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.

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 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. 


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.

Personal Training Yoga

Can I just do yoga?

Written by Nat Young – Clinical Hypno-Psychotherapist, Fitness Instructor and Yoga Teacher

This is a question I’m often asked and the short answer is “of course you can!” but whether you’ll reach your fitness goals with ‘just yoga’ is another question. Let me explain…

A well-rounded fitness programme will consist of exercises for strength, cardiovascular fitness and flexibility. The NHS regards yoga as a strength building exercise (as well as the obvious benefits to flexibility), however, not all yoga is equal. If you’re doing Yin-style yoga, that’s not strength-based at all as it’s focused on flexibility of the joints and connective tissues. However, a strong Hatha, Vinyasa or Power inspired yoga practice such as our fitness-focused yoga classes is a different story! You’ll get strength benefits from these faster, stronger styles.

An important distinction to make is that all yoga is bodyweight-based so you won’t get the same ‘tone’ that you get from lifting weights (think ‘long and lean’ muscles!) In terms of lifting weights, how you lift them is important. Lighter weights and high repetitions such as those you might find in a studio weights class such as Body Pump will help with muscular endurance (so you train your body to be able to continue when it gets tired) but heavier weights and low repetitions such as those in a gym-based environment are better for building size and ultimate strength. Building muscle is also great if your goal is weight loss as a higher muscle mass will boost metabolism.

Lots of ladies worry about lifting heavier weights in case they bulk up too much but rest assured, it’s much harder for women to bulk up as we don’t have the high levels of testosterone that our male counterparts have. Yoga also doesn’t have a lot of pulling movements (it’s mainly pushing movements) so supplementing your yoga practice with exercises like lat pulldowns or rows can really help to keep the balance.

From a cardio fitness perspective, you’ll get some benefit from a faster paced yoga class but really it’s best to supplement your yoga practice with some dedicated heart-rate raising activities as well. Cycling, swimming, running or simply walking briskly are all fantastic for this. As long as you feel yourself getting breathless with the effort, it’ll be increasing your cardio fitness.

While balance is important to make your fitness goals a reality, it’s also important to choose forms of exercise that you enjoy. You’re more likely to stick with your exercise regime if you look forward to doing it! Consistency is key.

At Aurora we know all-round fitness is important, whether it’s physical fitness or mind fitness. That’s why we offer personal training and hypnotherapy as well as yoga. Why not get in touch to see how we could help with your mind and body fitness goals?

Goal setting Personal Training Sports Performance Hypnotherapy Yoga

The Strength of the Human Spirit

Written by Nick Young – Personal Trainer.

What a weekend for sport! We had the cricket world cup where England won by the slimmest of margins. We had Wimbledon, where Djokovic won the men’s singles in a thrilling finale, again by very slim margins. And we had a Lewis Hamilton victory at Silverstone, where victory was decided by the timing of a safety car.

On a personal level I was delighted to help out Natalie this weekend at base camp for @racetothestones – a 100km trail run  along the Ridgeway, the oldest path in  the UK – where she was providing a much needed and welcome yoga based stretching programme for the entrants at the end of day one. And what an experience that was!

One thing jumped out at me in this very difficult event where I meandered and talked to some of the participants. There were young and old, male and female, supremely fit athletes looking for a personal best and relative beginners doing it for a good cause alike taking part, but with a shared sense of destiny and achievement. I was in awe of these competitors, and their ability and determinedness to work through their pain and tiredness to achieve the goal they had set out.


What do all these winning people have in common? Well I think there’s a couple of things. The first thing is belief. As humans, we are all capable of way more than we think we are, we just have to believe in ourselves. Whether you’re a sportsperson taking part in your first or 100th event, or even in the business world or any other part of your life, with the right mental attitude and preparation you will be better at it.

That’s one of the things that elevate Lewis Hamilton or Novak Djokovic above the rest. As a personal trainer I of course know the science behind improving your performance or physical wellbeing. But a much harder nut to crack is the self-belief that you can do it.

Supporting roles

The second thing is the support they have built around themselves. Take a look at any top sporting star and it’s clear they haven’t achieved their goals alone. They have family, coaches, physios, nutritionists and many more among their entourage. These supporting individuals have a hugely important part to play in the success of these top stars.

