Yoga

Transformational Yoga in Autumn

 Online yoga for mums. Classes & private sessions in Westbury Park, Redland, Henleaze, Bristol. Yoga for mums, beginners, weight loss, fitness, pregnancy & postnatal mums.

 I love autumn (“Fall”), a time of dramatic transformations, beautiful colours, bountiful harvests, oh and long boots and snuggly jumpers! However, as the temperatures fall and the evenings draw in, I notice a change in energy, the energy of summer slowly begins to fade away and is replaced with a need to slow ourselves down, to rest more and to do less vigorous activities. Just as nature is experiencing change, so are we, it becomes harder to motivate ourselves to exercise, often preferring to curl up in the evenings, watching a movie rather than going to a yoga class or the gym!

I know exactly how you feel, we all feel like that sometimes, but there are 3 things I do which help me transition from hot, balmy summers in to the cooler months of autumn & the harsh reality of winter.

First, be aware of the changing seasons, actually acknowledge the shift in energy, Mother Natures and you own, take time to understand how you physically & mentally respond to dealing with these changes. Maybe you get tired & run-down, get more colds & virus's or maybe you become more stressed & argumentative at this time of year. However your body reacts to this change treat yourself with kindness, allow your body to be nurtured and show yourself some love & compassion.

When exercising try not to fight against these seasonal changes by performing challenging or complex yoga sequences instead acknowledge and accept how your feeling and nurture these feelings with a more balanced practice. If you are feeling rundown don’t ignore these initial warning signs & continue with your hectic lifestyle, it will only increase your stress and anxiety & your immune system will weaken and fatigue & illness may set in. In other words, listen to your body & look after yourself, so that you can in turn look after those around you (i.e.. your kids who will pick up every bug going in the playground!!)

Instead of constantly challenging yourself, try to include more grounding poses within your practice, these will help stabilise your body & your emotions. Try to focus your attention towards your posture, keeping your heart space open and not allowing your shoulders to slouch. Try practicing Trikonasana, commonly known as Triangle Pose, for a few minutes each day, to help open up the chest & heart space. During Autumn Trikonasana is my favourite posture, it develops my strength, balance & flexibility & provides me with a sense of well-being by grounding me to the earth. As well as relieving stress and helping me to be calmer with the kiddies(!) it also warms my body up & gets my heart pumping so I feel the endorphins kick in without having to push myself too much when my body needs a bit of down time.

Online yoga for mums. Classes & private sessions in Westbury Park, Redland, Henleaze, Bristol. Yoga for mums, beginners, weight loss, fitness, pregnancy & postnatal mums.

 

I try to draw my attention inwards a lot more at this time of year which I believe helps prepare my body & mind for the shorter & colder days of winter & as a result my practice becomes far more reflective. I am also very aware to eat seasonal foods, the traditional science of Ayurveda teaches us to change our diets according to the seasons and I strongly agree with this philosophy. My body needs a lot more nourishing this time of year far more than just the wonderful salads of the summer months so roasted seasonal veggies are always a welcome accomplishment to any meal in my house at this time of year.

Therefore to summarise, having acknowledged that the closer we come to winter the slower and more gentle our practice should be, try & make minor adjustments to your yoga practice and to the foods you eat so that you can hopefully improve your physical and mental well-being in the colder months. Essentially making only a few small changes will help with the transition from summer to winter.

Now pour yourself a cup of hot cinnamon tea and welcome in those beautiful autumnal days!  :)

Good Luck, I hope this helps xx


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Healthy Living in Celebs'ville

Healthy-Living-in-Celebsville.jpg

Hi Ladies, Each month, in my blog, I will post about the latest healthy lifestyle images from the land of the rich & famous  & calling  it "Healthy Living in Celebs'ville".

I'll take a recent image of a celebrity, analyse it and give you the real low down on its benefits & question if it really is all that! And, of course, give you realistic alternatives that you can do without being a billionaire & having personal trainers & dieticians living in your house!! In other words it's for real women & girls :)

I'm so excited as it combines my love of yoga, fitness & clean eating with my insatiable appetite for snooping into the world of the famous!

I'll discuss their diets, fitness routines & lifestyle habits & look at trends which really work & those that don't!

So to kick start this new post, here is a recent instagram image posted by Miranda Kerr practicing yoga on a beautiful beach.

