Yoga

Exploring the Depths of Yoga through a Journey of Personal Growth

Yoga practice has been my companion for over a decade now. Although I’ve tried various styles like Aero and Acro yoga (did you know there are over 21 styles of yoga?), it’s the simplicity and depth of traditional yoga that keeps calling me back: Pranayama (breath work), asanas (physical practice), and dhyana (meditation). There are another 5 limbs of yoga, but that’s something for another article. Reflecting on my journey, I realise that when I first started practising, my focus was mainly on mastering the poses, or asanas. But over time, my yoga journey has become about so much more. It’s become a means for me to connect with my inner self and explore the depths of my spirit. One of the most valuable lessons yoga has taught me is humility. Being surrounded by yogis who effortlessly flow through challenging poses could easily lead to feelings of inadequacy. But instead, I’ve learned to look at them with admiration rather than envy. I’ve come to understand that my journey is unique and that every step, no matter how challenging, is a part of my growth. My yoga journey hasn’t been without obstacles. A hip injury once stopped my practice for two years. But through patience and perseverance, guided by the principles of Vairagya and Abhyasa, I’ve not only healed but also regained strength and flexibility. Vairagya, often translated as detachment, refers to the ability to let go of attachments and aversions. It’s about creating a mindset of non-attachment to outcomes, allowing oneself to surrender to the present moment without being overly influenced by desires or fears. Abhyasa, on the other hand, is the practice of perseverance. It’s the commitment to showing up on the mat, even when faced with challenges or setbacks. Through the practice, I not only regained my physical strength and flexibility but also cultivated a deeper understanding of myself and my relationship with yoga. I even became a Yoga Teacher and am now sharing the art of yoga with the communities in my local city of Sheffield. My ultimate goal? To maintain this vitality well into my later years – to still be able to bend down and tie my own shoelaces when I’m eighty! A central aspect of yoga is learning to listen to our bodies. It’s about tuning in, observing our sensations, and responding with kindness and awareness. This practice of self-awareness extends beyond the mat, offering valuable insights into our thoughts, emotions, and actions. I am currently in the wonderful process of learning how to understand my emotions and how our bodies communicate their needs to us. Unfortunately, we often become detached from our bodies and emotions, becoming too attached to our thoughts. As OSHO once said, “The world is nothing but your own magnified mind.” It is a deep thought, making me realise that ‘Where there is NO THOUGHT there is no problem’. We create the world around us by speaking and thinking specific words. ‘Where there is NO THOUGHT there is no problem’. I can tell you that one of the most difficult skills to obtain in your personal development journey is the ability to become an observer, observing your own thoughts. See them thoughts as if they were clouds, coming and going… I’m very grateful for the guidance of all of my yoga teachers. Their wisdom and compassion have not only helped me progress in my physical practice but have also nurtured my soul, helping me to create a deeper connection to yoga and to myself. While many instructors are wonderful at guiding physical movements, only a select few have the ability to touch the soul. Through my yoga practice, I’ve experienced this profound transformation – a journey of self-discovery, growth, and inner peace. In essence, yoga practice isn’t just about performing poses; it’s a philosophy, a way of life. It’s a journey of exploration and self-discovery that transcends physical boundaries and opens the door to profound personal growth and connection. 🙏✨ Namaste

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A Guide to Chakra-themed Yoga Classes for Holistic Wellness

