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Men in Yoga

Men in Yoga

A topic that has interested me for a long time. Being a regular practicing and committed Yogi for 6 years, I have seen a positive increase in men practicing Yoga throughout studios in the World. Not only that but I have also seen an increase of men in yoga from all different professional and personal backgrounds starting to practice. The stereotypical view has been that Yoga is for women to keep fit and look good, and men belong in the gym or playing sports, something that is completely incorrect historically and in present. Yoga is 99% for internal reasons, and the external side is just a fortunate part of the package for those that do take care and want to enhance their looks. In fact, historically Yoga comes from young boys practicing to get ready for days of meditation, but as it travelled into the Western world it’s origins and truths were lost and the beauty was lost via marketing and advertising in the modern world to match the modern mind.

 

Yoga history

Beth Crivelli, a fantastic teacher (and one of my personal favourites) here at Kula has written the following detail regarding the history of Yoga which stems from male priests (Brahamans).

“The beginnings of Yoga were developed by the Indus-Sarasvati civilization in Northern India over 5,000 years ago. This gave rise to the vedas, the first known yogic texts.

The Vedas were a collection of texts containing songs, mantras and rituals to be used by Brahmans, the Vedic priests.

Yoga was slowly refined in the pre-classical period (1000BC – AD200) and developed by the Brahmans and Rishis (mystic seers) who documented their practices and beliefs in the Upanishads (the Bhagavad Gita is from the Upanishads), a huge work containing over 200 scriptures.

The classical period (AD 200) was defined by Patanjali’s Yoga-Sûtras, this text describes the path of Raja Yoga, Patanjali compiled the sutras into an “eight limbed path” outlining the steps and stages towards obtaining Samadhi or enlightenment. The Yoga-Sûtras still strongly influence most styles of modern yoga.

Post-Classical Yoga (post AD 200)
A few centuries after Patanjali, yoga masters created a system of practices designed to rejuvenate the body and prolong life. They rejected the teachings of the ancient Vedas and embraced the physical body as the tool to achieve enlightenment. They developed Tantra Yoga, with radical techniques to cleanse the body and mind (Hatha Yoga Pradipika) to break the knots that bind us to our physical existence. This exploration of these physical-spiritual connections and body centred practices led to the creation of what we mainly think of as yoga in the West today: Hatha Yoga.

In the late 1800s and early 1900s, yoga masters began to travel to the West, attracting attention and followers. In the 1920s and 30s, Hatha Yoga was strongly promoted in India through the work of T. Krishnamacharya, Swami Sivananda and other yogis. Krishnamacharya produced three students that would continue his legacy and increase the popularity of Hatha Yoga: B.K.S. Iyengar, T.K.V. Desikachar and Pattabhi Jois.

Still yoga was only trickling to the west until Indra Devi opened her yoga studio in Hollywood in 1947. Since then, yoga has gained a lot of momentum through western and Indian teachers gaining millions of followers. Hatha Yoga now has many different styles, all emphasizing the many different aspects of the practice.”

Yoga is for all

Learning the history and in-depth Yoga is fantastic, but it also opens my eyes to where it all started, and how so much has changed some truths have been lost, this is a post to really let men out there that want to try yoga, and maybe a bit apprehensive about it or think it’s not a male practice that Yoga is for everyone, for all walks of life, there is no creed, culture, religion, gender, physical appearance, race or anything that divides us as humans and Yoga is the absolute forefront of that.

Yoga means union of all, so please do drop by to the studio and try it out for yourselves.

~Namaste

Written by Suraj Ghumra, and for anymore information on Yoga please shout out to me here – surajyoga1@gmail.com

 

Yoga and Depression

Yoga and Depression

According to the Office of National Stats, as of April 2017 1 in 4 people suffer with depression, that statistic is worrying. Just knowing that on your day to day travels people around you are not feeling happy inside, and in many cases, can be suffering in silence without any form of therapy or help.

From my relationship with depression, I know it can stem from many different problems and issues you are facing in your life. This article isn’t about analysing those, or going into too much depth about how depression can arise, but it is more about how Yoga can be a form of combat.

