19 April 2023

Restorative Yoga Training

In today’s fast-paced world, stress has become an ever present in peoples lives irrespective of their economic status, physical health, age and gender. In the short term stress can disrupt sleep, create a loss of focus, leave you feeling agitated, fatigued or even place pressure on personal relationships. Prolonged levels of stress have been associated with various physical and psychological ailments such as heart disease, depression, and anxiety disorders. That information is nothing new, so why have we not found a remedy for the stress “disease” before it leads us into our ill health? 
There are many reasons, but the two most prominent are; 1) We masks the signals (symptoms) with caffeine, sugar, sleeping tablets, energy drinks, painkillers, alcohol, TV, social media etc or 2) We treat stress with more stress – I could list all of the points from reason 1) and add; we take on more at home or work, we join a gym and go straight for the high intensity exercise classes – we could even group dynamic power yoga in this category too. 
Let’s pause on that final reason – high intensity exercise is a stress?
Yes, high intensity exercise, even practices like power yoga and dynamic flow yoga are loading stress onto the system (body & NS) – yes they have great value but they don’t destress us in the way we believe. Power Yoga and Flow yoga differ from exercise because they bring more awareness into your experience. This improves your ability to withstand stress and move through stress. They essentially “stress” your system with a view to making you more resilient to stress and that definitely works. However, there is a tipping point & trying to cure acute stress with more and more stress is akin to putting up a small picture frame with a sledge hammer. 
So, theres something missing in our general societal approach.
The missing part of the jigsaw is re-educating your mind & body in the skills of wilfully calming down. 
It’s a re-educating because so many of us have simply forgotten how to relax & feel peaceful. We know how to try hard, how to push through, how to give more. But, we have forgotten how to be still, let go & receive. 
It’s corny but the recent passing of the great Burt Bacharach made me think of practices like restorative yoga, yoga nidra & meditation. When he sings “what the world needs now, is love sweet love” thats really what these practices are. They are without doubt nothing short of a radical act of self-love.
The best version of you, is the version that is cared for, loved and nourished. You are the only person who has the capacity and responsibility to action those virtues. That person can be found with these styles of practice, I will bet my 15 years of experience on that. 
OK, I might have tempted you to seek out more of these practices. But… imagine taking a deep diving into them!
Imagine having all the knowledge and techniques yourself! That level of agency gives you the capacity to influence your own thoughts and behaviours forever. 
The Restorative Yoga Training & learn To Connect (meditation) courses  offer this very skill. 
Let me tell you more about the Restorative Yoga course staring in May, and before you skip, the course isn’t just for teachers! Read on. 
Our restorative yoga teacher training course is rooted in neuroscience, spiritual tradition, and humanities making it a comprehensive program designed to provide a deep understanding of the mind-body complex. The course gives students a better knowledge of the therapeutic potential found in restorative yoga & provides a holistic perspective on the human experience.

The course would begin with an introduction to neuroscientific concepts and the effects of stress on the human body and mind. Students will learn about the effects yoga and meditation have on the brain and the nervous system, along with how these practices can help reduce stress and promote healing.
Students will then delve into the principles of restorative yoga, learning how to modify postures and how to use props to create a supportive environment for the body to relax and renew. The course will also cover the spiritual roots of this practice, including an exploration of yogic philosophy and the significance of breathwork.

Throughout the course, students will learn about how the humanities, including literature, philosophy, and history, can help us understand and appreciate our inner world. They will explore the ways in which these disciplines intersect with yoga and how they can inform our practice.

In addition to theory, the course will include extensive practical training, including supervised teaching practicums and opportunities for personal practice and reflection. Students will also receive guidance on how to create a safe and supportive environment for students and how to integrate restorative yoga practices into therapeutic settings.

Upon completion of the course, students will have a comprehensive understanding of restorative yoga and its therapeutic applications, as well as knowledge of the scientific, spiritual, and humanistic principles that form the foundation of this ancient practice.

