Posts In: hotyoga

What is a Gong Bath?

A Gong Bath mediation is a sound healing practice. The use of gongs to make vibrational sounds helps reduce stress and create a deep sense of peace. A therapeutic sound which makes a vibrational energy to bring about emotional healing. It will offer participants access to parts of the mind that are usually closed off. This results in a sense of expanded awareness and higher consciousness.

A gong bath meditation is experienced lying down on your back in a comfortable position. The first brainwave state to be reached is alpha. This is defined between frequencies 8 and 12 Hz. Alpha brainwaves are associated with creativity and feelings of relaxation. In this state, people experience daydreams, associative thinking and an animated imagination. This state is quickly followed by an influx of theta brainwaves, which fall between 4 and 7 Hz. Normally, the theta brainwave state is associated with deep meditation, hypnosis and REM sleep.

Blankets and eye masks are used for extra comfort and warmth, encouraging the person to enter a deeper state of relaxation. The session will be guided by Marlena an experienced Sound Alchemy Therapist from Liluna Holistics.

As part of our Reset Day Retreat Sunday November 10th our 45 minute gong bath session will run from 3:45 until 4:30pm. To book your spot please email info@thestudiocheshire.com places are almost full so don’t miss out!

Are you ready to journey within?

www.thestudiocheshire.com

Pranayama

25/10/2019

Breathing is important, of course it is. In other words, it’s what keeps us alive. But how often do we take time out to focus on our breathing? Probably not a lot unless you have been instructed to do so by your yoga teacher! We are all great at breathing none the less, and how clever of our bodies to take care of this without us even thinking about it. Pranayama is our life force, our breath. One of the eight limbs of Yoga, it is an important part of practice we can bipass thinking about as we focus on nailing the different asanas.

But, there are plenty of techniques you will be interested in adding into your practice;

Breathing Techniques

  • Breath Retention
  • Channel Cleaning Breath
  • Ujjayi
  • Conqueror Breath
  • Dear Seal
  • Lion Pose
  • Root Bond
  • Single Nostril Breath
  • Skull Shining Breath
  • Sama Vritti Pranayama

Our very own Jane says:- Bhastrik Pranayama is her favourite breathing technique to use in her classes and describes it as the ‘sniffing dog’. Bhastrika is a small short breaths performed fast. A common position to do this in is a forward facing plank.

You may of come across some of these techniques in your classes already and wondered what the benefits are. If the breath is quick and shallow, this can trigger a panic response within the body as it thinks its under stress or in danger. For example, the body can switch into fight or flight mode, and bring forward feelings of stress and anxiety, even if we aren’t actually in a dangerous situation. However, focusing on slowing the breath, taking longer and slower inhales and exhales, actually calms the nervous system, creates awareness and focus on the present moment, and is a form of meditation. Mindful breathing is the simplest way to lower stress levels, and it can be done anytime, anywhere.

The most common breathing techniques you probably come across in class are;

Sama Vritti Pranayama (Equal Part Breath)

Becoming aware of the breath we start to increase the length of each inhale and exhale to a count of 4 (this number can increase throughout practice). We inhale for four, pause for four, and slowly exhale for 4. Keeping all parts of the breath even.

Ujjayi (Ocean Breath)

Known for its soft soothing oceanic sound, breathing through the nose creating a ‘HAA’ on the exhale. The sound of Ujjayi is created by gently constricting the opening of the throat to create some resistance to the passage of air. It is an energising and relaxing breath to help guide you through your practice.

So what movements benefit what breath?

When we are forward folding or twisting, this is on the exhale as as the lungs empty, it creates more space. The muscles also relax more on the exhale, sinking down. Therefore you can stretch, reach or twist slightly further.

When we are lifting or opening in a posture, this is when we should inhale. Inhalation is energising the body as its taking the oxygen inwards. As the lungs expand the heart can project forward more.

Breathing techniques can be practiced anywhere, on the go, in class or at home. Anytime you feel yourself getting overwhelmed or stressed, turn your attention inwards and focus on the breath.

