Magical Muscle Recovery - The Power of Magnesium

Better You


Are you experiencing tired, achy and sore muscles? Whether it’s from all the Hot Yoga you’ve been doing, plain old computer work, or a combination of exercise and stretching, it is incredibly common to go through bouts of soreness and physical tension.

Thankfully, there are natural remedies to help alleviate some of the strain and stress we put on our body through overuse and intense activity.  At Hot Yoga Sheffield, we use Better You Transdermal Magnesium supplements.  It’s our little secret to keeping calm, supple and getting good rest.

A local Sheffield brand with a product range that packs a punch, I don’t know where I’d be without a good bath soak, muscle spray, multivitamin sprays, and even the daily lotions and creams these guys make.  Writing this right now, I am reminded of the benefits my shoulders can get from a few sprays of Magnesium Oil – before practice, and after.

Besides the range of Multivitamin, Vitamin D, and B12 sprays that Better You provide for us (available at the studio from £7-12), here are the few that I like best and always feel better for keeping up with.

Magnesium Flakes - these bad boys are sold by the kilo for only £10! After long days, especially in the winter months, taking a bath with a solid pour of these is a must.  While the hot water loosens your muscles and lets you relax, the magnesium gets to work on a cellular level, making its way into the body through the skin. 

For a lovely home spa treatment, pour 500g flakes into the bath, then add a few drops of essential oils like Lavender and Cedarwood for relaxation, or Neroli and Geranium for an uplifting bath session.

Magnesium Sprays (£12.20) - these are a particularly good item to have in your yoga/gym bag, or at home.  They are the cure all for every muscle issue. They are my ‘go to’ for spot treatment of sore muscles.  After a hot yoga class, take a shower, dry off and spray and rub this onto the shoulders, hamstring area, knees, back, bum, whatever feels slightly tight or well worked.  As you feel the tingle of the magnesium molecules making their way in through the pores, remember:

1. You’ll sleep like a dream that night

2. Next day soreness is definitely nullified or minimized greatly

3. You’re helping to prevent cramping and fatigue by replacing essential mineral salts directly to where you need them! 

Magnesium Lotion and Body Butter (£9.95) - if you are looking for daily skin hydration for after class shower/ all over use, these offer the same benefits of the magnesium sprays in a lightly sweet scented moisturizing form.

The items mentioned here is just a glimpse of the great range Better You offer. Check them out at www.betteryou.com.  We’ve tried everything from their Total Nutrition smoothie blend, Femergy capsules, Hair Skin & Nails supplement, to their brain energy B12 Boost.  We try to keep stock of the range best suited for Hot Yogis, yet know from experience that this company is worth their weight in high quality, vegan friendly, nutrition and health products.

Feel free to ask questions about what we have in stock.  We often have samples to try and I’ll be happy to point you to the product that suits your needs.

Happy Hot Yoga-ing, and soak up the Magnesium!

Very truly,

Anne Marie

The 'V' Word

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I grew up in a small rural town in Ireland, land of butter, meat and fish on a Friday. If you wanted to lose weight, diets were of the ‘eat less, move more’ variety and I don’t think I even met a vegetarian until I went to university in Wales in 2001. Growing up in Ireland also instilled a suspicion in me of food that was too colourful, too spicy or too raw. If it hadn’t been cooked to a yellow sludge, it was something to be feared.

Fast forward to about 2 years ago, I was at a friend’s wedding. I met a girl who was about to celebrate her 39th birthday but she could easily have passed for someone 10 years younger. I nearly died when she told me how old she was. I asked ‘what’s your secret?’ Her answer - ‘I don’t eat any processed food’. She recommended a book to me called ‘ The Clean & Lean Diet’ - a book based around eating an organic and unprocessed diet. Although not a promoter of a vegan or even vegetarian diet, this book was the beginning of me educating myself about food, ethics and what eating healthily really means.

The following November, I met a yoga teacher called Anne Marie at my first class at Hot Yoga Sheffield. As the weeks went past, we got to know each other better. We’d spend time chatting after class about yoga, about life and inevitably about food. She told me she was vegan - I thought ‘Wow! You must be really disciplined! You’re from New York so you obviously have some sort of insider vegan scoop...I could never do that!’

