Yoga Basics: Avoid Injuries With These 4 Tips

It seems like every yogi you meet has a tale to tell about a pulled hamstring, sore wrist or other injury. As yoga’s popularity continues to rise, so does the frequency of injuries. Here are four failsafe tips to protect yourself and your practice!

Make sure you choose the right class for you

If you haven’t been practising for a while, going to that insane level rocket class probably isn’t the best option. Focus on nailing more accessible classes first – you’ll build the strength you need to progress (and you will be less inclined to cheat when you get tired). Additionally, look into who will be teaching the class – it’s always good to know that your teacher knows their stuff. Nothing like a safe pair of hands to keep you from hurting yourself!

Respect your limits

There’s always one, isn’t there? The one yogi who floats into a handstand without breaking a sweat. As difficult as it can be not to compare yourself to others, respecting your own limits and listening to your body is what will ultimately improve your practice. If you’re shaking uncontrollably, breathing very heavily and losing alignment, you probably went too far. So the next time the person next to you casually cracks our a Bird of Paradise while you’re still shuffling your feet together, take a deep breath and remember that this is all about you.

Ask questions

If you’re not sure, or if something feels weird, ask about it. Most yoga teachers are just waiting to give you all their worldly knowledge, so make the most of it. Having another pair of eyes analyse what you’re doing can help you to learn your own personal alignment too.

Be patient

If the worst happens and you do end up with an injury, be patient. Muscle pulls can take anything from a week to a few months to heal. Depending on the severity of the injury, there could be numerous asana to avoid. Talk to your teacher, get advice and be patient. Forcing yourself back into your practice 100% could lead to re-injury and a longer recovery time.

For more info on injuries, speak to our teachers. They’re always happy to help!

What To Expect At A Gong Bath

You mean you haven’t been to a gong bath? Then you haven’t lived!

Sound baths are becoming increasingly popular in the yogi community and for good reason too. Here’s a quick rundown on what to expect at your first gong experience.

Yoga

Yesssss! We all love yoga. We’re down with this. The style can vary depending on who is running the session, but we find that a juicy flow is the best way to prepare yourself for a sensational savasana.

Meditation

Most sound baths will follow the practice of asanas with a short seated meditation to close the sequence. During this time, you have the chance to clear your mind of all the crap that builds up over the day (e.g. “What will I have for dinner?” “I wonder if that hot yogi followed me back on Instagram” etc.).

The Sound Bath

Depending on who your sound practictioner is, the person leading the sound bath may use a range of instruments, including crystal bowls, gongs and shruti boxes. Baths can last from ten minutes to an hour and will leave you feeling like you’ve been to a different planet and back. The practitioner will work through the range of instruments, choosing frequencies to totally relax your body and mind. If you’ve opted for a longer session, don’t be surprised if you fall asleep, only to be gently woken up by the sound of a singing bowl.

Closing the session

There’s no rush, and believe us, you’ll want to take the time to enjoy your newfound nirvana. Chat with others around you about their experience – you’ll find that everyone has different experiences. Some people have flashbacks, weird dreams or even see solutions to current problems.

Join us for a sumptuous sound bath at MoreYoga Brixton with Leo Cosendai on Sunday 30th July. Book your tickets here!

What’s The Deal With Chanting?

If you’ve ever sat in a Jiva or Kundalini class wondering how on Earth you’re supposed to remember the minute long chant your teacher just sang and repeat it back, you’re not alone.

In more spiritual branches of yoga, you will certainly come across some form of chanting. Whether it’s just a simple om or a full on Sanskrit verse, here’s the lowdown on why we do it (and some of the more common mantras so you’ll at least have a clue what’s being said).

Aum (a.k.a. Om)

We personally don’t mind which way you spell it! This chant consists of four parts – bear with us for the spiritual part – A represents the beginning or creation, connects us to a sense of something greater than ourselves and purports the transformative energy of the universe. And the fourth sound? Silence, which represents the pure consciousness of the self. Ooh, we get chills just thinking about it.

