Yin at The Painted Barn is changing, and here's what's to come.
You may have heard that from the end of October the structure of Yin Yoga classes at The Painted Barn is changing.
You will be able to guarantee your space for 8 weeks in a row and really feel the benefits of your weekly practice. The 8 weeks will be linked with an overall focus and similar postures will come up throughout each class.
For this Autumn term we will be looking to do warming postures, allowing us to keep warm as the weather gets colder. As we hunch forward against the cold, we round our backs and pull our shoulders forward, this shortens the muscles across the chest and shoulders and causes them to tighten, and this can cause a lot of tension, aches and pains across the back of your body too. Therefore the postures we will focus on most will open the chest, stretch across the top of the back and warm the body.
With the season change and the nights getting darker earlier we can also experience a change in our mood. This could be for any number of reasons, but by paying attention to our thoughts, we put ourselves into the position to change and improve our mindset as winter comes in. By practicing a slightly different way to achieve this positive mindset each week, we can choose to feel positive as the Autumn rolls into winter and enjoy the last few months of this year without letting the shorter days and cold weather get to us.
We have limited spaces available in the class, this is for a couple of reasons. One, it gives us more space in the studio, so you can spread out with your props and blanket and not worry about intruding on another's space. And two, it allows for teaching time in every class. With a studio full to bursting I wouldn't be able to offer you one on one teaching every class. I always hope you come away feeling you got the best practice for your body, therefore I want to be able to help you get into the right postures, show you how to prop best and where to put what prop and when. Therefore we have just 10 spaces available to book for this Autumn term.
The first class begins on Friday 1st November and runs through until December 20th. There will then be a catch up class available on Jan 3rd should you miss any of the 8 sessions due to holiday or sickness.
Get booked in today to ensure you get the early bird price on this relaxing 8 week course. Early bird offer ends soon.
All new classes are coming soonYou may have heard that the studio space at GAIN Fitness Norwich, is undergoing a bit of a change. The studio will be hosting different classes and a space for one-off events or more regular activities.
What's on already:
If you'd like to offer classes at The Studio at GAIN we have times available throughout the week for both one off sessions or more regular bookings. Hire prices vary accordingly. Get in touch to find out more.
The Happiness Workshop is now on sale!
Thursday 26th September 6-8pm at The Studio @ GAIN Fitness. Alex Howarth Yoga is excited to host Gavin Drake, the director of Mindspan, for a 2 hour workshop devoted to happiness.
We will learn techniques and life hacks to help you become happier more often. We all have ups and downs in life, but the skills we learn in this workshop will help us bounce back faster, help us sit on a happier level more consistently and give you the confidence to take control of your happiness rather than rely on others to make it for you.
This workshop is not suitable for those who enjoy being miserable day in day out. But if you're ready to make a change and consider new ideas and new ways of thinking, then this is for you.
The workshop will include:
Same yoga, different name.
Welcome to Alex Howarth Yoga
GAIN Mobility has rebranded to Alex Howarth Yoga. It's still the same yoga, the same Alex, the same focus and the same locations, just under a different name.
The website has undergone a make over, as have the social media platforms. This is a transition phase though, so things such as the Facebook name have to be accepted so may take a while to change over. Older videos on the online yoga platform may still sport the GAIN Mobility branding, so please bare with us as we change everything over.
The previously known GAIN Mobility Online is now under Alex Howarth Yoga, with the social media platform changing to Alex Howarth Yoga Online. The YouTube Channel can now be found under Alex Howarth Yoga too so you won't miss anything.
Over the last 6 weeks throughout Yin Yoga we’ve had the mindfulness focus of Satya, (truthfulness).
Truthfulness doesn’t strike most as an obvious focus for a yoga class, and I understand this hesitation, but throughout the month it’s become clear how we can hold back on being honest with ourselves.
During Yin classes I encourage yogis to close their eyes, or keep a very relaxed gaze. This is for two reasons, the first being, it’s easier to relax and keep your focus on you by limiting outside distractions. Closing your eyes, allows you to bring your awareness into how you’re feeling, how you’re breathing, and the posture you’re holding. It also prevents us from looking around the yoga studio at others.
Looking at others while practicing yoga seems harmless enough, but what it can lead to is comparison.
“How come he can do that? He’s only been coming to yoga 3 weeks?”
“She’s so much stronger than I am, I’m so weak.”
“They can hold that postures so effortlessly, I’ll never be able to do that.”
