Happy International Yoga Day 2017!

Today is the third International Yoga Day, 21 June 2017!

The idea of international Day of Yoga was the first proposed by the Prime Minister of India, Mr. Narendra Modi during his speech at the UNGA, on 27 September 2014. 

He beautifully described Yoga in his speech as follows;

Yoga is an invaluable gift of India’s ancient tradition. It embodies unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfillment; harmony between man and nature; a holistic approach to health and well-being. It is not about exercise but to discover the sense of oneness with yourself, the world and the nature. By changing our lifestyle and creating consciousness, it can help in well being. Let us work towards adopting an International Yoga Day.

— Narendra Modi, UN General Assembly

So wherever you are, do some Yoga today! Honouring our practice of Yoga and all of the teachers that brought it to us and continue to.

Remember that your Yoga practice is personal to you and can be anything from taking a few deep Yogic breaths during your day to completing the full Ashtanga Primary Series. We have our Hoylake Yoga class this evening from 6:45pm at Hoylake Parade Community Centre, so please come along and practice with us and celebrate International Yoga Day 2017.

Let us all spend a moment for ourselves today, on International Yoga Day. Connect with our breath, anchor ourselves in the moment through our breath and allow ourselves to witness and experience the union (Yoke) of breath, body and mind.

Be mindful, be Yoga.

Namaste

Paul & Steve

West Kirby Pop-up Beach Yoga – Thank you!

We want to say a big thank you to all of the lovely people who came this morning to our Yogasmiths pop-up beach yoga session!

We had a great group and it was a pleasure to be able to lead them through a yoga practice overlooking the beautiful Dee Estuary on a perfect sunny summers day.

We had a fun nautical theme to the class and the postures that we practiced.

A small forest of perfect palm trees;

palmtrees

We had surfing beach warriors;

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Channeling our inner Kate Winslet’s and Leonardo DiCaprio’s in Titanic Warrior pose aka King of the World pose;

titanic pose

Here is rowing the boat / rowing Navasana;

Building up to our own individual expression of full boat pose, Navasana;

boat

And finishing our sunny morning practice with a guided relaxation on the beach, a perfect end to the session!

beach relaxation

Thank you to all who attended and stayed tuned to our Facebook page for further pop-up yoga sessions. Namaste Paul & Steve x

Yogasmiths Facebook Page

Wirral Summer Solstice Yoga Festival Sunday 25th June 2017 @ Thornton Hall Hotel and Spa

Hi Everyone,

We are really pleased to announce that we have been added to the Wirral Summer Solstice Yoga Festival taking place on Sunday 25th June 2017 at Thornton Hall Hotel and Spa.

This will be a great event and an opportunity to try out different types of Yoga and different teachers.

We will be teaching Gentle Yoga and meditation in the afternoon from 13:35 – 15:00 and there will be tea / coffee and cake available directly after we finish the session, sounds pretty good to us!

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I’ve included the link to the event on Facebook below where you can find further details.

Facebook Event link for Wirral Summer Solstice Yoga Festival

Tickets can be purchased at www.yogahealthwirral.com.

Yoga Health Wirral

Hope to see you there for a day of pampering and Yoga!


Paul & Steve

Yogasmiths

Thank You – Charity Yoga Class for the We Love Manchester Emergency Fund

Thank you to all those who attended our Charity Yoga Class this morning in Ashton Park, West Kirby, Wirral from 11:00 till 12:30. We had a great turnout, thank you for all of your support. It was wonderful to see both familiar faces from our weekly classes and to also welcome new friends to practice with us.

We took our practice into the Secret Garden part of Ashton Park where we were able to practice in nature. We were privileged to be surrounded by beautiful bird song all morning as well as a few cheeky little dogs checking out what we were up to!

We started our practice with a breath visualisation exercise and a dedication to all of those affected by the recent events in Manchester.

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Moving through mobilisation and core work we launched into some strong Warrior poses and our peak pose was Vrksasana (Tree Pose). The secret garden had plenty of additional strong trees this morning! We closed our practice with a guided relaxation and Namaste.

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Attendance was by donation to the We Love Manchester Emergency Fund. We counted up the money when we returned home and are extremely pleased to announce that together we all raised £215 to send to the We Love Manchester Emergency Fund! Thank you so much to everyone for their very kind generosity.

