steady repeated practice, so try it for a week and see if it makes a difference to how you feel. It's completely normal to be distracted after a couple of breaths so don't give yourself a hard time, just keep practising the technique, it will get easier. P.S you don't have to sit cross-legged either!

Day 7- Today's technique is part of a beautiful sequence harnessing the immense power of the earth, as well as de-stressing, balancing and nourishing. Enjoy this outside if you can!
So, how do you plan to use the techniques? Whether you plan to use them on their own, or combine them to build up a practice that works for you. One of the greatest challenges can be keeping going with new habits when life pulls you in different directions! We all need help and support and a great truth is that the people you spend time with have the biggest impact on your life. So feel free to join us at a class or event, to keep you inspired. Our Spring workshop this year is called 'Abundant Vitality' a mix of Dru yoga, relaxation, breathing techniques and meditation. We will be learning a gorgeous new sequence called the nine offerings of Spring.

Book your Spring workshop here

Or check out our website, for classes etc, or simply keep in touch via Facebook. Either way I think you will be glad you did.

You may also want to look at other areas of your life, diet, general exercise, sleep, time in nature and your relationships to see where your energy is being drained and where you are topping yourself up, so you can get the balance right for you!
Thank you and lots of love x

Enjoy this video for a complete de-stress of body and mind
Do you want health and happiness?

In Yoga we work with energy that we call 'prana' or lifeforce. This is the energy that drives the universe, including you! In order for you to be healthy in body, mind and spirit, your energy needs be high and flowing freely. How you move, breathe, think, eat and live all affects this energy flow.
Yoga has this understanding down to a science called 'pranayama' meaning to control prana and also to allow it to expand. As your breath is intricately linked with your energy, pranayama is concerned with breath control. Combining pranayama with yoga movements, meditation, mudras (hand gestures) and lifestyle gives you the best chance for optimal health, vitality, a calm mind and basically...a happy life!
Prana is much higher in the natural world, which is why you are instinctively drawn to, and feel better for being outside in nature
Energy is simply the potential for change. When you increase your energy and allow it to flow, you are more able to let go of thought patterns and beliefs that may be self limiting, empowering you on all levels.
Try this simple technique:
Either find a quiet spot out in nature or imagine you are somewhere in nature. Sit comfortably, any position, with your spine lengthened but relaxed. Tune into your breath and allow it to naturally slow down and deepen. Give your in-breath a count (e.g a count of 4) then let your out breath be the same count, so your in and out breath are the same. Sit quietly, absorbed in your breath, with no effort at all. Allow it to flow easily. After a minute or so, allow yourself to rest in silence for a while. Feel the support of the earth beneath you, feel the prana from the earth and the sun flowing into you, giving you a wonderful feeling of well-being. Bring yourself round in your own way.

"Breathing in, I calm body and mind. Breathing out, I smile. Dwelling in the present moment, I know this is the only moment" – Thich Nhat Hanh

For more about yoga and meditation please check out our website www.relaxwithlaksmi.com Yoga and meditation aimed at over fifties who are young at heart, but all are welcome, especially beginners.

5 things every woman (and man) should know about the menopause

The menopause can be a challenging time and I speak from personal experience here! If you are currently suffering with menopausal symptoms, the first thing to remember is that you are not on your own, and the second thing is that you can really do a lot to help yourself. It is a natural stage of a woman's life which in my opinion has been overly medicalised and stigmatised, which is why men need to be in on this too! Read on and profoundly change your experience of 'the change' – become a woman of wisdom.

1. Perspective - We refer to the menopause as the 'change' so why not change your perspective? Our view of the menopause is based on society's view that it is a time when women become less desirable as well as a collection of unpleasant symptoms. No wonder we approach it with dread! What about thinking of the menopause as potential for a profound new stage of development for you? Dr. Christiane Northrup M.D. talks about the menopause as "not simply a collection of physical symptoms to be "fixed," but a mind-body revolution that brings the greatest opportunity for growth since adolescence." She talks about this being a time when we move from our reproductive phase (giving birth to others) to a phase where we give birth to our deepest selves. Changes in brain chemistry, prompt us to make lifestyle changes as well as changes at deeper levels, which can lead to surges in vitality and creativity. Seriously, do check out Christiane Northrup she is a pioneer of women's health and wellness on all levels. Check her on YouTube here

Dru yoga is a wonderful way to bring about positive changes gently, yet powerfully to our mindset and make those changes with the support of others. If you feel weekly Dru yoga classes may be of help, please check us out here

2. Symptoms - To be practical here, there are symptoms of the menopause that are at best unpleasant and embarrassing and at worst can seriously impact quality of life. These symptoms are generally a result of hormonal changes which affect the brain and body chemistry in various ways. The more drastic the hormonal swings, the more severe the symptoms tend to be. Hot flushes, night sweats, sleeplessness, foggy head are just some of these symptoms. I think that we are conditioned to just accept this as a fact of the menopause, however, there are things we can do to help ourselves. The more we can do to keep ourselves in physical and mental balance, the better our body is at balancing the swings of hormone levels and the better equipped our mind will be stay relaxed about everything!

