New Year, new you

Good morning dear yogis, or yogis-to-be!

prismatic lotus flower
lotus flower

Wouldn’t you like to make 2018 the year that you take up yoga?  Yoga is so ubiquitous now, it seems almost silly not to at least try?
But why should yoga be everywhere, and now?  Because it complements any other form of physical education or sport, but can also stand alone.  Yoga can be used by anyone engaged in demanding sport like football, running , CrossFit, to help rehabilitate muscle and connective tissue, improve breathing technique and oxygenation, and generally settle you down after a hard workout.
Yoga is completely adaptable for all ages and fitness levels.  Especially Viniyoga, the style of yoga that I teach.  The central tenet of this style is that the yoga adapts to the person, not the person to the yoga.  This means that viniyoga sequences are modifiable, which is not the case in many yoga styles.  As we know, the European population is ageing, and ageing brings with it certain changes such as connective tissue stiffness in post-menopausal women, overweight and obesity, problems with bone density, heart disease, sleep problems and a host of other concerns.  While yoga is not a magic pill, it certainly helps practitioners to feel better in their bodies, to sleep better, to accept more gracefully the changes associated with ageing, and to overcome loneliness.
Yes, what I say about loneliness is very important.  Yoga is fundamentally a solitary practice, a journey within.  But, in the West, the social aspect of yoga, the group work, is tremendously important.  If you join a yoga class, you will find like-minded people, and that sense of separation might be temporarily eased.  Loneliness is a big problem in Europe.  Yoga, quite apart from all the other physical benefits, can help overcome this pervasive sense of aloneness.
So, please come along to class and see what it’s all about.  You will be welcomed with open arms and a big smile.
Peace, namasté, Rachel

Class Schedule – Horarios de clases

Hello beautiful people!  here is a quick resumé of the classes that I am offering as of January, 2018:

  • Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday mornings at 9:30AM 
  • Martes, Miércoles, Jueves, Viernes por la mañana a las 9:30AM:

GOA Altea, Carretera del Albir, 17, Altea (03590).

  • Tuesday and Friday afternoons at 4:00PM
  • Martes y Viernes por la tarde a las 4:00PM

Alfaz Paradise, Calle Badia, 50, el Albir, (03581).  

New post on

Hey lovelies.  I am trying to move over to  So, any new posts will go there first.  Here is a link to something I wrote this morning.  Toodle-loo.

The mysterious path of the yogi.

The funny thing about yoga is that almost everyone confuses it with exercise. And while it has been said many times before by scholars much abler than I, yoga does incorporate body postures and breathing, it is really not a form of exercise.

yoga tree
yoga, the tree of life

Most yoga teachers know this. If they don’t, with all due respect, perhaps they’re a bit green. Because if you practice with assiduity – and believe me, a yoga teacher who does not practice daily is not a yoga teacher – the other stuff will come. And when the other stuff comes, thus comes the realisation that the postures were only a means to an end. The âsana is the vehicle, the texts are the roadmap, the teacher is the guide, but the destination is wholly unknown.
Yep, no one know where this is taking you. That is the great mystery, and it’s why we practice. We don’t know the lay of the land, we don’t know where this is taking us, and so we get a few surprises (some nice, some not so nice) along the way and sometimes end up not at all where we expected.
Yoga is an intensely personal journey. No one’s experience of yoga will be just like that of another. True, there are road markers along the way and certain steps that are almost universal. but the exact physical, mental and spiritual changes that each yoga practitioner effects are intensly personal.
Why? Because each person arrives at yoga with their own samskara-s, the impressions that make up the character, the ego. So even if Judith and Sarah start the class on the same day, with the same teacher, and never miss a single practice, Judith starts at A but Sarah might well start at K. And perhaps Judith is A on the physical body, but F on the emotional body and a straight up Z on the spiritual front. Meanwhile, Sarah is G, J and L. I mean, who knows? There is no firm measuring stick for any of this, so we don’t even know where we are starting. Maybe we think we’ve gotten quite far with the mental stuff, only to find out that the black dog was lurking just behind us all along.
For this reason, one of my favourite yoga refrains is “Don’t judge a person for where he is on the road. Judge a person for how far he has traveled to get there.”
Get on your mat and practice! Do whatever you can, whenever you can, and open yourself to the mystery of your own life, that will unfold before you. Sweat your prayers, people, and all is coming.
The guru is within you.

On mouth breathing

prismatic flower mandalaWe are born and the first thing we do is inhale. The last thing we do when we leave this mortal coil is exhale. Everything that comes in between is called a life.
Yoga considers the breath to be both an energy in itself, and a carrier of energy, so many practices in yoga are about freeing the breath. All yoga has breath work (pranayâma), but the style of yoga that I teach, Viniyoga, has a very specific way of approaching pranayâma. I could spend a lot of time explaining how we do it, but it really is easiest if you come to class and embody the practice.

I marvel at the deep belly breaths my 10-year old daughter instinctively takes when she has to concentrate hard on some task like, say, drawing a circle or cutting out a pattern. Most adults doing the same thing would hold the breath. Observe your breath next time you want to take a photo…give me a comment below about what you observe, let’s make this fun, eh?

