Is it a bad idea to play music in a yoga class?

2016Mar28_Yoga_ANowadays, we listen to music wherever we are. We listen to it while we’re in the train, while we’re in a restaurant, while we’re working out and even while we’re walking around town. But should we be playing it during our yoga sessions? Since yoga is a meditative practice that involves movement, it can seem ineffective to listen to any sort of music while doing some much needed self-reflection. Here are the common reasons why people think it’s a bad idea to bring music in a yoga class.

Silence is required in yoga

In a class where silence is needed to achieve a ‘higher state of being’, blasting loud music during a yoga session can be counterproductive. Yoga is about concentration and calming the mind but erratic music tends to distract you from keeping this goal. Playing an album with varied rhythms and volumes makes it more difficult to focus on your breathing and poses. As soon as you’ve adapted your breathing to one song, another one immediately takes you out of sync when a song with a completely different tempo begins to play. This means maintaining your poses becomes a lot harder.

Music is emotionally suggestive

Studies show that music switches on different parts of your brain which elicit an emotional response from the listener. These responses can be apparent in roaring and aggressive rock and pop songs. So instead of trying to achieve inner piece, you’re off thinking about punching someone in the face while doing a downward facing dog.

Loud music and yoga just don’t mix

Equally, exposure to loud music can suggest your body to respond by pumping adrenaline and cortisol into your bloodstream. These are hormones secreted when your body is experiencing certain levels of stress to help your respiration and give you more energy. While this is usually good for more intensive exercise, it can seem out of place in a yoga environment and even make you feel quite uncomfortable while meditating. It’s also incredibly difficult to hear your teacher’s instructions while the music is just booming throughout the studio. Remember, the session should be used to help you reflect on yourself and not about the new Kanye West album.


While these common ideas are being held by many yoga practitioners there are some that are open to the idea of having some music guide their meditation. Music in yoga supporters, believe that both music and yoga on their own provide therapeutic benefits for their mental and emotional state. So it only makes sense for them to combine these two types of treatment together to create an even better experience.

At the end of the day, meditation in yoga is not just about simply sitting still on a pose in silence. Yoga is about finding stability in your mind and if some music can inspire you to do this then what’s the harm? If the music supports and enhances your meditative experience then by all means use it in your sessions. There is no one way to practice yoga.

If you want to know more about the latest in yoga trends, give us a call.

Published with permission from FitnessAdvisory. Source.

How to yoga yourself to a younger you

Yoga_Feb16_AMost of us wish we could stop, reverse or simply slow down the body’s natural aging process. And while the first two options might be difficult or even downright impossible, reducing the speed at which those wrinkles begin to appear is within our reach – and one way to achieve it is through regular yoga practice. Those stretches, combined with meditation and breathing exercises, can do wonders for both your physical and mental health. Read on to find out how to put yoga to use in maintaining your youthful glow.

Turn things upside down

One of the best ways to turn aging on its head is to do just that – literally turning yourself upside down. Poses like headstands and shoulder stands bring you into a position where your head is lower than your heart. This in turn reverses the flow of blood around the body and the pull of gravity against you. There can be positive effects for your cardiovascular and nervous systems, but the impact goes beyond physical health – your mental wellbeing can benefit from yoga inversions too, including helping to combat stress and anxiety.

Think yourself younger

As well as the positive effects of yoga on your physical health, practicing meditation can help you keep your mind young and active, enhancing your mental wellbeing. Whether you choose to go all out with a full-on meditation practice each day, or only have the time for a few moments of quiet, eyes-closed contemplation at your desk, it can increase blood flow to the brain, help improve your memory and attention span and even beat stress.

Deep breaths

Even if you don’t have the time or discipline to get into regular yoga or meditation practice, a few deep breaths can go a long way to keeping you young and healthy. Of course, the beauty of breathing is that you can do it anywhere – in fact, you don’t have a lot of choice about whether you do it or not, so you might as well put it to some added use. Oxygenation of your body’s cells, regulation of the heart rate and calming of the nervous system are all beneficial side effects of some slow, focused breaths. Breathing exercises can be even more effective when combined with yoga and meditation; deepening and enhancing your practice while giving you a sense of calmness and serenity.

