Blue Monday?…..Finding that inner calm

A marketing gimic?

It is likely to be widely reported that today is ‘Blue Monday’, apparently ‘the most depressing day of the year’. A quick google search reveals that the concept of ‘Blue Monday’ was actually coined by Sky Travel in 2005! (The google search also prompted me to listen to New Order whilst writing this blog!) I’m not sure how calling a day ‘the most depressing day of the year’ is meant to be helpful to us but it might just help to sell a few holidays! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_Monday_(date)

It did get me thinking, however, that there is something to this concept of ‘Blue Monday’. It’s January in the UK. Christmas is a distant memory. The days are apparently getting longer but it’s a slow process. I could swear that’s it’s getting darker and not lighter in the mornings! It’s cold! It’s often raining and grey. We’re still awaiting payday! My point is….is it any wonder that all this can affect our mood?

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Is every Monday Blue Monday in January?

Accessing our inner calm

However, regardless of all of the above, it is comforting to know that internally we can access a constant, calm space within us that is always there. It is unmoved by the changing of the seasons. It may be very difficult to access at times. Particularly with all the external factors that can affect how we feel (weather, work, relationships, whatever else is going on in our lives). However, this calm, constant space is still there, despite all this.

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But how do we access this calmness? Well the first part of this is knowing it is there. Knowing that it can be accessed with practice. A breathing practice, bringing attention to the inhale and the exhale. Simply observing the breath, without judgement. This can help us begin to access this calmness within. The breath is always with us. But how often do we pay attention to our own breath? Thoughts and feelings will of course arise whilst we observe the breath, wanting our attention. Instead of giving attention to these thoughts/feelings, gently guide your attention back to observing the breath. There are innumerable breathing techniques (pranayama) to help us in finding this sense of calmness within. So regardless of whatever else is going on, with practice we can help manage our stress levels using our own breath, the constant calm space that is within all of us.

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A mindfulness of breath based meditation can help us tune into our inner calm and help us to deal with Blue Monday. Lhasa Apsos will sometimes join in too.

Mindful Movement

Yoga posture (asana) practice is also great at helping us access that calm space within. Bringing our attention to how the body is feeling in a particular posture. The sensations you are noticing in the body and where are you noticing them? Also, breath-led movement, moving the body on an inhale and an exhale, creates a mindful practice whereby we are again bringing our attention, without judgement, to the sensations in the body. How often do we mindfully observe our bodies in our every day life?

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Mindful movement in our Yoga poses – banish the blues from Blue Monday

Self Compassion

And of course there are so many other actions that we can take to help us find this calmness within, a big part of which is to learn to treat ourselves with more compassion (ahimsa). We often find it easier to treat others with compassion than we do ourselves, especially when we’re perhaps not feeling our best. Treat yourself! Find and do the things that you enjoy, those things that make you feel good. Yes, the weather might be less than ideal at this time of year for many of us, but use this as reason to enjoy a cosy night in, a nice relaxing, hot bath, etc. Give some thought to what you can do to help you find that inner calm.

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A hot drink in front of a warm fire – an antidote to Blue Monday

So yes, it may be hard to find that inner sense of calm particularly at this time of year, and it may be easier said than done (I know I’ve felt like that many times!). But there are many ways in which we can all try to help ourselves find that constant inner calm, regardless of all external factors, and before we realise it maybe that third Monday in January, and then the rest of the winter, might not feel so ‘blue’ after all!

You may also want to check out our previous blog on Helpful ways to deal with stress which you can find here; https://pauls93.sg-host.com/2018/05/19/mental-health-awareness-week-helpful-tips-to-deal-with-stress/

Namaste x

Best Yoga Class in Wirral

The website Three Best Rated has listings for the Best Yoga Class in Wirral. For the fourth year running we have been included in their listings and as such can display the badges below.

Best Yoga classes in Wirral

Starting our Business

We started our business, Yogasmiths back in 2016 when Paul took redundancy from his civil service job in Learning and Development. This was a dive into the unknown of setting up, establishing and running our own business. We always wanted to work together and this was a step towards realising this dream. You can read a short bio for us both here https://pauls93.sg-host.com/about/

We initially started out teaching private one to one yoga clients and then expanded into public group classes in April 2017. We were overwhelmed that at our first class we had to turn away 3 people as the class was full. The classes proved popular and consequently we increased the number of classes we offered.

Where we are now….

