9 Signs You’re Officially A Yogi

You’ve started leaving your yoga kit at work.

Because of course you’re going to a lunch hour class, even if that means you have no time for Pret.

You get mantras stuck in your head.

Nothing quite like singing “Ra ma da sa” in your head on a loop!

You own multiple pairs of ridiculous leggings.

Would you ever have considered purchasing tie-dye leggings before yoga?

You genuinely feel sad when you miss a class.

You could just really do with some grounding Yin right now!

You care less and less about what people think about you in class (and in general!).

After you’ve gone bowling out of a headstand in front of thirty people, there’s not much more to lose.

You randomly do yoga poses throughout the day.

Almost unconsciously, like when you realise you’re doing a half way lift to pick something up.

Asking you how class was results in a detailed breakdown.

“Oh it was great! I feel like I’m making great progress on my hamstrings. Also, I think my chest is finally opening up!”

Teachers know your name.

Your yoga teachers have stopped asking what your name is to sign you in. They know who the heck you are, you’re here all the time!

You’re a wonderful human being.

Because yogis are lovely!

This Is What Stress Does To Your Physical Fitness

Working late and balancing it out with hardcore fitness sessions? You could actually be damaging your health!

There’s a lot of pressure in the modern day to have it all – successful job, loads of friends, great house, awesome fitness regime. But is the cost of maintaining an Instagram worthy lifestyle worth it? Here are some of the side effects of pushing yourself too hard.

You’re tired all the time (even with enough sleep)

Feelings of stress release cortisol into the bloodstream which effectively readies our bodies for combat – tensed muscles, alert senses and constant expectation of danger leaves you feeling drained and tired, even if you get a solid eight hours. Another consequence of this is general aches and pains alongside headaches.

Your stomach just isn’t quite right

It could be diahorrea, constipation or nausuea – or a combination of all three! Stress triggers the “fight or flight” response of the nervous system, drawing blood away from the digestive system towards the brain and muscles – ready to fight or run away. Although this response is helpful in emergencies, if it becomes a regular occurence, it can totally mess up our digestive health.

You can’t sleep 

The hyperarousal that stress brings can result in difficulty falling asleep – or even trouble waking up after a disturbed night’s sleep. Not everyone under stress finds it hard to sleep, but those who do will be dealing with all of the side effects of sleep deprivation too.

You get colds often

You might have guessed it – all the above symptoms can leave you with a compromised immune system. If you find yourself reaching for the tissues more than four times a year, it’s worth looking at how you can look after yourself a little more.

There are many other physical symptoms of stress – all of them are a call to action (or inaction)! Take some time out – keep up your fitness with grounding classes like Yin and Restorative Recharge and prioritise getting to bed on time (even if you miss that quirky pop-up event you’ve been meaningn to visit). Keep your eyes peeled for tips on how to deal with stress on our blog and social media channels!

4 Embarrassing Moments We’ve All Had In A Yoga Class

Yes, yes, yoga is all about abandoning the ego. But sometimes, you can’t help but feel a little self-conscious next to the yogi who can “float from bakasana into handstand” (I mean, how?!). Here are four very common, very embarrassing moments that have happened to all of us at some point (including to the ultra-fit superheroes of the class).

Falling out of an inversion

It is inevitable that during your practice as you progress onto more advanced asana that you will go bowling across the room into one or several neighbours. Probably right after your teacher warned not to do this asana unless you were confident, in case you knock over people next to you. Brush off, return to your mat and vow to stay upright forever more. Just kidding – if you fell, that means you’re trying your hardest! Well done.

Facing completely the wrong way 

After a long day at work it can be difficult to stay focused, and one day you may realise halfway through a Warrior sequence that literally everyone is facing the other way. Aside from some odd looks from your teacher, who now knows you don’t know your left from your right, there’s the added bonus that you can’t switch halfway through because it would mess up your chakras (or something). Sigh.

