In the past, I think there has been a perception that Prince Charles has come up with some unusual ideas, contrary to the general or mainstream ways of thinking at the time. However, it also seems that he may have been ahead of the curve on a few things - such as organic food, for example. If I remember correctly he has long been an advocate of organic foods well before it became more widely popular and available.
Last week Prince Charles suggested that yoga could ease pressure on the health service - possible as both preventative and as a curative therapy.
What a fantastic idea.
I wonder how long it will take for yoga to be offered by the NHS and the local surgeries - to help patients address their needs, such as back pain, depression, arthritis and blood pressure.
Obviously, yoga is not for everyone and may not be the immediate cure that someone needs. After all, the patient needs to take responsibility for their actions, when perhaps taking a pill may offer a quicker, short term remedy.
One challenge may be how to quantify the benefit a regular practice has had when other factors will also have an impact.
Needless to say, it's great that the yoga is increasingly being perceived having health benefits that a wider range of people can (or will) benefit from in the future.....I will be watching this space....
Starting any new hobby or activity can be tricky, however, it could be said that yoga can make it particularly difficult as the teacher is providing names in English or Sanskrit, asking you to breath and then look at certain points......it's hardly a surprise that students can feel a bit lost sometimes when there is so much going on.
A few pointers that may help de-mystify yoga.....I hope you find it useful
I hope you find this introduction to yoga terms useful of interesting.....as always....let me know if you have any questions.
We have recorded a few short videos sharing the Sun Salutations on our youtube site - you may find them useful if you are looking to practice away from the class.
For many the February half term is an opportunity to escape to the mountains and get some skiing in.
So far the season has been great in Europe with plenty of snow throughout the Alpes. Skiing is a second passion of mine; and one that I look forward to every year. Yoga complements skiing in many ways - before, during and after your day skiing.
At a very high level - both activities require you to focus on what is ahead of you (Drishti), to keep regular breath (pranayama) and to physically move / adapt regularly (asana). By the end of your practice, or day on the slope, you are usually happily tired whilst invigorated at the same time.
Using yoga to prepare for your holiday.....
Preparing to go skiing
Build up core strength to enable greater balance, whilst also building on quad strength. Undoubtedly there will also be a time to push yourself along the piste, and carry the skis - so shoulder strength and mobility is also useful. Possibly a bit late to get really prepared for half term but how about using yoga to help prepare for skiing in the Easter break?
Pre skiing warm ups
Essentially this is a bit of warm up to prepare the body before you hit the slopes. As you would with running, some sequences to get the joints moving and muscles warm makes sense. Sun Salutation A or B are great warm ups - particularly with Chair pose in Sun Salutation B being featured. Why not pulse in chair pose up and down, to the left and then to the right, followed by slowing sitting deeper into the chair at 3 different levels?
Post skiing stretching (if you have time and are not too distracted)
Spinal twists, glute opening in pigeon pose and a forward fold allowing your arms to hang to the ground, really can relieve stiffness from the day's activities. Hold the poses for a number of breaths (how about 10 inhales and exhales through the nose counting to 4 each time) in each pose to really allow your body to unwind.
YogaTonicUK run a number of ski fit classes on Monday night at 815pm each week to help prepare you for your ski holiday.
Have a wonderful and safe time on the slopes. Hopefully you will find some of the tips, sequences and poses helpful.
This morning's practice was particularly special for me.....
As normal Shannon was giving the Wednesday morning class. It was however, the first time my mum, also known as Bibi, has been in the same class as me. It was wonderful to share our practice together and hang out afterwards. Who knows, she may even become a regular to our classes....
Sharing our yoga practice with loved ones, across generations has proved to be a particularly fulfilling experience for Shannon, Max and I, and one that we are now sharing with our Parent / Kid workshops.
We have now hosted 2 parent child workshops since the New Year, with them proving to be popular with both parents and children. Both parents and children have the opportunity to have their own class before coming together for healthy snacks and a partner yoga session for an hour.
