Here's your monthly round up of new badgeholders that we've added in May. And really exciting big news--Yoga Quota now has over 100 badgeholders!! We're incredibly proud that we have so many teachers on board committed to spreading yoga to vulnerable groups in their local area. We're always looking for more teachers, so if you're interested in joining, please fill out our badgeholder form.
Here are this month's new badgeholders:
Not sure what to expect from a Gong Bath? Here our guest facilitator Anna shares the scoop on what you'll be doing and the benefits! Anna is leading a Gong Bath at the studio on Saturday 2 June, read more & book now.
Never tried a gong bath? Here’s a bit of insight into the benefits and how it works...
We will begin with some simple breathing exercises to centre ourselves, followed by gentle stretches to help prepare the body for stillness. These are accessible for all and no previous experience of yoga is needed.
Next, the participants will be invited to find a comfortable resting position - this may be savasana, lying on the side or seated. Warm layers, blankets and props such a lavender eye-pillow or a boulster under the knees can help ensure complete comfort for optimal relaxation.
I usually start my sound baths with drumming, using a shamanic drum which I made myself. I also use singing bowls before moving on to the gongs then rounding off with grounding sounds at the to prepare everyone for going back out into the world.
The participants are bathed in waves of sound, which many people find helps them to switch off the ‘monkey mind’ and find inner stillness. Sound waves are, of course, vibrations and therefore act like a touchless massage as they move through the participants.
The immersion in sound during a gong bath can help shift the participants’ brainwaves to a different pattern: from the Beta mode of our normal waking state they may shift into the Alpha state, where the brain is relaxed and receptive - also the mode associated with daydreaming and visualising. Some people experience a shift to Theta brainwaves - the mode associated with deep meditation, dreaming sleep and visions - which may lead to moments of insight, a heightened state of consciousness or a vivid visual experience. Finally there’s Delta brainwaves - the slowest mode, associated with deep sleep. If you shift into Delta mode, the body and mind will benefit from this profound rest and at the end of the experience you’ll awake feeling thoroughly refreshed (so don’t be afraid of falling asleep - it’s just achieving incredibly deep relaxation!)
After sound comes silence: an important part of the experience is feeling the resonance of the vibrations once the sound bath is over. We will then gradually reawaken the senses, coming back to the body, breath and wakeful mind. Finally, there will be an opportunity to share experiences before moving back out into the world. You may feel quite thirsty afterwards so it’s advisable to have a bottle of water by your mat.
Closing off Mental Health Awareness Week, and by popular request, Yoga Quota is thrilled to be offering a new class for referral clients from our charity partners.
Yoga for Wellbeing | Thursdays | 2:30pm
Yoga for Wellbeing will create space for people living with mental health conditions to enjoy a yoga practice with a focus on how specific yoga, breathing & mindfulness techniques can help support common wellbeing concerns. This class will be taught on a rotational basis by an amazing group of Yoga Quota studio teachers and badgeholders. If you think you or someone you know would benefit from Yoga for Wellbeing, then please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you so much for following along with us during Mental Health Awareness week.
For additional resources on mental health visit the Mental Health Helpline list provided by the NHS, which has an extensive list of support for you.
In yoga, we use different breathing techniques (pranayama in sanskrit) for various reasons. Today, we're introducing two different techniques that we typically use to help release stress, since that's the theme for this year's Mental Health Awareness Week. If you've never tried any controlled breathing techniques before, don't worry if it seems difficult at first. Over time and with practice you'll (hopefully) notice your breath becoming smoother, easier, and longer. As with anything, it takes practice so be kind and gentle to yourself.
Three Part Pranayama / Full Yogic
Three-part pranayama is a basic but powerful method for introducing the practice of controlled breathing, and awakening accessory muscles of breath. The goal is to produce a consistent, deep rhythm of breathing, where the inhalations and exhalations are approximately equal in length and volume. Inhalation begins in the pit of the belly, travelling up into the lower half of the rib cage, and finishes in the upper chest beneath the collarbones. Exhalation begins in the collarbones and travels back down through the lower ribcage before ending in the belly.
The breath here does not necessarily have to be audible (in comparison to ujayi), and the focus should be on slow, focussed and controlled movements in the accessory muscles of breath & the diaphragm.
Begin in a comfortable seated position; it may be nice to sit on a block or cushion to elevate the pelvis. Exhale completely, drawing in the abdominal muscles. Inhale from the belly button, puffing the belly out as you do so, continue inhaling into the rib cage, expanding in out in all four directions, finally draw the breath into the upper chest, visualising your collarbones moving apart. As you exhale, let the collarbones come back together, then the rib cage contract, and finally the belly draws back in.
Find a comfortable seated position. Take the index finger and middle finger of your right hand to the space between your eyebrows, letting your thumb rest beside your right nostril and your fourth finger rest beside your left nostril. Close your eyes and exhale through both nostrils. Close your right nostril with your thumb, and inhale through your left nostril. Close your left nostril and exhale through your right nostril. Inhale through your right nostril, and exhale through your left.
This constitutes 1 full round (beginning and ending with the left nostril). You may practice as many rounds as you like — perhaps first aiming for 5-10. Try not to force or push your breath, though you may like to try and breath roughly evenly across both nostrils.
Let us know if you try either of these techniques and what your experience was like in the comments below!