November 2019: On Ayurveda





            Today, 7am, on 06 November 2019


On Ayurveda

For a few months now, I have been studying ayurveda. Ayurveda means the science of life and it greatly complements yoga, especially pranayama. I find it fascinating for two main reasons: first, the treatments it proposes are usually simple and don’t have many contraindications and, second, it accounts for change in us, and in seasons. It seeks what is appropriate for you and at the present moment. This, of course, requires some self-knowledge (svādhyāya), the ability to let go and a focus on what is happening right now around you. The needs of your body change with the seasons and paying attention to these helps you to constantly re-balance, giving yourself what you need so you can feel at your best.

If you want to begin the journey of getting to know your self in ayurvedic terms, I recommend finding out what your dosha is. There are three: Vata (air and space), Pitta (fire and water), Kapha (earth and water), and they are present in the body and in all living nature. Doshas are the three energies circulating and governing physiological activity. A dosha is what we have in excess. The proportion of the three energies determines your individual temperament and physical constitution and, when unbalanced, cause a disposition to particular physical and mental disorders. You can take a dosha test here. And if you want to go deeper, my favourite books are Vasant Lad’s Ayurveda, the Science of Self-healing: A Practical Guide and  Robert Svoboda’s Prakriti: Your Ayurvedic Constitution. You won’t go wrong with them. They are simple, rigorous and very accessible.

January 2020 will be a momentous time, as a new decade opens for us. To help you to start it in the best possible way, Rosina and I are teaming up to offer three mornings of practice on the 3, 4 and 5 January (see below for full details). We will be nourishing mind, body and breath, creating awareness, stability and easy within the body. What a way to balance the Christmas season and to mark the beginning of the 2020s!


Laura x


Thank you to Neil for this month’s topic suggestion. If you want me to write or explore anything in particular, please do let me know. I love these challenges!






 What I have been practicing

Right now, we are in Vata season. I find it quite hard to adapt to Autumn/early Winter, so I am taking special care to attune to what is going on in nature, to let go of the summer and arrive into the present with some energy and fewer illnesses. Vata tends to be cold, light, dry and mobile and is appeased by its opposite. This is what I tend to do:


– Get up at around 6am and go to bed at around 9.30pm, to enjoy a longer restorative sleep cycle, which Vata needs.

— Practice yoga, if possible, in the morning.

— Practice calming activities.  I place a lot of emphasis on the grounding effects of pranayama at this time of year. This will centre the mind and will help you to focus on yourself, something you will need more and more as we approach winter.

— Massage the body with sesame oil, if I can, before a hot shower. This has a calming effect if the oil is left in the skin for at least 30 minutes.

— Scrape the tongue to clean bacteria and stimulate digestive fire.

— A few peeled almonds, soaked the night before, are good for morning energy.

— Ghee! On toast, on rice, on everything. In ayurveda, ghee is life! You can buy it now in most supermarkets, or you can make it at home in 30 minutes. Cheaper and much nicer!

— Keep the hot bottle water near you. After dinner, keep it near your tummy or your liver to stimulate digestion.

— Golden milk (see recipe below), 1 to 3 times a week is good for the nervous system and for digestion.

— Keep your head warm, especially if you are prone to feeling cold suddenly and this de-stabilises you and makes you feel out of sorts. If you can, wear warm colours, like nature.

— Eat cooked food, if possible, with spices. These will warm your system.

— Do everything slower and take time to do nothing. Cut down, ease off, rest.





  What I have been listening to


I have an absolute treat for you. When I was in Stockholm studying Pranayama with Sudhir Tiwari, one of my fellow students, Tia Jumbe, recorded a podcast with him. Tia is an ayurvedic practitioner and in this recording, Sudhir talks about pranayama, yoga and ayurveda, as well as telling us a little about himself, which is a very rare occurrence. I love it so much I have listened to it three times already. Don’t worry about the introduction, which is in Swedish. The interview is in English!




What I have been drinking

Golden milk is a wonderful thing to have at this time of year, because it gives energy, gets rid of excess pitta and stimulates the digestive fire. It is easy to make and very tasty.


Pour a mug of milk into a pan and let it go to boil slowly. Just as it boils, add one or two tablespoons of turmeric – this yellow colour is why it is called golden milk. Add a good pinch of black pepper and, for the most special touch, a teaspoon of ghee. You can add other warming spices if you want and or leave the pepper out, if this is not for you. The golden colour, the milk and the warmth is what matters.





Awakening the body and breath, Rosina and Laura are joining forces to offer 3 mornings of practice to get you motivated and ready for all that 2020 has to offer. This will be a fabulous opportunity to get the new decade off to a great start with a special programme for all levels of experience. These sessions will also help with the over indulgence of festive activity. Treat yourself! There will be time for exploration, questions with a focus on encouraging individual learning and development. To complete the nourishing and nurturing programme coffee, tea, fruit and yoghurt will be offered each morning. Feel free to bring your own to add or share.


08.30 – 09.45 Pranayama

10.00 – 11.15 Breath and Asana

11.15 Coffee


08.30 – 09.45 Yoga Guided Practice

10.00 – 11.15 Breathing Bones

11.15 Coffee


08.30 – 09.45 Pranayama

10.00 – 11.15 Counted Practice

11.15 Coffee


Pranayama is a yoga technique to enhance, deepen and control the breath through simple preparations and exercises. The practice works at a physical, mental, emotional and energetic level nourishing them all.

Breath and Asana

In this session we explore the effects of breath in mind and body, as we move, slowly and mindfully, in and out of yoga poses. We will look at the principles of moving with the breath to arrive at a relaxed state in the practice, to allow us to reach stability and ease within mind, body and breath.

Ashtanga Yoga

Ashtanga Yoga is a dynamic and progressing sequence of postures linked by the breath. It requires regular practice to memorise the sequence, synchronise the breath and reap the benefits. It offer strength and flexibility, develops both physical and mental awareness, balancing the body and mind. This will be a guided practice.

Breathing Bones

Breathing Bones is a series of relaxed postures and placements of the body. Together with the breath and gravity these aim to free the joints, release the muscles, realign the skeletal structure and balance the body.


Early bird £80 before 14 December 2019

Full price £95

            My friend and fellow yoga teacher Patricia Galavis is offering a wonderful 8 week meditation course at In The Moment in Glasgow, starting on the 21 January. She will explore topics such as stress, pain and anxiety and will give you useful tools to balance, care for and nurture yourself. What a better Christmas present to yourself!





                                        CLASSES AT THE ARLINGTON BATHS

Until Thursday 12 December (regular classes will start back on 6 January)


Monday Mornings  07.45 – 9.30

Tuesdays Evenings 18.25 – 20.30

Thursdays Mornings 07.45 – 9.30


We are back in January!

£11/£9 Arlington members, concession

Class card valid




                                        CLASSES AT RCS

Until Friday 13 December (regular classes will start back on 6 January)

YOGA for STAFF (sign up with HR)
Monday Lunchtime 13.00 – 14.00

YOGA for STUDENTS (check weekly email from RCS sport for room)

Wednesday Evening 18.00 – 19.00

Friday Lunchtime 13.00 – 14.00

£3/£10 for 4 classes