Inversion Immersion Workshop

 

This post comes from Chris Alleaume, an Australian yogi with a calm presence and a wicked handstand!

 

I have always loved inversions. To be able to invert, you need to have a certain amount of body awareness, and you need to be able to be fully present.

 

I still remember the first time I did a hand stand and managed to stay still - I got so excited that I fell out!

 

We can get so caught up in our own way of thinking or being, but inversions allow us to see life from a different perspective. 

 

They are also an incredible way to learn about yourself; in particular about your fears and how to face and overcome them. These learnings can then be translated into any aspect of your life.

 

Physically, inversions wake you up by helping blood get to your brain, and tonify your organs by strengthening the top sides.
 

Above all that - they're fun!

 

I'm really looking forward to facilitating the Inversion Immersion workshop this Saturday.

 

It's a workshop for everyone - even if you can’t handstand or headstand or forearm stand, there will still be opportunity to get upside down with the support of other people.


5 Reasons Hot Yoga Sheffield Can Help You Lose Weight and Get Healthy

 

5 Reasons Hot Yoga Sheffield

 

Can Help You Lose Weight and Get Healthy

 

 

Heat Helps Fat Loss

 

Your body burns more calories when you’re in the heat because it takes a lot of energy to maintain a normal body temperature, compared to when you’re in a cooler environment.

 

If you’re using your muscles in the heat too, as you will be at Hot Yoga Sheffield, you’re going to get very hot!  

 

Your body has to maintain its normal temperature, so when things start heating up it gets rid of the excess by sweating. Sweat comes from blood which has been pumped to the skin. The hotter you get the more blood your heart has to pump to your skin to cool down.

 

Your heart works harder in hotter temperatures, and this in turn increases the calories you use, and increases your fat burn.  

 

Apart from the heat you’ve all things yoga too, like the physical energy it takes to do the poses.

 

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Building Muscle

 

By practising yoga regularly you’re going to build some nice muscle tone.

 

As you increase your muscle tone you increase the size of your calorie burning engine, which obviously helps with weight loss if you need it, or maintaining your ideal weight.

 

Increased muscle mass is fantastic for your overall health too as it gives you more energy and vibrancy, because it enhances your metabolism and literally makes you younger – in the biological sense.

 

But as well as the poses there are other things about yoga that sneak in the longer you go, like mindfulness.

 

 

Hot Yoga Sheffield Helps Your Health Mind-Set

 

Any practice of yoga encourages you to cultivate a bit of mindfulness, but you can’t really help doing this at Hot Yoga Sheffield because of the heat.

 

It’s funny seeing ‘stress heads’ turn up before class, and an hour later they look like the most chilled out person ever!

 

Exercising in the heat tends to focus your mind on what you’re doing right now. All crap of the day and worries about tomorrow drop away and your mind relaxes into the present moment, AKA mindfulness ☺

 

The more you practice yoga and enjoy this state of mind, the more you tend take it to life outside yoga. This state of mind really helps with health and weight loss because 90% of it is about controlling your own mind.

 

As you gain more and more control over your mind you can do those things you know you need to do to help yourself.

 

People going to Hot Yoga Sheffield are at least somewhere on the ‘good health spectrum’, which is another reason you’re in danger of getting healthier.

 

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Led Astray By The Yogis

 

A lot of people’s health (and often their weight too) is influenced by the people they spend time with. The yoga crowd may be very different to you usual circle.

 

People at Hot Yoga Sheffield are likely to be really encouraging and supportive of you if you’re intending to improve your health and weight. Chances are they’re doing the same thing.

 

There's a kind of covert support for those who are taking responsibility for their own health and weight. This may be completely different to the interaction you have with friends and family, who aren’t always the best at helping you make changes.

 

In fact it’s the opposite isn’t it - at home, work or out with friends:

  • You’re encouraged to have pudding so someone else feels comfortable in having theirs, rather than greedy
  • You’re encouraged to have another class of wine
  • You might get criticised for getting all ‘boring’ because you’re not eating cake or getting plastered at the weekend

If you are interested in making more changes than just the yoga, there’s a wealth of expertise at Hot Yoga Sheffield.

 

 

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Expertise and Knowledge


Anne Marie and Koreen have vast knowledge not only about yoga, but also health and plant-based nutrition. They’re both very generous with their knowledge and keen to share with those who are getting their act together.