Turning up late

Fortunately, MoreYoga teachers understand that we have lives outside of the studio and that being late does happen from time to time. But many of us have experienced the burning glare of a strict teacher when we turn up late to class, creeping to the nearest mat and into Downward Facing Dog like we’d been there the whole time, honest. It could be worse – you could be a guy accidentally setting his mat down in a prenatal class five minutes late (a true story that recently made this MoreYogi chuckle).

Wind

You know it. I know it. We all know it. Yoga makes you fart. And if it doesn’t, then you clearly have phenomenal digestive control. One of the functions of the physical side of yoga is to get rid of that nasty gas – there’s a whole sequence called “The Wind Releasing Series”, for goodness’ sake. If it does happen during class, take comfort in knowing that it’s surprisingly difficult to pinpoint the location of an untimely toot. Unless your teacher is right next to you, in which case you should probable leave immediately and apply for a new identity.

At MoreYoga we understand the blushes and bumbles that come with being human – we promise that if you do any of the above in our studios we won’t laugh (much).

Got any more embarrassing moments we haven’t covered? Message us your stories on Facebook and Instagram for a chance to have them published (Anonymously, of course. We’re not that cruel.)

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!

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.

3 Simple Tips To Clear Out Negativity

As the long, dark nights get shorter and shorter, this is the perfect time for a mental spring clean.

Although it’s not time to bust out the sunnies just yet, things are starting to look decidedly less grey. If you’re still feeling sluggish, these 5 minute practices are sure to blow away any cobwebs and inspire some much needed energy!

Burn it

Super simple, but very cathartic. Write down anything you want to let go of on a piece of paper (a bad memory, a person – anything you want). Fold it up and set it alight in a flameproof bowl or in your kitchen sink (where you can douse the flames if the ritual gets a little to hot to handle!). There’s something about watching those negative vibes burn up into nothing that makes you feel a) free from them and b) like an awesome fire goddess/god.

Sweat it

Now this one should be pretty simple for you yogis out there! Take a class that you know will make you sweat (a la Jivamukti, Rocket or Vinyasa) to release any toxins built up in your body. Dedicate your practice to someone for a mental release – it could be to yourself or it could be to someone that you’re really not seeing eye-to-eye with at the moment. Pounding out the sun salutations is a great way to release any frustration!

Celebrate it

Once you’ve released your old negativity, it’s really important to give yourself a massive pat on the back for doing so. You have just done the most amazing thing for your mental health and you damn well deserve a treat for it. Book a massage, go for a long walk in nature or just bask in your general awesomeness with a tub of Ben & Jerry’s.  Never underestimate what these small steps are doing for you.

These rituals are easy to make part of your routine, but don’t feel like you’ve failed if you don’t do it for a while. Just jump back on the bandwagon and get clearing!

 

5 Tips To Help You Commit To #yogaeverydamnday

#yogaeverydamnday

You must have seen it. The hashtag that has taken over the planet – but what’s the secret behind turning your weekly dash to Jiva into a daily habit?

Here are some tips for home practise and for taking your practise off the mat when the physical side just doesn’t appeal.

  1. Buy a mat.

Seriously. Downward facing dog on the shag carpet is neither safe nor comfortable. If you really want to make a go of it, you’ll be needing a mat. No need for a super duper fancy self-cleaning mat with tassles – just get yourself a basic, comfortable mat for your first foray into home practice.

  1. Make a space for said mat

While you might not be able to create your own mini-studio in your London-sized and priced apartment, make sure that when you do unroll your mat that you’re not surrounded by piles of bills/washed laundry never to be put away. We’re going for zen, darling.

  1. Scented candles or other nice-smelling things

This is a great way to tell your brain, “Hey! It’s yoga time!”. Candles are great so long as they are at a safe distance, and you could also invest in other means of yummy scents, for example Palo Santo, a scented wood you can burn around the house.