When Yoga was first mentioned in the old sacred texts, the Rig Veda almost 5000 years ago, who would have thought it would of travelled the world in such blessing. In the Western world, Yoga studios are everywhere, and we hear of so many success stories and happy people that obtain and learn a true source of good feeling from the practice. This fantastic feeling is the reason why so many people have truly benefited from the practice when going through forms of depression.

When I started my path in Yoga I was suffering from a heavy trauma to my knee. This effected me physically but as time went I realised more so that my mental health was hit hard. I was in and out of depressive states for a while. Luckily, I was a keen Yogi and was practicing Yoga before my accident and straight after it to recuperate, and I thank the Yoga for allowing me to tackle my personal depression, and really learn to deal with how I was feeling.

Breaking down the Yoga & how it helps:

From personal practice (which has been predominantly Bikram yoga) and speaking to the wonderful Marylou McDonnell, here are some postures (with explanation) that help with depression:

Hands to Feet Pose (Pada-hastasana) – Improves blood circulation to the brain, which helps with depression and anxiety by bringing mental clarity and enhancing memory.

Standing Separate Leg Stretching (Dandayamana-Bibhaktapada-Paschimotthanasana) – This posture increases blood circulation to the brain and to the adrenal glands, bringing mental clarity and enhancing memory. This really helps with depression because it allows one to think straight and understand the root of why they are feeling down so we can then actually deal with that problem.

Standing Separate Leg Forehead to Knee (Dandayamana-Bibhaktapada-Janushirasana) – Improves blood circulation to the brain, helping with depression and anxiety.  Gives relief from tension headaches/migraine. Helps to balance the metabolism and regulate appetite.

Half Tortoise Pose (Ardha-Kurmasana) – Provides maximum relaxation., fantastic for indigestion, constipation and insomnia. This posture also increases blood flow to the brain bringing mental clarity and enhancing memory.

Dead Body Pose – Final Savasana – The final Savasana is the most important part of the lot. Here we soak up all the benefits of our practice and fully relax, accepting what we did today knowing that it was enough and that we are better for having practiced.  That is a wonderful, uplifting feeling.

Some more information

These are just a few postures that really help focus on the feeling of depression, and help tackle the problem to bring a healthier mind state, healthier body and better attitude into the mind. Which as a complete sequence (the Bikram method) really help people fight and for many overcome depression and depressive states.

As you go through life, you are challenged in many ways and this starts right from birth, and sometimes some of us do get lost or do fall into bad places, and those bad places. These places can include physical health, and also mental health, with depression being one of the most common mental health issues, understanding that not only will the Bikram Yoga method help you but all forms of practice will, such as Vinyasa, Yin, Nindra and the list goes on.

Mental wellness is something we take seriously at Kula, and in the world today we have so much more understanding, instead of suffering or taking possible medication why not try Yoga first and see how you get on. From my personal experience Yoga stopped me from medication and I would say changed my life, it can do the same for you.

Something special from Marylou

“Yoga as a practice, whichever method(s) we choose to practice, helps to quiet the mind and cut through negative patterns. Each person will find the one(s) that work best for them. Kula has choices to offer so we can try different methods and work out which one(s) best suit our mind, body and spirit for a happy, healthier life”.

Thank you, and if anybody has any questions or wants to just talk about this post or anything else, please reach me on surajyoga1@gmail.com, and/or just say hi at the studio, I am always around.

Suraj Ghumra

Meet The Man of Many Talents – Baris Yazar

This month I get the honour to interview Baris Yazar, a free spirit who has many talents, some of which include; teaching, healing, practicing kindness, capoeria and sharing his love and positive energy. I usually interview only Yoga teachers, but this experience was quite different for me, I started to learn more about a person that focuses all of his energy on different practices but all with the pure intention to heal. Whether he is healing confidence and mental states through Capoeira & iFlo, or healing a knee through tissue theraphy, Baris is always working for the health and wellness for the world and others.

Who is Baris Yazar and what do you do?

I am Poetry | I am Music | I am Art | I am Rhythm | I am Movement | I am Dance  | I am You  | I am Me |

I am All there is lost in trance

I am Love | I am Peace | I am Here at last

#poetryinmotionuk @baris_yazar

I am that, I am. My mission is to empower people to reclaim themselves (mind &body) through movement. I understand one of your main passions and in depth knowledge is within Capoeira.

