Privacy

Privacy Statement – 2018

Information held

  • Enquiries from non-customers – message, name and email address – received via our website or by email – held for up to a year, and used to answer query and follow up.
  • Mailing list – name and email address – populated by people registering on our website, or opting in on an enquiry form. People completing a health declaration are added to the mailing list so they can be kept in touch with class information, but all mailings have opt out link – indefinitely, but opt out link on each mailing.
  • Health and registration forms from students – name, contact details and health information – completed via our website or in class – used for class management, and held for at least seven years for insurance purposes.
  • Attendance registers – data collected in class – used for class management, and held for at least seven years for insurance purposes.
  • Notes on classes and sessions – data collected in class – used for class management, and held for at least seven years for insurance purposes.
  • Emails – sent from clients and non-clients. Important messages are saved in our filing system, otherwise emails retained for up to two years.
  • Payment data, excluding card information which we do not receive at any time. Received via accounting and banking systems, and saved for at least seven years for accounting and tax obligations.
  • Website cookies set automatically by our software. We do not knowingly access these or pass to third parties.
  • Except where required by law, we do not share data with third parties or sell contact lists.

For queries about Data Protection, please contact hello@catherinemitchellyoga.co.uk

Sun piercing breath

Winter is a lovely time to embrace the natural stillness of the season, helping us to feel grounded, look inwards, reflect and reconnect with what we hold dear. It can sometimes, however, leave us feeling unmotivated and lethargic. If you find yourself lacking in zing, Surya Bhedana or ‘sun piercing breath’ is a lovely pranayama exercise for activating our sun energy, helping us to feel energised and awake.sun winter

  1. Come to a comfortable seated position (a chair is fine too!).
  2. Rest your left hand in your lap or somewhere comfortable.
  3. Bring your right hand into Vishnu Mudra (see right), by bringing your first two fingers towards the palm of your hand. Your right thumb will rest lightly on your right nostril, your ring and little fingers will rest lightly on your left nostril.vishnu mudra
  4. If comfortable, close your eyes.
  5. Inhale deeply through both nostrils and exhale deeply through both nostrils.
  6. Gently close your left nostril (with your two fingers) and inhale through your right nostril.
  7. Close your right nostril with your thumb and release your fingers to exhale through your left nostril.
  8. Continue for up to three minutes, inhaling through your right nostril and exhaling through your left.
  9. Finish by exhaling through your left nostril before releasing your right hand to your lap.
  10. Allow your breath to return to normal and pause for a moment before opening your eyes, observing how you feel.

Change of venue for Sunday 13th December

This Sunday we make our annual pilgrimage up the hill to the Temperance hall for our vinyasa flow class, 9:00-10:30am while the ZedShed is full of seasonal goodies for the Christmas market. It’s easy to get to, walk up the hill into Penryn (opposite the front of the ZedShed) and it’s on the right of the clocktower. See you there… KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Why practise yoga?

mat and malaThere are so many reasons to practise yoga. In fact you might get a different reason from everyone in a room full of yogis. Some might come to stretch and balance out strength gained through other exercise, others for relaxation or to manage stress. Some might be drawn to the mindfulness or meditative aspect and for others, perhaps they just feel better after class. But if you are still unsure whether yoga is for you, have a read below and see what you think, but of course the best way to tell is to try a class and feel for yourself.