Miranda Kerr is a great role model, as a 32-year-old mum she manages to fit a healthy lifestyle around working, being a mum & looking great!

As I looked through images of her for this post I found photos of her resistance training, practicing yoga, hiking, going for bike rides with her son & many others but I chose this image as not only is it beautiful but we could all try this posture (or a variation of it) without the need of any equipment :)

Her clean eating diet is also well documented advocating egg whites with avocado or oatmeal for breakfast, avoiding junk food, drinking fresh juices & carrying around healthy snacks such as fresh fruit, nuts and seeds to avoid sugar cravings.

Top tip; Nuts & seeds are your pick me ups throughout the day, don't be put off by their high fat content, they will keep you full for longer, helping you to avoid the sugary cravings of biscuits and chocolate.

 

Ok, so back to this image - yes, she looks amazing but of course she does, she has been styled beautifully with gorgeous clothes and a stunning backdrop but what is she actually doing & why? (apart from looking fabulous!)

Children call it a "Crab", in yoga we call it "Upward Bow, Wheel or in Sanskrit Urdhva Dhanu" but whatever you call it, ultimately it is a back bend.

So why is she doing this? Well apart from looking great the benefits of this posture can be amazing, fundamentally, it stretches out your chest & helps facilitate the expansion of your lungs to allow for deeper breathing. It also strengthens your arms, wrists, legs, buttocks & spine. It can stimulate the thyroid and pituitary glands & increase your energy levels, it's even been suggested that it counteracts mild depression. Furthermore, it's said to be therapeutic for asthma, infertility and osteoporosis, so all in all pretty powerful stuff ?!

Probably worth trying it but it is an intense pose so before you all attempt the full 'Wheel', check out these points......

1)If you have a back injury or heart problems, avoid this posture.

2)If your back is ok, start off in bridge pose, keeping your arms & shoulders on the mat & lifting up your hips and chest. (Stick with this pose if you have carpal tunnel syndrome).

The photo below is of two of my postnatal clients doing a supported back bend over a yoga ball. Not quite the glamorous backdrop of the Caribbean but with such gorgeous babies this photo wins hands down!! Hopefully it gives you a visual idea of the alternative postures you could try which still give amazing benefits! If bridge pose feels ok move on & try Wheel.

3) If in Wheel pose & you notice that your armpits or groin feel tight, try using blocks under your feet or arms (pop bricks by a wall to ensure you don't slip!)

So to follow in Miranda's footsteps & lets be honest she does look great, balance as always is key, mix up your weights routine with some yoga and mums get out and play with your little ones :) Combine this with a great breakfast of oats or eggs to give you the necessary energy to start the day, pop some nuts in your bag and your good to go!

Hopefully this has given you a taste of what is to come each week.

Thank you for subscribing to my blog & please like & share with anyone who also loves seeing whats trending for the rich & famous health wise right now.

Take it easy,  lets catch up next week

Catherine xx


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Pose of the Month - Rabbit Pose (Sasangasana)

Stressed out, overwhelmed? Let's be honest, most mums are, especially around the holiday season. Perhaps we bring it on ourselves, inviting the whole family for Easter weekend whilst simultaneously trying to maintain our lives/ jobs/relationships/houses etc & of course keeping our little darlings happy, God forbid they might get bored! As mums we tend to forget that caring for children is both physically and mentally demanding, a labour of love you might say! But we need to look after ourselves too. Not many jobs require so much physical and mental multi-tasking. Physical and emotional stress coupled with festive anxiety (planning, cooking, having family to stay etc.) can often lead to headaches, upper back & neck pain. Therefore we need to stretch out our whole spine & what better posture to focus on during the Easter holidays then than Rabbit Pose (Sasangasana in Sanskrit)

Rabbit pose (Sasangasana) has many benefits, it's fantastic for relieving tension in your neck, shoulders & entire spine as it stretches the spine out, nourishing & re-aligning it & helping to loosen the areas notorious for holding tension and stress especially in us mums. It also helps alleviate colds, sinus & other congestion problems, great at the moment as those pesky winter bugs still seem to be lurking around! Then, before we know it it will be the hay fever season, Oh joy, more snuffles and running eyes! 

