Posts In: yoga

For most of us a new year means a new challenge. Dry January, Veganuary or some type of new health kick. These seem to be some of the most popular ones. Instead of partying the weekend away (because some of us definitely did enough of that over Christmas) we tend to opt for a healthier option, because new year, new you right?

So, if you’re opting for a little less partying, or thinking of making some changes to your diet, what can you spend your free ‘party’ time doing ?

Winter Walks

Just because the sun is in more than it is out, doesn’t mean you can’t be out! Getting outdoors in the winter months isn’t just refreshing, it’s healthy too, here’s why!

Good source of vitamin D! If you come across a clear winters day with the sun shining, stop what you’re doing and make the most of it! Vitamin D is good for keeping the bones strong! Not only that, it can be a a real mood booster! And for the best bit, its absolutely free – exactly what you want post Christmas!

Tatton Park, Cheshire

https://www.cheshire-live.co.uk/whats-on/family-kids-news/10-cheshires-most-stunning-walks-10895767

Dinner Parties

In January instead of going out for dinner why not organise a dinner party. Get a group of friends together, decide which one of you is going to host and each cook something to bring to the party! That way you’re socialising, spending less money, and you know exactly what is in your food!

For those of you who are vegan and all the January vegans out there, why not take a look at the recipes posted on BBC Food!

We’ve picked some of our favourites, check out the website for more.

https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/collection/vegan-dinner

Or there’s something for everybody on Jamies website!
Check out that chicken!

https://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/category/occasion/dinner-party/

Introduce a new hobby

Hobbies are great for a number of things!

  • Relieve stress and boost
  • Meet new friends and build more connections
  • Find a new passion
  • Develop new skills
  • Possibility of bringing in additional income.

Have a browse on trip advisor to see local events and activities!

https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Attractions-g186232-Activities-c41-Cheshire_England.html

Organising

Spend your weekend preparing for the week ahead!

Here’s 5 top tips to get you started!

  1. Make a list of everything you need to do and check off the tasks as you do them.
  2. Use a calendar, a digital one with alerts & notifications can be a great tool to keep you on track.
  3. Tidy up – a clear room is a clear mind. Spend a few minutes at the weekend tidying to keep on top of it.
  4. Plan your meals in advance – helping save time during the week.
  5. Create a morning and bedtime routine – one in which you plan and review each day.

We hope January is treating you well so far and you’re managing to keep up with everything you’ve set out to do!

Here’s to a smashing 2020!

Mindful meditation for everyone

Top 5 Best Meditation Apps

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.

Apps

Calm

Price: Download for free with optional in-app purchases

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.

Headspace

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

Aura

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 positivity.

Insight Timer

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.

10% Happier

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!

The Studio Team x

What is a Gong Bath?

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 info@thestudio-mcr.com places are almost full so don’t miss out!

Are you ready to journey within?

www.thestudiocheshire.com

Pranayama

25/10/2019

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;

Breathing Techniques

  • Breath Retention
  • Channel Cleaning Breath
  • Ujjayi
  • Conqueror Breath
  • Dear Seal
  • Lion Pose
  • Root Bond
  • 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.

http://www.thestudio-mcr.com/

 

Reset Day Retreat

15/10/2019

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.

Check out The Botanist website here;

https://thebotanist.uk.com/locations/alderley-edge

This workshop is ideal for strengthening, lengthening, and opening our bodies and minds. Working to create new habits that are the foundation for a healthy yoga-based lifestyle.

Cost for workshop and evening meal is £99 per person. Book Your Spot

Also check out our event this weekend at The Alchemist, Manchester. Still a few places left!

Book Your Spot

 

We all envy those people who easily slide out of bed at 6:00am every morning, eat a nutritious breakfast, get in a gym session, walk the dog and start their working day all before we’ve even brushed our teeth. How do they do it?

They say something becomes a habit if you stick to it for atleast 30 days. Commiting to starting your morning in a consistent way will help to turn struggle into ease. Stop hitting the snooze button and start getting out of bed with purpose and passion.

Building a morning yoga class into your routine will help you to feel energised in the morning and help regulate a normal sleep pattern, waking up earlier equals going to bed earlier! Plus getting exercise in in the morning boxes it off so the rest of the day is yours. It can be harder to commit to evening exercise because we are more likely to cancel. We may feel too tired after a long day at work, dinner plans might present themselves or we may struggle to find childcare.

Still need persuading to leave your bed in a morning? Here are some of the benefits of starting your day off with a yoga class.

1. The body needs to move

When we sleep our body is in rest mode, besides the occasional twitch, our bodies are still for around eight hours a night. While the muscles arent moving, layers of connective tissue build up between them. Our instinct in the morning when we wake up is often to do a full body stretch before we get out of bed. This is our bodies way of telling us we need to release those layers. If we don’t move and stretch throughout the morning these layers can continue to thicken and build throughout the day causing stiffness, aches and pains. So if you work seated at a desk or driving for most of the day, your body will thank you for getting up and moving early on!

2. Calm the nervous system

When our alarm jolts us out of sleep its easy to feel stressed before the day has even started. Getting kids ready for school, making breakfasts and rush hour traffic can all leave us feeling a little anxious. Fitting a yoga practice into your morning routine allows you to take some time out for you. Helping to calm the mind reducing stress and making you better equipped to handle stressful situations throughout the day. In yoga we focus on the movement flowing with the breath. We slow the breath down to calm the mind. When we breathe quickly our body goes into fight or flight mode, this can cause panic or anxiety. By slowing the breath we reduce stress hormones.