The 3 above statements aren’t unusual thoughts throughout a yoga practice. How do I know? Because sometimes yogis voice these thoughts too.
Now these common opinions are just that, opinions. Based on what? These are judgments we may come up with in a split second with no knowledge of that person, their ability, their yoga history, and their bio-individuality. Therefore what we decide is our opinion of someone’s ability in a certain posture may not be completely true. Someone may look like a posture is effortless, but inside they’re working their absolute hardest. We will never know in at moment, therefore we should not create that judgement.
We can also turn these untruths onto ourselves. Phrases such as ‘I’ll never be able to do that.’ are often followed with the yogi then achieving the posture they never thought they’d do. Why would we lie to ourselves in such a way?
‘I’m so weak.’ is another common misconception. Are you weak? Compared to whom? In what context? You’ve the mental strength and determination to come and practice yoga, that in itself suggests you are not ‘weak’.
The comfort of these little white lies can help us with our own self-esteem. We create an opinion of others to help us feel better about the insecurities that person brings out in us. It takes a lot of practice to reduce these little habits, to allow ourselves to look at a situation or a person with truthfulness rather than judgment.
We can be look at the stories we tell ourselves, drawing on Ahimsa (non-violence), we can look to be kind to ourselves rather than judgemental.
The final non-truth we'll cover today, that we may commit throughout our practice is not listening to our body. Our bodies cannot lie to us. If we need to stop or slow down, we will feel the need to. If we need to work hard, use excess energy or get a good sweat on, our body will tell us.
Within yoga we can allow our ego to take hold. Our ability to do one posture during one practice but then not be able to so well the following practice becomes irritating. Rather than listen to our body we continue to push it perhaps a little further than we should have. This can have negative results, we can end up not enjoying our practice at all, or worse, we could end up injured. At the start of a practice it is always worth taking a moment to listen to your body, withdraw your mind from the outside world and venture in. How are you feeling? From here, you’re able to set your intention for your session. Do we work hard today? Or do we take it easy? Do we test the water and just see how it goes.
Try it now. Close your eyes. How are you feeling?
GAIN Mobility is adding more classes. At a new location!
GAIN Mobility is excited to announce two new yoga classes at a new location. Just 15 minutes from Norwich, near the small village of Barnham Broom is the stunning Painted Barn.
Set to open at the end of May 2019, the Painted Barn is a beautiful space offering a vintage furniture store and cafe, and just off to one side is this glorious studio space.
The studio offers a bright airy space to practice your yoga, with gorgeous views of the Norfolk countryside and heated floors to keep you toasty in the winter.
With 2 classes per week scheduled to start in just over a month, I'm excited to be offering another space with a different energy to our current studio.
Offers will be coming soon with both membership options and trial class passes. If you're already a member with GAIN Mobility, keep an eye out for two location membership upgrades.
What to expect from GAIN Mobility at the Painted Barn
Ahimsa: Non violence
Teaching yoga on a regular basis, means I come into contact with a fair few people over the course of an average week and as much as the yoga I teach is suitable for any ability, there can be the odd posture that’s slightly more advanced. It’s during these postures that the negativity can fill the room.
‘I can’t possibly do that!’
‘Never in a million years will I be able to do that.’
‘I’m not good enough.’
‘I’m not strong enough.’
‘I’m not flexible enough.’
And the list goes on. It would be an impressive statement to claim having never thought or said any of the above in any kind of situation. It’s very easy to have little belief in our own ability. But when it comes to a loved one, friends, family or even vague acquaintances we are so quick (and not wrongly so) to tell them how much they can do. How they are good enough, strong enough, able to do something they themselves don’t believe they can do. So why do we not apply this logic to ourselves?
Ahimsa, meaning non-violence is one of the first stages of Ashtanga yoga, and part of the Yama’s. These are the social rules that we should look to achieve before taking on later stages to the path of enlightenment. At first glace this could be taken to mean non-violence towards others, and as much as it does mean this. It also incorporates violence of any kind, therefore we should look to reduce or completely eliminate the violence towards ourselves as well.
This is of course a larger task than we might think. Negative self-talk is one thing, but the thoughts we have take effect too. Becoming aware of the things we’re saying out-loud is perhaps the easier one to grasp to begin with. Having your friends and family on board may help you bring awareness to your spoken word. If your friends hear you speaking negatively about yourself they can help you change your story to something more positive and with self-love at the heart of it.
