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How private yoga classes can help your aches and pains.

1-2-1 yoga offers a personalised programme to suit your body, mind and lifestyle

Wouldn’t it be great if our bodies worked really well all of the time? If we could always spring out of bed feeling refreshed and ready for the day.

But for many of us that’s not the reality. We awake with aches and pains from the previous days activities. We know we need to exercise to stay healthy, but what’s the best movements to do for your particular body. That’s where private and personalised yoga classes can really help you.

Unfortunately our modern life often causes many of our aches and pains. Over the years of working, driving, sitting etc… our bodies come out of alignment and that’s when the pains and problems start. Sometimes over exercising can be the cause or doing the wrong type of activity for your body.

It takes a while for all of this to happen of course. Then we reach our mid forties perhaps and suddenly start to feel like life is taking it’s toll. That’s when we start to tell ourselves we are just getting old and maybe even start to accept it.

And who’s going to go to the doctors to complain of aches and pains? Would you just work around it and start adapting your movements so that your body isn’t causing you pain? When you start adapting and avoiding doing those movements, you start to lose the ability to move that bit freely. It’s so true when people say, use it or lose it! We have to keep moving our bodies in order for us to be able to keep moving our bodies!

Private yoga classes can help you to learn how to move your bodies to develop and maintain the strength, balance and mobility needed to feel strong and happy.

This is how a personalised, private yoga class can help you.

  1. The first place we start is with assessment. We see how your body moves in and out of poses as well as looking at posture. We also talk about you and find out what you want from a yoga practice. Everyone has a different starting place. You could be coming back from an injury or wish to regain strength. You already love yoga, so you know the many benefits, but what’s important to me, is what you need.
  2. I create a practice that works for you! Each session will be different, offering you a variety of movements, poses and opportunities to explore different areas of the body. The main job for me is to observe and support you with the right cues and props, so that you are moving safely and working towards your goal.
  3. From day 1 you will start to learn more about your own body. Over time you will become an expert in what your body needs. Through our 1-2-1 session we will get a detailed understanding of exactly how your body moves and where you need to focus to help you feel great
  4. We’ll look at your practice on the mat and also how you can integrate more movement into your modern life. So if you have to spend hours at a desk over a computer, we will discuss and practice movements and poses that you can do daily to help combat those aches and pains. The body that we work with on your yoga mat is the same body off the yoga mat. We always need to be considering how we treat it, if we want to develop and maintain our physical and mental health.
  5. So, not only will you have a personalised programme of yoga poses that you can practice at home you will also have a wealth of actionable lifestyle tips that will keep you moving well and feeling calm. Exercises, movements and poses that you can do at work or before a sports game. As well as breathing and meditation tips that you can practice anytime you need to retreat away and focus on you.

If you’ve started to notice the aches and pains, perhaps it’s time to consider a more personalised approach. 

If you want to enjoy the free of movement for many, many years and love the mind body connection that yoga provide, get in touch to find out about working 1-2-1

How does yoga help your pelvic floor?

 

Yoga is holistic. It incorporates your mind and body into a practice that benefits your whole wellbeing. And because of this union of mind and body it provides a perfect tool for working on your pelvic floor health.

By learning how to stand, move, stretch, relax and breathe correctly you can help your pelvic floor to function well again.

Your pelvic floor is affected by the way you use your body and if we are anxious or stressed, our mind becomes a component of how well your pelvic floor functions.

Ever had that nervous or scared feeling and needed the toilet? Was that not your mind creating a response in your body? Yes, it was. 

So yoga, as a practice of mind and body, is the perfect combination of physical and mental work that will help the health of your pelvic floor.

Here’s how it works (in a nutshell of course):

On a physical level

Work begins with your feet. Moving up the through the body it’s important to focus on alignment of how you stand. Basically, we learn to stack the bones on top of each other, placing them in the best position for your internal body to work well. There’s lots going on inside your abdomen, chest and pelvic areas so we start by learning to stand in the optimum position. Now that may sound bizarre because you’d like to think we should already know how to stand correctly. But the day to day actions of our regular life changes the way our body moves and stands. One prime and pertinent example is how we hold a child on our hips/waist. In this position the pelvis most likely tilts under and the hip juts out in order to hold them. How many times a day are you in this position? Over time, your body will adapt to this position and begin to feel that this is the new normal. When your pelvis is tucked your pelvic floor is not working correctly, it simply isn’t in the right position to be most effective.

