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Last Day Of Term

Dear Yogi friends,
I hope this finds you well.
I am writing to remind you that spring term will end this evening with our usual Vinyasa flow class in Market Sq. It has been another term of aligning our bodies and minds to stay in tune with the changes in seasons, work, relationships and lifestyle. Thank you all for joining me in becoming fully aligned so that we can give our best to the world.
Summer term begins on Tuesday 18 April and ends on Monday 31 July. please see below the class list which you’ll also find on the website:http://aquariusyoga.co.uk/classes/
Monday 7:30 – 8:45 Vinyasa Flow Yoga, Market Square.
Tuesday 6:30 – 7:45 Hatha Yoga level 1 – 8:00 – 9:15 Hatha Yoga Flow level 2, Market square.
Thursday 9:30 – 10:45 Hatha Yoga ( all levels ), St Mary’s Church.
I would like to share with you one of many videos on youtube by my inspiring coach Daniel Aaron from Radiantly Alive Yoga about how to facilitate changes we want to make in our lives.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=80RrH-2Ayyo
As always, please be mindful of your space and your fellow yogi/ni’s when setting up. aquariusyoga.co.uk/yoga-etiquette
Have a wonderful Easter.
Om Shanti

Love Week

As we enter the week of love, Let us set our intention ( sankalpa ) on self-love. Loving oneself in a positive sense is different from being selfish, arrogant or conceited; instead, it means knowing oneself, our strengths, our weaknesses and self respect. It is about how we relate to ourselves inwardly which determines how we interact and treat others outside ourselves. German born psychologist and humanistic philosopher Eric Fromm argues that in order to truly love another person, a person needs to first love oneself.
This week i am going to leave you with a thought….What does self-love and self respect mean to you? do you love yourself just as you are? Are you kind to yourself?
Just to remind you that the Vinyasa yoga class will be running tomorrow evening as normal. There will not be any other classes held this week.
Class schedule will return back to normal from Monday 20 Feb.
In Gratitude

Start Off Right

Dear friends,
Let’s start 2017 wiser, more attuned and better aligned in life. At the start of the year there can be pressure to make sweeping changes. Begin 2017 with the best small changes that bring out the best in you, building on the strengths in your nature and personality, without self-punishing resolutions, unsustainable fad detoxes or unrealistic expectations. Start with the best small changes that can bring big shifts in your health, wellbeing and growth in 2017.
We will start this new year clearing through all the layers of physical, energetic, mental, intuitive and soulful self.
Monday 09 January 7:30 – 8:45 Market Hall – Move your body. Steady and flowing Yoga to unlock long stuck places.
Tuesday 10 January 6:30 – 7:45 Market Hall – Restore your body. Deep healing rest poses to expose deep tension in your body/mind and more sustainable energy.
Tuesday 10 January 8:00 – 9:15 Market Hall – Kundalini Yoga – Awaken inner Buddha with a sequence of detoxifying Kriyas to boost energy, promote mental clarity and rid the body of toxins.
Thursday 12 January 9:30 – 10:45 St Mary’s Church Hall – Hatha Yoga – Building the physical practice with a strong foundation of correct alignment.
A notice to Kundalini Yoga practitioners: As the restorative class students will be in their final pose ( relaxation ), please do not enter the building before 7:50. In gratitude.
As always, please take a few minutes to familiarise yourselves with etiquette on the mat, to make this a wonderful experience for you and your fellow yogi.
Happy New Year.

Season’s Greetings from Aquarius Yoga…..and a little thank you!

Dear Yogi friends,

As our classes wind down for 2016, I would like to thank you for your continued support and for being part of our growing community this year. I would also like to invite you to devote this month to your Inner Wisdom. The kind of wisdom that actions and results in our lives are measured by. The proof is in the putting….! Ram Dass, my hero and ( Author Of Be Here Now ) said: I’ve met some of the smartest people in the world, and some of the wisest. the difference I’ve found between them is that the wise ones are also happy.

I would like to wish you and all your loved ones a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year. To plan your yoga schedule for 2017, click here….aquariusyoga.co.uk/classes

May we love our wisdom, and may our wisdom be love.

