Feel At Peace With Your Body With Our Fitness Magic

blond blonde hair casual fashion
Photo by Lukas Hartmann on Pexels.com

Some of our most popular posts have been about yoga and weight loss. We weren’t expecting that, but perhaps it’s not too surprising.

We are bombarded by images of the perfect body. Advertisers promise us the most amazing changes if we use their beauty product or follow a certain diet. It feels like nearly every  school fence or church hall has a banner advertising Slimmers World or Weight Watchers, all promising us miraculous results in quick time frames. It’s big business. Then think of all those Instagram and social media images spreading the myth that health = thinness, beauty = flawless and both of these = contentment.

To be body confident under a constant barrage of photoshopped pictures of super thin, blemish-free models is hard for us all, even the models used to sell us the idea.

We’re conscious that most images of people doing yoga show the poses done perfectly, gracefully, by well toned practitioners. But yoga is not just for super fit or super slim experts. It’s for everyone. You’ll see wobbly poses and natural bodies in our studio and we’re proud of that.

We write about health, fitness and well-being because we’re confident that activity holds the key to feeling better, not just in your body but in your life. Doing any form of yoga will tend to make you better balanced. As you become more aware of your body and widen its potential, you become more confident: more able to find a sense of joy in simply being you.

Our top tip is to find a workout you love, one you enjoy doing which gives that amazing sense of satisfaction each time you do it. We think of it as fitness magic. A lot of our clients come initially because they want to get fit or lose weight but once they’ve experienced our style of yoga, they come back because they love it. Their motivation changes from doing a dutiful exercise chore to loving how our style of yoga makes them feel.

Getting preocupied with the way you look and constantly feeling negative towards yourself is very draining. If you’d find it easier to share a list of niggles about your appearance or abilities than to share your good points, perhaps it’s time to change direction. Focusing on your positive attributes will pay dividends for your confidence and psyche.

Remind yourself how amazing you are. Try to be your own supportive best friend. Keep a happiness jar and fill it with twists of paper, each with a few words to remind you of things that made you smile, kindnesses given or received and achievements. Or treat yourself to a hot yoga session to put things into perspective, and help you find inner peace and outer strength.

We celebrate this recent post from the WordPress editorial team explaining about a new venture that will, over time, create more diverse free to use images featuring different body shapes and skin tones. We’ve used a picture from the Pexels library in this post. 

Changing Eating Habits

Old habits die hard!

Food shopping just a routine? Reaching for the same supersized sharing snack packs at the supermarket? Most of us are creatures of habit. We shop in the same places, have very similar shopping lists from week to week and usually cook very similar meals. To be honest, it works really well for most of us – with a busy life, it just makes things easier.

This becomes an issue when you decide you want to lose weight: your well stocked store cupboards full of favourite treats become a trap for the unwary. So when you make your cup of coffee, you automatically reach for the biscuits. One leads to two and then before you know it you’ve fairly mindlessly eaten an extra 300 calories. This wouldn’t be so bad but it leads to spikes and troughs in your sugar levels. Rather than making you feel satisfied, the next trough stimulates a need to eat something else equally as enticing!

If you’re serious about eating healthier, and perhaps even trying to lose some weight, a good place to start is to empty those store cupboards and change your usual treats for healthy alternatives. Start to think differently not just about your meals but about your overall lifestyle.

These are our top six tips for change:

  • Try not to skip breakfast – it fuels you for the day.
  • Plan your meals and, just as importantly, plan your snacks.
  • Think about portion size. Use scales for a while to measure out portions, then try to visualise the amount you need, not the amount you are used to.
  • Work out where your empty calories are coming from and replace them with healthy alternatives. For example, replace sweet biscuits with fruit, raw veggies or a small portion of healthy nuts.
  • Try to get enough quality sleep – it really helps keep you strong the next day.
  • Work out what will motivate you to stay on track.

It helps if you can identify your high risk situations and plan for them, for example, family meals out, or that all you can eat buffet. If you have a plan, you can make sure you don’t blow all your good work.

Be patient and kind with yourself. If you do end up having something from your list of foods to avoid, give yourself a break. It’s just one slip: all is not lost.