But perhaps for many of us one of the greatest benefits of Rabbit Pose is that it stimulates your thyroid and parathyroid gland, the gland which helps you lose or gain weight! The thyroid gland is responsible for producing hormones controlling your metabolism, very useful if you have eaten too many Easter eggs over the Easter weekend or like me drunk too much prosecco!

Finally, this posture is believed to greatly help with depression & post natal depression as it helps to balance out our hormones.

To Perform this posture sit on your heels & then grab your heels with your hands. Exhale, tuck your chin into your chest & draw your stomach in towards your spine. Round your spine down so that your forehead is touching your knees & the top of your head is touching the floor. Pull on your heels, straighten your arms & lift up your hips. Be aware it does constrict your throat which may feel awkward to begin with.

This pose is contraindicated for recent or chronic injury to the knees, back, neck or shoulders.

Give it a go, personally I love this posture, although I'm not that great at it!

ps. I've just booked an appointment with the chiropractor, my right shoulder is about inch higher than my left - shall I blame it on my children, or the family who came for Easter? Who knows but on the plus side having 14 for lunch on Easter Day meant I was able to sneak off & teach one of my favourite hot yoga classes without anyone noticing!.....Yep, the studio was open & my 6pm class was packed!!...everyone had eaten too many Easter eggs I suspect!! :)


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Yoga to Combat Parental Exhaustion!

Are you often exhausted? Do you regularly feel overwhelmed, drained & burnt out? Whether you have teens, toddlers, babies or are pregnant more than likely you've experience parental exhaustion at some stage & appreciate how it can be physically, emotionally & mentally draining. Why do we get it? Perhaps our society has got it a bit wrong - 'The Super Mummy' theory which expects us not only to manage but excel in multiple roles whilst looking a million dollars has put a lot of pressure on mums, especially new mums with magazines airbrushing celebs straight after giving birth & constantly bombarding us with unrealistic lifestyle images.

Then there is the pressure to enrol our little darlings into every possible activity, we are constantly running around after children, micro managing every playdate to fit in with every club possible because God forbid they will miss out and somehow not match up to their peers, or even worse..... get bored! I must say, I remember being bored a lot as a child, it was great but now I am guilty of ensuring that my three monkeys never get bored & I'm constantly taking them to activities or doing things with them. (I am trying to reduce this!!)

So together with micromanaging kids social lives, often working long hours, all the housework & desperately trying to look amazing it is little wonder that our bodies and minds have mini-meltdowns and need a break from time to time from feeling feed up, burnt out & defeated with the endless to-do lists.

Like you, I know all about exhaustion, being a single mum for my three very active children, running an online yoga business, lecturing & teaching classes, has effected my energy levels over the years. Last week my Facebook group & I discussed parental exhaustion, one mum said she gets uncontrollably emotional, another mum gets really angry, I tend to get migraines but most of us agreed that when we're exhausted we go into a numbed state of existence and just function day-to-day without really feeling present or connected. So try focusing more on living in the present, worrying less about what happened yesterday or what may happen tomorrow.

So we can be mindful about living in the present but what else can a mum do to beat exhaustion? Although I generally recommend exercise for tiredness, as it's actually increases our energy levels, when we are utterly exhausted a vigorous exercise or yoga practice will have the opposite effect and deplete our remaining energy stores. So leave the hardcore exercises until you feel both mentally and physically stronger, instead try restorative yoga, it soothes your senses & relaxes your mind & nervous system. Oh and it feels fab!

Restorative postures quieten the mind & body and together with the use of props (blankets, cushions, balls, bands)  allow you to completely relax & rest. Try holding each posture for 5-10 minutes & it will leave you feeling nourished and well rested. It further helps us disconnect from the continual activity of our busy daily lives helping to heal and nurture us together with being a functional way of releasing muscle tension and gently moving our bodies.

The first restorative posture suitable for everyone shows Katie 9 months pregnant relaxing fully supported in Supta Baddha Konasana (Butterfly pose. This is a great pose for stressed out mums as it opens up the hips (an area where the subtle body is said to hold emotions), it enhances flexibility within the inner thigh and groin muscles. Start with feet together and let the knees fall open. Support your upper body with cushions and relax, just focus on your breath keeping it slow, controlled and through the nose.

