If we are sure about anything in January it’s how manic it can be after all those festive shenanigans! We are all trying hard to stick to our resolutions and be our fittest, healthiest, best self. More often than not this becomes exhausting and results in us giving up.
Sometimes all we need to take a moment to relax, take a deep breath and ground ourselves. Giving ourselves the space to breath and create a clear and focused mind to make the most of each day. Meditation is a simple exercise to intergrate into your routine with huge benefits. Studies suggest using this practice on average 5-10 minutes a day can reduce stress, improve your emotional health and enhance self-awareness. Therefore, below we have included some of The Studio favorites and the worlds best meditation apps ready to help prepare you for the new year ahead.
Price: Download for free with optional
Google Rating: 5*
This app is perfect for those who are new
to the world of meditation, offering a seven day beginners program with simple calming
exercises to help focus on your breathing techniques whilst clearing your mind.
They also provide a ‘calm Kids’ section for those aged between 3-17 years old
so your children can feel relaxed too. Furthermore, they include a library for ‘sleep
stories’ so you can fall asleep feeling content.
Price: 14 day free trial (optional subscription after)
Google Rating: 5*
This app creates personalized plans based on
information you provide focusing on balancing your life with their mindfulness
techniques for daytime use, focusing on training your mind and body to fulfil a
happier lifestyle. To make full use of this app they also provide sleep music
tracks and nature soundtracks to help give you a blissful night sleep
Price: 7 days free trial (optional subscriptions after)
Google Rating: 5*
This app provides you with a personalized plan
based on questions asked at the beginning of your experience. Aura presents you
with a daily meditation practice based on your answers. This app is also
compatible with the ‘Apple watch’ and aims to reduce stress and increase
Price: 7 days free trial (optional subscriptions after)
Google Rating: 5*
This app gives you the most hands-on
experience when it comes to practicing meditation compared to all other apps.
It also includes discussion groups and community features, known as “a social network
for mediators”. Including ambient music and soundtracks to calm the mind.
Price: 7 days free trial (optional subscriptions after)
Google Rating: 5*
This app was created to motivate those who
might lose sight along the way due to their busy lifestyles with weekly updates,
so it never feels like a chore. Daily videos and guided meditations teach you what
to do in the simplest way possible, including a range of content showing ways
to manage stressors such as anxiety
For further tips & tricks check out our ‘Studio Blogs’ which covers further insight into the world of the Studio, Yoga, health, and a happier lifestyle!
We are hosting another event! After the success of our Reset Day Retreat we couldnt wait to offer you something new and different!
If you are feeling out of balance in life and needing something to refocus and re centre yourself, this ones for you. An afternoon focusing on realigning the Chakras, and calming the mind through meditation and breathing practices, led by Kev Deaves.
Read below to find out a bit more about the different breathe works and the seven chakras.
Introducing your subtle energy system
During the workshop we will focus on using Ujjayi Pranayama breath work- (Ocean breathing-Victorious breath.)
Ujjayi is a breathing technique performed by lightly contracting the throat, specifically the glottis a small triangular slit found between the openings of the vocal cords that prevents food and liquids from entering the trachea. Restricting the throat in this manner means the the lungs and diaphragm must work harder to pull oxygen in increasing breathing capacity and strengthening the cardio vascular system especially if practiced regularly. Ujjayi pranayama is energising and relaxing as it sends cool fresh oxygen throughout the body, cleansing the subtle energy channels of the body while promoting mental clarity, focus and a boosted immune system.
What are the Chakras?
The first chakra is the root located at the base of the spine concerned with basic needs and physical survival. The root Chakra is red and connects us material existence. Physically the root Chakra directs the secretions of the adrenal glands that regulate metabolism and sodium levels. They also produce adrenaline responsible for the fight or flight response. Imbalances in the root chakra causes various symptoms, if it is overactive it can lead to bullying, excessive materialism and self centredness. Underactive you can become emotionally needy, have low self esteem, be fearful or engage in self destructive behaviour. When balanced you will feel grounded and healthy with high energy levels.
