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Paper Wasps and the Splits – Late Autumn Primrose Hill Yoga News

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Dear All,

When a European paper wasp queen dies her death causes a change in the genes of all the workers in her colony, as they jostle genetically for succession. This flexibility is key to the survival of the colony, and of the species*.

I doubt our genes have changed yet in response to the shifts in lifestyle and limits to social interaction resulting from Covid-19. But we have certainly had to be flexible in a way that is arguably more challenging than perfecting Hanumansasana (or the splits)!

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Our Amazing Immune System & Invitation to Workshop – Primrose Hill September/October Yoga News

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Dear Everyone,

A month or a year? In some ways it feels like a lifetime ago since our last ‘live’ class in the lovely Primrose Hill Community centre, in other ways just a few weeks.

Since then I have learnt a lot, as I think we all have in one way or another, even if it is just how wonderful it is to venture out the house more than once a day or have a real ‘in-person’ conversation with a friendly stranger!

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The Amazing Human Body – July/August Primrose Hill Yoga News

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Dear All,

“In the second or so since you started this sentence, your body has made a million red blood cells” (Bill Bryson, The Body: A Guide for Occupants).

The more I learn about the human body, the more that astounds me. The incredible facts and stats about the pathways and processes that keep us ticking over are always something to marvel at, especially at a time when we collectively feel quite vulnerable.

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Dolphins and Distancing – May/June Primrose Hill Yoga News

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Dear All,

Even if the dolphins in Venice turned out to be fictional, this pandemic is serving up continual reminders of how interconnected we are with our natural environment.

Yet with the onus on staying indoors and on-line meetings and deliveries shaping our days it is easy to forget that all nine million (or so) species on earth, from the goats in Llandudno to the boars in Barcelona, to the humans in their homes (!), share a single common ancestor that lived around four million years ago.

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Adapt, Adjust, Accommodate Online – Primrose Hill April/May Yoga News

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Dear All,

Wow! It seems like several lifetimes have passed since I wrote the February/March newsletter. A time in which we have been forced to adopt one of my favourite yoga sayings, Swami Sivananda’s “Adapt, adjust, and accommodate” in a way we have never before.

The human brain craves certainty, but with many comparing the scale of the changes over the past month to the transformation needed to combat the climate emergency[1], major adjustments to our lifestyle are something we probably need to get used to.

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Live the way you want to live but just don’t waste – Primrose Hill Yoga December News

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Dear Everyone,

“Live the way you want to live but just don’t waste” David Attenborough

This time of year seems to scream too much of just about everything. Too much work, too many drinks events, too much to buy, too many to buy for…

Too much ‘stuff’ in general, whether it be fuel, clothing, food or other products is undoubtedly the cause of many of today’s environmental and social problems. Yet perhaps this ‘overconsumption’ is not the very modern problem it might seem. Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, (written somewhere between 200 BCE and 300 CE), talk about ‘Aparigrapha’, the importance of not accumulating beyond our capacity. The need to consume is acknowledged, but at all level appropriate to our needs. Read More

Advice from a Tree – Oct/Nov Primrose Hill Yoga News

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“Advice from a Tree: Stand tall and proud. Go out on a limb. Remember your roots. Drink plenty of water. Be content with your natural beauty. Enjoy the view.” Ilan Shamir

Dear All,

Strong, steady, calm, focused… Vrksasana (Tree pose (Picture) embodies many of the qualities we seek to cultivate in yoga. It’s a wonderful pose for strengthening the legs and feet, opening the hips and creating a sense of lightness and flexibility in the upper body. Like all the balancing asanas it requires focus and commitment, with little room left for the ego or busy thoughts. A calmer, quieter state of mind tends to result.

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Time for some Tapas? Primrose Hill Yoga August/September News

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Every morning I get up, have a glass of water and a dollop of peanut butter and start my pre-breakfast yoga practice. Except that some mornings it’s not so simple. I get side-tracked by my emails. The dishwasher. Or I just can’t really be bothered..…

On days like this I need an extra injection of oomph to get me on to my mat, even if just for 15 minutes. I know that if I fail to do so I am much more likely to a) find it harder to focus throughout the day b) and b) feel irritable and stiff!

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A Tiger Skin Mat? Primrose Hill Yoga June/July News

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Dear All,

“A tiger’s skin brings success in all things; a deer skin is for mastery over location; a mat of cloth destroys illness; one made of cane increases prosperity; a silk mat is nourishing and a woollen one alleviates suffering.”

We might have Angela Farmer’s clever use of carpet padding (in 1967) to thank for the sticky mats that don the floor of yoga classes today, but this detailed prescription for their use appeared in the 15thC Puraścaraṇacandrikā. In fact, yoga mats have been prescribed as far back as the Bhagavadgītā (2nd – 3rd century CE), which advised yoga was practiced on a steady seat that was not too high nor too low, and was covered with cloth, antelope skin or grass.

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