<![CDATA[Bristol YogaSpace - YogaSpace Blog]]>Fri, 05 Feb 2016 10:35:14 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Making space for the new]]>Wed, 16 Dec 2015 15:43:15 GMThttp://www.bristolyogaspace.co.uk/yogaspace-blog/making-space-for-the-new
The start of the new year is almost upon us. Often it's a time to reflect on the year just lived and anticipate the year to come, perhaps with a few tweaks here and there.

To bring in anything new, we first need to create space. Otherwise we'll just shoe-horn it into what is probably an already overfilled schedule. So how do you make space?

Here are some suggestions...

Have a clear out
Have a physical clear out. Sort out a room, a cupboard, perhaps even just a drawer. Empty it out and only put back the things that you use and need. Creating physical space is a wonderful way of feeling more spacious internally too. 

Let go of something old
We need to let go of something old first. Perhaps move on from a commitment, a habit, a club, a stagnant relationship, anything that feels like it isn't positive any longer and not worth reinvesting in. Re-assess your commitments and see what would be worth replacing with something more positive and vibrant.

Practice gratitude
Take a moment to count your blessings. Feeling grateful each day is a wonderful practice to cultivate. It enables you to appreciate what you have, to re-envigorate your enthusiasm for them, and importantly, to break the cycle of always wanting something that you don't have. Gratitude can help you feel more spacious and avoiding taking on more things that you may not actually need. Hey, I have opposable thumbs, thank you! 

Move and breath
Yoga and other embodied meditative practices are wonderful at creating a feeling of physical and mental space. They support you to physically become stronger and de-compress yourself, enabling your body to be more more stable and move more easily and naturally - ie. feeling more spacious. Easing out tensions, stresses and blocks enables us to feel more comfortable with ourselves. And using the mental discplines of breath focus, moving and still meditations to allow us to let go of unhelpful thought patterns and feel mentally spacious and open are all essential to our wellbeing. 

Notice the present moment 

Practice being in the present moment more often. We often spend our days carrying around old memories and worries, or bring along anticipations and fears of the future, and perhaps feel burdened and weighed down. Try letting go of these and practice appreciating and fully experiencing each day and moment as it unfolds. 

​I always love reflecting on the Dalai Lamas 18 rules for living this time of year too.

Happy new year!

<![CDATA[Finding balance in yoga practice]]>Tue, 24 Nov 2015 16:45:03 GMThttp://www.bristolyogaspace.co.uk/yogaspace-blog/finding-balance-in-yoga-practicePicture
Yoga classes have begun to polarise. From the fast and sweaty vinyasa flow and Ashtanga yoga, to the restorative and Yin yoga classes that have emerged. They seem to be on two ends of a wide spectrum of modern postural yoga classes.

People turn to yoga for a range of different reasons. Perhaps you've come to it to feel stronger or more flexible, or you enjoy the heat and sweat that it can build. Perhaps you enjoy the stillness and calm that it offers, or the good nights sleep it gains you. You may have an injury or pain that you are looking to sort out, or perhaps you just want that elusive feeling of wellbeing. They are all good reasons to practice yoga, and finding the right approach for your practice is more than just the immediate feeling it leaves you with. Your practice should leave you feeling better than when you started, and progressively better in the long term. 

You may be surprised that I even need to state this. But I regularly speak to practitioners and even yoga teachers who switch between two extreme styles of yoga practice in an effort to keep themselves balanced.

Taking a strong vinyasa class supplemented with a Yin or restorative class seems a simple contradiction in approach. It's nice to change pace and explore from time-to-time. But to pursue the challenge and energy which then leaves you needing restoration to enable you to continue this cycle seems worth reflecting on. It is a cycle we often undertake in life which we then replicate on our yoga mats.

Yoga practice is for the long term. It should support your primary aims as well as deepening your sense of internal balance with consistent practice. 

The balance of yoga doesn't begin on the mat, it beings before you get there, with your intention and choice of how to practice.

