Meditation is taking the wellness scene by storm, even though it is something that has been around for thousands of years, the majority of people in the western world have only just begun to take it seriously. I myself aim to meditate every morning for 11 minutes, and if I can get another meditation in that day then that’s amazing. Here are five reasons why you need to get on that practice ASAP:

1. Reduces Stress

I am pretty certain that 99% of people come to meditation (in London anyway) because their life is stressful. And meditation will help you with that for sure! Meditation triggers the release of endorphins, which reduce stress in the body. Meditation also triggers out parasympathetic nervous system, which is our ‘rest and digest’ which allows us to relax, thereby reducing the levels or stress and the levels of cortisol in our bodies.

2. Helps You Focus

Studies show that people who meditate are better able to remain focused on the task at hand as opposed to getting distracted either by things going on or by random thoughts that pop into your head, here’s one study if you want to read about it! When you hit that 3pm slump at work, instead of reaching for a coffee, why not head off to a quiet spot and meditate for five mins, see what happens!

3. Improves Sleep

I’ve already mentioned that meditation triggers that relax and digest response, as opposed to your fight or flight response (a sudden release of adrenaline and cortisol that’s released into the body, previously to run away from lions, now to just deal with everyday life, funny but it’s not funny…) so just as meditation helps you to reduce stress in this way, it also enables the body to enter into a deeper sleep more easily. It also allows you to change the thought patterns your mind goes through, and enables you to let thoughts move on by, instead of lingering on them, and therefore clear some headspace to allow ourselves to enter into a calm and relaxing sleeping state.

4. Helps Digestion

This is something I learnt recently from an absolute gem named Kate Lister, is that researchers are looking into the connection between meditation and two gastrointestinal ailments, IBS and IBD. The link between the mind and gut is already something that has been explored, and I will tell you that since leaving my old job, and taking a huge stress out of my life, my IBS has pretty much disappeared within 6 months, that’s pretty amazing! Scientists are now going so far as to say that the gut is no longer just our ‘second brain’ but that our brain (original pink thing) and our gut, actually join together and make up one working organism, how cool is that?!  As well as the obvious role it plays, our stomachs also have a brain-like neural network, which plays an essential role in keeping us healthy, as just as meditation changes our brain’s neural pathways and reduces stress, it therefore makes logical sense that it does the same for our gut. And as I have already said, if meditation reduces stress, and stress is one of the main triggers for IBS/IBD, then again, it makes sense that it will help these two really shitty (LOL) issues.

5. Make You Happier

Less stress? Sleeping better? IBS taken a hike? Well hot damn you’re going to feel happier! Not only that but those endorphins being released are going to make you feel damn good too! So all in all meditation is an amazing practice, and yes, sometimes it’s bloody hard and your ten minutes feels like hell on earth but you KNOW that it’s good for you, so give it a try!

If you’ve been checking my Instagram recently you may have spotted that I recently qualified as a yoga teacher, woohoo! It’s such an amazing feeling and I can’t believe I am actually now a yoga teacher and am teaching classes, honestly, it’s incredible. I thought I would share with you a little about the course, what it was like, and why I think you should definitely consider doing it if you’re wanting to do your 200 hour yoga teaching qualification, particularly if you’re looking to do yours in London.

The Key Facts

It’s a 200 hour, Yoga Alliance accredited training, it runs for just over two months and will get you to the point where you can teach vinyasa yoga. It’s run by Frame, which is a chain of studios that run all sorts of classes from HIIT to yoga to pilates. The course itself is based at the Queen’s Park studio, a five minute walk from Queen’s Park tube station. If you want to read more of the basics here’s the link to the website. The way my teacher training in April ran is that you have an intense 7 day week for the first week, to really throw yourself into it, get to know your new yoga fam, and just get a head start with it all. Then you have training over the weekends, Friday evening, Saturday day and Sunday day. You do have some weekends off, and then at the end there was a final 4 days of learning and final exams.

The Teachers

The course is run by Emily-Clare Hill and Michael James Wong, who are both incredibly experienced yoga teachers, they’re very experienced in running teacher trainings too, as well as the fact that they know how to run a business, and in particular run a business and be successful with it. I think this was one of the biggest things that drew me to the course, having heard from several people about Emily and Michael’s reputation in the yoga community in London, but also how savvy they both are, and I knew that this would be invaluable as I would be effectively quitting my job to take this course.

Not just all of the above but they’re also just really nice people, they’re very funny and work well as a teaching unit which made our experience so much better because the way we learned was so effective.

What We Studied

I think the general content was quite normal for most YTTs, we covered Anatomy (and had a separate teacher), Philosophy (so the 8 limbs of yoga if that means anything to you) as well as Chakras, Koshas, we had a Nutrition module, Pregnancy Yoga, an Asana module, a module on Assisting and we had a lot of time to practice teaching (like, a lot). I have learnt so so much from it all, I am definitely ready to teach a class (I already have a regular class at Studio One which is crazy but awesome!) and I feel like I am a better person in so many ways.

