Let yoga influence your daily life

Yoga_Aug10_AYou started practicing yoga in order to achieve more mindfulness and compassion. And while you’re on the yoga mat, that’s what you manage – you project your sense of connectedness with Mother Earth, while perfecting that toned body. But what about when you’re back to your day-to-day life? It’s all well and good being in touch with your inner self when you practice, but to get the most out of yoga you need to take the habits it inspires and put them to use when you’re away from the studio, too. Here’s how to do just that.

Be kind

Yoga emphasizes being compassionate to yourself, respecting your body and generally being the best person you can. But that extends beyond yoga, too – it’s not much use having all those glowing attributes while you’re in your favorite pose, but then being a miserable naysayer as soon as you hit the outside world. Practice being nice in your day-to-day life – smile and say hello to a stranger as you pass in the street; let that old granny have your seat on the subway; let go of negative thoughts, and avoid gossip. It’s easy to be nice when you make a conscious effort, so channel your energy in the same way as you do in yoga.

Slow down

It sometimes feels like the world moves at a million miles an hour, and that inner calmness we feel on the yoga mat can seem like it’s worlds away. But life only keeps up this pace if you let it. If you stop feeding the unrealistic speed with which things happen – and instead prioritize, take your time and enjoy the things you genuinely and comfortably have the time time to do – you’ll project that same calming persona out into the world around you. Remind yourself frequently that there’s no rush, and that you won’t achieve more – or benefit from the experience as much – by being hasty.

Stop wanting

Yoga teaches us to be grateful for what we have, to take in our surroundings and appreciate that there is so much more positivity around us than we see at first glance. But when you’re on your way home or back to the office after class, and are surrounded by billboards convincing you that you need this, and that your life won’t be complete without that, it’s easy to become materialistic – precisely the opposite of how yoga should have you feeling. Take stock of the person you already are and what you’ve achieved – and be content with it. You’ll soon find that you’re happier and more positive in a wider sense, too.


It’s the simplest things that we forget most easily, as we get caught up in our day-to-day schedules. A smile is the best way to transmit your positive vibes to those around you – it’s non-contact communication at its finest. Better still, the mere act of smiling puts you in an instantly better mood yourself (just try it, and you’ll see). Smiles make everyone look more attractive, and we’ve all heard that a smile uses fewer facial muscles than a frown, meaning it’s great for your long-term appearance and wellbeing, too. Just smile – it’s that simple!

Keep these nuggets of wisdom in mind the next time you finish a yoga session, and you’ll make sure the wellbeing benefits continue long after you’ve left the studio. Want to learn more about yoga? Shoot us a grin and we’ll set you on the path to a more positive you.

Published with permission from FitnessAdvisory. Source.

Yoga is a top fitness trend for 2015!

yoga_Jan14_AIt might be as old as the hills, but yoga is still a modern, popular practice that tops the fitness charts year after year, with an increasing number of new recruits realizing the huge benefits of yoga to the body, mind and whole being. According to the respected American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) annual survey, yoga comes in the Top 10 for their Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends for 2015.

A study just a couple of years ago revealed that 20 million Americans practice yoga and that as well as seasoned practitioners the ancient practice attracts beginners too. Over recent times, knowledge about fitness in general has increased and much more is understood about the value of exercise and the human body. This has served the practice well, as today there’s even more understanding about the benefits of yoga.

Holistic exercise for the whole of you

While there is an emphasis on working on specific muscle groups, such as the abs and core muscles, for example, what many love about yoga is that it is a whole body practice that takes a holistic approach to fitness and wellness. Yoga is credited with boosting energy and your immune system, as well as providing cardiovascular benefits and helping improve circulation and detoxification. In other words, yoga gives you a real all-over good-feeling!

Complementary to cardio workouts

Whereas in the past, it was often popular to just sweat it out with some cardio burn classes, nowadays there is a growing fitness style of adding more into the mix. Strength training can actually improve the power of fat burning activities and yoga is a great way to strengthen the whole body, especially when it comes to powerful yoga inversions where the head is below the heart in movements and poses. Flexibility and suppleness also help prevent injuries and support better mobility, which explains why yoga is such a popular practice with athletes as well as part of functional training regimes.