 

As a doctor who’s massively interested in getting the body healthy without pills (which isn’t the healthiest thing to do most of the time) I know that making the shift towards more plant-based eating will help enormously with both weight loss, better health, and even reversal of some common disease and illness.

 

Hot Yoga Sheffield is the perfect storm for getting healthier, so be careful if you go – it might just creep up on you!

 

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To find out more about Dr Julie Coffey visit her weekly health blog

 

 

To book in for a free 30 minute health or weight loss chat - click here


Learning the Inner Game of Yoga

By Koreen Clements

 

Why did you come to your first hot yoga class? Had you heard someone else talking about it and was intrigued? Maybe you simply walked by the studio and had a brief thought, 'hmm, I wonder what's that like?'. Or maybe a friend brought you along to a class because it was something you just had to try.

 

For me I knew I needed to make changes in my life, but I didn't know how. After three years of doing nothing, I had put on some weight and was struggling to do up my jeans in the morning. I had read a story about a lady who had done a 60 day Bikram challenge and cried at the end of it. There was something in her story that called to me and said, you need this too. 

 

What got me through the studio door was the promise of losing a few pounds and feeling good in my body again. Having done several half-marathons and a half-Ironman, I was up for a good challenge and feeling cold a lot of the time, the heat sounded like an ideal way to be warm for a change.

 

And it was indeed a challenge - about halfway through the first class, I thought it possible that I just might die on that rented mat, a hot sweaty mess. Yet somehow I made it through and peeled myself off the mat and was hooked. Not only did I realise how out of sync with my body I was - stand on one leg for 1 minute, hold my arms at shoulder height for another - felt like the equivalent of climbing Mt Everest - but for the first time in years, whilst lying in savasana, I found a bit of peace in my head.

 

A pause in the mental chatter of all the reasons why I wasn't good enough. Why my marriage failed because I should have been smarter, prettier, thinner, neater, funnier, wealthier than I was. How I needed to write more papers, get more funding, do more research to be a better academic and deserve my fellowship. And just for a few minutes I got glimpses of something else - that I was enough as I was right then.

 
And over the months I went from hiding in the back row, not wanting to see my reflection in the mirror, to being in the front row, focused on my breath that the rest of the room could have disappeared for all I was aware of them. It was a gradual process of accepting myself as I was, of appreciating the body I had, rather than wanting it to be different, of acknowledging that even though I made mistakes, I was doing the best I could at the time and now, knowing differently, I could make new choices.

 

Don't get me wrong, it wasn't an easy transition. At the start I applied the same rigorous criteria to my yoga practice. Each day I researched and studied a different pose and how to do it right and practiced it in the class. I experimented with different breathing exercises to see what would help. I joined a Yoga Competition Crew and pushed myself through a regime of exercises designed to make my practice better. If only I could do yoga perfectly, then my life would be perfect too.

 

The Bikram world was ideal for Type A personalities and so it wasn't until I discovered Yin yoga that I truly found healing at a deeper level, although it was very much a love hate relationship at first. My shoulders and especially my hips did not want to do the poses. My brain would scream at me - you can't make me do this, I'm not going to, I hate you - yet under it all was sadness and the fear of being alone because I wasn't good enough. By constantly berating myself to shape myself into someone's ideal, then I could control my world and feel more secure.

 

After over a year of a regular hot yoga, yin yoga and meditation practice, I thought I had my life sorted. I was happy, I was content and felt on track. I was moving to England to get married and become a yoga teacher, but somewhere over the Snake Pass on the drive from the airport to Sheffield I descended into misery. I was desperate - to redo the house and began painting before the jet leg wore off - so I could control all the little things and not feel out of control by the big things of moving across the world, getting remarried, leaving academia. 

 

It wasn't until six weeks later that I discovered Ashtanga yoga, another strong regimented physical practice that got me out of my head and back into my body and the present moment again, that I could appreciate the good I had, acknowledge my fears, and accept that I was enough. That I could go with the flow and know deep down that all was well.    


 
During the Deepen Your Practice Yoga Day, I will take you through what I consider to be the key elements for each type of hot yoga we teach at HYS (Vinyasa, Hatha & Yin). You'll learn a physical and spiritual key for each style. You'll go beyond what does a pose look like, to how does it feel in your body and what is the effect you want it to have on your life.

 

It's taken me over eight years to get to this place and I would have loved for someone to have given me these keys when I was beginning my yoga journey because it would have helped to ease a lot of heartache along the way.

