Tag Archives: U Can Yoga

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.

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).

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

Method:
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 www.embodywellness.co.uk.

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.

Flow & Restore in SW8

Flow & Restore in SW8

Wind-down with a mix of Flow, Yin & Restorative Yoga at Embody Wellness, Vauxhall – Sundays 6.15-7.30pm.

Join me on Sunday evenings at Embody.

Flow & Restore on Sundays 6.15-7.30pm at Embody Wellness, Vauxhall

Flow & Restore on Sundays 6.15-7.30pm at Embody Wellness, Vauxhall

In the first half of this class I guide you through a series of flowing postures to help develop strength and flexibility.

The pace then slows for the second half of the class where the focus is on floor-based restorative and yin poses, allowing your body to release both physical and mental tension.

You will leave feeling rested, uplifted and ready for the week ahead.

See you on the mat! :)

Get Your Om Back

Get Your Om Back

#getyouromback 31 Day Yoga Challenge from Sweaty Betty.

Here I'm showing some Cat / Cow Pose variations

Here I’m showing some Cat / Cow Pose variations for #getyouromback

Sweaty Betty’s 31 Day Instagram Challenge involves practising one pose each day (a different post for each day of July). I think this is a great way to start building a home yoga practice!

My philosophy behind U Can Yoga from day one has been and remains that you can find your own expression of yoga, that yoga is for anyone who wants to give it a try and experience its many benefits.

I am taking part and will be posting some pose variations and instructions on Instagram with the intention of sharing a few ideas to make these poses a bit more accessible along the way – e.g. some standing and seated versions for those of us who find getting onto the floor a challenge.

Find out how to get involved by visiting the Get Your Om Back page at Sweaty Betty’s website here. And find me on Instagram @ucanyoga1.