Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Hi All

Due to the dangerous driving conditions and the unhappy promise of more snow I have decided to cancel the Wednesday evening class in Strathblane until the New Year. The next class will be on January 5th 2011 weather permitting obviously.

For those of you who I will now not see until then, I wish you a lovely Xmas and a very peaceful, happy and healthy New Year.

Luv Jo x

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Wednesday 8th Strathblane class and Thursday 9th Guide Hall class cancelled. Go away snow!

Monday, 6 December 2010

Monday 6 December Cairns Church class cancelled

Hi All

Probably no need really to let you know that class will be cancelled this evening, it's fairly obvious that trying to get to a yoga class this evening is not a great idea for any of us, anyway my cars stuck!!!

I hope to see you next week.

Stay safe and warm.

Jo x
Monday morning 6 December class cancelled.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Hi All

Yoga cancelled tonight Wednesday 1st and Thursday 2nd due to weather. Hopefully all will be well next week! Had enough of the snow now!

Be well and safe. Jo x

Monday, 29 November 2010

Tuesday morning class cancelled :0(

Class Cancelled

Hi All

It's ten past 6 and its starting to snow again. Think its best to cancel this evenings class. See you next week hopefully.

Jo x

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Hi all

Think its best to cancel yoga this morning, Monday 29th, dont think we should be trying to battle through the snow. Unlikely my sons school bus is going to turn up anyway!

We will add another class on to the block.

See you next week.

All other classes will be on as normal unless I inform you otherwise.

Jo x

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Thanks for the great group energy in class tonight everyone, and for entering into the spirit of the asana workshop. It was fun. You're all fab. Thanks Sue for the cake it was yummy!!!

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Just back from Aberdeen. Feeling very energised after a wonderful week of yoga. Many thanks to all who came to Lendrick for really entering into the spirit of Sue, Julie and Mary's teachings. It was a fab weekend, I enjoyed sharing the time and lovely energy with you all so much, and most of all watching you all deepen your understanding of yoga. I'm so proud of you all.

I also want to say another big thank you for the presentation you made to me of the tibetan singing bowl, I will cherish it. Sorry I cried but I was truly touched by the gesture and all the lovely things you said about me. My aim is to inspire my students to love yoga as much as I do and the words you said made me feel that you are inspired and that means a lot to me.

Big thanks to Julie, Sue, Mary and Stephen for sharing their knowledge with us all.

My trip to Aberdeen to study with Michael Gannon was great, hardwork, but great! As usual when sharing time with the direct students of Pattabhi Jois I learned a great deal and deepened my understanding of the ashtanga practice. I look forward to being able to share that with you all.

Will post some photos soon.

See you all next week.

Jo x

Friday, 8 October 2010

Class Holidays

Just a reminder there are no classes now until the 25 October, except for the Wednesday evening class in Blanefield which will be running on 13 October but not 20th. Have a good break. Jx

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Hopefully we are all fairly organised for going to the retreat at Lendrick Lodge. If anyone has any further questions please do not hesitate to ask. All that remains now is to enjoy!


Big Thank you to everyone who filled out my questionnaire. I got a great response and it's been very helpful. Jo x

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Some inspiration folks! Thanks to Wendy for the post. Jx

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Mulha and Uddhiyana Bandha

Hi All

I wanted to share with you, with David's permission of course, two articles written by David Keil on Mulha and Uddhiyana bandha, which I love and found very helpful. They give a wonderful insight into the elusive bandhas and reading them will help you to understand and therefore use them more effectively in your practice.

For more information on David go to www.yoganatomy.com , his newletters are worth signing up for and if you ever get the chance to be his student, go for it! I will of course let you know the next time he is in town!


J x

Mulha Bandha anatomically speaking by David Keil © 2010 (image link)

The bandhas are perhaps the most difficult aspect to grasp in the practice of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga. For me personally, I think I know what they are. But then I look back at my little life as an Ashtangi, amazingly at 11 years now, and realize, I thought I knew what they were 10 years ago. Then just 5 years ago I understand them even more differently than I do today. My experience of them has changed over the years and will continue to as I'm guessing your experience of them will.

