Insight Yoga by Sarah Powers

Insight Yoga by Sarah Powers

Each month on my U Can Yoga website I have been featuring yoga related books that I’ve really enjoyed and want to share with you guys reading out there. For anyone who has missed the titles featured so far, I am including some my previous ‘Books of the Month’ here. I hope you enjoy:

Insight Yoga by Sarah Powers

Insight Yoga by Sarah Powers

Insight Yoga by Sarah Powers

Sarah Powers combines elements of yoga, traditional Chinese medicine and Buddhism in this fantastic and easy to follow introduction and guide to Yin yoga.

Including chapters on meridian theory, how to begin a Yin/Yang yoga practice, pranayama and mindfulness meditation, this book makes self-practice simple.

You will find Yin sequences with clear photos, dedicated to different meridians (e.g. sequences for the liver and gallbladder) and Yang (dynamic flow) sequences for balancing a Yin practice. Added to this, Sarah Powers’ chapter on her personal journey, from graduating with a degree in transpersonal psychology and her humbling experience of her first yoga class in the mid-1980s to her now twenty-plus years of practice, puts into context why she is so passionate about yoga and sharing these practices and this comes through beautifully in her writing style throughout the book.

As an aside, if you are in London this New Year, I am teaching New Year Detox Yin Yoga Workshop – a practice to stimulate the liver and gallbladder meridians (two organs that play an essential part in the body’s detoxification process) on Sunday 3rd January 2016 1.30-3.30pm at Embody Wellness. For further details and to book please click here.

Recharge with Restorative Yoga

Recharge with Restorative Yoga

Relax & Restore Restorative Yoga Workshop – 22nd November 2-4pm at Embody Wellness

Restorative Yoga with Paula

Give Yourself Permission to Relax with Restorative Yoga

Give Yourself Permission to Relax

Join me for this calming and nourishing workshop which will introduce you to the principles and many benefits of Restorative Yoga. As we shift into Winter, the yin season, the emphasis of our practice will be to nourish and calm our selves, storing and reserving energy in preparation of the season ahead.

In Restorative Yoga (sometimes referred to as ‘active relaxation’) we consciously manipulate the nervous system to create ease. Props are used to facilitate relaxation by supporting the body in passive postures for extended periods (anything from 5 to 20 minutes). While the body is supported we can completely relax into each posture. This enables us to relieve the negative effects of day-to-day stress, calming the body’s “fight flight” response to facilitate proper rest.

For details and booking via the Embody Wellness website please click here.

Banishing the Blues with Backbends

Banishing the Blues with Backbends
Here I'm using a bolster to practice Supported Bridge Pose

Here I’m using a bolster in Supported Bridge Pose

Help to Banish the Blues with Supported Bridge Pose

Here in the UK the nights are drawing-in and the temperature is dropping. With this shift into Autumn/Winter low moods and low energy can be more prevalent for some of us. Back-bending poses are known for their energising qualities.

What I like about Supported Bridge Pose is that it is accessible for most of us. The sacrum (directly below the lumbar spine) is supported by a bolster or yoga brick (or you can use cushions if you don’t have access to either of these). Here I am using a bolster (pictured).

Just a few of the benefits of Supported Bridge Pose include:

– Helps to relieve stress and low moods
– Helps to calm the nervous system (activates the parasympathetic nervous system which is in charge of
the body’s ‘rest and digest’ activities)
– Can help to reduce fatigue
– Stretches the spine from the shoulders all the way to the tailbone
– Can help to relieve lower back pain
– Stretches and opens the chest
– Can help to improve digestion

You can watch a video (filmed at Evolve) where I show you how to get into this pose using a yoga block by clicking here. You can move into and out of the pose in the same way if you are using cushions instead of a block.

If you are using a bolster as I am here (pictured above), start by sitting on the bolster, with knees bent and soles of both feet on the floor. Place your hands on the floor behind you, lift your hips and slide them forward so that you can rest your sacrum (the flat bony place just below your lower back curve) onto the bolster. Then using your hands ease yourself back onto the floor so that you are in a supported bridge position. Allow your arms and hands to rest where they feel most comfortable – you may wish to rest arms by your side, or rest hands on your lower abdomen or reach arms back to the floor behind you.

Rest here for five minutes or for as long as you feel comfortable.

Relax & Restore Winter Retreat

Relax & Restore Winter Retreat

Relax & Restore Winter Retreat 13th-15th November 2015
Florence House (exterior front)

Our regular retreat at Florence House in Seaford in East Sussex is a wonderful blend of Dynamic, Hatha and Restorative Yoga and Pilates. Facilitated by Sally Parkes and I, this retreat focuses on re-balancing both the body and mind.

Classes are suitable for all abilities as well as beginners. There will also be a delicious, healthy menu and plenty of time to relax and enjoy the beautiful surroundings and stunning Sussex coastline.

I’m really looking forward to returning to Florence House this November! This is the last retreat I will be teaching on in 2015, so if you would like to join us please click here to book via Sally’s website.

Plus you can find 2016 Florence House retreat dates here.

