Winter Wellness Boost (with a 20 Minute Hip Opening Yoga Sequence)

Winter Wellness Boost (with a 20 Minute Hip Opening Yoga Sequence)

For most of us living in the Northern hemisphere, winter can bring about stagnancy and dullness. We dont get much day light or fresh air, and for many people recreational time usually involves some form of static indoor activity such as reading or catching up on films. Our appetites gravitate us towards meals that are hot, dense and comforting but leave us with little energy to spare for anything else but digestion. All these different factors can add up to extreme lethargy and more frequent lower moods which can become obstacles to us accomplishing all that we want and should.  

Physical exercise can be an excellent way to bring in a little more balance into the season but finding motivation for this is challenging.  We are inclined to take things easier during the colder months as the body needs to conserve energy but rather than giving up exercise all together, consider taking a gentler approach with exercises such as tai-chi and of-course, yoga. They encourage a more balanced distribution of energy within the body and even just a few minutes of movement can bring about noticeable changes to our mood, energy levels and physical health.  

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How to Prepare For Your First Yoga Class

How to Prepare For Your First Yoga Class

If you’ve never attended a group yoga class but are considering giving it a go, getting ready is thankfully very simple and taking a few minutes to do a little research on what to expect can ease some of the possible anxiety.

Before you go:  Yoga is best practiced on an empty stomach so try to avoid eating anything before attending (or give yourself as much time as possible to digest full meals), you’ll be glad you did. Hydration is also very important so make sure to drink plenty of water before and after class. You can take a bottle of water with you, especially if it’s a Vinyasa flow or hot yoga class, but be aware that some traditional classes in the Ashtanga style would ask that you not drink during practice. Next, wear clothing that doesn’t restrict your movement in any way. Active wear is best but also consider you’ll likely be spending a bit of time upside down so a top that fits more snugly or can be tucked in would be ideal.

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What It Really Takes To Practice And Teach Yoga

What It Really Takes To Practice And Teach Yoga

Yoga continues to expand and blossom throughout the whole of our world, from its birth place in India, to the Americas and Europe, to the more distant corners of Africa and the rest of Asia. More and more ordinary people are taking up the practice and more and more seasoned students are partaking in yoga teacher training programs. The motivation of both groups is as diverse as the amount of people within them and for those willing to give their energy, yoga has a lot to offer in return.  But, is yoga reaching the widest possible audience or are there still prevalent misconceptions?

When I first started my journey ten years ago, I had many hesitations that initially held me back. The most significant of these was that it didn’t feel like I fit into the group of people who represented yoga across conventional media and that implied that perhaps it wasn’t entirely for me after all.  Not only did I not look the part but I also lacked what I thought was the prerequisite flexibility – plus I had no interest in chanting, meditation or breathwork, and didn’t want to end up in a class where these were practiced.

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What is Yin Yoga (with Five Simple Poses for When the Energy Reserves are Low)

What is Yin Yoga (with Five Simple Poses for When the Energy Reserves are Low)

Yin yoga is a unique practice that works to improve the health of our joints while cultivating stillness in our minds.  Unlike cardiovascular exercises that focus on powering through for the benefit of working your muscles and heart, yin yoga works in an opposite, calming way, to exercise the joints through focusing on the actual physical connections within the body.

The practice consists of various poses that are usually mat based and target connective tissues (ligaments, tendons, bones and fascia) by applying moderate stress to them for several minutes. Anatomically, these tissues are usually in the region of the hips, pelvis, inner thighs and lower spine.  These physical areas are not often exercised by the more active, ‘yang style’ movements (such as running or power yoga) so yin yoga can be very complimentary to those who practice them.  The higher energy ‘yang type’ practices can also result in inflammation of the deep fascia tissue which can cause pain and stiffness that the long-held ‘yin stretches’ can help release.

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How to Use Yoga Nidra for Managing Stress, Healing & Manifesting Your Dreams

How to Use Yoga Nidra for Managing Stress, Healing & Manifesting Your Dreams

Yoga Nidra (or Yogic Sleep) is becoming an increasingly popular practice with many studios now offering dedicated classes that create the atmosphere for an unrushed and nourishing experience - especially useful for the stressed and overworked city dwellers!

What Yoga Nidra actually is and how the classes are structured varies depending on who you ask and where you go. In general there are two approaches however, the first uses Yoga Nidra as a way to progressively relax, kind of like a form of guided meditation. The second, and perhaps the more tradition approach, believes Yoga Nidra to be a particular state of consciousness in which the mind (with all its unconscious components) is able to enter a state of total rest.  Many influential teachers have been quoted saying that minutes in this state can be equal to hours of sleep - it's deeply restorative as well as rejuvenating. 

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