What is Capoeira, how long have you been practicing but also teaching the art form?

Capoeira is a holistic art form unifying dance, music and philosophy in a fun yet challenging ‘game’. It is a discipline for both body and mind. The is a lot of historical debate about the origins of Capoeira – but it is largely agreed upon by scholars that Capoeira is an Afro – Brazillian art form (of the african diaspora) with its roots in Africa and its visible trunk in Brazil and currently growing and developing its branches across the world. It is a legacy for the people of the African diaspora. A human cultural heritage.

You teach the iFlo classes here at Kula, what is iFlo all about?

In short, Iflo movement is a progressive bodyweight conditioning method which can hugely aid and supplement any practice or be used as a standalone training system. It is a movement session aimed to help you move well so you can enjoy what you do In life to the fullest!

These sessions are a great way to learn/fine tune core bodyweight skills (press ups •sit ups•planks•handstands•bridges•) in detail and/or for those that need to boost motivation, improve their life style or simply just to keep fit, lean and healthy.

Through these sessions practitioners develop: body awareness, strength, flexibility, mobility, co-ordination and confidence

And soon enough will transform the ‘ordinary into the extraordinary’ – Baris Yazar 

Not only do you teach the above you also are a natural healer. How did you get into the life of theraphy and clinical sports massage?

I was lucky enough to be surrounded by healers, both my parents were in the medical field. Dad a doctor and my mother a teacher of midwives. I grew up seeing massage applied daily, and spent a lot of time massaging my grandmother and walking on the backs of adults in my grandmothers household, all very professionally of course!

But it wasn’t until I got in to performance I realised how important and invaluable regular treatments are for the body and its function, I used to treat fellow performers, and decided to really study soft tissue therapy as I was seeing and feeling the benefits first hand.

What brings you most joy in your day to day working life?

I truly love teaching and treating people  Empowering those around me and in turn seeing them reclaim themselves, grow and feel better. Seeing this is a priceless gift.

You have this aura of love about you that those around you are lifted from, in this world of mayhem what keeps you so modest, grounded and full of positivity? 

What grounds me is exactly that, the ground. The fertile earth I came from.

My roots. Those simple teachings from my ancestors.  Knowing that we truly own nothing but our actions and thoughts and even those at best we cannot control, everything else in our time here is borrowed. This knowledge sustains me daily.

A random question, but something I thought I want to ask. I know you love what you do, that is clear, but what would you do if you weren’t doing what you’re doing now?

A doctor saving lives or an engineer trying to create renewable source of energy for the world.

If you had to describe yourself in one word what would it be?

Peace

If you had to the power to change anything in this World what would you change?

Our collective attitude to nature.

Written by Suraj Ghumra.

For more information about Baris and his work please visit his website here  www.barisyazar.com

Follow Baris on Instagram here.

 

Kula Sculpt Yourself Into Health & Fitness this Summer

Katie B Happyy

Not too long ago, we had the pleasure of welcoming Katie B Happyy, a master motivator and teacher of yoga and core sculpt classes, to Kula Hot Yoga & Wellbeing.  While in London, Katie brought a wealth of knowledge and contagious passion for health and wellbeing to the studio while training our new high energy flow class, Kula Sculpt to our wonderful and beloved Kula yoga and movement teachers.

Since launching Kula Sculpt in May, these classes have been amazingly popular amongst our existing students who enjoy Bikram and Vinyasa yoga as well as newcomers who are in search of an intense and energising workout using free weights.

What’s Involved?
High Energy Flow. Upbeat Music. Free Weights (ranging from 2kg up to 5kg). Yoga Inspired Movements. Cardio party Exercise. 30 Degrees Heat. And a hell of a lot of fun while you work hard to tone that bod!

Why Kula Sculpt?
When you add weights to your daily routine it builds bone density. This means later in life you’ll have less injuries, breaks, and have stronger bones to last well into your 90’s!

