All classes are running again from this Monday as per the usual timetable.
Look forward to seeing you all back on the mat for the Spring season!
Yoga in Clunes is back!
All classes are running again from this Monday as per the usual timetable.
Look forward to seeing you all back on the mat for the Spring season!
Spring is in the air!! I'm so excited to be feeling a little warmer! We had a lovely class this morning in Clunes shaking off some of those winter cobwebs. Time to get the blood flowing, the breath moving and the mind a little more alive to the possibilities of summer!
There will be a few changes to the class schedule over the next few weeks as I take a bit of time off. Only temporary, we'll be back to the usual schedule on Monday 5 October.
Classes for the next few weeks look like this (I've highlighted days when classes are on):
Monday 14 Sept - no classes
Tuesday 15 Sept - no classes
Wednesday 16 Sept - no classes
Thursday 17 Sept - Miners Rest class going ahead as usual, 5.30pm at the Community Hall.
Saturday 19 Sept - no classes
Monday 21 Sept - no classes
Tuesday 22 Sept - Creswick class going ahead as usual, 1.15pm at the Hammon Park rooms.
Wednesday 23 Sept - no classes
Thursday 24 Sept - Miners Rest class going ahead as usual, 5.30pm at the Community Hall.
Saturday 26 Sept - no classes
Monday 28 Sept - no classes
Tuesday 29 Sept - Creswick class going ahead as usual, 1.15pm at the Hammon Park rooms.
Wednesday 30 Sept - no classes
Thursday 1 Oct - Miners Rest class going ahead as usual, 5.30pm at the Community Hall.
Saturday 3 Oct - no classes
Monday 5 October - all classes start back to regular schedule
Save these dates in your calendar. Everyone welcome to the Creswick and Miners Rest classes!
To celebrate the International Day of Friendship, here's an article I recently had published in the Clunes Community Newsletter:
Yoga is often seen as a solo pursuit. One of the key purposes of yoga is to unite the breath with the body, the body with the mind, the mind with the breath. How else to achieve this but to turn inwards, to close our eyes and take time to focus on ourselves. An essential and much-loved part of every yoga class.
But our health and happiness also depends on our connection with others, on living within a supportive community. A face-to-face, eyes open, caring, sharing community. We heard this recently with the report that people living in small regional towns are the healthiest, happiest Australians. We know from studies such as that described in a book I’ve been reading recently, The Village Effect by Susan Pinker, that people who have more face-to-face contact with others live longer and report greater happiness levels than those who live online, or live with little contact with others.
In yoga, the word for community is Sangha: a Sanskrit term we use to describe a small group of like-minded people. This is a group of people who understand the need to move, stretch, soften, relax with no pressure to perform or be anything other than ourselves. Perfectly imperfect as we all are.
In a small town like Clunes, a Sangha is easily achieved. Classes rarely start or finish without a hug, a natter or just a smile in shared understanding. We connect and we offer the chance to be understood. If just for a moment we understand that we each need this time - whether it’s for exercise, to reduce anxiety, or to learn relaxation techniques. We wobble and shake, fall out of a balance - then we catch someone’s eye and share a laugh. We push ourselves or we take it easy and no one judges, no one minds. Sometimes we share a cuppa after class. A supportive community indeed.
If you’re looking for a good way to meet new people and get healthy, or if you’ve ever wondered whether yoga is right for you, give me a call on 0459 13 87 97. I’ll let you know which class would be best for you to start off with and I will offer you your first class free during the month of August. Classes in Clunes are supported by the Clunes Neighbourhood House. Information on classes can be found here.
This coming week we restart our Winter Yoga classes!
Whether you just want a good stretch, to relax or learn some breathing techniques, yoga can help. It creates space: space in your body & space in your mind. But yoga also creates harmony between your body and mind.
Even attending just one class per week can make a positive impact on your wellbeing. Through practice, you will gain more energy and sleep better; feel more optimistic and less anxious; more calm, less stressed. It is a wonderful healthcare system.
I hope to see you in class. Everybody is welcome.
For timetable information visit the Classes page. The first class back will be the 7pm Hatha on Monday in Clunes.
The time has come when Lily Mason Yoga must take a winter break. I'm heading to Bali for three weeks of sun, yoga, good food and time with Tim.