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October at AquariusYoga

Namaste beautiful yogi/nis, Days are getting shorter, evenings getting colder and it’s so easy to want to go into hibernation – but we need our time on the mat even more at this time of year. Regular yoga practice generates an internal heat that shifts our Immune and circulatory system into higher gears, enriching us with more energy and preventing us from cold and flu. Asanas ( poses ) that incorporate the application of Jalandhara Banhda, also known as the Cloud-catching Lock or Neck Lock are particularly designed to strengthen, renew and rejuvenate the thymus gland which is closely associated with the Immune system. In the practice of bandhas, the energy flow to a particular area of the body is momentarily blocked. When the bandha is released, this causes the energy to flow more strongly through the body with an increased pressure, which flushes away old, dead cells. More on bandhas in class….. So far this term, we have been flowing through our vinyasa every Monday evening to an impeccable degree, especially since some of you are dropping the knees down through your transition. This isolation strengthens the triceps, shoulders and muscles of your back, making your transitions a lot smoother and safer. I know some of you are keen to go upside down….the practice of Headstand ( Sirsasana ), also known as the king of all asanas. This posture requires a huge amount of shoulder and core strength which we will work to create for the rest of this term, but for yogis with neck and back problems, Hare Pose ( Sasankasana ) is a good alternative. Wednesday evening Restoration has been very quiet since the start of term, prompting me to throw more active poses into the mix. So from next Wednesday, this will be a Hatha yoga class with a few Restorative poses to find a deep inner stillness in both body & mind. Thursday morning class opens with a series of shoulder and chest openers for increase mobility in the shoulder joint and lung capacity. This is a wonderful compliment to the slumping we do all day long and helps to break down calcium deposits in the neck and shoulders. Thank you for taking the time to read this. I’d like to leave you with something I read in a children’s book. It was the colourful cover of the book and title that caught my eye. The book: Oh The Places I’ll go. He wrote: ” Waiting for the fish to bite or waiting for wind to fly a kite. Or waiting around for Friday night or waiting perhaps for their uncle Jake or a pot to boil or a better break or a string of pearls or a pair of pants or a wig with curls or another chance. Everyone is just waiting.” -Dr Seuss Joyce Meyer wrote: ” Patience is not simply the ability to wait – It’s how we behave while we’re waiting.” As always…., Om Shanti

Back To The Mat

Beautiful Yogi/nis, As summer draws towards its close, it’s the perfect time for transformation and self reflection. Time to process the old and breathe in the new. Some of you may have practiced at home, some may have tried other yoga classes, but for most of us, next week will be our first chance to return to the mat. Yogis, this should not be a daunting prospect. Your Yoga practice awaits you, with no judgement or expectations. But if you are struggling to get your head around your return to a regular yogi practice, here are a few pointers. You can always try the slower paced class on Wednesday evenings, even if you had advanced beyond that point before you stopped practicing. Taking a more gentle Hatha yoga class will give you the chance to catch up and enjoy your practice. Be wary of setting unrealistic goals. If you haven’t been to a class in a while, deciding to practice three times a week may set you up for a tough time. Start small, then build your way up. Don’t despair if your practice doesn’t take off right away. Give it rime. Remember, patience creates balance. It’s been a little while, so take it easy, even if that means half the class in child’s pose. Remember, your practice is just that—a practice—not a performance. Remember, yoga is so personal, so intimate. We all have our own uniqueness that we are dealing with – shape of our, events that we are currently moving through in life, old injuries, genetics – so you really have to discern how do you tailor the pose….what feels right for you. Take it slow. You might want to get the first practice back over with, but please don’t rush it. Keep it slow with deep breathing, mindful transitions, and an extra breath or two in each pose to allow your body to recall what it has been missing during your hiatus. Rally a yogi friend to keep you on course. A buddy that, If left waiting at the entrance, will text you until you get off the couch and onto your mat. I sometimes struggle more with comparing my practice to my own former self than I do with anyone else. My mind can race back to how easy poses were a few years ago. Don’t do this! Remember to follow the wise words of Arthur Ashe: “Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can. It may help to take a few minutes after each practice to record how you feel-before, during, and after practice. Then read through the notes every week or so and savour your growth. Remember, we all fall off the yoga wagon from time to time. It’s ok. Just hug your knees to your belly, give yourself a little love, and get back on the mat. The yogi life will wait for you, for as long as it takes for you to get started. Vinyasa Class, Monday 05 Sep, 7:30-8:45 pm, Market Square – Linking breath and movement to give your practice that flowing dance-like feel. Restorative/gentle Hatha yoga class, Wednesday 07 Sep, 6:30-7:45 pm, Market Sq – This is a perfect compliment to the power yoga class some of you do, also the perfect compliment to the busyness of life. Within this practice, we just find the balance, stillness and switch the mind off. Hatha yoga class, Thursday 08 Sep, 9:30-10:45 am, St Mary’s Church – This class is going to focus on strengthening the shoulders and upper back. Shoulder injuries are very common and are often the result of living in a rounded, hunched up position all day long. Since everything we do is in front of us, we tend to roll the shoulders forward, weakening many of the muscles of the upper back. I hope you have all had a great summer and look forward to seeing you all next week. Om Shanti