As an anatomy teacher I do try to bridge the gap between the subtle esoteric aspects of the energetic system and the practice of yoga and put it into western terms of anatomy. In the area of bandhas, I am careful to not too strongly make it into a physical anatomical thing. Instead, I acknowledge that bandhas are both, energetic and physical as is our entire body. We are not just energy, not just emotions, not just spiritual, not just thoughts, not just physical, but all of these at once.

To discuss mulha bandha we talk about the pelvic floor, some people say Perineum and others use the term PC muscles which stands for Pubo-Coccygeal muscles. This web of tissue at the base of our torso container is actually a diaphragm - defined as a ring of tissue. The opening at the base of our bowl shaped pelvis is more or less circular and filled with thin layers of muscles and fascia, creating a trampoline of tissues. Like many other places in the body, the pelvic floor is layered. Technically the perineum lies under the pubo-coccygeal muscles with a layer of fascia between.

Contraction of these muscles is often associated with the mulha bandha. Great debate comes from whether you should be contracting the middle or the back portion of these tissues and far be it from me to jump into this one too deeply, other than to say, Guruji (Sri K. Pattabhi Jois) always talked about controlling your anus. The translations that I've seen of the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, which has an entire chapter on Bandhas and Mudras, often say the same thing. That is, mulha bandha is a contraction of the anus.

As it turns out the PC muscles are actually part of the levator ani... which means elevator of the anus. Technically this would be more closely related to what we're after. Therefore to this anatomist, it makes more technical sense to use PC. But that's just me, in the end, what matters is that you have the experience of what is created, not the technical details.

If the bandha is an energetic component of who we are, what part does the actual muscle have to do with the bandha anyway? Personally I describe the pelvic floor and contraction of it as the pathway toward mulha bandha. In other words, it's the physical contraction that does two things. First, it creates a conscious mental relationship with mulha bandha and it seems that prana follows thoughts, so if you're thinking of a part of your body, you are in essence sending energy there. Second, is the contraction of the PC muscles which stimulates the energetic center. Hence, creating the mulha bandha.

There are of course physical changes that occur when performing a contraction of the pelvic floor muscles. They often fit into the descriptions given of the core muscles. There are debates about what the core muscles are, which ones should be included etc... but the pelvic floor is almost always part of that conversation. Remember that the pelvic floor muscles are at the base of the spine filling the circular like hole at the bottom of our pelvic bowl. The back portion of the bowl is created by the sacrum which links to either side of the pelvis at what we call the SI (sacroiliac) joint. Just off to either side of the sacrum, in essence filling in the sides toward the back or the bowl are the piriformis muscles.

Think of the spine rising up out of the back of the pelvic bowl, towering above its foundation at the pelvis. Almost like balancing a broom upside down in the palm of your hand. Certainly there are other muscles that help stabilize this column as it rises, but at its base, its foundation, are the PC muscles. To see the effect of these muscles in helping balance the spine, imagine for a moment that you tightened your PC muscles so much that it started to make your coccyx touch your pubic bone (not possible by the way). If the coccyx, and therefore sacrum are moving toward the pubic bone it means that there is movement at the SI joint and the spine is falling backwards above the SI joint.

If the muscles let go completely then the opposite would happen. No tension to hold the sacrum in place and the towering column of the spine would start to fall forward and the coccyx would be moving away from the pubis. The point is that the PC muscles help to create stability of the pelvic bowl and the spine that rises from it. Of course, no muscle, or in this case group of muscles, lives in a vacuum. There are other muscles (and ligaments) that help maintain the integrity of the pelvic bowl and the stability of the spine, it's just that these muscles are at the foundation of it. Therefore physically these muscles are about stability and support of pelvis and spine, and perhaps, root the spine, or are at the root of the spine. Mulha = Root.

There is another effect that happens when contracting these muscles. You should be able to feel this yourself quite easily especially on a strong contraction of the PC muscles. This effect is that you should also find that lowest part of your abdomen also changes in tension. You may want to close your eyes for a moment and do a few contraction of these muscles to see what other parts around the area contract. People may experience it slightly differently. Some may even feel a contraction in their lower back as well between the top of the pelvis and ribs which would most likely be a result of the transverse abdominus (the deepest of the oblique muscles) as it connects to the vertebrae in the lumbar.

