A week at Mind and Body Yoga Studio

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It's been an interesting week at the Mind and Body Yoga Studio in Bury with a lot of contrast and interaction in classes.

The studio starts off the week with a Yin Yoga class on Monday evening at 7.30pm and this week the "quiet practice" was more repeated postures with shorter duration stretch. This is a contrast to Fiday's Yin and the repeated short duration theme can be very anatomically nourishing in that you get to more of the body and the stretches are briefer albeit just as satisfying.

Many student new to Yin appreciate this kind of flow as it introduces them to Yin in a more gentle way. Long stretches are not necessarily just for "intermediate" or more experienced students but some Yin novices can sometimes throw themselsves into yin with more gusto than is needed and this can end up making them tired nd over challenged - it's a good way of discovering that Yin Yoga is not a restorative style despite its potential to be releasing and closing down and hence relaxing.

Tuesday evening saw the Gentle Hatha class indulging in a soothing and relaxing flow using a collection of postures that could have been energizing if practiced more intently but in this flow we sank more into the poses and tried and absorb ourselves into them. It usually ends up with everyone feeling well nourished and having an experience that is a great prelude to a good nights sleep!

Wednesdays Beginners Group is a very popular class at the moment and I spend a lot of the time working with the group  on classic yoga postures so they can grow with them as their practice evolves. We always include some elements of Wartrior Postures and The Salutations to the Sun and variations of these forms of pose as they are a great all round practice. The session is more instructional for obvious reasons and we exploded some of the poses in the Salutations this week especially the transition from Down Dog to Chatarunga and Down Dog to Lunge. Both of these can be challenging and sometimes disheartening when students struggle. The key to progress is not simply doing more Salutations but working with the body in a well rounded practice to open the hips and improve flexibility of the hip flexors and back muscles.

Thursday's Remedial Yoga Group at 2pm is now in its 4th week. I originally set this up because there were several students on classes with health and anatomocal challenges that seemed to call for a more considered class. The conditions are varied from scoliosis to fibromyalgia but the flows we adopt attempt to accommodate everyone and it seems to be working well.

This week we spent some time on quality breathing which is of benefit to everyone what ever their condition. If you think your breathing is erratic and ouit of step with your posturing it's sometimes a good idea to spend a little time each day quietly watching your ordinary passive breath without trying to control it. This as it suggests is passive and sometime students think it boring but with practice you come to realize that it can be quite rewarding. You quieten your mind and get to know a lot about your breathing! Having said that another way to improve your breathing capability is to cultivate synchronizing your breath with some simple yoga poses - I am a firm believer that breath with movement teaches you a lot about good breathing.

The Thursday evening Energizing Class at 7.30 was a bit different this week. Usually, we get a bit warm in this class with some energizing flow work - we work a bit harder but don't run ourselves ragged and always finish with relaxation! - this week we looked at energy differently, by working with a progressive backbending flow to open us up more both physically and mentally. A good hour of careful backbending can leave you feeling physically and mentally stimulated and can even lift your confidence.

I always think that every yoga pose has a psycholoical as well as a physical component to it. If you are hyper and stressed the closing down benefits of forward bends can help close this feeling down remarkably while if you are too "closed" and retiring and even a bit depressed a series of back bending can open you to the world and lift your spirits. It worked well on Thursday Night!

Finally, on Friday we finished the week with a Chill Out Yin Yoga class at 6.30 as usual - this spot on Friday's has been running for over a decade now at the Mind and Body Studio and we will be running a Yin Workshop 10.30 till 5pm on Saturday the 4th of October with a buffet lunch in the Zen Veggie Cafe on the ground floor after popular demand.

On Friday we added some elements to the Yin Flow that included the upper body and upper spine that can sometimes be left out in Yin as the style focuses mainly on that part of the anatomy between the knees and the chest and while the extremities of the hands, arms, lower legs and feet are mindfully protected they are not regarded as so important. This sounds uncaring but this is not really a true conclusion to take as all skeleton is important in Yin and as the style has evolved it allows for the inclusion of all the body parts.

So we practiced some seated forward bends with Gomukasana and Garundasana Arms and this can feel truly wonderful. We also added the Hatha Puppy Dog Pose sometimes called Salaam Pose and this is great for stimulating the thoracic spine.

So ends the round up of yoga classes at the Mind and Body Studio in Bury for another week.


Namaste and Best Wishes


Barry Todd


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