Three benefits of practicing Acroyoga

Two strong young women demonstrating an acrobatic yoga pose in a yoga studio
Two strong young women demonstrating an acrobatic yoga pose in a yoga studio

This particular discipline of yoga combines traditional yoga poses and flows with basic acrobatic skills to enhance strength and core training. Among the many variations of yoga available today, acroyoga stands out from the rest because it’s a focused and fun way in which you can enhance flexibility, mobility and core strength without having to give in to repetitive sequences and inconsistent levels of workout intensity.

The three primary roles in acroyoga are the base, the flyer and the spotter. The base is the person that lies on the ground to offer the flyer maximum stability and support, the flyer is the individual that is elevated from the ground by the base and moves into a series of movements and positions, and the spotter mainly observes and make suggestions to ensure the flyer lands safely. Besides making more friends, here are three other reasons why you should give acroyoga a try.

Develop core strength

Whether you are a base or a flyer, most of the core activation that is required of you falls in the category of stabilization. In order to hold many acroyoga poses or move through many acroyoga combinations it is necessary to move fluidly from one “tight” stabilized core neutral position to the next. So essentially your spine moves naturally and unloaded through flexion, extension, rotation, and lateral flexion to get to the next stable position with a neutral spine. Think fluid movements to planks in different position with a partner added in the mix.

Calisthenic conditioning

When practicing acroyoga, you’re with a partner, so the focus doesn’t lie solely on just your own body weight but also on the other person’s as well. If you are the base, you must create a strong platform for your partner to move on, for the flyer you must balance and press up from the base without overwhelming the base. Think calisthenics since you’d be holding people up and doing body weight exercises in the process.

It’s all about bench, overhead and leg pressing for the base with an added bonus of carrying a human being with a moving center of gravity. From the flyer’s perspective, think handstands, planches, and planks from various angles – regardless, acroyoga comes with a strength conditioning component that can’t be ignored.

Kinesthetic awareness

One of the hardest aspects of acroyoga is people not knowing where their body is in space. This requires a great deal of emphasis on executing the proper technique – without it, you can end up hurting not only yourself but your partner as well. To prevent injury, you must learn to examine joint alignment, body shape and position. Like weight lifting you won’t be able to achieve optimum results with being in the optimal position. By practicing acroyoga you’d experience what it feels like when joints are properly aligned to evenly distribute weight.

If your current yoga routines aren’t really doing much besides enhancing overall flexibility, you should give acroyoga a try. Not only do you get to defy gravity, core muscles are enhanced, condition overall strength with the calisthenics and become more aware of joint alignment and body position. For further information, take the leap and give us a call, we are more than happy to answer acroyoga-related questions you have.

Published with permission from FitnessAdvisory. Source.

How yoga can benefit Alzheimer’s

2016Feb22_Yoga_ANerve Growth Factor (NGF) is a key protein that helps diminish neural degradation. People with Alzheimer’s, however, are found to have significantly lower NGF levels causing them to be more vulnerable to the disease. Breakthrough research has revealed that NGF levels can be increased by introducing yoga into your fitness routines. Here are two easy exercises you can practice as a preventative measure.

What is Alzheimer’s?

Alzheimer’s is a condition that normally occurs in older adults. Symptoms include gradual memory loss, confusion and eventually death. Currently there are 3.2 million women in the US with Alzheimer’s. Actually women have a 1 in 6 chance of developing the condition compared with men who have a 1 in 11 chance. As of today, there is no known cure for the disease, but there are measures you can take to help prevent it.

Inhale, exhale

Research reveals that yoga breathing exercises help boost NGF levels, according to a 2015 study published by the Journal of International Psychogeriatrics Association. This conclusion is supported by an experiment conducted during the study.

Twenty volunteers were divided into two groups: one taught a yoga breathing program and the other was asked to read quietly for 20 minutes. The breathing program consisted of 10 minutes of Om chanting and 10 minutes of yoga breathing regulation after which volunteers’ NGF levels were tested. The results revealed that the yoga group displayed a 60 percent increase in NGF levels compared to readers.

