Tag Archives: De-Stress

Instant Relaxation

Instant Relaxation

Legs on a Chair Pose

“Legs on a Chair?? Really?” you may ask.

It does not look like much but this pose is so relaxing and so simple that almost anyone can do it. I often take Savasana like this at home. I find it incredibly helpful for easing lower back discomfort and it’s wonderful if you’ve been on your feet all day or travelling. It’s also an ideal pose if you need a mini-break in the office.

In this short video, filmed at evolve, I show you how to set yourself up in this pose. If you would like to do this pose with some additional props, then an eye pillow over the eyes or on the forehead and placing some weight on your abdominal area (e.g. a folded blanket, or a sandbag, if you have access to one, resting across your lower ribs and stomach) can be incredibly calming too.

You can watch the video here.

I hope you enjoy practising this pose whenever you need to take some time out!

(Thanks to Urban Lucy for the comfy Beyond Yoga outfit I’m wearing in this video.)

Why Reclined Pigeon Rocks

Why Reclined Pigeon Rocks

Reclined Pigeon pose – also known as Eye of the Needle – is a fantastic post-run and cycling stretch and also a great Pigeon variation that is kinder on the knees than the more traditional version of Pigeon pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana).

As well as particularly targeting the hips, glutes and lower back this is also very helpful for stretching the IT band (illiotibial band), therefore improving your performance.

I found this pose and Legs Up The Wall especially helpful after running the Brighton Half Marathon in February this year. I had no soreness the next day. (NB – Click here for a Legs Up The Wall video where I show you how to get into the pose).

That said, even if you don’t run or cycle this pose can be of help if you spend a lot of time sitting – I imagine that includes most of us! :)

Reclined Pigeon can also be good for easing sciatic pain. Speaking from my own experience of sciatic pain due to having spondylolisthesis I have found this pose to be incredibly beneficial.

Aim to hold this stretch for at least 5 breaths but ideally longer. Work up to holding this stretch for 3-5 minutes on each side.

In this short video filmed at evolve, I show you how to get into Reclined Pigeon.

(Thanks to Urban Lucy for the comfy Beyond Yoga outfit I’m wearing in this video!)

Lotus Mudra Love

Lotus Mudra Love

Lotus Mudra drawingCultivate love and affection with Lotus Mudra this Valentine’s

Mudras are symbolic hand gestures that can have an influence on the energies of your body and consequently, your mood. The word ‘mudra’ means ‘sealing in the energy’ in Sanskrit.

Lotus Mudra is the mudra of the heart. You can use this mudra to promote love and affection and also to ease loneliness.

How to practice:

Bring your palms together at your heart centre. Keeping the base of your palms together, fan your fingers out and bring the tip of your little fingers and thumbs to touch to form your open lotus blossom (as pictured). Hold here for four breaths.

After four breaths, close your lotus into a bud by bringing your hands back together with the base of your palms and the pads of your thumbs and all your fingers touching. Then turn your hands (turning palms towards you) placing all the fingernails of both your hands on top of each other, then the backs of your fingers, then the backs of your hands.

From here, turn your fingers in towards you then down. Let your hands hang down for a few breaths.

Bring your hands back to your lotus bud, then open into your lotus blossom.

Repeat this several times.

Gift to Self: 2015 Yoga Retreats

Gift to Self: 2015 Yoga Retreats
Gift to Self: 2015 Yoga Retreats

While you’re Christmas shopping why not treat yourself to a yoga getaway in 2015.

I’m excited to be teaching on more yoga retreats for Sally Parkes Yoga in 2015.

If you’re thinking of a yoga getaway yourself, or would like to treat someone you know then you can find Sally’s full retreat calendar at her website here.

I’m next teaching on the Relax & Restore Weekend at Florence House (pictured) with Sally from 6th-8th March. This retreat features a wonderful blend of Hatha, Dynamic, Restorative Yoga and Pilates, a delicious, healthy vegetarian menu, beautiful surroundings and treatments available (click here for details). And for info on all the retreats I am teaching on in 2015 you can visit my retreat calendar here.

Restorative Yoga for Christmas – Supported Twist

Restorative Yoga for Christmas – Supported Twist
Restorative Yoga for Christmas – Supported Twist

Supported Twist – Aid digestion, reduce water retention and relieve stress on your back muscles with this wonderful Restorative Yoga pose that’s not just for Christmas!

Also, like all Restorative Yoga poses this Supported Twist is great to practice if you have been feeling stressed or fatigued.