The second or sacral Chakra is associated with the reproductive organs that produce the hormones that determine sexual characteristics. The testes or ovaries control an individuals sexual development, maturity and emotional balance concerning sexuality is the key function of these organs. The Sacral Chakra is associated with the colour orange, nurture, receptivity and emotions. Too active can lead to you feeling emotionally unbalanced, manipulative and sexually addicted. Underactive you can become over sensitive, hard on yourself, feel guilty, frigid or impotent. Balanced you will respect yourself and others, have personal power and be spontaneous.
The third or solar plexus chakra is the seat of our willpower and associated on the physical level with the pancreas, the gland responsible for the production of substances involved with digestion. It also produces insulin which regulates blood sugar levels. An overactive solar plexus can leave you feeling angry, controlling, workaholic, judgemental and superior. Under active and you can be overly concerned with what others think, fearful of being alone, insecure and need constant reassurance. A balanced solar plexus chakra allows you to have more control over your thinking and emotional responses, set healthy boundaries and be at peace with yourself
The fourth Chakra is the heart Chakra it is green and associated with the Thymus, a gland located just above the heart. The thymus plays a central role in the production of T-Lymphocytes. T-Lymphocytes are a part of the bodies white blood cell defence system. T cells defend the body from potentially deadly pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi. When you have a clear, strong and harmonious heart chakra, you will firstly feel open and receptive. You will no longer struggle with isolation, fear, and grief in the same way. You will be courageous enough to open your heart to others. You’ll realize that you can only truly learn how to love others when you love yourself.
If the heart Chakra is overactive you can become possessive, love conditionally, gaslight to punish and be overly dramatic. Underactive you can fear rejection, love too much, feel unworthy of self love and self pitying. When the heart is balanced you will be compassionate, love everything. The heart chakra is like a conduit for a form of energy that is commonly associated with love, joy, peace and self acceptance.
The fifth Chakra is the throat, associated with communication, self expression and creativity through sound. Developing the throat Chakra helps you articulate yourself to bring value to communication. The throat Chakra is connected with the thyroid gland in the neck which controls the bodies metabolic rate through the production of thyroxine. Behind the thyroid is the parathyroid responsible for maintenance of calcium in the blood. When the throats overactive you can become over talkative, dogmatic, self righteous and arrogant. When blocked you may hold back from self expression, be unreliable, hold inconsistent views. Balanced you will communicate well, be content and inspired artistically.
The third eye chakra is the sixth chakra. Located on the forehead, between the eyebrows, it is the center of intuition and foresight. The function of the third eye chakra is driven by the principle of openness and imagination. In yogic metaphysics, the third eye or Ajna chakra, is the center where we transcend duality – the duality of a personal “I” separate from the rest of the world, of a personality that exists independently from everything else.
The Third eye chakra is associated to the pineal gland in charge of regulating biorhythms, including sleep and wake time. It’s a gland located in the brain that is a center of attention because of its relationship with the perception and effect of light and altered or “mystical” states of consciousness. It’s positioned close to the optical nerves, and as such, sensitive to visual stimulations and changes in lighting. The third eye chakra is associated with the following psychological and behavioral characteristics:
Vision Intuition Perception of subtle dimensions and movements of energy Access to mystical states, illumination Connection to wisdom, insight Motivates inspiration and creativity
Our third eye chakra is an instrument to perceive the more subtle qualities of reality. It goes beyond the more physical senses into the realm of subtle energies. Awakening your third eye allows you to open up to an intuitive sensibility and inner perception.
Because it connects us with a different way of seeing and perceiving, the third eye chakra’s images are often hard to describe verbally. It puts us in touch with the ineffable and the intangible more closely. Third eye visions are also often more subtle than regular visions: They may appear a bit “blurry”, ghost-like, cloudy, or dream-like. Sometimes however, the inner visions might be clear like a movie playing in front of your eyes.