In the world of yoga and wellness, chakras are like hidden energy hubs within us. They’re not something we can touch or see, but they play a big role in how we feel. Picture them as little energy wheels spinning away, helping to keep us balanced and connected. While some might think of them as existing on another level, like in another dimension, I don’t mind using that idea. It’s like imagining something beyond what we can see with our eyes or detect with our machines. It’s not about proving anything; it’s just about being open to different ways of understanding the world. Think about it this way: Back in the day, scientists couldn’t even imagine things like radio waves, let alone all the tiny particles that make up everything around us. Our understanding keeps growing, and who knows what we’ll discover next? It’s a bit like how yoga helps us explore new things about ourselves, always evolving and learning along the way. In my yoga classes, I like bringing in the idea of chakras. Each week, we focus on a different one, using poses, colours, and mantras to help us get to know them better. In this article, we will explore the significance of each chakra and provide practical guidance on how to incorporate chakra themes into yoga and mindfulness classes, promoting holistic well-being and spiritual growth. Understanding the Chakras: There are seven main chakras located along the spine, each with its own special qualities. They start at the base of the spine and go up from there: Root Chakra (Muladhara): Located at the base of the spine, the root chakra governs our sense of stability, security, and survival instincts. Colour: Red. Mantra: “LAM” Sacral Chakra (Svadhisthana): Situated in the lower abdomen, the sacral chakra is associated with creativity, pleasure, and emotional well-being. Colour: Orange, Mantra: “VAM” Solar Plexus Chakra (Manipura): Found in the upper abdomen, the solar plexus chakra represents personal power, confidence, and self-esteem. Colour: Yellow, Mantra: “RAM” Heart Chakra (Anahata): Positioned at the centre of the chest, the heart chakra is the seat of love, compassion, and emotional balance. Colour: Green Mantra: “YAM” Throat Chakra (Vishuddha): Located in the throat region, the throat chakra governs communication, self-expression, and authenticity. Colour: Blue, Mantra: “HAM” Third Eye Chakra (Ajna): Situated between the eyebrows, the third eye chakra is associated with intuition, insight, and inner wisdom. Colour: Indigo, Mantra: “OM”  Crown Chakra (Sahasrara): Positioned at the top of the head, the crown chakra represents spiritual connection, enlightenment, and universal consciousness. Colour: Violet or White. Mantra: “OM” or Silence.  Incorporating Chakra Themes into Your Classes: Begin with a brief introduction, explaining the location of the specific chakra, the colour associated with it, and its responsibilities. Chakra-focused Asanas: In your classes introduce poses that specifically target each chakra. For example, grounding poses like Warrior II Pose  and Mountain Pose can activate the root chakra, while hip-opening poses like Goddess Pose can stimulate the sacral chakra. Pranayama and Breath work: Incorporate pranayama techniques such as alternate nostril breathing (Nadi Shodhana) to balance the flow of energy through the nadis (energy channels) and activate the chakras. Encourage students to focus their breath on the area corresponding to each chakra, bringing balance and harmony. Chakra Meditation and Visualisation: Guide your students through a chakra meditation where they focus on each energy centre sequentially, visualising a corresponding colour and affirmations. Encourage them to visualise a bright red light at the base of the spine for the root chakra, a vibrant orange light in the lower abdomen for the sacral chakra, and so on. Chakra-themed Affirmations: Integrate chakra-themed affirmations into your class to reinforce positive energy and intentions. For example, affirmations like “I am grounded and secure” for the root chakra, “I embrace my creativity and joy” for the sacral chakra, and “I speak my truth with clarity and authenticity” for the throat chakra can empower students to connect with their inner selves. Using chakra themes in yoga classes helps students connect to their bodies, minds, and spirits, it allows for the holistic approach to wellness and self discovery. By exploring the wisdom of the chakras, we can create experiences that are transformative and enriching, both on and off the mat. So let’s keep exploring and learning together, one chakra at a time.

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From Doubt to Discovery

Last year, I had a tough time. I came back from India, where I became a yoga teacher, and found myself at home not exactly knowing which directions I wanted to go…  I didn’t want to go back to coaching 35+ clients in the office or over the phone. Becoming a yoga teacher seemed daunting because, how do you even do that?! Then, one sunny day in May last year, when my head was full of ‘black clouds’ and confusion I sat in a café with my laptop and typed ‘Yoga teacher job in Sheffield.’  The Virgin gym popped up, saying, ‘We are looking for yoga teachers, apply here.’ My body felt the hunch. I clicked the button, sent my certificate, and applied. For the next two months, I heard nothing, so I lost hope and forgot about it. At the end of July, I received an email: ‘Thanks for your application, send us a 10-minute video of you leading a yoga class.’ I was fortunate that through my coaching practice, I’d guided others on overcoming the fear of being on camera for years, so that was easy. I quickly put together a 10-minute sequence and submitted it. Weeks passed with no response. At the end of August, I received a message saying I was invited to Virgin training for teachers. I was over the moon! Yet, at the training, doubts flooded in when they told me the classes held up to 38 students.  ‘Are you mad?’ I thought. ‘How the hell am I going to lead classes with so many humans?’  It’s true what they say: ‘The fear has big eyes.’  It was scary to put myself out there. I had to fly to see my family before starting this adventure and get some mental support. I’m glad I did, as my dad shared some great stories from when he led a team in his job. Taking a leap of faith and jumping off the cliff always feels scary, even for someone like me who has been working on personal development for the last 18 years. It never gets easier; our mindset just gets stronger.  I know it’s only when you reach that tipping point of ‘oh shit’ that you can pivot to the other side of fear. That’s why I just joined Flight Yogi School—to get even better at the ‘oh shit’ stuff. As a mindset, body and spirituality coach, I know from personal experience that having the support of like-minded people can elevate you to levels you could never reach alone. It is not just about learning how to do inversion poses, but rather about exploring your own fears, limiting beliefs and getting rid of all that conditioning of : “why I shouldn’t do that, bs*.”  I have a huge vision for my life of sharing the magic of yoga and personal development with other humans.  This is where the idea of Mindset, Body, and Spirituality coaching came from. My coaching has always revolved around these principles, but now we meet on the mat, working together through everything that needs addressing. Guided by a personalised program co-created after an initial consultation, this package goes beyond fitness. I integrate coaching sessions to provide support and insights, addressing life’s challenges and fostering holistic growth. If you’re seeking a condensed yet comprehensive approach to self-discovery, this MIND, BODY, SPIRITUALITY YOGA & COACHING PACKAGE is your gateway to a more balanced and fulfilled life. I am turning 45 next month. I believe It’s never too late to become who you always wanted to be.  At the certain age we become brave enough to finally let go of “what would others think of me” allowing yourself to understand, that it isn’t about what others think of you, but rather what YOU think of  YOURSELF… ‘If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together.’