Adding cardio vascular components into your daily routine strengthens your endurance in your life. It helps you keep up with your kids, take the stkula sculpt yoga health wellbeingairs like a BOSS, and want to RUN through life, rather than be dragged.

When your cardio vascular strength is strong, your daily energy is greater. That 2pm lull isn’t a lull, but an opportunity to get moving.

When you mix your sculpt with your asana practice, you’ll see great results in inversions like handstand, crow, side crow, headstand, and forearm stand.

The results you’re working at right now usually take 2-3 weeks to be visible. Show up every day to have the strongest summer yet.

How does it benefit me?

  • Maximum calories and fat burning
  • Sculpt / tune your body in an a wellbeing environment
  • Balance strength, flexibility and mind
  • Build endurance for stronger yoga classes multiple sports

“it’s the most fun I’ve ever had in a fitness class” – alumni

Kula Sculpt classes take place in the studio 5 times a week . View our timetable here to book. We recommend you book in advance online or via our app to ensure you secure your place in the room.

 

Yoga is for Everyone

yoga wellbeing wellness bikram camomile concepts health fitness

Yoga is for Everyone

Guest Blog by Kirsty Herd of Camomile Concepts

My Journey

Yoga is an incredibly popular. I can guarantee that if you ask amongst your group of friends you’ll find someone that has practiced one of its many forms. It’s not just about the physical exercise but it’s a truly holistic practice that aids mindfulness, encourages relaxation and eases stress. I’ve practiced one of the hot versions, Bikram for four years now and I’m a different person from when I started. I’ve lost significant amounts of weight (over three stone), have improved flexibility, been supported through horrendous grief and started to curb my anxiety issues.

When I entered my first Bikram Yoga studio in Glasgow in January of 2013 I was not relaxed, excited or confident. In fact, had it not been for a rather bossy (in the nicest way!) friend then I doubt I would have gone at all. Although I had lost a couple of stones through a slimming club, I was still quite a distance from my goal weight so the thought of wearing tight lycra in front of a bunch of skinny, perfect yogis was filling me with fear. Secondly, I had an elbow injury which has been through three operations causing me misalignment issues and stiffness in other parts of my body. I had never been flexible but after the trauma with the operations and recovery, I was as stiff as a board. Finally, I was a smoker and a heavy one at that. My friend rolled her eyes and sighed as I puffed away on a couple of Malboro Lights before entering the studio. My lungs weren’t in great condition and I always had a cold, how was I going to breathe through a yoga class? I was anxious and panicking……far from the ‘zen’ I’d heard yoga gave you.

I wish I’d read an article like this before I started my yoga journey as it just might have eased some of my worries and make me realise yoga is for everyone. Yoga is genuinely for everyone; any age, any size, any fitness level, any level of flexibility, anyone. There’s no judgement, just encouragement and, with regular practice, you experience the most wonderful transformations inside and out.

 

The Magic of Kula Yoga & Wellbeing

I’m delighted to be guest blogging for Kula; it’s the studio’s culture and teaching ethos encourage amazing positive vibes and a true feeling of togetherness.

Kula is a genuinely friendly and happy place to be with the most incredible teachers and facilities way beyond any other studio I’ve been to before. I’m focussing on Bikram Yoga in this article as that’s my main chosen form of practice but there’s many other options open to members at Kula. They have two yoga rooms, fire and earth. Fire is for hot practice – mainly Bikram but also Warm Vinyasa which is a dynamic flow form of yoga. Earth is for normal temperature practice where they offer Yin & Nindra, iFlo, Kula Sculpt, Vinyasa and Dynamic Body. More details on each of these are available on their website. The really special ingredient is the therapies that are available; Massage & Bodywork, Nutrition, Meditation, Psychology and Acupuncture. Complimentary 15 minute consultations are available so you get to meet the therapists and get a personalised understanding of the benefits of the therapy for you as an individual.

