‘a nice girl like me’

An honest post on how I got into yoga (contains subjects around domestic violence)

A tiny hut in Key West is where my yoga journey began. I remember my first class well – the tightness in my body, my arms shaking in downward facing dog and thinking how the teacher looked so graceful whilst I felt like I could hardly move. The feeling I got after the class though and what I experienced during savasana had me hooked. I remember thinking “I want to teach this I need to tell other people how amazing yoga is.”

This was 1997 and I would not embark on my teacher training until 2010. Why take so long? Well there are many reasons as to why I took this stop gap and I would like to share just a little bit with you about my own personal journey. Many of us have our issues growing up and it is rare to make it to adulthood completely unscathed. My issues centred around feelings of abandonment, loss, rejection, and abuse. Being adopted, the traumatic loss of my adopted dad at 13, plus years of mistrust and abuse that followed. This all left me with an exceptionally low opinion of myself and a lack of self-worth, which then led me to a violent relationship. 

Why am I sharing this? Well part of me wants people to understand how ‘ a nice girl like me’, as has been said to me numerous times, can end up being the victim of domestic violence. I also want to share how powerful yoga can be in the journey to healing the past. 

I never wanted to be seen as a victim I knew how much strength it had taken to leave this relationship, but without the distractions and chaos that this brought I was left alone to face my demons and it wasn’t easy. I turned to drink, another abusive relationship and behaviours that would mean I did not have to feel what I was experiencing, which was physically painful and mentally challenging. Through my yoga practice and counselling I began the road to recovery. It was tough and there were times when I wanted to run out of the room. I would miss sessions by practicing avoidance, convincing myself I no longer enjoyed the class or did not like my counsellor anymore.

I kept going though. One of my favourite inspirational quotes is by Winston Churchill “if you’re going through hell, keep going”, and that is exactly what I did.

The word yoga means to be present and to be embodied, to notice what is really going on both physically and mentally. You cannot escape you. I enjoy this practice now – noticing how my body feels physically, where I am holding my tension and how I am feeling emotionally. I listen to my feelings and responses with a sense of curiosity and interest. Through yoga I understand that I am not defined by my past and these experiences have actually equipped me with a huge understanding and empathy towards others, an ability to bear witness to the stories of other peoples’ pain.

It is my belief we can all heal from our past, whether you are on a journey like myself or want to increase your sense of wellness and are curious how yoga movements and mediation can help. The teachings offer us all an insight into how we can help ourselves and navigate our way on our true path.

I wish you well on your journey,

With warmth,

Maria

New Classes at Lymm Heritage Centre

New Classes beginning this September at Lymm Heritage Centre

Tuesdays Vinyasa Flow Yoga 615pm – 715pm (Open Level Class)

Tuesdays Pregnancy Flow Yoga 730pm – 830pm (2nd/3rd Trimester)

Thursdays Mum & Baby Yoga 10am – 11am (babies from 12 weeks)

Pre Book Only due to covid-19 procedures. Please bring your own mat.

If you require more information on classes please contact Maria info@mariayoga.co.uk otherwise visit the online store below to book your place.

Why it’s great to be grateful.

If you’ve been to class recently you may have heard me mention showing gratitude or being thankful for our practice. Well there’s a reason for this as after some recent research it appears that being grateful really does have a positive effect on our emotional brain. In fact it’s a sign of emotional well being and intelligence. Even the process of thinking and searching for something to feel thankful about enhances the production of serotonin and dopamine(feel good hormones) automatically lifting our mood and making us feel better. Although this isn’t a natural process for most of us we have to remember to do this. So why not get yourself a gratitude jar…..a friend brought me one of these a few years ago which you fill with notes of anything that you’re thankful for. Or pop a reminder on your fridge…What am I Grateful for today? Try asking yourself this now. For me it’s having an opportunity to help out a friend and fellow yoga teacher this morning by covering his class last minute, having food in my cupboards and time in my day to practice Yoga.

Gratitude requires thought but it’s by giving it some attention that we begin to feel it’s benefits. Perhaps take a moment to sit with these thoughts of thankfulness in meditation you’ll be surprised how good it feels. And lastly our deepest sense of gratitude comes through grace and being humble, if you can cultivate these feelings alongside whatever your object of gratitude is placed on you’ll find it quite impossible to feel negative, no matter how hard things get there is also something you can find to feel grateful for.

Pregnancy Flow Yoga Classes

 

Tuesdays 730pm – 830pm at Lymm Heritage Centre, 1 Legh St. Lymm WA13 0DA

Pre book as only 6 per class. 

£60 for 6 weeks guarantees a place or £10 drop in if a space becomes free. 

Classes are created for the 2nd and 3rd trimester or pregnancy. 

Benefits of practicing Prenatal Yoga?

Yoga strengthens the body helping it to cope with the extra weight of carrying your baby. Yoga poses focus on correct postural alignment helping women to understand the changes and effects pregnancy can have on their bodies.

Regular practice can help relieve physical tension and stresses from the body, which often build up as a result of the baby growing, circulation is improved so that swelling due to the extra fluid and blood flow is less likely, this also assists with lymphatic drainage enhancing immunity and creating a healthier environment for you and your baby.

Practicing Yoga whilst pregnant can help to lift your mood at a time when you can feel overwhelmed. Yoga helps you to accept and understand the changes that may be occurring hormonally and the effects this can have both physically and physiologically.

Pregnancy Yoga incorporates various breathing techniques to calm the nervous system helping you to feel more relaxed through pregnancy, these breathing exercises are also beneficial during labour helping you to stay calm and in control no matter what path the birth takes.

Meditation and Visualisation exercises help deal with anxiety and quieten an over active mind aiding relaxation, better sleep and an overall greater sense of wellbeing.