Accessible and progressive

Aside from the mind and body benefits, yoga is also open to beginners or those returning to practice after time away. If you enjoy seeing progression then yoga fulfils that too as poses become more complex and you challenge your body more. You do not already have to be superfit to enjoy and feel the benefits of yoga. In fact, it is amazing how you feel after just one session!

Healthy mind and body

There is much more of a focus on the health not just of the body but also of the mind these days as well. Stress can have a huge impact on all of us and really take its toll on you physically and mentally. Fitness trends today are much more about exercise for a better lifestyle and of how you feel, rather than simply about creating a buff body that looks great. By mentally giving yourself some space and de-stressing the mind and body, you are promoting health and quality of life too, which keeps you motivated to live your life in a healthy and active way.

Yoga is all set to transform bodies, minds and lifestyles in 2015 and if you have yet to explore this thousands of years old fitness practice then this could be the year to try. We are waiting to welcome you so get in touch.

Published with permission from FitnessAdvisory. Source.

Peacock Pose stimulates digestion!

yoga_dec24_AFeeling stuffed and bloated after the festive season is no fun. Constipation, gas and acid reflux are all the hallmarks of a digestive tract that is struggling, whether from lifestyle issues such as lack of activity or simply from overindulgence. It’s little wonder that this time of year you might find yourself groaning on the sofa as your stomach expands uncomfortably. Of course, if you want to give your digestion a healthy boost this New Year then try some yoga poses to help the digestive process instead!

Digestions helps eliminate waste and toxins from your body and in Ayurvedic therapy, this is believed to protect the body against more serious ailments by regulating internal mechanisms. In many ways, your digestions is at the heart of your health. However, many people suffer, often in silence, with irregular bowel movements and discomfort. Problems with digestion can leave you feeling irritable and sluggish, while mentally mind-fog can lead to lack of clarity, headaches and even anxiety.

Yoga helps the digestive process work well so that the body is energised and you feel lighter, cleaner and clearer within, as your breathing, stretches and movements stimulate the systems within your body. Yoga also promotes a healthier lifestyle and more nutritious diet, which inspires balance.

Before you think about flopping on the sofa this holiday, consider keeping your body working well with some good yoga moves that also help digestion too.

Peacock Pose

Believed to be one of the most effective poses to invigorate the digestive system, the Peacock is a powerful movement that really brings strength to the abdomen. With the resistance and pressure created in your abdominal area, there is greater blood flow to the digestive organs. The nervous system is relaxed by this pose and the muscles are stimulated to activate or revitalize the intestinal processes. It is also credited as reducing acidity and creating heat which combats toxins from unhealthy foods. Other benefits the Peacock Pose is believed to bring about include a healthier liver and reduced stress and anxiety, with a general feeling of rejuvenation throughout the abdomen.

The Peacock Pose is not the easiest movements to try and it is always best for beginners to try this pose under the guidance of an experienced, qualified yoga teacher. Here is a step-by-step guide to how to achieve this dynamic and incredible yoga pose:

  1. Start on all fours, with your hands facing inwards so that your fingers point towards your knees. Your elbows will be slightly bent but make sure they don’t bow or that your hands don’t splay out to the side. Your feet should be pointing straight back too.
  2. Bring your elbows in so that they touch your torso so that there is a tucked-in feeling where you are effectively leaning your upper body on your elbows. Meanwhile, tuck your toes in so that they touch the mat. Your stomach area needs to be strong and your head can drop down toward your mat.
  3. Straighten the legs and then shift the weight over your elbows and your arms. Use your lower body to get into position so that your feet and legs are no longer resting on your mat but strong, straight and suspended. You should not have to push off the ground but rather shift your body so that your feet naturally rise up.
  4. Bring the head up to look forward, keeping your body parallel to your mat and steady with strong arms and hands. If you struggle to keep in position then you might want to try a block under your forehead or your ankles.
  5. Stay in position before releasing your legs and letting your head rest down on your mat.

Keeping healthy into 2015 is not just about looking buff but looking after the amazing physical processes your body is involved in to keep you in great condition. Join forces with us and get in touch for a New Year program.

Published with permission from FitnessAdvisory. Source.

How to do a shoulder stand

yoga_Dec17_AThe shoulder stand is really an iconic pose in yoga; it not only looks dramatic but the benefits practitioners purport this pose brings are many and varied too. Anyone who is serious about really understanding and experience the real power of yoga can really find that sense of integration through the shoulder stand pose; one of the most wonderfully satisfying yoga inversions.