 

All my love,

Koreen


The Gift of Mobility

by Jon Ashmore


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I am a man in my early fifties, spent my life as an outdoor sports instructor until July 2016 when I became a first aid trainer. 


Over 30 years of physical activity constantly lifting, hauling, pushing pulling on a daily and constant basis together with injuries, fractures, wear and tear, overuse of joints and muscles has left my body in a state that could only be described as battered!


My back and neck particularly had very much reduced flexibility, this in turn was painful, ached constantly and felt stiff all the time. I had numerous physio sessions which did help and did free my back and neck but gradually they would return to their default position of rigidity and pain. Nothing had a lasting effect or gave a long term solution.


My sister had been going to hot yoga for some time and she bought me a months gift ticket around April / May. Well, I visited both yoga studios a number of times over the month. Not only was I made to feel very welcome by staff and members, which was lovely as  I am not of the racing whippet body shape but in each class tutors took the time to come round and help me personally with various poses, positions etc. Not once did I feel less than anyone else in the rooms. In fact it was noticeable how friendly everybody is, how people will speak to you and have time to offer advice help and just a chat sometimes. Lovely atmosphere.


But the thing that struck me most is that after only 3 or 4 sessions of Yin, my back and neck were more mobile than they have been for years. Unbelievable difference but thats not all. Due to work commitments I have not been to yoga for at least 8 weeks but my back and neck are still extremely mobile the difference is literally life changing.They are not regressing which is unheard of for me, I am pain free and mobile!


So thank you, for the warm welcome I received when I first arrived, for the care and attention the tutors give in all classes to all students and the gift of mobility in areas of my body I never thought would feel like they do ever again.


Absolutely fantastic. I hope to return soon once my work schedule settles down and involves less travelling.

Be the best beginner you can be

Today I saw the true value of going to class. Recently I recommitted back to my practise to develop as a student, rather than focusing all my energy on professional development as a teacher. As a person, I needed to myself going again, too much time in my head about MOGA and a couple of other health aspects, I needed to get back to basics and back to my heart, reconnect with my why for getting out of bed. I needed yoga in the same reasons why I started it in the first place.

Today I completed a class that was taught in the opposite style to how I teach and practise. A few weeks ago I would have really struggled through it, not physically but mentally. I would have been frustrated as hell - not a reflection on the teacher, it’s my projection. It is very yin to my yang. I often hear do the opposite of what you love, it’s what you need, which I think, if you're going to do some practise, do the stuff you enjoy first. There is clearly mileage to do the stuff you don't for sure, but if time is limited, its best doing something you enjoy than grinding out the stuff you don't, in my opinion and experience of course. We enjoy reading books that interest us, we are more likely to complete a book if we find it fun and engaging. I never finish books that don’t.

Today was a turning point and here's why. I changed my mindset for class, my why for going. I pulled out a couple of blocks and progressed through the class with the mindset as an absolute beginner physically to yoga, just saying still in the pose, operating at say 50% max of my physical limits. I ended up going so much further mentally. When I scaled it back, I felt my body more than ever, I relaxed more than I'd ever done in a class, and was more mindful about every inch that I moved by body. Huge increase in awareness and clarity to what is, huge decrease to my past and future thoughts which mattered not, but served to waste my energy and affect my class experience. After class I felt still, and because of that, boom, all these brilliant ideas and motivations ran into my mind. I really reconnected to who I am.

I have been to Hot Yoga Sheffield maybe 20 times out of the last 22-25 days. I have grown immeasurably as a student and by feeling what my students feel, I have grown as teacher. I feel a better person for it. I've even been to beginners classes as a student because I want to re-establish my basics from another perspective. Improving foundations means I'm less likely to sink right?

So thank you Anne Marie in particular (your class today was a game-changer for now). Rosie, Sarah and Koreen (your classes have been all very different on my mind and body but it’s given me so much engagement to explore and enjoy). You've all given me space to get back to basics and strip back my practise so I am doing the basics better than I've ever done.

MOGA is progressive program so I do not offer drop in classes. It is my belief committing to this path, gives the benefits which make the rest of the 100 hours off the mat, a better chance of being our best selves - calmer, more confident, creative, kinder, happier, mindful, patient etc etc. It is a bit of grind but it is absolutely worth the commitment, and the experience we have together in class, there is something beautiful and brilliant about human interaction. By putting ourselves first, we give so much more.

