Mental Health Awareness Week – helpful tips to deal with stress

At all of our weekly classes this week we discussed Mental Health Awareness Week and the topic for this year which is stress.

Stress has been shown to be one of the main contributory factors in triggering a mental health problem. Research has shown that two thirds of us will experience a mental health problem during our lifetime.

In the spirit of Mental Health Awareness week we decided we would start the conversation about mental health and ask our yoga students to share their tips and ways of dealing with Stress.

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We had our Stress board at all the classes and students all wrote down on a post it note what they do to deal with stress.

At the end of this week we had a mountain of post it notes with lots of helpful tips and ideas. We typed them all up and entered them into a special website of wizardry which came out with a wonderful word cloud with the most common suggestions in a bigger font. Here are the results;

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The top 3 helpful suggestions were going for a walk, talking to someone and doing yoga! Have a look at the word cloud and see if there are any ideas that you may like to try next time you are feeling stressed.

We would like to sincerely thank all of our students for taking part in this activity and sharing their own personal strategies for dealing with stress. Sharing our ideas can help others and remove the perceived stigma around Mental Health. The greater our awareness of Mental Health is and the knowledge that many of us will experience a mental health problem in our lifetime will help those who are suffering in silence. There is no need to suffer in silence, talk and reach out. People have lots of tips and strategies that may help you too.

Paul & Steve

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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!

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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

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Tips for your first yoga class

This may be your first yoga class or you may be returning to yoga? That’s great news and we’re excited to have you join our friendly class! We love yoga and the benefits (both physical and mental) that come with practicing yoga and we are excited to share this with you.

However you may be uncertain as to what to expect from the class which is natural of course when trying anything new!

So here is some useful information for your first class that will hopefully put your mind at ease:

What do I wear?

  • Wear loose, comfortable clothing. A t-shirt or vest and joggers or shorts are typical clothes worn during class.
  • When doing the poses you will have to take your socks off. This is for safety reasons (socks on yoga mats can be slippy!) but it also allows us to feel more grounded during the practice by having our feet in contact with the mat.

What do I bring to class?

  • All you need to bring is yourself! If you have a yoga mat then bring that along too, but if you need a mat we will have some available.
  • For comfort you might want to bring something warm to wear and/or a blanket for the relaxation part of the practice if you want but these aren’t essential. Although the room will be comfortably warm you may find that you feel cool as you relax as the breathing and heart rate become slower. Also, you might want to bring a cushion to sit on for the breathing practice but again this isn’t essential. (Tip: a rolled up blanket is also perfect for kneeling to protect the knees)
  • Bring a bottle of water if you’d like in case you get thirsty at any point.

Can I eat before class?

  • It’s okay to have a small snack 15-20 minutes before class but it isn’t recommended to eat a large meal up to 2 hours before doing yoga (so no three course meals or Chinese banquets before class! What you do after class is entirely up to you though!)

What do I do during a yoga class?

  • Our typical class will incorporate a short period of breathing practice to settle the mind and prepare our mind, body and breath for the physical posture work.
  • We will then move onto warming and mobilisation postures before moving onto stronger postures. Everyone will be included because we explain and demonstrate how each posture can be modified to benefit any student regardless of ability, experience, shape or size. A modified version of a posture has exactly the same benefits as full expressions of the postures.
  • Often there will be a theme to the class, and/or or one or two peak postures which we work towards during the class.
  • The physical posture work will be followed by a guided relaxation. There are many different relaxation techniques that can be used. Guided relaxation is an excellent method of helping us manage stress and calm the body and mind.

If you have any more questions about what to expect from your first class please let us know! Further information is provided in the student resources section of our website under ‘Info for new clients’.

We look forward to welcoming you all to class!

 

 

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Feedback from a business owning Yoga client – relaxation benefits

We’ve had some lovely feedback from one of our male clients, Steven. We have been providing him and his wife with couples yoga sessions. He has found the relaxation aspect of Yoga very beneficial as he has his own business and Yoga has helped him switch off. Steven had the following to say;

“I have had two yoga sessions now with yogasmiths and have really enjoyed them. It’s great having two people teaching you at the same time, everything is explained in an easy to understand way and they really take their time with you in a professional but relaxed way.
I have honestly enjoyed it more than I thought and it’s a lot more physical than I expected however it’s great for all ages and fitness levels.
The relaxation at the end of each session really helps after a stressful day at work so I would definitely recommend yogasmiths to anyone thinking about starting yoga.”
Steven, Lower Heswall

Thanks Steven! Yogasmiths offer Couples Yoga Sessions where we can both teach providing a safe attentive learning environment. One teach will instruct and demonstrate and the other will check alignment and offer adjustments and modifications as appropriate. Please get in touch for further details.

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