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Namaste… Or not!

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Namaste or not hero shot

Is it ever ok to give the finger in a yoga class? It may sound like an odd thing to say but someone did in a class I attended recently! I was there for my regular Tuesday chill-out and everyone was on their mats. We’d warmed up and were getting into the asanas when a latecomer flew in, set down his mat in the middle and got straight into the seated twist pose (Ardha Matsyendrasana). However as we were twisting to the left, I saw him position his arm so that he was giving someone the finger whilst in the pose! In this posture your arm would normally be up in a kind of ‘halt’ gesture, but your hand is fully outstretched with all the fingers together!


Namaste or not hero shot

It was a little surprising! In all the years I have done yoga, I’ve never encountered any form of aggression or unpleasantness in a class. The nearest being when you are relaxing in Savasana at the end of the practise, enjoying the quiet when someone who can’t wait until the class dismisses, gathers up their things and leaves – interrupting the peace. (It always sounds so much louder in yoga than it does in any other class at the gym!) But it isn’t aggression – just modern life – people needing to rush off, and whilst it is an unwelcome disturbance, no-one moans about it as everyone is so chilled from the yoga!

I think the ‘finger guy’ was reacting to someone at the other end of the room who had made a comment about him being late, but either way – thankfully no-one reacted to it and nothing escalated! Can you imagine a room full of yogis in an argument?!!

It made me think, yoga has some fantastic benefits for your body, keeping the muscles lean and flexible – reducing joint stiffness and helping you to stay in shape, but it also has incredible effects on the mind too that maybe this chap was missing! Different yoga poses are good for relieving different things, but I wanted to share a few poses that I enjoy, for achieving calm and relaxation. I love to know the Sanskrit names for the asanas so I have included these in brackets!

Standing yoga poses with captions

Eagle pose (Garudasana)

This pose is great for balance and it also releases tension in the shoulders, legs and back. It is an empowering pose that helps to destress you by literally squeezing tension out of the body! Because you need to focus for balance, it also calms your mind. I am not yet able to ‘double cross’ my legs yet – wrapping the top leg around the supporting leg’s calf, but I am working on it!

Chair Pose (Utkatasana)

Chair Pose works the muscles of the arms and legs and is a balance pose that energises the body. This empowering pose also has mind calming qualities.

Hero pose (Virasana)

Hero pose (Virasana)
A relaxing and meditative asana that soothes the mind, improves digestion and is great for people with high blood pressure. It stretches and strengthens the thighs, knees and ankles but if you feel this pose is too strong on your legs and ankles when seated on the mat, you can kneel directly onto your lower legs rather than sit on the mat between the legs.

Wide-Legged Standing Forward Bend (Prasarita Padottanasana)

Prasarita Padottanasana
This is a calming pose that also opens up your third eye, sending energy to this area and it is my all time favourite pose. It doesn’t matter how close you get to the ground, what matters is that you stabilize your legs and your back while you bend into this mild inversion. As well as building strength in your shoulders and upper back, this forward fold promotes extreme calmness. I can hang here for ages – I love it!

Child’s pose (Balasana)


Balasana – Child’s pose. Can also be done with arms by your side

This is a restful pose that creates instant calm and is a great pose for the end of your practice. It is also a useful posture for during a class if the other asanas you are engaging in become too much. I find this pose very restorative.

Yoga has such meditative qualities, it’s hard to hold onto stress when you are doing it. The act of focusing on the breath and the way it brings you into your whole body and not just being in your head has a calming effect to help you to decompress and feel the tension melt away.

The times when we feel we just don’t have time for yoga are probably the times when we need it most. It’s not always easy to fit it in but I think that is the challenge. Maybe the finger guy was creating a new hand pose to relieve his own stress but a better way to decompress would be to fully immerse yourself in your practice – shutting out everyone else and the world around you to be in the moment.

At the end of class we bow and say “Namaste” which means ‘The divine within me sees the divine within you’. It is an acknowledgement of the other people in the class and is a gracious way of recognising the belief that our life force within us is the same in us all. We are one. So with that I will bow and say “Namaste”. Come and visit again soon.

Do you have a favourite yoga pose? Let me know in the comments!

**Post was first published in August 2016

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Comments to Namaste… Or not!

  • Never tried Yoga but recently tried pilates and found that relaxing too.

    Was a bit rude of him showing the finger…but then he may have had a very valid reason for being late so a comment shouldn’t have been made if the teacher had said nothing.