We have sent the money to the British Red Cross We Love Manchester Emergency Fund via their Just Giving campaign page. We’ve set up our own Yogasmiths part of this campaign to allow anyone who could not attend to contribute, the link is below;

Just Giving Manchester Emergency Fund Yogasmiths page

Again thank you all for attending, it was a joy to practice in nature in the park and to start our Sunday in such a beautiful way. We were overwhelmed by your generosity and support.

Namaste

Paul & Steve Yogasmiths

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Charity Yoga Class for the Manchester Emergency Fund – Sunday 28th May – West Kirby @ 11am – Ashton Park (upper park)

Hi Everyone

We’d love for you to be able to join us this Sunday morning (28th May 2017) at 11am for a charity outdoor yoga class to raise money for the families of the victims of the Manchester attack. Donations, however great or small, are welcome and all money we raise together will be donated to the families of the victims of the Manchester attack.

Meet us in the Upper Park in Ashton Park, West Kirby in the grass area between the tennis courts (near the rose beds)

We will have plenty of mats but if you do have a mat please bring it along. Also bring some water and perhaps a blanket for the guided relaxation.

The class will be suitable for all abilities and will incorporate a breathing exercise, mobilisation, postures and a guided relaxation to finish. We will dedicate our practice and send thoughts of love and support to the people affected by the recent events in Manchester.

We look forward to welcoming you to this special event.

Yoga means union. Union of the breath with movement. Union with each other. We stand together with Manchester. ❤️

The link below is to the event on Facebook for further details;

Charity Yoga Class for Manchester Emergency Fund

The class will run from 11am to 12:30pm. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to get in touch at enquiries@yogasmiths.org

Namaste

Paul & Steve

One to one Yoga Sessions – Spotlight on Catherine

I have just got back from teaching a one to one Yoga session to our lovely yoga student Catherine in the sunshine in Ashton Park, West Kirby. What a perfect way to spend the afternoon!

Catherine was completely new to Yoga when I started teaching her in January this year. She has made fantastic progress in her practice with each session and has established a home practice from the handouts and guidance that we provide.

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Catherine allowed me to take a picture of her (above) in Halasana (plough pose) this afternoon. This posture shows the progress she has made and demonstrates perfect form with strength, stability and ease. Catherine has noticed her strength and flexibility improve and has found the breathing techniques and relaxations beneficial in dealing with life in general!

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The second picture above is how we end our practice, with a guided relaxation. Today we had the pleasure of being able to relax in the warmth of the afternoon sunshine in the beautiful natural surroundings of Ashton Park. We had a curious little blackbird wandering around whilst we practiced!

In addition to our weekly group classes we provide private one to one yoga sessions. For more information please check out One to One Yoga

Hoisin Tofu, Cucumber, Leek, Tomato and Lettuce Sandwich – Vegan

One of the eight limbs of Yoga, Yamas, includes Ahimsa – Compassion. Many Yoga practitioners choose a vegetarian or vegan diet as a way of living a more Ahimsa lifestyle. Compassion for all living beings and compassion for one’s self by eating healthy food.

It can sometimes be difficult to come up with tasty vegan sandwich ideas, here is one I came up with and really enjoyed.

Hoisin Tofu, Cucumber, Leek, Tomato and Lettuce Sandwich (Serves 2)

Ingredients;

1 block of tofu

4 Romaine Lettuce leaves

1 Beef tomato

1/3 of Cucumber

1/2 of a Leek

A bottle of hoisin sauce

Bread of your choice

Method;

Slice the block of tofu into 4 and place under a high grill until browned

Finely slice the leek and cucumber. Cut four slices off the beef tomato.

Divide the leek and cucumber between two of the slices.

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Place two slices of the grilled tofu on each sandwich. Put as much hoisin sauce on as you like!

Then place the sliced tomato and lettuce on top and finish off with the other slice of bread and enjoy!

I use Tofoo brand of tofu. It is very tasty and is made in the traditional way using seaweed rather than chemicals. Our local Tesco stock it.

Yogasmiths Prize Draw April 2017

Hi Everyone,

As promised we carried out a prize draw including all those who attended last weeks classes with the chance to win a free yoga mat. We carried out the draw earlier today under the watchful eye of our independent adjudicator Archie. Check out the video on Youtube below.

Yogasmiths Prize Draw

The winner can pick up the mat at next weeks class.

