Blue Monday?…..Finding that inner calm

It was widely reported that last Monday was ‘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!

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?


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.


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, 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, but 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.


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?


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.


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!

Namaste x

Yogasmiths Christmas Charity Raffle Donation to Wirral’s Homeless CIC

Thank you to all those who took part in our Yogasmiths Christmas Charity Raffle. As we discussed in class, Christmas and the start of the new year is a great opportunity to practice Karma yoga via charitable giving.
There were many prizes on offer;
The winner of our top prize, a block of 6 Yogasmiths classes and a box of After Eight mints, was Lisa Shaw from West Kirby;
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We raised nearly £80 from the raffle. We have donated £100 to a local Community Interest Company that feed the local homeless. They are called Wirral’s Homeless CIC. They have a facebook page at;

Wirral’s Homeless CIC

They can also be contacted by email at:

If you would like to donate any money to the group they would be most grateful to receive it and they accept bank transfer of a Paypal. Wonderful local groups like this are dependant on the generosity of others.


Paul & Steve

Yoga for Hysterectomy


We wanted to share with you some lovely feedback from a private one to one client that we recently received and also details of a pre-operation yoga programme that we have put together to prepare the body for hysterectomy surgery.

Tia left us the following feedback;

“Hellooooo everyone, I just wanted to write a little something regarding the one to ones I’ve been having with Paul and to say how much I’ve appreciated all the help and he’s given me. I attend a weekly group session with Paul and Steve which is brilliant, but decided to have some one to ones in preparation for a hysterectomy I’m due to have, and it has been wonderful the preparation and research that Paul has done to put together a personalised plan for me has been just wonderful, I would strongly recommend anyone going through a similar thing to consider this. I feel that I will be able to aid my own recovery by being in a really good state of mind and body.
Thank you so much Paul and Steve you really have and will make such a difference.
Love Tia xxxxxx”

Thanks Tia!

Tia is a valued and regular member of our public yoga classes and she approached us for a one to one session to help her prepare for a hysterectomy operation.

We thoroughly researched this procedure and put together a session focussing on all the key areas that need to be strengthened to allow for optimal recovery post-surgery. The main areas being mental preparation, breathing exercises, the pelvic floor, core strength and the muscles around the abdominal area including the glutes and hips.

We took Tia through this plan across two private one to one sessions and provided her with a detailed session plan to allow her to practice at home. Tia will be able to build strength in her body in all the key areas to put herself in the best place from which to undergo surgery. Strengthening muscles in the area of any surgery helps the muscles heal more quickly post-operation. This hysterectomy focussed session will also help to greatly reduce any of the potential problems that can be associated with hysterectomy surgery.

If you are interested in this session or know someone who would be please share this with them and do not hesitate to contact us at


Paul & Steve

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Happy New Year! Mindfulness at New Year

This time of year it is natural that we feel tempted to engage with a lot of judgement with regards to the previous year and also projection in to the new year.

People talk about how “2017 was a terrible year… lets look forward to better times in 2018” or “2017 was a great year… onwards and upward in 2018”. Whilst this involves looking to the future with positivity when we come to the end of 2018 we will see the same types of comments being made. When we label a whole year as either bad or good then we are attaching an emotional response to that year.

If we step back and take a look at how this labelling and judgement of previous years makes us feel we sometimes see that maybe it is not all that great for our mental wellbeing. Any given year will be filled with highs and lows and our greatest skill is to navigate these peaks and troughs with mindfulness and a sense of ease.

In my own experience, mindfulness allows the lows of a year to not feel quite as low and likewise that the highs do not feel quite so high. This allows for an easy and smoother emotional and mental experience of life, less of a rollercoaster.

I have also felt that the practice of New Years Resolutions to be a self imposed pressure that often sets one up for failure. We can fall into the trap of making a list of resolutions which we cannot possibly keep. When we fail to keep these resolutions then we may well label that as such, as a “failure”. With mindfulness we can become more self aware and actually instigate intuitive stepped changes to our lives in a positive and healthy way at any time of the year.

If we approach the New Year as we approach any day with a sense of non-judgement and non-attachment then we can anchor our selves in the present and find peace and calm in that experience. We can embrace the sense of letting go of the old year without judgement or labelling and welcome in the new year with a sense of love and gratitude. We can welcome each new day like this, with a sense of being renewed each day.

Perhaps the best new years resolution is to be more mindful (and obviously to do more Yoga too!!)

