Music For Teaching Yoga

The Art of  Using Music in a Yoga Class

Support for Yoga Teachers Looking to Add A Little Something Extra To Your Class

Yoga Teacher Southampton Music

Melodies, chants and song have been a part of the music in yoga for as long as yoga has existed. The ancient texts such as the Vedas & the Upanishads are full of melodious chants especially the Samaveda, which means the song of knowledge. This in addition to the vast culture of classical Indian music as seen music, song and chanting weaved throughout the practise of yoga.

The vibration of sound whether made by you, a musical instrument or recorded leaves a vibrational imprint on the surface of your body and every cell in the surface tissues receives the sound.

“Yogas chitta vritti nirodha”

 

If we take it back to The Yoga Sutras and the 8 Limbs of Yoga, the practise of yoga is a journey to stilling the thought waves of the mind so that the practitioner may achieve enlightenment. You need to ask yourself, does playing music in your yoga practise support this intention or not? Be careful to not mistake stillness and silence as the same.

For many, the skilful use of music can in fact help to calm and soothe the mind however for others, or as a result of the selection for music, it may in fact have the opposite effect of stimulating the mind as music can be thought provoking, bringing memories to the surface or evoking an emotional response.

It is also worthwhile remembering the 5th limb of yoga, Pratyahara – to withdraw the senses. Playing music is an external stimulus which draws on the sense of hearing. However, if by appropriately working with sound we can withdraw our senses to the immediate environment around us and to the present moment we are progressing on the path towards total Pratyahara.

For me personally music is a big part of my yoga, it brings me into the ritual of my practise, it connects me with my creative flow, my soul’s dance and focuses my mind of the sacred devotional journey of yoga. Music frees me from the mundane and elevates my experience.

Nada Yoga

An ancient India metaphysical system, it is the yoga of sound and healing. It holds true that universe and all that exists in it, is the manifestation of sound vibrations, called nāda. This concept states that it is sound energy in motion which form the building blocks of the universe. In this model, by working with the vibrations of sound we can rebalance our energy for greater harmony with the world around us. Nada sound healing can be used to support healing in the energy body and physical body.

Bhkati Yoga

This is a spiritual path of love and devotion, acknowledging the divine in everything. It is practising love and gratitude for lovesake, a sweet connection to the sacred magic of this universe and our precious human lives. Music, mantra and chanting are key tools in this yogic path. Chanting and kirtan (devotional song) bring mantras alive with melody and rhythm to elevate their vibrational quality. It is the meaning of the mantra, the resonances of the vibrations and the intention of devotion that make Bhakti Yoga such a powerful and transformative experience.

To Raise Vibration

In offering yoga, we bring positivity into our communities. Simply put we want people to feel better, more alive, more present, more connected. Yoga creates an upward spiral to joy, positivity and happiness. Music is a powerful tool to raise vibrations so we can oscillate at a higher more positive frequency. Through music we can tap into our feeling centres to explore and release negative emotions we’ve been suppressing and make more space to open our heart and welcome in joy.  Be warned, though sequencing yoga asanas which can stir strong emotional reactions, such as backbends, with highly emotive music can have a huge effect on your students. If you choose this path be skilful, respectful and make sure to do no harm.

Not a Crutch

Often times newer yoga teachers rely on music in class to cover awkward silences and support them in creating an atmosphere. It becomes a crutch, and then you forget your iPod one class and panic ensues. Music is there to enhance your classes and should be as skilfully curated as your yoga lesson plans and sequences so that it is deepening, guiding or motivating your class.

Creating a Playlist

Planning the perfect yoga playlist is art and a science. You can’t just throw random songs together and expect the class to flow well.  So how do you plan a yoga playlist to elevate your class?

