Harmonize Your Thoughts

“Yoga not only allows you to learn to control your breathing, but it ultimately enhances your abilities to harmonize your thoughts and enhances your inner beauty.”
Debasish Mridha

Find a space where you can find balance and inner harmony. For us that’s in a hot yoga studio but for you – who knows! Explore until you find that place where the world passes by peacefully and you can just enjoy a moment of stillness, at one with yourself and your surroundings.

Harmony

 

Build your Confidence with Dolphin Pose!

Dolphins are amazing and this yoga pose is too, as it will challenge you mentally and physically. Dolphin pose is designed to open your shoulders and upper back, elongate your spine, stretch your hamstrings and build your upper body strength. It may look simple, but it calls on your concentration and willpower, especially towards that point towards the end of a session where your mind may tempt you to quit before your body is actually in need of a rest.

Dolphin pose is a great preparation for the build up to head stands and other inversions, boosting your confidence in what you can achieve. The strength you develop in your shoulders, back and deep core muscles will help you maintain your balance in a head stand – although this is definitely one to try under the careful and watchful supervision of a great yoga teacher!

A great addition to this pose is to lift one leg at a time high towards the ceiling or, if you need an easier option, try it using a yoga block between your hands.

Dolphins have a lifespan of up to 40 years and it can be the highlight of many peoples’ holidays to see them in the wild (kept in captivity without the freedom to wander the seas and rivers, they don’t survive anywhere near as long).Dolphins swimming.jpg Communicating with clicks, whistles and squeaks they use their fantastic sonar system to work out what is around them.

It seems fitting that the yoga pose named after them helps with proprioception, which is your body’s ability to sense where it is in space.

The inputs and sensations that guide your sense of positioning come from sensory nerves in your muscles and tendons (also known as muscle spindles) that also protect you from damaging them by stretching too far. It’s usually a subconscious process, but Dolphin pose helps fine tune the senses by demanding you pay attention to what you are doing physically.

Our favourite dolphins are spinner dolphins whose acrobatic gymnastics include spins and leaps, taking full advantage of their incredible power and speed through the water. To help maximise your own energy, try a hot yoga class and experience the great sense of freedom and enjoyment that comes when you challenge your body and mind to explore new and exciting postures.

Dolphin jumping.jpg

If you’d like to get a better understanding of our philosophy of yoga, check out some of our most popular posts.

Crescent Lunge – What a Bind!

This fantastic stretch is technically a bound revolved crescent lunge. As you can see from the picture, the bottom hand reaches underneath to link with your other hand to really take the challenge of this pose to the next level. Your drishti or gaze can be down to the earth, facing forward or over your top shoulder.

It’s an amazingly satisfying posture to get into. Though it might not appear so at first glance, this pose opens your heart, stretches and elongates the spine and expands your chest to allow you to fill your lungs.

Part of the challenge in this pose is the strength and balance you need in your legs to be able to create a really stable base. Can’t quite reach? Not a problem! We’ll find a modification that is right for you, for example, by using yoga props or lowering to one knee.

Before you know it, you will find yourself in Parivrtta Baddha Anjaneyasana which is the Sanskrit name for this lovely posture – hope you enjoy it as much as we do! (Anjaneya means praise or salutation)

Practising Yoga Safely

This pose can help develop your fitness, but we always recommend that you work with a great yoga teacher if you want to attempt postures like this and many others we’ll mention on the blog. Your teacher should have the expertise to support and guide you and recommend safe postures for your body and experience level, and – just as importantly – to check your alignment once you are in pose. 

Mermaid Pose

Mermaids, with their amazing beauty, have long fascinated us, inspiring storytellers from ancient times through to Disney. The yoga pose that bears their name has similar grace and power.

If you’ve never experienced this pose, you can be forgiven for missing the similarities between it and a mermaid – unless these mythical sea creatures gained their mystical powers from underwater yoga (that might explain why they are so often pictured holding mirrors). Visitors to our studio may sometimes hear us singing, but perhaps not with the same quality as the mermaid’s song which is reputed to have the power to enchant anyone who heard it.

The mermaid pose is progression from the swan pose and has that same hip opening quality. Here you need a strong, stable base and, in order to avoid compressing the lower back, it’s essential to lift up from the pelvis and elongate the spine. After reaching back and hooking the foot into the crook of the elbow, lift your arm up and over to connect the fingertips.

Mermaid is an intense posture and stretches so many different areas as you breathe and relax into the pose. It’s a beautiful pose to perform. Like the mermaids, it can be elusive, especially at first, but it’s worth persisting if it appears to be out of your reach. A good yoga teacher has the expertise to help you into an adaptation of this pose so you can feel a similar sense of poise and achievement.

One option is to start in a 90:90 position with your legs supported by blocks and your fingertips on the ground. Within weeks your ability to balance will improve, giving you the confidence to go on to achieve your own personal best.

Hot yoga helps you build up strong core muscles which are needed to support the fantastic arch of the spine in this pose and to help prevent any compression of the lower back, giving you the flexibility needed to sustain advanced postures like the Mermaid.

Practising Yoga Safely

This pose can help remedy back pain and promote a healthy spine, but we strongly recommend that you work with a great yoga teacher if you want to attempt postures like the Mermaid and many others we’ll mention on the blog. Your teacher should have the expertise to recommend safe postures for your body and experience level, and – just as importantly – to check your alignment once you are in pose. Without this level of expertise to support and guide you, there is a danger that you’ll do yourself harm rather than good.

Mermaid-tail

 

Please consult your doctor before making changes to your lifestyle such as embarking on an exercise programme.

 

Balance of the Day, Tree Pose

What an amazing balance this is! It might seem challenging if you’re new to yoga, but one of our roles is to show you how to adapt poses to suit your body, mood and experience level.

Once you’ve totally grounded your standing leg and fixed your eye gaze (drishti) in tree pose, you can experiment with style. Toes on the floor might be best for you, or you might be feeling extremely stable and ready to progress to placing your foot below your knee. Had an ace day and feeling steady as a rock? Brace your foot against your upper inner thigh as I’m doing, then breathe into Tree Pose.

Triangulate Your Day!

Some days this pose just feels so right: weight perfectly balanced over a stable base, evenly spread through both feet; hand resting wherever it lands. As the heat of the studio allows your muscles to relax you might find yourself able to move your hand further down.

Wanting more of a challenge? Allow your eye gaze to look up towards your hand and check your posture. Think, “Am I leaning forward? Do I need to straighten up more and imagine that my back is against a wall? Can I extend my arm and stretch my fingertips higher towards the ceiling?”.

Then just enjoy the moment, celebrate your journey and most of all breathe!