Why Bikram Yoga is for Everyone

I said at the beginning of this article that yoga is for everyone; here’s my five reasons why…

1. No-one is looking at you other than you! One of my greatest fears when I first went into yoga was what the other people would think of me. Slightly chubby, old workout gear and not the most attractive without makeup. After a few classes I realised that no one is looking at me! The reason for this is twofold; first, yoga is a moving meditation. Your focus through the entire class is on your breath and your own work. If your mind and eyes start to wander then you’ll lose focus, particularly in the standing series when you spend most of the time balancing on one leg. Second, the practice of yoga encourages empathy, support and togetherness not judgement… I have digestive problems and a disproportionately large tummy compared to my arms and legs but I still practice in a sports bra and leggings as I feel more comfortable in the heat and prefer to see my stomach when trying to meet the requirements of the posture.
2. At Kula, we have a huge range of people practicing yoga and everyone has their own reasons and own story. I love the fact the class is filled with decades of age ranges and lots of shapes, sizes and abilities. The teachers are very kind and incredibly supportive, never questioning or pushy and will help you if you’re struggling or have injuries that may require adjustments to the posture. One of the teachers talks about yoga being a non-competitive, lifelong journey which you adapt to fit your own shape, lifestyle and ability. Never before has a truer word been spoken. I’ve practiced with people with series long term injuries, with a wonderfully spritely 91-year-old lady and with a teenager suffering from a long-term heart defect – all those people found benefits and improvements to their lives through their practice.
3. The full name of Bikram Yoga is ‘Bikram’s Beginning Yoga Class’. There’s no advanced classes – every single class is the same 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises. There’s depth to each posture which you’ll move towards over time but regardless if it’s your first or 1000th class you all do the same sequence at the same time as everyone else. I really like this as I feel I can work on small improvements with each class – perhaps not on every posture every time but I feel I always come away having learned something new, making small improvements to my practice.
4. Bikram has designed the sequence to help heal medical and physical conditions and continual practice has been proven to improve cardiovascular health, spine strength and mental health. The class works 100% of your body from the inside out. For example, The Half Moon Pose which is one of the three warm up postures promotes kidney function helps cure enlargement of the liver and spleen and corrects bad posture. One of the master postures, the Camel Pose has been proven to cure constipation, open the rib cage which gives the lungs more space to expand and relieves backache by producing maximum compression of the spine.
5. The heat is good for you! Now I must confess, I was never a fan of heat – sunshine, saunas, hot rooms just made me sick and sweaty. My first foray into Bikram made me feel much the same but four classes in I had this strange revelation, which I found my fellow yogis also shared. The heat is your friend. It’s the heat that helps my muscles relax. It’s the sweat that helps me wrap my foot around my ankle in Eagle Pose. It’s the heat that helps my tendons soften so I can stretch further and it’s the sweat that gives me the glow, the detox and the wonderful zen feeling post class. My advice is to embrace the heat and sweat. If you ensure you breathe in and out of your nose throughout the whole class then this won’t be too much of an issue – you’ll start to love it!

A Few Final Words…

I hope this article has helped to relieve any fears or anxieties about starting a yoga practice. I’m a different person to the scared, nervous girl who walked into a Glasgow studio four years ago. I feel I’ve still got a long journey ahead of me but I’m embracing it. The small changes are wonderful and I’m content to embrace the capabilities of my body with each class.

I’d actively encourage you to speak to your fellow class mates and teachers at Kula. Everyone is super friendly and if you have any fears or questions I can guarantee they’ll be able to help you. Mary Lou does a Beginners Workshop on the first Sunday of every month where she’ll spend time going through the intricacies of each posture and answering any questions you may have. I’d hugely advise attending this when you first start practice with the first month. If you have any issues around nutrition, physio or muscle pain then book in for a complimentary session with a therapist and enjoy the holistic facilities that Kula has designed.

So, give it a try – you never know what you’ll discover.

Namaste

Kirsty x

If you are thinking about starting yoga classes then Kula has everything you need to feel confident in beginning your yogi journey. Our intro offer entitles you to unlimited yoga and movement classes including Bikram Yoga, Vinyasa, Yin, Nidra, Dynamic Body and I.Flo as well as a complimentary monthly Bikram workshop for beginners taught by our amazing Marylou! Yoga is for everyone and anyone, so do not feel shy to start your yoga journey.

