60 Sun Salutes Charity Challenge

. . . ANNOUNCING . . . 

60 SUN SALUTES CHARITY CHALLENGE

Need some renewed focus and motivation this September?

I’ve got just the thing, introducing the ‘60 Sun Salutes Charity Challenge’, in partnership with Solent Mind & supported by the whole Laura Green Yoga Family of Teachers. This is a great opportunity to get fit, get focused and fundraise to support positive mental health.

Our Goal is to raise £3,000 for Solent Mind, a tall order but as they say ‘don’t aim low you’ll miss the mark, aim high and you’ll be on the threshold of bliss’ BKS Iyengar. To hit our mark we need 100 people to participate in this challenge so please join today and encourage your yoga buddies to join with you! Read on for details:

Yoga Sun Salute Southampton Surya Namaskar

What:

Your challenge is to join with 100 other yogis on Saturday 14th October and be guided through 60 Surya Namaskaras aka Sun Salutes. The Sun Salutes will be broken down into rounds of 10, each round being guided by one of the Laura Green Yoga family of teachers. But it’s not just about 1 day:

6 Week Training Programme:

The 60 Sun Salute Charity Challenge also includes a 6 Week Training Programme which you can join anytime from the 4th September – 13th October to build your physical and mental strength and train to complete 60 Sun Salute Challenge.

When:

60 Sun Salute Charity Challenge Event: Saturday 14th October 2017

Time: 13:30 -15:30

Venue: Richard Taunton’s College, Southampton

Why:

The Laura Green Yoga community is committed to a strong yoga practice which supports mental health. We invite you to partake in this challenge to help you get fit, focused and fundraise for a good cause. Experience for yourself how a yoga practice can help to ease stress and anxiety and improve mental health and well being.

About Solent Mind:

Solent Mind supports over 12,000 people each year in Hampshire. They provide information, guidance, advice, and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem in Hampshire. They campaign to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding. They refuse to give up until everyone experiencing a mental health problem gets support and respect.

What’s Involved in the 6 Week Training Programme:

To train your body, mind and soul for this challenge:

  • Collect a 60 Sun Salutes Training Tracker card available at class from 4th Sept to keep a track of the classes you attend and receive rewards and incentives to help motivate you.
  • Attend as many yoga classes as possible each week with the Laura Green Yoga Family of Teachers to increase your strength, stamina & learn more about the ancient sequence Surya Namaskara.
  • Commit (try really hard!) to complete 6 Sun Salutes daily, a new video will be available weekly on Facebook and YouTube to guide you through.
  • Watch the weekly 60 seconds interview with Laura Green Yoga Family of Teachers to get the know your challenge hosts better.
  • Book out the challenge event date in your diary Saturday 14th October 13:30. If you can’t make this date of venue, the challenge will also be filmed so you can do it at home!

Challenge Hosts:

This programme is hosted by Laura Green Yoga and the full family of Laura Green Yoga Teachers:

Laura Green Yoga Teachers Southampton

Join the challenge today for a £30 donation, all money raised  goes directly to Solent Mind.

Email laura@lauragreenyoga.co.uk to sign up for this challenge and you’ll be emailed a Just Giving link to donate.

Get Fit, Focus your Mind, Fundraise for Charity

 


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Saluting the Sun ~ Surya Namaskar

Yoga Sun Salute Southampton Surya Namaskar

That most familiar of asana sequences, Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) is as rich in symbolic and mythic overtones as it is in physical benefits. In many cultures, light has long been a symbol of consciousness and self-illumination. Our primary source of light is, of course, the sun. Moreover, since everything that exists originates from the sun, as Alain Danizlou wrote in The Myths and Gods of India, it “must contain the potentiality of all that is to be known.”

One of the means of honouring the sun is through the dynamic asana sequence Surya Namaskar (better known as Sun Salutation). The Sanskrit word namaskar stems from namas, which means “to bow to” or “to adore.” Each Sun Salutation begins and ends with the joined-hands mudra (gesture) touched to the heart. This placement is no accident; only the heart can know the truth.