But some practise is easily better than none - you may just need a boost if the day, or week is getting heavy on the mind or the body needs to open back up.

So those that unfortunately not involved owing to their restrictions through work mainly, to commit to MOGA at present, get down to the brilliant drop in classes and feel the benefit of great teachings and the aspect of sweating those unwanted toxins. It's a brilliant combination. And those who are involved in my groups, get down and sample it, its only going to enhance your why for coming to MOGA. And if you're not involved with MOGA at all, just get down and try it out anyway. This is my highest recommendation, thank you Anne Marie and Co..

The right people will have read this and if it inspires just one of you to Hot Yoga Sheffield and/or strip back your practise, job done. And if not, I enjoyed writing it and give HOT YOGA SHEFFIELD the plug they deserve. Have a bloody mega weekend x

Why I almost didn’t become a yoga teacher…

Before I did my 200 hr Yoga Teacher Training I had at least five good reasons why I thought I couldn’t do it.


It wasn’t convenient…


The training I wanted to go to was a month long intensive in Costa Rica to study with Gabrielle Raiz. I was currently living in New Zealand, planning a move to the UK and it was scheduled at the same time as my brother’s wedding back in Canada. Even though I didn’t know how I was going to do it, I made a leap of faith and filled in my application form and paid my deposit.


Several months before the training, my brother and his fiance called off their wedding. At the same time, my entry visa to the UK was approved, so we moved across the world, got married and applied for the spousal visa. Even though everything was now in place, I still didn’t know if I’d even have a passport to fly because it was currently in the UKBA’s possession with only a guess as to when I’d get it back. Thankfully, it arrived the week before the start of the course.


It was expensive…


Because I had spent a lot of money on applying for a UK visa, I literally only had $500 for the deposit when I paid it and wasn’t sure how I was going to pay for the rest of it. But I had faith that something would work out.


And it did. I made a video application for a scholarship and was awarded a $1000 prize towards my tuition. My house in New Zealand sold quickly and I had enough to cover the rest of the tuition, accommodation and my flights for the training.


I couldn’t do impressive looking poses…


Before I moved to the UK, I had participated in the training for the Bikram yoga competitions in New Zealand and was surrounded by people who could do very impressive poses.


They could literally bend over backwards and then hold onto their ankles. Or stand on their hands and rest their feet on their heads. Or balance on their fingertips and float their legs out behind them.


My most impressive pose was standing balancing head to knee. I worked hard to be able to do it and this was the entry point, the very first pose you had to do to enter the competition.


I didn’t think I had been doing yoga long enough...


Although I had dabbled in yoga many years before, I hadn’t really taken it seriously until I started doing Bikram yoga in 2010. When I put my application in, I had only been doing hot yoga classes regularly for eleven months and yin yoga at home for six months. Then I moved to the UK and the closest hot yoga studio was at least an hour’s drive away.


I tried out a variety of styles of yoga in Sheffield and settled on Ashtanga Yoga at the Yoga Shala on London Rd. I enjoyed the structure of the practice, but quickly realised that even though I had been doing Bikram yoga for a year, that did not prepare me for 50+ vinyasas per class. I really disliked downward facing dog and spent much of the first couple of months cursing in my head and not feeling particularly yogic.


I had two young daughters…


We had just moved to the UK and I was concerned to leave them in a new country with a new family. Not only that, but whilst my youngest was settled in school, there wasn’t a place for my oldest so I was homeschooling her until we could get her in. It was a lot of work because I created assignments and projects that she could work on whilst I was away and I cut my lunch breaks short so I could skype with them daily during their evening back in the UK.



Yet I had to do it...


In short, like having kids, there is never a perfect time to do your teacher training. There is only now. There are always bills to pay, children to look after, other things you could be doing with your time. There will always be people who can do the poses better and have done yoga for longer.

There's a quote by Judith Lasater that I like, she says 'Yoga's not about touching your toes, it's about what you learn on the way down.' Whether that may be two seconds, two months or two years. You may not feel ready, and that’s ok. I certainly didn’t. I felt sick throughout the whole flight. Yet, I knew I had to do it. Deep down I knew it was a path I needed to take and that if I didn’t, then I’d regret it.

If this is how you feel, and you’ll know it if you do, then email me (koreen@hotyogasheffield.co.uk) to figure out how we can make it work for you.

Ready for a life change?

Janine Leagh, Hot Yogi Australia YOGA Senior facilitator, says you don't need to want to be a yoga teacher to do a yoga teacher training course, but it just might change your life. 