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<![CDATA[Thanks for coming to our open day]]>Mon, 28 Sep 2015 14:09:10 GMThttp://www.bristolyogaspace.co.uk/yogaspace-blog/thanks-for-coming-to-our-open-dayPicture
It wouldn't have been nearly as much fun without you so thanks for coming along and sharing our day of free yoga classes. Whether you tried Virginie's challenging flow class, or the beginners classes, we hope you enjoyed the day and took the time to chat with the teachers.

Our September term is now underway so please do come back and join us. We hope to see you again soon.

<![CDATA[Open Day - September 12th 2015]]>Tue, 25 Aug 2015 15:30:57 GMThttp://www.bristolyogaspace.co.uk/yogaspace-blog/open-day-september-12th-2015
Come along and join in our free day of yoga classes at YogaSpace on Saturday September 12th.

Classes are free and mats are provided, so simply turn up and enjoy. Classes will be multi-level and there will be time to chat and meet the teachers before and after too if you want to.

We have 4 classes to choose from
10:00 - 11:00am Hatha Flow yoga with Virginie
11:30 - 12:30am Beginners yoga with Mischa
13:00 - 14:00pm Viniyoga with Clara
14:30 - 15:30pm Beginners yoga

Classes are open to all and we recommend you arrive 10 minutes early to get a mat and chat to the teacher. Free refreshments will be provided too and we would love for you to come and share this day with us.

Simply wear loose or stretchy clothing that allows free movement. Mats aren't needed but if you prefer to, you can bring yours along.

If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch, but otherwise, come along on the 12th and we look forward to seeing you then!

Tell you friends and save the date :-)

More info:
twitter: #bristolyogatrail
<![CDATA[The timeless practice of yoga]]>Fri, 19 Jun 2015 15:48:50 GMThttp://www.bristolyogaspace.co.uk/yogaspace-blog/the-timeless-practice-of-yoga
Sunday is World Yoga Day as designated by the United Nations. The UN "recognises the holistic benefits of this timeless practice and its inherent compatibility with the principles and values of the United Nations."
United Nations

The system of yoga was developed thousands of years ago and has been one of India's greatest gifts to the world. 

The human body and mind work far better with with regular use, and yoga offers a system of exercises, practices and teachings to enable the body and mind to achieve the greatest health possible. 

Some of the practices are rather esoteric and may not suit our western culture as well, but many of the teachings and practices are applicable to everyone and a great way of improving our health, strength, energy, awareness and becoming able to live a full life. Tune the instrument of your body and mind and see what becomes possible. 

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<![CDATA[Pregnancy yoga guidelines]]>Tue, 03 Mar 2015 17:27:57 GMThttp://www.bristolyogaspace.co.uk/yogaspace-blog/pregnancy-yoga-guidelines
Yoga is really helpful during pregnancy as long as you practice safely and carefully and make a few adaptations.

Here are a few guidelines to consider during your yoga practice with your growing baby in mind.

1) Listen to your body and be comfortable
Make sure you feel comfortable in all the poses and during breathing or meditation. Adjust to use more blocks and talk to the teacher about how to make it comfortable if it isn't. Perhaps lie on your side rather than on your back as your bump gets bigger (should be fine up to about 30 weeks but see how it makes you feel) and encourage yourself to take easier alternatives that are offered, especially during your third trimester. 

2) Take it easy
If you are a beginner, then this will be easier for you, but if you are an experienced practitioner, you'll need to really focus on doing less than you are used to and practicing slightly differently. You want to stay strong and supple during your pregnancy to avoid common aches and pains, but be careful to avoid over stretching (see below) or straining.

3) Make space for your baby
Stand with the feet wider than your hips and be careful not to squash your bump or feel any pulling in the abdominal area. Forward bends are still wonderful to practice as long as you keep the legs wide, bend the knees and go as far as feels right for you. Avoid deep twists in the abdomen, keep any twisting lighter and 'above the bra strap' so your shoulders are twisting comfortably, but not your belly. Consider twisting in the opposite direction so the twist is more open in the belly area. Don't push yourself into anything. 