  • Your body will appreciate it: The physical postures, or asanas as they are known in Sanskrit, help improve core strength and flexibility. Easing out tight muscles helps us to be more easeful in our bodies as we literally unfurl from being curled in on ourselves. Strengthening a whole range of muscles we may not use or even be aware of in our day-to-day lives gives us the deep core strength to keep our bodies open and comfortable as well as warding off common complaints such as lower back pain. Yoga also reaches all sorts of muscles we may not use in our daily lives, stretching and strengthening them and improving circulation all around the body. Circulation of the blood and allowing energy to flow more freely leaving you feeling energised and revitalised afterwards.
  • It increases awareness of the breath: Yoga isn’t yoga without the breath. In fact you could say that all the asanas (postures) we do are to open up the body (and hold it comfortably open) in order to breathe more deeply. The breath is amazing. It brings oxygen into the body. Knowing how to breathe deeply can maximise the amount of oxygen you breathe in and carbon dioxide you breathe out, improving a whole range of natural bodily functions as a result, from our energy levels and how well our muscles work to the functioning of our cardiovascular and nervous systems. In yoga philosophy, it’s also how we channel Prana, (our ‘life-force’, also known as Chi in Chinese medicine). Because the breath happens unconsciously, it’s easy to overlook, but it has such a profound effect on how we feel, emotionally as well as physically. Yoga helps us to make space in the body to breathe and to do so consciously and fully. If you do any other sports, you may find that increased awareness on your breath through yoga, helps your performance elsewhere too.
  • It helps you feel happy! Yoga helps stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system in the body. This is the relax, restore, repair and digest part of our nervous system which helps our bodies to function optimally, in contrast with the sympathetic nervous system which releases adrenaline so we can take flight or fight. Studies in India have also shown that yoga (including pranayama, or breathing exercises and meditation) helps boost the feel good hormone, serotonin and reduces the production of stress hormone cortisol.
  • It helps us focus: Yoga incorporates a range of tools to help us still the monkey mind, so named as it bounces from one thing to the next, chattering away all the while. Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras tell us that ‘Yoga stills the mind’ yoga chitta vritti nirodha in Sanskrit. Vritti meaning turnings or ‘whirlpool’. Yoga stills the churning of our thoughts that make it hard to see or think clearly. Using the breath, keeping the gaze still, learning to hold balancing postures all help us to develop focus and concentration which in turn make it easier to make decisions and live our lives the way we want to.
  • It’s relaxing: Definitely not last, nor least: it’s relaxing. Yoga and in particular Ujjayi breathing (deep, conscious breathing where we engage the back of the throat) stimulates the Vagus nerve that starts in the skull and wanders all around the body sending signals to the nervous system encouraging the body to relax. The body needs to relax in order to maintain not just a healthy heart rate and blood pressure, but all the other bodily functions which work better when we don’t have stress hormones coursing through our blood, putting us into emergency mode. Using the breath, holding postures steadily, drawing our mind into the present moment and of course Savasana (the final relaxation at the end of class) all help the body to relax and the mind to feel calm and centred.

 

Ujjayi, the Victorious breath

lotus mindHave you ever been asked to start ‘Ujjayi breathing’ in a yoga class and wondered what that was? Or perhaps you’ve heard students around you breathing like Darth Vader and wondered why? Ujjayi is a staple Pranayama (breathing) technique and often used in vinyasa or Ashtanga yoga classes, but what is it and how do you do it?

What is it?

Ujjayi is often translated from the Sanskrit to mean ‘victorious’. Like most (but not all) breaths in yoga, you inhale and exhale through the nose, but with Ujjayi you gently engage, or constrict, the back of the throat. As you breathe, the breath vibrates softly making a hhhhhh sound on both the inhalations and the exhalations. It is sometimes called oceanic breath as the sound echoes the calming sound of the sea lapping in and out on the shore.

Why use it?

  • Soothes the nervous system: Gently constricting the back of the throat allows the breath to naturally become longer. Long, slow, rhythmic breathing calms the nervous system and helps to tone the vagus nerve (as the lungs expand against it) which sends messages around the body from the brain, encouraging it to relax.
  • Energises: Ujjayi breath energises as well as relaxes. It warms the breath as it enters the body, in turn helping to warm the body and prepares it for asanas, or postures.
  • Focuses the mind: Ujjayi is a conscious breath. Keeping your mind focussed on Ujjayi and the soothing sound of the breath has a calming effect and helps keep the mind focused and steady. When we lose our focus, the Ujjayi stops. When we notice that we can no longer hear the soft rhyhmn of the breath, we can gently re-engage the throat and come back to the breath.
  • Helps build endurance: It’s a great breath to turn to when you are holding a challenging pose on the yoga mat, or when you are faced with challenges or stressful situations off the mat, in your daily life. Taking a moment to regulate the breath and focus the mind calms nerves and keeps us steady when we need it most.

Tips for Ujjayi

  • Allow you breath to become relaxed first.
  • It should feel calming and soothing. It requires some effort, but not too much. If the breath feels strained, see if you can soften the throat to allow the breath to be relaxed and smooth.
  • It should be deep. Without straining, allow the breath to fill the lungs completely on the inhalation and empty the lungs completely on the exhalation.
  • If your mind wanders and you find it hard to keep Ujjayi breath going, don’t worry. It will become natural with practice.

Not just for yoga classes

Although traditionally practised on the yoga mat to help link different postures in flowing styles of yoga, Ujjayi can be used any time to help calm the nerves or focus the mind. Try it and see…

Five reasons to try Yin yoga:

  1. It helps increase flexibility.mala
  2. It is a perfect complement to other styles of yoga, not just through increased flexibility but by bringing a little Yin (calm, meditative focus) to your Yang (dynamic yoga or other sports) practice.
  3. It is a lovely combination of yoga and mindfulness meditation.
  4. It helps us to recognise repetitive thought patterns and start to consciously change the ones that no longer serve us.
  5. It’s a deeply calming practice.

