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Yoga

Yoga: Manipura Chakra

Written by Nat Young – Clinical Hypno-Psychotherapist and Yoga/Pilates Teacher.

In our latest Yoga Flow class sequence, we’ve been focusing on the Solar Plexus (or Manipura) chakra. The ancient yogis described 7 chakras, or wheels of energy, which are present in the body. When chakras become stuck, they stop spinning and the body becomes unbalanced, meaning we don’t feel our best. Whether you do or don’t buy into the whole concept of chakras doesn’t matter as yoga has an amazing way of giving you just what you need whenever you come to your mat to practice.

The solar plexus chakra is located between the navel and the breast bone. Solar Plexus yoga practices are quite strong and generally centred around the core. Mentally, this chakra focuses on your ego and sense of self identity; the seed of your personal power, self-belief, and self-worth. A solar plexus chakra practice is understandably strong in a physical sense too because we’re working with some really strong things here! When your solar plexus chakra is balanced, you’re more able to trust yourself and follow your intuition, meaning you don’t need anyone’s validation or approval when it comes to making decisions. We’ve certainly been feeling the power in class!

If you would like to see what my online yoga and pilates classes are all about, they’re all available on a pay-as-you-go basis (both Zoom and On Demand).

Alternatively, you can book up as many Zoom and On Demand classes as you like for 30 days for just £30. As this unlimited class pass also includes the On Demand Studio library, this means you can keep up your practice over Christmas whenever you have a spare moment. Be quick though as we’ve only got a small number of passes!

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Yoga

Yoga: Sthira and sukha

Written by Nat Young – Clinical Hypno-Psychotherapist and Yoga/Pilates Teacher.

In Yoga Flow, we have been exploring the concepts of Sthira and Sukha recently. Both are Sanskrit terms, the language that many ancient yoga scriptures are written in.

Sthira roughly translates as “strong, steady, and stable”. While Sukha means “comfortable, happy, and relaxed”. We’ve particularly explored finding a balance between the two concepts and bringing more Sukha into our strong, long-hold Warrior 2s where we can often find more Sthira.

The result is a strong and balanced yoga practice with a lovely calm finish. Bliss!

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Pilates Yoga

Pilates and the humble squat

Written by Nat Young – Clinical Hypno-Psychotherapist and Yoga/Pilates Teacher.

It sounds like a story book title doesn’t it?!

In all seriousness, squats come with so many benefits. They not only strengthen the muscles of your lower body, they also:

  • Help your leg muscles work more efficiently so they function better in everyday life
  • Improve mobility and balance
  • Reduce your risk of injury
  • Burn calories
  • Tone up your muscles
  • Strengthen your core

Who knew! We normally do squats of some sort in Pilates Fit. The ‘Pilates squat’ is known as the ‘spine swing’ but we often do standard squats too as they’re so good for you!

Even in a Yoga class, we’ve got Chair Pose and Goddess Pose which are different takes on the squat movement. Even some yoga balances are similar to a single-leg squat. Now those are challenging!

For some On Demand Studio classes with squats, try:

  • Yoga HIIT for Legs and Glutes
  • Yoga Flow for Balance and Strength
  • Pilates Fit for Waists

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HIIT Pilates Yoga

On demand fitness classes

Have you noticed our ‘on demand’ fitness classes? These are pre-recorded classes with the same feel as our live virtual classes through Zoom. Without fixed show times, it works a bit like Netflix for fitness, so you can do the classes anytime you like. Much like a cinema, our classes are all pay-as-you-go too.

We’ve currently got 3 on demand classes just waiting for you to enjoy anytime you like. Why not try one out over the weekend? All you need to do is book a place for the day you want to do the class and then go ahead and do it!

Whether you’re wanting your fitness fix at 6am in the morning, 10pm at night or even in the middle of the night, our on demand classes have got you. We also change what’s on every so often so you’ll always have something new to try.

Choose from:

  • Strong and stretchy Yoga Slow Flow for Mobility.
  • Fun and energetic Pilates Fit Side Body Focus to tone your waist and deep core muscles.
  • Our brand new Yoga HIIT for Legs and Glutes to give your cardio a boost. 

New Yoga HIIT on demand fitness class

Our new Yoga HIIT class is an absolute burner! Fast-moving HIIT movements based on yoga poses with tabata timing will work your cardio and help you gain muscle tone. We work in an anatomically sympathetic way so you’ll work hard but still be taking care of your joints. And as it’s HIIT, you’ll still be burning energy long after the class is done! 