While we looked at how challenging some inversions can be in yoga, where the head is lower than the heart, the shoulder stand can look more daunting that it actually is. However, you do have to take care with this pose and it is best to try this with a trained yoga practitioner. Women who are pregnant or have their menstruation should avoid this pose, as well as anyone with an underlying health issue such as high blood pressure or neck problems. Check first.

How to do a shoulder stand

To get in the right position, you can follow these steps:

  • Start lying flat on your mat.
  • With the legs together and keeping your arms and palms flat on your mat, bring the legs up and over your head into the Plow Pose as you inhale.
  • Your head, neck and shoulders should be on the mat, along with your arms. Your toes should be touching the mat behind you, with your legs straight.
  • Be careful not to jolt into this position or swing into it too intensely. Instead, let the spine gently bend and bring up your hips to give some momentum.
  • Next, bend your arms, placing your palms on your waist at the back. Your elbows should be pointing out slightly and not overly wide or too tucked in. Your hands should fit snugly and comfortably in this position.
  • The next step is really the tricky part. Keeping your arms strong, bring your legs up so they are straight up. It is best if you bring one up at a time, rather than both together. Don’t bend them and keep the toes pointed upwards. It is easy here to lose your balance.
  • Remember, you are using your hands to support your back and to benefit from the pose you want to lengthen and stretch the body, so tuck your pelvis in and straighten the line from the mat upwards but do not tighten up the glutes. Keep the neck still and move the chest to the neck and not vice versa.
  • To add more support you can place a folded blanket between your shoulders, but your head and neck should not be on this.

If you find this pose too challenging then you can vary it with a Half Shoulder Stand, where you begin lying down with bent legs. Bring the legs into your chest and then extend upwards. As you do so, place your hands on your lower back and lift lower body off the ground so that a 45 degree angle or more is created by your hips. You will find less balance issues in this pose.

Make sure you come out of either pose slowly, lowering your hips in a smooth movement, bending the legs down and finally bringing them down to your mat to rest.

Learn some powerful yoga poses with us. If you are not already benefiting from yoga then get in touch and start a new journey for the body and the mind today.

Published with permission from FitnessAdvisory. Source.

Put your feet up!

yoga_Dec11_AAfter a hard day running around, or even a time spent in a sedentary job, which can be just as tiring, you might want to put your feet up and get the blood flowing. But before you slump in front of the TV relaxing on the sofa, why not ease the tension in your legs with a couple of yoga poses that will really refresh and revitalize your lower body?

Have you ever noticed that if you are experiencing stress and tiredness in one part of the body then you can often feel it radiate out to the rest of your body? Often, we feel pressure in our legs because we are constantly pounding down on them as we walk and when we exercise. Even sitting, especially if your position is not great, can leave you with heavy legs where you feel the need to get the circulation going properly again.

Yoga has many powerful strengthening poses but also encourages full bodily relaxation and restoration too. The holistic approach leaves the whole body feeling good by undoing tension and easing physical and mental stresses.

We’ve already looked at the benefits of resting your legs up against the wall and just how restorative and calming this can be. There are other poses that also give your legs a break.

Happy Baby Pose

There is a simplicity and fun sense of relaxation with the Happy Baby Pose and it is a great pose for beginners too. Here’s how to do it:

  • Lie on your back and bring your knees up to your belly as you exhale.
  • Grab your feet with both hands on the outer edge as you inhale.
  • Let the knees open out slightly, but not too wide. Bring the knees up toward the armpits as they widen. Feel comfortable in this position first before moving to the next stage.
  • With your hands still gripping your feet, bring your lower legs up. Your ankles should be raised and over your knees. As you push your feet up, feel the resistance against your hands.
  • Whilst not complex, if you find it difficult to keep hold of your feet then use a yoga belt to wrap across the soles of the feet, so you don’t have to reach so far, and pull on the belt when you are in position to create resistance.

