Tag Archives: Restorative Yoga

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!)

365 Savasana – 6 months check-in

365 Savasana – 6 months check-in

I'm too tired for Savasana Time flies when you’re taking Savasana. The more you practice, the truer this becomes! At least, this is what my experience has been so far.

Back in September 2014 I embarked on a 365 day Savasana practice. The aim – to practice for Savasana for 20 minutes each day. I did not know what to expect. But I knew I had to do something about taking out some time for myself each day as well as address my difficulty with allowing myself to be still (without that guilty feeling that there was something else I should be getting done instead!).

I find it hard to believe six months have already passed. Some days my twenty minutes has extended into thirty minutes and it feels like no time at all. I notice patterns depending on how I am feeling. For instance, when I have been working long hours or feeling more stressed there is a high chance that I will fall asleep. Falling asleep during Savasana is not ideal, but it does tend to be a sign that I am exhausted. That said, the good thing about this is it gives me a clear signal to look again at my schedule and ask myself if I am filling my diary with anything unnecessary.

Most days, (when I am not falling asleep part-way through) my Savasana is when I meditate. So, my meditation practice has over the past six months shifted from sitting to lying down. Part of me did feel I was some how ‘cheating’ by meditating lying down. However, my mind was changed during my Yin Yoga intensive earlier this year with Norman Blair when Maitripusha Bois who led a meditation session with us talked about lying down meditation. There are also days when I listen to a guided meditation like this one from Tara Brach while in Savasana.

There are days when I have kicked myself for deciding to do this. Ah, 365 days of savasana sounded like such a good idea at the time! However, I am very happy to find (especially on the days where I think I don’t have time) that practising does not take time, it gives time. Always. I never think, “Ah, I shouldn’t have bothered with that Savasana.” As a consequence I feel overall more content and more determined to be less ‘busy’, that does not mean that I want to sit around doing nothing all day, but rather it has made me more aware of looking at how much of my time is spent doing things I want to do versus things I do not want or need to do.

Now I am just past the halfway-mark, I am already looking forward to the next six months.

For more on The 365 Savasana Project or to give it a try for yourself, please click here.

Want to Teach Yoga or Deepen Your Yoga Practice? Laxmi Yoga 200hr Teacher Training starts in February

Want to Teach Yoga or Deepen Your Yoga Practice? Laxmi Yoga 200hr Teacher Training starts in February

Laxmi Yoga 200hr Teacher Training with Sally Parkes

Laxmi Yoga 200hr Teacher Training with Sally Parkes

If you want to teach yoga or would like to deepen your practice then you still
have time to sign up for the next Laxmi Yoga 200hr Teacher Training with Sally Parkes.

Taking place over weekends in London plus a residential week in Spain this recognised Yoga Alliance UK and Independent Yoga Network course allows you to teach internationally.

The first of the London weekends is 28th February-1st March. I’m looking forward to meeting all the new teacher trainees in April when I’ll be introducing the group to teaching Restorative Yoga and Yoga for Back Care.

For full details, plus to hear from past graduates click here to visit Sally’s website.

1-2-1 Yoga

1-2-1 Yoga
1-2-1 Yoga

“I have one-to-one classes with Paula and I thoroughly enjoy them. Highly recommended!” – C. Dunning

1-2-1 Yoga in London – Hatha, Flow, Pregnancy & Restorative

Is one of your goals to begin a yoga practice in 2015? Whether you’re a complete beginner or an experienced practitioner you can benefit from private one-to-one yoga sessions. If you’ve never done yoga before this can be a great way to explore whether it is for you or to gain some confidence in your practice before joining a class.

One-to-one yoga lessons can take place at Embody Wellness in SW8 or evolve in SW7, with easy access to Central London, or another convenient venue at times to fit your schedule.

For more details and to get in touch about 1-2-1 Yoga please click here.

365 Savasana So Far

365 Savasana So Far
365 Savasana So Far

Quarterly Check-in

In September 2014 I embarked on the 365 Savasana Project – the decision to practice Savasana for 20 minutes a day for 365 days. As we are about to embark on a new year, I also I find myself a quarter of the way through my year of daily Savasana and it feels like an ideal time to reflect on how it’s been so far. So, how has it been…?

HARD!

(I bet you didn’t expect that from a yoga teacher :) ) I did not expect it to be easy but so far it certainly has been much harder than I envisaged.

The actual act of lying down is simple. It is getting there every day, regardless of what is going on that has not been easy. And that’s coming from someone who loves Savasana and Restorative Yoga. In that case, why has it been so hard?

Resistance.

This has been (and continues to be) the biggest challenge. But I refuse to throw in the towel because I know that the more I feel resistance to practising Savasana, the more I need Savasana. I always, without exception, feel better afterwards.

The busier things get, the easier it becomes to neglect self-care. Yet, that’s when we most need to take care of ourselves. That’s been my personal experience, at least. Do you relate? Do you too find that you put your own self-care on the back burner as the pace of life picks up speed? Maybe you are taking care of others or have a demanding job, or you’re running your own business? There are a multitude of reasons why self-care may inadvertently fall by the wayside, especially during periods of chronic stress.

I’ve often prided myself on how much I can achieve in a day. Getting lots done and ticking items off my to-do list (the same list that somehow continues to grow as fast as I tick things off) can bring me great satisfaction. However, I’ve learned that being busy is not all it’s cracked up to be. Slowing down and practising Savasana reminds me just how powerful doing less can be. We do not have to worship at the altar of busy. For me, the past year has brought many ups and downs, as I’m sure it has for you too. My default, when the going gets tough is to, albeit unconsciously, let my own needs slide.

Let 2015 be different.

If you haven’t started your 365 Savasana but would like to, then why not begin today? You can find more details on how to get started by clicking here. I began my 365 days in September, but there is no official start or end date and it doesn’t cost anything apart from the time you allow yourself to practise. It is not a competition. It’s really about getting into the habit of taking some time for yourself each day so that not only can you give your best, you can be at your best. So, far from being selfish, you’ll be helping those close to you too. It is a simple and wonderful way to practice self-care.

However, if 365 days of Savasana is not for you, then I still encourage you to find healthy ways to look after yourself when you feel out of balance. Having your own personalised self-care toolkit at your disposal when you most need it will serve you very well.

Let’s all make self-care a priority in 2015.

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.

NEW CLASS: Sunday Flow

NEW CLASS: Sunday Flow
NEW CLASS: Sunday Flow

Embody Wellness, Vauxhall – Sunday Flow, 6.15-7.30pm

Feel rested, uplifted and ready for your week ahead.

From Sunday 14th December you can regularly join me for Sunday Flow at Embody Wellness in Vauxhall.

In the first half of this class you’ll be guided through a series of dynamic, flowing postures to develop strength and flexibility. For the second half of the class, the pace then slows down with a focus on restorative poses allowing you to release tension in body and mind. I look forward to seeing you there :)

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