In our Stretch & Relax classes this year we’ll be going back to basics to remind ourselves of how yoga can help us to live a happier life free from suffering – often this means tackling minor ailments that we simply put up with. Things like tension headaches, back pain, joint pain and constipation. All of these reduce our quality and enjoyment of life – so why put up with it? Let’s get our mojo back, find our Joie de Vivre (painting above is of that title by Pablo Picasso)
We will begin with the Anti Rheumatic/Arthritic group of exercises. Arthritis is a term covering a wide range of conditions and diseases of the joints. Joints become painful, swell and the enforced lack of use means that the muscles around the joint then weaken. Osteoarthritis is the most common and affects many people as they get older. There are around 100 other forms which can be caused by injury, obesity, stress or be hereditary. The yogic anti arthritic range is extremely beneficial both to prevent and reverse the condition. When joints become stiff and painful this results in the poor flow of fluids and energy around the body. The result is often not just localised problems but the whole body can feel below par. This group of exercises therefore works on the whole being and can have a very meditative, calming and uplifting effect.
You can follow the exercises in the yoga handbook Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha – it is called Pawanmuktasana Part 1. PMA1 for short!
My new timetable will begin on September 4th – get yourself sorted and book your place now!
From September I will be making a few alterations to the timetable…. The number of classes I teach will be reduced from 7 to 6 as I would like to offer more workshops for students and explore alternative styles of yoga, meditation and nutritional therapy for myself.
There will be more of the 90 minute classes on offer as this is the norm for traditional yoga. Historically yoga has been taught in 90 minute sessions to allow sufficient time for posture work, (strengthen the body), breathwork (calms and purifies the body and mind) and relaxation or meditation (for optimum relaxation and healing). 90 minutes works with the body’s natural time cycles often called the Ultradian rhythm. Ultradian rhythms are actually quite fascinating – by learning more about your own rhythm you can optimise your efficiency and enjoyment of your days, see this website for moreinformation.
Please have a look at the new timetable and class descriptions hereand book in asap for September. Current class members will have priority until Friday 21st July, after which I will be taking bookings from new students. Please do let me know, even if you are carrying on with your old class, as space is limited and I wouldn’t want to disappoint anyone.
We’ll be focusing our practice on relaxing the spine and the breath this term with a view to soothing the nervous system.
The nervous system controls and regulates all the other systems of the body – we have this year looked at the skeletal, muscular, digestive, cardiovascular and respiratory systems. The nervous system carries messages to and from the brain – the above image shows a simple diagram of it. We don’t need to know all the details – however it is helpful to know a little bit about how the nervous system can keep us calm or can place us in ‘fight or flight’ mode which is what we call ‘stress’. I’ll be talking in some depth about this during the classes, but it is more important to have an appreciation of how your nervous system responds to your life than an in depth knowledge of the anatomy.
The postures will help to ease out the spine – working with some simple back bending. Our relaxations will be developing some breathing techniques to help the nervous system return to homeostasis (a state of equilibrium).
Would you like to join us? We welcome new beginners into the class – please email me here to book your space,
In our quest for BALANCE IN OUR LIVES, this term we’ll remind ourselves of the Niyamas (yogas rules for living) to see if there is anything that draws our attention or feels out of kilter at the moment. We’ll begin the class listening to a variety of chants of the Gayatri mantra -said to be the one of oldest mantras – and let the words and tunes flow over and around us to bring positivity and inspiration. You can listen and learn the meaning of the Gayatri in the video below…
Our posture work will be simple, gentle and deeply nourishing. We’ll allow our focus to rest on how the body enjoys opening and relaxing into stretches. Working with the Bow (Dhanurasana) posture and Head to Knee (Janu Sirsasana) besides some floor Vinyasa work and standing balances.
For our breathing practice (Pranayama), we will be working on the basics of alternate nostril breathing (Nadi Shodana) with everyone finding their own rhythm and pace. Relaxations will be based upon passive relaxation techniques with some stories to complete each class. I am really looking forward to teaching this terms work:)
As part of our year long goal to improve our CORE we’ll be developing the Sun Salutation to include Cobra posture (the backward bending helps to strengthen the back muscles). We will introduce a ‘Salute to the Heaven and Earth’ which entails stretching upwards to the sun and then placing the hands and forehead onto the earth – moving slowly of course and developing technique and correct stature as the weeks progress. We will be balancing on the sit bones (bottom) to practice variations of the Boat posture (pictured) – this is a traditional way of improving the abdominal muscles. A new posture for this term will be the ‘Hare’ which is an inversion that gets us used to resting some weight on the crown of the head. It isn’t suitable to practice for anyone with neck problems and students with shoulder or back issues must proceed with caution – but as you know by now, all new postures are introduced carefully so as not to be a ‘shock to the system’ – this is the way of yoga, to improve our wellbeing gradually and steadily so that it can be maintained.
Following our theme Bringing About Balance we will be working with Mantra to still the mind and relaxations to calm the nervous system – all good for us after the busy period of Christmas and New Year. Our asana will focus on improving energy flow in the body with the Shakti Bandha series. We will also be revisiting, chanting and reflecting on the Yamas to see how they may influence balance in our lives.
This class is suitable for people with experience of yoga. There is no need to be super fit but an understanding of the holistic approach that yoga takes means that you would gain the most from time spent in this class.
Please contact me here if you would like further information about joining one of these groups.
This term in yogafit we’ll be exploring Bhujangasana – the cobra pose. Following exercises to warm up the whole body, we’ll be working with several other postures to put together a flow. This will incorporate the cobra in a safe and effective way to continue to develop core strength – the goal of our practice for this year.
This class is suitable for all levels of fitness with no need for experience of yoga – it’s a great place to begin. You will need your own mat and a blanket or 2 for the breathing sessions at the end.
Our focus for this term will be on the digestive system and how yoga can help us to maintain a healthy ‘flow’ through the body. A wide range of postures to aid the gut, open the hips and increase the strength of the core muscles will be followed by relaxation exercises to sooth the body and help the digestive system to work optimally.
This class is suitable for all levels of fitness with no need for experience of yoga – it’s a great place to begin. You will need your own mat and a blanket or 2 for the relaxation sessions.
Our mission in Yoga Fit this year is to get a strong core!!
Last term we worked with the plank and this term we’ll be moving on to a standing balance ‘Warrior lll’ which needs all the core strength we can muster.
In our usual lively approach we’ll work through all the parts of the body firstly warming up and then with strengthening and stretching postures. Using some jumping techniques which use a surprising amount of tummy strength we will keep ourselves on the go for pretty much the whole session, winding down in the last 10 minutes with a few restorative postures.
Continuing with our theme this year of Systems of the Body, we are working this term with a focus on the musuclar system. We’ll look at how the muscles work with the bones of the body to give us our shape and movement.
I recommend THE MUSCLE BOOK by Paul Blakey which gives you a useful self-help guide to your own body with some pressure/massage points for when we get the inevitable aches and pains.
We’ll be working with the Downward Facing Dog and the Holy Fig Tree amongst other postures to focus on the largest muscle of the body (Gluteus Maximus). Seeing and feeling how this muscle works, what it does to hold us upright and how yoga helps to get and keep this muscle fit.
Our relaxation exercises will give the opportunity to see how effective relaxation is at the muscular level and we’ll also be thinking how our mind works to help the muscles and sometimes override the impulsive nature of our muscles.