There is still one more direction to go with this interlinking of subtle and gross aspects of mulha bandha and the pelvic floor. What better force to interlink them with than breath. You might say that breath is the ultimate link between subtle and gross. It's most subtle aspect as Prana or life force animates our physical bodies. This feeds us both energetically and then if we take just the smallest of steps toward gross, prana presents itself in the form of oxygen molecules which nourish and sustain all of our more gross tissues, be they nervous, muscular, or skeletal. Everything in the body relies upon it.

When the diaphragm contracts it compresses the abdominal contents and puts a downward pressure on the pelvic floor and if unrestricted, also pushes the abdomen out. You can give it a go yourself by closing your eyes and take a big breath or two. You should feel the further you go to the edges of your inhalation that there is more and more abdomen moving and pressure into the pelvic floor.

The diaphragm above is putting pressure on the diaphragm below (PC). The energetic purpose of mulha bandha is to prevent the escape of energy, specifically prana vayu or downward flowing energy. By contracting the pelvic floor muscles you prevent the downward movement of these muscles when breathing. You are literally stopping a downward physical force. The gross side of the subtle purpose of mulha bandha.

I'd love to follow this thread and tell you all about the muscle that is most likely associated with uddhiyana bandha and the effects on breathing there but it would be off topic. You'll just have to demand another guest post from this yogi bent on anatomy.

Om Shanti,


Finding your Anatomical Uddhiyana by David Keil 2010

In the last piece about mulha bandha and its relationship to the pelvic floor muscles I eluded to the muscle that might be most associated with uddhiyana bandha. Well, here we are continuing down the path to try and bridge the subtle and gross of our bodies as best we can.

I should mention that although this is one of those places where anatomy and energy seem to overlap, I wholeheartedly believe bandhas to be energetic with an anatomical component. After all, I consider myself a yogi first, anatomist second. However, There are physical parts that can help us understand and relate to these more subtle aspects of our anatomy. For mulha bandha it was the pelvic floor, for uddhiyana... well, let's talk about this for a minute.

I often ask the question, how would you know if someone was engaging or using their bandhas? The answer in some form or fashion is that you see the results. You see the qualities created by mulha and uddhiyana in the individual as they move and practice. What are the qualities? mulha is the root lock, which means one would observe a grounded quality to the asana being performed. Uddhiyana on the other hand means upward flying and is often observed as an overall ease and particularly a lightness in the practice. The very famous, floating aspect in advanced practitioners is a sign of bandha use and control.

This is not to say that there is no muscular effort, there most definitely is. One must also have strength to make these movements happen but to look effortless seems to require the use of the subtle aspects of our being.

I know I've been keeping some of you in suspense about what physical part of the body is related to uddhiyana, but some of you have probably guessed already (especially if you recognize the image to the right). If you haven't, it's the psoas muscle. I've already written a short article on the psoas posted on the website. For our purposes today I want to tie the workings of mulha and uddhiyana together.

There are three muscles that one could associate with the word psoas. First is the very small psoas minor muscle. Second, is the psoas major. Third is the Iliacus muscle which when combined with the psoas major is known as the Iliopsoas. The psoas minor is somewhat disregarded as it a small muscle with a long tendon, meaning it's not very powerful. In addition it's said to be absent in approximately half the population.

It is the function of the iliopsoas (the combination of iliacus and psoas major) as the strongest hip flexor of the body that brings everyone's attention to it. This movement of hip flexion is essential to us as humans as it is what takes us forward in our daily life. It is the primary muscle for walking. Although you could simplify walking as flexing the femur so that one foot goes in front of the other, it's certainly much more complex than that, and requires many other muscles to carry out this complicated and coordinated action.