3. Heightens productivity and alertness

Starting your morning in a good frame of mind sets you up for continuing your day in the same way. Focusing early in the morning helps to stay focused for the rest of the day, and increase our productivity. Something ourselves or our bosses can appreciate during the working hours.

4. Who needs caffeine?

A morning coffee might be the first thing you reach for when you wake up, its not the best for us but we rely on it to give us that buzz we need to get going with our day. Doing exercise in the morning works the same way. An active yoga session is stimulating and energising, waking up the body, getting the heart rate up, blood pumping and releasing those endorphins that help lift our mood. Some good examples of dynamic movements that do this are sun salutations, backbends and twists.

5. Sweat is good

Did you know the average person has 2.6 million sweat glands? We may look at sweating as a bad thing, an inconvenience. But it actually works in our favour! Sweat fights germs, the glands excrete a natural antiobiotic called ‘dermciden’, helping to keep our skin and bodies clean and healthy. Its no doubt in a heated yoga class you will work up a sweat, but this will help your body to get rid of any toxins from the skin, helping you to start your day right. Follow with a shower and feel refreshed and re-energised from the inside out!

If you want to read more check out our blog post on the Benefits of Hot Yoga

After the success of our event at Foodwell, we are getting back on the brunch bandwagon and hosting another event!

Join us at Victors in Alderley Edge from 11:30am for a Yoga Flow class with our very own Jane Townsend.

Followed by brunch and drinks from their delicious menu.

The muscles in our body are used all the time and are the reason why we can move. It is so important that we look after them; especially after physical training. Physical training alters the appearance of muscles as well as their performance. When muscles grow, the cells them-self change in size, no new cells are made. This is why we feel pain after exercising. If we don’t look after our muscles, stretching them after using them, it can result in overuse injuries such as stress fractures or joint/ tendon inflammation.

In the 2-3 hours after exercising our muscles are most fatigued – they need feeding!! Protein helps to recover and grow muscles.

If you can imagine the enzymes that help the process of recovery as a collection of little eager construction workers ready to build – if they turn up to work and lack their materials, their talent cannot be put to use, BUT, if you provide them with the correct raw materials, they can perform work to the highest standards.

As well as muscles being fatigued after exercise, your tissues and organs are too. When exercising, everything is put to its limits. Restorative breathing is therefore also something that helps recovery as it slows the heart back down and also normalises the lungs again.

How can stretching help muscle recovery?

There are many benefits that stretching gives to help the recovery of the body after exercising.

  1. Increased flexibility of different muscles groups

Stretching helps release constricted and contracted muscles back to their comfortable state. This also helps increasing flexibility itself and injury prevention.

For example, doing leg stretches after a long run increases muscular power and endurance.

  • Improved blood circulation

Stretching helps the body to cool down, therefore returning the heart rate back to resting. Once the blood circulation and heart rate are back to normal, this allows the muscles to relax so recovery can begin.

  • Eliminates lactic acid

Working your muscles produces lactic acid which makes the muscles fatigued and sore. Stretching eliminates the lactic acid build up so helps to relax the muscles in order to recover and repair.

  • Pain Prevention

If muscles remain tight after exercising, it can increase your risk of an injury. Stretching helps loosen the muscles which minimises the risk of injury.

To show an Upward Dog technique
Upward Dog by Ryan
  • Improved range of motion

Muscles that are not stretched usually remain constricted which prevents them being used to their full potential. Therefore, if we keep stretching them after exercising, the muscles performance when exercising will increase.

  • Increased muscular coordination

For strength trainers, it is even more important to stretch post exercising. When you stretch tired muscles, you give them better functional mobility and allow them to synchronise properly.

  • Posture

When your muscles are constricted and tight it often causes peoples posture to change, such as rounding the back. If we loosen up and stretch the muscles, you will see a better posture develop.

  • Improved nerve signals

Stretching allows a constant flow of nerve signals between the brain and muscles which will increase performance.

  • Mindfulness

During exercise your whole body is pushed to its limits. Breathing to create mind and body connections, help relax the body; when the body is relaxed the muscles are able to relax too.

Muscle Growth

Stretching promotes muscle growth; it elongates the fascia which helps the muscle to grow.

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.

Padahastasana, one of the fundamental postures in Ashtanga

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:

  1. The Primary series: Yoga Chikitsa, Yoga for Health or Yoga Therapy
  2. The Intermediate series: Nadi Shodhana, The Nerve Purifier (or The Second series)
  3. The Advanced series: Sthira Bhaga, Centering of Strength
  1. Advanced A, or Third series
  2. Advanced B, or Fourth series
  3. Advanced C, or Fifth series
  4. 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!

Urdhva Mukha Svanasana – Upward Facing Dog

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:
info@thestudio-mcr.com
to reserve your space, see you on the mat!

The Studio is coming to Manchester!

Check out our next Yoga and Brunch Over at Victors Alderley Edge

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!

When: Saturday 21st September
Time: 11:30am
12:30 (Yoga Class)
12:30 onwards – (Brunch)

To book on click here!

For a selection of food options available on the day, check out the menu below!

See you there!