The crown or the seventh chakra is located at the top of the head. Just as the Root or First Chakra connects us to the Mother Earth, the Crown Chakra is our connection to the Universe. In fact, the Seventh Chakra disperses the Universal energy or life force into the six other chakras located below it. The crown chakra is the seventh chakra. Located at the top of the head, it gives us access to higher states of consciousness as we open to what is beyond our personal preoccupations and visions. The function of the Crown chakra is driven by consciousness and gets us in touch with the universal.
Our Crown chakra is primarily associated to the pituitary gland, and secondarily to the pineal and the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus and pituitary gland work in pair to regulate the endocrine system. Because of its location, the crown chakra is closely associated with the brain and the whole nervous system. Note that energetically, the seventh chakra has a connection with the first chakra, as they both are at the extremities of the chakra system.
Interested in booking?
Contact email@example.com to reserve your space
A Gong Bath mediation is a sound healing practice. The use of gongs to make vibrational sounds helps reduce stress and create a deep sense of peace. A therapeutic sound which makes a vibrational energy to bring about emotional healing. It will offer participants access to parts of the mind that are usually closed off. This results in a sense of expanded awareness and higher consciousness.
A gong bath meditation is experienced lying down on your back in a comfortable position. The first brainwave state to be reached is alpha. This is defined between frequencies 8 and 12 Hz. Alpha brainwaves are associated with creativity and feelings of relaxation. In this state, people experience daydreams, associative thinking and an animated imagination. This state is quickly followed by an influx of theta brainwaves, which fall between 4 and 7 Hz. Normally, the theta brainwave state is associated with deep meditation, hypnosis and REM sleep.
Blankets and eye masks are used for extra comfort and warmth, encouraging the person to enter a deeper state of relaxation. The session will be guided by Marlena an experienced Sound Alchemy Therapist from Liluna Holistics.
As part of our Reset Day Retreat Sunday November 10th our 45 minute gong bath session will run from 3:45 until 4:30pm. To book your spot please email firstname.lastname@example.org places are almost full so don’t miss out!
Breathing is important, of course it is. In other words, it’s what keeps us alive. But how often do we take time out to focus on our breathing? Probably not a lot unless you have been instructed to do so by your yoga teacher! We are all great at breathing none the less, and how clever of our bodies to take care of this without us even thinking about it. Pranayama is our life force, our breath. One of the eight limbs of Yoga, it is an important part of practice we can bipass thinking about as we focus on nailing the different asanas.
But, there are plenty of techniques you will be interested in adding into your practice;
Channel Cleaning Breath
Single Nostril Breath
Skull Shining Breath
Sama Vritti Pranayama
Our very own Jane says:- Bhastrik Pranayama is her favourite breathing technique to use in her classes and describes it as the ‘sniffing dog’. Bhastrika is a small short breaths performed fast. A common position to do this in is a forward facing plank.
You may of come across some of these techniques in your classes already and wondered what the benefits are. If the breath is quick and shallow, this can trigger a panic response within the body as it thinks its under stress or in danger. For example, the body can switch into fight or flight mode, and bring forward feelings of stress and anxiety, even if we aren’t actually in a dangerous situation. However, focusing on slowing the breath, taking longer and slower inhales and exhales, actually calms the nervous system, creates awareness and focus on the present moment, and is a form of meditation. Mindful breathing is the simplest way to lower stress levels, and it can be done anytime, anywhere.
The most common breathing techniques you probably come across in class are;
Sama Vritti Pranayama (Equal Part Breath)
Becoming aware of the breath we start to increase the length of each inhale and exhale to a count of 4 (this number can increase throughout practice). We inhale for four, pause for four, and slowly exhale for 4. Keeping all parts of the breath even.
Ujjayi (Ocean Breath)
Known for its soft soothing oceanic sound, breathing through the nose creating a ‘HAA’ on the exhale. The sound of Ujjayi is created by gently constricting the opening of the throat to create some resistance to the passage of air. It is an energising and relaxing breath to help guide you through your practice.