What we're essentially doing is both controlling and moving our center of gravity forward in space and we're balancing it on those two long sticks we call legs. Our physical center of gravity is near the top of our sacrum. It's only slightly different for men or women, but not so much that we need to go into it in this article. As we transition into other types of movements, especially if you think of graceful dancers, or powerful changes in direction like football players, what we essentially do is control the center of gravity in our body.

The psoas is perfectly positioned to make this happen. It is a two-sided muscle, each side a more or less tapering tube-shaped piece of muscle falling on either side of our center of gravity. What this means, is that it is going to be intrinsically linked with the control of this area of the body.

When one jumps back, forward, or lifts up into a handstand they are essentially controlling their center of gravity over, or in relation to, their foundation (in this case hands). I hate to over-simplify it, but it's having a connection to ones center physically and energetically. Awareness of the psoas, and attempted use of it, seems to trigger the resultant effect of uddhiyana bandha, flying upward with control and lightness. If you add this to mulha bandha as we discussed in last months newsletter, we are using mulha to control from below and uddhiyana to control from either side of the center of gravity. We are in a sense surrounding both our energetic center as well as our physical center.

There are many exercises that can encourage a connection to these areas of the body and you've probably done a few if you've been practicing yoga for any length of time. At first, it does take self-inquiry to understand the relationship of both of these bandhas to each other as well as to the practice of yoga. What I've offered is simply a physical anchor for your mind which may help you discover your center of gravity. This is a great place to focus on in your practice. In every anatomy workshop that I do, when I cover the psoas we do simple sun salutations with a focus on that muscle or area of the body. The effect for the students is almost always obvious.

There is of course one more element that should be discussed if you're talking about bandha... and that is breath, without it, there is no prana to control. Perhaps next time we'll discuss that.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Hello everyone, hope you have all had a great Summer. All classes start back next week, week beginning 16 August, except for the Monday morning flow class at the guide hall which begins the following week 23rd. Looking forward to seeing you all for a good stretch! Jo x

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Have had a fab first week of Mysore with David Keil, lots of hard work and have defintely reached some muscles I didn't know I had!!! Cant wait for next week.

Have learned such a lot in the adjustment workshop, I'm sure you can't wait for me to try them out on you all!

Hope you are all having a good Summer.

Jo x

Monday, 12 July 2010

Class Holidays

Hi Folks

There will be no class this Wednesday evening 14th July or next Wednesday 21st July as I am on a course. See you all on the 28th.

Jo x

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Summer break

All classes have now stopped for the Summer except for the Wednesday evening class in Blanefield.

If you want to keep your practice going over the Summer you are very welcome to come along to Blanefield. The class runs from 7.30 until 9pm. This class will not be running on 14 July or 21 July as I will be on a course.

Have a lovely Summer if I don't see you in Blanefield.


Monday, 7 June 2010

There will be no class in Blanefield on Wednesday evening 9th June as I am going to my daughters school play. Jx

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Have been unable to do any yoga for a week due to illness, am going completely nuts! Couldn't even do pranayama, nasal passages were just too blocked. I can't wait to get on my mat, hoping for tomorrow.

Blanefield class is on this evening. See you there

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Tuesday Evening Guide Hall - 1st June

Sorry class cancelled this evening tuesday 1 June am still unwell. Jo x

Monday, 31 May 2010

Cairns Class monday 31 may

Sorry guys due to illness will have to cancel this evenings class. See you all next week.

Jo x

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Class holidays

Just a reminder there will be no daytime flow class on Thursday 27 May and Monday 31st May due to the school holidays. The Monday evening class is on as normal.


Thursday, 29 April 2010

Class Holidays

Just a reminder - due to the May bank holiday there is no Monday morning flow class at the guide hall on 3rd May. The Monday evening class is on as normal.

Due to the election there is no flow class on Thursday 6 May at the guide hall.


Wednesday, 28 April 2010

New Class Time - Tuesday Evening

Just a reminder the Tuesday evening class at the Guide Hall, Pendicle Rd has changed time. It will now begin at 8.05 and run until 9.15. We will not be allowed access to the hall before 8pm.


