Well Being Yoga Fest BWY Congress 2018 23rd-25th March 2018

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.

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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;

101 Health Conditions Helped By Yoga

And here is a link to his website too;

Dr McCall’s website

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;

Yoga in Health Care Alliance

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!

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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;

The Yoga Nook

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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!

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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!

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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;

Scott Johnson Still Point Yoga London

Andy Gill

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;

Join BWY

All photographs are either my own or Tori Williams.

Yoga for Hysterectomy

Hi,

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 enquiries@yogasmiths.org

Namaste

Paul & Steve

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West Kirby Light Opera Society – Stars in their Eyes night!

Tia and Ben, two of our regular yoga students at our weekly Hoylake Yoga class kindly invited us to attend the West Kirby Light Opera Society Stars in their Eyes night.

It was held in Westbourne Hall and was a fantastic night out. Steve and I took my mum to see it and we all had a great time.

All of the performers were wonderful. There was Johnny Cash, Kate Bush, The Supremes, Michael Buble, Dean Martin, K D Lang, George Michael, Roy Orbison, Shirley Bassey, Taylor Swift, Bewitched, Tina Turner, Cindy Lauper, Nancy Sinatra, Grace Jones and more! The Winner was the very fierce Grace Jones. She had everyone on the edge of their seats wondering if they were going to be picked on from a very in character temperamental Grace Jones!

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We were overwhelmed by Tia who performed as Shirley Bassey, Kate Bush and Diana Ross and the Supremes. Our personal favourite was her turn as Kate Bush performing Wuthering Heights complete with the famous dance!

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The Yoga has got to help with a dance routine like this;

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Ben too was in fine voice as the man in black Johnny Cash performing Ring of Fire, complete with a Tijuana Brass man in the background!

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Tia is heavily involved in putting the night together and is also a key member of the West Kirby Light Opera society. The night was a great success and we will be sure to return next year!

Check out the website for the West Kirby Light Opera Society and their up coming events here;

West Kirby Light Opera Society

Paul

Science behind Yoga Documentary

I’ve just watched a short (26 min) documentary about the Science behind Yoga. Its an interesting watch. Obviously it is only short so doesn’t get too into the detail or quote scientific studies but it is a great overview about how science is starting to support and prove the benefits of yoga.

Advances in science and technology are allowing scientists to study and understand the benefits of yoga.

Here is the link to the documentary on Youtube, hope you enjoy it;

Science behind Yoga

Namaste

Paul

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.

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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

Namaste

Paul & Steve

Gentle Years Yoga training – Knaresborough

We’ve had a great weekend at the Yorkshire Yoga Centre, a British Wheel of Yoga Approved Regional Centre in Knaresborough,  training in Gentle Years Yoga with Laura Bissell and Jenny Howsam.

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We have been through lots of seated versions of Yoga postures, supported standing postures and looked at the use of props and equipment to allow yoga to be accessible to all.

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It was really nice to sit in on a real Gentle Years Yoga class and to speak to the students afterwards and hear what brought them to yoga and why they keep up their practice. Interestingly many of the students had experienced age related falls and an associated loss of confidence. Gentle Years Yoga had really helped to increase their strength, improve their balance and build back their confidence.

We are really enthused about the Gentle Years Yoga programme and its excellent blend of mobilisation, seated yoga, heart rate raising activity, dexterity exercises and not forgetting fun!

We will be looking to start out Gentle Years Yoga classes very soon, stay tuned for more information and announcements! If you are interested in the classes or interested on behalf of a family member please do not hesitate to get in touch at yogasmithsorg@gmail.com 

Namaste

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.

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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!

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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 www.facebook.com/RainbowBiz #RainbowBiz Visit www.rainbowbiz.org.uk or email info@rainbowbiz.org.uk

Thanks to Ali Jones for the photos!

 

Guys do Yoga too!

Yoga was originally an exclusively male activity prior to it being brought over to the West. Often these days yoga class attendance is predominantly and often exclusively female. Men in general appear to have drifted away from yoga and some are often put off by the thought of being the only guy in the class.

This week in West Kirby we had our highest turn out of men in attendance at our class. Out of 20 people we had 7 men in the class. This was also on a week when one of our regular male members was unable to come.

Steve and I are pleased that through our weekly classes we are able to share yoga with both men and women. Initially we had just a couple of men in the class and they often sat towards the rear, over the weeks they slowly moved forward and this week most of the front row was male.

So if there are any guys out there that fancy trying yoga you will be welcome at our friendly yoga class and can join or burgeoning group of male yogis! We teach an inclusive class suitable for all abilities. There is no such thing as being not flexible enough for yoga! That is the perfect reason for doing Yoga!

And of course not forgetting our lovely dedicated female yogini’s that come to our class every week!

Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction course (MBSR) completed!

Hello!

I thought I would share with you that I have just completed a Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction course with Rita Bennet and Pauline Johnson at Hoylake Parade Community Centre. I love learning and am always looking at ways to continue our professional development as Yoga Teachers.

The MBSR course was very enjoyable and gave me some useful personal insights. The way Rita and Pauline teach the course and the structure of the course ensure that mindfulness is looked at from many different angles. This empowers you to realise how mindfulness can be woven into every aspect of life.

Prior to attending the course I had a good knowledge of mindfulness and regularly practice mindfulness both as a meditation practice and also in activities in life. However, this course really helped me to make progress on my mindfulness journey and I would highly recommend it.

Rita and Pauline also provide a weekly handout to take home with you to assist your practice along with CD’s of guided mindfulness meditations / relaxations. The course includes a silent day of mindfulness which at first sounded rather daunting but was great and actually I wanted to remain silent when we were told that we could begin talking again!

Mindfulness meditation has been proven to create new neural pathways in the brain, in essence hard wiring us to access relaxation more easily. At the same time we create new brain cells thus increasing the size of our brains!

We enjoy teaching a mindful approach in our yoga classes and we have woven many of the things I learnt on the MBSR course into our classes so that our students can benefit from mindfulness.

Rita and Pauline have a website where they list their courses, here is the link to it, check it out!

B Mindful website

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!