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After the success of our event at Foodwell, we are getting back on the brunch bandwagon and hosting another event!

Join us at Victors in Alderley Edge from 11:30am for a Yoga Flow class with our very own Jane Townsend.

Followed by brunch and drinks from their delicious menu.

The muscles in our body are used all the time and are the reason why we can move. It is so important that we look after them; especially after physical training. Physical training alters the appearance of muscles as well as their performance. When muscles grow, the cells them-self change in size, no new cells are made. This is why we feel pain after exercising. If we don’t look after our muscles, stretching them after using them, it can result in overuse injuries such as stress fractures or joint/ tendon inflammation.

In the 2-3 hours after exercising our muscles are most fatigued – they need feeding!! Protein helps to recover and grow muscles.

If you can imagine the enzymes that help the process of recovery as a collection of little eager construction workers ready to build – if they turn up to work and lack their materials, their talent cannot be put to use, BUT, if you provide them with the correct raw materials, they can perform work to the highest standards.

As well as muscles being fatigued after exercise, your tissues and organs are too. When exercising, everything is put to its limits. Restorative breathing is therefore also something that helps recovery as it slows the heart back down and also normalises the lungs again.

How can stretching help muscle recovery?

There are many benefits that stretching gives to help the recovery of the body after exercising.

  1. Increased flexibility of different muscles groups

Stretching helps release constricted and contracted muscles back to their comfortable state. This also helps increasing flexibility itself and injury prevention.

For example, doing leg stretches after a long run increases muscular power and endurance.

  • Improved blood circulation

Stretching helps the body to cool down, therefore returning the heart rate back to resting. Once the blood circulation and heart rate are back to normal, this allows the muscles to relax so recovery can begin.

  • Eliminates lactic acid

Working your muscles produces lactic acid which makes the muscles fatigued and sore. Stretching eliminates the lactic acid build up so helps to relax the muscles in order to recover and repair.

  • Pain Prevention

If muscles remain tight after exercising, it can increase your risk of an injury. Stretching helps loosen the muscles which minimises the risk of injury.

To show an Upward Dog technique
Upward Dog by Ryan
  • Improved range of motion

Muscles that are not stretched usually remain constricted which prevents them being used to their full potential. Therefore, if we keep stretching them after exercising, the muscles performance when exercising will increase.

  • Increased muscular coordination

For strength trainers, it is even more important to stretch post exercising. When you stretch tired muscles, you give them better functional mobility and allow them to synchronise properly.

  • Posture

When your muscles are constricted and tight it often causes peoples posture to change, such as rounding the back. If we loosen up and stretch the muscles, you will see a better posture develop.

  • Improved nerve signals

Stretching allows a constant flow of nerve signals between the brain and muscles which will increase performance.

  • Mindfulness

During exercise your whole body is pushed to its limits. Breathing to create mind and body connections, help relax the body; when the body is relaxed the muscles are able to relax too.

Muscle Growth

Stretching promotes muscle growth; it elongates the fascia which helps the muscle to grow.

Have you ever been in a yoga class and wondered what the teacher is talking about? Have you been confused by postures that have two names, or forgot which is your Downdog and which is your Updog?

Our Studio Yoga Dictionary is here to help!

Sanskrit is an ancient language from India, each yoga posture has its original Sanskrit name but mostly we are more familiar with the English translation as these are much easier to remember, however teachers frequently use the Sanskrit term so its good to familiarise yourself. The more you practice the more you will associate the asana names with the movement.

Sanskrit words and phrases and what they mean

Asana – Means posture, you will notice most of the Sanskrit terms end in Asana.

Namaste – We say this at the end of most of our practices, most commonly with hands pressed into a prayer position against the heart centre and head lowered. It translates as I bow to you, a greeting and sign of respect after finishing a practice, we honour the light within our teacher and they honour the light within us.

Prana – This is our Life force, our energy our breath.

