These blogs are reposts from the previous website and Facebook group for 'Albir & Altea Beach Yoga'. They carry important information about yoga, mindfulness and life coaching, and therefore, are worth reading or re-reading. More will be added soon, so please visit again!
Hi all! I hope you are out and about enjoying the lovely weather! My laptop is behaving today so I am able to draft something useful about yoga for you… for when you are back from the beach!
Today, it’s all about the benefits of yoga. Yoga has been around for more than 5,000 years. Hence it is deeply rooted in tradition but it is also scientifically proven to improve and maintain overall health. Below are the main 9 benefits.
1) More flexibility: moving and stretching in new ways will help you become more flexible, bringing greater range of motion to tight areas. As we age, our flexibility decreases, especially if we spend a lot of time sitting. Yoga can help reverse this process. Increased flexibility and strength can also help prevent the causes of some types of back pain.
2) Muscle strength: some yoga poses like the plank and chair’s pose will help you build muscle strength. If done correctly, nearly all poses build core strength (abdominal muscles/Uddiyana bandha). As a by-product of getting stronger, you can expect to see increased muscle tone. Yoga helps shape long, lean muscles in your legs, arms, back, and abdomen.
3) Improved posture: as you gain more core strength, you are more likely to sit and stand "tall." Yoga also helps your body awareness which means you are likely to notice if you're slouching or slumping, so you can adjust your posture.
4) Better Balance: Improved balance is one of the most important benefits of yoga as we get older. Poses where you stand on one leg and, for more advanced students, inversions, are great ways to build the core strength that keeps you upright.
5) Better breathing: yoga usually involves paying attention to your breath, which can help you relax. Specific breathing techniques also known as pranayama (mindful breathing technique) will expand your lung capacity, regulate and prolong your breathing and help you circulate more fresh oxygen in the bloodstream.
6) Good for your heart: Yoga has long been known to lower blood pressure and slow the heart rate. A slower heart rate can benefit people with high blood pressure or heart disease, and people who've had a stroke.
7) Better immune system: Yoga has also been linked to lower cholesterol and improve immune system function. The overall benefits of yoga mean that you are better equipped to fight off common viruses.
8) Detoxification: because yoga helps the body to absorb more oxygen in the body and remove toxins through sweating (especially vinyasa flow during sun salutations), detoxification occurs naturally in the body.
9) Less stress, more calm: You may feel less stressed and more relaxed after doing some yoga. Some yoga styles use meditation techniques that help calm the mind. Focusing on your breathing during yoga also helps the mind and body to relax.
I hope you find this helpful. As ever, comments and questions are welcome! Have a great week and hope to see you on Tuesday at 8am.
First posted: 7 October 2018, Facebook Group
Our topic today is the BREATH!
First things first … let’s cover the basics. Yoga is a Sanskrit word that means ‘union’, i.e. union of body and mind. In practice, this means that from the moment you arrive at a yoga class, you are encouraged to clear the mind, be in the present moment and aware of your body.
Your breath plays a key role in this process, so that’s why there is a lot of focus on the breath from the start. In fact, the deep breathing that we do in yoga directly impacts on your physical health, including lengthening your lifespan. Scientists say that the reason sea turtles and blue whales have incredibly long lives (circa 100 years) is because of their deep breaths and expanded lung capacity!
And what do the yogi masters say? Some yoga poses open each of the lobes of the lungs for optimal breathing. The slow rhythmic breathing you do while practicing the poses optimises efficient use of oxygen at the cellular level. The opening of the chest and lungs increases breath capacity. From an energetic viewpoint, your breath is the primary vehicle for moving prana (life force energy) throughout the subtle anatomy which consists of the chakras (energy centres), prana vayus (energy currents) and the nadis (energy channels). The free flow of prana is essential for the nourishment of the physical systems as well as for cultivating balance in the mind and emotions.
So now you know why breathing is so crucial to a good yoga practice. On Tuesday morning, we will use the last 10 minutes to practice pranayama (life force technique) called Anuloma Viloma. Some of you practiced this with me recently.
We will discuss the chakras, prana vayus and nadis at another time. Meantime feel free to ask questions and comment below.
Have a lovely weekend and see you Tuesday!
First posted: 8 September 2018, Facebook Group
Welcome to our second FB weekly post! Hope you had a great week and are ready for a whole new one!
If you’ve done sun salutations with me, you would have heard me give a brief explanation about bandhas and then asked you to engage them! So what the heck are they, and why are they so important?