My Thoughts

I loved it, it was hard, don’t get me wrong. Learning new stuff and putting yourself out of your comfort zone is never easy, but I have learned so so much, I have made a huge group of new friends, I learnt a lot about my own body, about other people’s bodies, but above all I definitely learned how to be a confident and knowledgable yoga teacher, which is obviously why I did the course! There was a lot of laughter, hugs, tears (it’s an emotional journey, trust me), sore muscles but above all it was definitely the best experience of my life so far and I am so glad I took the plunge to do it.

When I was choosing between going to India and doing the Frame YTT here are some of the reasons why Frame came up trumps:

  • It’s in London and Emily and Michael are part of the London yoga community, from a business POV this is a very good reason
  • It’s not over an intense month, it’s spread out, so for me it was better as it meant my knee would have time to rest (even the intense week was a struggle for my knee!)
  • I was told by various people how great Emily and Michael are and how it was a no brainer and now I get why!
  • Your yoga family will be based in London where you’re probably going to work and it won’t be spread out across the world
  • You get to trial at Frame afterwards which is an epic opportunity
  • It’s over the weekends so I could work whilst doing it
  • You got a mentor during the course, which was great!
  • It’s in London which is generally pretty grey and miserable so me and my British complexion wouldn’t get heat stroke

If you have any questions about it or are thinking of doing it you can message me on IG or email me at hannahrosefit@gmail.com, I’d be way more than happy to answer any questions, JUST DO IT, basically 🙂

 

With the London Marathon fast approaching as well as Spring being upon us, bringing out the sun seeking runners from their hibernation, I thought I’d share some yoga poses to help you with your runs and post run soreness. I used to be a runner myself (short distance sprinting and occasional jogger), and I know first hand how important post run stretches are to not only keeping the soreness away, but also aiding your recovery and improving your running technique.

Here are some yoga poses that you can aim to incorporate into your post run stretch session, or if you practice yoga then you could add some more of them in!

1. Downward Facing Dog – Adho Mukha Svanasana

Probably the most well known yoga posture, downward facing dog will stretch out your hamstrings, and calves, as well as lengthening the spine and stretching your traps and rhomboids. Make sure to spread your fingers wide, and allow your shoulders to come away from the ears, letting your shoulder muscles relax. If you’re hamstrings are tight (like mine) a slight bend of the knees is perfectly fine.

2. Upward Facing Dog – Urdhva Mukha Svanasana

In upward facing dog not only do you get a great stretch the hip flexors as well as the whole front of the body, but you also get to continue opening up the chest, great for all you runners! Make sure your hands are directly under your shoulders, toes are on the ground, and focus on pulling your heart and chest open and radiating them out, not over arching the neck.

3. Extended Triangle Pose – Utthita Trikonasana

This pose again stretches out your hamstrings as well as your inner thighs, it’s also really great for runners, as it’s a side stretch, which is helpful as it allows your body to move in a different plane, as the motion of running is purely in the sagittal plane (forward or backward movement), so doing stretches that operate in different planes is great for your body. Make sure to bend from the hip joint, extending the top arm towards the ceiling, aiming to keep a long line from the crown of the head all the way down the spine.

4. Bridge or Wheel Pose – Setu Bandha Sarvangasana or Urdhva Dhanurasana

Both bridge and wheel pose are great chest openers, allowing you to really stretch your chest muscles. Wheel is more advanced and will open up the chest even more, helping to strengthen the lungs (perfect for runners) as well as strengthening the entire body from head to toe. But don’t worry if you don’t have the full wheel yet, bridge pose is also super beneficial!

5. Tree Pose – Vrkasana

One legged balancing poses are great for everyone, as it forces your brain to engage with the body in a different way than when you’re using both legs to balance. It’s also great for strengthening the calves, ankles, thighs, and the spine, whilst allowing you to open up your chest and shoulders. Try to play around with different hand placement, and if you think you’ve got it, see what happens when you close your eyes. Knee police comment: never place the foot directly on the knee in this pose as it’s very dangerous for your knee joint!

What poses do you love doing? Leave a comment and let me know

Outfit details:

First Outfit:

Leggings & Bra Falke from Flybery.Com

Second Outfit:

Leggings & Bra from Dharmabums

Third Outfit:

Bikini from Khongboon

For anyone looking for some awesome yoga teachers to try out in London, here are my faves:

Kelly McHugh

I was first taught by Kelly at one of her Yoga Supper Clubs last year, she runs the company Good Yoga Life, which is a yoga company that organises regular classes, as well as really cool, out of the box yoga events, they’ve also started running retreats (see the one I went to in May here).

Kelly herself is one of the loveliest humans ever, she’s so chilled and down to earth. She honestly helped me fall in love with yoga, she’s spiritual, but in a totally normal way. I think people have this theory that yogis spent their lives meditating and living in the Peruvian mountains, but Kelly is just your normal girl, who happens to be an ace yogi and a really great teacher. Expect FUN! Something a bit different, and a chance to really have a play and try out some more advanced poses that your standard vinyasa flow teachers may not plan into their classes. Also be prepared for glitter, I’m just warning you!