That’s where I come in as a supporting player in your success. We may not all be sporting superstars, but we are all amazing in our own way. Using various tools such as coaching, goal setting and targeted sports performance hypnotherapy with Natalie, it is my privilege to work with you to bring out the best in you, to help you gain that self-belief and physical fitness that will elevate you beyond what you thought possible.

Any personal trainer (including me!) can come along and give you lots of exercises to do which will make you tired, and may make you stronger and fitter, at least in the short term. But as you can see, the fitness aspect is only one part of achieving your goals. Let’s work on those goals together.

For more information on personal training or personal coaching, click here or contact us for an informal chat.

Personal Training Yoga

Why health forms are important

Written by Nick Young – Personal Trainer.

Whether it’s a yoga class, a personal training session or other physical activity, if you’ve ever taken part in a session with Aurora Mind and Body, we’ll have asked you to fill out a form about your medical and exercise history and readiness to participate (as should all exercise professionals). There are a few reasons why we do this and it’s not because we enjoy paperwork! We may also need to ask you a couple of follow-up questions depending on your responses to the form. 

fitness health forms

Firstly, and most importantly, we need to ensure your safety. If you have a health condition, some forms of exercise may be unsuitable for you or even dangerous to your wellbeing. In such a circumstance we always aim to be empathetic and helpful  but we’re not doctors. If we don’t know what your condition means from an exercise perspective, please understand that we may ask you to see your doctor for clearance before participating in some cases. It’s a part of the REPs code of ethics that all exercise professionals sign up to, to train you ‘safely and effectively’.

Secondly, we want you to get the most out of your exercise. We recognise that you’ve made the effort to invest in your personal health and fitness, and we want to encourage that. With no two people the same, what one person finds easy, another person will find difficult. There are many different ways of getting the same exercise benefit and if we know about any aches, pains or ailments before your session, we can modify those exercises to work with your body rather than against it.

“…it’s not because we’re nosey but because we want to ensure your exercise is as safe and enjoyable as possible

Finally, we have to consider the legal aspect. Some conditions require special training and we’d be considered negligent if we trained you when we don’t have specialist knowledge of a condition or limitation you have.  To do otherwise would be contrary to the REPs code of ethics that we adhere to. It’s therefore important that you’ve taken medical advice if you answer ‘yes’ to any questions on your health form.

We also know that your health and fitness changes over time, so even if you’ve filled out a health form before, we ask that you let us know if anything changes. We may also ask you to fill out a new form if you haven’t filled one out for a while. So as you can see, health forms aren’t required because we’re nosey but rather because we want to ensure your exercise is as safe and enjoyable as possible!


New Yoga Chill classes!

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

Update: Yoga Chill is here to stay! Take a look at our class timetable to see when the next class is.

We’re excited to announce that two new Yoga Chill classes have been added to our special yoga class timetable!

Yoga Chill

These yoga classes are very gentle and the second half of the class will focus on the ultimate yoga relaxation, Yoga Nidra (yogic sleep). A 1 hour session of Yoga Nidra is said to be equivalent to 4 hours of sleep so it’s quite amazing! These sessions are ideal for stress relief, sleep improvement and recharging the body.

Our special classes fill up quickly so if you would like a space, book one here before they all go!

No previous yoga experience is necessary for these sessions and we’ll be doing a lot of lying down! Also don’t forget your blanket, pillow and a mat (if you have one).

Hope to see you on the mat for a recharge!

Hypno-Yoga Hypnotherapy Sports Performance Hypnotherapy Yoga

Facing fears: physical and mental challenges

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

I feel very apprehensive about posting this but I’m doing so because I know so many people struggle and I want to show you all that I struggle too – you are not alone! Struggles can be both physical and emotional. I think my struggle is mainly emotional and it’s based on fear.

As a yoga teacher I feel I should be able to do a headstand. Guess what? After over 10 years of yoga practice, I’m not there yet! This photo is my best attempt at a headstand so far and it was taken a couple of months ago. I know I have the physical strength to hold my bodyweight on my arms, so I’m convinced my challenge is a mental one.

While I’m quite scared of headstands, I know if I keep practicing I’ll get there eventually. I just need to face my fear! This mindset applies to so many challenges that we face in life. Whether it’s yoga poses we think we can’t do, races we think we can’t run or emotional struggles such as anxiety and stress that we think we’ll never beat. As scary as it sounds, the key is to face your fear!