Dr. Sundara Balasubramanian, study researcher, biochemist and research assistant at the Medical University of South California, said, “Being a systemic exercise, yogic breathing could be a powerful tool in preventing and/or managing neurodegenerative diseases.”

The power of chair yoga

As the name suggests, the exercise routine is conducted on a chair that takes up little space. The 2014 study published in Research in Gerontology Nursing claimed that chair yoga helps improve balance and quality of life of Alzheimer’s patients. The conclusion was put to the test when the chair yoga program was administered to nine patients for eight weeks, where two sessions were held weekly.

The 50-minute session comprised of 10 minutes of breathing exercises, 20 minutes of chair yoga postures, 5 minutes of balance-enhancing postures and 10 minutes of relaxation and meditation. Researchers noted that participants had significantly improved balance and also showed improvements in walking and gait speed. Positive changes in physical measure brought about a positive turn neurally as well. This created a more positive mindset, especially since they were capable of moving and doing more, the patient’s initial focus was partially shifted from the disease itself.

Want to find out more on how yoga can prevent Alzheimer’s? Want to sign up for a class? Call us today. More information awaits.

Published with permission from FitnessAdvisory. Source.

Kick-start your morning with yoga

Yoga_4Jan_ALet’s face it, most of us prefer the extra time in bed to getting up and hitting the mat for an early morning yoga session. But believe it or not, there’s nothing better than an energizing morning yoga practice to calm your mind and set yourself up for an amazing and productive day. So don’t think of it as torture – give it a go and, who knows, it might just become your next favorite thing! Here’s how yoga can give your morning a fresh start.

It encourages better sleep habits

Deciding to practice yoga first thing in the morning is like making a promise and commitment to yourself. You will be more likely to prioritize your bedtime and think twice before trying to burn the midnight oil. What’s more, once you make morning yoga practice a habit, your body becomes accustomed to waking up at the same time each day, which means you will wake up feeling fully refreshed and energized.

It calms your mind throughout the day

Practicing yoga early in the morning will steady your mind for the whole day, allowing you to stay calm even in the most hectic moments and be prepared for anything that comes your way, whether it’s a traffic jam, heavy workload, or a heated discussion with your colleague.

It boosts your metabolism

Yoga helps improve your digestion, facilitate the movement of nutrients through your body, and speeds up your metabolic rate. Once your body has a sufficient amount of nutrients circulating through, it will metabolize carbs and fat faster, meaning you can actually eat more food and burn calories quicker.

Check out these morning yoga poses that you can complete in as little as 10 minutes:

  • Balasana (Child’s Pose) – Start by kneeling down and bending forward to bring your chest to your thighs and your forehead to the floor. Then stretch your arms over your head and place your palms on the floor. Sit back down on your heels without changing the position of your arms. You’ll feel a sudden stretch in your spine and torso. Focus on taking a deep breath and exhaling to release the tension. The goal of this pose is to have your forehead touching the ground while your buttocks remain in contact with your heels.
  • Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog) – The Downward Facing Dog pose involves your whole body, especially your shoulders and hamstrings. Begin by sitting on all fours with your knees underneath your hips and your hands directly underneath your shoulders. Press the palms firmly on the mat and slowly lift your knees away from the floor, lengthen your spine backwards and lift your tailbone up as you straighten your legs. Hold the position for about 30 seconds to one minute to experience an energizing sensation throughout your whole body.
  • Anjaneyasana (Low Lunge) – This posture is a great way to open the front parts of your body, including your chest, hip flexors, and quadriceps. You can start by doing the Downward Facing Dog pose. From there, exhale and put your right foot forward between your hands. Then lower your left knee to the floor and, keeping the right knee fixed in its position, slide your left leg back until you feel a comfortable stretch in the left front thigh and groin. Now lift your torso up and sweep your arms out to your sides and raise them up overhead.

Whether you’ve got time for only one pose or all three, practicing yoga in the morning will definitely help you feel more resilient and refreshed as you start your day. If you want to give yoga a try, get in touch with our expert instructors today.