  1. Make a schedule

Literally schedule a time for home yoga in your diary and treat it like you would a class in a studio. This is time for you and ain’t no random colleague’s leaving do going to take that away from you. Sometimes you will find that other plans are more appealing – just make sure you give your home practice the same weight you would a studio class.

  1. Take it off the mat

OK, so you’ve tried all of the above and you just can’t say no to that beautiful glass of merlot waiting for you at the end of a long Friday – go ahead and enjoy it! Just take your yoga with you and spread the love. Yoga is not just physical, and small acts of kindness can take your practice to a higher place than you thought possible. Give compliments. Chat with strangers. You’ll feel better, I promise. 

5 Random Acts Of Kindness You Can Do Today

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Imagine the scene: you’ve spilt your artisan matcha latte, your on trend white converse have turned out to be a terrible choice for traversing London in the rain and the tube is rammed. Enter the kind soul who tells you that your matte lip colour totally complements your jumper. Day saved.

Friday 17th February is Random Acts of Kindness Day and believe me – you don’t have to make much effort to take part. Here are seven surefire ways to bring some good karma to the world today.

  1. Pay a stranger a compliment.

Yes, it’s embarrassing at first. But once you’ve taken the plunge and complimented someone on their impressively deep warrior stance or just on their awesome leggings, you’ll be addicted to the sudden smiles you get. You never know how someone’s day is going – you could make a whole world of difference with one small comment that’s as lovely as you are.

  1. Smile at people.

Very simple – just don’t go overboard or people with think you’re coo-coo bananas. Smiles transform both the wearer and the recipient. Who knows? Maybe that cheeky grin will open up some surprising doors for you.

  1. Ask “How are you?” and mean it.

Really listen to the answer as well! People will open up to you in ways you never thought possible and the beautiful thing is they will want to know how you are too. Let’s make small talk interesting again!

  1. Leave a love letter somewhere odd.

This one is from @sharetheloveletters over on Instagram – a beautiful idea that involves writing a nice note and then addressing it to “You. Yes, you!” (a random member of the public). The best part is that it’s anonymous, so you can be super cheesy and none of your cool cynical friends will ever know.

  1. Pay ahead for the next person.

In a coffee shop, on the bus, wherever the vendor will let you do it! You don’t need to break the bank (but if you’re paying ahead at Harrod’s, let me know) – just a simple americano will make the next person feel very special indeed.

Take your pick. The best part? You can do this any day of the week and you’ll find that good karma comes back to you in more ways that you could imagine!

 

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MoreYoga: Your Plank to Upward Dog Form

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Hey all you Super Star Yogis!

Today I thought I’d let you know how to protect your lower back, shoulders, wrists and hips when yo are transitioning from High Plank (Phalakasana) to upward dog Urdha Mukh Svanasana) or the form on the way down, specifically.

So, firstly I’d like to point out that most of you are going down hips first and buckling your chest down with it, losing the integrity and the strength in your arms and core.  not super awesome for your shoulders either.

eg. WRONG

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This was really hard for me to demonstrate… proves the point.
Hips down first collapses your lower back and you don’t build much arm strength.

So! CHEST FIRST! … let’s see… RIGHT

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Strong arms, core intact, back strong and protected and you can slip into your upward dog by rolling over the toes easily as it moves your forward.
Spread you fingers and press into your fingertips to protect your wrists.
Press into the tops of your feet to lift your knees and connect your core.
Lift your hips so you don’t slump into your back.

(While you are going down your arms need to be touching the sides of your body – shoulders away from ears – squeeze elbows together)

If you are tired and/ or building strength.. Go for a modification! any time in your practice or throughout.

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Knees, chest, chin… as we say!
1. Knees down.
2. Collarbones move forward on an inhale.
3. Chest goes down-hips go last like above pic.
4. Slide onto belly

When you get up: chest up-straight arms and then move your hips back.
With your knees down you can put weight on the arms with less force.

Great!  I hope you enjoy your next flow!
Keep well and look after your body!

Written by Claire Alexander

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