What is Yin yoga?

Yin yoga evolved from Daoist Yoga and draws on the wisdom of Chinese medicine. It is a quiet, still, passive practice that complements a more dynamic or active ‘Yang’ style of yoga (or other activities). Seated or supine (lying down) poses are held for several minutes at a time to allow the body to come to stillness, open up and relax. It’s a great way to help increase flexibility and mobility in the joints and to really get into some of the knotty, tight fascia making us stiff. If you are new to fascia, it’s a collagen web that runs through our bodies, through muscle, tendons and ligaments and even through bones. It’s the stuff that keeps all of our organs separate and in the right places. When we move and stretch, the fascia is lubricated and stretches to accommodate the range of movement we need. If, on the other hand, we stay sitting or hunched over a computer for much of the day, then our fascia tightens and restricts to that shape. If we don’t move, stretch and lubricate those areas, then it can remain tight and get harder (collagen is crystalline in structure) over time. Harder in consistency and harder to change, restricting our range of movement, healthy energy flow in the body and overall physical comfort.

This is where Yin yoga comes in. Where ‘yang’ (most other) yoga styles target the muscles to build strength and increase flexibility, Yin yoga targets the fascia and other connective tissues (e.g. in the joints) through very gentle, passive and long held stretches. If you’ve always thought that you shouldn’t stretch joints, you are right, in the sense of traditional stretching, or active pulling. But Yin works in a different, much slower, way. Paul Grilley evolved Yin Yoga into what we know it as today and he explains it this way, “We must remember that connective tissue is different from muscle and needs to be exercised differently. Instead of the rhythmic contraction and release that best stretches muscle, connective tissue responds best to a slow, steady load. If you gently stretch connective tissue by holding a yin pose for a long time, the body will respond by making them a little longer and stronger—which is exactly what you want.”

In other words, when we practice Yin yoga, the stretches are passive. There is no active pulling our body into a pose and we use props to support our bodies in the poses. We remain within our natural range of motion and don’t risk injury by pulling too far. As we stay in the poses for anywhere from 1-20 minutes, but usually 3-5 minutes, the body gradually opens up to the new shape, increasing circulation, and lubricating the targeted areas.

Yin yoga doesn’t just help stretch you out again, at the very deepest levels of connective tissues, but an energetic level, different Yin yoga poses stimulate various meridians, or energy channels (also known as nadis in Indian yoga philosophy) in the body to increase the quality and flow of Chi (traditionally called Prana in yoga theory). Lots of fascinating research is just starting into fascia, how it works and whether it’s actually more important than previously thought (when it was discarded by medical schools examining how the body worked). Daniel Keown has written a fascinating book called the Spark in the Machine which explains how collagen can both transmit and create electrical signals and send these throughout the body via our fascia. What scientists are starting to notice is that fascia follows meridians in the body as described in Chinese medicine. And the electrical impulses transmitted by the fascia could actually be Chi, our vital energy.

This sounds great, but what do you do for all that time you are holding the pose? The challenge is to find stillness and remain in that stillness for the length of the hold. At the same time the yogi is challenged to bring their awareness into the present moment, into the posture, into their body, to their breath, and to any thoughts or emotions as they arise. “It marries meditation and asana into a very deep practice,” says renowned Yin teacher Sarah Powers, “Yin yoga challenges you to sit in the pure presence of awareness. It’s hard in a different way than active asana practice, but in a way that’s more profound and satisfying as well as more beneficial to the deeper tissues.”

We can think of this inner work, this inner attention, as the white dot of Yang (mental alertness) within the calm passivity of our Yin posture (see the Yin / Yang symbol). In the same way, a regular Yin practice (which should always complement, rather than replace a Yang practice) can help us to bring a sense of inner calm as we flow through a sweaty vinyasa sequence (or however we choose to exercise our muscles), just as the black dot of Yin sits within the white swirl of Yang.

Fancy starting pre-natal yoga? What do you need to know…?

pregnancy yoga

Why do yoga when you are pregnant?

Midwives often recommend yoga to mums-to-be, but what are the benefits?