July Newsletter

Namaste yogi/nis, This time of year can be strange for many of us. We can enjoy longer evenings, the occasional day of warmth and sunshine and for some of us we get to take time away from our busy lives to travel, but we must also contend with the uncertainty of the British weather; friends, family and work colleagues being away and now, the uncertainty of the British political and economic situation. In times of uncertainty, yoga can provide us with support. What we know is so small in comparison to what we don’t. The unknown surrounds us. It’s in the face of every person we walk past, it is present in each bus, car, train, and plane we get on, and it accompanies us every night as we fall asleep. It’s there when we start a new relationship, job or project. It’s certainly there when we start a family, and when we lose those we love. There’s no escape because it’s part of human existence and as such we can either resist, learn to tolerate, or welcome it completely. In yoga we try to embrace the latter by trying to foster a sense of inner trust, and so it allows the unknown, through resilience and practice, to become known. How can yoga do this? How can we learn to embrace what we don’t know, to trust what we can’t yet perceive, and truly be at ease with that uncertainty? Each time we step on our mat, there’s no definition, no script for how we should feel or what we should experience. I’ve found that coming to the mat with as little expectation as possible and trying to be present to whatever occurs emotionally and physically is so important. In this way yoga guides us to trust our instincts, to breathe and be part of an evolving process. Once we are used to this, at co-creating our experience but not controlling it, then the practice becomes one continuous meditation. A meditation that allows us to gradually build resources of security, strength, faith, resilience, clarity and hope. The point of all of this is not to do yoga “better” or finally achieve that handstand. The point is to get better at living your life with bravery, grace and skill. By practicing this yoga of uncertainty and joining in with commitment and curiosity, we slowly learn to navigate a sea of change, eventually swimming our way to the safe shore of self-knowledge. Over the last term we have expanded in our work. The Monday Vinyasa flow class has gone from strength to strength with so many of us, from a variety of ages committing to such a rejuvenating time on the mat. Our Hatha yoga class continues on Thursday morning and we have started a Restorative Yoga class on Wednesday evenings to offer a more gentle, relaxing opportunity to engage in yoga. I have also put up some information on Kundalini Yoga which we offer in private classes. My article explains how Kundalini differs from other variations of yoga and can be found here:http://aquariusyoga.co.uk/kundalini-yoga-what-is-it/ Perhaps more interestingly, there has been scientific research that has shown this form of yoga to be beneficial in treatment of memory loss related to Alzheimer’s Disease; you may have seen articles in the press. Here is a link to one of the articles which you may find interesting: www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2016/05/10/yoga-better-than-crosswords-for-preventing-pre-alzheimers-memory/ This term will end on the following dates: Monday for Vinyasa Flow classes – 18th July 2016 Wednesday for Restorative classes – 20th July 2016 Thursday for Hatha yoga classes – 21st July 2017 We will be returning on the following dates for the start of the autumn term: Monday for Vinyasa Flow classes from 5th September until 12th December (with half term from 24th October until Thursday 3rd November) Wednesday for Restorative classes from 7th September until 14th December (with half term from 24th October until Thursday 3rd November) Thursday for Hatha yoga classes from 8th September until 15th December (with half term from 24th October until Thursday 3rd November) I will leave you with this beautiful meditation by Ekhart Tolle on acceptance: https://youtu.be/y9JgLgBtV-M I wish you a restful and enjoyable time over the summer and look forward to seeing you all in September. Om Shanti, Sima

Kundalini Yoga

Kundalini Yoga is an uplifting blend of spiritual and physical practices, which incorporates movement, breathing techniques, meditation, and the chanting of mantras. The goal is to build physical vitality and increase consciousness by freeing the serpent power (kundalini) that is coiled in the base of the spine and drawing it upward through the seven chakras, leading to an expanded state of consciousness, known as a kundalini awakening. For some, the experience can be blissful and filled with feelings of love and a sense of the interconnectedness of all things.

Kundalini Yoga is also known as laya yoga, and derives its name through a focus on awakening kundalini energy through regular practice. It has its roots in the Tantric Yoga tradition, which dates back to the eighth century. Yoga practitioners refer to it as “the yoga of awareness”. It tries to encourage the creative potential of individuals to personify their true values, speak the truth, and focus on the compassion and consciousness needed to serve and heal other people.

Kundalini Yoga draws from Bhakti yoga for devotion, Shakti yoga for power, and Raja yoga for mental power and control. With the practice of Kundalini Yoga it is said that one can liberate oneself from one’s Karma and realise one’s Dharma or life purpose.

The practice encourages complete body awareness to prepare the body, nervous system, and mind to handle the energy of Kundalini rising. The majority of the physical postures focus on navel activity, activity of the spine, and selective pressurisation of body points and meridians. Breath work and the application of bandhas (yogic locks) help to release, direct and control the flow of energy to higher levels. Along with the many kriyas (a combination of breathing, postures and sounds), meditations and practices of Kundalini Yoga, a simple breathing technique of alternate nostril breathing (left nostril, right nostril) is taught as a method to cleanse channels and pathways, to help awaken Kundalini energy.