 Pregnancy Yoga - Restorative Butterfly Posture - (Supta Baddha Konasana)

Pregnancy Yoga - Restorative Butterfly Posture - (Supta Baddha Konasana)

The second photo shows the Leg Up the Wall pose. It quickly rejuvenates the lower back and legs, easing tension & tired legs, helping blood circulation & furthermore helps to reduce edema in the legs and feet. It is a nourishing & grounding posture as it is so calming for your nervous system, I often do this when I'm feeling overwhelmed, tired or stressed. As Katie is 9 months pregnant I have given her cushions to elevate her upper body so she doesn't get breathless however whether pregnant or not using the cushions encourage the body to relax as it's so comfy!!

Pregnancy yoga. Restorative yoga

So mums lets find a balance, we don't need to be supermums we need to be happy, energised & chilled out mums! Take care of yourself, go to yoga but also go out for drinks ...it's all about balance!


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Postnatal Pose of the Week - The Sphinx.

The Sphinx Pose also known as Salamba Bhujangasana in Sanskrit.

There are many benefits of the Sphinx pose, these include strengthening the spine & glutes, stimulating the abdominal organs, stretching the chest and shoulders which become very tight during and after pregnancy and stretching the abdomen & improving circulation of the blood.

It is a great pose as it is accessible for most people and especially great for postnatal mums (don't do it too soon after a C-Section).

It is a gentler version of the more common pose, The Cobra (Bhujangasana), but with far less of an arch in the back and therefore less pressure on a weakened postnatal spine.

Babies can do it effortlessly as beautifully demonstrated here by Rowan!

Give it a go :)

Till the next time

Catherine xx


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Yoga With Children

Is Christmas approaching just a little too fast?!

Have you already stopped your weekly yoga/fitness classes?

There is hardly time for anything; Christmas shopping, Carol Concerts, School plays, Works Christmas Drinks, Friends Christmas Drinks, The annual family get together (involving copious amounts of vino just to get through it!) and planning the dreaded Christmas lunch.

Oh and if you are like me, crazy enough to have a four legged addition to your house, God help you! I have just finished picking up the remnants of chocolate coins Wellington has scoffed  from under the tree and have also just, rather poor, re-wrapped the destroyed Christmas present, addressed to me, from my 11 year old! I'm not sure my writing 'Mum" on the front look like hers, but I tried!

But this is when you NEED yoga the most. I know, I hear you cry, BUT HOW & WHEN???, with the children breaking up from school this week?

I completely understand, I have 3 little monkeys who will all be demanding my attention along with the rest of the family, but you will be surprised how much children of all ages will really appreciate doing something with just you, real Mummy time around the festive period.

Here's the biggest tip of all - doing anything is better than nothing, it doesn't have to be perfect, your pose doesn't even have to have a name, make it up, just have fun with your children - do what feels good!

Doing yoga with them is so much fun, you don't have to do anything properly, just get them to be your teacher. Younger children get in to poses naturally, copy them, they love to feel they are teaching you.

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Happy Christmas from Yogimums xx


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Sun Salutation Yoga

 Online yoga for mums. Online yoga for beginners. Online yoga for weight loss. Online yoga for fitness. Online yoga for pregnancy. Online yoga for postnatal mums. Yoga classes & private 1:1 yoga in Bristol. Yoga in Westbury Park, Henleaze, Redland, Stoke Bishop.

 

Sun Salutation (Surya Namaskar, in Sanskrit) is a set of 12 postures put together in a flowing sequence to help calm your mind, improve concentration, reduces restlessness and anxiety.

When performed at pace it is an excellent cardio vascular workout, helping with weight loss, endurance levels and improving the strength and vitality to your body, the flexibility of the spine and when performed at a slower pace it is an excellent way to help unwind & relax.

I practice Sun Salutations every day, it encourages a sense of peace & calm in my mind and helps develop a strong & flexible body. Here is a diagrammatic image of how to practice your sun salutations.

 Online yoga for mums. Online yoga for beginners. Online yoga for weight loss. Online yoga for fitness. Online yoga for pregnancy. Online yoga for postnatal mums. Yoga classes & private 1:1 yoga in Bristol. Yoga in Westbury Park, Henleaze, Redland, Stoke Bishop. Sun Salutations, Surya Namaska

Or check out my video on my Facebook page (www.facebook.com/theyogimums)  which shows me practicing the 12 postures of the Sun Salutations on a beautiful beach in Africa!

Give it a go, you will soon get the hang of it & start to feel the wonderful benefits :)


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