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Trusting the Journey as a new Yoga teacher

Navigating Self-Discovery, Growth, and Unwavering Passion “Becoming the best version of yourself as a yoga teacher is not a destination but an ongoing expedition—one that unfolds with each breath, each class, and each interaction.” Aga Smith The path of becoming a yoga teacher transcends mere physical postures; it unfolds as a profound journey of self-discovery and skill cultivation, evolving over time. Isn’t the remarkable process of teaching yoga a gateway to multifaceted personal development, guiding us through diverse dimensions of growth and transformation? To read the full article, click the link and be redirected to my OM Yoga Magazine page: OMYogaMagazine   

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5 Tips for New Yoga Teachers – Article published in OM Magazine

Life has an amazing way of working out when we have the courage to believe in our dreams, trusting that everything will fall into place at the right time. Half a year ago, after returning from my yoga teacher training in India, I dreamt of leading yoga classes. Now, six months later, I’m teaching yoga at Virgin Active gym twice a week and covering classes at other wonderful venues in my local area. For some, it might seem like “just yoga”, but for me, this moment has been a long time coming, almost a decade in the making. It holds a special place in my heart. Being native Polish, teaching in English doesn’t come naturally to me, but when my students return, expressing their love for my sessions, it makes me feel ecstatic! My classes can accommodate up to 38 students, which at first felt scary. To my surprise, I adore it! I’m currently on a steep learning curve, trying to let go of fears and worries and instead, lead from my heart and allow my soul to guide me. I feel immensely proud of myself. As I’ve begun this journey as a new yoga teacher, I’d like to take a moment to reflect on the challenges, growth, and immense gratitude that comes with following this path. Teaching yoga isn’t just about knowing the poses and striking the perfect posture; it’s about finding your true voice and learning how to guide your students effectively. Challenges are part of the process. As a new instructor, I face my fair share of obstacles. From self-doubt to nervousness about giving instructions, every hurdle pushes me to grow. I remind myself that it’s okay to stumble along the way; that’s how we learn and evolve, right? Our imperfections make us relatable and authentic to our students. ‘I’m just human, and I’m not perfect.’ That’s okay. A few classes in, and I can tell that one of the most crucial parts of teaching is providing clear instructions, cues. I realised that it takes time to refine this skill, but don’t let that discourage you. My belief is, the more you practice, the more confident and effective you’ll become in guiding your students. Like with everything else in life: Practice makes you a Master. For me, teaching is a beautiful journey of growth and self-discovery. It’s about finding your voice, your teaching style, and the way of connecting with your students. Creating classes that can benefit a wide range of yogis, from beginners to more advanced students, is actually enjoyable. I often have to spend time contemplating how best to explain some of the more intricate poses and provide simple changes for people who’ve never done yoga before; it’s equally challenging and rewarding. When you finally see your students light up with understanding and follow your instructions, it’s an incredible feeling. What definitely helped me was attending numerous yoga classes over the last decade and drawing inspiration from teachers from around the world, as well as consistently working on my mindset to let go of fear and self-doubt. Your dedication to growth and learning as a teacher will pay off, not just for you, but for all the yogis you guide. To my fellow new yoga teachers, embrace the challenges, savour the learning, and trust the process. After a month of teaching and experiencing intense growth as a yoga teacher, I came up with these 5 tips I would like to share with you, that really helped me ease into the teaching process. • Just do it. Seriously, you know enough to step onto that mat at the front of the class and teach. If you feel you are lacking self-confidence, work on your personal development. Confidence is a state of mind, it means having faith in yourself and your abilities. It is a skill to acquire. • Prepare. The better you prepare for your classes, the easier it will be. Spend time writing and practicing the flow. As Abraham Lincoln said, “If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend six hours sharpening my axe”. Write your yoga plan and use your notes. I spoke with many experienced teachers who, despite their experience, still use notes in their classes. • You’ve got this. If you’re feeling overwhelmed when you are at the front of the class, and your heart beats faster… find your own affirmation. Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and observe your mind. Affirm; I am here to lead the class. I’ve got this! (It gets easier with every class.) • Find your Style. What drives you? How do you want to be perceived? Do you want to be serious, or are you someone who likes to crack a joke? I find the occasional joke can lighten everyone’s mood; so for example, at the end of the class, I say: “you can join me in a cosmic karaoke party, and let’s OM together”. • Reflect. After your class, reflect on what went brilliantly, and what could be improved? Ask for feedback. Don’t be afraid. People will tell you, and you can learn from it. Embrace the journey, and remember that every step, every challenge, and every moment of self-discovery is a part of your beautiful evolution as a yoga teacher. This article has been published in the OM magazine – you can find the link here: https://www.ommagazine.com/5-tips-for-new-yoga-teachers/

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