Namaste

Paul & Steve Yogasmiths

British Wheel of Yoga Congress 2017 – Day 2 & 3

Day 2 started with a 7am Ashtanga Mysore Practice session with Scott Johnson and Andy Gill. Scott and Andy split the room in half and one side did their own practice and the other side were lead through a good chunk of the Primary Series. Both teachers gave fantastic adjustments and instruction and I came away with many tips to help me in my home practice. I wish Scot and Andy taught nearer to the Wirral! I’ll definitely be keeping my eyes peeled for workshops and weekends with them. If you live in or near London I’d recommend practicing with Scott and Andy, here is the website for the studio; Still Point Yoga London

Next up, after breakfast, was a session introducing the Yoga for Healthy Lower Backs course given by Alison Trewhala. We covered and experienced postures to ease lower back pain and also anatomy and common back ailments. We picked up some great tips to be able to help our own students with lower back pain. Check out the website here; Yoga for Healthy Lower Backs

Jay Lakhani was a guest speaker and delivered a thought proving talk entitled “How Yoga can be redefined as harnessing nature external and harnessing nature internal to reveal the divinity within.”

After lunch Paul Harvey led a tribute to TKV Desikachar and the British Wheel of Yoga AGM followed. The NEC presented a video of all of their hard work over the last 12 months. They have been doing outstanding work and I felt very proud to be a member.

After a wander round the market place to visit all of the stalls, we had a session with George Watts on lesson planning. The session was fun and gave us lots of new ideas for lesson planning for our students. George is a great inspirational teacher and has a wonderful website with lots of free resources on it; George Watts. We attended a second session with George on Yoga Business Planning which was just as eye opening. The sessions with George were a real highlight of the weekend for us, learning lots and coming away with a to do list! Plus George was a thoroughly nice guy who is vegan and into permaculture!

The evening brought “British Wheels Got Talent” in the main auditorium. This included a demonstration of Acro Yoga, see the pic above!!

Day 3 started with a 7am gentle Yin Yoga session led by Karen Jones a teacher form North Wales, not too far from us! It was nice to connect with and meet a relatively local teacher. The perfect start to the day and a nice gentle way to wake up to the day ahead.

After breakfast was another session with Michael Chiswick, this time focussing on teaching Autistic children and those with complex learning needs. A practical demonstration is worth a million words and we practiced a typical session which was very beneficial. Q and A followed and Michael imparted some of his wealth of knowledge on this area. He has been teaching children for many years and is clearly an expert in this area.

The last session of the weekend was an Ashtanga Workshop with Scott Johnson and Andy Gill. The time flew by as we explored extension and contraction in the body relating this to the sun salutations. Also a great experimentation with sifting weight into the hands from down dog, as Scott said treating your “Hands as Feet.” Lots learned and lots to absorb.

A final lunch and closing session draw to an end a wonderful intensive weekend. We made lots of new friends. The theme was Transformation and the week certainly was transforming. We are already looking forward to next year!

British Wheel of Yoga Congress 2017-Day1

Hey Everyone, we are attending the British Wheel of Yoga Congress at Warwick University. The campus looked beautiful as we arrived in sunny weather, all of the daffodils still in full bloom.

We attended a fantastic session delivered by Michael Chissick on “How to Use Yoga to Transform Children’s Social Skills and Self Esteem.”

Michael led us through a fun session where we pretended that we were school children participating in a yoga class. Michael has a wealth of experience in this area and has been teaching yoga to children for many years. We learned the importance of interaction  to build self esteem and also class control. Applying the sun salutation in a fun way and incorporating posture based games was inspiring. We will certainly be checking out David’s book and stall in the market arena over the weekend. The session showed us how with imagination and a sense of fun our knowledge and experience as Yoga Teachers can easily be adapted to teach fun and rewarding sessions to children.

Here is a link to Michael’s website Yoga At School

After a welcoming address officially opening the Congress weekend, there was a very inspiring talk from Fazilah Bazari, a yoga teacher from Papua New Guinea. Fazilah has taken yoga to extremely deprived and dangerous areas to help aid real change in peoples lives.

You can read more about the work that Fazilah has been doing here Yoga Unites

The second session we attend was with David Tierney and was on “Core Stability and it’s Role in Yoga.” We looked at all the different muscles that make up the core and targeted them with specific exercises. Then we brought mindfulness to our practice of yoga postures with acute detail to the core and its support in the postures.

Off to bed early this evening as we have a class at 7am tomorrow!

Namaste

Paul & Steve