It becomes a process of making small changes to our alignment through the practice of exercises and yoga poses, so that your body learns new and healthy ways of moving and being. 

In a yoga class we work on these small movements overtime. We align and then we build strength. We also learn techniques to release tension in tight areas.

Working on the mind

In yoga we practice mindfulness. Which is just a way of saying we learn to pay attention, to the present and to ourselves. By learning mindfulness we learn how to tune in to our body’s needs. We learn the art of relaxation and we’re better able to know when we need time to restore.

If you’re someone who suffers with stress or anxiety, this could be the main factor that’s affecting your pelvic floor (and maybe other ailments too.) So by learning to breathe and relax you’re helping the health of your pelvic floor.

I love that yoga is a framework for all of this work – mind, body, strength and relaxation.

Your wellbeing in an ongoing journey and needs your commitment to make the difference. 

Are you ready to make that difference?

How to tackle your pelvic floor problems

How to tackle your pelvic floor problems

When I realised that my pelvic floor just wasn’t cutting the mustard anymore, I went to the doctor for some help. My problem was frequent trips to the toilet, symptoms I’d suffered with for a while. I started to develop a habit of going to the toilet more often than I actually needed it. I didn’t want to be caught short so made sure I always went – just in case.

Well that got a little bit worse after the birth of my son. Straight after birth I realised that I couldn’t even feel my pelvic floor. The midwifes and doctors just told me to do my Kegels and said it will eventually get stronger. That was it. I was sent on my way with my new baby and instructions just to keep squeezing. So I did. But I became a little bit paranoid about whether I needed a wee or not. So I found myself going to the toilet more often than before. I’d lost all mental connection with my pelvic floor and bladder and lost the ability to tell whether I genuinely need the loo or not. I’d totally lost trust in my body.

So that’s how it was. I also went to see a continence nurse during this time and she sent me away with the same prescription: to do my Kegels. So I did. Again.

Kegels didn’t work for me

But guess what? They improved the strength of my pelvic floor but I still suffered with frequency of toilet trips. It was worse when I was nervous or stressed, which happened when I didn’t know where the toilet was. So it just became a vicious circle of worrying, which made it worse.

So I was feeling a little bit lost as to what to do next. I knew it wasn’t normal to be going to the toilet such a lot and I really didn’t want to feel like this forever.

So I took out my computer, opened a new browser and began Googling. And that’s when I discovered a teaching training program called Your Pelvic Matters – created by pre and post natal expert Claire Mockridge. The programme sounded great and I thought: as I’m already a yoga teacher it would be something I can incorporate into my own teaching as well as improving my own symptoms while I’m studying – it was a win, win. I signed up and started learning.

Here’s what I’ve learned

When it comes to pelvic floor health you need to take a whole body approach. It’s not enough to isolate this muscle (your pelvic floor) and simply contract it up a few times a day (Kegels). This is a bit like wanting a six-pack and just doing sit ups every day but doing no other exercise and eating lots of burgers! It’s just not going to work. What you’d actually do if you wanted a six pack would be to take up an exercise program for your whole body and start eating healthily.

The pelvic floor muscle needs the exact same approach. You need to work on stretching and strengthening all of the body’s muscles as they all impact on how well the pelvic floor muscle works. And it’s not even just about exercise, the shoes and clothes we wear affect the function of your pelvic floor too.

My light bulb moment!

I couldn’t believe it! Everything I was learning made so much sense and I started to practice the exercises as well as take on board the lifestyle tips. I started to notice a difference. I realised that my hamstrings were incredibly tight and also that my glutes (bum muscles) were under developed. All of these factors were affecting how well my pelvic floor did its job. 

Armed with all of this new information I booked myself in to see a women’s health physio – just to get a proper assessment of what was going on. Even though the exercises were helping, I still had days when my symptoms were bad. What I discovered was that my pelvic floor was strong (yippee!!) but overactive! So basically it was working too much and I needed to learn how to relax more. That reflected my life externally. I’ve always struggled to be still and relax. So learning to breath well and continue with my yoga was the final piece of the jigsaw. My trust in my body was restored again. 