Published with permission from FitnessAdvisory. Source.

Overcoming your yoga excuses

young beautiful woman sitting in lotus positionPracticing yoga on a regular basis helps improve your concentration, relieve stress, and increase your sense of wellbeing. But sometimes your hectic life and busy schedule can really get in the way of your yoga practice. We all have excuses for skipping a class, but sometimes it’s more important to exert self-discipline and stick to the plan rather than abandon it completely. Are you constantly making these common excuses to avoid yoga? Read on and find out how you can overcome them.

I’m too busy

This is perhaps the most widely used excuse for missing a yoga class. You might say you’re too busy to drop by your nearest studio, but guess what? Everyone is busy these days! There are many yogis out there who can carve out time for a daily one-hour practice, and they must be doing something you’re missing. We all have 24 hours in a day – it’s just a matter of prioritizing and making small tweaks to your daily routine to squeeze in yoga practice.

I’m not flexible enough

If you’re intimidated by the extreme flexibility and bendiness of the yogi on that magazine cover, or how easily your fellow classmates can bend over and reach their ankles with their hands, here’s some consolation: it takes time and consistent yoga practice to create and maintain flexibility. You might not be able to twist your body into some of the more complex and demanding poses on your first attempt but, with more practice and patience, your flexibility will definitely improve over time.

I’m overweight

You can’t afford to let this excuse stop you from trying out yoga. Many classes for beginners have no prerequisites, meaning your bulky body shape won’t be a problem. In fact, low-impact exercises like yoga may be more comfortable for overweight people than other types of workouts like running or weight training. What’s more, professional yoga instructors can provide modifications for all fitness levels and various types of bodies in a class, so even plus-size yogis can ease into poses quite comfortably.

I’m too old

It’s never too late to start practicing yoga, regardless of the stage of life you’re in. Although certain postures like handstands can be more difficult for older adults as a result of less flexible joints, the challenge of balancing, and other health concerns, many other poses are not physically demanding at all. There are special classes designed for people in their forties and beyond, where poses are modified and the pace is a lot slower than in other classes. Don’t let your age become an issue!

I don’t know what to do

Are you worried that your inexperience will be a burden and slow the whole class down? Don’t be. The truth is that not everyone really knows what they’re doing in a yoga class, even if they’ve been attending for weeks or months. And even if you’re in a class full of experienced yogis, there’s no reason to feel intimidated. Yoga instructors are accustomed to having new faces in the class, and they can help guide you into sitting, standing, and moving so that your body can find balance and you can achieve the perfect alignment.

Don’t let these excuses hold you back from practice! If you want to learn more about yoga, get in touch with our expert instructors today.

Published with permission from FitnessAdvisory. Source.

5 things you should never do at a yoga class

Yoga_Sep7_AYou’ve probably heard all about the benefits of yoga. As a workout, it’s incredible for increasing your flexibility, toning your muscles, and relieving stress. And September is National Yoga Month, so if you haven’t practiced yoga before, there’s no better time to summon the courage and give it a try! Of course, If you’re fairly new to yoga, then you might feel intimidated at the idea of joining your first class. No one likes to look foolish by doing something wrong. So get started by reading these five things that you should never do in a yoga class.

Entering class late

Entering the studio while a class is still in session is disruptive to both your instructor and fellow practitioners. What’s more, your instructor will likely plan classes very specifically, so turning up late and jumping straight into the practice won’t be good for your body. You should be punctual, or even arrive 10 minutes early to allow time to settle in before class, practice a pose, do some stretches, or just simply sit quietly and reflect.

Bringing your mobile devices

Most of us are dependent on our smartphones to keep our lives and work running smoothly. But yoga is a time of relaxation and self-exploration. Simply put, it is a time that you don’t need to use any electronics. Constantly checking notifications, texting, or answering calls will only distract you, as well as others around you, from the practice. So it’s best to leave your phone in the locker room, or at least keep it on silent if you must have it by your side.