Happy New Year to everyone

Paul & Steve




Yogasmiths Gift Vouchers – Ideal Xmas or birthday present

We are pleased to announce that we have Gift Vouchers available for purchase.

These are an ideal gift for our regular class attendees and also for anyone who may be interested in coming to one of our classes.

The gift vouchers can be made out for any amount that you want, we would suggest maybe one of the following;

  • One public class £6
  • A block of 6 public classes £33
  • A block of 6 Gentle Years Yoga classes £33 (starting in Hoylake on Friday 12th January @ 10:30am @ Hoylake Parade Community Centre )
  • A one hour private one to one yoga session £35 (in West Kirby)
  • A one hour private one to one yoga session £40 (in West Wirral) (Enquire for costs for elsewhere)
  • A block of ten private one to one yoga sessions £300
  • or any other amount to suit your budget


The gift vouchers come with an envelope to place them in.

The vouchers can be purchased and collected from one of our classes or alternatively we can send them out in the post at cost price.


Paul & Steve

Spotlight on – Esperanza Holistics – West Kirby

One of our regular West Kirby yoga students Ludmila has her own business, Esperanza Holistics, based in West Kirby.


Ludmila offers Reflexology, Indian Head Massage, Reiki, Deep Tissue massage, Seated Acupressure massage; either as individual treatments, or usually as a wonderful combination.

Both of us had a lovely massage from Ludmila and we both felt fantastic afterwards. We have booked in for another and I think we will make it a regular thing! We have both had a number of massages before and Ludmila provided one of the best massages we have ever had, we highly recommend her!

A combination of a regular yoga practice and regular massage is a recipe for good physical and mental health.

Esperanza Holistics is situated in a specially dedicated room in a family house, in the centre of West Kirby.

Find out more information at Ludmila’s website at;

Esperanza Holistics


Paul & Steve

World Mental Health Day 10th October 2017

It is World Mental Health day today, Tuesday 10th October 2017. Most people suffer at some point during their life with a mental health problem.

This can range from a period of work related stress and anxiety to a more complex mental health condition. Sometimes these challenges can come right out of the blue and hit us.

Yoga is an excellent way of helping to build our resilience to mental health challenges and is also a wonderful recuperative practice.

Both Steve and I have used yoga to help us at various times in our lives. We first ventured to a yoga class when Steve was living with depression and we thought we would see if it would help. Steve found that the yoga really helped him and was a step towards recovery. I also found that the yoga helped me in many ways and I hadn’t realised that I needed it! That was the start of our regular yoga practice that has lead us to becoming yoga teachers!

I have also used yoga and breathing techniques to deal with periods of work related anxiety when I was working in middle management. Yoga techniques can provide you with the space that is all so important when the mind feels so busy and full.

There is an excellent article written by Dr Mercola titled Yoga Benefits Your Brain Function and Mental Health.

The following is an extract from it and there is a link to the full article below;

Why Yoga Is so Beneficial for Your Brain

Over the years, a number of studies have honed in on the brain benefits of yoga. For example, studies have found that:

Twenty minutes of Hatha yoga improves your brain function (speed and accuracy of mental processing) to a greater degree than 20 minutes of aerobic exercise (jogging).5,6 Potential mechanisms include enhanced self-awareness and reduced stress.

Yoga helps improve mental health, including psychiatric disorders like depression, anxiety, attention-deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and schizophrenia.7,8,9,10

Some of the studies suggest yoga can have a similar effect to antidepressants and psychotherapy.

Yoga helps improve teenagers’ emotional resilience and ability to manage anger. As noted by yoga educator and writer Iona Smith:11

“During adolescence, the frontal lobes of the brain (the seat of language and reason) are still being formed, leaving teens to overly rely on their amygdala (the seat of emotions) …

The brain’s malleability during adolescence marks a crucial stage in both cognitive and emotional development.

Luckily, researchers are now able to paint a clearer picture of some of the factors that allow students to thrive throughout high school and into adulthood, such as self-awareness, managing distressing emotions, empathy, and navigating relationships smoothly.

When students hone these skills, they are not only happier and healthier emotionally, but are also better able to focus on academics.”

By improving stress-related imbalances in your nervous system, yoga can help relieve a range of symptoms found in common mental health disorders.

Researchers also believe yoga can be helpful for conditions like epilepsy, chronic pain, depression, anxiety and PTSD by increasing brain chemicals like gamma amino-butyric acid (GABA).12


Here is a link to the full article;

Yoga and the Brain – Dr Mercola article

We always ensure in our Traditional Hatha Yoga classes that we teach our students a range of different breathing exercises and different guided relaxation so that everyone can find one to suit themselves that they can use in their day to day lives.




