Inversions can be tricky – whether it’s building up the strength to hold the position or a mental block due to fear of falling, the journey to getting upside down can have many obstacles. What better way to overcome them than with the help of a yogi friend?
If you’ve ever watched someone spot for their partner, it can seem a little intimidating (cue visions of dropping your partner, being knocked over by them etc.). However, with a few key tips, you and your partner will be doing safely supported handstands in no time!
Show your partner which leg you’re coming up with. Because no one wants to be kicked in the face, but most people will confuse their left and right when they’re upside down. Lift the leg you’re going up with halfway first so your partner knows which one to avoid.
Hold onto your partner’s hips, not your legs. This way, you can give support by taking the weight of their hips (the heaviest part of your body) rather than trapping them in an inversion by holding the legs. There’s nothing like being held by your legs with no choice to go down to induce inversion panic!
Use your knees. Your knees are a great place for your partner to rest their shoulders and take on some weight. This also makes it easier on you in terms of distrubuting your weight. Placing your feet in the right place might take a couple of tries but the more you practice, the more you’ll get a feel for it.
Help your partner down, as well as up. When your partner is ready to go down, don’t just let them come crashing to the floor. Keep your hands on their hips and feel the pelvis pivot as their legs come down to the floor. Your friend will thank you for saving them from certain doom.
Try it out with a partner – you’ll be amazed at what you can do. If you’re practising handstands, try this awesome wrist warm-up sequence to keep your joints safe.
The first time you encounter Pranayama can be an unsetlling experience even for a seasoned yogi – being asking to stick your tongue out, cross your eyes and heave out your biggest sigh can be intimidating. But never fear – we guarantee you’ll be loving this yogic breathing exercise in no time.
What is Pranayama?
Pranayama is the practice of controlling your breath or life force (prana). There are a number of different ways that we can do this – by blocking alternate nostrils, rolling our tongues, sticking our tongues out and much more. All of them look pretty silly but make you feel pretty awesome.
What are the benefits of Pranayama?
Each type of Pranayama brings a host of its own benefits – for example, sheetali breath can help to reduce stress or anxiety, whereas alternate nostril breathing helps to clear out toxins. Focusing on the breath also brings a host of mental health benefits, giving you the headspace that you need to stay healthy in today’s busy world!
Next time you come across this strange practice, forget about what people think and enjoy the benefits.
OK, so by the time this article is published it could be raining cats and dogs. Such is life in England. But call us optimists – we can’t wait to feel our toes in the grass and the breeze in our hair! Here are the best places to catch an outdoor yoga session this summer (when it’s not tipping it down).
The MoreYogis have tried and tested these beautiful spots so you can sit back and take your pick!
For the more confident among us, the busy but beautiful Regent’s Park is the perfect place to stretch out and practise. With so much space around and regular free yoga sessions led by volunteers, you’re guaranteed to see some fellow yogis around. Plus, you’ve got plenty of cafes nearby for a treat in the sun afterwards!
For those of us who live – gasp – south of the river, Battersea park offers a closer alternative to the central parks. Sprawling grounds, beautiful water features, and more importantly mini-golf make this park an idyllis setting for some summer yoga.
What better way to enhance your practice than with the gorgeous vistas of Hampstead Heath? Lots of cute puppies will come and see you at most of these parks but Hampstead Heath seems to be extra canine filled. There are regular yoga sessions on this park run by various teachers, so keep an eye on the weather and grab your mat when it’s sunny!
Tibetan Peace Gardens
OK, so you might get some weird looks for slapping down your yoga mat here, but this tranquil spot is perfect for a moment’s meditation away from the busy city. Take a moment here to reflect and recharge and you’ll feel zen in no time!
Enjoy your outdoor practice this summer – just don’t forget the suncream!
We’re all familiar with the blocks, blankets and straps that are ubiquitously stocked in every yoga studio – but have you tried using a yoga wheel? Having a wheel at home can really enhance your self-practice and ease you into those asanas that have seemed inaccessible up until now.
Here are a few funky uses for a yoga wheel that we love.
Building spine and back flexibility
Taking it slow with the wheel in the centre of your back, roll backwards and forwards. This encourages the back to stretch out evenly and safely – if you’re feeling it, you can grab the wheel over your shoulders and try to touch the floor with your elbows! Our word of warning – wear a bun if you have long hair. No one wants to get their pony tail trapped under a yoga wheel (we’ve been there and we don’t recommend it).
You know those poses where you’ve made some progress but you’re just not quite there enough to feel the stretch deeply? Your yoga wheel may be the answer. A great example is Hanumanasana (Monkey Pose – or the splits for those who are still new to all the names). By resting one leg on the wheel and shifting your weight closer or further away using your hands, you’ll get a stretch that isn’t hindered by the pesky floor. You could also use a block for support here – and remember to respect your body. If you are feeling any sharp pain or numbness, stop immediately.
Building core strength
Get yourself into plank position with the tops of your feet on the wheel – if the simple act of balancing here doesn’t bring tears to your eyes at the ab-burning sensation of it all, lift one leg at a time to fire them up even more.
Relaxing into backbends
We’ve all been there in a Yin class when someone tells you to relax into fish pose. While trying to look serene while staring at the feet of the person behind you may bring a whole host of benefits, a wheel can make this pose feel much more restorative. Pop the wheel under your back, arms down by your side and legs our straight ahead. You can add a block under the head for support to make it extra chill. Try shoulder stand supported by a wheel for a less intense version of this awesome asana too.
Yoga wheels come in different sizes – the best way to choose your first wheel is to try a few, but if you don’t have access to a wheel you can go roughly by your height. This guide will give you an estimate of which size wheel could suit you.