So what movements benefit what breath?
When we are forward folding or twisting, this is on the exhale as as the lungs empty, it creates more space. The muscles also relax more on the exhale, sinking down. Therefore you can stretch, reach or twist slightly further.
When we are lifting or opening in a posture, this is when we should inhale. Inhalation is energising the body as its taking the oxygen inwards. As the lungs expand the heart can project forward more.
Breathing techniques can be practiced anywhere, on the go, in class or at home. Anytime you feel yourself getting overwhelmed or stressed, turn your attention inwards and focus on the breath.
Join us for a day of pampering and yoga bliss on Sunday 10 November, 14:00-18:00, at The Studio Cheshire. Book Your Spot
During the day the focus will be to create and integrate an afternoon of yoga practices that nourish your mind, body and soul on every level.
The Reset Yoga Workshop combines together the 8 limbs of yoga in the stunning setting of the Cheshire countryside. First we start with a mindfulness and pranayama practice, calming and relaxing the mind. But then we kickstart the second practice with a dynamic yoga practice to detoxify our systems.
After that we’ll relax and cleanse mind and body with a soothing gong bath meditation, followed by a peaceful and restorative yin practice. This will help to align our bodies and open up the connective tissue. Most importantly, to finish the day we will venture into Alderley Edge for a healthy evening meal at The Botanist.
Are you interested in joining our 6 week Ashtanga course with Ryan? Starting Friday 20th September from 9:30-11am he will be breaking down the Ashtanga Primary Series sequence.
Okay so what is Ashtanga?
Ashtanga is a traditional series of postures performed in the same sequence everytime. It is a dynamic practice combined with focus on the breath. There are six different level sequences in Ashtanga each getting progressively harder. In traditional practice, students are expected to remember the movements, in preparation for a Mysore. A class which is unguided by the teacher and participants flow through the sequence on their own as a self led practice.
Usually an Ashtanga practice will begin with five repetitions of Surya Namaskara A and five repetitions of Surya Namaskara B, (Sun Salutations) followed by a standing sequence. Following this the practitioner will progresses through one of six series including a standard closing sequence.
The six series are as follows:
The Primary series: Yoga Chikitsa, Yoga for Health or Yoga Therapy
The Intermediate series: Nadi Shodhana, The Nerve Purifier (or The Second series)
The Advanced series: Sthira Bhaga, Centering of Strength
Advanced A, or Third series
Advanced B, or Fourth series
Advanced C, or Fifth series
Advanced D, or Sixth series
So the 6 week course focuses on the Primary Series, whats that?
For our course Ryan will be focusing on the Primary Series Sequence. The Start of all the Ashtanga Series. Here is a rough breakdown of what you can expect week by week.
Week One – Welcome talk about Ashtanga, Opening chant and handouts will be provided. A look at Sun Salutations (Surya Namaskara A and B) the fundamental postures.
Week Two – Fundamental Asana breakdown
Week Three – Primary Series Asana
Week Four – Primary Series Asana part 2
Week Five – Primary Series complete sequence, guided class
Week Six – Mysore self practice class/or a second full sequence guided class
Each week will include a recap of the previous weeks postures and linking the movements together. A sheet of the posture sequence will be provided to guide you, allowing you to refer to it whenever you need. All you need is your water, towel and excitement to learn!
Is this class for me?
If you are looking to increase your practice with a dynamic flow class, gain knowledge of Ashtanga terminology and Asana, to perfect your postures, then this course is for you! Suitable for beginners upwards, it will help any yogi to become more confident in their postures and practice.
To book in or for more information please contact: email@example.com to reserve your space, see you on the mat!
Catch us for an afternoon of Yoga and Brunch at the beautiful Health and Wellness space, Foodwell. Join The Studio Team for a one hour dynamic yoga flow to work up an appetite and then hang out and chat with us over Brunch!