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What is Fitness Yoga?

Yoga Relaxation

Fitness Yoga is my personal preferred form of Yoga, both to teach & to practice.
There are many forms of Yoga & with each form, every instructor is unique & will have their own slant & belief on how it should be interpreted.
I believe that Yoga is about the mind & body, & the unity of them with the breath. Fitness Yoga is a modern form of the ancient tradition, focusing on stretching, strengthening & toning the body using various postures. I believe it should also incorporate meditation, relaxation &/or breathing exercises.

What Will Fitness Yoga Do For Me?
Yoga is not only an exercise, it is a way of life & can benefit your physical & mental health in multiple ways. All forms offer a variety of these benefits; it is purely personal preference for which type you choose. By practicing, you become more aware of yourself: aware of how you feel, your physical well-being & mental health. You can not only improve your physical health but also improve your own willpower & focus, & rid of anxieties & stress. It’s also a great way to lose weight, improve metabolic rate & condition your body.

Who’s It For?
Fitness Yoga is suitable for everyone, & it is never too late to start. I’ve had people in their 70’s who have never practised any form before & who have never been big on exercise. I’ve also taught amateur boxers looking to improve their flexibility & focus their energy. Both extremes found the practice challenging, but achievable & benefit from their sessions. There are also many walks of life in between who I’ve had the pleasure of working with: all ages, shapes, sizes, men & women.

In short, I would describe a Fitness Yoga class as a blend of Hatha Yoga & Pilates. Fitness yogis tend not to get so caught up in the names of asanas, or traditions such as chanting, but instead just enjoy the practice & it’s benefits. I look forward to going into further detail with you about the benefits over the next few months.

www.fitnessyogawithemma.co.uk

Yoga Boat

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No Gym, No Excuse…

Home workouts are a great way to exercise without the hassle of cost, travel or opening hours & they can be equally as effective as a gym workout.

Procrastination is so common when it comes to exercise & health: it’s too hot/wet, party season, diet starts tomorrow, the gym’s shut, I work late. The truth is, the most important thing you can do for yourself is look after your body & your health & you don’t need a gym or copious amounts of equipment to be able to succeed.

By using your body weight only, you can successfully tone, strengthen, burn fat & build muscle. Below are some of my personal favourite moves that can be done in the comfort of your own home, or even hotel room when travelling:-

Plank – My all time number one, favourite move. Planking is an excellent way to improve your core strength, with available options for beginners to prevent injury. It builds strength also in your upper & lower body, so truly is a great full body workout. There are also ways to advance the plank as you develop your strength: 1 leg, 1 arm, add a press up, etc.

Plank

Squats – A great calorie burner as you’re targeting large muscle groups. Squats are also an excellent way to increase lower body strength & again, work the core. Squats help to strengthen your entire body, including bones, muscles & joints, aswell as increasing flexibility. This results in reduced chance of injury, aswell as making you look good!

Squat

Half Bridge – An excellent posture to practice after doing planks; a half bridge can improve posture & prevent/improve back pain. It’s also a great move for working the glutes & hamstrings, strengthening the core & energising the body.

Half Bridge

Reverse Plank – As a plank freak, I also love the reverse plank (yes, & side too!). It strengthens your glutes, hamstrings, abs, lower back, shoulders, triceps & of course your core – what’s not to like?! Again, there are options for beginners (bent legs, on forearms) & developments for when you are more advanced, so it is great for a whole range of abilities.

Reverse Plank

HIIT It Hard

This week’s blog is vastly different from last week’s, as I concentrate on HIIT workouts for weight loss. Every week we’ll be looking at differing parts of fitness. Feel free to give me a nudge if there’s anything you’d like to read about in future weeks.

Are you looking to burn fat & lose weight & not scared about working up a sweat to get there? If so, HIIT could be for you.

You don’t need to spend hours & hours on cardio workouts, if you work out at a high intensity properly.

High Intensity Interval Training (often referred to as HIIT for short), is a style of exercise where you alternate between a short burst of extreme effort, followed by a short rest period to catch your breath & recover. This improves your metabolic rate by pushing your personal limits, resulting in improved fitness & weight loss.