History Surya Namaskar

There’s some disagreement among authorities over the origins of the Sun Salutations. Traditionalists contend that the sequence is at least 2,500 years old, that it originated during Vedic times as a ritual prostration to the dawn. Skeptics of this dating maintain that Sun Salutation was invented by the Raja of Aundh in the early 20th century. However old the Sun Salutation is, and whatever it may originally have looked like, many variations have evolved over the years including the most well known variations of Surya Namaskar A and Surya Namaskar B as popularised by Pattabhi Jois in his system of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga.

A Daily Practice

Success with Sun Salutation, as with all aspects of yoga practice, depends on commitment and regularity. An everyday practice would be best, but you might at first aim for four times a week. Sun Salutations can be used as a warm up before the main bulk of your asanas but if time is short practicing Sun Salutations followed by savasana can be a complete yoga practice. You can practice anywhere for 3 – 108 rounds.

You can pace the sequence briskly to generate heat and cleanse the body-mind, or more moderately to create a moving meditation. Since the sequence is, in essence, a humble adoration of the light and insight of the self, it’s essential to practice Sun Salutation in a spirit of devotion and with your awareness turned always inward toward the heart. Make each movement as mindful and precise as possible, especially as you near the end of your rounds, when fatigue can lead to sloppiness.

Benefits of Surya Namaskar

The practice of Surya Namaskar has a myriad of benefits both in the long term and the immediate. In truth, the best way to understand these benefits is to discover them for yourself through a regular practice and reflection. Yet to summarise the commonly accepted benefits include:

  • Stretch and strengthen the entire body improving posture and easing muscular problems.
  • Boost the immune system through improving blood and lymphatic fluid circulation and respiration.
  • The controlled rhythmic breathing throughout strengthens the lungs and pulmonary function improving general levels of fitness.
  • Improving cardiovascular fitness for long term heart health.
  • The weight baring postures improve bone health and density helping to prevent disorders such as Osteoporosis.
  • Boosts the endocrine system, central nervous system and autonomic nervous system.
  • Improved strength and flexibility of the spine. There is a saying in Yoga: “you’re as young as your spine is healthy”.
  • Reduces feelings of fatigue and lethargy developing a more optimistic and positive mindset.
  • The subtle energy channels (nadis) are unblocked, allowing energy to flow freely throughout the body, re-establishing the balance of energies.
  • Builds internal heat (agni) which boosts the metabolism and digestive fire.
  • Becomes a movement meditation with both focuses and calms the mind.
  • Eases anxiety and reduces stress levels.

To help you get started with an easy daily practice or warm up sequence, follow my video on Sun Salutes.

 


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How often should I practice yoga?

yoga southamptonThe question of “How Often Should I Practice Yoga” comes up a lot and as usual there will be different answers depending on your goals and lifestyle. Explore this handy guide to help you decide what is right for you and how often you could be practicing yoga.

~ By Gemma Witcombe

Once a week

It’s really great to develop a weekly yoga practice and if you roll out your mat once every 7 days you will definitely start to feel the benefits over time. You will notice that it gives you a break from the busyness of your week, allows you to switch off and relax the mind whilst opening and strengthening the body. Once a week also works well if you take other forms of exercise in the week and you may find it a brilliant form cross training for other sports like running.

Weekly is really the minimum you should practice, if you are inconsistent and don’t make it regularly to class, you will find you are starting from scratch every time you come. You won’t notice much progress in your strength and flexibility and you may find it more difficult to focus your mind and concentrate on your breath. This can lead to frustration with yourself and a feeling that you are just not getting anywhere.

We all get better at what we do, so regularity and repetition are really important if you want to experience yoga’s many benefits.

Twice a week

Now we’re talking! Try upping your practice to twice a week, the difference will be amazing!! You will notice that your body feels stronger and that your normal aches and pains feel better. You may also start to notice that your mind is calmer and more focused when you are not at yoga. It becomes easier to take the lessons of yoga into your day to day.

You could attend another class with the same teacher or try a different teacher for variety. Or you could use an online class. There are loads of subscription services out there like Yoga Glo, Gaia and Yoga International and youtube also has quite a few free classes.

Just try it for a few weeks and see how you feel!

3-4 times a week

You may be wondering if it’s safe to practice this often and I would say yes, if you listen to your body! If you have been practicing for a while you will know that every time you step onto the mat is different, you have different energy levels and your body needs different things. Be wary of pushing yourself so hard that you feel tired or depleted, you might want to mix up styles of yoga so that some days you take a gentler hatha or yin class, or do a 30-minute practice instead of an hour. Be aware of any pain from repetitive stress on the body, like wrists from down ward dogs. There are always modifications you can do so ask your yoga teacher what they advise.

At this stage, you may feel experienced enough to develop your own home practice, some pranayama (breathing exercises), sun salutes, standing postures like balances and Warrior postures, seated postures, and relaxation. Mix it up a bit depending on what you feel your body needs. Pay attention to proper alignment and always practice with a sense of kindness and patience towards yourself.

Daily

Yoga can be a daily ritual and an important part of your day. There is no set time limit or way to practice and it will depend on how much time you have available. You may find a daily meditation practice and a few sun salutes in the morning, really sets you up for the day or an evening pranayama and gentle restorative postures a great way to transition from your day to bedtime.

We are all different and our yoga practice will serve a different purpose for each of us but the more you make yoga a part of your life, the more you will feel the benefits in your life. Wouldn’t it be great to feel as god as you feel at the end of savasana every day?!

 

Fancy trying a class with Gemma?

Mon 19:30 | Turnpike Pav. Hedge End | SO30 4RR 

Thurs 09:30 | Turnpike Pav. Hedge End | SO30 4RR

Gemma’s bio on the Team Page

Check out Gemma’s Website

For Full Class Timetable Click Here

See you on the mat!


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Are you Online?

Yoga Teachers Are You Online

When we come to our mat so often we hear the words “switching off” and that’s the magic of yoga, it gives us the time, space and permission to do just that. To move from being busy to mindful. From fast paced to slow and measured. However, as a yoga teacher, we need students to connect with us and come to our classes and other offerings, so being “Present” online is a matter of course.

According to a recent article in Forbes magazine, “Multiple studies confirm that consumers report using the Internet first (80% of the time) when they need a new product or service.”

 

Google is the 21st century yellow pages. Any time I want to find out something, or find a product or service, my go to solution is pulling up Google Search. Before I even think about making a call to enquire about the product or service, I first find out as much about you as I can, either through your website, if you have clickable links to Facebook or Instagram.  So if you haven’t set yourself online yet, see my quick step guide below to getting started and building your online presence.

Creating your own website

There are many free sites available to you to set up your own website. Check out Squarespace  or Wix

Having a simple website with your details, sign up to newsletter options, contact and about details is all you need to get started. As you have more time and money to invest you can start to fluff out your website.

Google Business Listing

Google for business has two main objectives:

  • help business owners increase their online visibility.
  • help people find and review businesses in their local area.

It’s quite possibly the most comprehensive and accessible business directory ever created.
Anyone using a Google search function which Google determines to have local area intent, such as ‘yoga teachers Southampton’ or ‘chiropractor Winchester’, links to 3 Google My Business listings will be displayed below a map of the local area.  When clicking on a business’s Google My Business listing, people can see the following:

  • The business’s name, address and phone number.
  • The business’s location on a map.
  • The business’s opening hours.
  • A link to the business’s website.
  • Photos related to the business.
  • Reviews of the business left by previous customers.
  • A rating out of 5 for the business (based on scores given by previous customers).

If you haven’t yet added your business to the Google Business listing, I suggest you visit the Create Page and look for the option to create a Google+ Page and get started! Follow the wizard (it’s much like Facebook’s Pagewizard), and choose the most appropriate option to classify your business. You’ll be able to select from the following options: Local Business or Place.

Facebook Business Account

This one is an easy win, who Doesn’t have Facebook these days. Make sure to set up an account that is separate from your personal Facebook account, and that isn’t a group. There is limited functionality using a personal account or group.

From your Facebook profile page, click the Pages header in the left-side navigation. Or head over here Create a Page.  Next, click the Create a Page button, and select the type of page. You’ll see a number of fields to fill out, such as your business category, name, and address.

Engage your followers with information about your class schedules, what’s on, and fun pictures of workshops or offers you have running. Think about how to engage your audience, and how to interact with them. Facebooks algorithm works in such a way that the more Likes and shares you have the more visible your content will be in a subscribers news feed.

Instagram

Instagram has over 700 million monthly active users, less competition and a more engaged audience than other social media giants like Facebook or Twitter

Head over to  Instagram to get started! Having quality photos, and relevant #Hashtags will raise your profile. Go check out people who inspire you, who have a huge following and see what they are doing. Is it photos, video or what hashtags they are using. The more likes you have to your post, the more you will raise your profile and presence.  Be creative, Instagram is more about selling a lifestyle rather than a product.

Tip: Use your personal work email address. Assuming you save your clients email addresses, clients have your address saved in their phones or have their email connected to their address books. So, when one of your contacts uses Instagram’s “Find Friends” feature, you should show up on that list. Therefore, your direct work email address will get you the most hits

Twitter

Using Twitter is an easy quick way to market yourself. Limited to 140 characters per tweet you have to be word savvy, but it’s also a great way to establish yourself in your field with fun bursts of knowledge, tips or offerings. Click here to set up a free account and get tweeting!

YouTube

YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine in the world and 1 billion people visit YouTube each month. Marketing your business on YouTube will help you get found on google due to Google Search function. Videos, images, news, books and local searches are combined together in Google’s search results. If you enjoy being creative in front of a camera then perhaps YouTube is another platform to extend your creative content. Youtube is owned by Google, so any google search will also bring your video !

Tip: Don’t forget to also include call-to-actions inside your videos, with annotations that link to:

  • Other videos
  • Content on your website
  • Email auto-responder series
  • Products and services on offer

You can use a Brand Account to create a channel that has a different name but that’s still managed from your Google Account. Learn more about about Brand Accounts.

Snap Chat

Snap Chat has two very useful functions.

  • Story telling
  • Providing value added content, with helpful information, hints and tips.

Using the video function you can give your audience great insight to yourself and your business. Consumers buy from trusted businesses and using snapchat as a platform to engage your clients is an easy way to engage them. Remember, using social media is about selling a lifestyle.

I’ve linked two useful articles below, the first is, what is the point of snapchat anyway and how does it work?

And this one is a very handy guide to see if Snapchat is going to add value to your business.

Download the app on your phone and get started.

Pinterest

OK, so you might be thinking, NOT ANOTHER SOCIAL MEDIA website.

However, Pinterest is the fastest growing social media platform with over 75 billion ideas and 10 million unique visitors. Sharing, liking and commenting on users pins is an easy way to increase your visibility on the net. Linking your blog or website photos to Pinterest creates an easy cross platform access for various users. Use Canva, or any other collage maker to create fun and informative picture pins.

Visit website to get started.

Below is a list of Yoga websites for advertising your services. These pages get a lot of traffic, some of them are free to use, however it’s worth considering investing in a monthly subscription.

Yoga Near By

Find yoga classes, workshops and holidays all over the world.

It’s FREE to join

  • Add all your yoga classes
  • Add your yoga workshops and holidays
  • Upload your yoga images

Visite website to get started.

Yoga Hub

Yoga Hub is an online community for Yoga, its also an online directory of Yoga Teachers, Yoga Classes and Yoga Courses.

Visit website to get started.

Yoga Classes Near You

Find A Local Yoga Class Near You

Our yoga class search allows you to access a database of thousands of yoga classes all run by qualified yoga teachers in local venues, yoga studios, health clubs and spas around the UK.

Visit website to get started.

Yoga Trail

YogaTrail is where yoga providers can communicate with their students and keep them in the loop about classes, workshops, news, and events.

Yogis: simply follow your yoga providers to get all their classes in one simple place. No more scouring tons of websites and Facebook pages for schedule info!

Yoga Teacher? Studio owner? Join YogaTrail. It’s free.

Visit website to get started.

Yoga Village UK

The aim of the Yoga Village UK website is to use the wonderful potential of the internet to put yoga people in the UK in touch with each other – internet interactions hopefully leading to fruitful meetings and enlightening student-teacher relationships and friendships.

Visit website to get started.

Annual Fee £35

Independent Yoga Network

In 2004, a number of independently-minded teacher trainers in the UK decided to get together and offer a creative response to the fitness industry’s ill-informed attempt to define acceptable Yoga training.

Visit website to get started.