V Pose

The V Pose is not the easiest pose to get into at first, so don’t worry if you find yourself wobbling to get into position. However, it can be a great way to stretch the whole legs and really wake up and relax your limbs at the same time. But it can be done, here’s how:

  • Sit down with the soles of your feet on your mat and your knees bent. With your hands on your mat by your hips, lean back a little, raise the feet up and extend the legs so that they are raised off the mat.
  • With your legs still not touching the mat, bend your knees in toward your body, before reaching between your legs and gripping each big toe with your fingers. Loop the fingers round each toe so that you can hold on more easily.
  • Focus on your back by straightening the spine and lifting your upper body so that it moves closer toward your legs. You should have a feeling of being pulled up as you balance on your seat area only.
  • Straighten the legs so that your body creates a V shape. Take your time with this, ensuring that when you move the legs out that the back is straight and there is no sagging in the upper body area. Focus on lengthening your torso so that you don’t feel hunched up and you can really stretch into position.
  • Once you are fully extended, hold the pose before relaxing on an exhale as you bring the knees in first to instantly relax the resistance.
  • It is vital in this pose that your back is straight and less important that your legs are straight. In other words, straight legs and a curved spine mean you’re not doing it properly.
  • Make sure the shoulders are relaxed as they tend to hunch too during this pose, and add a blanket behind your lower back to offer that little extra support.

Next week, we look at how to do a shoulder stand and the benefits it can bring. To improve or begin your yoga journey, get in touch with us first.

Published with permission from FitnessAdvisory. Source.

Yoga breathing!

yoga_Nov12_ABreathing techniques are a crucial part of yoga practice to inspire and promote wellbeing and to control what is known as Prana, our body’s vital life energy. Controlling the breath and using it to work with yoga movements and poses, is regarded as a way of bringing more oxygen to the blood and to the brain, stimulating wellness and creating a sense of balance in your practice.

What is wrong with the way we breathe?

Breathing in yoga is used to work with each movement but also to bring about benefits in itself. Today’s stressful lifestyles of and sedentary working days, can leave the body out-of-sync and this includes our breathing. Pressures can lead to faster, shallow breaths, where the full lung capacity is simply not being used.

Mouth breathing and breathing from the chest, does not bring in the same level of oxygen and we may even hold our breath during times of anxiety of even concentration. The way many of us live leads to a tightening of muscles and this includes the thorax and the neck and upper body muscles, which can restrict deep breathing.

What are the benefits of breathing in yoga?

Essentially, yoga breathing is aimed at promoting a better flow of oxygen and a more powerful flow of Prana, which leaves us feeling energized and full of vitality. Getting into poses, holding challenging positions, such as inversions and focusing on the flow of movements in yoga, are all greatly aided by quality breathing techniques, that are deep and controlled. Other benefits include:

  • Better balance of oxygen inhalation and carbon dioxide exhalation.
  • Greater connection of the body and mind through controlled, focused breathing.
  • Relaxed body and mind as slower, deeper breaths create a meditative feeling.
  • Better focus and a sense of inner peace and calm.
  • Increased lung capacity and training for the body to breath correctly.
  • Discipline for the mind and body.
  • Combats stress.
  • Reduces toxins in the body, helping the circulation.
  • Good for digestive processes.
  • Purifies the blood and rejuvenates the skin.
  • Enhances ability to deal with emotions.
  • Enhances immune system.

How to breathe with Yoga

It is important that you breathe through your nose with yoga and that you use your diaphragm rather than shallow breathing. Breathing can be part of meditation, to help you move, and is also a part of yoga training itself. I you are unsure how to breathe correctly for yoga then follow this simple exercise:

  • Sit upright with your legs crossed or the soles of your feet touching and your knees relaxed. Keep your back straight and your hands resting on your knees.
  • Close your eyes or softly focus them in the mid-distance.
  • Breath in through your nose slowly, holding the breath for a second or two.
  • Exhale through the nose, making sure the breath is slow and steady; controlled.
  • Focus your mind on your breath and each time the mind wanders bring your attention back to your breathing.
  • As you inhale, feel your diaphragm move up and your abdomen expand, lowering and deflating as you exhale.
  • Let your thoughts come and go as you concentrate solely on deep breaths. You can imagine a bright light being drawn in if it helps.
  • Feel grounded, safe and relaxed.

Yoga is a fitness system for your whole being rather than simply exercises for the body alone. Take advantage of yoga benefits by getting involved in our yoga sessions.

Published with permission from FitnessAdvisory. Source.