Buy now

 

Yoga, Healing & Wellbeing

annemiek and kids

THE POWERFUL EFFECTS OF YOGA FOR HEALING & WELLBEING

An honest story from one of our Kula Hot Yoga & Wellbeing Ambassadors about the endless healing benefits of Bikram yoga

If I haven’t bumped into you so far, my name is Annemiek and I’m Dutch.
Three and a half years ago I joined Kula Hot Yoga & Wellbeing in Clapham Junction after my third baby boy was born and I haven’t looked back since. Yoga has changed my life and saved my sanity on a daily basis. It has helped me through the hardest and most stressful times in my life.

We all have our challenges and it’s very easy to forget ourselves. Which is why this exercise is so important to me. The great benefit is that you become more flexible, and it’s very good for your knees and back. It also will help to shape your body and tone your abs but moreover the mental health and wellbeing benefits go beyond any other.

A bit over a year ago I lost my mum, my friend, my person to go to, the one I called everyday. It was horrible, but life as we all know, carries on. Looking after your family isn’t easy while you are heart broken. I was tired, had no energy and tried to keep “the show” running. So I went to yoga more than ever, I cried in the hot room and grieved my mum. It helped me in so many ways. Reflecting on myself, accepting what had happened, I shared and made amazing friends. Sometimes I still breakout in tears during class and that is ok.

If you haven’t tried the Bikram classes yet, please do. Don’t let the heat put you off. I generally don’t like saunas either or the sweat! We are not in that room because we love to bend backward though & sweat our guts out. It’s the feeling after class that makes us all want to go back in there. It’s truly incredible!

Kula is an amazing studio and I have been to lots of different yoga studios in the past 10 years. The people who work there are incredible & I am proud to be one of the regulars. There are some awesome people in the Kula community. Check it out for yourself and you will experience the amazing health and wellbeing benefits too. It is so much more than just a work out!

Annemiek x

If you are thinking about starting yoga classes then Kula has everything you need to feel confident in beginning your yogi journey. Our intro offer entitles you to unlimited yoga and movement classes including Bikram Yoga, Vinyasa, Yin, Nidra, Dynamic Body and I.Flo as well as a complimentary monthly Bikram workshop for beginners taught by our amazing Marylou!

Buy now

 

Larisa and Andrei – Yoga Together

Yoga Together

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We are a couple in mid-thirties

We started practicing hot yoga in April 2016. Our New Year resolution for 2016 was to focus on our health, eat healthier, be active, lose weight and make important changes in our lifestyle. With that in mind we decided to buy the intro offer at Kula and see whether yoga is for us.

Our first class was a real shock and had no idea what to expect from hot yoga, only what we read on internet, but after surviving the class we knew that would be going back to class. Practicing together has its advantages as we motivate each other when one of us is having a bad day, feels tired or wants to sleep more, especially during morning classes.

We love hot yoga even though it is a challenging practice. We like that there no competition between practitioners as everybody is different and you start seeing changes in your body if you practice regularly. Yoga requires patience, time to understand and follow all the small steps in order to build good postures and see benefits.
We regularly practice Iris’s classes as she pushes people to achieve their best during each class. She says: “Try the position, don’t be afraid. You can! Yes, you can! YES, YOU CAN!”  This type of teaching gives you strength and motivates you to push your body to the limit. However, we are very thankful to all teachers and stuff who make Kula such a peaceful and lovely place. Yoga brought lots of changes in our life as we are now eating healthier, an increase in raw vegan food and it has also inspired us to read more about nutrition and healthy food choices.

During this period with regular practice and eating healthier we managed to lose between 13-15 kg each and now we feel more confident in our own bodies. We can now say we love ourselves and it also helped us be calmer, happier and more positive about our lives.

Click here to try our Intro Package.

Practice makes Perfect

hotyogaclassimage

I have been practicing 4/5 classes a week for nearly 5 years now and I have been through ups and downs with my practice; however I have been looking at myself and I have realised that I tend to miss certain postures due to the difficulty or just the nature of them.

Missing out postures in Yoga can happen; you maybe really tired, you may not be in the mood or just not in the right frame of mind to be in class but are there as you know how beneficial the practice is for you.

Attempting the posture that you fear is the most important thing you can do for yourself, whether it is 1% or 10% of the full pose, it really doesn’t matter because your full capacity is your full capacity and by attempting the posture slowly but surely you will eventually get into the complete pose.