Time passed. I kept practising yoga. I kept reading - blogs and books, filling my shopping trolley with organic produce, with grass fed meat and with local dairy. But I started to feel uneasy about the choices I was making. I’d put the corn fed free range chicken in my basket and my heart would hurt. My mind would fight the feeling with ‘It’s fine! It’s lean protein, It’s had a lovely life running around on the farm eating corn’. The heavy feeling would lighten and I’d carry on.

January 2016 marked the beginning of new adventures for me. I’d finished working at school and had started at the Yoga Studio. Life was fresh and different and I quickly decided it was time to give up eating meat. I felt great. Lighter, clearer, more open. A block had been lifted and I started leaning more. I watched Cowspiracy and Vegucated. I read How Not to Die. Gradually, that slab of Halloumi in my salad began to seem less and less appealing.

The more I learned, the more I felt that not eating meat was simply not enough. At first it was about my health but as time went on it became less about my dietary choices and more about the ethical stance, which I believed was right. By the end of February, I had stopped buying and cooking animal products altogether.

Soon after, the dermatitis I’d been fighting with steroid cream on my hands for the last 3 years disappeared. I stopped getting that horrible, over-full lethargic feeling after eating and began to feel fuelled and satisfied. My sleep improved. And my relationship with food started to change. Now I was filling my basket with loads and loads of fruit and veg, excited by the colours and the possibilities. A far cry from the yellow sludge of my youth.

The hardest part of this journey? Having the confidence to call myself the ‘V’ word and letting go of feeling like I need to justify my choices to others. I know the stereotypes that exist and part of what is driving me to share this with you today is that I want to play my part in breaking those down. Getting comfortable with saying ‘I’m vegan’ is probably a good place to start.

The best part of all this?  Sharing my passion for food, the planet and animals with others who have also chosen this lifestyle. Feeling like I am part of something special, something bigger than me and something really important.

If I could offer one piece of advice for anyone thinking about giving this whole vegan thing a go - it would be to start where you are. Let go of absolutes and ideas of perfection. Know that when your Granny cooks you a roast dinner, that it is perfectly fine to eat it with gratitude and love. The impact you can have by choosing a compassionate life is so much bigger than one food choice which isn’t ‘vegan’. Be brave, keep going and just try again.




Sports Yoga: Time to re-balance, re-energise and prepare for your next challenge.

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This weekend  I completed the Rugby Half Marathon. On the way round the rather hilly course, I was thinking about how yoga helps me in my running. Around the whole course  I mindfully focused on the quality of my breath, the alignment of my posture (shoulders back, chin up, firm core), a positive mantra (“I can and I will get up that hill.”) and gratitude to the supporters lining the route.

At the end of race, I took the time to stretch – runner’s lunge for the hip flexors, wide legged forward bend for the groin and lower back, downward facing dog for the hamstrings and lower back and plenty of rehydration and rest for the muscles to recover and relax.

I’ve been teaching yoga for sports for over two years to different athletes including  runners, golfers, cyclists and triathletes. All have found a regular yoga practice has helped  them in various ways – from
strengthening their core, knees and ankles, improving their balance, to enhancing their breathing and stretching their hamstrings.

Often people think that yoga is all about flexibility but that’s only one part of it. Yes, it’s  important  but so are stability, strength and stamina, all in equal measures. These work alongside good quality breathing, postural alignment, a focused mind, rest and recovery. And all of these things help athletes increase their performance and reduce the risk of injury.

Yoga has huge benefits for athletes and is practiced by many world class sports people  to help prevent injury,  strengthen their core, and stretch over worked muscles – from the England rugby squad to
tennis players,  footballers and GB Taekwando.

In my two years of teaching Sports Yoga, I have trained with Hayley Winter (SportsScience –yoga  teacher of numerous Olympic athletes) and Sarah Ramsden (most well known for teaching Ryan Giggs, Manchester United & City, and Liverpool football clubs). Right now, I teach a weekly sports yoga class where listening to what people need, both physically and mentally, is of the utmost importance.

