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Ongoing 6-week course at The Windmill Studio Centre, Ruislip.

Starts 8th March @ 5:45PM-6:45PM.  £65. 

Limited places so lots of individual attention.  

Please call or email to book your place: 

T: 07532 222 1833 E: info@yogarevolution.co.uk 

“Accept the things we cannot change whilst believing we can overcome our limitations”  

The Ashtanga Primary series is “Yoga Chikitsa” or Yoga Therapy. It was developed in Mysore, South India and brought to the west by the Guru Sri K Pattabhi Jois.  Ashtanga is an intelligently sequenced yoga system that lengthens and tones muscles and increases mobility of the joints. It also creates exceptional core strength and the ujjayi breath practised in class energises you yet soothes your nervous system.  

I  have developed this class to allow you to enjoy the dynamic and strong practice of Ashtanga yoga but working at a slower pace. Perhaps you are starting yoga for the first time in your later years? Maybe you are managing a health condition, have a back issue, you lack strength or feel that you are exceptionally stiff?

 

This class will be a warm and welcoming space for you to build your confidence and develop your own personal yoga practice at your own pace. 

In Mysore, South India where Ashtanga originates the student is taught on a one to one basis but in a group setting. Everyone is taught the same postures but as we are all so different we are all taught in a slightly different way.  Ashtanga is a set sequence so over time you start to remember the sequence yourself.

This slower pace of learning allows those who have injuries, weaknesses or a health issue to work at their own pace.

It is not a gentle stretching/relaxation class. We will work hard to develop strength, resilience and mobility in the body whilst we cultivate self- confidence, focus and steadiness of mind. A bit about your teacher: I have been teaching yoga for over 8 years and I have studied extensively with the Ashtanga yoga Guru in Mysore, South India. I also practice Thai Yoga Massage, AKA Lazy man’s yoga, which is a Buddhist practice of Loving Kindness. I apply this knowledge to my teaching. I love teaching Ashtanga and sharing something that has inspired me to live life to the full!

 Everyone coming to class will be expected to complete a short health questionnaire.  Please check with your Dr or another health professional before signing up to the class. 

   To quote the Ashtanga guru “ Everyone can do Ashtanga yoga, sick person, old person, young person, very old person, One who is sick – he will gain health. One who doesn’t have strength – he will gain strength. The only person who can’t practice is the lazy man. The lazy man always has excuses.’

 

Book your place or get in touch to find out more. info@yogarevolution.co.uk     

Ashtanga Yoga on Saturday’s at 10:30AM-12PM @ The Body Studio, Northwood Hills.

I am an experienced and dedicated Ashtanga yoga teacher who has studied extensively with the Ashtanga Guru in Mysore, South India. I cannot wait to share this life-changing yoga practice with you!

Please get in touch to book your place or to find out more:

E:info@yogarevolution.co.uk

T: 07532 221 833

11 Benefits of Ashtanga Yoga It’s an ancient and traditional yoga practice steeped in spirituality. Ashtanga also happens to have some very surprising health benefits. Ashtanga can help us to find health in body and mind in an often stressful modern world.

1 Cardiovascular Fitness Ashtanga is a “vinyasa” style of yoga which means it’s a moving, not a static yoga style. Anyone who has practiced the sun salutations at the beginning of any Ashtanga class knows how much they get the heart rate up and the blood pumping! 

2 Core Strength Ashtanga creates exceptional core strength and really connects us with those sometimes-elusive deep core muscles. Many people who suffer from lower back pain find this strength alleviates it. 

3 Improves joint range of movement  Ashtanga increases the range of movement in our joints so we are more agile and move with more grace and ease, rather than stiffen with age. We can bend down without creaking!

4 Counteracts the damage of sitting Many of us spend hours each day sitting. This creates a lot of pressure on the lower back, tightens the hamstrings and the hips. Sitting with our hips flexed all day means they become “locked” and in time we are no longer able to utilise the ball and socket joint of the hip i.e. allow the joint to move in all directions.  Sitting all day is also bad news for our core. Regular Ashtanga practice brings you back to a healthy fully functioning body that feels light and free.