A Life Worth Breathing

A Life Worth Breathing

A Life Worth Breathing cover image Each month on my U Can Yoga website I have been featuring yoga related books that I’ve really enjoyed and want to share with you guys reading out there. For anyone who has missed the titles featured so far, I am including some my previous ‘Books of the Month’ here. I hope you enjoy:

A Life Worth Breathing by Max Strom

An inspiring and deeply insightful read. And you do not need to have ever stepped onto a yoga mat to appreciate this book. Max Strom eloquently writes not only about how to breathe properly (not as obvious as we may think – so many of us breathe incorrectly) and the healing capacity of our breath, he manages to share teachings rooted in yoga, Eastern philosophy and Sufism in a very accessible way. Described as a guidebook for living, I feel Max Strom’s words in A Life Worth Breathing remind us of what we all instinctively know but can so easily forget when feeling ground down by life – of the power we all have to elevate ourselves and silence the inner critic that can stop us in our tracks, of the importance of forgiveness and gratitude, and how breathing and yoga practices can help us on the path to empowerment, fulfilment and living a life where we stay true to ourselves.

Stretch into Stillness – Yin Yoga for a Calm Mind & Healthy Body

Stretch into Stillness – Yin Yoga for a Calm Mind & Healthy Body

Join me for my Stretch into Stillness Yin Yoga Workshop at Pop Brixton on 4th October

Join me for my Stretch into Stillness Yin Yoga Workshop at Pop Brixton on 4th October

Stretch into Stillness Workshop – Yin Yoga for a Calm Mind & Healthy Body

Sunday 4th October 11am-1pm at Pop Brixton

A Huge Thank You to Everyone who came along to my Introduction to Yin Yoga Workshop at Embody Wellness at the end of August. I’m excited to be teaching my next Yin Yoga workshop on Sunday 4th October at Pop Brixton as part of their Wellness Week from 27th September – 4th October. This pioneering new space, created with the local community in mind showcases the best and most exciting independent start-ups and new businesses from Brixton and Lambeth where they can share space, skills and ideas. And with my workshop taking place between 11am and 1pm, it’s perfectly timed for a spot of brunch/lunch at one of Pop Brixton‘s many tasty eateries! :)

Join me at Pop Brixton for Stretch into Stillness – Yin Yoga for a Calm Mind & Healthy Body.

An ideal complement to more dynamic practises which emphasise the “yang” tissues (e.g.dynamic yoga or sport training), Yin Yoga allows us to target the deeper “yin” tissues of our bodies. In this workshop we will let go of the striving typically associated with yang practices to slow down and meet our edges with awareness. As you move through each pose the meditative pace of the practice has a calming effect on the mind as well as the body.

For full details, FAQ’s and booking please click here.

Choc Chia Energy Smoothie

Choc Chia Energy Smoothie
Choc Chia Smoothie - Here's one I made earlier :)

Choc Chia Smoothie – Here’s one I made earlier :)

This is one of my favourite breakfasts on the go – I get an energy boost from the chia seeds and all that’s needed is a little overnight preparation (soaking the chia seeds).

1/4 Cup of Chia Seeds, 1 Cup of Almond Milk, 1 Apple, quartered, 1-2 teaspoons of Cacao Nibs, 1/4 Tsp Cinnamon

Soak the chia seeds in the fridge overnight in the almond milk. Put the chia, apple, and cinnamon in a blender and blend away. (NB – if you feel the mixture is too thick feel free to add some extra milk here.)

When the mixture is smooth, add most of the cacoa nibs and blend again. Serve with the remaining cacoa nibs sprinkled on top for some extra chocolatey crunch. If I have any smoothie mixture leftover, I store in a airtight container in the fridge.

I’ve also made this with coconut milk which tastes just as delicious.

Enjoy! :)

Workshop: Introduction to Yin Yoga

Workshop: Introduction to Yin Yoga

Yin-Yang-Symbol-EmbodySaturday 29th August 2015 3-5pm at Embody Wellness

If you missed my last Introduction to Yin Yoga workshop at Easter, I am teaching this workshop again at Embody Wellness this August.

Yin Yoga is a quiet, meditative, floor-based practice where poses are held for several minutes. It is about softening and staying.

In this workshop you will experience some of the fundamental Yin postures, gain an understanding of some of the basic concepts and benefits of Yin Yoga, the characteristics of Yin and Yang nature and the value of a passive practice.

An ideal complement to more dynamic practices which emphasise the muscular “yang” tissues, Yin Yoga allows us to target the deeper “yin” tissues of our bodies, stimulating the energy pathways, or meridians and the deep connective tissues of the hips, pelvis, and spine in particular.

Suitable for all levels except complete yoga beginners and pregnant students. To book please click here.

And to learn more about Yin Yoga and it’s benefits, click here to read my article on the Embody Wellness blog.

Why Restorative Yoga is a Perfect Summer Practice

Why Restorative Yoga is a Perfect Summer Practice

Supported Child's Pose - Paula Hines U Can Yoga

Here I’m demonstrating a 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 this 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 Flow & Restore class on Sunday evenings 6.15-7.30pm at Embody Wellness. In each class I guide you through a blend of flow, restorative and yin yoga poses to leave you feeling rested, uplifted and ready for your week ahead.

For more details visit the Embody website at

Spanish September Sun

Spanish September Sun
Join us at the beautiful Hacienda Retreat in Andalusia

Join us at the beautiful Hacienda Retreat in Andalusia

Relax and Restore Spain Retreat with Sally Parkes Yoga 5-11th September

Join Sally Parkes and I in Andalusia for a week of yoga, Pilates, relaxation and delicious food.

Set in the beautiful Andalusian countryside with panoramic views of the Sierra Nevada and in an area of outstanding beauty and ecological diversity, this retreat offers a complete getaway from everyday life.

To find out more and to book visit Sally’s website here.

P.S. Still looking for an excuse to take yourself on retreat? Check out my 5 Reasons to Go on A Yoga Retreat article on En Route Traveler.