  • Sign up to spotify premium to make your life a lot easier! The £9 / month is worth every penny and I swear Spotify knows me better than anyone else in my life!
    • Unlimited music – never buy a record again
    • No adverts
    • Stream music, create playlists, save your favourite songs, find inspiration, share with students
    • Download your playlists so that you can play on your phone in class without internet access
  • How to use Spotify as a Yoga Teacher
    • Create playlists to categorise the music you like, have a playlist for each category or pace of a class
      • Centre & Connecting, Warm Up, Sun Salutation, Standing Flows, Seated/Supinne, Savasana
      • Still, Slow, Medium, Maximum
    • Start listening to music and if you like a track click on + sign to add it to your list of songs and the © to tell Spotify you like it! Also add to any of your above playlists if you really like it! This information and interaction is really important as the more Spotify gets to know what you like the better the algorithms will work and then Spotify will start recommending music for you.
      • Discover Weekly – a personalised Spotify playlist generated for you every Monday with new music
      • Release Radar – a personalised Spotifty playlist generated for you every Friday with new releases from Artists you like
    • Listen to other people’s playlists, and Browse. Spotify has it’s own playlist which you can listen to for inspiration, I love:
    • Now you’re building up a library of music you like start to create playlist to share publicly in your yoga classes. Start by creating a few generic playlists that you can use any time that you trust with work for you such as:
      • “Slow & Steady – a 60 Min Yoga Playlist”
      • “Powerful & Pumped – a 60 Min Yoga Playlist”
      • “Chilled & Mellow – a 60 Min Yoga Playlist”
    • Progress to creating yoga class playlist specifically for individual classes matching the theme, asanas and tempo progression of that lesson plan

Other Considerations

  • Licensing, be aware of licensing laws!
  • Personal Taste, you can’t please everyone, if it works for you go with it!
  • Look for inspiration everywhere
  • Choose songs with lyrics work with your theme
  • Careful with songs with lyrics, can be really distracting
  • Does your voice blend into the tone of vocals if so talk between the vocals
  • Cover songs and acoustic variations of popular music work well

I hope you find this useful and come to love the addition of music to your classes as much as I do.

For further inspiration, check out my workshops pages and join me on a CPD Workshop.

Love,

Laura

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Iceland Summer Road Trip Itinerary

 

CLICK HERE FOR PDF ITINERARY.

In August 2018 my Husband, Simon and I did a 2-week summer road trip adventure around Iceland and it was EPIC!! Visiting Iceland certainly needs to be on your bucket list. I put hours and hours of research and planning into our Iceland Summer Roadtrip which really paid off. We got to see so much of this amazing country, experience lots of the Icelandic Culture and get really active with snorkelling, ice climbing, kayaking, horseriding and a lot of hiking! We drove over 3500km covering all the Iceland’s ring road but also getting into the much less visited western fjords. If you’re thinking a planning a trip check out my Iceland Summer Road Trip Itinerary that I put together for inspiration and my top tips. Any questions get in touch!

 

   

 


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The Art of Being a Cover Teacher

YO

As a trainee or new yoga teacher a great way to get extra yoga teaching experience is by offering to be a cover teacher at your local yoga classes. But being a  Yoga Cover Teacher for a regular yoga class can be daunting, even for an experienced yoga teacher.  This is a topic that is covered in my 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training  Course, based in Southampton, but I’ve put together a really easy at a glance guide that should help you through the most tricky of situations when it comes to covering yoga classes.

 

Start by preparing. Get as much information as you can from the yoga teacher in advance…

How many yoga students?

Demographics? Age, experience, likes dislikes.

Arrive Early! 

Aim to arrive before the yoga students start showing up. This way you have seen the space you will be in and given yourself a few moments to orientate yourself and take those Full Yogic Breaths, to calm any nerves. Trust me it’s normal to feel nervous before covering a yoga class, even after teaching for 8 years I still get nervous if I cover a yoga class here in Southampton.

As your yoga students trickle in you will be insitu, ready to greet and introduce yourself. Find out more about the students you will be teaching that class, which leads me to my next point. If you can’t get inside the room, still be early, wait outside the class room and get chatting.

Ask Questions

When chatting before the class ask people there names, repeat their name back “Hi Jane, so nice to meeting you”  and then try to use their name during class. This goes along way!

  • Introduce yourself publicly once everyone has arrived and ready to start class, remember to introduce yourself using your full name so that they can connect with you through social media afterwards “Hi, I’m Laura Green, I’ve been teaching yoga in Southampton for over 8 years now and I’m delighted to be covering your class today.”
  • Ask about injuries, likes, dislikes. Find out more about the type of things they would like to have in class.
  • Do they like long or short savasanas?
  • What about crow, or sun salutations?
  • Get the students to show you the layout they normally work in
  • And don’t dwell on resting bitch face (I know you know who I’m referring too!)