4) Start any time after 13 weeks
The sooner you start, the more benefit you will gain and any time from 14 weeks is a safe time to join in. And you can continue all the way through as long as you feel good and keep enjoying the practice. 

5) Keep your spine lengthened
Keeping your back in great shape will help support you all the way through your pregnancy. Focus on keeping your spine lengthened in asana and use your 'chin lock' (jalandara bandha) to help keep your spine and back of the neck long. 

6) Be careful of over stretching
Your body is producing a hormone called Relaxin during your pregnancy which makes you more flexible. You might find you can stretch further than usual, but don't be tempted to take advantage of this extra stretch. Your tendons and ligaments won't thank you later if you stretch too far. Don't stretch 100% in anything, hold back a little and be cautious. 

7) Engage your pelvic floor
Great to tone this area in advance of your labour. On the exhale, think about lifting and engaging your pelvic floor.

8) Avoid straining the abdomen
If doing leg lifting, only lift one leg at a time, not both, and be aware of the extra strain the abdominals are under and that they need to be more protected during this time. Talk to your teacher if your not sure.

9) Choose your class carefully
Your yoga teacher should have specialist pregnancy training, but you don't need a specialist pregnancy class unless you want one. (The British Wheel of Yoga offer a good standard of accreditation for pregnancy yoga training). 

A good class should be small enough so that the teacher can adjust the poses to ensure they are suitable as your body will change through each week of your pregnancy. 

The class can either be a general class that will adjust the poses for you, or a specialist pregnancy class, whichever you prefer. 

If your tired, consider a daytime yoga practice when you have more energy. 

10) Enjoy the class
Yoga practice should feel enjoyable and leave you feeling energised, relaxed and calm. You can keep it up as long as it feels good and doesn't leave you feeling over tired. Enjoy... 

See more on yoga classes during pregnancy here.

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<![CDATA[Is yoga as healthy for your heart as cycling?]]>Tue, 16 Dec 2014 19:24:39 GMThttp://www.bristolyogaspace.co.uk/yogaspace-blog/is-yoga-as-healthy-for-you-heart-as-cycling
According to an analysis of 37 health studies, a Harvard University researcher has found that practicing yoga regularly is as beneficial to your heart health as cycling and walking.  
They aren't entirely sure why, as you don't get puffed in the same way that you do doing more traditional cardiovascular exercise. But research suggests it is true and believe it is due to the combination of exercise and stress reduction. 

According to the research, yoga leads to weight loss, lowers cholesterol and cuts blood pressure. And it even helps you quit smoking. 

The research involved 2,700 people and also found that regular yoga practice reduced blood pressure 3x more effectively then taking pills. 

"Yoga may provide the same benefits in risk factor reduction as traditional physical activity such as cycling or brisk walking". Says researcher Myriam Hunink of Erasmus University and Harvard University.

Maureen Talbot of the British Heart Foundation said "any physical activity that can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease should be encouraged, and the benefits of yoga on emotional health are well established".

Brilliant, get yourself to a class or start your home practice today!

See our class schedule here and get in touch to find out more.

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<![CDATA[Bristol Yoga Trail - thank you!]]>Thu, 16 Oct 2014 08:56:12 GMThttp://www.bristolyogaspace.co.uk/yogaspace-blog/bristol-yoga-trail-thank-you
Thank you to everyone who joined us for an inspirational day at our Open House in September. It was wonderful to enjoy meeting many new faces and some old friends and to share a day of free classes for the community. Each of the sessions was well attended and they all felt very different from one another. From the Hatha Flow class with Virginie and Sheila, to the viniyoga class with me, to the beginners classes with me and John, where a few people took there first ever class (well done!), and others came to rekindle their yoga practice. I hope you keep up the good work and reap the many rewards of yoga practice.

It was also wonderful to collaborate with the other yoga studios across Bristol so that we could all open our doors together and then meet up for a social in the evening at Bristol City Yoga.