It’s a must-try whether you’re looking to add some cross-training to your runs/rides or looking to boost your fitness and fat loss.

Don’t miss out

Yoga Slow Flow for Mobility will be leaving the on demand timetable at the end of this week so if you haven’t tried it yet or would like to do it again, now’s your last chance!

Keep in touch

Why not visit our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages to keep up to date on our new on demand fitness class releases?

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Pilates Yoga

Our new virtual classes

In these uncertain times it’s so important to have a routine and that routine should include time to take care of your fitness and wellbeing. Exercise releases ‘feel good’ endorphins and we need these more than ever right now. Regular exercise (alongside good nutrition) also boosts immunity.

To help you with your fitness and wellbeing at home, our classes are now available for you to do from anywhere. If you’ve been to our face to face studio classes before, you’ll be familiar with how we teach. If not, that’s ok – our classes are all mixed ability so they’re suitable for beginners and seasoned exercisers alike. We’d be delighted to welcome you to our virtual studio!

In many ‘virtual’ classes run through Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, there’s little to no interaction with your instructor as they can’t see you. Our virtual classes are run through Zoom which allows you to see your instructor and your instructor to see you (if you wish) meaning you’ll get some two-way interaction – it’s thumbs up all ‘round and the closest we can get to being in the same room together.

Our virtual classes are just £7 per session or £6 if you book with one or more friends (yes, our Friends offer continues even in these interesting times!)

Book your places

Choose from three classes every week.

Yoga FlowOur fitness-focused Yoga class. We begin and end with a short stress-busting meditation and work our way through a sequence of poses designed to get you feeling strong and flexible.

Pilates FitOur fun fitness-focused Pilates class to get you feeling taller, more mobile, stable and strong. Pilates exercises mainly focus on the core but we also target the shoulders and glutes for all-round toning.

Meditative Yoga with Yoga SleepOur super relaxing yoga stretch class with a lovely long meditation to relax and restore you. Snuggle up with your blanket and pillow and banish your worries for a while…

Book your places on any of our virtual classes here.

We don’t just do yoga and pilates classes

Are there other classes you’d like to see on our virtual classes timetable? Perhaps you’d like some one to one fitness coaching? Some one to one yoga or pilates? Or some hypnotherapy? If so, let us know. Our virtual studio is open!

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Personal Training Pilates Yoga

A Christmas workout

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all our clients. May 2020 be a year filled full of achieved goals and happiness. If you’ve been following our 12 Days of Fitmas on social media, today’s bonus challenge is to stitch the videos together to create a festive workout for yourself. We recommend playing the videos in the order below. If you would like to automatically play the videos in this order without a break, we’ve also created a playlist for you on YouTube.

Day 1 – Pilates Posture
Day 7 – Pilates Warm-Up
Day 2 – Tree Pose
Day 8 – Lunges
Day 9 – Wall Sit
Day 10 – Towel Curl
Day 6 – Mobility
Day 11 – Half Burpee Bop
Day 4 – Boat Pose
Day 12 – Relax and Restore Meditation

Use Day 3 (Walking) and Day 5 (Look after yourself) on days when you’re feeling stressed and need to get out of the house.

Day 3 – Walking
Day 5 – Look After Yourself

Have a great Christmas and New Year everyone. See you in January!

Contact us

To book yoga and pilates classes for the new year, visit our booking page. To book personal training, hypnotherapy or yoga/pilates one-to-ones, contact us.

Categories
Stress Yoga

Yoga and resilience to workplace stress

Written by Nat Young, Clinical Hypno-Psychotherapist and Yoga and Pilates Teacher.

We can’t go far these days without seeing something in the media about wellbeing or mental health. Quite simply, it’s a hot topic on the agenda right now. You may also have seen articles about yoga and its links with wellbeing. Yoga is a lot more than just exercise, although it’s great for flexibility and strength too. With yoga’s focus on the breath and remaining in the present moment even when things gets tough, it’s also fantastic for improving your mental health. But don’t just take my word for it, it’s backed up by research!

Over the years there have been multiple research studies which have expressed concern for high levels of workplace stress and poor emotional wellbeing. One study in particular by Hartfiel et al. (2011) examined the effectiveness of yoga in enhancing emotional wellbeing and resilience to stress amongst employees working at a university. In this controlled study, 48 employees were randomly recruited and put into a ‘yoga’ group or a ‘wait list’ control group. The yoga group were offered one lunchtime yoga class per week for a period of 6 weeks. The wait-list group received nothing.

