Your Yoga Power Pose

 

Yoga is without a doubt a powerful practice.  It has always intrigued me that in yoga there are poses that are named for warriors.   Dynamic yoga practices like Ashtanga, Rocket, even Vinyasa (or combination styles simply named Power yoga or Dynamic yoga) flourish within a practice that is about finding peace and focus.

The more you practice or teach, the more we are aware that the strength, flexibility and balance that are the physical focus in yoga poses are qualities to take off the yoga mat into daily life.

Being physically strong and flexible makes us look and feel powerful, confident, as well as ensuring that we build strong immune systems, and create a body that is healthy and moves with ease and grace.  When we challenge our perceptions of what we are capable of physically, we also bring those elements of strength, flexibility and balance inwards.

Inner strength.  The ability to move flexibly through whatever life throws at us.  A balanced approach to life.  We don't have to be doing contortions or be precariously balanced to have those things - but by bringing our focus to our physical selves in our yoga practice, we can move inwards and access those most powerful parts of our selves, something we can take away from the mat.

Some poses make us feel powerful for different reasons - I love the slow controlled descent into chaturanga / high to low plank, or the solidity of a forearm stand, but equally feel strong and grounded in crow pose, a standing balance, or even sitting in lotus.  It is so personal, and my yoga power pose changes according to what else is going on in my life.

I've teamed up with luxe sportswear retailer, Active In Style who are running a great competition - simply upload an image of your #yogapowerpose to your social media by 27th July - choose from Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest or a combo.  Make sure to tag @ActiveInStyle in your post and caption and have the chance to win a £200 gift voucher for Active In Style.  Tag me too using my @yogawithzaz handle (@yogamamazee on Twitter) so that I can look out for your posts!  If you need further information on the competition, you can find it here.

** Until end of August 2016, get 20% off any purchase made from the Active In Style yoga section (excluding sale items) using code YOGAWITHZAZ **

Make space for you

 


People often wonder how they can fit yoga into their lives - like anything else we make time for the things we feel are important.  We can't imagine life without that morning cup of coffee, without the meetings, the things on our to-do lists, the errands, our daily routines, yet somehow we often fail to include feel-good time into our schedule.

In our busy lives, we tend to deprioritise ourselves and our well-being, and until our bodies send out stress signals we frantically race to keep up with life!  This is especially true when you're caring for others, or have a family to look after - time for ourselves becomes not simply a luxury, but a guilty indulgence.

Consider however the benefits to ourselves and to those around us when we take the time to recharge, and to nourish ourselves. We give our minds space to switch off from the constant whirr; we send signals to our brain to reduce levels of adrenalin in the bloodstream, as we hit pause and take the time to breathe deeply.  We reduce stress hormones in our bodies, and start to reverse their impact on our digestive systems and our circulatory system.  Our bodies have the space to move, stretch and rest.  

We are like a battery that needs recharging - take time to plug into what nourishes you!

Perhaps just for one or two hours a week, YOU can be the focus, the most important thing in your diary - an appointment you need to keep.

In an hour's yoga class we shut the door on all the to-do lists, and take time to breathe, to focus on our breath, to make space in our minds.  We challenge our mind's perceptions and assumptions about what our bodies are capable of.

When we complete the practice, we have the tools in our arsenal to deal with stress differently, to be flexible and strong, not only in our bodies, but in our minds as well.

In dynamic 1 hour Vinyasa Flow yoga classesyou will be guided through postures, using the breath to link the body's movements in transitions that will build flexibility and strength, before ending in deep relaxation.

 

A few of the benefits of regular yoga practice include:

Improved respiration, energy and vitality

Reduced stress levels, creating a relaxed mind, and removing anxieties

Increased strength and flexibility,

Challenges your mind's perception of what your body can do!

Greater sense of overall wellbeing

 

Take some time for you, whether it's to sit down with a cup of tea, to go for a walk, call a friend for a long chat, or get on your yoga mat!

 

Take time to find focus

September often heralds a bit of a "back to school"feeling, whether you actually are or not. Add to this the fact that summer is drawing to a close, and we are about to head, with breakneck speed, into the countdown to Christmas.

Perhaps - hopefully - you've had a summer with respite from many of the usual activities, and now as the "new term" starts, you're ready to restart your practice, or maybe even start for the very first time, to be ready for the closing of the year with a new mindset, as well as a more supple, stronger body.

In our busy lives, we are always looking for the next thing.  What to make for dinner, where to go on holiday, how to tackle Christmas.  We busy our minds thinking about events to happen in coming months, planning for next week, preparing for tomorrow.  

What about today?  What about being truly, fully, utterly present in NOW?

The practice of mindfulness is one of the most useful tools we can take with us on and off the yoga mat.  When we practice physical yoga, we bring our focus to the breath and to the body - and by that I mean, to the breath that is happening in that instant, and to what the body is doing in that exact moment - not what the breath will be like tomorrow, or in an hour's time, or what the body will be doing next, but literally we aim to be completely focussed in the NOW.

What does that give us?  

For one thing, we press pause on the busy mind always trying to race ahead of the present.  We enable it to experience a quiet still space, the space in fact where our most powerful selves reside silently.  We effectively press the pause button on the chatter of the mind that obscures what is inside.

By hitting that pause button we then enable the mind to laser in on what we are doing at that precise moment, whether it's a yoga pose, washing the dishes, or dealing with spreadsheets, all with a feeling of calmness and focus.  And this is where with regular practice the magic happens!

Join me in the NOW for a regular yoga practice that can transform your mind and your body.