Who Is The Course For?
You might not have any ambition to become a yoga teacher, but you know that learning these practices and the science behind them will benefit your life unquestionably. So book on! 
If you’re a thinking of becoming a yoga teacher, or you’re currently a flow/power/ashtanga/rocket teacher, fitness coach, wellbeing enthusiast, or therapist – then this course will develop your knowledge and skills so that you can serve your community more wholly. 
The course comes with online support via videos, a workbook & personal journal. 
Course Dates 
May 27th & 28th
June 17th & 18th
July 1st 
Saturdays 12:00-17:30
Sundays 11:00-17:00 
Investment £199 if booked before April 30th (£250 there after)
How to Book: click the link below.
* Option to become a certified restorative yoga teacher. 
For more details or to speak to me about anything that ‘clicked’ with you from this post please contact myself direct stuart@yogalifeuk.com I am available for small group and 1-2-1 sessions that teach the practices of restore & revive.
See you in class
Summary Benefits of Restorative Yoga
By activating the parasympathetic nervous system and promoting relaxation, restorative yoga teaches the body and mind how to destress and deregulate. Over time, this practice can lead to profound changes in how individuals respond to stressors in their environment. Beyond just reducing stress, restorative yoga has been shown to have a host of other benefits, including:
– Reduction in anxiety and depression: Restorative yoga has been found to significantly reduce levels of anxiety and depression in individuals who practice it regularly.
– Improved sleep: Sleep is often disrupted by stress and anxiety. Restorative yoga has been shown to help improve the quality of sleep and reduce the time it takes to fall asleep.
– Reduced pain: Studies have shown that restorative yoga can significantly reduce pain levels in individuals with chronic pain.
– Improved flexibility: Restorative yoga can help to increase flexibility, range of motion, and mobility in the joints.
Why Restorative Yoga is Important 
We all face numerous stressors ranging from work or family pressures, financial burdens, social challenges, and general life transitions. Research has shown that todays adults are more prone to stress and anxiety than their parents and grandparents were, making restorative yoga an essential practice. 

13 May 2021

Post-lockdown dread – 5 ways to use yoga to calm anxiety

The world is getting back to normal (Hurray). Masks are becoming a thing of the past. The previous 18 months have had their ups and downs. They’ve been challenging for everyone, but have also given people lots of time to reflect, recharge, and learn new skills.

Our world’s have shrunk and things have become a lot more cosy. We’ve been wrapped up in our own bubbles and time away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life has, for many, been a truly relaxing experience.

So, it’s only natural to feel some apprehension when we hear about things opening up. You haven’t been in a crowd of more than 6 people in a year. How will you manage 100?

For many of us this adjustment won’t be too awkward but for others this could bring about a real sense of anxiety. As the world rushes to reopen again we could long for our lazy days in the garden.

Being anxious about the end of lockdown is normal and there are many ways to cope with the creeping unease. One way you can overcome this dread and enjoy a drink with your friends is by using yoga to calm anxiety.


Can you spot anxiety? How can yoga help?

We will all feel anxious sometimes. It’s an evolutionary trait that’s been built into us from the dawn of time. As humans there are times in our life where it’s perfectly normal to feel a bit anxious.

Job interviews, a wedding day, going to the dentist. Being anxious at times like this is just your body telling you to be on high alert. It’s doing its job.

Anxiety can range from anything from butterflies in your tummy to a nervy, excitable energy and cold sweats. Although this can be unpleasant, more often than not it’s endurable.

When anxiety spirals out of control however it can become a really limiting force in your life. People who have suffered anxiety attacks have described persistent feelings of dread, flurries of panic, feelings or urgent fear, and their fight or flight response kicking in.

Not nice symptoms.

The idea of going out to a crowded market place, or to a busy restaurant could trigger feeling like this in you. But using yoga to calm anxiety is a great way to snap out of this fear spiral and tell your body everything’s fine, you’re not in danger.

Yoga can help to calm your anxiety in these situations because it doesn’t force you to rationalise your way out of fear.