Kundalini yoga has also been shown effective in treating early onset Alzheimers dementia. For more information please see the following article here.

At Aquarius Yoga we can incorporate Kundalini Yoga into private sessions if requested or we have a regular class on Tuesday evenings (for more information please click here). Please contact me if you would like more information about this style of yoga or to book a class.

Chair Yoga

Chair yoga might not be something you’ve heard of, as it’s relatively new to the UK. Also called Seated Yoga, Corporate Yoga or Workplace Yoga, it’s popular in the US, and took off as a great alternative yoga practice for those who cannot easily get to the floor. It has evolved to become what is now one of the most accessible forms of yoga available to those of all mobility capabilities.

As the term suggests, it describes a yoga practice which modifies poses so that they can be done while sitting on a chair or standing using a chair for support. Many of the basic technicalities of the postures are kept intact, no matter what the position of the practitioner. While seated on chairs, yogis can do versions of twists, hip stretches, forward bends, and mild backbends.

In addition to a good stretch, chair yoga students can still delight in the other health benefits of yoga, including improved muscle tone, breathing habits, a decrease in stress, enhanced sleep, and a sense of well-being.

Who can do chair yoga?

Traditionally, chair yoga classes were targeted at older adults as those with mobility difficulties are a key beneficiary, but office workers are now more commonly taking advantage of chair yoga’s modifications to allow them to fit their yoga practice into their busy, sometimes stressful day. Employers are now recognising the value in promoting positive practices of relaxation and physical wellbeing within the workplace and many are now funding chair yoga sessions. The advantages of chair yoga classes in the workplace are clear, not only do you not need a big exercise space; chair yoga does not require a change of clothes as you can do it in work clothes if necessary, and as a result it is quicker because there is no need for changing, showering and changing back again. It’s perfect for the lunch hour.

Is it too easy to feel the benefit?

Don’t be fooled! When I went to my first chair yoga session, I felt it more the next day than from any other class I had taken. I was surprised! Yes, chair yoga has been adapted for use within a chair and as such, some of the benefits drawn from standing poses cannot be replicated in a seated pose. However, this simply means that the yogic focus is moved elsewhere within the body, and these poses can be just as challenging and helpful as those carried out whilst standing.

What about the chair?

Since chair yoga is all about adaptability, it should come as no surprise that the precise chair you use is not significant; you don’t have to run out and buy a specialist yoga chair. Chairs with wheels are not ideal, since they are insecure, but almost any other chair without arms will do.

How do I sign up?

Unfortunately, here at Aquarius Yoga we do not run regular chair yoga classes for individuals. However we can deliver bespoke chair yoga sessions on demand for groups, organisations, workplaces and companies who wish to provide an adapted yoga practice to their population. Please contact us for more details and a very affordable quote.

Slow Yoga

Woman doing yoga in ruined ancient temple with columns at sunset in Hampi, Karnataka, India

For some people the trend for power and hot yoga is intimidating. Will it hurt? Will I be able to keep up? For others, who’ve tried it, it can become like that friend who you at first had so much fun with but now it just feels stressful, like a chore and simply exhausting. Eventually, you part ways. Because of this, many people are returning to Slow Yoga. The concept of “Slow Yoga” is not simply about the speed with which we move ourselves. It’s a question of meaning. Are you doing yoga because you want to sweat excess fluids? Are you practicing yoga because you want to be leaner and more flexible? Are you practicing because you are in pain and want some respite? Or are you practicing yoga because you simply want to learn how to be well? Maybe it’s all of the above. Whatever meaning you’re searching for, taking time to reflect on the question is going to be necessary. Slow Yoga takes the emphasis off achieving something and puts more focus on <>the experience and the journey. Like any connection, as your yoga practice progresses through time, the initial thrill wears off and we are left with either an appreciation for the subtleness and nuance of the in-between moments or the empty feeling of it not ever being enough. We can tussle and battle against this, attempting to alter things and find new ways to add interest or we can embrace this quiet inward opportunity and see what it offers. One thing is for sure: yoga practice that seeks what has yet to be achieved will always hide the beauty of what already is. There is no way to separate what is happening in the “yoga world” from yoga practice – it consists of people who are interested in yoga practice! The drives at work and the realities of people’s lives that make up the yoga world are everything to do with yoga. Until recently, singing the song of simplification and slowing things down has always felt like pushing against the tide. Now I’m seeing a surge of new voices picking up the wave. Fast and intense may help for a time but it is not sustainable and will often need some re-evaluation. It is in the stillness of our lives that we are able to perceive its worth. Yoga practice is no different.

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