Above all, see this as a life change, not a diet. Reprogramme yourself to enjoy your new style of eating so it becomes less of a chore, and more of a lifestyle choice.

To help prevent relapse and make sure you maintain progress, share your journey with a friend or family member who can encourage you to stay with it. They’ll celebrate those moments with you when you get into that item of clothing you’ve always loved but not been able to wear for years, safe in the knowledge that it will also be back in fashion!

Yoga Quotes

Frog in a yoga position surrounded by purple and yellow flowers

If you’ve been following the blog during our first few months, you’ll have realised that we’re passionate about all aspects of yoga. We believe it can change your body, mind and spirit for the better.

We’re glad to be part of a worldwide family of yoga lovers that includes expert practitioners, novices and people who just like the idea (our picture of the stone frog in violas was taken at Petals from the Past, in Alabama). The yoga community is chock-full of characterful, inspirational people. Today we’re sharing a few of our favourite quotes from other lovers of yoga about the power it has to transform lives.

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Yoga is a powerful vehicle for change. As you build strength you start to believe in your own potential.

– Tiffany Cruikshank

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True yoga is not about the shape of your body, but the shape of your life. Yoga is not to be performed; yoga is to be lived. Yoga doesn’t care about what you have been; yoga cares about the person you are becoming.

– Aadil Palkhivala

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The body benefits from movement, and the mind benefits from stillness.

– Sakyong Mipham

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Yoga allows you to rediscover a sense of wholeness in your life, where you do not feel like you are constantly trying to fit broken pieces together.

Yoga is a light which once lit, will never dim. The better your practice the brighter your flame.

– B.K.S. Iyengar

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When you listen to yourself, everything comes naturally. It comes from inside, like a kind of will to do something. Try to be sensitive. That is yoga.

–Petri Räisänen

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Yoga is not a religion. It is a science: science of well-being, science of youthfulness, science of integrating body, mind and soul.

Exercises are like prose, whereas yoga is the poetry of movements. Once you understand the grammar of yoga, you can write your poetry of movements.

– Amit Ray

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Yoga, as a way of life and a philosophy, can be practiced by anyone with inclination to undertake it, for yoga belongs to humanity as a whole. It is not the property of any one group or any one individual, but can be followed by any and all, in any corner of the globe, regardless of class, creed or religion.

– Sri Krishna Pattabhi Jois

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If you’re curious to explore whether yoga can help you achieve your goals, check out some of our most popular posts or dip your toe in the water by booking an introductory session, either with us in Lancashire or at your local studio.

Extend Your Warrior

This strong posture will help you feel grounded and powerful. Feel the stretch from the tips of the fingers to the edge of your foot and see why this is such a popular choice in our classes.

You’ll find your length and alignment in this pose is enhanced by the hot yoga studio heat and by using the mirrors to check and refine your posture. Our talented teacher will remind you to push your weight evenly through your feet as you actively stretch and reach.

Done correctly, this pose has so many benefits: stabilising your shoulders and pelvis; mobilising and opening your hips; helping build strength and flexibility in your legs; and engaging those precious core muscles that will protect your spine.

This posture reminds us to rise up with strength and steadiness to challenge our physical limitations and turn them into personal achievements.

Want to challenge yourself more? A good teacher can adapt this pose to challenge even the strongest yoga warrior. The teacher’s talent lies in assessing the level of challenge needed, taking their students further than they thought possible, but at the right pace.

Want less challenge? That’s easy – we can suggest lots of progressions to help you start your yoga journey, but before you know it, with regular practice and expert help you will be well on your way to being the strongest warrior you can be.

If you’d like to learn more about hot yoga, use the tag cloud to browse through our earlier posts, or better still, come and join us.

Please consult your doctor before making changes to your lifestyle such as going on a diet or 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.

Eagle Pose, the Barometer of My Day

It’s hard to pin down my favourite pose – it varies depending on the day, the emotion, the mood and the music.

But if I had to choose my favourite of the moment, it would be the Eagle Pose. There’s just something about tying yourself in knots that appeals! Eagle Pose, for me, leads to so many different options. However flexible I’m feeling, I can always challenge myself to feel that amazing stretch across the shoulders and enjoy the precarious nature of the balance. It’s a fitness barometer – I can tell what my day has been like from this pose and then I can work to unwind and de-stress if necessary.