Yoga Finder

A business listing site for classes, workshops, retreats and teacher training.

Visit website to get started.

Subscription from $23

Yell.com

Be seen in local Google searches. 84% of Yell customers say Yell.com helps their business to be found on Google. Adding your business to Yell.com is the first step to appearing in your local Yellow Pages – the UK’s leading print directory found in over 76% of UK homes

Visit website to get started.


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Yoga for Lefties: Are Lefties Left Out In Yoga?

Yoga for leftiesAre you are left handed? What’s your experience of attending yoga classes as a leftie and why does everything yoga seem to favour the right? Let’s explore yoga for lefties.

“Roll over to your right hand side” the Yoga Teacher instructs at the end of Savasana.

“Place your right hand on top of your left in Dyana Mudra” this is a hand position used in meditation that can feel quite odd if you’re left handed and it is clearly instructed that you can’t just swap it to feel more comfortable.

95% of the time all of the sequences seem to start with the right side, step your right leg forward into Warrior II.

Then it gets super complicated when you add in some of the Pranayama (breathing exercises) such as Nadi Shodana (alternate nostril breathing) which have complicated hand positions.

So why is this? And how can you adapt your yoga practice to feel more natural as leftie? There are some good reasons why yoga practices emphasises the right, then there is myth, legend & laziness.

~ LUNAR/SOLAR: The left side represents the lunar / moon energy which is soothing and calming and the right side represents the solar / sun energy which is energising and activating. If you want to honour this in your yoga practice, begin your stimulating morning yoga practice with your right side and in a tranquil evening practice start with the left side. This is one of the reasons given for rolling to the right side after Savasana, to awaken the energy after the deep relaxation.

~ FEMININE / MASCULINE: The left side represents the feminine energy. It is the subtle, intuitive, feeling side and should be cared for, and not overused to prevent it from losing this subtly. The right side represents the masculine energy and is used more for function, action and everyday transactions.

~ HEMISPHERES OF THE BRAIN: Many of the Pranayama exercises (breathing exercises) have an effect on balancing the hemispheres of the brain. Surya Bhedana (solar breath), you inhale through the right nostril and exhale through the left using your right hand to block and release the nostrils. If, as a left hander, you just swapped this you’d have a very different experience and would actually being doing the sleeping, calming breath. You could swap your hands over and use your left hand to block off the nostrils but you’d then need to swap over all of the instructions as well. If you have a clear understanding of these pranayama practices you can do this but for a complete beginner it would be confusing.

~ A RIGHT HANDED WORLD: Being a leftie is a minority group, 90% of the world of right handed, so it’s highly likely that your yoga teacher is right handed and just hasn’t considered what your experience is like. So tell your teacher that your left handed and that’s is more comfortable for you to modify certain things. After all yoga is about connecting with and honouring your body, working with it not against it.


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10 Perfect Yoga Poses for Beginners

DownwardFB Facing Dog

Starting anything new can be really daunting and the same goes for yoga.  There are so many different postures, with weird names that it can be really hard to know where to start. To know what yoga poses are safe to try as a beginner that don’t require you to have the flexibility of an elastic band and to be able to put your leg behind your head. I mean it can be challenging to even touch your toes sometimes!  So let’s make it nice and simple, these are the top 10 yoga poses for Beginners based on my years of experience teaching beginners yoga classes and beginners yoga courses in Southampton (see below for details of upcoming 6 Week Beginners Yoga Course in Southampton and Eastleigh).

 

 

 

Child’s Pose – A Back Stretch & Resting Pose

Beginners Yoga Childs pose

From hands and knees, bring your feet together and separate your knees about hips distance apart. Sit your hips back to your heels and relax your chest down between your legs. Relax your head to the ground and breath deep. Focus on softening the muscles in your lower back, resting and relaxing.

Cobra Pose – Improves flexibility in the upper back and stretches the chest and the shoulders.

Beginners Yoga Poses Cobra

Start lying on your tummy, place your hands on the floor fingers in line with your chest. Focus on drawing your chest forwards and up whilst keeping your hips on the floor and your shoulders down. Don’t try and lift up too high, you don’t want to feel any discomfort in your lower back but instead and engagement of the muscles between your shoulders blades.