When I started my Yoga Teacher Training, I wasn't interested in being a yoga teacher, I already had a well paid, full time job but had been dabbling with yoga for quite a few years by myself.

Some of my friends would ask if they could join in, until there were a few of us that almost constituted a class.

Being a fitness fanatic, I loved a strong dynamic style of yoga asana but I undertook the training because I wanted to get a deeper look into the philosophy and the roots of yoga.

I've always had an interest in figuring out what I deemed my 'messed up head' and had studied psychology and many self help modalities, but it was the Yoga studies that really took me by the hand and led me down the path of truth.

It was a game changer for me.

That was in 1999 and I haven't stopped since, it is a way of life for me now.

Inspired to teach yoga

Anne Marie Gordon, Yoga Teacher and Co-Director of Hot Yoga Sheffield (HYS) encourages you to make the 200hr Hot Yoga Teacher Training Course at HYS and in Bali the beginning of the rest of your life.

Back in 2010, I was living on Long Island, working at Whole Foods and working my way towards realising my life’s dreams. I would practice tai-chi in my grandmothers backyard and reaffirm to myself daily that connecting with nature and filling myself with a deep seated sense of peace and joy was the most important thing in life. I knew that I needed to make that experience part of my ‘career path,’ and that sharing that experience with others and teaching them to make that connection within themselves was what I was supposed to do - the only thing I didn’t know was, what job was that?! In university, writing essays about existence and analyzing the world of concepts taught me that even my professors didn’t really know how to guide me towards a path of fulfillment in my day to day life - that is a completely independent job.

At work, I started to meet brilliant minds that were opening my eyes every day to a lifestyle that eluded me for years. I found a local hot yoga studio that I had been practicing at for less than a year, where I opened my heart to yoga. I remember distinctly lying face down in a puddle of my own sweat, listening to mystical mantras sung by Deva Premal, and really feeling tapped into an energy way beyond the scope of my physical self. It was at that point that I realized that Yoga was the pathway toward realization, and a ‘career’ path to share that with others.

With barely a second thought, I signed up for the upcoming teacher training, and that’s where it all began! The next year of my life saw me complete the intensive training, get married and move to Sheffield - everything I could have wanted. From there, my daily practice has become strongly established, and I have gone on to compete two further teacher trainings.

When it comes to signing up for a 200hr teacher training, I like to remind students that this is the starting point. Whether it is for your own personal practice and development, or to gain the qualification to teach others, this the first step on the path to your future. I know from personal experience that just like any other program, you get what you give. When you have the desire to pursue Yoga as a path for personal development, you will be given the tools and the inspiration to follow the lead of your heart as well as your own needs and interests. As you grow your personal practice, the experiences you have will be the substance of who you become as a teacher, friend, or partner. The skills and information given in yoga teacher trainings is infinitely invaluable, and as time goes by, you will notice that you are naturally able to share the light you’ve developed with those who need it most, in a way that is true and authentic to you.

The upcoming 200hr teacher training led by Janine from Hot Yogi Australia will be an excellent time to receive the inspiration to get serious about the yoga path in your life. Janine has a wonderful background of experience not only well versed in Acro Yoga and moving mindfully through Embodied Flow, but also the wealth of self knowledge that comes from yoga philosophy and spiritually enlightening texts from ancient to modern times.

I am so pleased to be able to host this program that will also give students the tools to: teach safely in the heat with the Heat Safety Training lead by Koreen, as well as feel confident in learning how to assist other students physically through the Skill of Mindful Adjustments Training lead by Karen Russell, along with so many other skills that come from the program set out.

It is with a sincere wish that anyone considering a Hot Yoga teacher training that is comprehensive and well versed in all things yoga feel the urge to join us on this adventure. There are so many experienced and qualified yoga teachers that will be here to guide you on your journey towards your best and most liberated self. I will be here as your mentor and guide to ensure that this experience sets you on the course for bigger and better things, all manifested by you!

To knowing the light within yourself.

With love,

Anne Marie

Running and yoga – it’s more than your flexible friend

Sun’s out, trainers on! With the longer evenings even more of us are out pounding the streets in training to get a PB in our next Park Run or race. 

But as we all know, it’s not all about run, run, running. Research shows that in order to improve our performance we need to cross train, stretch key muscles, stabilise our core, strength condition, rest and recover.