Being mindful of this is challenging to start with but as we get the hang of it, and start paying attention to our words it becomes a habit, much like anything else we repeatedly do. The negative self-talk may well be a habit in itself that’s been developed over years for one reason or another. There was a time where it served you, now it’s time to realise that it doesn’t serve you for good any more. With that in mind, we shouldn’t go into this thinking it’ll be an over night transformation, breaking habits takes work. But the work is well worth doing.
Once we are aware of our spoken word we can look to conquer the violence we may think. Being aware of what we’re thinking is one of the goals of mindfulness meditation; awareness of when we’re thinking and what we’re thinking. With regular meditation practice we can improve our awareness greatly and with that look to change the negative thoughts we have about ourselves.
Throughout our Yin classes we hold each posture for minutes at a time. Being mindful with this time is a great place to start our quest to non-violence. Are you aware of your thoughts during each posture? Within your next practice, why not try the following:
If you take anything from this post, let it be that you deserve kindness, not only from those around you but also from yourself. This kindness will allow you to achieve more than you ever thought possible.
A new month commences and with it comes a new focus across all the GAIN Mobility classes. Keep reading to find out what's to come throughout April.
Fitness Yoga This month our Fitness Yoga focus is Rotations. Rotations seems pretty vague but the benefits we can reap from this are plentiful. As always the Fitness Yoga programming is designed with CrossFit, functional movement and recovery in mind. Here are just some of the positive implications of working on rotations:
Yin Yoga Yin is still a relatively new addition to the GAIN Mobility timetable, but the new style of yoga seems to have taken off well. Adding a new dimension to our active time table, Yin offers a much more low key approach to mobility. We spend 3-5 minutes in each posture, allowing our connective tissue and fascia to respond and stretch, and our minds to quieten and focus.
Over the last 6 weeks we have worked on a similar set of 8 postures, from next week we have a different set of postures to sink into. Feel yourself improve each session, and allow yourself to take a break from your busy schedule by booking into Yin Yoga.
Vinyasa Flow Every 6 weeks we start a new flow sequence. April sees the start of our 7th flow. This is the perfect time to try Vinyasa Flow for the first time, over the 6 weeks we build on the flow as we learn it and get to know the postures, the breath and how to transition. With more complex postures we have time to spend learning the movements and you may find that you achieve postures you never thought you'd be able.
For our Flow regulars, this is the 7th and last new flow for a while, after this we cycle back to Flow number 1, and work back through the 7 different sequences again, giving you all a chance to improve on last time.
Charity Yoga EventThis month GAIN Mobility is running a charity yoga class to help Laura Sides raise money for Dementia Revolution. On Saturday 13th April at 1pm, we are hoping to fill GAIN Fitness for the largest GAIN Mobility class ever!
The class will be suitable for all abilities, so if you've never tried yoga before it'll be the perfect place to start.
To book your place please donate, the amount is open, you choose how much at the time of booking.
Let's help Laura raise as much as she can for a charity that is very close to her heart. Let's have fun, get mobile and do something wonderful.
This month at GAIN Mobility
We’ve been concentrating on over head mobility during Fitness Yoga classes this month, with the secondary focus of handstand progressions as well. The progress in both these areas have been fantastic. Shoulder strength and mobility improved and some fears overcome. March sees the focus shift to hips. Working on hip mobility is a huge benefit to all. A seated life style (the office and lots of driving for example) can really mess with our hip mobility, which can transfer problems to our back. Getting open and mobile hips will not only help with reducing injury it’ll also help with our squat position and the power we can generate from that full hip extension in our lifts.
There is also an emotional element to hip openers. There appears to be a link between opening the hips and the release of old tension and trauma, whether it one large event or lots of small ones. It has been suggested that when we hear bad news or suffer grievances, the natural response is to hug our knees to our chest or choose the foetal position, and with this contraction of the hips we seem to embody the trauma within the muscles there. Stretching the hips seems to release some of that tension. So over next month, don’t be surprised if you come away from class feeling a little relieved, teary or lighter. You’ve just taken your yoga practice a little deeper.
On Sunday March 17th we have The Upside Down Workshop at 1:30pm at GAIN Fitness.
This will be 90 minutes of working on both headstands and handstands; we shall start by learning about the benefits of inversions and why I encourage GAIN Mobility members to learn the skill of one or the other. We shall then warm up and start with various headstand progressions and then positions (as there are plenty to play around with). We then move onto handstands and various progressions to work on getting into them. If you already have handstands we have various inversions for you to work on to challenge yourself further. It cannot be stressed enough. This workshop is inclusive for all, no matter what your current upside down ability.