Yoga Southampton

Be Memorable 

Aim to teach them something. It’s okay to say that the yoga class is going to be different, I am not like “Jo” but I’m certain we will have a great session! Ideas such as:

  • Use a great piece of music for Sun Salutes.
  • Try introducing essential oils in the beginning of the yoga practice. Make sure to ask if the yoga students are okay with this.
  • Bring eye masks to use in savasana.
  • Try a guided chocolate tasting meditation at the end.

Yoga Teacher Southampton

When it comes to cover teaching, success comes down to a balance of charisma and skill. Charisma comes from confidence, a big smile and making eye contact. It’s easy not to feel confident when you are walking into a room full of strangers, half of which have resting bitchy face syndrome because you’re not their usual teacher but trust in your yoga, take a big breath and strut your stuff – you know you’ve got this, you know your a good teacher and they’re gonna have a damn good class with you!

Final note – don’t poach students,  word will get back to the regular teacher and you won’t be asked again. But if a student comes up at the end of class and actively asks where else you teach proudly tell them and invite them to attend one of your yoga classes.

If you want any more support in how to have a rocking career as a Yoga Teacher, check out my one:one 3 Month Yoga Teacher Mentorship Programme and I’ll have you flying in no time!


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The Quest for Equilibrium – Yin Yoga Southampton

What is Yin Yoga – by Laura Green | Yin Yoga Southampton

As human beings we are hard wired to instinctively seek out equilibrium; through either the involuntary responses of the body or voluntary actions of the mind. You feel too hot – your body’s involuntary response is perspiration whilst the voluntary action of the mind tells you to open a window; you feel too cold – your body shivers and your mind tells you to get a jumper.  This is an essential necessity for survival. Yet we are finding more ways to override this wisdom of the body for temporary gain with little regard for the long term consequences. Read on to learn more about how yin yoga can help or attend a yin yoga in Southampton with Laura.Yin Yoga Southampton

Example: you’re working long hours under the pressure of deadlines, you feel very tired, involuntarily the sleeping centre of the brain kicks in, your eye lids get heavy, your reactions slow down, your concentration dwindles etc; the voluntary mind should make you go to bed and sleep but instead you get a strong cup of coffee. The caffeine kicks in and overpowers the body’s involuntary response. Short term result – we bravely soldier on and complete the task. This becomes a rinse and repeat cycle of always wanting, doing and achieving more – this is the yang cycle. 

Yang without Yin leads stress, adrenal fatigue, anxiety, burnout, heart attacks, fertility issues, digestive issues etc. Equally Yin without Yang leads to lethargy, depression, isolation, weight gain etc.

Yoga teaches that equilibrium comes from balancing opposites. Yet we live in a world with preferences, likes and dislikes and have lost any sense of equanimity. So time and again we are drawn to the things we like, prioritise, or value highly and disregard the rest, taking us further out of balance. Generally speaking, both society and we as individuals value the Yang over the Yin, the Active over the Passive and the Masculine over the Feminine. Whereas we need to balance these opposites, we need both the Yin and the Yang. It is the practise of embracing equanimity in search of equilibrium.

How Yin Yoga Works to Balance the Body

‘Yin Yoga’ is slow-paced with postures that are held for long periods of time. These long held postures are done when the body is cold and not warmed up.

At first this can seem very unusual but it serves the intention which is to focus less on stretching the muscles and more on working into the joints, ligaments, tendons and fascia of the body. It is less about ‘stretching’ these tissues as they don’t have the same elasticity as muscles, but more about ‘stressing’ them through holding them under tension for longer periods which overtime will improve the length, strength and thickness of the tissues.

Just like Thai Yoga Massage there is a focus on stimulating the movement of prana along the Meridian lines and a close connection to Tradition Chinese Medicine. The golden rule of Yin Yoga through the eyes of Patanjali is sthira sukham asanam – the postures must be steady andYin Yoga Southampton comfortable. Yin Yoga also draws inspiration from Daoism and applies one of its key philosophies ‘Live in harmony with the way and you will benefit. Struggle against the way things are and you will suffer’.

Yin Yoga generally targets the lower body with only around 26 official postures, but the principles can be applied to a variety of postures. It is a deeply healing practise both mentally and physically.
Why not try a Yin Yoga class to experience full balancing effects for yourself?

Lx

For Full Class Timetable Click Here

For Workshops Click Here


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Why Should You Stretch Your Hips?

