All about Ashtanga

Ashtanga yoga is a very structured vinyasa- style class. This type of yoga is not for the faint hearted and is more for advanced students rather than brand new yogis, as you may want to learn the basic poses before you start on an Ashtanga practice. This practice is challenging and quick paced and can be just the remedy for tight hamstrings or hips and it’s great if you love to follow a set routine and structure.

The purpose of Ashtanga is to purify the mind and body and doing so by moving powerfully and quickly through the poses. It involves a set sequence of poses that you follow in the exact same order every time. The beauty of this means that you can practice it at any studio anywhere in the world; and once you’ve memorised the sequence yourself you can practice it anywhere you take your yoga mat! So for some people it might be a bit boring but for others it’s another form of meditation – this time though, a moving one.

Ashtanga yoga classes will always start with 10 Sun Salutations to get you warmed up and then move into either Primary Series or Intermediate Series. So after your sun salutations the primary sequence includes a standing sequence, seated postures and a closing sequence, you’ll constantly be using your ujjayi breath to connect your movements with every inhale and exhale.

Be prepared to get hot and sweaty in this demanding class, especially as some instructors will encourage you not to drink water while you’re practicing – to keep that fire burning in your belly!

Vinyasa Yoga – what is it?

meditation

Last week we started taking a deeper look at the different types of yoga, we started off with Hatha and this week is vinyasa.

Vinyasa is one of the most popular styles of yoga and is favored by beginners and seasoned yogis alike! Vinyasa simply means ‘breath-synchronised movement’. Vinyasa flow means moving from asana to asana (pose to pose) and linking each pose with an inhale and an exhale. The flow of movement is continuous and smooth which helps you stay present during your class.

There are no rules when it comes to vinyasa, no set sequence that the teacher must stick to so you’ll never be bored as each session is different.

The great thing about vinyasa is that it can be pretty challenging and you’ll often be pushed to the limits, the continuous sequence of vinyasa gets your heart pumping too, so it’s a pretty good form of cardio!

Next week we’ll be getting a better understanding of ashtanga yoga.

Hatha Yoga – what exactly is it?

udhvadhanurasana

If you’re just starting out on your yoga journey it might seem like there are lots of different types of yoga and trying to decide which one to start with can be a bit of a minefield. So, over the next few weeks we will be sharing some bite size information about all the different types of yoga – a bit about their history, why they’re great and what you’ll get from them!

Hatha Yoga

The word “hatha” can be translated in a few different ways: as “wilful” or “forceful,” and as “sun” (ha) and “moon” (tha), the yoga of balance. Hatha practices are designed to calm and align your mind, body and spirit.

In the western world of yoga that most of us are used to hatha is usually used to describe gentle, basic yoga classes without a flow between poses. These type of classes will be filled with slower paced stretches and basic breathing exercises.

Hatha classes are a good place to start your yoga journey – you can work on your alignment, learn some great relaxation techniques and build up your strength and flexibility. But bear in mind that it shouldn’t be ‘easy’ – you should still challenge yourself physically and mentally in the class.

Hatha Yoga – what is it?!

CroatiaYoga
If you’re just starting out on your yoga journey it might seem like there are lots of different types of yoga and trying to decide which one to start with can be a bit of a minefield.

So, over the next few weeks we will be sharing some bite size information about all the different types of yoga – a bit about their history, why they’re great and what you’ll get from them!

Lets start off with Hatha yoga…

The word “hatha” can be translated in a few different ways: as “wilful” or “forceful,” and as “sun” (ha) and “moon” (tha), the yoga of balance. Hatha practices are designed to calm and align your mind, body and spirit.

In the western world of yoga that most of us are used to hatha is usually used to describe gentle, basic yoga classes without a flow between poses. These type of classes will be filled with slower paced stretches and basic breathing exercises.

Hatha classes are a good place to start your yoga journey – you can work on your alignment, learn some great relaxation techniques and build up your strength and flexibility. But bear in mind that it shouldn’t be ‘easy’ – you should still challenge yourself physically and mentally in the class.

What’s your favourite type of yoga? Let us know in the comments section below!

Time to pound the pavements

runner
Picture taken from:  https://robmosesphotography.com/2013/09/07/running-with-a-view/

This week, we’ve got something a little different here on the blog, Sardinia Yoga’s Amy shares her top tips to get you running again and enjoying the fresh (almost summery!!) air!

‘Don’t know about you but as soon as it gets cold it’s pretty unlikely that I’ll be out running. I tend to find that in the winter a lot of my exercise revolves around indoor activities like the gym or getting sweaty in a deliciously hot yoga studio. But there’s no hiding from it, spring is officially here so it’s time to pound those pavements once more!

