This book is a good reminder that caring for yourself is not indulgent, but necessary. It’s written by Suzy Reading – a yoga teacher and psychologist.
Suzy has drawn from her own experience of coping with her gravely ill father at the same time as having her first baby. Suzy’s beloved father passed away when her first child, Charlotte was 15 months – the emotional trauma left Suzy feeling totally bereft and depleted.
It was from this experience and the knowledge she had as a psychologist and yoga teacher that she began to write: The Self-Care Revolution – smart habits and simple practices to allow you to flourish. Within the pages of this book are some wonderfully nurturing practices and yoga sequences designed to help you replenish and restore energy levels and keep you feeling emotionally grounded.
It’s based on the Vitality Wheel – a self-care toolkit with tips and practices to help boost your health and happiness. The book is well set out with beautiful images, easy-to-read and packed with ways to keep problems in perspective and enjoy your life.
Suzy: Yoga is a potent form of self-care working on all layers of the being – head, heart and body, with movement, stillness, strengthening, relaxation, mantra, breathing. Some kind of tonic for all moods, needs and situations.
Q: How long did it take you to write the book and as a busy mum? How & when did you write the book?
Suzy: It took me a few months to write the book and I tapped at the keyboard while my baby Teddy slept. It was my way of being present as a mother but still creating on the work front. It took three years to make it in [to] print though!
Q: Any advice for other yogis who would like to write a book?
Suzy: For me it was about finding my unique angle and telling my story authentically. Share your learnings and how it is shaping how you work with others. There are so many options!
Mary-Louise Parkinson is a past president of IYTA and has trained in many styles of yoga, including Iyengar, Yoga Synergy and IYTA. But the flowing sequences of Dru Yoga captured her heart.
One of Mary-Louise’s favourite Dru sequences is the Salute to the Four Directions, which she practices regularly. She says: “It’s a sequence to help you connect to the earth and yourself – and beautiful when practiced outside. I like to do this on the beach – it is a blessing to all the directions and invokes a deep sense of connectedness back to the heart and earth.”
Salute to the Four Directions
If possible practice outside – ideally with your feet on the earth.
Begin facing north and honouring a sense of gratitude for everything we have and looking forward to being in the present.
Stand in Tadasana and balance on your left leg, step your right foot out to a deep squat and then reach your arms down as gathering a bunch of flowers.
Then, still in a squat, bring these flowers to the heart centre, then reach up to sky – opening the arms and upper chakras to the infinity of the sky.
Draw your hands down from the heavens – bringing down an attitude of clarity within.
Then reach to right and circle around the whole body drawing in a sense of gratitude. Repeat to the left side with left foot stepping out and circling the body to the left. Then turn to face the east, repeat the sequence, then to the south and then to the west. Affirmations – you can change these affirmations according to what is needed in your life at the time:
north – gratitude
east – letting go
south – forgiveness
west – unconditional love.
When you have finished all four directions, then return to the north and surround yourself in white light or the colours of the rainbow – with the affirmation of faith and trust that all is okay.
Mary-Louise regularly runs her Dru yoga workshops in Toowoomba, Qld – they are a nurturing, restorative day where participants will enjoy a series of Dru Yoga sequences interwoven with the Yoga energy systems.
Her workshops are open to everyone and intertwine with the koshas – working deeply within the yogic energy system and is a gentle approach to yoga with flowing sequences. It’s great for all – from yoga newbies to experienced yoga teachers.
Related events – if you’re interested in participating or learning more:
Katrina Hinton discovered Somatic Yoga when she was doing an Advanced Teacher Training with Donna Farhi. At the time Katrina was recovering from a knee injury and feeling: “a bit broken.”
She says: “The somatics gave me hope I could do something about it for myself.”
So six years ago Katrina Hinton embarked on a quest to find out everything she could about Somatics – reading the seminal work; Somatics: Reawakening the Mind’s Control of Movement, Flexibility and Health by Thomas Hanna – who founded the practice. And she did courses with both Martha Peterson and Lisa Petersen. Today Katrina works full-time as a business analyst and teaches two classes a week which are a fusion of Somatic Yoga and Hatha yoga. She also performs private somatic assessments out of her Kambah, ACT, home studio.
In her IYTA Canberra workshop Katrina will be inviting participants to slow down, turn inwards and be curious about their responses and senses. It will be a day of gentle but profound movement helping students let go of tension, feel more open and at ease in their own skin.
For Katrina, 59, the practice has been life changing and it’s become her primary personal practice. She says: “It’s my anchor” and it has helped address imbalances and compensations in other parts of her body resulting from her knee injury.
The workshop will also be a chance to discover other Somatic-style exercises and a philosophy of movement which yoga teachers can weave into their general yoga classes. Katrina would ultimately like to run the workshop in other areas, so watch this space!
Somatic Cat Pose
Try this simple addition to Marjariasana and notice a big change
The feel-good cat-cow is a staple move for most yoga teachers and students but there’s a simple Somatic addition that can radically alter your experience!
Perform a few ‘normal’ cat/cow arch and rounding moves and sense into how your spine and whole back feels throughout the movement.
Now next time you arch your back (ie extension) lift one shoulder and arm straight up a few centimetres so that your palm lifts off the floor. Hold a moment then release it slowly back to the floor as you round up your back into flexion. Repeat the arm lift a few more times on each side. Resist any inclination to rush through this. Take your time and sense into what is engaging to lift your arm.
Move to your hips; on extension, lift one hip straight up so the knee lifts slightly off the floor without overly distorting your hips. Repeat several times on each side in sync with your extension. Notice what engages now to perform this subtle movement? Is it more difficult than the arm lift?
Now slowly alternate through all four limbs, lifting on your arch and releasing on your rounding up. Rest in child a few moments. Wriggle your wrists to release if needed.
Slowly re-test your cat/cow. Notice how your back feels all the way through extension and into flexion; note the quality of the movement. Any differences?
You have just released the deep layer of multifidus muscles which attach to your spine. Enjoy!
Related events – if you’re interested in learning more about Somatic Yoga: