Here’s why to consider shirtless yoga

Yoga_Aug25_ARemoving your shirt during your yoga class, and practicing in your sports bra, might not be something you have ever considered. Many of us have inhibitions about going semi-topless in a sports environment, even in the usually supportive setting of a yoga class. Yet it can be the ideal way to connect with both yourself and the other women at your studio, and to derive a deeper experience from your yoga practice. Here’s why slipping off your shirt, and letting out your true self, might be something you want to consider for your next class.

You’ll feel comfortable in your own skin

It’s easy to spend our lives hiding behind clothes and make-up. But a big part of yoga is about letting our real selves shine, accepting who we are – imperfections included – and loving ourselves. Yes, it might take a leap of faith and a big dose of bravery the first time you pull a pose in just your bra, but taking off your shirt during a yoga session gives you the chance to develop more confidence and feel more comfortable in your own body.

The confidence and warmth you give off will make you appear more attractive and likeable to others, and you’ll also feel a positive vulnerability that puts you in a better place to push beyond your comfort zone as you explore the spiritual side of yoga. What’s more, it’s a chance to feel deep gratitude for the body you have, and to reject the pressures that society places on us to desire physical belongings or to forever seek to change our appearance.

It makes others think about it, too

You’re not the only one who will benefit when you remove your shirt. There’s no doubt you’ll catch the eye of other women in your yoga class, who will likely admire you for having the confidence to just go for it. Some might have considered doing the same but never quite felt able to go through with it, while many others won’t even have thought about it – and might ordinarily say it’s not the sort of thing they would ever do. But by going ahead and demonstrating the benefits of a deep, semi-topless yoga experience, you’ll inspire other yogis to move beyond their comfort zone and feel the sense of liberation too.

It helps you to cool down

Let’s face it, yoga can get hot – if you’re practicing a variety of poses, and especially if you’re doing them to a high level of intensity and in quick succession, you’re likely going to break a sweat. What better way to cool down and let your body regulate its own temperature than by losing the shirt and instead experiencing the full depth of your poses without the constriction of clothing? The benefits of keeping cool mean you’ll be able to practice for longer, too.

Yoga is about discovering and embracing the real you as much as it is about physical exercise and all its undeniable health benefits. If you want to find out more about how yoga can put you on the path to a happier you, just give us a call.

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.

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.