Bendy Yoga https://bendyyoga.co.uk bend - breathe - be Sun, 03 May 2020 15:09:43 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.5.2 https://i1.wp.com/bendyyoga.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/cropped-Bendy-Logo-Wordmark_Bendy-Wordmark-Option-8.jpg?fit=32%2C32&ssl=1 Bendy Yoga https://bendyyoga.co.uk 32 32 142914302 FAQ virtual yoga classes https://bendyyoga.co.uk/2020/05/03/faq-virtual-yoga-classes/ Sun, 03 May 2020 15:08:13 +0000 https://bendyyoga.co.uk/?p=1415 What are the benefits of virtual classes? Practising virtually gives you an opportunity to participate even if you’re not usually able to come to an in-person class.  All classes are recorded to allow you to practice the whole class – or parts of the class – again. This helps you go back in time and […]

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What are the benefits of virtual classes?
Practising virtually gives you an opportunity to participate even if you’re not usually able to come to an in-person class. 

All classes are recorded to allow you to practice the whole class – or parts of the class – again. This helps you go back in time and practice certain techniques.

How do virtual classes work?
All classes are run through a platform called Zoom. This is very easy to use, simply click this link to download to your laptop or tablet: https://zoom.us/download Then you can book into the class(es) of your choice via the booking system (Acuity) on the website: www.bendyyoga.co.uk

Once you have booked in, you will receive an email confirmation, which will contain the link required to join the class, along with a meeting ID and password. You will also receive an email and text reminder (if you provide your mobile number) on the day of the class.

What is the timetable?

Monday
Hatha Flow – 7.45pm

Tuesday
Pregnancy Yoga – 7pm

Wednesday
Mum & Baby Yoga – 11am

There are also limited slots available for Private / 1-to-1 virtual classes and there will be occasional special classes, such as Yoga Nidra. Please email tamsin@bendyyoga.co.uk for details.

How much do classes cost?

Hatha Flow = £6 per class (75 minutes)
Pregnancy Yoga = £8 per class (75 minutes)
Mum & Baby Yoga = £5 per class (60 minutes)
Private class = £40 per class (60 minutes)

Each class is charged per household so if kids or partners (or anyone else on lockdown with you!) wants to join in, they are most welcome. Classes are free for all NHS staff.

NB These are heavily discounted prices compared with in-person classes but if there is hardship, please contact me. 

How does my current class pass work?
Existing class passes are honoured until they expire. All passes have been extended by a month to give you time to adjust to this new way of practising yoga. Unfortunately, after class passes expire, classes cannot be transferred to future in-person classes whether or not you have chosen to practice yoga virtually. 

Your class passes give you access to all virtual classes of the type you have signed up for (i.e. Hatha Flow, Pregnancy Yoga & Mum & Baby Yoga) until your pass expires. Should you be unable to attend a class, your class pass also gives you access to the recorded class so you can watch it back later and practice in your own time. I will do my best to email everyone with the links to the recordings every week but you may need to email me at tamsin@bendyyoga.co.uk in case I accidentally leave you off.

Once your regular class pass expires, you can choose to drop-in or buy classes in blocks of 4, as above.

What do I need to practice yoga at home?
You need enough space around you – about a metre is sufficient. Practice on level ground and make sure there are no breakable objects near you. 

One of the great things about yoga is that you don’t need a lot of equipment. However, I would recommend practising on a yoga mat. A mat provides stability, a bit of padding/ stickiness and also creates a physical place for you to retreat to, no matter where you are. If you need a yoga mat, I have some available to sell. Each mat is £5 and can be collected from my house in Fleet (in a non-contact way, of course!)

Try and focus on you and create a space free of disturbances and interruptions. 

Will the virtual classes be recorded?
Yes, all classes will be recorded so that anyone who is unable to attend the class live is able to watch it back afterwards. Please note these recordings take up a lot of storage space so will stay available for one week and will then be removed to make room for new recordings. 

Who can see the live stream?
bendy yoga students – new or existing – who are signed up to the class.

Who can see or hear me when I’m practising via the live stream?
Once the initial welcome has been done and we’ve all said hello to each other, I ask that all microphones are put on mute to reduce any background noise and improve the quality of the recorded class. I also spotlight my video, which means that the video stays on me throughout. No students feature in any recordings. Depending on the number of people who have joined the class, I might not be able to see you all clearly so you may wish to turn your video off. NB in the absence of me being able to see you, you need to really listen to both the verbal cues and your body/energy levels and modify/adjust accordingly. To close, we all come off mute and turn videos on to say goodbye to the group and provide any feedback.

Can I invite my friends and family to join in, even if they don’t live nearby?
Yes! In this bizarre, challenging time of isolation, I’d love to reach a wider audience and share the yoga love. Classes are inclusive and accessible to everyone of all abilities and levels and my hope is that yoga helps us all get through this strange time, as well as giving us a way to stay connected – with ourselves and each other.  

Any other questions, please email tamsin@bendyyoga.co.uk

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Birthing Your Own Way…yes, it’s possible. https://bendyyoga.co.uk/2020/02/28/birthing-your-own-way/ Fri, 28 Feb 2020 13:04:59 +0000 https://bendyyoga.co.uk/?p=1354 Any big life event, whether physical (e.g. a marathon) or emotional (e.g. a wedding), requires thought, forward planning and preparation. Childbirth is arguably the biggest life-changing event in a woman’s life and therefore should be afforded the same, if not more, time and advance preparation. Society shapes our view of all our major emotional life […]

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Any big life event, whether physical (e.g. a marathon) or emotional (e.g. a wedding), requires thought, forward planning and preparation. Childbirth is arguably the biggest life-changing event in a woman’s life and therefore should be afforded the same, if not more, time and advance preparation.

Society shapes our view of all our major emotional life events – weddings, christenings, funerals, childbirth, etc. in terms of how they ‘should’ happen, what to wear, gift etiquette and so on. These ‘rules’ often change with the times; what was trendy wedding attire in 1980 wouldn’t be so fashionable today. That is the good thing about fashion though – it changes constantly so there is more flexibility with it. We can ‘recycle’ old trends and reinvent them in a more modern way.

Unfortunately, the ‘rules’ of childbirth haven’t changed much in decades. In every medium available (documentary, films, TV dramas, sex education at school etc.), birth is depicted in a medicalised setting with the labouring mother lying on a hospital bed surrounded by doctors screaming her head off. The use of this image is so commonplace that it has made its way into our psyche and become ‘truth.’ With that, comes a sense of inevitability; that no matter how much you’d like an alternative experience, you’re pushing against the grain and are aiming for something that doesn’t exist. You’ll end up in hospital anyway, there will be medical intervention and it will hurt like hell no matter what so why bother?

I can completely understand this thought process but I feel that it is slightly victim-esque.

It’s natural to go into birth with trepidation. There is no get-out clause; birth is inevitable. Generally, childbirth happens spontaneously – we do not control the where and when of going into labour and our bodies work to birth our babies without us having to consciously dilate our cervix or engage our uterine muscles. This means there is a certain lack of control over the physical process of childbirth. This, combined with society’s portrayal of birth as something excruciating that happens to you rather than an experience you can own, can feed the natural feeling of nervous anticipation and turn it into outright fear. I think that great intention and care are needed at this point; we need to consciously decide whether to buy into this fear or not.

Trusting our instincts seems to be a skill we’ve lost. As we go about our daily lives, our fight or flight response is not flexed for much more than the odd conflict situation or public speaking engagement. But when it comes to childbirth, the flight or flight response comes into its own. I think the fear that surrounds childbirth can cause some women to pretend it’s not happening or not do anything to prepare and others to fight for what they believe to be right for them. And it is a choice. The fear of childbirth does lessen our ability to trust ourselves and our capabilities but it is still possible to find a sense of inner belief. 

I remember people thinking I was mad for openly stating that I hoped for a drug-free birth with my first daughter. The same was true when I expressed my desire to have a homebirth for my third daughter. I might have been easily swayed by these opinions if I hadn’t done any research or preparation and didn’t wholeheartedly believe it was possible myself. I chose not to listen to the people who didn’t support or believe in my intentions for each of my three births and, ultimately, I trusted myself.

I felt a sense of “knowingness” – not because I expected my births to go exactly as I intended but because I trusted my body, believed in my capabilities and knew deep down I could have positive experiences – no matter how they unfolded. For each of my three pregnancies I went to prenatal yoga, non-hospital led birth classes, practiced visualisations, pranayama and meditations, I had acupuncture and I wrote detailed birth intentions. As a result of all that preparation was a quiet, knowing belief. I’m sure it is that belief that made all three of my births the most empowering, life-affirming, contented moments of my life, despite all being different.

If we take a thoughtful and careful approach to our birthing experience then even if our births do not go to plan, we are much more likely to feel empowered through the process rather than robbed of a good experience. We need to understand that there is no birth ‘manual’, there are no ‘rules’; the experience is there for the taking and we have a responsibility to make it our own.

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Trusting Your Instincts https://bendyyoga.co.uk/2019/04/10/trusting-your-instincts/ Wed, 10 Apr 2019 08:21:25 +0000 https://bendyyoga.co.uk/?p=936 Parenting your way. It sounds simple. We all pride ourselves on being independent, discerning people in every other facet of our lives – how hard can it be to just trust yourself when you have a baby for the first – or even second – time? Well, based on my experience and the experience of […]

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Parenting your way. It sounds simple. We all pride ourselves on being independent, discerning people in every other facet of our lives – how hard can it be to just trust yourself when you have a baby for the first – or even second – time? Well, based on my experience and the experience of a lot of the mums I’ve met, it’s actually much harder than it sounds.

I still shudder at the memory of calling my husband in tears, wailing that I was “doing it all wrrrrrrong” after reading a ‘how to’ book by a leading UK baby ‘expert.’ I only wanted some tips on how to get our baby girl to sleep better in the day, not to be read the riot act! My husband’s sage advice was: “Burn the book. You know best.”

Although I didn’t listen to a word he said (of course), I look back now and realise he was right. I think we all accept that every baby – just like every human – is different. Yes, these may just be nuances given the eat-play-sleep cycle is pretty much the same, but those nuances are important. Every baby has a different way of entering the world, a different personality, a different temperament, a different culture, a different place in the family etc. And that’s before you’ve added your own background and baggage into the equation. So, if we know that, why do we seem to put so much faith in what other people say? And why is it so hard for us to trust ourselves?

I read somewhere that trusting our instincts is a skill we’ve lost. Our fight or flight response today seems confined to the odd conflict situation or a public speaking engagement. Neither is hardly of the life threatening variety. But perhaps there is more fear around not parenting the ‘right’ way (whatever that is) than we care to admit.

It’s natural to go into parenthood with trepidation. It is the biggest life changing – possibly defining – event in your life and it deserves the nervous anticipation we give it. There is no get-out clause; a child is for life, not just for Christmas, after all. So is it fear of the fallout from trusting our gut instincts that allows us to cloud our better judgement? Is that why we dive knee-deep into finding ‘answers’ outside of ourselves?

The information sources we have available to us nowadays are mind-boggling. Want a quick answer to a question? Google it. Or find a thread on a discussion forum. Or join a Facebook group. Or stick your nose in a book. It is so easy to over-research and over-think almost every aspect of parenting that it can take a mere 10 minutes to send yourself into a tailspin of confusion. And perhaps where we find it possible to weed out the chaff from the golden nuggets of information in other areas of our lives, we do not find it so easy with parenting. Our perspective is too subjective and loaded with responsibility.

So how do we wade through it all?

Well, I think we need to get back to trusting in our own choices and decisions. Finding the philosophy or approach that suits us and being confident enough to stick to it. That doesn’t mean being closed-minded to other approaches – in fact, I think we need to accept other people’s choices no matter how different they are from our own. It just means understanding that there is no manual, no right or wrong (aside from obvious moral and social mores) and no one true expert.

The sense of responsibility we feel for another human being is so ginormous that we continually strive for some sort of perfection. An impossible sort. Parenting is not a science. It is lived through and learnt from like all the best experiences. So we would probably be better to treat it like any new experience and trust that if we do our best it’ll be good enough. Not perfect, but ok.

So when it comes to my children, I do know best. And, for once, my husband was right.

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Balance for better https://bendyyoga.co.uk/2019/03/03/balance-for-better/ Sun, 03 Mar 2019 19:57:11 +0000 https://bendyyoga.co.uk/?p=898 Welcome to March. This is a month that symbolises promise and celebration for me. It is a month full of family birthdays (including mine!), gorgeous baby animals and my favourite flowers (even if they did come out early this year). It is also the month of International Women’s Day, held on March 8th. I love […]

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Welcome to March.

This is a month that symbolises promise and celebration for me. It is a month full of family birthdays (including mine!), gorgeous baby animals and my favourite flowers (even if they did come out early this year). It is also the month of International Women’s Day, held on March 8th. I love this day. It’s a celebration of everything that women have achieved to-date as well as an acknowledgement of the work that still needs to be done. As the mum of three girls, my wish to see our world equal for both men and women is galvanised.

I read this weekend that according to the World Bank, women enjoy an equal legal footing with men in only 6 countries – and Britain is not among them. Independent of these findings, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) conducted research recently that showed a strong correlation between gender equality in the workplace and the potential for growth in the economy. So in order for us all – men and women, young and old – to enjoy greater economic growth, we need to continue to focus on gender equality.

This year the theme for International Women’s Day is #balanceforbetter. I cannot imagine a more appropriate theme! As well as working towards balance – or equality – with men in boardrooms, pay and legal rights, it is my belief that we also need to work hard to counteract today’s hectic, tech-constant, overloaded world by finding balance in our lives. This is VERY hard, and not just for women.

How many of us are good at taking time out? How many of us prioritise just being? How many of us are able to live in the moment?

The daily juggle between career/family/home is as familiar to me as the back of my hand. Even with all the yoga at my disposal, it still requires a wilful determination every day to give myself time to unplug, disconnect, and reset. Sometimes though, just like everyone else, the “stuff” wins and my iphone is recharged more often than me!

“Everything feels impossible until it’s done.” – Nelson Mandela

Achieving balance can feel like an elusive impossibility but little by little, with patience and time, it is possible. And we won’t let a little challenge get in our way will we?!

It is with this impetus that classes this month will take on the #balanceforbetter theme.

So how can we work with this theme in a yoga practice?

Last year, I explained how we could use the 2018 International Women’s Day theme of #pressforprogress to apply to yoga and this year is no different!

1. By very definition, Hatha yoga is all about balance.
In Sanskrit, the word ‘Hatha’ can be broken into two syllables ‘Ha-’ which means sun and ‘-tha’ which means moon. The sun and moon are representative of yin/yang, light/dark, energising/calming, spring/autumn, summer/winter etc., and as such, when we practice Hatha yoga (from which all physical yoga is derived), we are working to integrate these opposites so our practice can be perfectly poised between effort and ease. There are so many ways this can be expressed in a yoga class – sun/moon salutations, yin/yang yoga, body/mind connection, lifting/grounding, forward bends/back bends, warming/cooling practices and so on.

2. Balancing – literally.
Standing on one leg can have more benefits than you might initially think. Balancing helps us to focus, clear the mind clutter and improve concentration. Try staying balanced and then think about what you are having for dinner or the spot on your nose! Balancing can also help us reduce stress and inner tension as we work to find our centre of gravity and, with it, our equilibrium. Balances strengthen our muscles and build our coordination, which can prevent the falls that often lead to injuries as we get older.

3. Pranayama.
A lot of the time, and particularly in times of stress or anxiety, we shallow breathe predominantly in the chest. Learning to breathe more deeply using the full capacity of the lungs helps us to calm the mind and feel less overwhelmed. By evening up our breathing so the inhalation and exhalation are the same length (sama vritti) we can literally balance the breath. We can also use pranayama to reach a more peaceful and harmonious state of mind by lengthening the exhalation (2:1 breathing) and practising ujjayi (victorious breath) which uses a constriction at the back of the throat to create an ocean sounding breath, helping us to keep our awareness on the breath. Most of the time, our breath flows more smoothly through one nostril or energy channel (nadi) than the other. Nadi Shodhana (alternate nostril breathing) is a great pranayam for balancing the hemispheres of the brain and helping to purify or clean the subtle energy channels and promote clarity of mind.

So, if you’re feeling a little off balance this month, Hatha Flow classes will definitely help you #balanceforbetter!

Come and join me on the mat!

Namaste, Tamsin x

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Glossary of Yoga Terms https://bendyyoga.co.uk/2019/01/14/glossary-of-yoga-terms/ Mon, 14 Jan 2019 12:37:31 +0000 https://bendyyoga.co.uk/?p=735 Yoga Yoga is a Sanskrit word which means union. Its literal translation is “to yoke.” The aim of yoga is to remove the fluctuations of the mind. This means that our practice aims to move us towards stilling the mind until it rests in a state of tranquillity, equanimity and peace. Asana Asana are the […]

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Yoga

Yoga is a Sanskrit word which means union. Its literal translation is “to yoke.”

The aim of yoga is to remove the fluctuations of the mind. This means that our practice aims to move us towards stilling the mind until it rests in a state of tranquillity, equanimity and peace.

Asana

Asana are the postures that make up the physical side of a yoga practice.

Drishti or yogic gaze

When we control and direct our gaze, we are using the yogic technique called drishti. A fixed gaze can help enormously in balancing poses like Tree pose (Vrksasana) as by gazing at an unmoving point you can become stable and balanced. Also, when you restrict your visual focus to one point it’s easier to keep your attention on the moment. This technique is great for developing concentration.

Prana

Prana is a Sanskrit word that translates as “vital life force.” Prana rides on the breath, so when we breathe in, we take in prana. When we expand the breath and improve the quality of it, we are expanding and improving the quality of this vital life force within and around us. This is what yoga breathing techniques, or pranayama, are designed to do (see below).

Pranayama

Simply translated means ‘breath control.’

Harnessing the power of the breath enables us to move mindfully during a yoga practice as well as calm the mind, develop greater mental resilience and sleep well.

Full yogic or 3-part breath

This breath expands the belly then ribcage then chest fully. It is great in times of stress or when your breath feels constricted. It’s also a good way to prepare the body for a physical yoga practice.

Ujjayi or victorious breath

This breath sounds like the ebb and flow of an ocean or a bit like Darth Vader. It is a warming breath practiced by gently constricting the back of the throat. Imagine sipping the breath in and out through a straw. This breath helps with relaxation and focus.

Sama Vritti or same breath

This breathing technique focuses on making the inhalation the same length as the exhalation. A mental count as you inhale and exhale is helpful to make sure you can keep the evenness going. This breath promotes balance and equilibrium.

Nadi Shodhana or alternate nostril breathing

The breath is practised using a mudra (see below). You take your right hand into a ‘hang loose’ gesture with the index finger and middle fingers bent towards the palm and the thumb, ring finger and little finger extended (I prefer to use just my thumb and my little finger but this is not traditional!)

The thumb closes the right nostril and the ring/little finger(s) close the left nostril. To complete one round of nadi shodhana, close the right nostril and inhale through the left. Close the left nostril and exhale through the right. Inhale through the right nostril. Close the right nostril and exhale through the left nostril. Continue this pattern for several more rounds of breath.

This breath helps concentration, balances the hemispheres of the brain and creates mental clarity.

Sitali/Sitkari breath

A cooling breath practiced by curling the tongue (or gently parting the lips if you don’t have the tongue curling gene!) so as you inhale you feel cool air entering the body. Can reduce agitation, anger and anxiety, as well as reduce excess heat in the body.

Mudra

Mudra means “seal.” Yoga mudras are symbolic gestures often practised with the hands and fingers. Some examples:

Anjali mudra (hands in prayer)

Anjali means “offering.” This mudra is also known as a salutation seal as in India it is often used as a greeting. It is practised by drawing the palms together at the heart. Anjali mudra connects the right and left hemispheres of the brain and is used as a posture of composure, of returning to one’s centre.

Gyan or Chin mudra

This mudra is often used while meditating. The tips of the thumb and index fingers are brought together to form a circle and the backs of the hands rest on the knees with the palms facing upwards in a gesture of receptiveness. This mudra enhances focus and memory.

Kali mudra (think Charlie’s Angels)

Kali = goddess of fearlessness and empowerment. This mudra cultivates courage and builds inner strength.

OM

OM is a single syllable mantra and is considered to be the mantra from which all others derive. The sound OM vibrates at same frequency as everything in nature.

OM consists of the letters: A, U, M.

The first syllable is A, pronounced as a prolonged “awe” (back of throat)

The second syllable is U, pronounced as a prolonged “oo” (roof of mouth)

The third syllable is M, pronounced as a prolonged “mmmm” (lips closed, front teeth touch).

As with so much in yoga, the intention of chanting OM is to bring more awareness inside…to open up to possibilities, let go of mental obstacles and bring more balance.

Savasana

Savasana translates to ‘corpse pose’ in English. To practice the pose, lie down on your back, taking the legs a comfortable distance apart and relax the arms alongside the body with the palms facing up.

I often refer to this pose as ‘the lovely lying down bit at the end’ as there is a certain luxury in taking the time to completely rest and relax. However, the aim of Savasana is to relax fully whilst staying conscious and aware. This is not easy, which is why this pose is often referred to as the most difficult of all asanas.

Namaste

Namaste means “The light in me bows to the light in you.” It is a gesture using Anjali mudra (see above) where you bow the head and draw the hands to the heart to respectfully acknowledge and honour each other. Usually, it is practised at the end of a yoga class because the mind is less active and the energy in the room is more peaceful.

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World Mindfulness Day https://bendyyoga.co.uk/2018/09/11/world-mindfulness-day/ Tue, 11 Sep 2018 22:12:21 +0000 https://bendyyoga.co.uk/?p=692 Are you a Human BEing or a Human DOing? Today is World Mindfulness Day. It is a day to focus on really being present with each moment, however mundane, uplifting or uncomfortable. Mindfulness is about being fully aware of what is around us – what we can see, hear, touch and taste – and observing […]

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Are you a Human BEing or a Human DOing?

Today is World Mindfulness Day.

It is a day to focus on really being present with each moment, however mundane, uplifting or uncomfortable. Mindfulness is about being fully aware of what is around us – what we can see, hear, touch and taste – and observing our thoughts and feelings without judgement or wishing for things to be different/better/other.

The rise in popularity of mindfulness is interesting. It has come a long way from its humble Buddhist beginnings.

In a world where we have become busier, increasingly work longer hours, where we have so much choice (do we really need 10 brands of toilet roll??), where we multi-task constantly (I have been guilty of watching the TV whilst ironing, drinking tea AND checking my phone), practices like mindfulness and yoga provide the collective sigh out to get over all the stuff that crowds our brains and stops us from thinking straight. (Because, let’s face it; it’s not actually possible to watch TV and iron and drink tea and look at a phone at the same time.)

Mindfulness, like yoga, is the antithesis to this busy, fast-paced thing called life, which is no doubt why they are now both mainstream practices. In his book ‘Notes on a Nervous Planet,’ Matt Haig puts this perfectly:

“People are craving not just physical space but the space to be mentally free. A space from unwanted distracted thoughts that clutter our heads like pop-up advertising of the mind in an already frantic world. And that space is still there to be found. It’s just that we can’t rely on it. We have to consciously seek it out. We might have to set time to read or do some yoga or have a long bath or cook a favourite meal or go for a walk. We might have to switch our phone off. We might have to close the laptop. We might have to unplug ourselves, to find a stripped-back acoustic version of ourselves.”

Given the marked increase in anxiety disorders and feelings of overwhelm more and more people experience, I am all for a specific day that raises awareness of the benefits of mindfulness (there is a separate day for yoga already of course!)

And this day is all about prioritising mindfulness rather than the plethora of other things that might be overloading our brains.

Of course, the aim is not for us to practice a bit today so we’ve done our dash for the year. We all know that any practice of anything is just that – a practice. However, this dedicated Mindfulness day perhaps nudges people who have never practiced it before to have a go. As Headspace, a well-known meditation app says, “Brilliant things happen in calm minds.”

I, for one, never get anything done when I’ve gone into “headless chicken” mode. On the other hand, when I have breathed deeply, allowed my feelings to just be and tried to get out of my own way (and maybe practised some yoga as well), I definitely feel better able to think more clearly, be more empathetic and more accepting.

According to actionforhappiness.org, mindfulness has been shown to help us to be healthier, less affected by stress, more relaxed, more creative, more open to learning, sleep better, improve our relationships with others and feel happier and more satisfied with our lives.

That’s a lot of benefits.

I’m not saying you’re suddenly going to stop swearing into the fridge when your little darlings have been particularly trying… but practising being mindful might just help keep the Mother of Dragons at bay a bit more often.

So how can you start living more mindfully (aside from savouring every silently mouthed swear word aimed at the fridge)?

 A few years ago The Guardian published a series of podcasts in collaboration with Headspace as part of its ‘Start Happy’ campaign.

The first of these introduces the concept of mindfulness, explains the benefits and guides you through two simple exercises. Once you have listened to this podcast, there are a further four podcasts in the series covering mindful walking, eating, commuting and sleeping. Check them all out here.

If podcasts aren’t really your thing, this special Yoga and Mindfulness publication from OM Magazine includes articles explaining everyday mindfulness, how to integrate a yoga and mindfulness practice and tips on how to use mindfulness to become happier.

Finally, I recommend using the Headspace app. It is free, very easy to use and provides meditation and mindfulness exercises for both long and short periods of time.

Enjoy the day. May it be the start of more being and less doing.

Namaste, Tamsin xx

 

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Feel the fear….and do it anyway https://bendyyoga.co.uk/2018/03/15/feel-the-fear-and-do-it-anyway/ Thu, 15 Mar 2018 16:51:00 +0000 http://bendyyoga.co.uk/?p=526 A little while ago, I left my little Von Trapp family singing The Greatest Showman on repeat (it was hard to leave, honestly) and drove up to Richmond to teach yoga at my first Fitness & Yoga retreat. The retreat was hosted and organised by my cousin who is a seasoned personal trainer, nutritionist and […]

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A little while ago, I left my little Von Trapp family singing The Greatest Showman on repeat (it was hard to leave, honestly) and drove up to Richmond to teach yoga at my first Fitness & Yoga retreat.

The retreat was hosted and organised by my cousin who is a seasoned personal trainer, nutritionist and self-confessed fitness addict. You can find out more about her personal training here. She had brought with her a group of her similarly seasoned clients, who go to her for regular press-up hell, among other much more amazing things.

When my cousin asked me to teach at this retreat, my instinct was to run a mile (which probably wouldn’t have been far enough for her!) I had only recently qualified to teach and I was only teaching a small – but perfectly formed – group once a week.

Now I was being asked to teach multiple classes to a large group of people I didn’t know who had a range of quite major injuries – one was recovering from knee surgery, one had severe lower back problems and one had wrist issues. What could possibly go wrong?!

The little voice at the back of my mind had absolutely no trouble reminding me what could go wrong, of course. It kept telling me I wasn’t ready, that I didn’t have enough experience with injuries and that I’d never remember more than one class plan.

But my cousin was insistent (she’s very good at that) so, after a bit of nail biting deliberation, I was eventually swayed by the promise of not having to partake in any press-up hell.

Over the course of the weekend, I taught four group classes and one 1-to-1. The classes were themed to suit the time of the day and the other activities happening on the retreat. For example, the Friday evening class was ‘Relax and Unwind’ and the Saturday morning class was ‘Get up and Flow.’ This was to tap into our natural circadian rhythms and channel energy in the right way.

I also ran a class focused on twisting to stimulate the digestive system and help with detoxification, which went hand in hand with the zero alcohol and healthy eating ethos of the retreat.

The final class was themed around Goddesses and Warriors. After a weekend of quite intense training including conditioning, workshops, self-myofascial release instruction, individual personal training sessions and an ‘Amazing Race’ style challenge – as well as yoga – the participants were the epitome of warriors and goddesses as far as I was concerned!

The 1-to-1 session was with a participant who really wanted to advance her headstand. We did some preparation exercises and poses and then progressed to the king of poses, Sirsasana (headstand). Her aim was to find her balance away from the wall and she did that several times! Mission accomplished!

yoga retreat richmond

At the end of the day, teaching is all about the participants’ experience – how they feel and how they benefit – that is what matters. No-one minded (or even noticed) that I’d replaced Gomukhasana with Janu Sirsasana, missed a pose out, or not cued their specific injury modification in every single pose. In fact, they all gave great feedback and a full sweep of 5* ratings on the feedback forms, which was fantastic.

Obviously, what that little voice in my head hadn’t told me before I taught at this retreat was that there was a lot that could go right…I could get great experience, learn as I went along and grow as a teacher. After all, even the original Greatest Showman, P.T. Barnum, believed comfort to be “the enemy of progress” and like everyone else, I cannot grow when I’m comfortable.

As I have started teaching more and more and have shifted my focus from self-practice to leading practices for others, I’ve often found myself feeling simultaneously petrified and excited. I am starting to learn to embrace this feeling as I now know it’s a sign I could be on the edge of something quite special.

So having courage doesn’t mean you don’t get afraid. Having courage means you don’t let your fear stop you.

And on that note, I’ll get back to being serenaded by my kids.

Namaste,
Tamsin x

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Hello world! https://bendyyoga.co.uk/2018/01/12/hello-world/ https://bendyyoga.co.uk/2018/01/12/hello-world/#comments Fri, 12 Jan 2018 09:42:28 +0000 http://bendyyoga.co.uk//?p=1 It is so amazing to be here right now. I am so happy to launch my little yoga business and see the seed of the idea I planted a while ago sprout into life. Being able to share yoga, which happens to be something I love, is such a privilege! The journey from practising yoga […]

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It is so amazing to be here right now.

I am so happy to launch my little yoga business and see the seed of the idea I planted a while ago sprout into life. Being able to share yoga, which happens to be something I love, is such a privilege!

The journey from practising yoga to teaching it has been, well, wow. From the inspirational, down-to-earth, lovely people I have met along the way, to the teacher training experience itself (thank you Sally Parkes Yoga!), I have loved every minute.

Now don’t get me wrong, it hasn’t all been sunshine and buttercups…this journey has at times really challenged and overwhelmed me (I was the first of our teacher training group to have a day-long emotional purge, for example.) It has also  pushed me way out of my comfort zone. But as a very sage person once said, the edge of your comfort zone is where the magic happens.

Getting through those challenging moments has made the feeling of qualifying and actually teaching in the Big Wide World so much sweeter! I’d even go so far as to say, embarking on this journey has been one of the most special, empowering and life affirming things I have done (aside from birthing my babies, which will always take the biscuit!)

Basically, since making the decision to teach yoga, it has always felt ‘right’…. in the way that coming home to a perfectly cold glass of wine, Netflix and sofa cuddles with the kids also feels perfectly ‘right.’ In yoga, we call this finding our ‘dharma’ or our true purpose in life. How good is that?!

The business side of things is a bit more of a work in progress (I confess, I have never been good at maths or technology) but my amazing husband has worked very hard to channel my inner geek. I am so grateful for his support – I could not have performed a career change about-turn without it!

So, enough about me. bendy yoga is really about YOU.

If I could shout from the rooftops “people of the world, yogify your life!” I would but I think I’d scare more people off than encourage them to experience yoga and its many benefits.

Instead, I’ll simply say that through bendy yoga, I wish to reconnect people to themselves. We spend too much time on the Extremely-Busy-Doing-Life Treadmill that we can often find ourselves with bodies that are bent out of shape and minds that are twisted up in knots.

bendy yoga allows you to unwind from the twists and turns of daily life so you can find your balance wherever you are on your journey.

Namaste, Tamsin x

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Girl Power Month https://bendyyoga.co.uk/2018/01/05/girlpower/ Fri, 05 Jan 2018 13:12:15 +0000 http://somnus.tommusdemos.wpengine.com/?p=274 Inspired by the amazing women in my life, and in honour of International Women’s Day and Mother’s Day both taking place this month, bendy yoga will be dedicating all March classes to celebrating women, female solidarity and girl power (the Spice Girls’ music might just feature on my playlist for the full ‘girl power’ effect […]

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Inspired by the amazing women in my life, and in honour of International Women’s Day and Mother’s Day both taking place this month, bendy yoga will be dedicating all March classes to celebrating women, female solidarity and girl power (the Spice Girls’ music might just feature on my playlist for the full ‘girl power’ effect :-))

International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the achievements of women across all spheres and from all walks of life. This year carries the theme #pressforprogress, which is a strong rally cry urging us to get a move on with advancing gender equality.

Let’s face it, the #metoo and #timesup hashtag movements, along with the recent spotlight on the gender pay gap, have just shown us we are still pretty much living in the Dark Ages. And that’s before we even begin to contemplate the millions of women and girls living today who are subjected to genital mutilation or forced into marriage and virtual slavery.