Chatting with the person next to you

Making friends with your yoga neighbors before and after a session is part of the group class experience, but you should stay silent when class commences. Many yogis relish the practice as a time to turn inward and connect to their own bodies, so don’t be offended if no-one talks to you. People around you need to focus on performing challenging poses, and you should be doing the same.

Invading other people’s space

Be aware of where you’re placing your mat, so you don’t position yourself right in front of, or too close to, someone else. Don’t fuss and move around too much when the class starts, either. Space can be really tight in some yoga classes, so try to avoid collisions with other people, and leave plenty of room to stretch your arms and legs.

Rushing out of class

Instead of going straight to the dressing room and leaving the studio quickly, take some time afterwards to think about what you did in class, so you can retain what you’ve experienced and learned. Take a closer look at the poses you practiced, and note any useful tips and instructions from your instructor. Reviewing each of your sessions can help deepen your own personal practice and sharpen your skills as a yogi.

After a class, you’ll feel a great sense of peace, relaxation, and inspiration. If you want to give yoga a try, get in touch with our expert instructors today.

Published with permission from FitnessAdvisory. Source.

Three ways to do yoga at your desk

Yoga_Aug17_AIt can be difficult to fit regular yoga practice into a busy, work-dominated lifestyle – we get it. Like most of us, you spend most of your waking hours sat at your office desk, and by the end of the day you simply lack the energy or motivation to get to the studio and start on your yoga poses. But the sedentary office lifestyle can take its toll on your body, making it even more important to build in exercises that give you the stretches you need. Here are three yoga poses you can do even while you’re sat at your desk – so now there’s no excuse.

Seated Twist

The spine and lower back feels much of the pressure of our days spent sat in one position, and this pose helps you to release the tension in an easy-to-achieve way. Sat forward in your office chair with both feet flat, put your right hand on your left knee and slowly twist towards the chair by placing your left hand on the back of the seat. Hold the pose briefly before releasing, then repeat the same in the opposite direction.

Hamstring Stretch

As well as your lower back, your legs feel the effects of remaining still for too long while you work. It’s important to get up and give them regular exercise during the day, but you can also give them a quick stretch with this pose. Position yourself right back in your chair and raise one leg until it is parallel to floor, then run one hand as far along the shin as you can comfortably go. Hold for a second, return carefully to your normal position and then repeat with the other leg.

Shoulder Stretch

The neck and shoulders can easily tense up from too much time spent hunched over your computer while typing. To relieve the pressure, lock your fingers together while sat upright, and then stretch your entwined hands right above your head and facing upwards, with your palms out. After a few seconds, rest your hands on the back of your neck while keeping them locked, then raise them skyward once more. Unlink your fingers while keeping your arms in the air for a few more moments, then slowly lower your hands to your sides.

With moves like these, it really can be easy to squeeze a gentle yoga practice into your workday and reduce the negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle. To find out more about how yoga can help you remain fit and healthy, give us a call.

Published with permission from FitnessAdvisory. Source.

The benefits of Vinyasa yoga

164_Yoga_AWhether you’re on your 100th class or have recently been considering giving yoga a try, you’ve probably heard of one of its more popular forms: Vinyasa. As with yoga in general and other types of exercise, there are of course benefits. But are you aware of the specific ones Vinyasa has to offer? Here’s how this unique style of yoga can benefit practitioners of all levels, but first…what exactly is Vinyasa yoga?

Vinyasa is a series of yoga poses that links breath with movement. In a typical session, the inhale and exhale of your breath synchronizes with your movement as poses smoothly flow from one to the next. This is why classes are often called Flow.

Here are a few of the benefits to practicing this popular type of yoga:

Tone your muscles – when you practice Vinyasa yoga, you’re essentially strength training. And with movements such as arm balance poses, backbends and inversions, this practice can help you build lean muscle that can give you that fit and toned look you’re after. Best of all, the range of poses performed in Vinyasa gives you a total body workout, exercising everything from your calves to your shoulders.

Feel looser and more relaxed – like other types of yoga, Vinyasa helps build flexibility. In addition to strengthening your muscles, you’ll also be stretching and elongating them. This gives you greater mobility, gets rid of muscle tightness and loosens your body up.