5 Ashtanga is not a stretching class! Simply Stretching muscles is not particularly beneficial.  Ashtanga creates strong lean muscles and we focus on lengthening not stretching.

6 Ashtanga teaches us how to breathe correctly A powerful tool in overcoming stress and anxiety.  The breathing practiced in Ashtanga helps us to manage our “fight or flight” response to stressful situations and react in a more reasoned way.

7 Awareness We become more aware of how we sit, stand and move as we go about our day so our posture improves and we are less likely to create further issues in our body.

 8 Learn an invaluable life skill Ashtanga is a set sequence you will learn by heart.  It becomes part of your daily life and enables you to learn a life skill that will enhance your quality of life.

9 Self-care You feel more inclined to look after yourself as you become more in tune with yourself. Suddenly you are eating healthier and making better choices for your overall health.   

10 You realise anything is possible! When I started to practice Ashtanga I found a lot of the postures impossible and often said “I’ll never be able to do that” Some postures took years to master but it taught me perseverance and patience and that with the right attitude anything is possible!

11 Clarity of mind Yoga was created thousands of years ago, yet we need it more today than ever before. We are subjected to constant bombardment of images and information, especially those of us glued to our iPhone and social media! We are constantly on the go.  The quiet time, mindful movement and introspection of yoga can sow the seeds for a more focused mind and counteract the stress and overwhelm that over stimulation causes.

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My Teen yoga classes have been developed with respect to the anatomical and physiological differences between teens and adults. The Teen Yoga classes give each student their own yoga practice and a safe way to exercise, create life-long healthy habits and improve self-esteem and confidence.  

Classes are dynamic, challenging, inclusive and fun! Amongst most adults who practice yoga on a regular basis there are probably only a handful who have been lucky enough to have been taught yoga as a child or Teen. If you have a regular yoga practice I’m sure you have often lamented “If only I had started this when I was young.”

Body Awareness Yoga is a great supplement to sport. It creates body awareness and can prevent injuries occurring and can help to heal existing ones. Yoga is the reason that many sports stars such as Ryan Giggs have had a long career.

Yoga is a very useful tool in highlighting the areas of strength and weakness in our bodies.Texting spine

As soon we start practicing yoga we are more aware of how we sit, stand, move or play our chosen sport.  I literally cringe when I see teenagers hunched over their iPhone or iPad! Send them to yoga! Even a weekly hour long yoga class can have a profound effect on our daily postural habits.

Anxiety and Stress Through yoga we can learn that anxiety is not useful or necessary – it’s a learned behaviour and habit that can be unlearned. The mindful movement and deep focused breathing in yoga soothes the nervous system. We learn that we can manage feelings of anxiety and replace these feelings with more positive and reasoned ones.

The teenage brain is incredibly adaptable. Practicing yoga as a young person can eliminate or reduce mental health issues. Increasingly, yoga is being used by adolescent mental health experts as part of the treatment for a variety of mental health issues

Focus- Yoga Chitti Vriti Nirodha” Yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind.

Teens are subjected to more information, stimulation and noise than ever before. How can they focus and learn at school when their brains are constantly bombarded?  Their brains are becoming hardwired for instant gratification and in turn teens are becoming more impatient.

No wonder stress and anxiety levels and mental health issues are becoming the norm for teens. Yoga teaches us patience, considered actions and awareness. Teens need it more than ever! Anyone who has a regular yoga practice knows how it calms the chatter in the mind and allows clearer thinking. When trying to learn and absorb information this is so useful.

Many schools who have introduced yoga are astounded at the improvement in behaviour and teens ability to learn.

Social Conscience Yoga is not a dogma or a religion but there are codes of conduct in the Yamas and Niyamas. They are not rules but guidelines on how to live and treat yourself and others. They open to interpretation and discussion.