When you use yoga to calm anxiety what you’re actually doing is taking the lessons you’ve learned from yoga to recognise which of your thoughts, feelings, or actions are making you feel anxious. Once you’ve identified these things you can implement self-soothing, anxiety coping habits into your schedule that’ll allow you to get on with your life.

5 way to use yoga to help calm anxiety

There are many ways you can use yoga to calm anxiety. Some methods can be done on the move whereas others should be done before you go out or when you return home. Below are 5 ways you can use yoga to help calm your post-lockdown anxiety.


Do some deep belly breaths

We’ll start this list with a very practical tip. Deep belly breaths can be done anywhere. Even at work, although it does require you to lie down so maybe find a side room in the office so you’re not stretching out in front of co-workers.

The effects of conscious deep breathing are really beneficial. It directly calms the nervous system and helps you achieve a relaxed, soothed state.

To do deep belly breathing properly you need to lie on your back. Find a support for your legs or back if you’d like more comfort. From there you can place your hands above your navel and slowly, and deliberately begin breathing in and out. Be conscious of your breathing and enjoy the relaxing effects.


Interrupt your panic

A hectic day around town can lead to a heightened sense of panic. Conversely, getting ready to meet friends at the start of the day can also send you into an anxiety spiral.

These can be tough to get out of, especially when you have nothing to break the cycle of your own thoughts. Being stuck in your own head is the worst place to be but in this situation you can use yoga to calm anxiety. How?

When you step on to a yoga mat you have an opportunity to step out of thinking mode. Yoga is the conscious practice of letting go of your worries. It is, in effect, a way to break the current worry cycle you’re in, become relaxed, and move on with your day.

If a tough day at the office or plans with friends are making you feel anxious a quick 15-minute at home yoga session could break that cycle and let you get on with your day.


Decompress after a tough day

Stress and anxiety can make you feel physically compressed. Worrying too much can bring about physical symptoms such as tension and fatigue. Knotted shoulders, necks and back are some of the classic indicators of anxiety and you’re literally carrying that around with you.

Yoga can help remove this physical tension with some good old exercise. Yoga is not only great for removing mental stress but physical tension too. This combination of de-stressing the body and mind and releasing the grip anxiety has on us.


Have a gratitude journal, write in it often

Lot’s of yoga practicers keep gratitude journals. They’re a great way of putting your thoughts on paper and keeping them out of your head. When we’re anxious it is easy to focus on the negatives and forget about all the great things happening in our lives.

By writing down three things a day you’re grateful for you can turn your worries into positive thoughts.


Have a guided meditation podcast on standby

Meditation and yoga go hand in hand. Often you’ll find that people practice both. Meditation helps us to slow down, reduce stress, and connect with our inner self.

If you’re just starting out with meditation or you’ve had a particularly hectic day getting into the right mindset for meditation can be tough. So having a guided meditation podcast or playlist on standby is a great way to switch off, recharge, and reduce anxiety.


Ready to get back out there?

The world opening back up is exciting but a bit daunting. We’d suggest you take all the time you need to readjust to the hustle and bustle of everyday life. If you’re a little apprehensive about in-person meetups you can book online yoga classes with us. For those ready to enjoy a class at one of our studios you can find all the information you need on our studios pages.

4 March 2021

Creating The Perfect At Home Yoga Environment

During lockdown we’ve all had to adapt our home to make it multifunctional. Many workers are now taking meetings at their dining table, the spare room is now an office, and our homes are basically now where we do EVERYTHING. Work, play, teach, relax and workout.

One of the fantastic things about heading to the yoga studio is that the mood, the vibe, the ambience, the temperature – it’s all taken care of for you to ensure you have the perfect environment for your yoga practice. It’s a little slice of tranquility away from your everyday life where you can focus on yourself. But we haven’t been able to have much of that during the past year or so.

We’re thrilled so many of you have taken part in our online yoga classes and to say a massive thank you we wanted to share our tips on how to create the perfect at home yoga environment. Enjoy!

