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Increase your mobility & flexibility through Gentle Yoga....

Updated: Apr 18, 2023

If you search for images of people doing Yoga, you may see people contorting themselves into very bendy, pretzel-like positions. This view of Yoga has skyrocketed over the last 10 years or so and sends totally the wrong message about what Yoga is.

Yoga is a mental, physical and spiritual practice, that aims to support our overall wellbeing and help us live a healthy and full life, with a balanced approach. Yoga aims to provide us with inner wisdom, knowledge and understanding which allows us to accept, be present and aware of our experiences. We can then choose to respond in more open ways to situations, rather than react negatively and cause unnecessary tension in the body, mind and Spirit.

Lots of people come to Yoga for the physical practice; to build strength or to increase flexibility, as that is the image portrayed and lots of the movements practiced in Yoga can assist with this. Yoga Asana can contribute to increasing range of movement in the joints and flexibility of the muscles, and of course this is an amazing benefit as it assists with being able to move more freely and maintain our independence, which can make us more content and at peace with ourselves. Over-stretching and forcing your body into positions, won’t do you any good in the long run. Yoga is meant to show us a healthy way of living and builds our awareness to ensure we're looking after ourselves and each other. Over time, continuous forcing, pushing and stretching can lead to injuries, pain, stiffness & tight muscles, so it's important to be mindful of how you are moving in and out of postures, how far you are going with a movement and if it's ego taking you there or a healthy amount of 'discipline'.

Keep in mind as you practice Yoga Asana, that alongside the other aspects of Yoga such as Pranayama (breathing Techniques), Mudra (Hand Gestures), Bandhas (Energy locks), it's a tool for creating space and removing blockages so that Prana (Universal Energy / Life Force) can flow freely around an individuals body. Think of it as extending and improving your own vital energy to overall improve your health and wellbeing.

In the Gentle Yoga practices I offer, we aim to move slowly, tuning into the sensations deep within our body and connecting the breath to assist with our movements; in turn encouraging the release of tension and tightness in our muscles and increasing our range of movement over time. This is inspired by Somatic movement, an internal focusing practice thats helps us relearn behaviours and habits that we have created in our body, that could be causing us pain or tension. This is something I’ve been learning more about over the past year and have been integrating into my own physical practice to help ease overworked muscles and make deeper connections between my brain and my body.

Why do we seize up and become stiff?

When we sit still for long periods of time, or don’t move our body often enough, we may notice that we become stiff and our range of movement is reduced. When we move, we produce more synovial fluid, and this fluid is important for lubricating our joints and reducing friction between your bones. Arthritis can be a symptom of too little synovial fluid, and we can also produce too much.

If we lead a more sedentary lifestyle, or have an injury which stops us moving around as much, we also experience a build up of Fascia, but this isn't something we can see as it's a thin casing of connective tissue which runs under our skin throughout our entire body, surrounding our muscles, groups of muscles, joints, blood vessels, nerves, organs and cells; it essentially holds us together. Fascia is supposed to be slippery and glide easily which helps us move more freely, but over time, it can become gummy and thick, leading to a stiff feeling in the body. We might feel this when we wake up in the morning, after lying fairly still in bed, our fascia has started to build up, or our synovial fluid has reduced. When you next wake up in the morning, make a note of how your body feels.... Perhaps try some gentle stretches and movements through your joints to help lubricate the joints, even massaging your muscles can breakdown Fascia.

A regular (daily) practice of mindfully moving through all of your joints, ensuring you aren't forcing or pushing, can help to maintain and even increase your flexibility and mobility for years to come. It's also important to keep your muscles strong, which assists with keeping your joints stable and supporting your mobility. This is incredibly useful for completing daily tasks that can become more of a challenge as we get older, if we don't keep up the movement!

Practice Gentle Yoga with me....

Gentle Yoga Practices with me, include a mindful journey around the body; focused joint movement; twisting, extension (gentle back bending) and flexion (forward folding) of the spine, careful consideration when moving through hips and knees, encouraging deep breathing to calm the nervous system, enhance lung capacity, provide fresh oxygen all around the body and using the breath to release tension. I include lying down, seated and standing movements to add variety and mimic our day to day lives, for example bending down to pick something up, reaching up high, turning around to see behind us. I also include movements to help build strength, such as lunges, planks and balances. We explore and have a laugh! You are advised to do only what feels best for you, that doesn't mean you have to do everything I say. Somethings will work and some won't, but I always try to give options and variations so that everyone is joining in!

Sessions vary to encourage a wide variety of movements and include meditation, relaxation and Yogic philosophy.

We don’t need to forcefully stretch to increase range of movement, or be able to do the splits and bend over backwards, regular daily movement, that focuses on the range of movements that the body is designed to do, whilst taking into consideration your own individual needs, can be enough.

Where to find me....

Spaces are limited! Do contact me for more information or to be added to the waiting list;

With Gratitude, Sophie x

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