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April 15- 18, Yoga Retreat, Seville, Spain with Chris James. Trasierra is a privately owned beautiful hotel set high in the Sierra Morena hills, 80km of Seville. Discover this carfully designed calming place. Experience energizing Yoga sessions with Chris James, lections and discussions on Diet and Nuritrition, Ayurveda, theories and philosophies that underpin yoga. Enjoy a wide variety of home grown vegetables accompany carefully selected and simply cooked meat and fish. Take advantage of a 10% discount vouchers with Wellicious if you book before 21 March 2010.
As a woman we travel through a raft of emotional and physical phases in our lives from childhood to teenage years, from early adulthood and for some to motherhood, then to middle age to menopause, senior to older years. In the past we were encouraged to make the most of our young years as they “don’t last forever” so we try and fail and try again and succeed or at least we think we do. I am not so sure that our early years can be enjoyed as much as we think. Yes we are young, have more stamina, can wake up the next day and shake of a hangover way quicker than with 40 years or more under our belts. We are apprentices, doers, unsure of who the hell we are –ers….
In my forties with two children I am in a “phase” of confidence. I certainly don’t have the body I would have always craved for but nor do I have the chibby body of twenties. I have a healthy body I can be confident in. Super active – as most women in their forties seem to be – I am proud to see the fruits of my labour coming to fruition, super proud to see my children growing into beautiful people, confident in my knowledge and experience, eager to continue and progress with new projects. I am on the outside, and to all extents and purposes a purposeful, successful and fulfilled woman but…. And there is always a “but”….
One of my yogini friends Elena Brower once said the best yoga teachers are the ones who have struggled, bummed out, sunk low, done some sh***y things in their life and I am no exception. I don’t profess to be the best yoga teacher but the confidence and dynamic positive energy has come from the embers of hard graft and some deep struggle.
Always the joker when younger and a large baby, child, teenager, my body issues blocked a lot of my body confidence. Arriving in my twenties not knowing who I was, what I wanted, needed I tried to me a version of me that I thought was expected of me, that my parents would love to see, that my boos wanted, that my boyfriend thought he wanted ….
My thirties, marriage and children changed my perspective on life but filled my days with needs, routine, school runs, things that “need doing”. Little time for self-reflection which was actually exactly what was needed. Having said that those early years of motherhood and married life help shape the character add the colours and flavours of our characters.
And so my forties ….. Mid-Life crisis? Time Out? Well here’s the thing! Suddenly the confidence I lacked in myself in my twenties and had little time for in my thirties knocked on my door and screamed out “now is the time”!
A combination of events maybe nudged me in that direction – a difficult birth with my second child and emergency surgery, the loss of a close friend to cancer, starting up a business…. The fact that I had had my children, had passed through that ticking biological clock, had turned a corner in my life as a woman…. All of this opened a huge door and offered me the courage to move forwards and leave the insecurities behind.
Yoga and my spiritual path has taught me to be kind to myself, to always respect emotions that rise up, to observe from behind my eyes and not judge, to allow space in between the cracks that appear, the ups and downs of life. I had not always listened to this sound advice but it was there, nudging me, pushing me in the right direction. As such I breathed deeply and took some big life decisions – separation from my husband, selling a beloved home, setting up a new one, being honest with my children and spending more quality time with them, with myself and my friends too. In the words of John Legend I started to love “all my curves and all my edges, all my perfect imperfections”. Well I tried, am trying….
To be a little more precise about where I live and my home …. I live in France and in quite a particular part of it, the mountains of Savoie. I find myself surrounded by dynamic, sporty, strong women in their forties, fifties and sixties…. It’s a celebration of mature female strength of character. A beautiful, purposeful vision. An amazing tonic for ourselves, for our children, for each other.
Years ago – in fact not that many years ago - women would not have been able to do half of what we do now. I remember my grandmother saying that after the age of 35 you shouldn’t wear a swimming- costume as it was vulgar and inappropriate. Women had to give up their jobs when they got married and/or certainly when they had children. As if we could do no more than keep home and bring up our kids.
Now-a-days we often, in the West at least, take it for granted that we can do pretty much anything and everything at any age. And so it should be! Life is an amazing patchwork of experiences, colours, paths and stepping-stones. Lets embrace the phases of life as they teach us well to be who we are, need to be, want to be at that time without looking back or forwards too much. Let the twenties be a marvellous discovery of youth and experiences, let our child bearing years be an wonderful rainbow of fullness, let our forties and fifties be fabulously dynamic and fulfilling as women, and let our sixties and beyond be exactly what we want them to be without the need to add “for her age” at the end of our physical and mental exploits.
Enjoy and revel in each phase of your lives as each one is a precious gift often only realised in hindsight. Most of all enjoy exactly where you are right now…. It is exactly where you are supposed to be.
Charlotte Saint Jean
Jessica Medros, our Roman Ambassador is currently doing her doctorate in physical therapy in California has sent us this interesting Blog entry. If you enjoy hiking then please do read this interesting article to learn which muscles are crucial to hiking so that you can become more mindful of your body while enjoying the outdoors pain-free.
For those, like me, who love to explore nature, there are important biomechanical principles to be aware of while hiking. Biomechanics is the science concerned with effects of forces acting on objects. Kinematics give the description of motion and kinetics are the forces that cause change in motion. Both kinematics and kinetics are relevant to the task of hiking.