3. Lifestyle - Stress has a profound effect on the brain and body chemistry, which if prolonged is detrimental to our health. Female hormones are thought to linked with the stress hormones in the way they affect us. High levels of stress hormones are thought to exacerbate the effects of the hormone changes around the menopause, increasing unpleasant symptoms. Combined with the fact that the menopause can create its own stress, this can be a vicious circle. Combatting stress helps us balance symptoms, as well as see things in perspective. We also find that we cope better with everything when we are relaxed. Some research is now suggesting that thoughts are more powerful than our genes!

Diet has been shown to have a balancing or unbalancing effect on the body, which can exacerbate menopausal symptoms. This includes caffeine, alcohol and smoking. Refined foods which are high in sugar and artificial ingredients have a very destabilising effect on blood sugar and inflammatory response in the body which can worsen symptoms due to hormonal changes. Some people find spicy food can make things worse. As we are all different, do your own experiments on what works and doesn't work.
Small changes to a healthier diet, reducing caffeine, alcohol and smoking and keeping hydrated can make a difference. Making dietary changes can be difficult, but if we can reduce our stress and get support from others, we have more chance of success.
Yoga and meditation, incorporating relaxation and breathing techniques are all proven ways to reduce stress and improve sleep. Our monthly yoga and meditation sessions provide you with whole toolkit of techniques for dealing with stress and allow you to gain support from like-minded people. The classes suitable for beginners or those with experience. Click here if you think this may benefit you.
Or why not treat yourself to a relaxation workshop? Find details here

4. Health considerations - Natural supplements can be a great alternative to medical interventions. I myself have found Menopace products, evening primrose oil and Sage supplements to be of benefit in reducing symptoms such as hot flushes, night sweats and sleeplessness. However, there are a few things to say about supplements. Firstly, everyone is different and what works for one person may not work for another. Secondly, supplements can stop working after a while. Thirdly, please do your research and be knowledgeable. Some supplements such as Black Cohosh, have some question marks over their safety and may be linked with liver problems. This may be due to dosage and overall health but the jury is still out, so please make an informed choice. If you have any underlying health issue or are taking prescribed medication, please consult a health professional before taking any supplements. Also, hot flushes and sweats can be due to other causes, so if you are unsure, again get check out.

5. Long term health - Post menopausal women can be at greater risk of conditions such as osteoporosis, heart problems, reduced brain function, reduced muscle tone. Much research is pointing to the fact that yoga and meditation has shown to help combat these health risks. Find out more about what Lakshmi yoga offers http://www.relaxwithlakshmi.com/home
More interesting articles ...
Yoga health benefits
Meditation health benefits
Yoga and help with osteoporosis

I hope you feel empowered to take your health into your own hands, even small changes can make a difference. I hope you enjoyed this blog and please feel free to catch up with me on Facebook, If you have any great tips I would love to hear from you.
Or come along to a class or workshop, where you will be welcomed into a friendly environment of like-minded people. We are geared towards over fifties, but all ages are welcome. relaxwithlakshmi.com

Dru yoga classes in North Leeds
Is stress making you ill?
What is stress and how does it affect us?

The body's reaction to stress is due to our fight or flight survival mechanism and is perfectly adapted for situations where we are in imminent danger. We produce stress hormones such as adrenalin which have the following effects (designed for ability to react to danger quickly)
  • Increased muscle tension,
  • Increased heart rate
  • Fast breathing –
  • Brain narrows focus to immediate situation
  • Less energy for systems not needed to deal with danger, such as the digestive and immune system
Once we have fought or run away quickly, the stress hormones are dispersed, the brain then signals that danger is over and the body returns to balance. The problem is that many people are in a chronic state of stress, linked to lifestyle and thoughts.

As we look at the above list of effects, it's no wonder that stress causes, among other things, tension leading to aches and pains, high blood pressure, spinning thoughts, inability to see the bigger picture, digestive upsets and susceptibility to common bugs.

The stress response then becomes a habit pattern and a vicious circle.

How can Dru Yoga and Dru Meditation help?

The mindful and relaxing approach of Dru Yoga and Dru Meditation can significantly reduce the impact of stress and break that vicious circle.

  • Physical movement helps disperse build up of adrenalin and release muscle tension
  • The relaxation element of Dru Yoga signals to the brain that the danger is over so that it can stop producing more stress hormones and return to balance
  • Energy block release sequences are specifically designed to release physical and mental tension
  • Breathing techniques work effectively on changing troubling thought patterns
  • Meditation calms the mind and helps give us a better perspective.
  • These techniques together allow the whole system to relax and rejuvenate and helps us to come up with creative solutions.
  • Support of like-minded people can reduce any feelings of isolation.
Don't just take my word for it, take a look at the videos and try it for yourself!

I am always interested to hear how you are getting on. Check out our classes / events and one to ones.

Book a Meditation Class