So, somewhere between youth and adulthood, the breath changes. I have observed many people on my massage table who only mouth-breathe, and many are doing so 20+/minute. Ideally, we should breathe 6-12x/minute. Anything more and you’re wasting energy. Anything less and you’re way ahead of me and I don’t have anything to teach you!

Anatomical manifestations of an incorrect breath are many. Alterations in the voice are common. Back pain in all zones of the spinal column is often related to incorrect breathing . Postural problems are common among mouth breathers, as are changes to the face and jawline. Mouth breathers often project their lower jaw forward, and turn down the corners of their mouths (not a good look, sorry).

There are physiological problems, too: the nose filters incoming air, and warms it before delivering it to the lungs. Mouth breathers take no advantage of the nasal turbinates and adenoid tonsil (for immune function), and thus deprive themselves of a very important cleaning process.

Yoga has tools to re-establish healthy breathing. We often think of yoga as postures, and indeed it is. But the trick of yoga is to do those postures while breathing correctly. By practising with a qualified teacher, using a method that pays attention to the breathing (there are yoga lineages that just put you in a pose and say “breathe deeply”), you can take control of this incredible physiological process that accompanies you from cradle to grave and discover for yourself just how wonderful it is to breathe deeply, slowly, and through the nose.
Happy practice. The Guru is within you.

Turn around….

I have been giving classes at GOA for nine months now.  Every day is a privilege.  I honestly can’t believe how conducive that room is towards the inner experience of yoga.  The sea beyond, the salty, iodine-rich air, the birdsong…wait…birds?  Where are the birds?  Oh, yes, look at those windows at the back of the room.  What?  They open?  Sliiiiiide.  TA-DAH!  And thus we discovered the hidden treasure of GOA upstairs!  The gardens of the Edificio SKI behind us.  Mature trees, well-kept gardens, fresh shady corners, a shimmering swimming pool.  What more could one ask for, honestly?

Warriors in Warrior Pose
Warriors in Warrior Pose

GOA views
The view to the front.

I call it Krishna tricks.  The idea that you don’t know what you don’t know and that many times what you discover is humorous, tricky.  When I first came across the concept of the Trickster God (and this concept exists in many diverse cultures), it changed my relationship to the Divine.  I had been raised with the idea of the schoolmaster God – judgemental yet forgiving, but somehow always out of reach.  The trickster God likes to remind you of his presence by letting you in on the joke.  Just when you think you know something, you realise that you know nothing at all.  And so you retain the beginner’s mind, a childlike innocence.  Not all is said and done, not all is known, nothing is set in stone, especially not your personality traits or character, whatever you might believe that to be.  Life becomes a lot more fun when you think it’s conspiring to make you laugh…
Krishna played some tricks in the yoga room last week.  He reminded me that what is behind is just as important as what is in front.  He reminded me to open that back window and to look through it.  JSK.

Daily Yoga Classes at GOA, Altea

It’s shaping up to be a busy summer.  Nothing like doing yoga every day.  Since it’s going so well for me over at GOA Altea, Lau and I have decided to collaborate on a a new project:  yoga campus 2017!  Basically, it is a daily yoga class and healthy breakfast deal.

Yoga bliss
Yoga Bliss

We understand that the summertime is for chilling.  But, we also know that there are people out there who know that relaxing is not only about wine and lying in.  Strange is it may sound, we believe that there are people out there who like to awaken early, with a clear head, and care for themselves with exercise, breathing and positive thinking.  How do I know that such people exist?  Because I am one of them!
I know a lot of people who rent houses for holidaymakers in summertime.  Very often, these are three and four-bedroom houses, and the groups that share them are ten, maybe twelve people, children included.  Now, being in a large group for any length of time is tiring.  I have seen time and again the sunburnt, sleepy faces of mums and dads on holiday.  I know that some of those people will relish, absolutely delight in the idea of a quiet hour for themselves in the morning, to stretch and breathe and reconnect with their inner essence. Believe me, yoga changes the prism through which one views the world.  So, set your alarm for 8:30, get on over to GOA by 9:00 any morning in July and August 2017 and come practice yoga.  Don’t bother eating first, yoga is best practised on an empty stomach anyway. Breakfast is served afterwards, with your VIP card, attractive pricing and lots of care and love.
Need more info?  Comment below, like Alteayoga on Facebook, or just mail me on alteayoga – at – gmail – dot – com.
Namaste and a great big Om.

Bring calm into your nervous system via breathing

Here is a short video that deals with the relationship between the breath and the emotions.  In a study, scientists discovered that when emotions are elicited in trial participants, their breathing pattern changes.  But the interesting thing is that the opposite thing also happens:  When breathing patterns are altered, the corresponding emotion is elicited.  Let’s allow Emma Seppälä to explain it:
Breathe Better: How to Improve Your Mind, Attention, and Memory
In the video, she demonstrates the yogic breathing technique known variously as Nadi shodhana or anuloma-viloma.  Alternate nostril breathing works just fine, too.


David Frawley of the American Institute of Vedic Studies is, in my opinion, one of the most erudite and informed yoga pundits on the scene today.  I shall share with you a link to his writings on pratyahara, the fifth limb of Astanga yoga.  If you have been practising with me this winter, you will know that pratyahara has figured in my teachings.  I hope that this article enlightens you on its philosophical underpinnings.  Om shantih shantih shantih.
Pratyahara:  Yoga’s Forgotten Limb