You need to be working out to a degree where you can no longer hold a comfortable conversation – really push yourself, knowing you’ll get your recovery time soon. This trains your body to work anaerobically, helping you to become more efficient at producing & using energy. This increases your body’s fat burning potential, meaning that even for up to 24 hours after your workout, your body can still be burning fat. Just to reiterate though, the key is pushing yourself HARD (90%) on those intervals.

Obviously, HIIT workouts are not suitable for everybody & it’s always a good idea to check with your GP before starting any new exercise regime. Once you get the all clear, get going. Below is a short, simple workout to get you started, where all you need is a watch & your own body!!

Remember to warm up, cool down & stretch!!

  • 45 Secs – High Knees
  • 30 Secs – Tuck Jumps
  • 30 Secs – Rest
  • 45 Secs – Plank
  • 30 Secs – Mountain Climber
  • 30 Secs – Rest
  • 45 Secs – Moving Squats
  • 30 Secs – Jump Squats
  • 30 Secs – Rest
  • 45 Secs – Left Split Squat
  • 30 Secs – Jumping Lunge
  • 30 Secs – Rest
  • 45 Secs – Right Split Squat
  • 30 Secs – Jumping Lunge
  • 30 Secs – Rest

Complete 3-5 Rounds

 

Good luck, enjoy & reap the benefits!

Yoga for Therapy

Crying is a natural release of emotion. Often, this release can make us feel better, although perhaps uncomfortable at the time if tears come in the middle of a class.

People who suffer from depression, anxiety, or people who have developed bad breathing habits, are commonly shallow breathers. Yoga teaches you to breathe deeply, to tune into your breath, body & emotions. This can cause a rush of emotion & can result in tears or feelings of being overwhelmed. Crying is a natural release & is nothing to feel ashamed or embarrassed of. Yoga can help to get to the root of the bad feeling; or sometimes there may be no apparent reason for the tears. Just let them be, allow the release & know you are making yourself stronger in mind.

Yoga has many benefits. We’re frequently shown how it can improve posture, flexibility & fitness. Yoga also encourages us to pause from the rat race of our lives & listen to ourselves: listen to our body, our thoughts & experience the moment. This is a positive for our mental health. You allow yourself to feel & to notice things that you would usually push aside or that would go unnoticed. Yoga is therapy.

Different postures trigger different responses from different people. However, if we were to stereotype, it’s often the more restorative positions that can generate the most emotional response. Pigeon, cobra, bow & savasana can help to release emotions, as well as the deep breathing exercises often practised.

  • Emotional pain from the past often lingers in the hip flexors. Practice pigeon pose to release this tension & challenge your hips.
  • Heartbreak & depression is commonly released when we open the heart & stretch the chest, demonstrated in camel pose. Camel can be known to make you cry or giggle, as tensions release.
  • Resting poses encourage your thoughts, which is why they can provoke an emotional response. Relax in savasana & allow your mind & body to release all tensions.

So, if you’re feeling down, why not treat yourself to the gift of yoga…the gift of time for you…& if you need to, allow those tears to fall as you practice. Finish with a smile, knowing you are improving yourself mentally, as well as physically.

 

Namaste.

The Beginning

I’m Emma, a 30 year old, soon-to-be mother of 3. I’m self employed & run local fitness classes, specialising in fitness yoga. 

I’m one of those ‘lucky people’ who enjoys keeping fit & staying in shape, but I do also enjoy chocolate, cake & wine!!! 

My ambition through my fitness company is to encourage ‘normal’ people to enjoy exercise & find something that they can stick to & that works for them. Fitness yoga is a great way to get into/back into exercise, improve your performance if you’re a keen athlete & prevent injury…amongst many other things, which I will discuss in the coming weeks.

So, welcome to my blog!!! I plan to share with you various postures, relaxation techniques, weight loss tips & benefits of exercise.

I hope you all enjoy. Thank you for reading. 😘