Yoga for Pregnancy – One to One sessions available

Each session lasts for 1 hour and can be taken at your home address or chosen location. Visit the online store to book a class or 1:1

Gift vouchers are available.

 

Exploring the Chakras Workshop

Exploring the Chakras Workshop – Saturday 25th January 2020 @haleyogastudios 2pm – 430pm

Chakras are the bridge between the conscious mind and our bodies. These energy centres govern our physical and emotional well being. However certain influences from conditioning, lifestyle and past issues can affect there overall function and ability to create harmony within.
Join me for an opportunity to explore this energectic system and the self through movement, relaxation, chanting and meditation. A chance to balance, heal and transform built up stress and tensions. The yoga will include meditative yin, slow flow yoga and grounding restorative postures. We will complete the afternoon with Yoga Nidra (often referred to as yogic sleep) to fully relax the senses and to set clear intentions (sankalpa) so we may continue our transformational journey.
Workshop includes herbal tea on arrival and healthy treat to finish.

2pm – 430pm Saturday 25th April 2020

Held at Hale Yoga Studio, Ashley Road, Hale www.haleyoga.com

Workshop costs £25 – booking is necessary as this is a small studio and spaces are limited. Contact info@mariayoga.co.uk to book or use the Book Your Place button below

Winter Solstice Flow & Restore

Winter Solstice Flow & Restore

Winter a magical season and a time for nurturing, self reflection and rest. However we seem to do anything but, as the festive season sees us burning the candle at both ends. It’s no wonder we find ourselves comprised and exhausted.

So why not give yourselves a well deserved break and join me for an opportunity to explore the self through movement, relaxation and meditation.
The yoga will include slow vinyasa flow, and grounding restorative postures to release any accumulated tension and restore balance. We will complete the afternoon with an aromatherapy infused Yoga Nidra (often referred to as yogic sleep) to fully relax the senses and to set an intention (sankalpa) for the season ahead. Workshop includes herbal tea on arrival and healthy treat to finish.

2pm – 430pm Saturday 21st December 2019

Held at Hale Yoga Studio, Ashley Road, Hale WA15 9SD

Workshop costs £25 – booking is necessary as this is a small studio and spaces are limited. Book via the Button below

So Hum Mantra

Enjoy this free recording of the Mantra So Hum. This mantra can be used during your meditation or yoga practice as a way of quietening the mind. So Hum translates to I am that – I am that ultimate reality or ever pervading presence that exist within us all.

Begin by chanting a few rounds out loud then go into silent chants mirroring the breath to each sound. e.g So – on the inhale and Hum – on the exhale

Take as many rounds as you like, then sit for a while at the end of your practice to soak all the sensations from this mantra in.

Meditation to Calm the Mind

Enjoy this Buddhist inspired meditation using the mantra Om Ah Hum for inner peace and calm.

The mantra is chanted silently with each sound representing a different part of the breath. The sound Om is chanted in the inhale and held at the heart centre to cleanse our physical body. Ah is then for the speech and chanted between the inhale and exhale the awareness of this sound is held at the throat for clarity in our speech, and finally the Hum sound is for the mind inspiring a sense of peace and chanted silently on the exhale.

Listen below for further guidance and this blissful mantra that purifies our body, speech and mind

Beginners Yoga with MIO Skincare

I recently teamed up with Mio Skincare to bring you the 5 top Yoga Poses for Beginners.

Mio have a wonderful range of products including their Liquid Yoga candles and I’m absolutely in love with their dry body brush which I use daily (sometimes twice) along with my own handmade Pure Bliss aromatherapy body oil.

So check out the blog from myself and Mio below and enjoy the benefits of Yoga and beautiful skin.

YOGA FOR BEGINNERS

Yoga has been recognised worldwide as one of the most effective ways to calm your mind and relax your body. It not only helps lift you into a cloud of zen but it helps muscle tension and flexibility. Anyone can do yoga from young to old and the more practise you have, the easier it becomes and the more your body gets used to it. Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, yoga is a great way to take a moment out of your day to focus on your body and your breathing. So mio caught up wtith the wonderful yogi Maria Kelly to give you 5 of the best yoga positions for beginners.

Child’s Pose

miochilds-poseChilds Pose – a grounding restful pose that has a soothing effect on the brain. Here the feet, ankles and legs are stretched whilst hips are gently encouraged to open and the spine lengthened. This pose is perfect for those days when you’re physically tired but the mind is still busy. Stay here for a few minutes to feel the full benefits.

 

 

Downward Facing dog

miodogDownward Dog – practising downward facing dog regularly will help to elongate and lengthen the spine benefiting the central nervous system. This posture also stretches the backs of the legs. Whilst strengthening the arms and shoulders.

 

 

High Lunge Pose

miohigh-lunge

High Lunge Pose – Stretches and tones the legs. It lengthens the spine and stretches the chest muscles making it easier to take deeper breathes increasing lung capacity and stamina. It can help relieve sciatica.

 

 

 

Mountain Pose

miomountain-pose

Mountain Pose – the most important pose for all beginners to practice. Mountain pose improves posture by creating an awareness of unhealthy postural habits. It helps to strengthen the legs, bum and abdomen which creates better stability and balance. Standing tall opens the chest muscles encouraging deeper breathing which calms the mind.

 

 

Triangle Pose

miotriangleTriangle pose – when performed this yoga pose increases mobility in the hip joints. Lengthens the spine and tones the legs, stimulates the flow of blood through the entire body improving cell growth and internal organ function this encourages healthy skin and aids digestion. Proprioception (spacial awareness)  is also experienced along with an increased sense of balance.