Thursday, 22 April 2010

David Keil

David Keil an authorized ashtanga teacher is coming to Glasgow in July to do a couple of weeks of mysore.. He is an awesome teacher and adjustor. If any of you intermediate ashtangis fancy it, let me know and I will send you the details. I will be going along for both weeks.

For more info. on David go to www.yoganatomy.com


Thursday, 15 April 2010

Just a reminder - after the Easter break Monday and Thursday flow classes are at the Guide Hall, Pendicle Rd. So don't turn up at the ski club!


Friday, 2 April 2010

Happy Easter everyone.

My daytime classes have stopped for the holidays. Get your mats out at home. Energy is rising so put a little spring into your practice. We start back on 19.04 at the Guide Hall, Pendicle Rd, Bearsden. The Monday and Wednesday evening classes are on as normal.

Enjoy the holidays. Weather was gorgeous today let's hope it continues!


Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Thursday morning class at ski club is on. Jx

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Tuesday, 30 March 2010

New Class

I have a new Ashtanga class for beginners beginning Tuesday 20.04.10 at 7.50 until 9pm. Guide Hall, Pendicle Rd, Bearsden. If you are interested let me know.


Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Tuesday Mysore Style!

A big well done to the Tuesday ski club class who did their first Mysore style class this morning.

Mysore again next week so remember your practice sheets!

Jo x

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Classes next week

Hi All

I am on holiday next week. Classes will not be running on the following dates:

Tuesday 2 March
Wednesday 3 March
Thursday 4 March
Monday 8 March
Tuesday 9 March

Classes are running as normal on Monday 1 March.

Jo x

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Just for a laugh

Check this out, its hilarious. Jx

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Half Term break

Just a reminder, there are no ski club classes on Monday 15th and Tuesday 16th of February due to the half term break. The Thursday class is on as normal, as are the Monday and Wednesday classes in the evening.

Have a lovely break.

Jo x

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Wednesday 27th Class

Forgot to mention at class last week that a pantomime is being held in the Edmonstone Hall on Wednesday 27th so there will be no class that evening.

Jo x

Thursday, 21 January 2010


For those of you asking about the music I played during the relaxation at the flow class today. The singer was Deva Premal and the song was Om Hraum Mitraya from the album Dakshina. If you go to www.omstream.com you can download single tracks if you don't want to buy a whole album.

Jo x

The Weekend

Just wanted to say a big 'well done' to those of you who did the workshop at the weekend. It was a lot of hard work for you and I hope it pays off in the led classes. It was my first time running a course like that and I enjoyed the experience, so thanks for coming along.

Jo x

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Um Shandy

Helen has been displaying her creative talents again. Helen you crack me up. To quote one of your acronyms - ROTFL? Is that how it goes?

Om Shanti!


Tuesday, 12 January 2010

An Introduction to Ashtanga Yoga - Sat 16th and sun 17th January

Hi Everyone

For those of you coming along at the weekend.

The Edmonstone Hall is on the left hand side off the main road as you drive through Blanefield away from Bearsden.  It is a detatched white church-like building with its own car park and is beside the police station.    For entry we do not use the front door rather  the second door down on the right hand side of the building.  There may be quite a few cars there so please park wisely!  If the car park is full there is plenty of residential parking around within walking distance of the hall.

Please bring a blanket and a yoga block with you if you have one.  Anyone who has a portable type heater can you please bring it with you in case of extremely cold weather!  Hopefully the hall will be nice and warm, its just in case!

The course starts at 10am and finishes at 1pm.  There will an extremely short toilet break only as we've got a lot to pack in so please make sure you eat breakfast but do not eat anything after about 8.30.

Looking forward to seeing you all there.

Jo x

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Wednesday 6 January Blanefield Class Cancelled

Sorry everyone, due to the weather thought it best to cancel tomorrow evenings class in Blanefield. Hope to see you next week.

Jo x
Happy New Year to you all.

Well done all those who made it to class this morning through the snow, what a dedicated bunch you are, either that or just desperate to work off all those mince pies!!

I've just finished my practice and am torn between doing the washing or going  off sledging before the kids get out of school and ruin all the good snow.

Sledging it is. It's just too gorgeous outside to miss the opportunity.