Discussing them with Teens is incredible! We often have the most insightful and profound conversations. Once we are aware and have brought them to life through discussion we start to incorporate them into our lives. The deeper aspects of yoga inform how we live in the world and how interact with and treat other people.

One school introduced yoga and an unexpected result of regular yoga classes was a massive reduction in bullying. Reason alone to teach yoga to teenagers.

About the author I teach yoga to adults, teens and families in schools, yoga studios and privately. I am always amazed how teens “get” yoga and I love teaching young people.

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Texting spine

 

Yoga is becoming increasingly popular at work and no wonder as the results speak for themselves.
Many large companies such as Apple, Nike and Google offer yoga to their staff.
I’ve taught yoga to large international companies, small independents with just 4 employees and everything in between.

Having taught yoga in the workplace for the last few years the feedback I get says it all.
“I look forward to the class all week” comes up a lot. How good is that? Workplace Yoga means people look forward to coming to work!
Here are 8 good reasons to have a yoga class at work but there are many more!
1.Stress
Yoga is an effective way to reduce stress. Stress is the cause of many sick days and loss of productivity. Yoga teaches us how we can manage stress better. Deep breathing exercises accompanied by mindful movement activate the body’s parasympathetic system. This is much healthier state for us to be in.
2.Yoga keeps giving
The effects of the class don’t finish when you roll up your mat. Yoga makes us aware of our posture, how we breathe and how we sit at our desk and how we move for the rest of the day. A lunchtime class means being more alert and focused and feeling happier and more positive. We carry that feeling into the outside world and we are better at communicating with customers. Less stressed employees have a happier home life and more positive interactions with family and friends.
3.RSI and Pain
Yoga releases the neck, back and wrist tension caused by tapping away at a keyboard all day. In fact, whatever your job regular yoga classes can reset the body and undo negative postural habits and in turn prevent injury (please note, this cannot be achieved by following a yoga DVD, you need a teacher to guide you)
4.Productivity
A lunchtime yoga class ensures we are thinking clearly, re-energised and focus for the afternoon.
We feel more positive and more motivated. Procrastination, conflicts etc. waste so much time at work. Even though I spend at least 90 minutes a day on my yoga practice I recoup that time with increased productivity, focus and feeling more motivated, energised and positive about the day ahead of me. Even 15 minutes of yoga a day can make a big difference.
This is exactly why so many business leaders have a daily yoga practice and why so many companies are providing classes at work.
5.Morale and Team building
Doing something positive with your colleagues ensures you feel good and gives you some common ground with your colleugues.
Some of the staff at one corporate class I teach set up a yoga group at work and practice together outside of class. Friendships have been forged and they encourage each other
6.Staff retention and less sick days
If we are not getting sick at work through stress and suffering all of the related health issues sick days are reduced. If we experience something positive at work, we feel good about being there.
7.Let’s be reasonable
With regular practice, the mindful movements, breathing, and relaxation techniques practiced in yoga result in more reasoned thinking.
This means less reactionary and emotionally charged behaviour. We are better at self-regulation and less likely to create unnecessary conflict.
8.Increased energy and movement
whilst a dynamic yoga class is cardiovascular and gives our muscles a work-out it is much more than a workout! We feel energised but calm.
One well-documented effect of yoga is how it helps us sleep. Yoga helps you learn how to switch off.
I remember suffering from insomnia when I worked in an office.
I was on high alert all day in a room with fluorescent lighting, staring at a bright screen for hours. Hardly conducive to switching off in the evening! Once you learn some simple stretches and breathing techniques insomnia is a thing of the past.
Our bodies were designed to move. A yoga class ensures all of our joints work through their full range of movement keeping us young, supple and healthy and studies have shown that people who take up yoga are more likely to take up other physical activities. It reminds us of the joy of movement and being connected with our bodies.
This is essential in today’s sedentary world and could be a vital tool in combating obesity.