Let us know what your favourite pose is by voting here:
What is your favourite standing strength pose?

What To Expect After A Hot Yoga Session

You will notice quite a few things after your first few hot yoga classes, apart from feeling the glow of exercise.

Your heart rate will be higher than normal. Around 72 beats per minute is normal for most folk but, during a hot yoga session, this will climb to about 150 beats per minute to put you in that fat burning zone we mentioned in an earlier post. Your heart is a special type of muscle and, like all muscles, when you exercise them, they grow stronger and more efficient. This is exactly what will happen to your heart.

Straight after class your blood pressure might be slightly elevated. Your muscles have needed more oxygen to work and this has caused an increased blood supply to travel through your arteries and veins. The smooth muscle fibres of the blood vessels walls will have worked hard to ensure you have all the oxygen you need. Again this is a good thing – if you keep coming regularly, you might experience an overall reduction in your blood pressure as your body adapts and grows stronger.

You will feel more flexible. Your tendons and ligaments will have become pliable in the gorgeous heat of our studio and this will increase the range of movement you can get at your joints. Over time, as your muscles strengthen, this is going to really help your health and well-being.

You will notice your posture improve. Our members who have joint problems have reported a reduction in pain and the amount of medication they need and you may find you start to experience the same thing.

Your muscles will be more pliable too. If you’ve not exercised for a while your muscles might feel different as there will be some tiny tears in the muscle fibres. While this might sound shocking, it’s nothing to worry about: this is nature’s way of helping the muscles grow stronger. An increase in lean muscle mass gives lots of important health benefits.

Keep coming to classes and in a few weeks’ time you will most likely notice that clothes fit better as you lose inches. People will start to comment on how well you look. Psychologically this gives most people a lift in mood and a boost in confidence as well as in energy levels.

Most importantly of all, you’ll start to understand why we love hot yoga so much. Find a studio and give it a try – your body will thank you for it!

As always, please consult your doctor before making changes to your lifestyle such as embarking on a new exercise programme.

Yoga and Pregnancy

Sadly, you will not be able to practice in a hot yoga studio during pregnancy. Studies have shown that overheating can cause problems for the foetus especially in the first few months.

Once you have had your six week check-up after having your baby, and have been medically cleared to come back to hot yoga, a specialist programme will help get you back to your pre-baby weight and fitness levels.

Adele, who teaches at Bolton Hot Yoga is a mum of three and ideally placed to understand the joys and challenges you’re experiencing. She says that hot yoga helped give her time for herself, while increasing her stamina to deal with the demands of her little ones.

So if you’ve recently had a baby, give hot yoga sessions a try. Whether you’re a newbie or an experienced practitioner, we feel sure you’ll love the feeling of well-being hot yoga gives.

Yoga during pregnancy

While you are pregnant, other styles of yoga can be wonderful. A lot of postures help to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, which will be a distinct advantage during and after pregnancy.

We recommend that you consult your yoga teacher as soon as you know you are pregnant. This is because some poses are not recommended during pregnancy and these will change as you move through each trimester. Your teacher should be able to show you ways to modify poses to suit every stage of your pregnancy so that you can get the health benefits associated with yoga without any adverse side effects or discomfort.

For example, postures that raise abdominal pressure should be avoided and forward folds might need to become flat back extensions. A good yoga teacher will advise you and check your technique to make sure both you and your baby are practising safely.

The hormone (relaxin) that works to allow the uterus to grow and expand with your baby also affects your ligaments and tendons, which become more stretched and relaxed. As your baby grows, the bump may get in the way of some postures. You will find that your centre of gravity is affected: a slightly wider base will help with your balance.

Yoga helps you feel connected to your body, and promotes mental relaxation too. The concentration on breath control will also really help, especially in the latter stages of pregnancy.

Whether you’re pregnant, trying for a baby, or getting back in shape after giving birth, we wish you good luck and happiness.

As always, please consult your doctor before making changes to your lifestyle such as embarking on a new exercise programme.