Find space

You ideally need to find a space that is wide enough for maneuvering around your mat. You need a space that’s free of clutter and where you feel free to move around without fear of knocking something over.

Calm your space

A light coloured wall gives off a calming effect compared to extremely dark coloured walls – so if you can find a calming light space, great! Plain walls also work better than patterned, busy walls as you don’t want to be easily distracted. It’s best to find a space where you’re not going to be disturbed by a family member or a pet – if you can find somewhere that is just for you it will be perfect.

Clean your space

Once you’ve found your sacred space for your at home yoga practice, make sure you keep it clean and mess free. Keep the ground or any surrounding tables free of dust and clutter to create good, positive and mindful energy that will inform your practice.

Scent your space

Aromatherapy and scents can play a huge role in your yoga practice and the use of natural essential oils can have many beneficial and therapeutic effects. Different aromatherapy oils can have different effects so be mindful of which ones you choose. For example, lavender helps us destress and unwind while lemon energises the body and mind.

Personalise your space

At the end of the day, when you’re doing online yoga classes, your home space has to work for you. So these are only our suggestions and we of course advise you to create a space that you enjoy practicing yoga in!

18 January 2020

Mindfulness Tips During Lockdown

Lockdown restrictions have taken their toll on everybody. And as the whole of the UK is currently in the midst of their second full lockdown, people are having to adjust to the “new normal.’ With that in mind, it’s only natural to experience ups and downs and whilst there’s no “right” way to feel, there are some things we can do for our own physical and mental health during this time.

Here are our top tips for staying mindful during lockdown:

Try and stick to a routine

Many of us are currently working from home, and whilst there are some definitive perks to that, a lack of commute and no shop bought sandwiches for lunch to name a few, it can also take a toll on our mental health. Whilst working from home it’s so important to stick to some sort of routine. Get up at the same time everyday, change out of your pjs and take regular breaks. Just like you would in the office. And remember to set boundaries about working times. Just because you work until 5pm at the dining table doesn’t mean you need to respond to work emails whilst you’re eating your dinner.

If you’re not currently working, having a routine can add some structure and purpose to your day.

Limit social media and screen time

In this day and age it can feel like we’re glued to our screens, and with not much else to do during lockdown, the amount of time we spend looking at our phones and scrolling social media is going up. But this is known to have a detrimental effect on our mental health. Try to limit the amount of time you spend looking at your screen and instead fill your time with other activities. You don’t have to learn a new skill and there’s no pressure to be as productive as possible during this time. Although if you want to that’s fine! But simply having a bath, reading a book, playing a game with someone in your household, listening to music or doing a little meditation practice. 

Practice mindful eating

Because we’re at home a lot more it can be really easy to fall into the habit of mindless eating. Especially being in such close proximity to the kitchen! Now we’re not telling you to go on a diet, that’s far from what we’re saying. But mindless snacking when we’re bored or sad isn’t the best way to enjoy food and can leave us feeling bloated and lethargic. Take the time out to cook healthy and nutritious food and meals that you truly enjoy, savouring them as you eat. And of course if you want to eat something “unhealthy” that’s okay too – but try to stay away from absent minded snacking.

Get moving

A little bit of exercise every single day can do wonders for the mind and body. Exercise can lift your mood and just get the blood flowing to keep us energised. Exercise doesn’t have to be an intense HIIT workout (but if that’s what you like go for it!) it can be something as gentle as a 30 minute stroll around your local park. As we’re only really permitted to exercise outside once per day, it’s worth looking into what online classes are available to you.

Whilst our yoga studios are sadly closed, we’re doing online yoga classes that you can do from home. We’re offering a full online timetable with over 20 classes a week to help strengthen your body and calm your mind during this difficult time. Whilst we love seeing you face to face the great thing about our online yoga classes is that there’s absolutely no pressure, so even if you’re not feeling great you can join in without having to leave your home.