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!


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!

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


Feeling overwhelmed by uncertainty?

Here’s an infographic which explains what happens to us when faced with uncertainty. Uncertainty triggers a myriad of events in the brain and what you feel is an evolutionary response. In other words, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, it’s all perfectly normal…

How to bring things back into perspective

Ever heard of the saying “a problem shared is a problem halved?” A hypnotherapy session can be a great way to explore feelings of uncertainty and sometimes the very act of talking about how you’re feeling can bring things back into perspective.

Taking time out to practice relaxation is also useful as it calms the body’s fight, flight, freeze survival response, springing your ‘logical brain’ back into action. We offer a number of different activities for relaxation such as our weekly meditative yoga class, and our hypno yoga and yoga nidra one-to-ones so you’re sure to find something that will help.

Get in touch to see how we can help

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!

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…


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,

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.

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.