Increased flexibility also takes stress off your ligaments, tendons and joints, which will help prevent injuries.

Reduce stress – like many other types of yoga, Vinyasa also increases your mindfulness and focus, which over time can help you reduce stress. As you pay attention to your breath and body while smoothly transitioning through the poses, you withdraw attention from the daily stresses that may have been running through your mind. This allows you to bring your focus into the present, which produces a calming effect on your central nervous system.

Improve general health – In addition to what’s already been mentioned above, there are a number of medical and physiological benefits that Vinyasa offers. It can help reduce the risk of stroke, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure.

By calming your mind, it can help you get a better night’s sleep, ease anxiety and improve your general disposition. And in case you forgot that Vinyasa is still an exercise, it can also help you lose weight.

Want to learn more about Vinyasa and other type of yoga? Interested in signing up for a class? Call us today, and talk with one of our yoga instructors.

Published with permission from FitnessAdvisory. Source.

How to enjoy yoga again

Yoga_Jun23_AYou’ve just got home after what seemed to be a long day at work. You then head out to a local studio to join a yoga class. After putting on your yoga gear, you roll out the mat and stare blankly into space, and find yourself thinking: what am I doing here? After practicing yoga for some time, all the motivation and enthusiasm has left you, and your mind seems to be somewhere else while your body is still in the studio. If yoga is becoming less than enjoyable, take a look at these reasons why yoga might not be working for you, and what you can do about it.

Be flexible with timing

Sometimes life can really get in the way of your classes. You’ve probably convinced yourself that nothing will be able to keep you from attending that 90-minute weekday class in the evening. But more often than not, somehow something always comes up and brings you up short. If you have a hectic work life and busy schedule, aim to keep things simple. Try shortening your yoga sessions and see how it goes. It’s better to stick with a short routine first, then take things from there.

Choose the right yoga style

Yoga has become so popular these days that there are a variety of classes offered for practitioners of all levels. While all styles of yoga are designed to help you improve your strength, flexibility, and balance, choosing the wrong one could lead to a frustrating experience. If you feel the need to move around and do something active, joining a Hatha yoga class where people perform basic poses might feel awkward and unfulfilling. The key is to find a class that you enjoy doing, so if you feel like you’re in a rut, try a number of different styles until you find the yoga practice you feel most comfortable with. That way you’ll have a better chance of sticking with it.

Listen to your body

Yoga is about cleansing, strengthening, and releasing tension – it’s not about injuring yourself so you can keep up with the class. Learn to listen to your body and respect its physical limitations. If you feel pain when you’re performing certain moves, take that as a sign to stop. There is always a modification that can be made to accommodate your body. But don’t take things too easy – strive to find the “edge” where the intensity of the posture challenges you, but doesn’t cause you extreme pain or discomfort.

Don’t give up on yoga until you’ve tried your best to keep up your practice. If you want to learn how yoga can improve your health and wellbeing, get in touch with our yoga fitness experts today and see how we can help.

Published with permission from FitnessAdvisory. Source.

Finding the best yoga style for you

Yoga_June1_AYoga is becoming more and more popular among people who adopt healthy lifestyles. Some of the increasing popularity has to do with its reputation for being a great exercise that helps relieve stress. Finding a class used to be simple – your choices were limited because there weren’t as many people who were interested in taking up yoga. But as the number of yoga practitioners increases, so does the variety of classes and styles. The question is, how do you know which type of yoga is best for you? Here are some of the most popular yoga styles to consider.


If you’re a complete novice in yoga practice, then this is the perfect fit. Hatha’s poses are straightforward and casual. You perform a pose, come out of it, then do another – it’s as simple as that. Props and blocks are used to support your poses and to help you get the right alignment. You can grasp all the yoga basics here, whether it’s how to focus on breathing, relaxation or meditation. Hatha is essentially a gentle yoga routine that’s attainable for those who are just beginning to walk the yoga world’s long and winding road.