But how to fit all of that into our busy schedules when we can’t even find time to do a few stretches post run?! Go on, admit it, it’s so tempting to skip and head straight for a hot shower!

Well have no fear - A hot yoga class encompasses it all...

Increasingly more of us runners are catching on to the accessibility and benefits of yoga and that it doesn’t involve tying yourself up in impossible pretzel-like knots. Plus, we don’t have to be flexible to do yoga – that’s just one of the reasons why we do it!

Hot yoga also improves our strength, stability, mental focus, weight-loss, range of movement, breathing,  joint alignment, posture, mental focus, body awareness, pre-race composure, balance, recovery time and sleep – to help us gain that winning edge.

What’s more, Hot yoga is even more popular with runners who want to ‘up’ the challenge by doing it at 38-degrees. A study from the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research showed that eight weeks of hot yoga sessions increased flexibility in the trunk, hips, hamstrings and shoulders, while improving dead-lift strength. Fat loss also occurred, likely because of the intensity of the classes for new participants in yoga training.  

Flexibility is only the beginning...but it’s a good place to start

In running we use the same muscles for the same repetitive movement which adds extra stress and makes them pretty tight – how many massages have we all booked in for and how many times have we fallen off our roller – although if we can manage the weird contortions we have to get into with a foam roller then yoga will be a doddle!. When muscles are tight then other undertrained muscles might over compensate and can become stressed or torn – resulting in .... down time – eeek!!!  Hot yoga loosens the muscles naturally and safely, to increase flexibility and ease tight areas more quickly. Increasing flexibility also improves our range of motion which increases power output thanks to muscle recruitment and more efficient movement.  Yoga pre-hab is best!

Hot Yin will help you move deeper into the muscles. 

Stability is core

We’re often recommended yoga to strengthen and stabilise our core (abdominals, hip flexors, gluteals, and lower back) to improve our posture, stave off injury and ensure efficient energy transfer between the upper and lower body to save energy.  The results are increased speed and endurance. Excessively rotating our hips and shoulders can cause all sorts of injuries to our upper and lower bodies as our limbs compensate and energy is exerted in all the wrong places. 

Holding postures such as balances also improves our joint stability and alignment particularly in the shoulders, hips, knees and ankles. Yoga can isolate and concentrate on the muscles surrounding the joints and warm up the synovial fluid  to reduce aches and pains.

And not forgetting our feet – they’re the foundation to our every run. So many yoga postures help strengthen and lengthen the muscles in the feet - think arches, ankles, and toes - and  maintain healthy connective tissue to provide better shock absorption. Yoga helps us to get the right joint alignment which in turn can help us to correct an inefficient or unhealthy running style and reduce the risk of injury. Plus, the balances help us to improve our core stability, mental focus and agility.

Hot Hatha classes encourage the yoga postures to be held for a small time to strengthen the muscles, check alignment and gain mental focus.

Range of Movement

We are all too aware that running uses a constant forward motion of the same muscles putting them under a lot of stress. Yoga uses  different muscles we didn’t even know we had and wouldn’t usually move in different directions, including lateral and rotation – making our bodies feel more balanced and relaxed. Consequently our running style will feel freer and more fluid.

A Hot Vinyasa class is a little more energetic and encourages a full flow of movement in all directions – including upside down for upper body strength.

Better breathing

In yoga, all movement and mental focus are in line with the breath.  We breathe in and out through the nose which is a more efficient way of getting oxygen to our lungs than through the mouth and helps to lower the heart rate – thus improving stamina.

When running we can replicate the focus on the breath to zone out from any mental gremlins that might affect our performance. Deeper breathing will also help calm our pre-race nerves and relax tense parts of our bodies to direct energies to more efficient usage. So goodbye monkey mind, muscle fatigue, gasping for breath, and side stitches!

The extra challenge

Because the room is heated to a delicious 38-degrees (who needs to go on holiday?!), the body has to work harder and the mind has to focus more. It’s a mental and physical challenge of intense heat. It can take a few classes to get used to and some days may feel better than others but this all helps us to hone in on specific parts of our body and feel what’s going on – even if its discomfort or fatigue! But that’s where the focussing on the breath bit comes in – much like how we would do when running. Plus, with the extra heat, it’s impossible not to feel a little bit zen which is what we need to calm our active minds and bodies.