Pre-natal yoga can help you:

  • spend time focusing on your baby and bond.
  • build strength to carry your baby in your womb, strength for labour and post-birth recovery.
  • open up your body, especially the hips, for childbirth.
  • increase body awareness and provide ways to manage a range of physical discomforts that can crop up during pregnancy.
  • connect to your breath and use it to feel calm, manage emotional ups and downs and during childbirth (including caesarean births).
  • have a range of tools you can use to cope with changes and flourish in your new life as a mother.

I already do yoga, can I continue my regular class?

If you are an experienced yogi and have an established practice over many years, then you may wish to continue your regular yoga practice if your teacher and midwife are happy for you to do so. You will need to speak to your teacher and tell them that you are pregnant and heed their advice. Some styles are less suitable for pregnancy than others and you will need to be mindful of your joints as the hormone relaxin makes your joints looser. You will need to modify some poses and avoid others entirely and you may find the focus of your practice changes. Now is a time for maintaining strength and flexibility and listening to your body, rather than experimenting with new yoga moves. On the other hand you may find that as your physical practice becomes more gentle, you are able to go deeper with the inner focus of your practice. Enjoy the journey!

How does pre-natal yoga differ?

Pre-natal yoga is designed specifically for the pregnant women. Poses focus on creating the space, strength and stability to support you through your pregnancy and birth. Even if you are an experienced yogini, you will find new breathing and mindfulness techniques to complement an existing yoga practice and time to bond with your baby.

What to expect in a class?

You just need to bring yourself, comfy clothes and something to drink. We have mats and all the props we need at the studio to make you comfortable. Classes cover breathing and meditation practices, gentle stretches to iron out aches and pains and keep you feeling easeful (or as easeful as possible!) in your body, and specific exercises to build strength for giving birth (and carrying your baby, both in your womb, and later in your arms!).

I have symphysis pubis dysfunction, can I still practice yoga?

SPD (symphysis pubis dysfunction), or Pelvic Girdle Pain as it’s also known, is an acute pain in your pelvis. Pregnancy hormones cause the ligaments joining the pelvis to soften, bring instability to that area. It can be very painful. If you experiencing any symptoms that you think might be SPD, speak to your healthcare professional as soon as possible as it can be managed. Please also let your yoga teacher know. You will be able to continue classes, but there are some poses which won’t be suitable. Your yoga teacher will be able to provide alternatives and poses to help.

Come along to a class at Falmouth Yoga Space, 11:00am-12:00pm on Mondays to try for yourself. Suitable for women in their second trimester (14 weeks) onwards.

 

Latest timetable…

class picNew timetable for June…

I’m now teaching an additional vinyasa class on Monday mornings at Falmouth Yoga Space (9:30am) followed by a pre-natal class at 11:00am (suitable from 14 weeks onwards).

And…my Wednesday classes are moving to Thursdays. Vinyasa at 6:15pm and a lovely mellow Yin class at 7:30pm full of long held, passive, floor poses to help increase flexibility and allow you to leave feeling relaxed. Both at Falmouth Yoga Space on Killigrew Street in Falmouth.

 

 

Yin and Yang workshop 27 June

yin yang 2Want to bring a little Yin to your Yang?

Come along to this workshop to explore how embracing the cooler, calmer, or ‘yin’ side of yoga can help transform body and mind, practiced by itself or when paired with a more active or ‘yang’ style of yoga or indeed other sporting activities.

This workshop will provide an introduction to Yin if you have never tried it before using passive, long held, seated postures. Yin yoga helps increase flexibility, mobility in the joints, calms the nervous system and restores energy. This workshop will start with a yin practice, buld up to a vinyasa or ‘yang’ practice in the middle, before cooling back down to finish with yin again.

Through the session we will explore way to harness and blend the benefits of each practice.

Saturday 27 June 2015, Falmouth Yoga Space.

Please book: 07961076348

hello@catherinemitchellyoga.co.uk

 

 

Headstand and Crow Workshop 25 April

headstand

Saturday 25 April 2015, 2-4pm

ZedShed, Penryn

Always wanted to be upside-down? Come, play and build your self-confidence.

Headstand is described as the ‘King of Asanas’, but it’s not always easy to learn in a regular class. This two hour workshop will teach you easy steps for building your strength and self-confidence to come up into this wonderful inversion. We will play with balances such as crow and firefly on the way.

Anyone fairly new to yoga is welcome as well as experienced practitioners although some experience is useful. Not suitable for pregnant women. If you have any injuries, please contact me in advance.

£12 in advance or £15 on the day

Book now at

Catherine@barefoot-yoga.co.uk

07961076348