The partner yoga sessions provide a time for parents and kids to fully engage with each other - needing to listen to each other, maintain eye contact and build trust as they progress throughout the class. Ultimately the objective of yoga is to live in the moment and to maintain a focus on whatever you are doing at the time, allowing yourself not to get distracted with other thoughts. I'm sure that an afternoon of yoga with your loved one will certainly help to stay in the moment...
Our next parent kid workshop is on March 16th from 2-4.30.
(For the keen rugby supporters not going to the game you may be able to join the workshop and then watch the England v Scotland match afterwards (its a 5pm kick off). Perhaps the workshop will set you up for calmness before what will inevitably be a tense final match.....will England be on the Grand Slam /will spoil the party again?).
So, with yoga, it really doesn't matter when you start - you can enjoy it what ever age you are (whether you are the base or flyer in partner yoga or enjoying time on the mat by yourself).
To find out more about the parent kid yoga workshops you can email us directly or book online here.
We look forward to hearing from you.
Last week the UK was hit by a thunderous snow storm that caused all sorts of disruption to the country. Schools were shut, deliveries delayed and there was more train disruption meaning commuters could not get to work.....
You really would have thought that we had had blizzard and snow drift conditions in London and the South East that resulted in our son, Max, having a snow day at home. (It was worse in other parts of the country).
Anyway, you may know that skiing is a particular passion of mine, so having a snow day with Max provided an ideal opportunity to get my 'skiing' legs back, and ready, for skiing later in the season.
If you have had the chance to watch any of the skifit yoga videos you will know that I concentrate on strengthening quads and core whilst emphasising the importance of maintaining a good balance....
So - it would appear that I am not quite mastering all of the focus areas - particularly the balancing part. However, to be fair - I am trying to surf on a plastic sledge.
Enjoy the video and have a great weekend.
OK - so there isn't much snow at all.....I really wonder how the UK would survive, if a serious snow storm did arrive.
If you want to view some of the ski fit videos click here. Hopefully they will help you in your preparation for a skiing holiday and also loosen you up after a fun day on the slopes.
Before having Max, Shannon and I were both keen triathletes, completing several Ironman events and multiple Olympic distances races. As one of the three disciplines we spent a fair amount of time on the bike cycling from London into the Surrey Hills, to Windsor or, on occasion down to Brighton. Nowadays group rides have now become a lovely way to catch up with friends rather than setting new PBs (Personal Bests).
Recently, one of our friends has asked for relevant stretches following time on the bike and the subsequent tight glutes and shoulders that have resulted.
The video below shares a few poses that will help loosen the glutes and shoulders following a ride. All the suggested poses are also relevant for skiers that may also experience similar tightness following a day on the slopes.
Who knows - a yoga practice could help prevent the soreness and become part of your regular training regime.....perhaps on your recovery day? Just a thought.
I hope you find the poses useful; whether you are a regular cyclist or enjoy the freedom a bike rides gives you; whilst not forgetting the skiers amongst you.
Let us know if the video has helped.
I appreciate we have just moved into February so can just about still be thinking about New Years resolutions - if you haven't made one or want to make a new one - an article from Australia. (The word seems to be getting out about yoga).
So - the article outlines a number of benefits of doing yoga as part of a new healthy regime (as well as having a healthy breakfast - the article is sponsored by a well known cereal brand).
It is important for students to find both a style of yoga and a teacher that suits them. Try a few styles and teachers out so you can establish what you like and what you don't like. When trying to explain the difference in styles of yoga I liken it to 'Track and Field' in that the different track events (100m / 800m up to 10km) are all running events but require different types of fitness / stamina. The same can be said with yoga - some styles hold poses for longer, whilst others follow a set sequence each time and then there is of course the hot yoga, power yoga, goat yoga and broga!.
The article summarizes some of the benefits of a regular yoga practice in the morning are outlined as the following
To read the full article click here.
So - why not give yoga a go?
At YogaTonicUK our classes have a good mix of students - both men and women with varying levels experience and fitness. If you live in the Cookham area have a look at our class schedule online or contact us by email to find out more.
We look forward to welcoming you to one of our classes or I am sure another teacher will also do the same wherever you are!
Tim & Shannon: Part time yoga teachers from Cookham, Berkshire. We thought it would be fun to share our learning experiences with like minded people.