Click the link and use the password: gainfitness19
To try out 7 days of Core Strength.
February UpdateHow are your New Year's resolutions going?
January has passed us by in a blur of chilly days and 5k runs. Most of us will have started the year ready for normality to resume after the Christmas break, but with a few resolutions added in for good measure.
A lot of people use January as a time to set new goals, reestablish good habits and try to break bad ones. But as we reach February, how are your resolutions holding up?
Creating new habits is never easy. But once they're created, they're hard to break so getting through the early stages is well worth the work.
At the start of January GAIN Mobility hosted a Mindfulness Meditation workshop and we discussed getting meditation into a busy schedule and how plausible it would be to keep it up. Here are the top take away tips for creating any new habit.
What's important when starting something new, such as meditation, is to reward yourself. Something becomes a habit when there is a reward at the end of it. The reward being the feeling of calm after meditation, or the endorphin hit after a work out, or the fresh minty feeling you get after cleaning your teeth (yep, cleaning your teeth is a habit).
So look for the reward in the habit you're creating, no matter how small.
The second thing we require when making a new habit is a trigger, something that makes you want to carry out said behaviour. Something such as your alarm clock could be a trigger. If every morning your alarm goes off and the first thing you do is meditate, over time the alarm will become the trigger to meditate. Or perhaps, finishing work is your trigger to go to the gym. Or your first coffee of the morning marks the point at which you're ready to get outside for your run. Each of these things can be a trigger which leads you to carry out your new habit. Find the trigger and work with it to help ingrain your habit.
We also require motivation to continue with our new habit. I'm sure we all know how motivation ebbs and flows and is never quite where it needs to be at the times we need it most. So to help tackle this motivation speed bump, break down as many barriers as you can before starting a new day.
Sunday night motivation might be at an all time high, so now is the time to get the mat out, next to the bed ready for your morning meditation. Or to get all your gym gear out and ready to put straight on so you can go to the gym. Perhaps its having your food ready for the next day so you can maintain your healthy eating. Use your motivation highs to knock down barriers that might occur in the future.
If you're finding the barriers are down but you're still not consistently getting your new habit in, it could be worth looking at your goals. Are they realistic, are you trying to do too much all at once? Thirty minutes of meditation every day might be overkill to start with. Hitting the gym six days a week could be leaving you feeling sore and unlikely to go back. Try to start small and build up. If you make five minutes of meditation each day to begin with, it's more likely that over time you'll increase this willingly and already have the five minute habit to build on. Perhaps start with the going to yoga once a week, and the gym two or three and work up from there.
Sometimes getting started is the way to kick start your motivation. The action proceeds the motivation, and usually once we've started something we're likely to want to finish it. Starting a run with the aim of doing 5k might seem daunting, but when you hit that half way point it's highly unlikely you'll give up. You'll want to keep going and get the satisfaction of finishing what you started.
Build your A Team:
If you spend a lot of time with people that don't have similar habits or goals it can be much more challenging to stick to something new. If no one else in your circle goes to the gym or your friends scoff at the idea of meditation, it's likely to knock your motivation on the head. You could try encouraging your loved ones to join you at the gym. Or get to know the other members of your yoga classes, so you're able to create some accountability within the group. "See you on Wednesday" can have a powerful effect on your motivation come Wednesday, knowing you've told someone you'll be there. Start by telling the teacher and work up from there.
It's not all or nothing:
What we must remember is that it takes time to build a habit, depending on the complexity of the new task it could be from 18 and 250 days. But the longer you stick with it the easier it becomes. Week one will always be much more challenging than week eight. Bear in mind that if you miss a day, it's not all over. Step away from the 'all or nothing' concept. No damage has been done by missing one day, look to start again the very next one and get back on track.
Finally a little self love:
Looking at setting a habit for the sake of someone else, or what people might think of you rings alarm bells. This habit will most likely fail. Set your goals from a place of self love and not something your ego might want. If you want to get healthier then you're likely to succeed. If you want to join a gym because you want to look better for other people, you're less likely to stick to this habit. Be kind to yourself and keep your goals in line with your own principles and beliefs. If you go off track for a little while, get back to it with love ('I've been busy and trying to get more in would've been too stressful.' 'I'm excited about this goal again now'.) Frustration and lack of belief in yourself will become harder barriers to break in the future, ('I can't stick to anything'. 'I'll never be mobile'. 'I just can't wake up early'.) These negative thoughts become our truths if we tell ourselves enough. Let the truths you tell yourself have a positive impact on your life.