We are very much looking forward to next year's Open House which is already in the diary for Saturday September 12th 2015. Details will be posted both here and on the YogaTrail website and we very much look forward to collaborating with our friends next year, including Ed from Yogafurie up in Bishopston. 

Look forward to seeing you there!
<![CDATA[Yoga interview with BBC Radio Bristol]]>Wed, 03 Sep 2014 15:49:32 GMThttp://www.bristolyogaspace.co.uk/yogaspace-blog/yoga-interview-with-bbc-radio-bristolPicture
Life is busy and stressful but yoga can help give you peace of mind, health, strength and support. We talked about this and much more when I was recently invited as a guest on Steve Yabsley's lunchtime radio programme. So if you have 20 minutes, have a listen by pressing the play button below. 
(Or find the full radio show on Listen Again here >)

<![CDATA[10 things to avoid in a yoga class]]>Thu, 31 Jul 2014 09:19:23 GMThttp://www.bristolyogaspace.co.uk/yogaspace-blog/10-things-to-avoid-during-yogaPicture
Yoga helps us achieve improved health and wellbeing. Here are 10 things to watch out for during yoga classes to help you get the most from your yoga practice. Avoid these and your practice will be far more effective. If you find yourself doing these things, don't be disheartened - but do explore why you do them, see what happens if you mindfully avoid them, and in time you'll find the quality of your practice improves along with the benefits. 

1) Avoid being late to class 
If you arrive late, you are likely to be flustered and rushed. Arrive early or on time and you can settle yourself and get more from your practice. (But being late is better than not coming at all.)

2) Don't have your phone on
This is time for you, time to step outside your everyday life and ground yourself. Watching the phone won't help, and you won't fully switch off from your 'doing' mode. Plus ringing or vibrating phones can be off-putting for others in the class too.

3) Don't chat
Once the practice starts turn the focus inwards rather than chatting with your friends. 

4) Don't eat a full meal before practice
It will be uncomfortable and those twists and abdominal holds will be limited by a full belly. A small snack is fine if you need to keep up your energy, but a full meal will restrict your practice and lose some of the energetic effects.

5) Don't look around during practice
The gaze is an important part of yoga practice. There is a saying, "where the gaze goes, the mind follows" - looking around encourages the mind to jump around too, and we want to try and settle the mind as much as possible. Settling the gaze, or closing the eyes for some of the postures, helps you keep your focus on your practice. Admiring the water bottle of the person in front won't help you get the benefits of yoga.

6) Avoid fidgeting
In the quest to develop our focus and attention in our yoga practice, fidgeting isn't helpful. Instead, try to notice that you want to adjust your t-shirt every time you finish a pose, notice that you want to do it, but don't react to it, don't do it, simply enter into stillness and see how it makes you feel.

7) Don't push too hard
Yoga practice should be engaging, even challenging, but if you find yourself constantly pushing yourself, then easing off slightly may improve the quality of your practice. We push ourselves all day, trying to get to work on-time, rushing around from task to task. During yoga, there should be an equal level of effort and grit but also of comfort and space in each pose (sthira and sukha). Notice your breath during the challenging parts of practice, if it isn't smooth and under your control, then it's time to ease off. 

8) Don't drink in between postures
Ideally, you should come to the class fully hydrated so that you don't need to take a drink in between each pose. Yoga practice can make you warm, even hot,and this is part of the practice which we don't want to dampen down. Usually we are drinking through habit, rather than actually needing to hydrate the body, which means we have lost our focus. Keep focused, have a drink at the end, and you'll reap more benefits. 

9) Don't wear jeans
They don't usually let you move freely and can be uncomfortable. Wear clothes that allow free movement. (Unless your jeans are of the full lycra variety.)

10) Don't beat yourself up
If you find yourself unable to focus, fidgeting, looking around, sipping your water, running late to class, and glancing at your phone - don't beat yourself up about it. Yes your yoga practice has plenty of room for refinement, but it is still worth doing, regular practice will help things improve, and you'll feel better for having done it! 

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