Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Benefits of Zen Yoga...and a London Giveaway!

Zen Yoga is probably one type of yoga that is less well known and has been practised without a name for quite some time. Most types of yoga aim to achieve a Zen-like state of awareness and relaxation, so at times I like to think of all types of yoga having a Zen quality in achieving mind and body union. It is very much like meditation, especially when it comes to focusing on the breath, being in a state of body awareness and letting go in Savasana. Like a full round circle, different types of yoga tend to work towards the same aim and Zen Yoga is no different in that respect. Perhaps the most evident difference lies in philosophy and method of teaching, but of course the style as well as outlook of the instructor plays a part too. For me, Zen Yoga is like the vastness and gentleness of the ocean....washing each sore cell in a therapeautic self-massage of body and matter where you have been or who you are, it is about your time to be you.

The origins of Zen Yoga .....
Rooting to a time when the Buddha practised yoga diligently with the forest sages in his quest for enlightenment, from the yogic Asanas (postures) to the highly regarded Raja Yoga (meditation). Taking an external as well as internal approach it was practiced as part of life and awakening. Though yoga practices selectively filtered through Buddhism, some Mahayana schools have long named their practices of chants as well as breathing and meditation as yoga, not seperating the work of the mind with that of the body. At times shadowed under different cultures or languages, but often practiced with Buddhism in China, Tibet and Japan. Zen Masters taught yogic exercises focused on releasing tension and gently encouraging healing to aid those in Zen training, but it was not until Masahiro Oki started using the term that Zen Yoga became more known.

Elements within Zen Yoga.....
The 'mindfulness of the body' is at the heart of Zen Yoga, together with alignment and flow of energy in the body. Using different dimensions of yoga from Asana and breathing to Mudra, chanting, visualisation, massage and meditation as tools to gently achieve an equilibrium of mind and body. It is essentially about awareness. Listening to your body, understanding what you need at that very moment and working at a pace right for you. Perhaps my Zen Yoga teacher Zen Monk Daizan Skinner Roshi from Zenways can explain a little more in the YouTube video below:

Benefits of Zen Yoga.....
Zen Yoga can actually be practised by anyone who wants to achieve an equilibrium of body as well as mind. It focuses on gradual progression and benefits include:
  • Increased flexibility
  • Improved breathing efficiency
  • Improved body alignment
  • Improved balance
  • Strengthening body
  • Emotional wellbeing
  • Decreasing stress levels
  • Building awareness and focus
  • Improved energy flow

As Walking in May's 4th Birthday is approaching (13th December) is time for a GIVEAWAY! To celebrate I decided to have 2 Giveaways this year; the first (announced in this post) Giveaway will be open to Walking in May's LONDON based readers...whilst the second Giveaway will be open to all Walking in May readers albeit international or local. Drumroll please......

ONE Block of 6 Open Class Pass from Zen Yoga service 'The Cat Pose'  (worth £40)! 

To Enter carry out the following 3 steps:

  1. SHARE the Giveaway on Twitter or Facebook (using the Giveaway photo OR via button at bottom of this post)
  2. LIKE The Cat Pose's Facebook page
  3. Sign-Up to The Cat Pose NEWSLETTER    

Terms of 'Giveaway 1':

  • Giveaway 1 is open to Walking in May readers based or living in LONDON. 
  • The prize of one 'Block of 6 Open Classes Pass' is valid for any of The Cat Pose's Zen Yoga open classes in London and until 30th June 2015.
  • The closing date for entries is 24th December 2014.
  • Winner will be randomly picked out of a hat and announced on 27th December 2014 via the Walking in May blog and The Cat Pose's Facebook page.  

GOOD LUCK darlings, and if you should want to try out a Zen Yoga class soon, then please join me at one of the pop-up December classes! [More information: The Cat Pose Events] Thank you to all who listened in on the Lucky Cat radio show on Resonance FM and I hope you enjoyed our chat about the Qipao (Cheongsam). Don't forget to spread the word about the Giveaway, and tune back in soon for Giveaway number 2.....have an absolutely fabulous mid-week!

Until the next time,
May xx

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Benefits of Zen

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Qipao Love: Part 19 ~ 'Cheongsam Tea' with Sakura Haruka in Singapore!

Happy December darlings! And welcome back to Walking in May....after a month away from blogging with travels as well as other changes in life, I am glad to be back. As you might have noticed, a new page on Zen Yoga has been added via the top tabs! As I continue my new journey as a Zen Yoga Instuctor and am starting my own yoga service called The Cat Pose, I would like to share more know-how as well as thoughts about this less well known form of watch this space! Coming back to blogging in the best way with my love for the Qipao (Cheongsam), as I even took to a little dress run on a short 4 days trip to Singapore in November. Those of you darlings following Walking in May's Facebook might have heard about the 'Cheongsam Tea' in Singapore I organised. It was a chance to meet up with other Cheongsam enthusiasts local to Singapore and about 14 people were invited via email whilst the event was made public on Facebook. Sadly with time restrictions, many were unable to make it....nevertheless I still had an absolutely brilliant tea afternoon with lovely Singapore parenting and lifestyle blogger Ai (as well as her family) from Sakura Haruka!

The 'Cheongsam Tea' was held at a cafe called The Dispensary in the stylishly vintage area of Tiong Bahru (Singapore), where most of the buildings are legally protected to remain in their 1930s glory and often visited by film crew as well as the trendy. Being very restricted in time, I was grateful that the cafe happened to be a short walk away from my sister's home but I was almost shy to discover the reaction I gathered from passer bys. Vintage not being very big in Singapore, my massive beehive and Cheongsam really did make me look very out of place even in such a neighbourhood....not about to apologise for what I love or who I am, naturally I discarded my hesitations and tucked into the yummy 'Ice Cream Chocolate Magnum cake'. Price vice it was a slightly expensive cafe for Singapore, but the decor of vintage items and uncovered original features of the Art Deco building somewhat compensated as a little treat. Thanks to Ai with her delightfully cute daughter Lil Pumpkin and husband Dr Dru, we chatted the afternoon away sharing experiences from Cheongsam to vintage, lifestyle, cost of living and even cats! Its was definitely a lovely tea for me and feeling blessed in finding new friends in Singapore, I hope Ai as well as her family had enjoyed it too.  

As I plan to visit Singapore again in March 2015, for a very happy sister is getting married! I hope to plan another Cheongsam please do join me then. Got to dash as I must get dressed in my 1950s Qipao for an appearance on Resonance FM's radio waves this afternoon at 15.30pm (London time); where I shall be talking to Zoe from Lucky Cat about the Qipao. Have a fabulous weekend darlings and don't forget to tune in!

 Until the next time,

May xx

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