Yoga, heat and coronavirus

The best way to boost your immune system (in my opinion) is to practice Yoga and Hot Yoga regularly, and to maintain a really healthy diet. That’s pretty much it! But there’s more – Hatha Yoga offers practices from way back that directly work on your health, and I described three of them in a recent blog. Keep an eye on the Yogafurie online videos to: very soon, there’ll be one showing you Bristol (and beyond!) how to do the practices described in the blog.

And there’s more again, because we live in a technological age of information and study. Now, we’re aware that there’s a lot of misinformation around, not just about coronavirus, but about all sorts of important things going on in the world. Thankfully, there’s also a lot of hard fact to be had as well. My thanks to a facebook friend who posted a link to a central repository of research articles, all about coronavirus. There are lots! Depending on what you’re interested in, you can look at the virus and its spread from lots of different angles through this research. However, here at Yogafurie in Bristol we love Hot Yoga, so I’m going to dive in on the question: does heat affect coronavirus?

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On Yoga and Being Clean

Yoga has evolved a specific approach to body care, which is particularly relevant in today’s world of the viral epidemic. The six actions – or shatkarma – are documented in a classic fifteenth-century text called the Hatha Yoga Pradipika. They are likely to have originated long before the Middle Ages of course.

One of these kriya exercises is Neti: it’s basically saline nasal irrigation. This is routinely prescribed by doctors. And there is evidence that it does help control infections in the upper respiratory tract. At the start of the outbreak in the UK, there were articles stating that nasal irrigation would not help: and in fact, once you have a serious infection, irrigation probably won’t kill it. But, you can keep the tract clean with daily Neti, helping prevent any infection taking hold.

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Joe’s Story of Physical & Mental Transformation with Hot Yoga

Joe’s Story

“For me the main reason I wanted to share this story is that there are a lot of people who live with chronic pain and there are a lot of people who live with joint problems, and they might feel limited by the pain, and even the fear of the pain. Coming and exploring this with the guidance of the teachers has been really powerful for me in realising that I wasn’t as disabled as I thought I was. I would encourage anyone to try.”

Joe’s story is an incredible tale of transformation, from living with chronic pain in his hip, needing a walking stick and pain killers, to improved strength, flexibility, no walking stick and a whole lot more self confidence.

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Yoga, Breath, Movement and Not-Yoga

That’s not a spelling mistake. I did mean Not-Yoga! Hopefully it will all become clear as you read on…

Mindful movement develops strength and skill. When this extends to breath, ease comes. Movements are light and precise: it’s energy-efficient and sustainable. Attention to technique lays a foundation of ability, literally hard-coded into the structure of the brain and body. The more challenging the activity, the easier it is to lose technique. Movements are brutish, forced; breath is harsh and shouty. Energy is wasted and it’s not efficient.

Yet continuous challenge is necessary for change. Tissues is the brain and body respond to loading patterns. We will never have different outcomes from repeating the same things. If change or development of some kind is what we seek, then some new loading is required. This could be lifestyle changes, variations in existing activities or new activities. In other words, it’s advisable to be doing something that challenges our breath, our movement, and our mindset regularly.

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Yoga, Energy and Information

I’ve enjoyed New Scientist  for many years, and I thoroughly recommend getting yourself a subscription. It really is news without bias – albeit science-related news. But, there are verifiable facts to be read, whereas pretty much every other news source has its own bias.

Anyway, lately I’ve been reading some very interesting articles about energy and information, and I think that they a direct relationship to our Yoga and Hot Yoga practice here in Bristol, and worldwide.

It turns out that information is energy. That’s right: you can convert information into energy. Recent research suggests that tiny devices could one day be powered by information alone, and some speculate that this is how life is different from things that aren’t alive: that life has long exploited tricks to convert information into energy and vice-versa. Information is a kind of energy storage. Crazy, right?