    Fozia S 24th August 2016 3:16 pm Reply
    • True that – the teacher said nothing and yoga is after all about acceptance. Thanks for commenting.

      Nadine Hill 27th August 2016 4:14 pm Reply
  • Who does that!? How awful, in such a peaceful setting! Saying that, I would never go into a class late – any class. I’d be too embarrassed. Anyway, I’m glad no one else noticed. I would love to take a yoga class, I think I will when Hero is at preschool in a year or so – stretching was my favourite part of working out when I was younger, it makes everything feel so much better.

    Sara-Jayne 25th August 2016 11:22 am Reply
    • Once you have that bit of time in your day once the kids are at school, it’d be nice to stretch at yoga. I feel stiff when I cannot get to a class:-)

      Nadine Hill 27th August 2016 4:13 pm Reply
  • I used to do a yoga dvd years ago and really loved it, i may have to get back into it now. x

    Sonia 26th August 2016 9:26 am Reply
  • Really surprised to hear that – never seen anything like that in a yoga class. I’m in awe of your virasana – I find it very difficult to get anywhere near the mat, so I usually sit on a block or two.

    Erica Price 27th August 2016 12:31 pm Reply
    • I was taken aback too! Thanks for your comment… That one is a great pose for me – I have others that I’m not so bendy at!!

      Nadine Hill 27th August 2016 4:10 pm Reply
  • I have never done yoga, well apart from Cosmic Yoga with the kids! How rude for someone to do that at any class let alone a relaxing yoga class. Love all your poses.

    Jen Walshaw 27th August 2016 9:38 pm Reply
    • Ooh Cosmic Yoga! That sounds good.

      Nadine Hill 29th August 2016 8:57 am Reply
  • I’ve only tried yoga recently and enjoyed it but seriously what an idiot he is.
    Who even does that out of the school playground?

    clare nicholas 28th August 2016 1:23 am Reply
  • I love yoga and really miss it. Now that my baby is getting older I am hoping to get into it again. I doubt I will have any need to give the finger in class. A bit inappropriate

    Louise 28th August 2016 2:10 am Reply
  • I’ve tried both and I’m more of a Pilates girl just because I need to strengthen my lower back muscles. To funny about the aggression – seems a bit counter intuitive! Welcome back x

    susanna 29th August 2016 10:01 am Reply
    • Thanks Sus. Isn’t it funny? I can’t seem to get along with Pilates – but many people bundle them into the same category! Good to be back! x

      Nadine Hill 30th August 2016 11:47 am Reply
  • I have never tried yoga, doesn’t really appeal – love the tale of the finger salute though…….that is something we should have done on the coach LOL

    Kara Guppy 29th August 2016 10:02 am Reply
    • LOL, I would have loved that! The coach trip we took certainly needed some deep breathing to stay calm!!

      Nadine Hill 30th August 2016 11:46 am Reply
  • I used to do yoga, but now I can just about do the breathing exercises. It’s still something though, I love how peaceful it makes you feel. That guy must have been inventing a new move of his own.

    Anne 29th August 2016 10:31 pm Reply
    • hehe I certainly was! I’m glad you are continuing to do the breathing exercises – even small wins are still wins. Well done. x

      Nadine Hill 30th August 2016 11:45 am Reply
  • I don’t think anywhere round here does yoga which is a shame. I hope the latecomer got plenty out of the session and felt a lot more relaxed at the end.

    Ness 30th August 2016 11:47 pm Reply
  • How rude was that!

    I’ve never done yoga but I’d like to try x

    Cass@frugalfamily 5th September 2016 5:47 pm Reply
    • It certainly keeps me bendy!I know if I am feeling aches and pains it’s time to do yoga!

      Nadine Hill 7th September 2016 9:41 am Reply
  • I recognise that picture! ? xx

    You Baby Me Mummy 15th September 2016 9:47 pm Reply
    • It’s such a fab photo – thanks for taking it! xx

      Nadine Hill 16th September 2016 4:45 pm Reply
  • Oh love this so much Nadine, you look absolutely stunning. I love yoga it really helps me with my sore back xx

    Amy Treasure 15th September 2016 9:58 pm Reply
    • Aww thanks Amy – that’s so sweet. Yes, I find yoga helps me with all my aches and pains:-)

      Nadine Hill 16th September 2016 4:45 pm Reply

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