So back to the point. How can YOU tackle your pelvic floor problems?

Firstly, know that you need a full body approach. It’s not just one exercise to cure all of your pelvic floor problems.

Doctors and nurses know a lot of stuff but they don’t have all of the answers. Especially when it comes to pelvic floor health. If you’re not seeing any improvements with doing Kegel exercises then book yourself an appointment with a women’s health physio. This was so important for me because I learned exactly what the state of play was.

Start to walk more. Walking is tremendously important for the function of your pelvic floor and while you’re doing that consider what shoes you’re wearing too. The heels on your shoes will affect the alignment of your pelvis and therefore affect your pelvic floor. Barefoot shoes are definitely the best switch I’ve made and I’ve also found that I don’t suffer with knee pain anymore since I made the switch.

Yoga for your pelvic floor

The best thing I’ve done is to continue practicing yoga but with a new focus on strength and mobility rather than striving for flexibility and achieving the ultimate pose. I also spend a lot of time  on my breathing practice. Instead of breathing into the belly (which is a common yoga cue) I’ve relearned to expand the rib cage, breathing into the lungs. I also find that breathing and yoga help me to manage anxiety, which was the main cause of my pelvic floor problems. When I feel tense, so does my pelvic floor. So as you can see, it really is whole body approach.

If you’ve ever been to one of my yoga classes you may have noticed some non yoga moves included too. Whether your pelvic floor is a problem or not, it’s just good sense to ensure your body works well. So this approach is always included in my classes. So next time we focus on our feet and try lifting the big toes – know that you’re helping your pelvic floor! 

I’ve created a FREE 5 days to pelvic floor happiness mini course to get you started on thinking about your own pelvic floor.

The course is all online via email, delivered over 5 days. You’ll receive one exercise each day to help you to tune in to your body and get it moving. 

Sign up here if you’d like to get started today.

What sort of yoga do I teach?

It’s a questions I get asked the most and I find it a really difficult question to answer. Mainly because I don’t feel like it fits with just one specific genre or style. In the West, we have created so many different class themes, styles and types of yoga that there really is something for everyone. Which I think is great. But it doesn’t answer your question…

Every yoga class you go to will be different, because each teacher has a different approach. The poses will be vaguely similar but how they are taught will differ.

I believe that there is a yoga style for everyone and it all depends on what you hope to get out of the class on whether a certain style will suit you.

It’s important that you find a class that suits your needs and your aims for yourself. When someone new comes to my class, I always ask ‘what brings you to yoga?’ That’s what I’m really interested in and why I teach…

So here is a little more detail about my approach and who might benefit from my class.

My focus is to improve the functional movement of your body. What this means is that your bones, muscles and joints are strong, mobile and flexible in all of the right proportions so that your body feels good.

I’m influenced and inspired by a new group of yogis who are developing a sustainable approach to yoga. One that suits the needs of modern life and is a safe and effective practice for your body.

I like to include some of the traditional standing and seated poses alongside strengthening exercises and poses to release tension. We will move mindfully into each pose, flowing and sometimes holding and breathing in a pose.

Some times we move in and out of poses, for example, we might hold warrior 2, keeping the legs strong and work on shoulder mobility at the same time with variations of arm and shoulder movements.

You might sometimes experience movements that you don’t find in other yoga classes, such as foot mobilising exercises. This is because I’m learning new techniques all of the time and I like to bring in different movement concepts into my class. So the benefits of working on your feet, for example, can be felt further up the body in helping to ease lower back pain or knee problems. Every part of our body is effected by how well every other part works. So by focusing on our whole body, we benefit as a whole too!

Most of all there will be variety for your body – as this is the best way for you to enjoy a well-functioning body. 

My class suits anyone who is interested in looking after themselves, being the best version they can be and finding a little ‘me’ time to relax and unwind.

My class are also perfect for you if you:

  • spend a lot of time sitting down hunched over a computer, driving or on the sofa
  • experience problems with your pelvic floor or have regular back or knee pain
  • feel stressed or anxious
  • would like to feel better in your body
  • want to stay active for as long as possible
  • are bored of the usual yoga class and want something new!

