Tuesday 13th March - unicorns, obliques and breakfast granola

52 @ 50 no. 35 - Participating in the Marsden March

I have done a sponsored walk before but I've never done this walk, so I'm going to count it as one of my 52 @ 50!  The 14 mile route of this annual fundraising event took us mainly along the pavements between the Royal Marsden Hospital in Chelsea and the Royal Marsden Hospital in Sutton, but it did include a little bit of greenspace as we crossed a small part of Wimbledon Common and Nonsuch Park. The weather was as kind as could be expected considering the last of the snow had melted the day before, and I enjoyed walking through this unfamiliar part of London with my friends to keep me company.  It was very poignant to read all the messages that people wore on their backs in memory of friends and loved ones who had lost their lives to cancer - I think we were all very moved and felt a little emotional at times along the way.  

Since the first one in 2011, the Marsden March has raised over £10 million!  I'm happy to have raised £385 with my Afternoon Tea and my group of friends have raised a staggering £10,553!!  Isn't that amazing?!

The group decided to go for a Unicorn theme... here are some pictures of us trotting to the finish line...




 And finally, one of Flo in her unicorn costume, joining in with the spirit of things even though she couldn't attend the actual event...



A Bit About... Your Oblique Muscles

There's been a focus on the abdominal muscles in my classes over the past couple of weeks, specifically the Obliques.  I thought I'd give you the lowdown on these important muscles - it helps to know where they are, what they do, and to be able to actually feel them working in the poses. 

The Obliques consist of 2 pairs of muscles, one pair on each side of the torso. The External Obliques extend diagonally downwards from the lower ribs to the top of the hip (the iliac crest) and the pubic bone, and the Internal Obliques, which lie underneath them and extend diagonally upwards from the fascia of the lower back and the top of the hip (the iliac crest), fanning out to insert on the lower ribs and the pubic bone.

The job of these muscles is to pull the chest down towards the abdomen (for example when you do sit-ups), bend the torso side to side, rotate the torso, assist with exhalation as well as being part of all the 'core' which help to keep the abdominal organs in place, keep your back strong and maintain your posture - a lot of reasons why it's important to keep them strong yet flexible. The Obliques work in opposite pairs, for example, when you turn your torso to the right the External Obliques on your right side contract along with the Internal Obliques on the left - and singly when doing a side bend.

Here's a picture to help you... well, ... picture your Oblique muscles. Remember that the External Obliques lie in a thin layer over the top of the Internals. 


You can really feel these muscles working in lots of yoga poses - see if you can focus in on them next time you do your practice. 


This Week's Recipe... Date and Pumpkin Seed Granola

This recipe comes from my new magazine, Vegan Food & Living. I got a subscription from my sister for Christmas - thanks sis! - and I'm enjoying exploring vegan recipes and learning new things about living a plant-based life.  

I made this granola for breakfast yesterday, served with fruit and soya yoghurt, and had plenty left over to put in a tupperware for another day. It was like eating flapjack for breakfast!  Deeelicious!

You will need:

2 tablespoons of coconut oil

10 tablespoons of oats

100g dates, finely chopped

1 tablespoon of pumpkin seeds

1 and half teaspoons of cinnamon

1 teaspoon of flaxseeds (optional, but they are really good for your digestion so well worth including)

2 tablespoons maple syrup


And here's how to make it:

Preheat the oven to 180c or Gas Mark 4.

Melt the conconut oil in a medium pan on a low heat.

Add the oats and stir for 1-2 minutes before adding the rest of the ingredients then continue to stir for 7-8 minutes until brown.

Transfer to a baking tray and bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes, checking regularly to ensure it doesn't burn.

Leave to cool before serving.



This Week's 5 Pose Flow... includes 2 balances and a twist.  Allow the movements between the poses to be graceful and flowing. If you lose your balance don't allow frustration to ruffle your feathers, step back up into the pose and carry on. It's not called practice for nothing - it takes time and repetition so revisit it regularly and feel it change over time. You can see my left leg shaking as I struggle to keep my balance on my weaker side - note to self to do the left side twice as often to strengthen and stabilise it. 

Click the little square icon in the bottom right corner for a full screen view.


And here's the sequence:

1. Warrior 3 Pose variation with hands on hips (Virabhadrasana III)

2. Bring yourself to upright, pulling the back leg forward and up to hip height and pause to balance here (I can't find a Sanskrit or English name for this pose - I'll let you know if I find it)

3. Chair Pose (aka Awkward Pose/Fierce Pose) (Utkatasana)

4. Revolved Chair Pose (Parivrtta Utkatasana)

5. Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana)

Repeat on the other side.


This Week's Musical Offering... Walking Through by Kaya Project. I play this often in class to accompany a slow flow or Sun Salutation.


This Week's Video... It was International Women's Day last Thursday.  There were lots of inspiring posts on social media, three of which stood out for me - this video and the two pictures that follow below...





Put your cape on, Superwoman, and have a good week... thanks for reading...