When hiking, there is an internal force — a force that acts within an object or system. This internal force is both passive and active. The active component is generated by muscle. The passive component is tensile (the internal pulling force of tendons, ligaments, and joint capsules) and compressive (internal pushing forces). External forces are those that come from the interaction with the environment. Non-contact external forces include objects not in contact with such as gravity, electrical and magnetic forces. Contact external forces are those one touches, like air, water, and ground.
While hiking, the 3 basic dimensions in mechanics acting on and in the body are: the length-space in which the movement occurs, the time-duration of the movement, and the inertia/mass property of an object to resist changes in motion. There are also stresses that occur during the hiking movement. If we consider hiking a series of gait cycles then, there is a compressive stress during heel strike, a tensile stress during stance, and another compressive stress during push-off.
Longevity in hiking is essential. The seasoned hiker must become aware of the direction in which he/she is loading his/her muscles. The direction of load is when the contraction of muscles (compressive force) counteracts the tensile forces. Exercise with improper loading can increase muscle fatigue reduces the protective capability of muscles. The hiker can use the techniques learned in Yoga, Pilates and GYROTONIC to ameliorate his/her skeletal alignment. Using these kinesthetic experiences, the practitioner can transfer his/her skills to alter his/her hiking technique, which results in normal loading and places bone at a decreased risk for failure.
Below is a list of muscles that are crucial to the hiking task. I recommend the practitioner/hiker to become better aware of this list of muscles. Overtime, you will see that understanding the biomechanics behind hiking makes it much easier to learn how to adjust your technique to keep hiking fun and pain-free.
|Tibialis anterior (anterior compartment)||Dorsiflex, inverts subtalar joint, adducts and inverts the talonavicular joint, and supports medial longitudinal arch.|
|Extensor Hallucis Longus||Dorsiflexes and extends 1st toe|
|Extensor digitorum longus||Evert|
|Fibularis longus (lateral compartment)||Pronator of forefoot, primary evertor of foot, slight plantar flex, abduct the subtalar and transverse tarsal joints.Uses lateral malleolus as pulleyLarge moment arm
Help decelerate supination of foot during mid to late stance
Opposes tibialis posterior
|Fibularis Brevis||primary evertor of foot, slight plantar flex, abduct the subtalar and transverse tarsal joints.Large moment armHelp decelerate supination of foot during mid to late stance
Opposes tibialis posterior
|Gastrocnemius||Platar flex and supinateProduce 80% of total plantar flexion due to X sectional area and moment arm.|
|Solous||Plantar flex and supinateProduce 80% of total plantar flexion due to X sectional area and moment arm.|
|Tibialis Posterior||Plantar flex and supinateCreates greatest supinator torque|
|Flexor Digitorum Longus||Plantar flex and supinateHold toes flat on surface in late stance|
|Flexor Hallucis Longus||Plantar flex and supinateHold toes flat on surface in late stance|
|Intrinsics||Active in stance to increase WB surfaces of toes|
|Layer 1: FDB, ABD H, ABD dig min||Flex and abduct 1st and 5th digit|
|Layer 2: Quadratus Plantae and lumbricals||QP keeps alignment of FDL, lumbricals originate from FDL-flex at MTP and extend at IP|
|Layer 3: Add Hall, Flx hal Brev (two sesamoid bones to increase flexion torque), Flx Dig Min||intrinsics|
|Layer 4: Plantar (add)/ Dorsal (aBd) interossei||intrinsics|
Our retail customer Catrin Rudling, a certified teamaster, loves matcha tea and sent us this superhealthy and supersimple recipe.
Super simple shot with matcha, one shot:
- 1 tsk matcha (mix with a spoon, a little water or juice, to form a paste)
- Use a whisk or a blender and add 1 dl freshly pressed orange juice.
- Pour into a glass and enjoy!
Matcha is used in the traditional Japanese tea ceremony "Cha No Yu". It is a very special and elegant tea in powder form, which is the original way to drink tea, both in China and Japan. Nice and early harvested matcha (the matcha in Aichi harvested from the end of May and during the summer) has as our a bright green color and can both be enjoyed as a tea or as a flavoring and utility-enhancing ingredient in ice cream, smoothies, lattes, chocolate and pastries.
An authentic Japanese tea ceremony is a meditative journey, and Cha-No-Yu is the most comprehensive tea ceremony and a very sophisticated and fully developed way to manage, present and consume tea. A tea ceremony in Japan can take several hours and the tea master will guide the guests through the ceremony of various, carefully planned steps that are influenced by Zen Buddhism and its philosophy. Becoming a tea master require years of philosophical and spiritual work and covers many areas such as art, literature, calligraphy and more. During the tea ceremony two types of matcha are prepared that’s severed to the guests, the thick tea (koicha) and thin tea (usucha). Small dishes and pastries of soybeans are served and depending of the season and guests preferences. The tea is served from a special, flat-bottomed ceramic bowl (called chawan) and stirred with a whisk of bamboo into a frothy drink.
There are many different recipes, where matcha is used in desserts and beverages, sauces, ice cream, smoothies, lattes. So this is a tea with a lot of interesting possibilities. Important when you prepare matcha is that the water temperature does not exceed 70 degrees C.
On Catrin Rudling's website www.mightyleaf.se at the page “pairing tea and food” you will - at the bottom of the page - find several recipes with matcha.