It’s really simple to do at home. You can use a yoga bolster if you have one, but you really don’t need any special yoga props – as you can see in this picture, I’m using bed pillows. If you want to create a similar depth to a yoga bolster then you can wrap two bed pillows together in a blanket or bath towel. You can also achieve a similar effect with cushions or take some blankets or throws from your sofa, fold lengthways and stack on top of one another – whatever works best for you! :)

Here’s how:

Arrange your pillows / stacked blankets so that one end is slightly elevated (as pictured)

Sit on the ground with your right hip at the lower end of your pillows / stacked blankets with your knees bent (your legs can rest on each other or you can separate them – whichever feels most comfortable)

Turn your torso to the right, placing your hands on either side of your pillows / blankets

Take an inhale, lengthening the front of your body; on the exhale ease your torso on to your pillows

Allow your arms to rest comfortably on the floor

For a deeper twist (optional), turn your left ear down to your pillow so that your head is facing the opposite direction to your knees

Stay in this pose on the right for up to 4 minutes then repeat on your left side for the same duration.

Enjoy! :)

Restorative Yoga Workshop – Relax and Restore

Restorative Yoga Workshop – Relax and Restore

Supported Child's Pose - Paula Hines U Can Yoga

Enjoy a nourishing 2-hours of Restorative Yoga

Delve into the practice of Restorative Yoga in this 2-hour workshop.

Relax & Restore Workshop – Saturday 25th October
3-5pm at Embody Wellness

Join me for a nourishing practice which will introduce to you the principles of Restorative Yoga and show you how to set yourself up comfortably in each pose.

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. While the body is supported we can completely relax into each posture. This enables us to relieve the effects of negative day-to-day stress, calming the body’s ‘fight flight’ response to facilitate proper rest.

Highly recommended if you are seeking stress relief or need to unwind.

Please click here to book.

Lower Back Relief (And More!)

Lower Back Relief (And More!)

In this video I show you how to use a yoga block to support your practice in Bridge Pose

VIDEO: Supported Bridge – a great Restorative Yoga Pose for Lower Back Ease and more

In this short video filmed at evolve, I show you how to use a yoga block to support your practice in Supported Bridge Pose. As someone with Spondylolisthesis in my lower back I find this particularly relieving and it helps to ease tightness I find sometimes occurs in this area, though this makes a wonderful restorative yoga pose even if you don’t have back issues.

Resting the weight of the sacrum onto a yoga block provides wonderful support, and allows the entire length of the spine to be stretched. As well as being great for general lower back weakness, this pose also opens up the chest, as well as the front of thighs.

Added benefits include:

– helps relieve stress and low moods
– boosts the parasympathetic nervous system
– helps reduce fatigue
– stimulates the abdominal organs and improves digestion
– improves quality of sleep and helps combat insomnia

I’d typically stay this pose for up to 5 minutes.

Here I also show you how to take this pose into an inversion. This can be a nice alternative to Shoulderstand if, like me you have some neck degeneration too and you don’t have access to wall space to practice Legs Up The Wall.

Want to experience more Restorative poses like this? Join me for Relax & Restore Restorative Yoga classes on Fridays at Embody Wellness 6.45-7.45pm.

If you’ve never been to a Restorative Yoga class and would like to know what to expect, you can read a review of my Relax & Restore class from Carly on her brilliant Project HB blog by clicking here.

VIDEO: Supported Bridge – a great Restorative Yoga Pose for Lower Back Ease and more – CLICK HERE TO WATCH

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.

How To Ease Tired Legs, Boost Your Mood & More in Just 5 Minutes!

How To Ease Tired Legs, Boost Your Mood & More in Just 5 Minutes!

I share a simple 5-Minute Yoga boost with you in this short video filmed at Evolve Wellness Centre

5-Mintute Rescue: I share a simple 5-Minute Yoga boost with you in this short video filmed at Evolve Wellness Centre - click picture to watch


VIDEO: I call this pose my ‘5-Minute Rescue’ – click here to watch.

Legs Up The Wall (or Viparita Karani) is one of my favourite Restorative Yoga poses because it has multiple benefits including easing tired legs, reducing stress (helps boost your mood!), fatigue, insomnia and more!

In this short video, filmed recently at evolve, I show you how to do it, including a cheeky way to get into the pose if you have tight hamstrings (for you runners and cyclists out there – this pose is great for your weary legs!). I thank the wonderful Judith Hanson Lasater (who I studied Restorative Yoga with) for showing me this alternative way in to the pose.

Want to experience more Restorative poses like this? Join me for Relax & Restore Restorative Yoga classes on Fridays at Embody Wellness 6.45-7.45pm.

If you’ve never been to a Restorative Yoga class and would like to know what to expect, you can read a review of my Relax & Restore class from Carly on her brilliant Project HB blog by clicking here.

VIDEO: I call this my 5-Minute Rescue – CLICK HERE TO WATCH