Drishti – Is the focus point of your gaze. When holding a posture it helps to focus on one still point as this focuses your energy against distraction, and helps to develop awareness and concentration. A focus point can help you also to keep correct allignment. There are nine drishtis you might be told to focus on during a posture, these are;
1. The tip of the nose
2. The thumbs
3. The third eye
4. The navel
5. Toward the sky
6. The hands
7. The toes
8&9. Over the shoulder towards the left or right side


Mula Bandha – Mula means root or base, and Bandha means lock, translating as your root locks. The bandhas are a means of controlling and directing energy. We are encouraged to activate these muscles such as pelvic floor to create more stability and core strength within the body.


Mantra – This is a word/phrase or sound repeated often during meditation. The word mantra comes from two Sanskrit words, manas (mind) and tra (tool). So mantra literally means “a tool for the mind,” and was designed to help practitioners access a higher power and their true natures.


Mudra – Derived from the Sanskrit word for seal, Mudras are a symbolic sign or gesture meant to direct life force to various parts of the body so the energies can be harnessed within.

Anjali Mudra – Probably the mudra you are most familiar with during your practice, hands pressed together against the heart centre, the position we often take at the end of class to say Namaste. In India it is used to greet, thank and express respect. It also reminds us to come back to our centre.

Pranayama – Control of breath, the breath is our life force and energises and sustains us throughout our yoga practice. It increases vitality, mental focus and expands consciousness of the mind.

Om – The sound of the universe.

Heres a few of the common yoga postures and their Sanskrit names you might hear whilst your in class;

Bhujangasana – Cobra
Tadasana – Mountain Pose
Savasana – Corpse pose
Adho Mukha Svanasana – Downward facing Dog
Urdhva Mukha Svanasana – Upward facing dog
Chaturanga Dandasana – Four limbed staff pose (you will be very familiar with this move during a sun salutation sequence.)
Uttanasana – Standing forward fold
Ashtanga Namaskara – Knees chest chin a build up to Chaturanga
Surya Namaskar A or B – Sun Salutation A or B
Vrksasana – Tree Pose
Utkatasana – Chair Pose
Utthita Balasana – Extended child pose

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Community, (noun).

1.     A group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common.

2.     The condition of sharing or having certain attitudes and interests in common.

We all know the endless benefits yoga has on our bodies and our minds, and how it helps us to be better within ourselves as an individual.   But what about the effects it has on bringing people together as a community?

As we get older it’s hard to juggle all the tasks we have to cram into our busy schedules.  We have to work long hours and spend time commuting back and forth. We balance spending time with family and friends in our free time, perhaps looking after children or partners.  We take our role as mother, father, grandparents, sister, cousin, friend very seriously. We juggle hobbies and self-care, usually pushing these towards the back of our schedules, even though these are things that bring us the most joy.  It can get a little frazzling, to feel like you’re the only one struggling to manage to keep everything and everyone in order. Yoga creates a space for us to escape our life roles, what defines us outside of the studio, and the thoughts that race through our minds all day. It brings us peace of mind, to feel safe and unjudged, around people who are all in the same boat. 

We want a little peace and quiet away from our home life, or we need to unwind after a stressful day at the office, or we use it as a chance to catch up with our friends.  Coming to a yoga class, creates a common ground with the person sitting next to you on the mat, even if you don’t know them. We might not all be in class for the exact same reason (most of us are here for savasana though right?), but we come because it brings us closer to ourselves and each other.  It brings together people of different backgrounds, ages, shapes, sizes, genders and interests to all share the same experience, raising our energy creates positive energy and real connections with others.

This is our yoga community. 

Here at the studio we try to create an environment which focuses on bringing people together from the surrounding towns Alderley Edge, Wilmslow, Macclesfield and further afield.  It creates an opportunity to meet new people, make new friends and feel at home in our space. Creating change in our smaller communities connects us together to change our bigger community for the better with more awareness of ourselves and each other.  Whether you are new to the area or lived round here for years, we hope you feel a sense of community especially within our studio.

Donna