Sometimes they want to push themselves with more of a cardio and strengthening yoga practice  as pushing themselves is most common to them   (think energising  Sun Salutations, planks, lunges) but often,they just need to slow down, rest and be given the license to do that (think stretching, strengthening,  relaxation) which is probably harder to do than the former. Yoga is about listening to what the mind and body need – not the ego… and it’s certainly not about competing with the person on the next mat or with oneself.

Many sports are great for invigorating the body and mind however the repetitive use of a few select muscles can result in them shortening, and tightening, causing imbalances in the musculoskeletal system and triggering overuse injuries. Yoga uses all parts of the body and focuses the mind to re-balance, re-energise and prepare for the next race or game.

Yoga for sports is the perfect compliment for athletes training for a primary sport to cross train and prevent injury. Many world class athletes have reported that it gives them the edge to improve on their
PB and their opponents.

During the  two-hour workshop we will cover and practice:


1.       Introduction – Why yoga?


2.       Breathing and spinal articulation


3.       Shoulders, neck, feet and ankles


4.       Sun salutations – 4 rounds to heat up the body for stretching including forward bending, back bending, twisting and semi-inversion,


5.       Core strength


6.       Balance


7.       Hips and glutes


8.       Quads, hamstrings,


9.       Restorative poses


10.   Relaxation


By the end of the workshop all participants  will feel energised, stretched, strengthened, balanced and relaxed and have some take-home poses to practice between and at the of their regular training sessions.

Rebecca Leam


Interested?

You can book online or at the studio.

hotyogasheffield.co.uk/workshopsevents

Sun 31st July, 12-2pm




Our First 30 Day Challenge

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June saw the very first HYS 30 Day Challenge. We wanted to get you on your mat in a Hot Yoga class as many times as possible in this month. We enticed you with a sticker chart, knowing that you would feel healthier, happier, fitter and better for doing this and we guessed that you would probably reach out and support each other along the way.

But maybe, like me, you didn’t manage to take part in June. Don’t worry – We will be repeating the challenge in September. In the meantime, here is the story of one of our regulars Claire and her experience of taking 46 classes in one month.  

- How did you feel at the start?

​I was pretty excited and optimistic.  I've seen other hot yoga places do 30 day challenges and I always find it hard as I know I can't come every day, but with a little planning, I made more classes this month than in any other month

- What have you found hard or struggled with?

​Mostly being able to come.  However, it's kicked me up the bum to organise finding a babysitter and using my wider community.  I've been brave and asked for something I really want and I have been answered.  This has helped to open up more evening classes for me that I ordinarily can't come to. ​

- Have you had any insights on the mat that you would like to share?

​My focus has been really strong.  I find now that when I even just walk into the studio, I'm leaving the rest of the day behind. As soon as I'm in the room that is exactly where I am.  I'm there to give myself wellness, balance, strength and alignment. ​I have really noticed that my shoulders and hips are becoming more open and in general my posture is a lot better after being in class nearly every day.  I've also been meditating at home and practicing my headstand, so as well as more time dedicated to yoga at the studio, I am doing more at home too.

- How do you feel now?

​I honestly feel amazing.  Strong, firmer, happy, focused.  I really looked forward to each class and have enjoyed doing an evening flow or yoga class followed by a yin.  They complement each other really well. ​ Apart from stubbing my toe coming out of a handstand at home (!) I've felt no additional pain or injuries, just more muscle strength and openness in my body.

- What have you enjoyed about the challenge?

​Making more classes has made me feel so much better.  I've enjoyed the camaraderie as well as learning the names of other students. It’s been a real talking point in the studio and has made me feel even more a part of the community.

Oh, and the sticker chart!  I love those star stickers! :D

Any advice for those wanting to give it a try?

Just give it a try and see where you get to. You won’t regret it!


Why juicing?

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I know you hear all about drinking juice, fad fasting diets, and how 'clean eating' and 'juice cleanses' cause eating disorders. But, if we stop analysing others, and stop judging ourselves in comparison and take time to seek out the truth - we might find a bit of common sense among us. 

So, yes, I'm gonna talk about juice, and how it really helps dig us out of years of heavy, unconscious eating, Western over-indulgence, and widespread acceptance of mediocre health.

