Monthly Archives: August 2014

NEW class, NEW Studio – BodyAlign Opens 1st September!

NEW class, NEW Studio – BodyAlign Opens 1st September!

BodyAlign – Hatha & Gentle Flow Yoga, Wednesdays 20.15-21.15pm – starts 3rd September. Flow, Relax & Unwind from your day.

Brand new wellbeing centre, BodyAlign opens on Monday 1st September at The Artworks, an exciting creative enterprise community on the corner of Elephant and Walworth Road close to Central London.

Offering Pilates, yoga and functional classes, BodyAlign is a small-sized studio offering more personal, specialised sessions with no more than 10 people per class.

I’m really looking forward to teaching Hatha & Gentle Flow Yoga here on Wednesday evenings – ideal for a some mid-week restoration. Be lovely to see you there!

NB – Sign up here by 31st August for a FREE class or to take advantage of the offer of Unlimited Classes for the Month of September for £55.

Visit the BodyAlign website here for further details and see all the classes on offer on the timetable here.

This is not Lying Down – This is Savasana

This is not Lying Down – This is Savasana

Sava ~ corpse
Asana ~ pose

Click here to learn more about The 365 Savasana Project

If I suggested that you put your lengthy to-do list to one side and lie down for twenty minutes right now, what would your response be?

(I think I can hear you shouting that you are too busy from here!)

Supported Savasna - here I'm using pillows for the pose - it's easy to improvise with cushions and blankets too

Maybe it would feel lazy or indulgent when you have so much to do? But I invite you to look at your life and ask what you hold most dear. Of course, we all have responsibilities and obligations we must meet. But busyness and meaning are not the same thing. It comes back to balance and being able to tune in to what your body needs.

During Savasana the parasympathetic nervous system is activated (the part of the autonomic nervous system in charge of your body’s rest and digest activities). Consequently, it is deeply nourishing and can have a regenerative effect on your entire system, far more replenishing than normal sleep.

If you find yourself feeling stressed, rushed off your feet or generally frazzled, this Supported Savasana is a good place to start. As well as helping to calm a busy mind it can make a real difference to sleep quality.

How do we get there?

In lieu of the yoga props you would find at a studio you can improvise with what you have to hand – pillows, blankets, cushions, the throw from your sofa….

(NB – I’m suggesting a version here that I find works very well, but what’s most important is that you feel comfortable, so adjust your props as much as you need to before you settle.)

Have a timer to hand that you can easily set to twenty minutes once you are settled into position.

– Create a comfortable space to lie down – if you have a yoga mat, place a blanket on top covering the surface of the mat for extra cushioning. If you don’t have a mat use extra blankets to create a thicker base
– Before you lie down, place a cushion or folded blanket for your head and neck to rest on
– Carefully, lie down on your back and place a thick rolled up blanket (or pillows / cushions under your knees). Allow your legs to relax and roll outwards.
– If you find that your heels do not touch the floor, take a rolled up bath towel (rolled onto a long ‘sausage’ shape) or cushions and place underneath your ankles for support
– Cover your eyes with an eye pillow or scarf
– Extend your arms out by your sides, palms facing up. Relax your hands – you will notice that your fingers will curl towards your palms.

From here, allow your body to be supported by the props and the ground beneath you. With each out breath visualise any remaining tension melting away. Just be here. See what happens. Notice if any resistance comes up to staying there.

If you find twenty minutes feels like it whizzes by then try thirty minutes, but if twenty minutes is way too challenging to begin with, then gradually work your way up. I’d suggest seeing if you can do this Savasana once a day for five to seven consecutive days OR you might like to try The 365 Savasana Project – click here for details. Judith Hanson Lasater, who I trained to teach Restorative Yoga with, jokes that restorative poses are magic, the magic being that they only work if you use them!

The main thing is to give it a try and to be kind to yourself along the way.

Restorative Yoga – A Perfect Summer Practice

Restorative Yoga – A Perfect Summer Practice

Supported Child's Pose - Paula Hines U Can Yoga

Here I'm demonstrating Supported Child's Pose

If you usually go for a dynamic yoga practice or tough training regime do you ever find that during the summer months you can come away feeling not as energised as you might at other times of year? If so, restorative yoga may be just the thing to add to your routine.

Summer, (though our British weather may sometimes call it in to question!), in Ayurveda is the Pitta (fire) season. One way of creating balance through Ayurveda is to live in harmony with the seasons. If you find that the summer brings about discomfort and agitation then, as a cooling and slow practice, restorative yoga has the capacity to help bring you back into balance.

One of the best things about restorative yoga is that it can benefit just about everyone whether you’re a seasoned yogi, a Crossfitter, a mum-to-be or someone with no yoga experience whatsoever. If you happen to be somebody who has a Pitta dosha (which can be further irritated by excess heat) you may find this practice especially beneficial.

Supported by props such as bolsters, blankets and blocks, restorative poses are held for several minutes at a time (typically anything from 5 to 20 minutes). Consequently, this activates the parasympathetic nervous system (the part of the autonomic nervous system in charge of our rest and digest activities). The idea of using props is that the support they provide makes it easier for your body to relax into each pose, allowing the mind to hopefully follow.

One of my personal favourites is Supported Child’s Pose (as I’m demonstrating in the above picture). Like all restorative poses it calms the nervous system and in addition, this particular pose gently stretches the lower back and hips as well as aiding digestion. I’d typically hold this pose for five minutes. It’s a good idea to turn your head halfway through to get an even stretch down both sides of your neck too. Also, if you have delicate knees be sure to pad with blankets as much as needed, and for extra comfort you can pop a rolled up blanket under your thighs as I’ve done here. Comfort is of the utmost importance in every restorative pose.

If you’ve never tried restorative yoga before then come along to a Relax & Restore class on Friday evenings 6.45-7.45pm at Embody Wellness. In each class you’ll experience a handful of supported poses to help you beat the summer heat and ease away the stresses of your week too.