The researchers surveyed the employees of both groups at the beginning and end of the study through self-reported mood questionnaires. They found significantly improved scores in the employees who did one yoga class per week with participants reporting improvements in feelings of clear-headedness, composure, energy, self-confidence and life purpose. The researchers concluded that even after the short 6 week period, yoga was effective at enhancing emotional wellbeing and resilience to workplace stress. If this is what a 6-week programme can do, imagine the benefits to be had from regular yoga practice…

Reference:

US National Library of Medicine, 2019, The effectiveness of yoga for the improvement of wellbeing and resilience to stress in the workplace, viewed 10 Nov 2019, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/20369218/

Contact us

Want to become more resilient to stress? We offer group yoga and pilates classes and a variety of one-to-one sessions including hypnotherapy. Talk to us to see how we could help.

Categories
Pilates Yoga

Classes: Pilates or Yoga?

Are you a Pilates person or a Yoga person? (Or perhaps you can’t decide?!) Read on to see which class sounds most like you…

Pilates

Do you need to blow off some steam after a hard day at the office? Perhaps you want a workout that challenges you but you don’t fancy jumping around? Then Pilates is your class! With its low impact exercises, Pilates is great for all abilities whether you’re just beginning your fitness journey, returning from injury* or looking for something to complement your existing routine. Come and feel the inner fire in your belly with exercises designed to strengthen, lengthen and stabilise the muscles of your core (and I don’t just mean your six pack!) We’ll work on the shoulders, chest, abdominals, back and glutes, as well as focusing on all-over body posture. You may even feel taller when we’ve finished…

Yoga

Fitness-focused Yoga

Feeling overwhelmed? Need to leave a busy day behind and feel like you’ve done something good for your body? Our original fitness-focused yoga class is the best of all worlds. Inspired by the energetic hatha and vinyasa yoga styles, lots of options are given throughout the class to suit beginner to experienced yogis alike. The class has a bit of everything so whether your goal is to improve your strength and flexibility, use movement to gain mental focus, or just feel like you’ve had a workout, this is the class for you. You’ll get a bit sweaty but you’ll be glad you did it!

Yin Yoga and Yin Yoga Chill

Stressed? Anxious? Difficulty sleeping? Just want an hour to do something good for yourself? Yin Yoga is your class. This class is quiet and suitable for all abilities. We’ll do a few stretchy yoga poses designed to calm your mind and body (you don’t need to be flexible!) and then move into a Yoga Nidra meditation specifically designed to calm your body’s stress response. Once per month we also do a ‘Chill’ class with less poses and a longer meditation for the ultimate relaxation experience. You can even bring your favourite blanket and pillow if you wish. Prepare to awaken feeling gently stretched, calm and ready to tackle whatever Friday has in store!

Book your classes

Just £8 per class. Cash, card or online payment accepted. Pop your name down for classes here.

Still not sure?

Contact us and we’ll be happy to help you decide what’s right for you.

*Medical clearance required if returning from injury.

Categories
Hypno-Yoga Yoga

Yin is in! (Yin Yoga that is…)

Written by Nat Young, Aurora’s Clinical Hypno-Psychotherapist and Yoga/Pilates Teacher.

There are many different types of yoga and yin is just one of them. Unlike sweatier ‘yang’ yoga practices such as hatha, vinyasa, ashtanga and bikram, yin yoga is very passive. The concepts of yin and yang come from Chinese medicine. Yang refers to activities which build heat and yin refers to activities which cool the heat down, the idea being that you need both to attain balance in life. Most of us lead ‘yang’ lifestyles where we’re constantly on the go and don’t take time to stop. This often results in constant mind chatter that’s difficult to switch off and ultimately, mental burnout. We also tend to go for yang activities when we exercise, constantly stressing our bodies in the name of physical change. 

Why do Yin Yoga?

Lifestyle balance aside, Yin Yoga is fantastic for improving flexibility and circulation as it focuses on gently stretching the ‘yin’ connective tissues of the body (tendons, ligaments and fascia) as opposed to stretching and strengthening ‘yang’ muscles as other forms of yoga do. A big difference between yin and other forms of yoga are that the poses are held for longer than a few breaths, as is common practice for other forms of yoga. Most of the poses in yin yoga are also seated or lying down. If you’re a runner, cyclist, swimmer or simply a gym-goer, your flexibility will benefit greatly from adding yin yoga classes to your fitness routine. 

Stretching aside, yin is a quiet and meditative practice so you’ll also reap the benefits of releasing built up stresses and emotions while you practice. The practice allows your body to drop down into the parasympathetic nervous system which is responsible for reducing the body’s stress response. This makes yin yoga a deeply healing and nourishing practice. Yin yoga can be grounding, calming and revitalising, with profound energetic and emotional effects.

