Following on the heels of our Mini Balance workshop at the Om Yoga Show Manchester, here are our Top 5 Tips for balance!
Balance is not just a physical element to a pose. Balance in the mind and the breath is equally as important.
When the mind becomes agitated, so too does the body.
Breath practice (pranayama), breath-led movement in asanas, and guided relaxation can be utilised to find this balance in the mind, the body and in life
In order to find balance in your balancing asanas these five top tips are essential:
- Strong foundation and sthira (steadiness) – A strong, steady base in those parts of the body that make up the foundations of the pose, drawing energy up through the body from our stable foundation. e.g. in standing balances lifting and spreading the toes, gripping the mat with the toes, weight in the heel and side of the foot, a natural arch to the foot. Active muscles in leg, micro-bend to the knees, engaging pelvic floor and core.
- Sukha (ease) – Finding ease and lightness in the posture. The pose isn’t stiff and adjust it whenever required. Softness in the pose and fluidity in mindful movement both in and out of the pose. Using the breath to cultivate a sense of sukha.
- Drishti (focus) – Very important – focus with soft gaze on particular point e.g. The hands in Low Lunge pose (anjaneyasana). The drishti aids concentration, focus and mindfulness. Still mind = still body
- Satya (truthfulness) – Practise with truth, listen to your body. Use a staged approach into each posture. Use modifications and props when needed (props are for all!). Props allow us to explore what our own body’s ability is in each posture whilst aiding correct alignment. Same benefits are achieved with props e.g. using the wall to aid balance in tree pose we still gain leg strength, balance, focus and hip opening. Remember to rest when needed and ease back or release if uncomfortable. Listen to the body and make any micro-adjustments throughout.
- Have a try! – Don’t worry about being wobbly or losing your balance. Try to let go of attachment to the ego – self judgement/frustration. If wobbly, ease back or perhaps try previous step on staged approach e.g. Keeping toes on floor in Crow Pose (Bakasana). Can always gently release and rest when required and perhaps try again. Remember to make use of props and modifications to posture. Approach wobbliness/losing balance with a gentle smile on our faces – find lightheartedness in practising poses and in losing balance/wobbliness and trying again. Can we approach life in this way?
First and foremost thank you to everyone that has supported us over the last year since we moved from teaching one to ones to group classes!
This includes all those that have come to our public yoga classes, our one to one clients and our corporate clients!
Thursday 19th April 2018 marked the one year anniversary. A one year anniversary is traditionally known as the paper anniversary, so what better way to mark this than by giving away some of our gift vouchers!
We decided to add up who had attended the most classes and give something back to our biggest supporters.
Our leader board was as follows;
1st place – a gift voucher for a block of 6 classes – Jane Walsh
2nd place – a voucher for 3 classes – Janet Deighton
3rd place – a voucher for 3 classes – Julie Forshaw
4th place – a box of fancy chocolates – Graham Cowell
There were also Co-op vegan doughnuts for everyone after class, a fine selection of both custard and jam. One of our class members, Margaret can be seen feeding us doughnuts in the picture below whilst demonstrating our peak poses of Cobra and Upwards facing dog.
Thank you again for all your support
Paul & Steve xx
One of our regular Monday Yoga class members, Mollie, is currently in Africa doing some charity work. She kindly agreed to do a guest blog for us so we could see what she is up to. Its great to see her showing the children some yoga postures!
Here is her guest blog;
Hi I’m Mollie!
I have come out to Africa to do some charity work in a local school and hospital. I have been doing this for 4 years now, helping teach basic hygiene and also some English language and drama.
I got into doing this with my grandma as she found the hospital and school and wanted to make a difference and wanted to help improve their lives.
Today was the first day visiting the gorgeous children of Bright Star School. 416 children to be exact!!
We played games, sang songs, played musical instruments and even got time to practice some yoga.
It can be so overwhelming at times when you have 20+ children all wanting to hold your hands. But at the same time they inspire me so much as they are so keen to learn something new and love trying something different. They’re all beautifully mannered and an absolute pleasure to be working with for the week.
We just wanted to let everyone know that we are teaching at the Om Yoga Show in Manchester on Saturday 21st April at 14:15-14:45 at Event City.
We are really looking forward to being part of this great festival and Steve is particularly excited about teaching in his home city of Manchester!
We will be teaching a mini balance workshop where we will explore the foundations and essence of balancing. We will teach our top 5 tips for finding balance in the body, mind and in life. The class will be FREE for people attending the festival.