As of 2020 we are teaching 7 weekly classes including Gentle Years Yoga chair based yoga, running yoga retreats twice a year, running workshops, pop-up yoga events outdoors and Yoga & Sunday Brunch events.

Our intention

Our intention has always been to create varied and interesting yoga classes that are true yoga classes in every sense of the word. As a result we work hard to create yoga sessions that cover all of the 8 limbs of yoga. We wanted to provide classes in our local area that are accessible to all. Therefore we fully embrace the British Wheel of Yoga’s staged approach to teaching yoga postures / asana. This allows us to have complete beginners in the class as well as retired yoga teachers. Everyone practicing to the correct level for them. A yoga class where you can strengthen your body, free your mind and relax.

We have been consistently included in the top 3 yoga classes in Wirral since we started our business in 2016 on the website Three Best Rated. We are the only room temperature yoga class listed in the top 3 in Wirral. You can find 3 Best Rated here https://threebestrated.co.uk/yoga-classes-in-wirral

Thank you!

We are so very grateful for all the support of our lovely yoga students who attend our events and weekly classes. Without you there would be no Yogasmiths! It is truly a joy to be able to impart the teachings of yoga and to spread the benefits of this wonderful practice.

Best Yoga classes in Wirral
Best Yoga classes in Wirral
Best Yoga classes in Wirral

We are BWY Foundation Course 1 Tutors! 2020 Course Details….

Our certificates have come through from the British Wheel of Yoga, we are now officially BWY Foundation Course 1 tutors.


This is the next stage for us in our journey as BWY teachers. We attended a fantastic 4 day tutor training course in Grantham with Belinda Emberson. As a result of which we have been approved as BWY Foundation Course 1 tutors. Here is a blog about the Foundation Course 1 training here: https://pauls93.sg-host.com/2019/11/09/bwy-foundation-course-1-tutor-training-in-grantham/

Course starting April 2020

We have submitted and had approved our 60 hour course plan. Hence, we are now advertising and accepting applications for our first ever BWYT Foundation Course 1 which will start in April 2020. Places are strictly limited to 18.

The Foundation Course 1 is a wonderful personal development course where we go deeper into the rich tradition of yoga. It is an opportunity to deepen your knowledge and to discuss the ancient yogic texts. The syllabus covers topics such as preparation for practice, asana, mudra, basic breathing, kriya, pranayama, concentration techniques, relaxation techniques, mantra, talks and discussions on the context and meaning of Yoga.  

The BWYT Foundation Course 1 runs one Sunday a month for 10 months in beautiful Hoylake on the Wirral. The venue for the course is Hoylake Parade Community Centre, Hoyle Road, Hoylake. It is a lovely community centre that used to be an old school, in fact, Paul’s mum, Mavis attended at when it was a school.

The course is taught by both of us, Paul & Stephen Smith, directors of Yogasmiths Limited. This will ensure that you get different perspectives and allow for attentive teaching of asana.

Find out all the details about the course including the application form at: https://pauls93.sg-host.com/bwyt-foundation-course-1/

Our course is also listed on the British Wheel of Yoga Website at; https://www.bwy.org.uk/national/event/1347/

Photographs from Museum of the Moon Event at Birkenhead Town Hall on 13th November 2019

Hi Everyone, we have received some wonderful photographs taken by the official photographer at the Museum of the Moon event where we taught a yoga session under the moon in Birkenhead Town Hall. The session took place on Wednesday 13th November 2019 and was hosted by Wirral Borough Council.

Mark McNulty Photographer

My old friend Mark McNulty was wonderful photographer. I DJed with Mark for many years over in Liverpool at Liquidation / Uptight in Le Bateau. It was a nice surprise to run into him. You can check out his website and social media channels at;
http://www.markmcnulty.co.uk/
https://www.instagram.com/markmcnulty/
https://twitter.com/markmcnulty

Thank you for coming to the Museum of the Moon event!

Thank you to everyone who came to the event, it was such a great experience to teach under the Museum of the Moon and a real once in a lifetime opportunity. Also a big thank you to the Culture Team at Wirral Council and Imagine Wirral.

Check out the picture below and let us know what you think!

Our Wirral Yoga Classes

If you enjoyed the session and would like to join one of our classes, check out the detail of where we teach and when here: https://pauls93.sg-host.com/classes/

Thanks Paul & Steve x

 

The British Wheel of Yoga Diploma journey

This weekend marked the last day of our British Wheel of Yoga diploma course up in Troon in Scotland with Carol Price. It also marked 3 years since we first met our wonderful tutor Carol Price and began training with her.