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Mental health for self-employed Yoga teachers

We live in a dangerous world! It’s called self-employment. And it is dangerous: up to 30% of new ventures fail within the first year, and 60% or more have folded within three years[1]. There’s a tremendous amount of pressure to do well as a teacher – in part, to be recognised by our peers, but also to pay the bills every month. Being a teacher is a great lifestyle, and we’re all grateful to have this wonderful opportunity to help and share with people. And at the same time, it really isn’t easy for Yoga and Hot Yoga teachers – especially in Bristol, because Bristol is so well-served with studios and teachers (and that’s a good thing for Bristol).

We all know how important it is to take time out for health and well-being. But often, we don’t, because there are pressing matters to attend to all day long. Let’s reflect on that for a moment. As Yoga and Hot Yoga teachers in Bristol, we often help people who have injuries. It’s not uncommon to be told: “My neck|shoulder|wrist|back|hip|etc was fine… I wasn’t even doing anything. One day, it just went, and I’ve been in pain since.” And we’re probably thinking to ourselves that the injured part wasn’t fine, and it may have been trying to say that it wasn’t fine for a long time. But for whatever reason, it didn’t catch the students’ attention until lasting damage actually occurred.

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Why are more and more Yoga studios using heat?

Heated Yoga classes really are a thing. For instance, Forrest Yoga classes run at 29oC, and have done for a long time. Yogafurie classes (in Bristol) run at between 30oC and 42oC, depending on which of our seven class styles is running. In this blog, we’ll talk about why heat works for Yoga, and what this means for today’s Yoga teachers.

Yoga is Breath…

…or so many people would say. As it happens, good breathing is the first thing a student learns in well-led Hot Yoga classes. If students do not breathe well, then they will struggle to relax into practise. A fit person could go through years of room-temperature Yoga practise, and never really learn to breathe – their strength and fitness carries them. But fitness does not make any difference in elevated temperatures: the body-mind is under a distinct load, and the only way to relax into that load is to breathe well. In this sense, each Hot Yoga class is an opportunity to help students understand and realise the power of their own breath to influence their mood, their energy and their day. At Yogafurie, we understand and want to make the most of the opportunity in our Bristol classes.

Here to stay

It’s unfortunate that many schools of Yoga have been hit by scandal in recent years. Sadly, many of the most senior figures have been discredited. However, despite the problems, Hot Yoga is here to stay. It delivers unique results – we’ve spoken about breath already. There are other, measurable benefits too. For instance, due to a property called thixotropy, Hot Yoga can help our bodies to better manage the waste products that our cells produce.

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Don’t snooze the alarm…

I’ve always been a morning person. That’s useful these days, because my life is quite busy. Often, the only chance to get a Yoga practice in is first thing in the morning. It’s not uncommon for me to get up at 4AM. This is very early – and it feels very early at the time! – but it does mean that I can get a really good Yoga practice, perhaps even go to an early Hot Yoga class, and still do a day of work and family life. I just find I go to bed earlier.

Discussing this with someone recently, they said: “If my alarm went off at 4AM, I’d just snooze it”. And I just thought: well, nothing changes if we snooze the alarm all the time.

People come to Yoga and Hot Yoga for a variety of reasons: they want to be stronger, they want to recover from injury, they need to relax and de-stress, and many more. Most boil down to a feeling that something is not right at the moment, and that Hot Yoga can help remedy things.

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8 Reasons Why You Would Love a Yoga Holiday

Who doesn’t like taking a break? Whether we take city breaks, week long beach holidays, staycations, extended travel, or anything that gets us out of the routine of life, they are an essential part of staying happy and healthy throughout our lives.

Often we go on holiday so that we can take a break from work, family, responsibilities. We dedicate time to see somewhere new, learn something new, remind ourselves what life is about. And yes you know it – life isn’t about the grind!

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Research finds Mudra Practice can Reduce Stress and Increase Sense of Well-Being

Feeling anxious, depressed, stressed, low, lethargic, demotivated. We’ve all been there, and some of us suffer more than others.

In the UK it feels natural for us to turn to our doctors, who are likely to prescribe medication to chemically alter our moods. We might also turn to friends, family, loved ones, who want to fix it as best they can. Often both of these solutions aren’t the cure all. Somehow or another we might find ourselves still feeling this way, or perhaps worse than before.

So what other options are there?

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