History  Thai Yoga Massage actually originates in Northern India around 2,500 years ago, at the time of Buddha. It was practiced in Buddhist temples as a form of healing and  an extension of Theravada Buddhist practice, specifically meditation.  When the Buddhists left India and travelled to Thailand they took this practice with them. When we give a Thai Yoga Massage we are focused solely on the receiver and what they need from us as the therapist. We are practicing mindfulness as well as  “Metta” or  “loving kindness” meditation.

The treatment works on “Sen” lines or energy lines in the body. When these energetic pathways are blocked physical or mental illness or pain occurs. Thai Yoga Massage is used to heal and prevent illness. The energetic pathways in Thai Yoga Massage are very different to those in traditional Chinese and Japanese practises such as Acupuncture and Shiatsu. Thai Yoga Massage has much more in common with the traditional yogic energetic system.

What can I expect from a treatment?  The full treatment takes two hours which is highly recommended to get the full benefit but shorter treatments are offered. Traditional Thai Yoga Massage is quite different from a lot of the more “westernised” treatments on offer today.  Recently I booked a treatment in a Thai massage centre in London and specifically asked for traditional Thai Yoga Massage.  I was really disappointed to receive a Swedish style massage with a couple of stretches thrown in!

A Traditional Thai Yoga Massage is done fully clothes and you will lie on a comfortable futon on the floor. The treatment works from the feet upwards. I apply strong pressure to the body “palming” the energy lines. This can feel quite intense but also soothing. I bring you into yoga stretches to release tension in the whole body. As someone who has practiced yoga every day for years I find that these stretches reach the parts yoga can’t!

The treatment works on balancing energy and is a wonderful treatment for stress and anxiety.

How does it differ from a deep tissue or Swedish massage? Thai Yoga massage is also known as “Lazy man’s yoga” the treatment works on restoring balance and harmony bringing you to optimum health in body and mind.  The applied stretches release tension and literally allow everything to flow as it should. We tune into the needs of the receiver and apply a treatment specifically for you.

The Traditional Thai Yoga massage treatment will always include the stomach. For some reason, the more westernised treatments always miss out the stomach massage which is a shame as all of the energy lines run through the tummy. As someone who has experienced quite serious stomach issues in the past, I find the stomach massage incredibly healing.

Do I need to be flexible? Absolutely not! Most people I work on do not practice yoga and would consider themselves to be fairly stiff. I have treated marathon runners and sports people as well as people who experience stiffness due to sitting at a desk all day.  The treatment works wonders and has encouraged many to take up yoga.

What can it treat? You don’t have to have aches and pains or feel unwell to benefit from a treatment! The treatment will leave you feeling, lighter, more flexible and calm. Thai Yoga Massage can successfully treat anxiety and stress insomnia, muscular and pains, IBS, migraines…the list is endless!

About the author…Fiona is an Ashtanga Yoga student and teacher as well as an experienced Thai massage therapist. “I am incredibly lucky to have trained with the UK’s most experienced Thai Yoga Massage therapist and teacher, Kira Balasakas who’s dedication to keeping the spirit of true Thai Yoga Massage alive is an inspiration.”

 

Heating, victorious breathing…..

I am often surprised and dismayed when new students come to class who have been practicing Ashtanga or other forms of Hatha yoga for a while yet have no concept of the practice of Ujjayi breath. This is certainly not the fault of the student.

Ashtanga means “Eight Limbs” in Sanskrit. Pranayama is one of these limbs. In Ashtanga yoga it is practiced in conjunction with Asana (posture).

Without Ujjayi breath we are not practicing Ashtanga.

Using Ujjayi breath opens the gateway to unlimited Prana or energy, practicing without it will leave you weak and depleted.

This way of breathing has several benefits. When you witness an experienced Ashtangi practicing postures they seem to defy gravity. They are strong yet light and demonstrate incredible control. This is only possible with Ujjayi Breathing.