British Wheel of Yoga Diploma Yogasmiths
A serious end of course picture
British Wheel of Yoga Diploma Yogasmiths
Slightly less serious exuberance

Our first Yoga Teacher Training qualification

Our first teacher training course which we started in February 2016 with Yoga Alliance as the awarding body left us feeling unprepared to teach yoga. I am sure that there are some very good courses out there with Yoga Alliance as the awarding body. In fact I have been on some myself, however our first Yoga teacher training course certainly wasn’t one of them.

British Wheel of Yoga Certificate in Teaching Yoga

Feeling quite despondent, we were recommended to look at the British Wheel of Yoga. We found a certificate course running in Salford with Paul Fox (then BWY chair) and Carol Price. I had a chat with Paul and we decided that we would embark on another teacher training course that would actually teach us to teach yoga! The British Wheel of Yoga Level 4 Certificate course has BWY Qualifications as its awarding body which is regulated by OFQUAL. This was more like it! A qualification that we could be proud of. There was a lot of hard work, learning and academic essays to complete. We were also assessed teaching a real 90 minute class with real students. The final day of the course was very emotional and we felt very proud of our certificate. This was a world apart from our previous experience!

British Wheel of Yoga Diploma in Teaching Yoga

We then became aware that Carol Price had a British Wheel of Yoga diploma course which was part way through. It was possible we could tag on to the course and upgrade our qualification to the highest level of OFQUAL regulated Yoga Teacher Training available, the BWY Level 4 Diploma. We gave this serious consideration. The course was running in Troon in Scotland and obviously entailed a further significant financial and time investment. Both of us wanted to continue our learning with Carol and felt it was absolutely the right thing to do.

The British Wheel of Yoga diploma top up has been a fantastic experience. It covers 3 modules on Hatha Yoga & Pranayama, the teaching & philosophy of meditation and progression in yoga.

On the course we dived deep into the ancient texts and looked at how we could make them relevant for our classes and create rich layered lessons. The formal essay writing was the part that I found particularly enjoyable. It really encouraged me to read around the topics and to draw together references and importantly allowed me to work out my own opinions. There was also a further assessment of us teaching one of our real weekly 90 minute classes, and those who come to our classes may remember Carol sitting in the corner! Despite having been teaching for 3 years at the point of being assessed it was still a very nerve wrecking experience. I felt supported and buoyed by the lovely yoga students who attend our class.

Carol Price – Celtic Yoga

Let me just say a few words about Carol Price our Diploma Course Tutor. Carol has been a wonderful guide to us on our diploma course. She never fails to come up with either a wonderful pearl of wisdom, a lovely new mobilisation exercise or an intelligent imaginative sequence. Carol always provided constructive and helpful feedback. One of her catch phrases being “what could make you even better would be….”. She has been an extremely important teacher to us. We can’t thank her enough, we will always affectionately refer to her as our Yoga Mama!

British Wheel of Yoga Diploma Yogasmiths
Yoga Mama Carol Price with her two boys!

Here is a link to Carol’s facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Celtic-Yoga-264932390858722/

Continuous Professional Development

As an already qualified yoga teacher (at least twice over) when embarking on the Diploma top up I was keen to get as much out of it as possible. When deciding to do further training / CPD I want to gain extra knowledge that is going to make me a better teacher. This is certainly what we got in bucket loads from the diploma course with Carol. It has also been a greatly enriching personal journey studying in depth the ancient yogic texts and pulling together formal assignments.

We are both very proud to be British Wheel of Yoga teachers. With an OFQUAL regulated awarding body, you know that you are going to get excellent quality training and rigorous assessment. It may feel like a lot of hard work as you progress through the BWY training but this is exactly why it is worth it. You come out the other end of the training prepared and ready to teach yoga to all ability classes. The staged approach to teaching that the BWY train you in is all inclusive. We have in our classes students who are retired yoga teachers and others who are completely new to yoga. Both are able to practice side by side.

Choose Wisely

There are so many different yoga teacher training courses out there, I even saw one that was a correspondence course! Choose wisely. How long does it really take to learn a profession such as teaching yoga? In an unregulated arena go for regulated courses. Do your homework. Speak to previous trainees. Spend your money and time wisely and you won’t regret it.

Check out our bio’s for further details of all the training we have undertaken: https://yogasmiths.org/about/

British Wheel of Yoga Diploma Yogasmiths