I often feel deflated by how far women still have to go to achieve “equal” status ….and yet….I definitely feel that right now there is positive momentum pushing us in the right direction. Seeking to change the status quo for women, and speaking out against it, takes more than just riding on the coat-tails of momentum though. It takes strength and courage.

From a yoga point of view, I believe we can #pressforprogress in several ways.

1. By channelling our inner warriors and goddesses.

This is as much about developing a strong self-belief as it is about developing a strong physical practice. By focusing on bravery and endurance in our physical practice, we can grow our inner fortitude and resolve. To do this, I will encourage my students to try something different in their practice, maybe have a go at the pose they think looks too hard, maybe stay in a pose for one breath longer than they’re used to and, above all, try to tap into their inner voices because “whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.”

Sometimes that pesky inner voice is just a grumpy old Simon Cowell in disguise, telling you “no, no, that’s impossible” and wanting to sabotage your progress. Well, Simon Cowell turned down the Spice Girls and said they would never work so what did he know?! It takes a lot of determination and courage to override your inner voice (I’m sure the Spice Girls never forgot what Simon Cowell said!) and that is why setting a clear sankalpa or intention for your practice can be so powerful. I doubt there was ever a warrior that went into battle without a clear intention!

2. By taking the #pressforprogress theme literally.

In yoga, there are millions of alignment cues that focus on pressing. We press into the four corners of our feet in standing postures, we press into our hands, particularly index fingers and thumbs, in downward facing dog and we press up into handstand (if we are lucky.) By focusing on correct alignment and the sensation of pressing correctly in every posture, we can deepen our awareness of our practice and continually evolve it.

3. By harnessing the power of peace.

International Women’s Day also coincides with the United Nations day for Women’s Rights and International Peace. The UN states on its website that when women lead and participate in peace processes, peace lasts longer. It is perhaps no surprise then that women’s power is often associated with peace.

Peace is a quality describing a society or a relationship that is operating harmoniously. Arguably, to be peaceful, is one of the best qualities humans can possess. However, in our society, we are always being hurried along, moving from one busy task to the next. Practising yoga can be an antidote to this busyness. It can help your nervous system live in a state of equanimity (rather than in constant fight or flight mode) and give you time to pause, feel, and tune in. Through yoga – which helps us to be completely present in the now – we can bring peace and comfort to ourselves, even in the most turbulent of times. And as The Dalai Lama put it, “we can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves.

“Individually, we’re one drop but together we’re an ocean.”

I hope you’ll be inspired to take action and get involved in #pressforprogress – whether that be through your yoga practice or in another way through your local community. You can also take action by selecting one area below that you commit to focusing on. This goes directly to the International Women’s Day campaign.

Namaste, Tamsin x


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Less buzzing, more being https://bendyyoga.co.uk/2018/01/04/take-your-time/ Thu, 04 Jan 2018 09:29:50 +0000 http://tommustester.wpengine.com/?p=263 Life is hectic. We all live in the fast lane being Busy (with a capital ‘B’ because that’s how important Busy thinks it is.) I, too, can find myself running around like a blue-arsed fly* managing a seemingly endless to-do list, catering to the whims of my children and juggling balls (figurative ones, obviously.) Like […]

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Life is hectic. We all live in the fast lane being Busy (with a capital ‘B’ because that’s how important Busy thinks it is.) I, too, can find myself running around like a blue-arsed fly* managing a seemingly endless to-do list, catering to the whims of my children and juggling balls (figurative ones, obviously.)

Like everyone, I am a work in progress.

These days Busy wants to be worn like a badge of honour. I have allowed Busy to hustle its way to the top of my priorities and worn the Busy badge way too many times but, ever-so-slowly, I have come to understand that, although being busy is inevitable, I do not need to be ruled by it. For me, this is where yoga comes in.

Yoga is so much more than a series of funny poses that contort your body into various instagram-able photos. Yoga works on a more emotional and spiritual level to create space, clarity and greater connection to yourself and the world around you.

Given most people are not able to retreat from their lives to escape their Busy, arguably, we need to learn how to retreat in a much smaller way.

Just taking time out for just 5 minutes a day can work wonders for your headspace. And, naturally, given yoga was designed to prepare the body for stillness and meditation, practising yoga can also help to banish Busy, even if only for an hour a week.

I love that yoga helps me deal with the demands Busy places on my life. Even better that it comes with the added bonus of also improving my physical strength and flexibility. If you’re finding yourself being led astray by Busy more often than you’d like, perhaps you could roll out a mat and have a go too.

Just bending, breathing and being is a lot more fulfilling than Busy would ever lead you to believe.

Namaste, Tamsin x

*Basically means ‘buzzing around like a fly going crazy over sheep poo.’ We have the Aussies to thank for this insightful expression apparently.

 

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