Archives for November 2015 | Monthly InSpirations by Fiona

InSpire - November/December 2015

Winter is drawing in, as the leaves leave us, the earth becomes cooler, the birds quieter, the nights longer and the days shorter. Nature simply flows with this transformation with ease and grace. There is no conflict in letting go, because it is this process that brings new life again.

How can we adapt our yoga practice to suit this natural rhythm of change happening in and around us, breathing into change gracefully?
There is a natural quietening, as if nature is sleeping.
So, how can we adapt our internal life, so we can become quieter, following a quieter rhythm, but still staying present in our active daily lives?

Yin yoga is a practice that helps us to soften into experience as it presents itself though the poses. Through this conscious relaxation of the physical body, we are able to contact a deeper Self - the inner truth that lies in each and everyone of us. It does not have to be an enlightened moment that we aspire to and fail to achieve, or some incredible revelation; it can simply be a soft pause with awareness and a soft knowingness of what truth is, rising from our Hara.

To arrive at this point, we can invite the deep workings of the yoga practice into our daily lives, and through the yoga experience, we can arrive at this quieter place in ourselves. When we are quieter, this has an immediate effect on those around us. This does not mean the practice is going to be easy and light - “Yoga exercises force us into an intense confrontation with ourselves, because they can be both difficult and painful, and above all, they are the total opposite of our normal (automatic) way of moving”. (Gert van Leeuwen)

However, when we perform yoga poses correctly and repeatedly, we create space and energy in our bodies, gradually freeing ourselves of old habitual patterns of reactivity, physically, mentally and emotionally. Through this renewed energy in the body, the mind becomes calmer, the breath smoother, and tension dissolves, as we become lighter, happier more loving beings.

This might be the greatest gift you can offer yourself and those around you for Christmas, since it is a season of letting go and giving….

What are we practicing on and off the yoga mat?
Come into stillness in the yin practice and befriend the sensations.
Flow with concentrated focus and Hara-awareness in the vinyasa practice.
Return to Stillness and Silence, reconnecting you to yourself and others.

Find a pose that is challenging for you and adopt this principle:
“Relaxation is an important factor and has everything to do with balance, pressure, breathing, and attention.” (Gert van Leeuwen)


Chocolate cheesecake bites (Lorraine Pascale)

For the base:
100g unbleached almonds
25g unsweetened cocoa powder
150g pitted dates (preferrably Medjool)
seeds of one vanilla pod

For the filling:
3 ripe bananas, peeled and roughly broken up
3 ripe avocados, peeled and de-stoned
350g pitted dates
100g unsweetened cocoa powder
2TBsp instant coffee powder, dissolved in 2 Tbsp boiling water (I used 2 Tbsp Oat milk instead - no coffee)

  • Grease and line an 18cm square tin ( I used a round cake tin). Make sure some excess baking paper hangs over the edge so it is easy to get the cake out.
  • In the food processor, whiz the base ingredients until they come together when squeezed. Tip into the prepared tin and press evenly over the base. Chill while you prepare the filling.
  • In the food processor, whiz the filling ingredients until smooth. Tip onto the chilled base and smooth to level.
  • Cover and freeze for up to 1 hour or until firm enough to slice.
  • Remove the cake from the tin. Peel the paper from the sides. Dip a sharp knife into a jug of just-boiled water. Wipe dry and cut cheesecake into squares.
  • Keep at room temperature for 10 - 20 minutes to soften slightly. Serve with raspberries.


Image: Yoga @ the Baltic Sea, Saltsjöbaden, Sweden 2015. Copyright Jürgen Weiland