Lokah Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu

If you’ve struggles to remember the end of this mantra by the time you hit sukhino, you’re not alone. Although this isn’t the longest chant (yes, there are longer ones, eek), once you’ve got it down it brings a beautiful vibe to your practice. The translation from Sanskrit is “May this world be established with well-being and happiness”. Aww.

Sat Nam

Literally translating to “Truth is my name”, Sat Nam is all about recognising the divinity within you. Sat reaches up to a higher plane, and Nam grounds it on our plane. We’re not sure what that means either, but it sure sounds cool.

Ra Ma Da Sa

Our favourite mantra, mainly because it’s so easy to remember. Ra ma da sa calls for compassion, self-love and healing. The perfect antidote to being too harsh on yourself and a great way to cultivate kind eyes when looking at others.

Chant your heart out at your next class. Don’t be embarrassed about messing it up – we can guarantee we’ve done it before!

Practice Reached A Plateau? These Simple Tricks Will Help You To Nail Advanced Asanas

After a year or so of practice, you might notice that you’re not making the leaps of progress that you did when you first started yoga. Sure, you can get into bakasana easily enough, but handstands just ain’t happening. Here are some tiny adjustments that will make a big difference to your practice!

Halfway lifts 

It’s easy to rush through this pose, especially when you’re on your eighth vinyasa. In a halfway lift, keep your back and legs straight – even if it means not touching the floor. This will get your back muscles much more warmed up than rounding your back.

Roll that spine

Make every transition count – instead of unconsciously transitioning from Downward Facing Dog to High Plank, use a rolling motion through the vertabrae to increase spine mobility.

Don’t jump back unless you can float

Yeah, we know. It looks super impressive. But jumping back into chaturanga can be harmful unless you’re able to pivot your weight forward and float your legs back gently instead of thudding to the mat. Protect your shoulders from the shock of the jump and work on your upper body strength first!

Push, push, push in Downward Facing Dog

Ah, old reliable. The relief of Downward Facing Dog after a gruelling series is unimaginable. But don’t get complacent! This asana has a host of strengthening and flexibility benefits as long as you push the floor away, keep your core active and your legs engaged. Even if you have just done a Half Moon series (anyone else screaming inside during these?!).

Stay engaged in Trikonasana

So when you’re next to the uber yogi who can touch their toes in Triangle Pose, it can be intimidating to move your hand higher up your leg. But once you’ve reached the sweet spot, you’ll notice the side of your torso and core will switch the heck on like never before. If Trikonasana feels easy, something isn’t right. This pose should have you mentally repeating words that Grandma would be appalled at.

Prepare to revamp your practice – don’t be surprised if you suddenly find sun salutations a killer. Just remember it’s all the the name of good practice (even when the cramp makes you want to scream)!

 

4 Reasons You Need Some HIIT In Your Life

So crunches and squats may not seem like the most yogic form of exercise, but high intensity interval training (HIIT) might be the key that unlocks your true potential in yoga.

Here are four awesome benefits you’ll get from mixing in some HIIT with your usual routine.

You’ll build strength (quickly!)

Wondering why you still face-plant in chaturanga even after a couple of years of practice? HIIT is the answer! Build your upper body, core and leg strength and you’ll find that those poses that have been eluding you all come together much more quickly.

You’ll exercise more often

We can’t guarantee that you’ll be running to the gym every half an hour, but we can provide you with reps that take no time at all. A HIIT sequence can make a difference even if you’re only practising for seven minutes, so you know there’s no excuse for home practice!

You’ll avoid injury

Combining the stretchiness of yoga and the strength of core conditioning, you vital joints and muscles will be extremely well protected. No more do you have to throw yourself around in a fitness class wondering when your hamstrings will finally snap!

You’ll feel like a hero

We all love a good sweaty savasana, and MoreFitness classes will leave you drenched and blissed out. We advise not going shopping after one of these classes as the sheer feeling of I-just-smashed-my-HIIT-yoga-class can lead to over-confident use of plastic.

Core strength, body awareness and muscle control are all fundamental to a good yoga practice. Join us at our MoreFitness, IFlo Fit and FitFlo classes at most of our studios. Not ready for commitment? Sign up for 10 days of classes for £10 and give us a whirl!