Passive doesn’t mean easy

Make no mistake, just because yin yoga is passive does not make it easy. Bernie Clark, one of the leading teachers of yin yoga famously stated: “Yin yoga is not meant to be comfortable; it will take you well outside your comfort zone. Much of the benefit of the practice will come from staying in this zone of discomfort, despite the mind’s urgent pleas to leave.”

Join us for Yin Yoga

If you would like to experience all that yin yoga has to offer, we run weekly yin yoga classes in Redhouse, North Swindon. It’s just £8 per session, pay-as-you-train. Take a look at the timetable and book here.

Yin-based Hypno Yoga

We also offer Hypno Yoga one-to-ones where yin yoga is used therapeutically alongside hypnotherapy. This is a really powerful way to help you facilitate change for a variety of different mind-body issues such as IBS, weight loss, anxiety, stress, confidence, self-esteem and sports performance. If you would like a free consultation to discuss how Hypno Yoga could help you, get in touch.

Categories
Pilates Yoga

Yoga and Pilates – what’s the difference?

Written by Nat Young – Yoga Teacher, Clinical Hypno-Psychotherapist and Pilates Teacher.

As we’re launching a new Pilates class this week, many of my Yoga students have wanted to understand the difference between Yoga and Pilates. As this is a question I’m often asked, I thought I would write a post about it. Here we go…

Yoga

Yoga is thousands of years old and originated in the eastern part of the world. It has evolved over many years into what we know in the west today; a holistic practice to unite the mind, body and spirit. In Yoga, the mind and body are seen as a whole structure and physical Yoga practice is used as a way to heal the body and find mental harmony. Yoga is therefore considered to be a therapeutic activity rather than a form of exercise. That’s not to say that Yoga isn’t a fantastic way to look after your body and help you improve your fitness though. My yogis who attend my fitness-focused Yoga classes will certainly attest to that!

Regular Yoga practice gives your whole body strength and flexibility and with its focus on the breath, it promotes relaxation even in the most stressful of times. You could be holding a really difficult pose but your breath is there to get you through it. It sounds a lot like life doesn’t it? In my experience, the most common reasons that people start coming to Yoga classes are either to reduce their stress levels or to increase flexibility. 

Pilates

So that’s Yoga – with me so far? Now for Pilates. Pilates is about 100 years old and originated in the west with Joseph Pilates who originally called his series of exercises ‘Contrology’. Once established, Pilates became very popular amongst dancers and the injured who all used the exercises to rehabilitate their bodies and get them moving better. While these goals are still valid ones today, Pilates is now a popular exercise regime for everyone looking to improve their fitness and wellbeing.

Pilates concentrates on increasing core mobility, stability and strength through slow and controlled movements. This gives a lot of attention to the small stabiliser muscles that you probably didn’t realise you had. When I say ‘core’, I don’t just mean your six pack either! The core is a complex structure of muscles throughout the ‘trunk’ of the body so in a well-balanced Pilates class you’ll be mobilising, stabilising and strengthening your shoulders, chest, back, tummy and glutes. Arms and legs get some focus too of course but the emphasis is on the core. All Pilates exercises also emphasise good posture and there is a balance to be had between flexibility and strength which results in longer, leaner muscles. Hello flatter tummy and shapely muscles! Pilates helps to improve general fitness, complements many other forms of exercise and also improves overall wellbeing. Like Yoga, Pilates also has a focus on the breath but it’s normally used to enhance the effectiveness of the exercises rather than for stress-relief as it is in yoga.

Which class should I do?

This will be down to personal preference as Yoga and Pilates are quite different. Indeed, many people these days see the value in both Yoga and Pilates which is why a whole new generation of people are choosing to incorporate both into their lives rather than just one or the other. If you incorporate both Yoga and Pilates into your weekly fitness regime, you’ll certainly be getting the best of both worlds when it comes to strength, flexibility and mobility. You’ll also reap the benefits of better concentration and stress-relief. What could be better than that?

Book your session

Want to give Yoga and Pilates a go? We’ve got a variety of classes in Redhouse Community Centre, North Swindon so check out our timetable and book here.

If classes aren’t your thing or you want to build confidence before attending classes, we also offer Yoga and Pilates as a one-to-one session in our North Swindon garden studio. Pilates one-to-ones can also be offered with a postural assessment and Pilates exercise prescription. If you’re interested in booking a one-to-one, get in touch here.