2nd August 2018

Yoga Balance Challenge

Develop strength, grace and poise with this standing balance sequence. These are some of my favourite yoga postures. Yoga is all about integration and to stand steady and focused on one leg involves so many different functions working together in a controlled way: strength, co-ordination, proprioception, respiration, mental focus and more. Balance is also a movement skill and there’s plenty of room for improvement with practice if you find you’re wobbly when you start coming to yoga. Our sense of balance develops as small children learning to stand on one leg or ride a bike. It diminishes as we get older and we become more prone to slips, trips and falls but, as yogis know, this is not inevitable and can be reversed. There are three ways to do this sequence: To get going: Start with your stronger leg, repeat with the second one, doing each pose in turn, staying for up to four breaths on each leg. Stand close to the wall so you can use it to steady […]
22nd July 2018

Try this at home! Get yourself moving with this yoga standing sequence

I love this standing sequence of poses. There’s a bit of a Warrior theme going on, and it contains all the ingredients for a well-rounded practice with a forward bend, backward bend, twist, lateral stretch and balance. Perfect for any time of day. Either flow with your breath, and move from one pose to another every time you exhale or stay for up to six breaths in each posture. Enjoy a sense of sthirasukhaasanam, feeling steady and firm, yet also experiencing a sense of ease and lightness. 1. Before you begin you may want to do some simple limbering moves, then when you’re ready stand in mountain pose, feet hip distance apart. Bring your hands together into prayer position. 2. Inhale and extend your arms upwards and arch back, exhaling into a Forward Fold. Knees can be soft and your hands can be on the floor, feet, shins or knees. Stay here for several breaths or exhale and step your left leg back into Crescent Moon pose. Both arms can […]
22nd April 2017
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Yoga, Mindfulness and Mental Health

Mental health is as important as physical health says Prince William, echoing what the yoga world has always known: that mind and body are two sides of the same coin, with the state of one affecting the other. Prince William’s comments, along with those of Prince Harry in his Daily Telegraph podcast, and their support of the Heads Together #oktosay campaign have been widely praised for helping to encourage people to talk about their mental health challenges. Heads Together is the charity of the year for this weekend’s London Marathon and running is recognised as an activity which can boost your mood and help beat depression. Non-runners can take heart from the fact that doctors believe that just about any physical activity is good for improving well-being, as it causes chemical changes in the brain, which can positively change your mood.      Yoga should be way ahead of the game here. It has always been about finding mental stillness through physical movement: “Yoga is the settling of the mind into […]
29th October 2016
Studio-Yoga-Stockbridge

The row over national standards for yoga teachers

Yoga appears to be rarely out of the news these days, with stories in the national press and radio this week about proposed national occupational standards for yoga teachers.  It’s a subject which has provoked robust exchanges on yoga teacher forums on social media for several weeks. The word yoga might mean union but there are sharp divisions of opinion in this case. About two million people in the UK are believed to practise yoga. There are classes in pretty much every gym, leisure centre and village hall up and down the country as well as in specialist studios, but it is an unregulated industry. Anyone can call themselves a yoga teacher or set up a teacher training programme and some courses require little or nothing in the way of yoga experience. Are all yoga teacher trainings fit for purpose? For those in favour of national minimum standards, there are important reasons for regulation. It is believed most people in the UK who practice yoga do so for reasons of […]
15th June 2016
Pilates for osteoporosis at Studio Yoga

Pilates for Osteoporosis

  Pilates for Osteoporosis – by Anneli McCullagh (Body Control Pilates teacher) Why be concerned about osteoporosis? As people age they are more at risk of developing osteoporosis, a disease which causes the bones to become weak and brittle. In the UK it is believed to affect around three million people with 1 in 2 women, and 1 in 5 men suffering an osteoporosis related fracture after the age of 50. Although losing bone is a normal part of the aging process, lifestyle choices like regular exercise and a healthy diet are important to maintain bone strength. Osteoporosis often develops without any warning signs but if it is in the spine, for example, the front part of the vertebra can be crushed by leaning forwards (spinal flexion), but the back part of the vertebra remains intact – creating a “dowager’s hump”. Other common places for osteoporosis related fractures are hips, ribs and wrists. Risk factors There are a whole range of risk factors: if a parent had osteoporosis; if you […]
21st February 2016

11 Top Tips for a Healthy Back

Nearly all of us suffer from back problems at some point in their lives, so follow these tips from Emma Wightman of Stockbridge Osteopathic Practice to help keep your spine healthy and pain-free:  1) Always bend using your knees and hips. This is really important advice that we all know but don’t do! Bend at the knees and hips, keeping your back upright and straight. If you are lifting something heavy bring the weight close to you before you move. Push up using your thigh muscles. 2) Maintain good posture. A lot of my patients’ problems are the result of poor posture. Engage your abdominal muscles by gently tucking the pelvis up at the front, sit up or stand up straight, roll shoulders back and down, lengthen the neck and tuck the chin in slightly. 3) Get up and move around. Avoid sitting for long periods, get up and move around every 30 to 40 minutes. Avoid slouching in chairs and hunching your shoulders when sitting at desks. Occasionally use […]
13th November 2015
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Yoga for Healthy Lower Backs

Do you suffer from back pain? If the answer is yes, then you’re not alone: in the UK 2.6 million people see their GPs with low back pain every year, at a cost to the NHS of £1.37 billion.  Statistics show that nearly all of us will suffer from back problems at some point in our lives and it can affect people of all ages, including those who are fit and active as well as the sedentary.  Sometimes it seems that for no apparent reason, our backs just go. Treatment has progressed a long way since the time when bed rest for weeks on end was recommended.  NHS advice today is for people to stay mobile and keep active.  It specifically recommends gentle stretches to ease discomfort during an episode of back pain, and suggests yoga or Pilates as a way of increasing strength and flexibility.  This autumn I have been training to teach Yoga for Healthy Lower Backs (YHLB), a specially designed yoga programme, clinically proven to work better than […]
27th September 2015

Giving yoga a go: a beginner’s story

New to yoga or considering taking it up for the first time? As this beginner’s experience shows, practising yoga on a regular basis can transform your life for the better, whatever your age, size or level of fitness. Re-engaging my core by Christine Alexander Smith I first visited Tamsin at Studio Yoga in Stockbridge after being treated by my Chiropractor for a hip and lower back problem, having had a very bad fall.  My Chiropractor suggested engaging with Yoga as something to assist my continued recovery.   I was sceptical that this would help me, but desperate to eliminate the stiffness and lower back pain, I agreed to give it a go. I had never done yoga before and initially had 3 one to one sessions with Tamsin, then joined her Yoga Express evening course.  I soon became aware of just how little I had been moving or stretching my whole body.  As a beginner I found the first 3 sessions were challenging but very achievable.   Over the course […]
8th September 2015

The benefits of mindfulness

Mindfulness – gaining insight from ancient wisdom and modern scientific understanding by Dr Gail Loudon   As I prepare to teach my sixth Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) course that I’ve guided at Studio Yoga, I was reminded by a friend how I came to embrace the mindfulness based approach to living, which MBSR and Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) offers us. I still work, and thoroughly enjoy working, as a conventional doctor although it is significant that I have kept to specialities that have allowed me to follow a holistic approach to patients and to their care i.e taking into account their particular stresses in life and how that may be impacting on their health and well-being. I have a clear memory of sitting in a pharmacology lecture as a student stunned by the fact that I was the only person in the room who was completely fascinated by the placebo effect. Generally it is seen as an irritation getting in the way of establishing the effect of new […]