Hip Opening Yoga Southampton

Hip opening yoga postures are some of the more requested in class (along with shoulders!). Yet they’re also the postures with the most grunting & groaning. We love to hate them it seems. So why should you practice pigeon pose and similar yoga stretches for the hips?

1) We sit way too long! How many hours have you been sat down for today alone? When we sit our hip flexors and psoas muscle shorten, when we sit for long periods this causes tightness and stiffness in the hips. 

2) Tightness and lack of range of motion in the hips can put too much strain and load on other areas of the body such as the spine and the knees causing pain and discomfort.  

3) Yoga tradition explains that we store negative feelings and pent up emotions in our hips which can create blockages and obstacles in our life. Move and stretch this area to release repressed emotions. 

4) The hips correspond with the Sacral Chakra, Svadhisthana. This chakra represents our creativity and sensuality. When the hips are more open and spacious so we can feel more creative, be inspired to explore new ideas and insights.  

5) Your hips are a full 360° joint with over 20 muscles that cross over them! So it takes some care and attention to really get in there and make some change! You have the inside hip muscles aka adductors, outer thigh muscles aka abductors, hip flexors at the front of the hips and deep rotators. So for a full clear out, include a quad/hip flexor stretch to the front, an inside hip/groin stretch and a variation of pigeon.    

Check out my free online video focusing on hips, quads and glutes.

See you on the mat yogis !

Laura x

For Full Class Timetable Click Here


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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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Could Children’s Yoga Classes Help Your Kids Education?

Children's Yoga Classes Southampton

Education comes in all guises. We naturally assume the true experience of education is through schooling with the books and endless tests that are thrust upon our children. Some children rise to this sort of challenge and thrive while others get left behind, sink and struggle with this kind of one-size fits all system and this can knock their confidence for a lifetime. Could Children’s Yoga Classes support your child’s education?

We are seeing a huge rise in the popularity of kids yoga classes as a means of supporting our children’s development and informal education. Yoga helps children to explore and learn life skills in a non-competitive way as one of the true wonders of yoga is that it really does suit all. Southampton based Kids Yoga Teacher, Sally Webber, explains exactly how one of our Children’s Yoga Classes in Southampton could support your kid’s education.

How Yoga Helps Your Kids Education?

1) Children’s Yoga Classes provide a platform that nourish and educate both the mind and body together. Formal education tends to disconnect these two with a curriculum for physical education and a separate curriculum for academic studies and so the path is set for an ongoing divide of the two. A good mind body connection is essential for mental health; problems such as insomnia, anxiety and eating disorders stem from a mind body disconnect.

2) Yoga for Kids helps in the development of emotional intelligence as through a yoga practise children are encouraged to explore a wide spectrum of thoughts and feelings as they relate to themselves and others. Even more so children learn how to control emotions such as anger, frustration and nervousness through yoga breathing techniques.

3) Yoga develops creative intelligence as children’s imagination is enhanced by exploring creativity through movement – a physical theatre for children to learn in a fun and inspiring way during a Kids Yoga Class in Southampton.

4) We all have an understanding of how to exercise the body, but yoga exercises and strengthens the mind as well. Through willpower alone children (and adults) can’t sustain focus, our ability to focus and concentrate is like a brain muscle that can be trained. With the meditation techniques and yoga breathing exercises that are taught in our Children’s Yoga Classes in Southampton you’ll see how it improves overall concentration and calmness.

5) Yoga is about connection and unity. It teaches that everyone is the same whilst also being totally unique. In a Kids Yoga Class, children get to explore and develop their true personality, free of peer pressure and social media – they get to celebrate who they are!

We’d love you to see for yourself how yoga can support children’s education and development. We offer a fortnightly Kids Yoga Class in Southampton at Chilworth Village Hall, every other Sunday at 10am. Please came and join us and experience the fun and energetic world of children’s yoga. Please book in advance by emailing laura@lauragreenyoga.co.uk


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Yoga Quotes to Inspire Your Practise

I love to be inspired by yoga quotes, texts and poems in my yoga practise and my teachings. Today I am reminded:

The Buddha taught:

“Do not pursue the past do not lose yourself in the future.

The past no longer is the future has not yet come.

Looking deeply at life as it is in the very here & now.

We must be diligent today.

To wait until tomorrow is too late.

Death comes unexpectedly.

How can we bargain with it?”

Translated by Thich Nat Han

Buddha Yoga Quotes


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