Are you happy with your weight, energy levels, what, when, and how much you eat?  If 'yes,' then great!  Keep up the intuition of keeping your body healthy and happy.  If 'no,' even better!  Lack of satisfaction in any of the above categories can be an indicator that you have fallen out of sync with your body.  But don't worry, like everything, this too shall pass, and getting back in tune is easy as juice.

When I 'got into' drinking fresh juices, it was primarily because they tasted delicious, contained all of my favourite fruits and vegetables, and gave me heavenly amounts of energy in a light digestible form.  I wasn't trying to lose weight, starve myself, nor gain spiritual points for self-discipline. However, like everyone else, my life choices had naturally lead me to crave what juices were offering.

For as long as I can remember, my SAD (Standard American Diet) was all there was to eating.  Everything from bacon, egg, and cheese sandwiches, bagels or cereal for breakfast, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, pizza, or a BLT for lunch, and pasta, burgers, or meat and two boiled vegetables for dinner.  This has been, and still is considered normal eating on both sides of the pond.  And don't sound so surprised.  America has become the novelty among portion sizes, and Brits might cringe at sweet pancake breakfasts or cheese on those breakfast sandwiches, but really, the differences in diet are minimal.  Welcome to sluggish digestion, and a blocked colon (i.e. constipation).

After years of experimentation with fibre drinks and colon cleansing to help relieve my blocked colon and sluggish digestion, I began getting a feel for what regular digestion/elimination felt like.  I became more aware of what my body needs and when.  This goes for food and water.  Sometimes my body can handle, and even craves stodgy, cooked foods like roast dinners complete with nut loaf and roasties on a cold day.  Other times, I know for sure that a meal like that is the last thing I need to maintain energy and overall health.  So, here's where juices came to the rescue.

After a day (or few, or many) of too much food (oh, the First World dilemmas we face) I began giving myself a juice day where I would consume only liquids, juices and if needed, a smoothie.  This allows the body to absorb the water and nutrient content from the juice directly into the bloodstream, giving energy to function throughout the day.  What liquids do not do, is tax the digestive system with various types of food to break down, digest and convert into energy.  While the guts get a break, they have the water, energy, and space to break down old food (and faecal matter) still in the intestinal tract.  Feel about right to you?  This is actually why humans (like other animals) can periodically, and prefer to fast for part of a day, a whole day, or many days, depending on the needs of the body, or external factors.

Fresh juices have played an effective role in helping me find balance with eating habits vs. needs.  They offer another option besides salad and a piece of fruit.  With some wilful lapses, I still maintain a juice (liquid) day 1x per week, especially when needed.  On other days, juices are an excellent addition to any meal, helping you consume a concentrated range of vitamins, minerals and water for bodily functions (way better than a fizzy drink), or great as a meal in itself.

Think about it, unless you're running or cycling to and from work, doing heavy lifting and building, climbing, or cardiovascular activities, eating '3 square meals' (plus snacks) each day is unnecessary for office work and mild activity.  If you are doing these types of activities, adding a juicy punch into the mix can't be a bad thing!

If you're still looking for ways to get out of drinking your 'R8 Greens', or powering up like a 'Fell Runner' with excuses like 'they've been in the fridge and lost their nutrients already,' then get off the couch!  Minerals don't die by oxidation, and juices you buy in any shop are often Pasteurised, Homogenised, and High Pressure Packaged, leaving them with nothing but a long sell-by date.  Like canned goods and processed 'food' items, the longer the expiration date, the less nutritious.  Sorry to break the news.  If you do have a juicer at home, get it out and use it!  The very best juices are indeed consumed straight after juicing. Still, I'm not gonna hate on store bought juices, (or even a can of beans for that matter) if it means a more hydrating, nutritious, delicious choice for food.  Just get 'em down ya!

At Hot Yoga Sheffield, we buy local and organic fruit and vegetables from Beanies (our near and dear greengrocer), cold-press them into recycled and recyclable bottles, put a short shelf life on them (7 days, if they even make it that long without being sold) and repeat this every Tuesday.  Come say hello to the new juicer, Sandra.  She'll be happy to show you how juiced she is to share these beauties.  Happy Summer everyone!