Looking for a challenge? Then you should give Ashtanga a try. This vigorous yoga style is ideal for athletes, since it focuses on moving from one pose to the next without rest. Ashtanga aims to generate heat in your body by performing a series of poses that become increasingly challenging as the class progresses. You can also practice Ashtanga for weight loss, since an hour of practice burns around 500 calories.


Derived from the calm half of “yin and yang” Chinese philosophy, this style requires you to move slowly into passive floor poses, which mainly work the lower part of the body, and stay there for up to five minutes to allow for a deeper stretch and greater relaxation. Yin yoga is particularly beneficial if you want to relieve pain and stress, as you’ll be practicing with meditative music and paying extra attention to breathing. If you’re exhausted or overstimulated, then Yin yoga is a perfect match for you.


Iyengar style helps your body recover from injury. Instructors are trained in biomechanics, and so have the expertise to understand which positions are most likely to cause injuries, and how to modify them by showing modification moves and using blocks and props to alleviate the intensity of the poses. Intervals between moves are longer, allowing you to perfect your position and avoid putting too much strain on the body.


Commonly referred to as hot yoga, Bikram is performed in a room heated to approximately 40 degrees celsius. Bikram helps rid your body of toxins – you’ll start sweating almost instantly, flushing out impurities through the skin. A traditional Bikram class focuses on repeating the same 26-pose routine in order to enhance your meditation. Practicing in a heated environment also elevates your heart rate, which makes the body work harder and in turn helps to develop strength and flexibility. Don’t forget to stay well hydrated before and after taking a Bikram yoga class!

Want to take advantage of yoga’s benefits? Unsure of what class to pick? Get in touch today and our experienced yoga instructors will be happy to help.

Published with permission from FitnessAdvisory. Source.

How to perfect your yoga balance

Yoga_May25_ADespite being an athlete who sweats it out nearly every day, you still find yoga difficult to perform. If you’re an avid exerciser, you’ll most likely have tight and firm muscles, which is all fine. However, your muscular body is an obstacle in yoga, since it is less flexible and can give you a hard time balancing on some poses. That’s not to say you should abandon yoga completely – even the most experienced yogis have difficulty in balancing from time to time.

Let’s take a look at a few methods to perfect your balance and avoid toppling over every time you try for a balancing yoga pose.

Don’t lock your standing leg

Some yoga moves require you to balance on one leg while moving the rest of your body. It may seem like a good idea to get your base leg as straight as possible. But when you lock it straight, you’re no longer engaging your muscles – you’re putting bone on bone. The best way to increase balance is to put a tiny bend in your standing leg. Keep engaging your quadriceps, and this will help give you the power to stabilize your balance.

Breathe properly

Attempting a difficult yoga pose can be intense – so much so that it forces you to hold your breath. But breathing actually helps when it comes to balancing, since the quality of your breathing is so intimately related to the state of your nervous system and body. It releases physical tension and relaxes your mind, allowing you to stay calm and focus better when performing yoga poses. So make sure you keep a consistent breathing flow in and out of your nose.

Calm your mind

Yoga aims to unite the mind and body. In order for the balance to be there in a pose, you need to calm your mind. If your mind is distracted by what happened before class, or all the things you have planned for afterwards, it won’t be able to focus on balancing in the moment. Find a nice, quiet spot to meditate for a few minutes before your class in order to restore your mind’s focus. A determined mind gives you a better chance to ease into your yoga practice and maintain your body balance.

Take it slowly

All too often, people rush into poses and then get frustrated when they can’t maintain their balance and end up falling over. There are simple ways to fix this. You should start building balance from the foundation up by moving slowly and mindfully without rushing. Distribute your weight evenly to all your body parts. Spread your toes to give a wider, stronger balance. Whatever you do, don’t rush things! Whether you had too little to sleep or are dehydrated – all these factors add up. Don’t push yourself too hard – simply do your best and move on.

Looking to add yoga to your exercise program? Contact us today and our trainers will be more than happy to help guide you in the right direction.

Published with permission from FitnessAdvisory. Source.