It’s easy to build yoga, meditation and breathing practice into your efforts to keep your body and mind looking and feeling young and energetic – get in touch with us if you’d like to find out more.

Published with permission from FitnessAdvisory. Source.

5 yoga trends to look out for in 2015

Yoga_Jan30_AA new year is the perfect opportunity to try new things – including in the exercise sphere. Whether you already practise yoga but are looking for something new and different to spice it up, or you need a change to your routine and fancy something a bit different from running and lifting weights, trying out yoga with a twist could be just what your health and fitness regime needs. Take a look at these five yoga trends that are on the up as we enter 2015.

Live music yoga

Exercise should be fun, right? Though the appeal of peaceful stretches and meditative breathing exercises may have been what attracted you to yoga in the first place, there’s no harm in mixing things up. That’s just what live music yoga does – think your usual practice with a burst of hip hop, or even just a modern twist on traditional Sanskrit mantras. By changing things around and treating your yoga session almost as though it were a fun night out with your friends, rather than ‘just’ yoga or merely another fitness session, you’ll keep yourself interested and looking forward to each class even more than you already do.

Leading the pack with this trend in 2014 was Wanderlust 108, a ‘mindful triathlon’ in New York. The race itself was followed by yoga and meditation, both accompanied by live music – and this year we can expect live music yoga to crop up in even more studios. It is recognized as helping set the mood for your stretches and keep the pace during your workout while ensuring you achieve a deeper spiritual experience.

Yoga for kids

Who said yoga was only for adults? Children can make great junior yogis, and derive real benefit from regular practice, it is even said to boost academic performance. The basic principle that yoga is for everyone, and that not one of us isn’t good enough to give it a try, is as important for children as it is for their parents. Yoga can be a real confidence booster for kids, helping them to gain self-acceptance and preventing them from suffering with esteem issues. It can also keep them grounded and offer some calm when the pressures of childhood and adolescence make it feel like they are being pulled in a hundred different directions. Most of all, yoga is fun and offers the perfect opportunity for kids to be kids and have some good old-fashioned play time.

Meditation apps

Mobile apps are there to make our lives easier and, while from time to time it can feel like they are more of a distraction than anything else, they can be beneficial in the yoga and meditation arena. In much the same way as the long-standing relaxation web site can help us to remember to take a break from our busy lifestyles, so apps on your phone can help you maintain a healthy life balance.

Apps like Headspace serve as a daily reminder to take out time for a daily meditation practice, while others such as Moves can also keep track of your daily movements and encourage you to get up and about rather than sitting down the whole time. Both these apps and others complement your yoga practice and allow you to make everyday technology a force for positive change in your life in 2015.

Yoga in the office

All of us who work in an office spend far too much of our time sitting around – for as much as 13 hours every day in some cases. Add to that the portion of your life that you spend sleeping, and you’re left with a sedentary lifestyle that could exacerbate existing medical conditions and which daily exercise can’t counteract alone. One solution is office yoga, and it’s a concept that a growing number of companies are buying into.

Studies have shown that bringing yoga and meditation into the workplace is a great way to encourage a healthier and more productive workforce. As well as the physical benefits, yoga offers greater focus and clarity, and helps to beat stress and anxiety. But even if your company doesn’t yet have an active program of yoga or other fitness activities, you can make 2015 the year you become more active at work, by taking regular walks, checking your posture and doing exercises and stretches at your desk.

Restorative yoga

Yoga can have a bit of a reputation for being little more than laying around doing nothing. In reality we know there’s more to it than that, and some practice can be rigorous and physically challenging. But the rise of self-care in fact means more focus on a therapeutic approach to yoga, with more time spent in restful poses and with the help of eye pillows, blankets and blocks. It’s the perfect opportunity for mental and physical repair – which we all need in this day and age of constant connectivity.

If you’re determined to make yoga a part of your lifestyle this year, contact us to try a class.

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.