What struggles would you like to overcome?

Hypno-Yoga Hypnotherapy Yoga

Introducing Hypno Yoga

When a yoga class isn’t enough, Hypno Yoga could be the answer

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

Have you been to yoga classes but found they’re not quite enough to help you overcome an issue you’ve been struggling with? Do you feel you could do with some help to overcome an emotional situation? Have you had hypnotherapy before but found it difficult to relax? If you’ve answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, our Hypno Yoga in North Swindon could be what you’re looking for.

In yoga, ‘prana’ is defined as life-force energy. When prana is blocked, this can result in energy being utilised negatively. This can affect our ability to live in the present and exacerbate issues we may already have.

Our Hypno Yoga is a fusion of both yoga and hypnotherapy together. It’s particularly suitable for people who like to move their body before settling down to relax. Just like a yoga class, you’re likely to experience a lovely post-yoga feeling after you’ve stretched, which puts you in a great place to receive hypnotherapy. You don’t need any prior experience of yoga and you don’t need to be fit or flexible to have a Hypno Yoga session.

Hypno Yoga is a particularly suitable alternative for the following hypnotherapy treatments:

– Sleep issues
– Stress management
– Weight loss
– Anxiety
– Depression
– Fitness and sports performance
– Increasing confidence
– Increasing self-esteem

Take a look at our treatment page for more information on these treatments.

Just like our hypnotherapy sessions, we’ll discuss what you would like to achieve before your first session. Our Hypno Yoga sessions normally start with a short guided relaxation to focus the mind. This is then followed with gentle yoga poses aimed at getting prana flowing. We then finish with a hypnotherapy session focusing on the problem you wish to work on.

Get in touch

If you would like to get yourself mind and body fit with Hypno Yoga in North Swindon, get in touch.

Mindfulness Yoga

A word on personal yoga practice

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

As a yoga teacher in Swindon, I’m always focussing on lesson plans for my Swindon yoga classes. I ask for feedback at the end of my classes and during class I tune in on the body language of my students to see which poses they enjoy and which ones they’re less keen on. This gives me ideas for upcoming lesson plans and also helps me to adapt my teaching style to my students. While I’m lesson planning I also practice my plans to make sure they feel right. I know if a practice feels right because my mind and body will feel balanced and satisfied afterwards.

Lesson planning aside, I’m struggling with my back at the moment. My thoracic spine is less bendy than it should be and I’ve always had a larger lordotic curve in my lower back than most people. This means the muscles from my lower back downwards get really tight. (Yes, even yoga teachers have inflexible bits!) I’m currently seeing a physiotherapist to sort out my spine and I’ve also got some exercises to help at home.

swindon yoga classes

While going through the motions of questioning why my spine has ‘failed me’, I’ve realised that I’ve tended to forego my own personal yoga practice as teaching has become more important to me. This has probably contributed to my current issue because I’ve neglected my own needs. This has to change if I’m to keep my body in tip-top condition for teaching. To help with this I’ve put my physio exercises into a personal yoga practice tailored specifically to the needs of my body. This is good for me physically as it means I’ll be working on my own physical imbalance. It’s also good for me mentally as I’m doing something good for myself.

A personal yoga practice outside of class can be beneficial

Whether you’re a teacher yourself or an experienced student, a home practice can be incredibly beneficial. Bodies become tight, inflexible or weak in different places and no body is exactly the same as another. By ‘tuning in’ on your body during classes you begin to learn which poses your body loves and which stretches feel gorgeous. Some poses might also feel difficult but they feel good afterwards. You know the poses I mean, I’m sure!

A home yoga practice should be tailored to your body’s needs

That gorgeous post-yoga feeling you get when your body has lapped up a yoga practice occurs because the poses you’ve practiced are what your mind and body needs. A personal yoga practice enables you to experience specific poses and explore areas of physical and emotional tension in your own time and at your own pace, something that’s difficult to do in a class environment. Practicing at home can also help your progress in class too.

So while I work through the current issues I have with my back, I’ll be complementing my class teaching with my own daily practice which I’ll change as the needs of my body change. If you haven’t already tried practicing yoga at home, why not give it a try?

Note:If you’re not sure where to begin with a home yoga practice, please consult an experienced yoga teacher.