Downward Facing Dog – A back and hamstring stretch

Beginners Yoga Poses Downward Facing Dog

This is a great all round posture stretching the back, hamstrings and calves whilst strengthening the arms and the shoulders. From all fours lift up into this upside down ‘V’ shape. Your feet are hip distance wide apart and your hand shoulders distance. Straighten your arms and push the ground away with your arms as you stretch your hips up and back. It’s OK to have a soft bend in your knees and focus instead on straightening and lengthening through your back.

Low Lunge – A Hip Stretch

Beginners Yoga Poses Low Lunge Pose

From Downward Facing Dog, step your right leg between your hands and lower your left knee to the floor. Make sure your right knee stacks above your ankle and that your back leg it extended far behind, stretching the hip flexor of this back left leg. Inhale and lift your chest up with your arms extended above your head. Hold for 3-5 breaths before repeating on your other leg.

Warrior 2 – A Pose of Strength & Focus

Beginners Yoga Warrior 2

This powerful posture strengthens the thighs, tones the arms and stretches the hips whilst bringing focus and clarity to the mind. Standing at the top of your mat, take a large step backwards and turn the back foot out to a 90 degree angle. Line up the heel of your front foot with the arch of your back foot. Bend your front knee over your ankle. Raise your arms to shoulder height, palms face down. Turn to look over the front arm. Hold 3-5 breaths before repeating on the other leg.

Triangle Pose – A Whole Body Stretch

Beginners Yoga Poses Triangle

From Warrior 2 pose, straighten your front leg, careful not to over straighten though, keep the back of the knee soft. Reach forward, then lower your front arm to the shin of the front leg and reach your top arm skywards. Turn your chest to face the long edge of the mat. Hold for 3-5 breaths before repeating on the other side.

Tree Pose – A Balancing Posture

Beginners Yoga Poses Tree Pose

From standing, shift your weight onto your right leg. Lift your left leg, bend your knee and place the foot either on the inside thigh of your standing leg or the calf (don’t place the foot on the standing leg knee). Stand tall and extend your arms overhead. Focus your gaze on one point to help with the balance. Try to breathe steadily and not hold your breath. Swap sides.

Dancers Pose – A Balance and a Thigh Stretch

Beginners Yoga Poses Dancers Pose

Similar to tree this is another balance but with an added stretch thigh stretch, shoulder stretch and chest stretch! From standing shift your weight onto one leg. Bend the other leg and catch a hold of your foot behind you. Kick your foot back opening up your shoulders and your chest. Try to keep your chest facing forwards and your hips square. Focus your gaze to help with balance. Hold before swapping sides.

Pigeon Pose, a Glute and Hip Stretch

Beginners Yoga Poses Pigeon Pose

Please be careful with your knees in this posture. If you feel any pain in your knee come out. From all fours slide one knee forward point the knee off to the side of your mat, with your shin on a diagonal. Stretch the other leg back on the floor behind you. Fidget looking for the sensation of stretch in the buttock of the front leg, your glutes. Hold before swapping sides.

Bridge Pose, a stretch for upper back whilst toning the glutes

Beginners Yoga Poses Bridge PoseLying on your back, knees bent and feet planted hip distance wide apart. Lift your hips and your back up off the mat. Interlace your hands underneath you and straighten your arms, walk your shoulder blades in towards you. Keep your neck straight. Hold for 5 breaths.

 

I hope that you give these postures a try and home.  It is always best to learn yoga with an experienced teacher and its great if you get the opportunity to learn with other beginners as this is way less daunting! I’d love to welcome you to either of our upcoming Beginners Yoga Courses here in Southampton and Eastleigh.

What: 6 Week Beginners Yoga Course

Where: Richard Taunton’s College, Southampton

When: Monday 25 Sept – Monday 30 Oct

Time: 18:00 – 19:00

Price: £46

Course is hosted by Laura Green and taught by Caroline Eyles

 

What: 6 Week Beginners Yoga Course

Where: The Hub, Eastleigh

When: Monday 25 Sept – Monday 30 Oct

Time: 19:15 – 20:15

Price: £46

Course is hosted by Laura Green and taught by Veronique Dumont

 

To book email laura@lauragreenyoga.co.uk

 

 


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