After so long away from running though, it can feel like a bit of a daunting task, so here’s some tips to help get you back out there with confidence!

*Set a goal – is it 5k you want to get to? 10, half a marathon, a full marathon? Whatever it may be, set your intention and think about how you can get yourself there.

*Stretch! Stretching, stretching and more stretching! Obviously here at Sardinia Yoga we’re all about the stretching. Make sure you warm up those muscles before you get started. Stretching helps to lubricate your joints and muscles and gets the blood pumping round your body. Make sure you spend at least 5 minutes before you get started stretching yourself out and hold each stretch for at least 15 seconds! And don’t forget – the same goes for the end of your run to avoid injury!

*Start slowly – if you’re really feeling the effects of being away from running for so long try starting off with a brisk walk and then some slow jogging before you build yourself up to a full blown run.

*Get some proper running trainers – visit a specialist running shop and they can help you find the right trainers that will give you the support your ankles need!

*Recovery is so important, give yourself rest days, drink plenty of water and fill your body with the fuel it needs!

*Lastly, be patient and don’t let it dishearten you if you’re not quite where you were before those running shoes got packed away last winter – you’ll get there, just give it time!

*Remember, we aren’t medical professionals here at Sardinia Yoga so do seek medical advice if you’re injured or for a quick MOT before you start running again.’

Finding the calm in the storm

meditation
Image taken from article by Nirmaljit Kaur, found here: here

 

It goes without saying in this day and age that everyone is busy, people are always struggling to find even a few minutes for themselves!

So if someone told you that you need to find an hour to sit still and empty your mind you’d probably send them packing! And how exactly are you supposed to empty your mind with everything you have going on?

But this emptying of the mind is important, meditation has so many health and wellbeing benefits. For a start it helps you deal with stress and negative emotions and multiple studies have shown that meditation can help reduce levels of anxiety and depression.

Where do you start though, when the thought of having to empty your mind for a whole hour is pretty intimidating? We’ve put together a few top tips to get you started:

  • Choose a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed for ten minutes or longer.
  • Set an alarm for ten minutes, just make sure the alarm isn’t too loud when it goes off – you don’t want a rude awakening in ten minutes time!
  • Sit down – try sitting with your legs crossed and your hands in your lap. If the floor feels a little hard, use a cushion or two and get comfy.
  • It is important to maintain the natural curve of your back, so slouching is a no no!
  • Close your eyes and start by taking a few slow deep breaths – inhale through your nose and out through your mouth. Don’t force anything, just let it come naturally.
  • Straight away you will begin to feel more relaxed simply from this deep breathing. Become aware of each breath and how it enters and fills your lungs and then how it leaves when you exhale.
  • If your mind starts to wonder towards your to do list, bring it back and start focusing again on your breath. This can happen a lot at the beginning but it’s ok, just simply focus again on your breathing.
  • When your alarm goes off signalling the end of the meditation session open your eyes slowly and stand up and stretch yourself out.

If after a few attempts at ten minutes you find it getting easier, then try doing it a little longer and see how you find that. Just don’t punish yourself if it takes a while to get, because you will get there eventually.

The Yin to your Yang

yin-yoga

Yin Yoga is the slow paced yoga that is fast becoming the go to for stress release, relaxation and maximum stretching. But, what exactly is it?

Let’s start by thinking about the ancient Chinese concept of Yin and Yang. Yang represents the qualities of heat, movement, activity and doing. Yin represents the qualities of stillness, coolness, passivity, resting and just ‘being’.

Movements can be classed as Yang or Yin depending on those qualities. So, when we think about yoga styles, let’s take Ashtanga, which has a focus on strength, stamina and dynamic movement, can be classified as a yang style of yoga. Yin Yoga is completely different to this – it’s long-held poses done on the floor with an emphasis on mindfulness and surrender rather than strength and perfect form.

These postures are held for long periods of time – for beginners, it may range from 45 seconds up to two minutes and for those more advanced you could be in one posture for five minutes or even longer!

Yin yoga poses apply moderate stress to the connective tissues of the body – the tendons, fascia and ligaments with the aim of increasing circulation in the joints and improving flexibility.

Practicing Yin yoga is also a great way to offset other forms of exercise such as running or working out at the gym because the deep stretching can help to prevent risk of  injury.

We live in a culture that values a ‘Yang’ based lifestyle and this could just be the perfect antidote to that. Holding the postures, for what feels like a lifestyle can be slightly disconcerting at the start, especially if you’re used to a much quicker paced yoga style, but once you start focusing on the breath and surrender yourself to it you can find yourself in a deep state of relaxation.