Ujjayi requires a slight constriction of the glottis, the upper part of the larynx, which is achieved by partially closing it with the epiglottis.

Sounds a bit complicated doesn’t it?

It’s actually quite simple. We do this naturally when we want to whisper. Holding the throat in this way when we breath, with the mouth closed and the glottis slightly constricted, we stretch the breath and create a sound like the ocean waves, or less romantically put like Darth Vadar!

The sound should come from the throat, not the nose. No sniffing!

Benefits of Ujjayi

Heating Breath This constriction allows friction to occur so the breath enters the lungs warm. This heats the body or as Guruji put it “Boils the blood”. We do not need to external heat, we can create it from within. This heat enables us to sweat and makes the body more flexible.

There are tales of yogis in ancient times performing Asana on the ice in the Himalayas wearing nothing but a loincloth with steam coming off them! They knew the power of Ujjayi!

Sense Withdrawal The whole purpose of yoga is to look inside ourselves. Pratyahara is one of the eight limbs of Ashtanga (Sense withdrawal, looking inside) Once you start your own daily Ashtanga practice the sound of the breath brings you into the state of Pratyahara.

Creates of Energy If you exercise at a gym you work out, in yoga we work in and create not expend energy

Soothes and Relaxes Breathing in this way reduces the “fight or flight” response, soothes the nervous system as well as helping to lower blood pressure

Increases Lung capacity A daily yoga practice with focus on deep steady breathing whilst practicing strenuous and dynamic postures i.e. Ashtanga yoga allows us to improve our lung capacity

Creates Strength This breath makes us both strong and light by encouraging us to use our core muscles as well as the intercostal muscles and diaphragm

Ujjayi Pranayama Exercise
•Sit in a comfortable position on the floor which may be Sukasana, crossed legged, lotus or half lotus.
•Close your eyes.
•First take the breath in through the nose then exhale through the mouth making a “Haaa” sound.
•Now try to inhale and then exhale through the nose making that same sound
•Gently “sip” the breath in through the nose. Don’t strain or force the breath
•Now try to match the length of the inhale with the length of the exhale.
•Visualise your lungs and allow then to fill and empty completely.
•Now try to connect movement with your breath as you would in your Ashtanga practice. Lift your arms up overhead as you inhale and lower them down on the exhale. Repeat this a few times
•Ensure you are connecting with your Bandhas* to retain Prana in the body
•Take your time.  Relax into it, don’t stress if it doesn’t happen straight away. Spend at least 5 minutes on this exercise.

*Uddiyana Bandha -keeping the lower tummy beneath the navel still but allowing the upper abdomen to expand with your breath and drawing up the centre of your pelvic Floor, Mula Bandha or your Root Lock

This drawing up of the Bandhas stops “Apana” or downward flow of Prana

I could say so much more about Bandhas but I’ll save that for the next blog!

If you are struggling with Ujjayi in your Ashtanga practice be sure to try the above exercise every day before you begin. Soon it will become second nature and Ujjayi will be a valuable asset in your yoga practice and life in general!

 

An introduction to Mysore Ashtanga workshop – 7th November 2-4pm

Unravel the mystery of this powerful yoga system. Together we will explore the fundamentals of this practice. Asana, Ujjayi Breath, Drishti and of course discovering your Bandhas!
Ashtanga Yoga is traditionally taught in a one-one basis in a group setting.
This ensures you learn at your own pace whilst benefiting from the support and energy of a group class.
Ashtanga is a transformational practice that can only happen through the traditional way of practicing.
You do not need to know the sequence beforehand. You learn at a pace which suits you, and the practice can be modified, taking into account any postural factors, injuries or illness. Through constant repetition of negative thoughts or actions we form negatives habits in our body and mind. Through daily repetition of Ashtanga yoga we can create the positive habits of a calm and focused mind and a strong and supple body free from the aches of stress and anxiety.
No prior knowledge of Ashtanga is required to attend this workshop.
Everyone is welcome.