Tomorrow (Saturday 9.30am) will be the last class for Clunes and Creswick for a while. (Classes at Miners Rest will continue, with the wonderful Jane Southwell covering those 5.30pm Thursday sessions.)
Classes will be back on their regular schedule on Monday 13 July at 7pm (this is the Hatha class at the Warehouse - Clunes).
I hope you all have a wonderful winter break and I look forward to sharing some new ideas with you on my return!
The Fourth Limb of Yoga: Pranayama
According to Patanjali’s Sutras there are eight limbs of Yoga. We tend to think of the practice of Asana (the poses) when we think about yoga. But Asana is just the third limb. The practice of yoga is far more than what you see on Instagram or Facebook selfies - breathing doesn’t make for a very interesting photo. So what is Pranayama?
Put simply, Pranayama is the technique of controlling the breath. Prana translates to ‘life-giving force’ which makes sense to me as ‘that which gives me energy and flows in and around my body’. Ayama means control. During our yoga practice, we use techniques to control the breath and connect the body to the mind.
The Benefits of Pranayama
There are breathing exercises that increase lung capacity, balance the nasal passages, firm the abdominal muscles and quieten the mind.
Through learning a few simple techniques you can increase your energy levels and improve your yoga practice.
Our breath guides us through our yoga session. If your breath becomes strained or irregular, it is a sign that your body needs to slow down. In this way, the breath is a fantastic tool, offering us information about how we are travelling during our practice - and every day life.
Control of the breath allows a degree of control of the mind and this can be enhanced and improved with practice. You know this - imagine you’re in a stressful situation or you are tense or anxious or angry - you know that taking a breath will help - it will calm your body by ‘tricking’ it into believing it’s ok and your mind is given a chance to relax. If we can learn to breathe in such difficult times, we are better equipped to deal with those situations.
During Lily Mason Yoga classes, we practice several Pranayama techniques:
Ujjayi breath Also known as throat breathing or ‘victorious breath’. This is where you breathe in and out of your nose, but with the back of your throat constricted, as though you’re breathing through a little hole in your throat. It’s also often helpful to imagine you’re fogging a mirror with your mouth closed, on both the inhale and exhale. One of the major benefits of this practice is its ability to heat the body. As with most pranayama exercises, it works on your parasympathetic nervous system to soothe the mind.
Nadi Sodhana Or alternate nostril breathing. Hover your right thumb over your right nostril and right ring finger over your left nostril. In this exercise we alternate between closing the left and right side of the nose. Begin by breathing into the left nostril for a count of four, hold the breath in for a count of four, breath out of the right nostril for a count of four, breath back in through the right, again hold the breath in and finally breath out through the left nostril. This cycle is one round and ideally we’ll practice for 10-15 rounds. The ratios of breath can change with practice where the exhalation is twice the length of the inhalation. In this exercise you are balancing the left and right nasal passages as well as the left and right hemispheres of the brain. It is also a soothing exercise to calm the mind.
Kapalabhati Also known as the shining skull breath. During Kapalabhati you focus on your exhalation – forcing the breath out of your nose sharply and using your abdomen as a bellow - pulling it in as you exhale. The inhalation will happen automatically. Start out gently with 10-15 breaths, resting and then completing another two rounds. If you start to feel dizzy it’s a sign that you are stressing your body, so be aware of any physical reactions and take a break when needed. When done correctly, it is a very soothing practice, but also increases awareness and focus and if you're feeling sluggish and tired, or your sinuses are blocked a few rounds of Kapalabhati will really help.
Khumbaka AKA Breath retention. Your breath can be held inside and outside your body. During practice, gently place your tongue on the roof of your mouth and lengthen your exhales. Without force, gently make your exhalations twice as long as your inhalations. Hold your breath at the end of your inhalation and exhalation for increasing lengths, but without strain. There are many different versions, but the one most commonly taught during a Lily Mason Yoga class is inhaling for a count of four - a retention for a count of four, and exhalation for a count of four, and a retention of a count of four. Khumbaka can also be practiced as part of the above three exercises. The practice benefits us by slowing down our heart rate. You should be aware though, that if holding your breath increases your heart rate it is a sign you should ease off the practice, recover your breath and come back when you’re ready, at a gentler pace.