During class I see many people sit out postures, the most infamous are Triangle and Fixed Firm due to the inability to go into the full posture. With Fixed Firm I completely understand that the pain maybe too much or you don’t feel as comfortable as you do in other poses, but if you attempt at least a part of the posture, over time with regular attendance you will eventually be able to get into it fully.

I personally have been tackling fixed firm for around 4 years now and this is due to a serious knee problem however I always attempted the posture and I have progressed a lot – from absolute agony and minimal range of motion to hardly any pain and an increased range, this is purely because I attempted the posture. If I can do it so can you and before you know it your bum will be on the floor and you will fixed in. That goes for all of the poses – regardless which one it is you just have to try and attempt it and eventually you will be doing the full pose. Like everything in the world you have to start from somewhere but if you don’t start from somewhere you will certainly not end anywhere.

As a fellow student I just wanted to write about challenges that many practitioners face, and having an off day is human but just be true to yourself and give it a 100% as often as you can and the benefits of your yoga practice will start to show in your life outside the yoga studio.

A Speech from Kula’s Director – Gerry Lopez

gerrypicspeechjul

A Speech from Kula’s Director – Gerry Lopez – At Kula Wellbeing’s Launch in July 2016

I’ll start briefly by sharing a bit about where I come from.

I was born in London, son of a Mexican mum and dad. We moved to Mexico when I was 3 and I spent my early life there until my early 20’s. My curiosity and, of course, the British weather called me back to come and explore London.

I spend most of the first 15 years pursuing a financial career working between banks and hedge funds. It was fun, at least for some years. However, over time the realization that something was missing for me was growing by the day. I wanted to have more exposure to people, to different ways of living and thinking. I wanted to be able to contribute to the wellbeing of my community.

So in 2011 I started the year trading stocks in a hedge fund. By summer, I was sweating my life away in my speedos next to 400 keen yogis training to be Bikram yoga teachers. What a life changing experience!

The goal was to make something out of the hobby that keep me sane, but more importantly share this life changing therapy with others.
I wanted to create a space where people could connect with themselves surrounded with people that share these values. This is what Kula about! A space for you, where you can leave the world behind.

Kula in Sanskrit means ‘a community of the heart’ a community where people gather together to nurture themselves. Kula’s aim is to provide you with an environment of love, compassion, discipline, hard work and fun.

We live in a hectic world. In a vibrant city with a lot of challenges. All that is great. However, sometimes we need to recharge the batteries and nurture ourselves. Rebalance our body and mind. This will greatly help us to deal with our challenges. The idea is that we can all together make the world a better place.

Let me tell you a bit about what is happening in Kula ?

Yoga

Kula is still committed to the Bikram Yoga practice. The Bikram Yoga series has incredible benefits for our body and mind. It has changed my life and I am proud to tell that pretty much every week I hear an inspiring story of how the Bikram Yoga practice has positively impacted someone’s’ life.
So, although we will be introducing exciting wellbeing classes. Workshops and activities our aim is to affect the Bikram Yoga timetable as little as possible.
Bear that in mind we will have the facility to split the current yoga room into two rooms. A 40 people hot room (fire) and a 20 people ambient room (earth). Of course we will still have the ability to have the full hot yoga room.

We will be introducing alternative yoga styles with a particular focus to those that complement the Bikram Yoga practice. e.g. Vynasa, Yin Yoga.
We will as well be looking to incorporate scheduled body movement classes. e.g. I-Flo. Some of you had the opportunity to experience the fantastic Demo that Baris’ and his team has performed.

We will be also be testing over summer dynamic hot Pilates from PBB.

Meditation

We are incorporating Gong meditation workshops. We’ll have Yoga Nidra classes and potentially Mindfulness. The idea is to incorporate some meditation sessions in the regular schedule.

Massage and Bodywork

We are increasing the number of therapist in the Energia room and will soon be opening a 2nd therapy room. We currently offer to you an Osteopath, Physiotherapist, Traditional Chinese medicine including acupuncture and coping, Deep Tissue and Sport massage, etc.
These therapists by themselves or in conjunction with the yoga practice are an incredible way to keep our body and minds health.