Make Mum’s Day With These Simple But Touching Gestures

Mother’s Day is here once again, and many of us will be scrambling last minute to grab gifts and cards. But are they really that personal? Here are three no-fuss gestures you can make that will show your mama that you appreciate her.

Buy her a yoga membership

Hey, so we are a little biased here, but a membership to a yoga studio might be just what the doctor ordered. A little me time for your mum to escape from the seemingly endless woes of the kids (thanks for putting up with me, mum)! You can even go together for some quality bonding time – after all, you’re never going to be short on laughs after one of you has gone bowling over in forearm stand!

Tell her why you love her

Mums can be complicated, but chances are that if you’re reading this article, you love yours. Tell her all the reasons that you love her – and if that’s too cringeworthy face-to-face, write her a letter. It’s amazing how little we say these things to our mums, even when we call them daily to moan about the fact that the beautiful shoes you just bought have a small scuff on the inside ankle or that the girl from the floor below in your office has the same coat and it’s soooo embarrassing.

Book her in to a spa

After all, she’s been carrying the weight of all our woes on her shoulders – she needs a massage! Bonus points for booking a nutritional consulation/ayurvedic reading too. Your mum will feel fabulous and take some new knowledge away with her that will keep her feeling good in the long run. This one takes no time at all but will leave you in mum’s good books for ages.

Take the time today to let your mum know you appreciate her. If your mum isn’t around for you to pamper, write down all the fond memories you had together and set an intention to model her best qualities. To all the mums out there – you are doing an amazing job. If your little ones aren’t big enough to pamper you yet, treat yourself! You deserve it.

MoreFit are currently offering half price memberships at our Brixton studio, opening on April 1st. To book in with our nutrition consultant, email info@morefit.co.uk.

3 Key Habits That Will Instantly Boost Your Happiness

It’s the UN’s International Day of Happiness on March 20th and here at MoreFit we are focussed on making sure you are living your happiest, healthiest lifestyle. It’s a great time for us to make time for the things that are important to us – and most importantly, to take a good look at our own happiness and be grateful for it.

These three tips will boost anyone’s happiness, but we know that living a happy life can be easier said than done at times. Living in a modern metropolis like London can be crazy fun, but the busy city life takes its toll. If you’re feeling low, these habits will turn your world upside down (in a really good way).

Exercise

Yes, it’s probably the last thing you feel like doing right now. But once you get moving, your body and mind will thank you for waking up the endorphins you need to feel good. Not to mention that massive boost in self-esteem, personal power and social interaction you’ll get just from turning up! Book a yoga class to get that community support or grab a personal trainer if you’re feeling nervous about the group setting. It’s been proven time and time again that physical fitness affects mental health, so grab your gear and let’s go!

Music

Check your playlists – if you’re listening to Adele on a loop in the mornings, you’re definitely not going to start the day with a spring in your step. While there may be some guilty pleasure in wallowing to songs about doomed lovers, listening to sad songs when you feel down can actually increase your chances of feeling anxious, depressed or obsessive over particular events. Spend some time cultivating a playlist that will boost your mood and inspire you – if you’re stuck for ideas, start here.

Food

You know the saying – you are what you eat. And chowing down on cheesy chips for the third time this week will not have you skipping down the pavement singing joy to the world (unless you’re actually on the way to the chip shop again). Fast food is a great short term fix when you’re down, because making the effort to cook is nigh on impossible when the lethargy has set in. Start simple – fill up your fruit bowl, and promise yourself that whatever you eat, you’ll always have a piece of fruit first. Maybe add in a glass of water too. This tiny changes will snowball over time and leave you feeling far happier and less inclined to eat rubbish.

This little nudges can help you to pull yourself out of a low point, but if you’re feeling down for longer than two weeks, tell someone. Depression can affect anyone – it’s not your fault, and you deserve to be happy. Here at MoreFit, we are committed to making sure that your #internationaldayofhappiness is as joyful as it can be. See the links below for help and advice.

Talk to the Samaritans about anything at all here.

Not sure what depression is? Read more here.

Look after yourself with these tips from Mind UK.