Yoga philosophy says that bandhas are “energetic locks that channel and direct the flow of energy in the body to achieve optimal benefits of a pose. Bandhas provide core strength to stabilise the central axis of the body, thereby protecting the spine.” There are three main bandhas: Jalandhara (located at the throat), Uddiyana (located in the abdomen) and Mula bandha (located at the perineum).
Today, we will only discuss the latter two as those are the ones we use in our classes.
Uddiyana bandha – also known as the Core muscles
You engage this bandha by drawing the abdominal wall back towards the spine and upward. This action would seal the sides of the energy body and control the volume of energy within. Uddiyana bandha provides a powerful structural support for the abdomen, waist and low back. It helps to prevent back injuries in yoga practice. Some yoga poses like the head stand require strong abdominal muscles and activating this bandha regularly will help you achieve the pose with less effort.
Mula bandha – also known as the pelvic floor muscles
You engage the pelvic floor muscles by drawing the pelvic floor upward into the body. This action would increase the amount of energy in the body by sealing the bottom of the energy body. In time, this will help you achieve a strong pelvic floor, which provides support for the reproductive organs as well as a strong foundation for your yoga practice.
So, whenever you need strength, balance and stability, remember to engage both bandhas! And don’t worry, I will be there to remind you every time.
Have a fabulous weekend and I look forward to seeing you on Tuesday. Please feel free to ask questions or add comments below.
First posted on: 15 September 2018, Facebook Group
A lot has been written about the history and benefits of yoga and there is a lot of material available to read online and in print. There is also an ever growing number of yoga studios popping up everywhere making it accessible to an increasing number of people. So if you want to dip your toes in the water to see what all the fuss is about, without having to commit to a gym membership or rub shoulders with those hard core yogis at the new swanky local studio, what can you do about it? Well, how about you get yourself a private teacher and see how it goes.
Private yoga lessons allow you to optimise your time, effort and therefore your return on investment. With a private tuition, you can have your yoga practice tailor-made so that the sequences are aligned with your unique personal goals and objectives. In a private class, you can ask any burning questions you may have in a safe environment and receive step-by-step guidance as well as hands-on adjustments which will increase your confidence and fast-track your progress.
Below are my top 5 benefits of taking up private classes:
1. For complete beginners:
You can avoid competitiveness sometimes seen in group classes and get 100% attention from the teacher, allowing you to progress faster than you would in a group setting.
If you want to learn the correct postures without getting intimidated by advanced students, you would enjoy private classes.
2. For people with special needs:
If you have certain health conditions that can be alleviated by regular gentle movement such as yoga, you could work with a private teacher who would design special sequences for you. Yoga could be a great add-on therapy in addition to the treatment you are receiving from your medical doctor. Note that you should consult your doctor before practicing yoga.
3. For those who want to avoid transportation:
Your teacher comes to you so you don’t have to worry about driving in traffic, finding parking space, catching the train or using a map. You will practice in the safety and comfort of your home. Just make sure you have enough space for two mats, or more if your family members or friends are joining in.
4. For long-term goals such as weight loss:
In time, your teacher will develop a better understanding of your personal goals, preferences, and pace, and will be able to provide you with a more focussed service, track your progress and adjust the sequences so you can maximise the output.
An ongoing working relationship with a private teacher will be beneficial if you want to deepen your practice, or get involved in other aspects of yoga such as meditation.
If your goal is to lose weight or increase core strength, again, your private teacher will be able to track your progress and adapt your programme accordingly.
5. For people who value confidentiality:
In private classes, what goes on behind the four walls is between you and your teacher. It is entirely up to you to decide what you would like to share with your teacher and the level of confidentiality you would like your teacher to maintain. You will have the opportunity to discuss openly what you consider sensitive and what exactly you expect from your teacher. Total honesty is important on both sides if you are to build a relationship based on trust; which will consequently have an impact on the success of your specific yoga programme.
Having taught privately, I can attest to the benefits outlined above. My clients certainly achieved more than they would have if they had attended group classes; whilst enjoying all the other benefits that a private yoga programme has to offer. Working with them was an absolute pleasure and I look forward to working with more people who would like to improve their posture, flexibility and balance.
Finally, I would be interested to hear about your experiences of teaching/learning privately, if any, so please do get in touch if you have a story to share.
Visit my website to read more about me or click here to send me a message.
First posted 12 November 2017, Previous Website