By Hayley Cotter

Beautiful Autumn has truly arrived along with the nights beginning to draw in and the constant coughing and sneezing around us – it is the season for colds!  It takes time for our bodies and minds to adjust to the change in weather and the fast pace of life in London can leave us feeling frazzled and exhausted at times.  This healing three hour workshop is all about relaxing and letting go.

 

Power of the breath

We will begin with a calming pranayama exercise (the practice of breath control) creating space for the breath to flow freely.  During times of stress the breath is short and sits mainly around the chest area. This causes the body to become tense and feelings of anxiety increase. Full, deep breathing sends positive messages to the brain that you are safe, encouraging a deeper sense of relaxation and gently calms the mind.

 

Cleansing the body

We will work through a gentle yoga flow designed to stimulate the digestive, circulatory and lymphatic systems of the body responsible for the removal of toxins and waste. Also aiming to unblock energy that may be locked in different areas of the body. The detoxifying effect will leave you feeling cleaner inside and energised.

 

Sense of calm

Savasana can often be rushed at the end of a yoga class, typically practiced for less than 10 minutes.  Just as your body stops fidgeting and begins to settle, it is time to get moving and leave! It takes time for your brain to turn off your stress response and recognise that it is in a safe space to then switch on your relaxation response. [2] We will explore restorative poses with holds between 5 and 15 minutes, using props as support.  This provides time for your body to adjust, modify and really rest.  These poses are designed to regulate the nervous system and release stress from your body and mind.

You will be encouraged to close your eyes for the most part of the session, allowing you to turn your attention inwards and to shut out the external distractions and stimulation that constantly surround us. This invites a strong mental focus, reminding you to stay present and mindful in your practice. This can be carried into your life off the mat, helping you to face daily challenges with a sense of ease and calm and to alleviate worry.   

 

Yoga nidra

The workshop will conclude with Yoga Nidra (‘yogic sleep’), an ancient yogic practice and powerful relaxation technique. Many of us find it challenging to switch off our active minds during other forms of meditation where we are encouraged to focus on the breath or on a mantra, seated in what is often an uncomfortable upright position.  During the practice, you will be instructed through a 35-40 minute systematic form of guided meditation, as you lie down, resting and supported in savasana.  You will be invited to simply relax and let go.  Deep relaxation exercises are known to reduce blood pressure, decrease stress and improve sleep. [3]  Yoga nidra can be seen as a healing mind-body therapy:

 ‘In yoga nidra, we restore our body senses, and mind to their natural function and awaken a seventh sense that allows us to feel no separation, that only sees wholeness, tranquility, and well-being.’ [4]

Whether you’re an experienced yogi or new to yoga, this workshop will help you get more relaxation out of your practice in a warm and comfortable space.  You will leave feeling rejuvenated and with a sense of joy and well-being.


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Relax, Renew & Restore

Saturday 28th at 1.30pm


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