Instagram: @goodyogalifeuk

Website: www.goodyogalife.com

 

Emily Eaton

Emily is another teacher at Good Yoga Life (are you seeing a pattern here) and she is just a complete free spirit who also has the kindest heart and is such a gentle and calming teacher. She will make you laugh your head off, forget your inhibitions and completely through yourself into your yoga session. Her voice is super soothing and again she is just a really nice, chilled, down to earth teacher. Spiritual but at the same time totally like you and me.

Instagram: @emily_and_yoga

Website: www.emilyandyoga.co.uk

 

Suzie Smith

Soooo I recently had to fill out a form where it asks me who my favourite yoga teacher is, and I had to say Suzie. Suzie is ALSO a teacher at Good Yoga Life (all GYL teachers are basically amazing ok!), she also teaches at Frame and various other places and she is just such a joy! She is such a kind and warm person and I love her classes, again she has a laid back approach to spirituality and for anyone who isn’t familiar with that part of yoga/life then Suzie is definitely a grace person to go to for classes.

Instagram: @life.in.full.colour

Website: www.lifeinfullcolour.co.uk

Issy Scobie

I discovered Issy when I went to the classes at Sky Garden (they start again in March and are really cool, although a bit cold!), I immediately fell in love with the way that she teaches and helps you realise that doing what you can do and knowing your limits and not getting frustrated when you can’t hit a pose perfectly is more than ok. Issy helped me realise that yoga is way more than those pictures you see on Instagram, and all about what you do both on and off the mat.

Instagram: @issy_scobie_

Website: www.issyscobieyoga.com

Emily-Clare Hill

Emily is like the queen of yoga, for reals, she’s so awesome! She’s a 500hour teacher (that’s like really good), she has her own studio in London called Mudra Yoga, she is so freaking lovely and she’s a great teacher! Her classes are challenging, I find them pretty difficult but sometimes you have to do what’s hard… amiright?! Not only this but Emily is sharing her skills and runs a 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training at Frame (where she also runs classes), as well as a 50hr Post Grad Teacher Training called Sunday School Yoga. Again, Emily is another teacher who shows that the false idea that yogis are always found omming whilst sat cross-legged on the floor in a wooden hut in Goa is a bit of a stereotype (nothing wrong with it though!) and that yoga is for EVERYONE. She shows that yoga is fun and that it’s ok to laugh and just be whoever you want to be both in class and out of it.

Instagram: @emilyclareyoga

Website: www.emilyclareyoga.com

Sabi Kerr

Last but not least how could I forget the amazing Sabi! This girl is one of my best friends, and she graduated as a yoga teacher in December 2016, she’s new on the scene as a yoga teacher but she’s already doing so well and teaching all over London! She has been a teacher (in dance and also a primary school teacher) for a long time, she is calm, her way of teaching is so blissful and she makes every class challenging yet fun, also the quotes she shares during her classes always give me the feels! Her classes are perfect for both experienced yogis and beginners alike, so check out her schedule!

Instagram: @sabi.kerr

Website:  www.sabikerr.com

So there you have it! These are the teachers that I love, but I am always trying to find new teachers (although I find it a bit scary sometimes, trying a brand new class), are there any London based yoga teachers that you love? I’d love to find some new names, leave a comment!

 

After a busy few days in Marrakech, it was pretty spectacular to be invited for an afternoon at the Four Seasons Marrakech to sunbathe, swim and have a private yoga class.

The hotel complex is about a 30 minute walk from Gueliz, the old town, and after Sabi and I decided to brave it and walk the way (as opposed to getting a taxi), reaching the hotel gates 30 minutes later and leaving the dirt track (no pavement there peeps!) and stepping foot into what felt like a total sanctuary! Spreading over 40 acres, the hotel is more like a little village. We were greeted at reception, and taken in a golf buggy to the pool area, where we were again greeted, and taken to some sun loungers. We nipped off to get changed into our bikinis and came back to an ice cold glass of water and a menu, we didn’t even need the menu though as we knew we had been planning on having ice-cream the entire walk, so we ordered our big bowls of ice-cream and lay down for an afternoon of reading, swimming and sun bathing.

After a few hours by the pool it was time to be taken over the to the spa to get ready for our private yoga class with Manoj, the Four Seasons Marrakech yoga instructor. We were taken to a little private garden near the spa, and had an outdoor yoga session, where Manoj took us through a hatha class. I’ve never done hatha before, and it was really interesting to try a completely new style of yoga, and be taught by a teacher from India, as opposed to one from the west which is usually the case in London. It involved a lot of breathing and chakra opening, as well as looking at the correct alignment of some of the postures I do every single day such as warrior two, downward dog, trikonasana and even child’s pose.

All in all we had an incredible afternoon, if you’re looking for a high end resort to stay at, I would definitely recommend looking at the Four Seasons Marrakech, the pool was serene, the staff were attentive, friendly and completely beyond what I expected, and the entire complex was a dream. Palm trees and cacti galore, countless little spots to relax and enjoy a read in some tranquillity, and the hotel is just a short ride away from the bright lights of the Nouvelle Ville or the hustle and bustle and the snake charmers of the Medina. Check out their website and Instagram here!