The sciencey bit

The heat warms up the synovial fluid around our joints and makes our muscles more elastic and pliable allowing for deeper and safer stretching with results that are longer lasting. The heat makes our blood vessels expand to increase the blood and oxygen flowing around the body which allows them to build, lengthen and repair more easily (vasodilation). This increased blood and oxygen also speeds up our body’s ability to breakdown glucose and fatty acids that help shed fat tissue and weight (if you even need that!).

There’s only one way to find out...

If yoga’s good enough for ultra marathon runner Scott Jurek then it’s certainly good enough for me! On the days that we aren’t running, we can slide some yoga into our rest days for active muscle recovery, improved core stability, increased range of motion and to borrow a few poses to use as a warm-up or cool-down at a training or race. So there’s only one way to find out the effects of hot yoga on our running performance, and that’s to give it a go... I’ll race you to the mat!

 

By Rebecca Leam, yoga teacher and runner.  Rebecca has a strong interest in the benefits of yoga for sporty peeps and last year trained with Sarah Ramsden, aka yoga teacher to Ryan Giggs, Manchester United and Manchester City Football Clubs and GB Olympians.

 

 

 

 

 


Winter Solstice - Part 2

By Koreen

The Winter Solstice combines two of my favourite things… the cosiness of winter and planning out my life. In a previous post I talked about planning my life and now I’ll talk about the cosiness of winter.

I was a snow baby, born in a snowstorm on Boxing Day morning. My parents had stayed at my Oma’s and Opa’s and my mom woke up in the night thinking she had eaten too much Christmas dinner. My Opa whistled nervously whilst driving the 40 kms (23 miles) through blowing snow and was thankful that I held out until ten minutes after they arrived at the hospital.

As a kid, I loved the winter. We’d get back from school and I’d play outside in the snow until it got dark. We’d build snow forts and toboggan down the hill and when it got too cold to stay out any longer, we’d go inside and have hot chocolate. One year my dad made us an outdoor rink and I’d stay up late skating by moonlight.

As a teenager I was in charge of decorating the house and hanging up the Christmas cards and my brothers were in charge of getting a tree from somewhere on our 100 acre farm. We mainly had cedar trees on our property, that’s what we usually got. However, one year a large evergreen tree had blown over in the wind on our farm and so my brothers walked along the truck to cut off the top for our Christmas tree.

I loved all the events at our church and helped out with the Advent readings and candle lighting. Our youth group would go caroling in the community. We’d drive from farm to farm of people that we knew were older and may not get as many visitors, or to families that had experienced some sort of difficulties that year. Then we’d end up back at someone’s place for hot chocolate and chilli.

On Christmas Eve, we’d go to my Oma and Opa’s and see everyone from my Dad’s side. Massive amounts of food and then sparklers and singing songs around the fire. On Christmas morning we were allowed to open our stockings before my parents were awake and one year, I coached my brothers for several weeks on how to properly sneak down our stairs so it was perfected by Christmas morning.

On Christmas Day, we’d go to my Mom’s side. My Grandma and Grandpa’s in the morning and then my Uncle Don’s for the afternoon. Here we’d all go cross-country skiing (That's me in the picture!). Then in the evening we’d be back at our place preparing for my birthday. My Dad had planned the menu and we’d stay up late making even more food. The next morning was spent cleaning and at lunchtime both sides of the family would arrive and leave mid-afternoon and then late afternoon our family friends would arrive for a second round of eating.    

Whilst presents were always a part of our activities, they were never the whole focus. It was almost always about seeing family and friends and eating really good food. It was about spending time together with the people you love. The kids would be off in the hallway or toy room playing, the adults would be in the kitchen swapping stories of things that had happened to them. And throughout the house there was always laughter.

I know that not everyone had such a rosy holiday time growing up, so I consider myself very lucky. When I was an adult and had a family of my own, we had more places to juggle and drive between, but we made it work.

Then we moved across the world where there was no family and had to make our own traditions. One of the things that the girls loved was a Christmas scavenger hunt. So instead of putting the gifts under a tree, we hid them around the house and left little notes about how to find the next one. Then we’d go down to the beach (it was summer) and have a barbeque.

And now we are in the UK and the new tradition seems to be to open gifts in the morning have a casual lunch. Go to a park for a walk around and come back home and have friends round for an evening meal. Much more casual than what I grew up with, but still focused on spending time with the people you care about.

I hope you are having an amazing day with those you love and if that’s not your reality right now, then know that you can always create new traditions.


Lots of love,
Koreen



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