Here is a link to eventbrite where you can purchase tickets for the festival;
Please note that if you are a member of the British Wheel of Yoga then you can get free tickets to the Om Yoga Show at this link;
If you would like to join the British Wheel of Yoga you can do so here, there are also details here of the benefits of joining such as the great quarterly Spectrum magazine which we have recently given away some free copies off at our classes;
Here is a link to the event on our Facebook page;
thanks and hope to see you there
Paul & Steve x
We had a great time at this years British Wheel of Yoga (BWY) Yoga Fest at Warwick University. We thought we would report back on the weekend to share it with you all.
We arrived at Warwick Uni in the afternoon, checked in to our accommodation and went and picked up our session tickets and welcome packs.
My first session was with a lovely Italian Yoga Teacher called Elena which was called “Lost in Translation: Intelligent and functional sequencing.” This was a great session with lots of wonderful detailed instruction moving through some simple yet very strengthening movements.
After a delicious lunch was one of the headline sessions of the weekend, a talk by Dr Timothy McCall on the Holistic Science of Yoga Therapy. Dr McCall is an American MD and explained his approach to yoga therapy. He has published a book compiling all of the papers and evidence on the efficacy of yoga for a range of different ailments. To date I think he has a list of 101 conditions that yoga has been proven to help by scientific studies. Here is a link to the list off his website;
And here is a link to his website too;
This talk was then followed by a presentation on the work carried out with the NHS. This was delivered by The Minded Institute’s Heather Mason and was titled Yoga in the NHS. Heather detailed the 10 week NHS pilot scheme that has been run in London and the very positive initial findings from this study. These results will be written up and a paper published in the future. Hopefully this will roll out nationwide! Heather is a director of the Yoga in Health Care Alliance which is a social enterprise, here is a link to their website;
On Saturday our first session was with our yoga mamma Carol Price! We did our British Wheel of Yoga training with Carol Price and Paul Fox in Salford and are good friends with both of them. We always call Carol our Yoga Mamma! The session was a beautiful flowing sequence focusing on Dividing the Yogic Body. There is always something to learn from great teachers such as Carol and we came away with plenty of ideas for our classes!
The next session we attended was a very interesting and informative session with Jo Creaser about Social Prescribing / working in a deprived area of Norfolk. This was an informal conversational session and it was great to learn how Jo had brought yoga to deprived areas in Norfolk and the continuing good work she is doing with people of all ages. Here is a link to Jo’s website;
Another headline session followed delivered by the American author Elliot Goldberg who wrote the fantastic book The Path of Modern Yoga. Elliot talked about some of the key players in the field of yoga and the development of traditional yoga into the modern yoga class we know and love. Elliot’s book is a wonderful read and busts a lot of myths about yoga and its origins!
The British Wheel of Yoga AGM followed with a presentation on all the hard work and progress made by the NEC over the last year. It made us feel very proud to be members of the BWY.
The next session for me was an Ashtanga Yoga workshop with Scott Johnson and Andy Gill. I was so glad that they were here again after attending their great sessions last year. They are such intelligent and intuitive teachers and their approach to Ashtanga is very inspiring. With the help of my good friend Sharlene I was able to fold forwards into the most comfortable and deepest version of Paschimottanasana that I had ever done!
In the evening there was a very entertaining lesson in Argentine Tango! This fitted in perfectly to the Yoga Fest, the mindful movement of the body to the music really resonated with the yoga practitioners and teachers present. I had the pleasure of dancing with two lovely people, Nina (pictured below) and a Yoga Teacher from Southport called Pam. Next stop Strictly Come Dancing!
After the clocks turning forward an hour overnight the 6am Ashtanga Yoga class was tough to get up for but I managed it. In reality it was 5am to my body clock! The class was led by Scott Johnson and Andy Gill and was a lovely way to start the morning. Here is a link to their websites;
We had a little break then in the sunshine and had some fun being photographed!
After a final session on Wellbeing and Yoga Therapy and we then attended the closing of the weekend with a talk from The Indian High Commissioner and Amarjeet Bhama from the All Party Parliamentary Group on Traditional Indian Science. The UK is at the forefront of trying to integrate yoga into health care and this is an emerging area to look out for!
A leisurely trip home along the A-roads through Cheshire and the BWY YogaFest was over for another year. It goes much too quickly!
BWY Yogafest is open to all BWY members both yoga student and yoga teacher members. To join the BWY follow the link below;
All photographs are either my own or Tori Williams.