I’d say my class is a little bit like choosing a healthy eating diet. A healthy movement diet should include variety and be well balanced. That’s how I plan each class or workshop. There will be something for your whole body, it will be different each week and you will feel nourished afterwards.

Most of all it will reflect the nature of yoga giving you time on the mat for loving kindness to yourself. 

If you want to experience my teaching you can find me every Tuesday at Haywood Road community centre in Mapperley.

I also run a Sunday morning yoga club for anyone wanting to spend more time on the good stuff!!

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How to get started with a home yoga practice

I was recently asked by someone in my yoga class if I practiced yoga every day.

My answer was yes, but then I began to feel rather conscious of how that might come across.

I felt the need to explain more about what my daily practice looks like. The last thing I wanted was to portray an image that seemed unachievable.

It was almost as though by saying I practiced every day, I was painting this picture of me getting up at 5am, quietly meditating then continuing with my physical practice for a solid 60 minutes each day. Finishing off with a 15 minute savasana and a green juice.

In reality my yoga practice is often short, I often do 10 minutes here and there throughout the day. Sometimes I get on my yoga mat and sometimes I find time to sit and focus on breathing with my eyes closed. My yoga fits around my life, my job and mostly around the life of my 2 year old son. And this is the important aspect that I’d like to portray. Yoga can be part of your daily life without it feeling too difficult to find the time. I think the difficult bit is knowing where to start.

So here are my top tips for getting started with a home yoga practice.

Grab yourself a bit of paper and a pen because first we need to plan this out…

1. Where will you practice?

Thinking about your home, where could you make space for a yoga mat or a cushion to sit on for a seated meditation. Try and write down a couple of options because what happens if your family happen to be taking up space in your chosen area when you decide you want/need to do some yoga. In my house I practice at the side of my bed, at the back of the living room and in the kitchen. I’ve also done some gentle stretching sitting on the bathroom floor during my son’s bath time – so be creative in your choices. Now you’ve found space, when could you make space during your day to practice your yoga. Remember it doesn’t have to be a certain time each day or any specific length. Perhaps there is 10 mins in the morning you could allocate just to you, before everyone else gets out of bed. What about some breathing and meditation in the car whilst waiting at the school gates. Or could you go to bed a little early and roll out your mat beside your bed – that’s my favourite place at the moment. You can also move, stretch and practice your favourite poses while waiting for the dinner to cook. You don’t always need total silence or a sacred place. Sometimes it’s good just to stretch out and move around while doing something else.

2. What does your body need?

Now put the paper away as you’re ready to step onto the mat. Now that I’ve been practising a while I instinctively know what I’m going to do on the mat. So let me help you get started. I don’t necessarily plan it out before hand but I just begin to move in a way that feels right and good for my body. Sometimes I might try out a sequence I’ve seen on social media or just work into an area of my body that feels tight or sore. Next time you are in class, try to remember a few poses that felt good on your body. Spend the week in-between your class, practising just those couple of poses. You can do them in any order and they don’t have to flow. These beginning steps are just about making space and time. 

3. Create a beginning, middle and an end to your practice. 

By segmenting your practice into 3 sections you will help yourself to a) stay on the mat long enough to feel better and b) provide yourself with a useful structure which you can build upon. So here is your basic yoga menu:

– To start…sit, stand or lie down and begin to notice your own breathing. Close the eyes and settle your mind and body. Add in some gentle stretches, like hamstrings or neck rolls. Try to concentrate on where in your body needs a little TLC.

– For the main course – here’s where you can practice those poses you liked in class. Try counting your breaths in your poses to focus your mind on something. Maybe repeat each pose 2-3 times and take time in between to notice how you feel.

-For afters – probably the most important and ‘tasty’ part of your yoga meal is the relaxation at the end. It’s easy to jump straight up and back into your life but this bit is really really important. This is your body’s time to reset. If you struggle to stay put for any length of time, use your phones timer and set it for 5 minutes.

So that’s it right there…your own guide to creating a home practice. 

If you’d like to delve a little deeper into the art of creating a home practice sign up below and you’ll be the first to know about a new one off workshop I’ll be running in the Spring.

During the workshop we will talk about the key elements you can include in your practice and I’ll share with you my 5 stage secret recipe that I use when I plan my classes.

Sign up here

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