Tag Archives: yoga

A prayer for Nepal


The Kathmandu Valley before the quake
The Kathmandu Valley before the quake

The news of the massive earthquake on Saturday in Nepal came as a huge and unwelcome surprise to us all. Nepal and its people are very close to my heart, after four trips there over the past seventeen years. It is my spiritual and my second home, so the news of such devastation and suffering left me feeling raw and in shock. My sense of disbelief and powerlessness has lingered into the days following the quake, as I hear about the death toll rising, the massive relief effort under way and gain a sense of the level of the destruction on the global news. The chaos and suffering caused by the quake is almost impossible to imagine, as I sit here writing this in my comfortable home, with access to every amenity possible, close at hand.

Yoga and giving

My sense of powerlessness has been somewhat alleviated by attending yoga class last night, where we collectively meditated and prayed, in our own way, for Nepal. I felt the positive energy and love in the room rise, even as I also cried inside. I sincerely believe in the power of healing through positive thoughts, so know our energies here will help. So often we suffer disaster/charity overload when we are constantly bombarded with disturbing images and words in the media, yet my feeling of helplessness was transformed into something far more positive during yoga.

I am also helping in a small way by donating money to ROKPA, a non-profit, non-religious charity based in Scotland’s Samye Ling monastery. ROKPA have for many years worked in Nepal helping Tibetan children, and following the quake have launched an appeal to help the ROKPA children’s home in Kathmandu. Please give a little to this charity, or any other collecting for Nepal, if you can.

Continue reading A prayer for Nepal

Donation giving to Tibetan Refugee Camps

This blog post to about travelling in Nepal with my children and the donation giving we were involved in when we were there. 

Tessa and Dolma

My one-year-old daughter squeals with happiness as she is thrown high up into the air by an equally delighted Tibetan woman, who bounces her ceaselessly into the bright blue sky and down into her open arms. Overwhelmed and humbled, I fight back tears as I observe this beautiful interaction between Tessa and Dolma. I have returned to Tashi Palkheil Tibetan Refugee Camp, sixteen years after I lived here as a gap year student, this time with a different purpose and with my young family. Continue reading Donation giving to Tibetan Refugee Camps

Happy, healthy little feet; Part Two

Happy and healthy
Happy and healthy

Part two of a blog post about children’s footwear.

Buying shoes

These ergonomically-designed shoes come close to barefoot walking, and fit the human foot snugly. These thin, soft-soled, flexible shoes are not widely available in the UK, although they can be purchased online from Kidzshooz and Cheeky Little Rascals. From my experience both these family-run companies offer excellent customer service, a range of brands, plus a sizing guide on their websites. They both sell squeaky shoes, which Kidzshooz advertise as ‘encouraging proper walking technique – a heel to toe motion is needed to make the shoe squeak’. These shoes are certainly a big hit with Ewan, as well as passers-by, many of whom are amazed by them!

Soft-soled slippers are another option and more widely available, great for indoor use or outdoors when it is relatively dry. Ewan has a pair of ‘Star Child’ slippers, which are made using Italian leather in a traditional shoe-factory in England. It is also possible to buy vegan shoes for children, for instance Green Shoes sell homemade soft children’s slippers made from the vegan material Lorica, a mixture of micro-fibres and resins. Soft-soled slippers can also be bought at a cheaper price from My Twinkle Toes, which are in fact identical to Star Child slippers!

Continue reading Happy, healthy little feet; Part Two

The wonderful Pampering Yoga morning for Mums

This article first appeared on the Nottingham Baby Fayre website on 1st April 2012; The Nottingham Baby Fayre

Also on the Yoga Home

What this class is

Pampering is the right word to describe this three-hour extended yoga session for Mums, a regular one-off Saturday event at the Yoga Home. Run once every term, three times a year, Yoga Home students who are also Mums are invited to a well deserved rest and relaxation event at the Iona School in Sneinton, an ideal venue for a few hours away from the kids. In this calming environment, in the schools kindergarden, students are led through two one and a half hour yoga sessions, broken by a short break for tea and healthy nibbles (Green and Blacks chocolate, oat crackers and homemade flapjack).  At the end of the morning students can stay for a fuddle, a shared lunch, which always includes Ameet’s delicious homemade dahl, plus lots of other scrumptious food brought in by attendees. The whole event is a wonderful combination of yoga and socialising; three rare hours of yoga, plus a chance to meet up with friends from past pregnancy and postnatal yoga classes.
Continue reading The wonderful Pampering Yoga morning for Mums

Part One: Hopes and reality of labour

Part One: Hopes and reality of labour

Midwife led birthing centre

I had hoped to give birth to Ewan in the local midwife led birthing centre, Darley Dale. However, I was put under consultant led care because the doctors found I was carrying Streptococcus B bacteria. Treatment for this includes the administration of antibiotics during labour and birth. This is a common infection present in up to half of the female population, which can cause severe infections in the newborn. I accepted my doctor’s advice, but felt saddened I was unable to give birth in the less interventionist, more homely environment of a midwife led unit. Having read about the many benefits of using water during labour, I fought to be allowed access to this in hospital. Eventually I was assured I could use water at the times I was not being administered the antibiotics.

The start of labour

The start of labour is a significant, often exciting time for pregnant women. Mine certainly was! Labour began slowly, mild tightening like period pains which came and went for over a day. I slept soundly my last night at home, before going swimming to relieve and distract me from the pain. I rocked to and fro on the birthing ball whilst listening to Buddhist chanting music, focusing on the deep, resonating tones of the monks as I breathed. I ate a hearty cooked breakfast to energise me, in preparation for the labour to come. I sought comfort from my parent’s border collie, who sensed my pain, nuzzling close to offer comfort. It was as if he knew.

From free movement to the confines of a hospital bed

In an active labour suite in hospital, I felt in control and on top of the pain. I was relaxed, moving around the room and squatting to use the birthing ball. A huge gush as my waters broke, with traces of meconium. Foetal excrement can be an indication the baby is in distress. However, in women who are overdue this is more likely to happen anyway, without the meconium necessarily being any sign of distress. I was informed I needed to be strapped up on the bed to an electronic foetal monitor, with electrodes monitoring my heart rate continuously.

It never occurred to me to refuse.

This severely restricted my movements, whilst jeopardising my hopes of using the birthing pool. As a first time mother I felt powerless in my patient role. I accepted, without question, the authority of the medical establishment, against my instinctive need to move freely around the room.

Electronic foetal monitoring

Although restricted I was determined to be as active as possible, kneeling on the bed with the birthing ball rocking from side to side. Both my heart rate and Ewan’s remained static for many hours, as we both remained calm. A handheld foetal device which the midwife uses periodically for short periods would therefore have more than sufficed, whilst allowing me freedom to labour as I desired, including being immersed in water. Research indicates no positive effects of electronic foetal monitoring. Instead, rather alarmingly, their use indicates an increase in the rate of caesarean sections in labouring women (see Michelle Odent). I can appreciate why. Caesarean sections also carry many risks for both mother and baby. Breastfeeding can also prove more difficult to get off to a good start and manage whilst recovering from surgery. Why are electronic foetal monitors used so readily? Part of the answer lies in the fact we live in a risk averse society, scared of not insuring against all risks by constant monitoring.

Michel Odent. Birth and Breastfeeding: Rediscovering the Needs of Women During Pregnancy and Childbirth