Posts In: yogi

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.

https://www.thestudiocheshire.com/

 

Reset Day Retreat

15/10/2019

Join us for a day of pampering and yoga bliss on Sunday 10 November, 14:00-18:00, at The Studio Cheshire.  Book Your Spot

During the day the focus will be to create and integrate an afternoon of yoga practices that nourish your mind, body and soul on every level. 

The Reset Yoga Workshop combines together the 8 limbs of yoga in the stunning setting of the Cheshire countryside.  First we start with a mindfulness and pranayama practice, calming and relaxing the mind. But then we kickstart the second practice with a dynamic yoga practice to detoxify our systems.  

After that we’ll relax and cleanse mind and body with a soothing gong bath meditation, followed by a peaceful and restorative yin practice. This will help to align our bodies and open up the connective tissue.  Most importantly, to finish the day we will venture into Alderley Edge for a healthy evening meal at The Botanist.

Check out The Botanist website here;

https://thebotanist.uk.com/locations/alderley-edge

This workshop is ideal for strengthening, lengthening, and opening our bodies and minds. Working to create new habits that are the foundation for a healthy yoga-based lifestyle.

Cost for workshop and evening meal is £99 per person. Book Your Spot

Also check out our event this weekend at The Alchemist, Manchester. Still a few places left!

Book Your Spot

 

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

https://www.thestudiocheshire.com/

 

Are you interested in joining our 6 week Ashtanga course with Ryan? Starting Friday 20th September from 9:30-11am he will be breaking down the Ashtanga Primary Series sequence.

Okay so what is Ashtanga?

Ashtanga is a traditional series of postures performed in the same sequence everytime. It is a dynamic practice combined with focus on the breath. There are six different level sequences in Ashtanga each getting progressively harder. In traditional practice, students are expected to remember the movements, in preparation for a Mysore. A class which is unguided by the teacher and participants flow through the sequence on their own as a self led practice.

Padahastasana, one of the fundamental postures in Ashtanga

Usually an Ashtanga practice will begin with five repetitions of Surya Namaskara A and five repetitions of Surya Namaskara B, (Sun Salutations) followed by a standing sequence. Following this the practitioner will progresses through one of six series including a standard closing sequence.

The six series are as follows:

  1. The Primary series: Yoga Chikitsa, Yoga for Health or Yoga Therapy
  2. The Intermediate series: Nadi Shodhana, The Nerve Purifier (or The Second series)
  3. The Advanced series: Sthira Bhaga, Centering of Strength
  1. Advanced A, or Third series
  2. Advanced B, or Fourth series
  3. Advanced C, or Fifth series
  4. Advanced D, or Sixth series

So the 6 week course focuses on the Primary Series, whats that?

For our course Ryan will be focusing on the Primary Series Sequence. The Start of all the Ashtanga Series. Here is a rough breakdown of what you can expect week by week.

Week One – Welcome talk about Ashtanga, Opening chant and handouts will be provided. A look at Sun Salutations (Surya Namaskara A and B) the fundamental postures.

Week Two – Fundamental Asana breakdown

Week Three – Primary Series Asana

Week Four – Primary Series Asana part 2

Week Five – Primary Series complete sequence, guided class

Week Six – Mysore self practice class/or a second full sequence guided class

Each week will include a recap of the previous weeks postures and linking the movements together. A sheet of the posture sequence will be provided to guide you, allowing you to refer to it whenever you need. All you need is your water, towel and excitement to learn!

Urdhva Mukha Svanasana – Upward Facing Dog

Is this class for me?

If you are looking to increase your practice with a dynamic flow class, gain knowledge of Ashtanga terminology and Asana, to perfect your postures, then this course is for you! Suitable for beginners upwards, it will help any yogi to become more confident in their postures and practice.

To book in or for more information please contact:
info@thestudiocheshire.com
to reserve your space, see you on the mat!