Guest BWY Yoga Teacher – Yvette Sanderson Friday 13th October 2017 @ 6:15pm – West Kirby Arts Centre

We have a special guest teacher coming to teach a Traditional Hatha Yoga class with a breathing exercise and a guided relaxation.

Yvette Sanderson is a lovely yoga teacher and a good friend of ours. This class is offered FREE to our yoga students but is also open to others at a cost of £5 for the session.

Facebook event link

We met Yvette on our journey as yoga teachers, here’s a pic of us in Spain on a week’s intensive training;


We are looking forward to being students ourselves in this class as Yvette leads us through a beautiful practice. Below is a little information from Yvette;

“My yoga journey began many many years ago when I rolled out my mat for the first time in an Ashtanga class. Although a ‘baptism of fire’, Ashtanga mirrored and worked well with my personality at that time and served me well for many years to follow. Ashtanga is still my ‘go to’ practice.

Through the years I become interested in the philosophy of Yoga. As I delved deeper into this amazing gift I realised that I have actually been practicing, all be it not Asana based, yoga all of my life. Brought up to respect others, kindness and consideration, to think good of all things and to be content and at ease with myself was simply a reflection of the first two limbs of Yoga.

Through the years, as my inner child grew calmer so has my practice and teaching of yoga. My teachings are Hatha Yoga, based on harmony and grounding, teaching from the heart with love and passion to encourage positive change on and off the mat”


Paul & Steve x

Yogasmiths at Wirral Earth Festival – Saturday 9th September 2017 11am – 5pm – FREE PRIZE DRAW!

We just wanted to let people know that we are going to have a table at Wirral Earth Festival at St Bridget’s Church and fields on Saturday 9th September 11am – 5pm. We will be in the holistic healing / therapy area and are happy to talk to people about yoga and our classes.

Further details for Wirral Earth Festival can be found here; Link to Earth Fest 2017. Its a great day out with lots of interesting stalls and live music.

We will have some information and literature with us about the Gentle Years Yoga programme that we will be starting to teach soon in the local area. This is a yoga programme / class for people with age related health conditions or for those who are advancing in years and would benefit from a gentle class. This does not mean that it is exclusively for older people though! People can begin to experience age related health issues at any age. However, age itself can be a limiting factor for physical activity as we progress into old age and the Gentle Years Yoga classes will be suitable for those who are perhaps just “feeling their age.”

The Gentle Years Yoga programme was put together by the British Wheel of Yoga and a study carried out by the Arthritis society. We will have some information about this with us at Earth Fest.

We will have an expression of interest list where people can leave their name, number and / or email address to be contacted when we start the Gentle Years Yoga classes. If you have any relatives with age related health conditions that may be interested in this gentle form of yoga please let them know.

We will also have information about our current Yoga classes and details of our new Monday class starting in Pensby. People will be able to sign up for these classes or leave contact information.




We will be giving away three prizes;

  1. A brand new Yoga mat
  2. A copy of the excellent book Yoga Quest by Paul Fox (Chair of the British Wheel of Yoga)
  3. A voucher for a free yoga class with Yogasmiths for you and a friend

In order to enter all you need to do is leave us your name, email address and / or phone number, and if you have Facebook, like and share our page on Facebook. The winners will be drawn at random at the end of the day and notified.

Thanks and hope to see you at Earth Fest

Paul & Steve

RainbowBiz Mind Body Spirit and Yoga Festival – Theatre Clwyd – Mold

We had a lovely morning at the free RainbowBiz Mind Body Spirit and Yoga Festival at the beautiful Theatre Clwyd in Mold, North Wales. The view from the room where the yoga was taking place was fantastic, across the valley and on to Moel Famau.

Our friend Netty Hodson was teaching the yoga sessions and it was great to see her again and take part in her class. We started with a nice mindfulness meditation then moved on to a flowing yoga practice and finished with a story relaxation.


There was a little surprise towards the end of the Yoga flow practice when Netty got us up at the front to teach Double Tree aka Yogasmithsasana!

We even experimented before class with a triple tree pose with Netty!


The Mind Body Soul and Yoga Festival was organised by RainbowBiz Limited which is a Social Enterprise working in the community to support organisations and individuals. They are passionate about supporting diversity and celebrating difference in their community For more information about them #RainbowBiz Visit or email

Thanks to Ali Jones for the photos!