At least one of these practices will be done during a Lily Mason Yoga class, and there are many others we will play with, too. For more information on Pranayama, find a copy of TKV Desikachar’s The Heart of Yoga. This book offers a beautiful chapter on Pranayama, benefits, types, purpose, etc. It’s an amazing text for anyone keen to learn more of yoga philosophy and practice. If you would like a copy, let me know and I'll track one down for you.
Inhale, exhale, repeat...
Hello yogis and yoginis,
It's that time of year that I must update my CPR and First Aid training. This means I'll need to cancel a few classes in the next few weeks, and unfortunately it's Creswick that will lose out :( Here are the dates and times of classes that will be cancelled:
9.15am Thursday 21 May (this week)
9.15am Thursday 28 May (next week)
Also, I will be taking leave from all classes during the next school holidays. We're heading to Bali!
I'm considering this Professional Development, as I fully expect to spend a great deal of time at the Yoga Barn in Ubud! Bliss!
Classes between 21 June and 12 July will be cancelled. However, if I can find another teacher to cover for any classes, I will let you know.
Stay warm and stay bendy!
Dear Friends, a quick update... looks like I'll be off my feet (and lying on my back, not standing on my hands) for longer than anticipated.
I'll start classes again from Thursday evening (5.30pm) next week at Miners Rest (that's Thurs 9 April). My doctor's certificate expires then ;)
So the following classes are cancelled until then:
Saturday 4th - 9.30am (Clunes)
Monday 6th - 5.30 & 7pm (Clunes)
Tuesday 7th - 1.15pm (Creswick)
Wednesday 8th - 5.30 & 7pm (Clunes)
Thursday 9th - 9.15am (Creswick)
(also note that my classes at Ballarat Aquatic Centre will continue, with one of the team covering for me. Yay!)
So sorry to do this, I really don't like cancelling classes :( Here's to healing quickly with the power of yoga!
Creswick Yoga classes start this week! Tomorrow!
Come down, give it a try and check out the newly renovated studio!
At the Creswick Dance and Fitness Studio (Hammon Park footy oval, Water St).
Classes are Hatha style and suitable for beginners and experienced students alike. Mats available or BYO. Please try to arrive 10 mins before class so we can meet and get set up for class. More info on Lily's classes here: www.lilymasonyoga.com. Or call me on 0459 138 797 for more info or advice.
Look forward to seeing you on the mat!! x Lily
Hello my dear yogis!
So there's a bit of news to pass on.
If you're not already part of the Facebook page, click your Like on this: www.facebook.com/lilymasonyoga to make sure you're up with all the latest news.
The new website is coming along nicely with thanks to the fantastic new logo and timetable designed by yogi Sahm Keily. The address is lilymasonyoga.com. Some snazzy new photos to come courtesy of jaynenewgreen.com.au.
Creswick will soon have Lily Mason Yoga in it's midst! The new Creswick Dance and Fitness Studio at Hammond Park will be opening soon. I'll be running classes there on Tuesday and Thursday mornings 9.15am - 10.15am. Let me know if these times don't work for you, and I'll see if more can be added later. I don't have a start date yet, but if you 'like' the Facebook page, you'll hear about it first!!
Class fees will be increasing from April. The extremely well-priced monthly ticket will be increasing to $60, the casual rate to $16 and 10 class pass to $120. I think that's should still be affordable and accessible to most. With the addition of new classes comes more hall hire to pay, so...needs must, I hope you understand. These passes can be used at ANY of the classes I'm running in Clunes, Creswick and Miners Rest. Lots of options to choose from, making that monthly pass very enticing!
Class cancellation - The 9.30am Saturday 28 March class will be cancelled as I'll be attending the Seven Sisters Festival :) I hope you'll forgive me that one. Come along to the festival if you're interested (women only!!)
I am also seeking feedback / testimonials for my new website and to promote classes in Creswick. If you'd like to, please send me a message of support, in your own words: be creative! It'd be lovely to hear from you. Messages can be sent to this email address, or left here: lilymasonyoga.com/contact - you'll need to scroll down the page for the Feedback form.
I think that's everything. Looking forward to seeing you all on the mat soon!!
Lily is a qualified Hatha Yoga instructor (RYT500), trained in Kerala, India. She has been leading yoga classes since 2011.