Nutrition

Of course we have Jessica, who just got married last week, as our resident nutritionist. We’ll keep running nutrition workshops, like the one we had earlier today where you can learn easy and powerful ways to have a healthy and balanced diet. Nutrition challenges where you can incredibly boost your health and individual therapies.

Psychology

We will be incorporating it little by little. Initially offering to you workshops that will help us to work better in dealing with our emotions. e.g. Heart Math, Visions and Goals.

Of course we will be having exciting retreats with all the above activities will be combined. Currently we are looking at places in Ibiza and Greece! We’ll keep you informed.

Kula exists thanks to all of you. We have all created it together. A space full of interesting people. People that love life; live in a demanding city and takes time to take care of them.

Thanks to all Kula staff. Thanks to Michelle, Kula’s manager, that makes everything happen in a harmonious way. She has been here from day 1. Thanks to every member of staff the put their heart in their work. Together we always aim to provide to you, our students, the best possible experience.

I am very grateful to all of you.

Thanks to all! Love you!

Meet The Teacher – Beth Crivelli

image of Beth Crivelli

This months Meet the Teacher is with the energetic and always full of life Beth Crivelli. Beth has been teaching at BYCJ for a while now and she always focuses on the importance of breahting, alignment and having a positive mindset when pracitcing. I go out of my way to actually make her classes because of the reasons listed but also because when she teaches you know she actually cares about the Yoga. In this day and age with the boom of Yoga and its increase in popularity with all ages and types of people some teachers have come into the industry and just taught as a simple means to an end, which comes with its negative side of not actually teaching with passion and real intent. When teaching something so special it comes with an important responsibility and attitude and this teacher has that. This is a great read…

 

How long have you been teaching the yoga for?
2011

What did you do before you started teaching yoga?
Fashion production manager.

What do you love about teaching Bikram?
The way how my energy and the students’ mix and work together.
Teaching yoga is consistently the most rewarding thing I do. I love studying people’s bodies and trying to find the best assistance I can provide them with to further their yoga experience.

What is your Favourite Posture?
Always changing …..right now I’m figuring out my triangle – it’s a complex one.

What do yo love about the studio and why do you think it is doing so well?
I have been practising at BYCJ for nearly a year now and I have seen it grow a lot in that short period of time.  I think the energy in the studio is amazing and because it comes from the top it filters down into us teachers, reception and therefore students.  I can honestly say that he Clapham students are the happiest ones in London and this makes it such and honour and pleasure to teach them.

What are your interests outside the yoga?
I seem to be quite obsessed with anatomy and movement at the moment so there’s a lot of that going on. I also teach vinyasa and yin so I do a lot of research on that as well as Bikram. I also make my own skin care range (vegan, palm oil free, organic). I have been an ethical vegan for years so I follow issues surrounding that too.

In three words how would you describe the experience of teaching a Bikram class?
Rewarding, challenging, sweaty!!

Words of advice to students?
Feed your body with positive thoughts, its always listening, calm your breath to calm your mind and practice with HONESTY. As humans we always tend to follow the path of least resistance and this is also the case in movement pathways. Yoga is also self study so we are in the room to identify our current weaknesses instead of finding ways around them. We need to learn to work with them and turn them into our strengths. THis might mean going back to basics, and If so then so be it.
Yoga is I think is  about removing obstacles in your practice (physical, neurological, psychological, emotional) and to do that first you need to face them and then have the strength to change.

Thanks a lot Beth this has been fantastic.

By Suraj Ghumra

May and Michelle – Yoga Together..

May on Practicing Yoga With Michelle..

Practicing yoga together means that we can encourage one another and keep up the momentum and motivation.
There are days when you don’t want to leave the house and your mind is occupied by all sorts. Or work has taken over your time and invaded the mind. Life, family and friends too can be demanding. So having a friend, partner in crime within your yoga classes is such a good way forward.
When you practice with someone else you become a team and you see a journey through together, which is on-going. You develop and when you do this with a partner the challenge becomes more than yoga.
It creates positive energies and the mind and body connection is greater. You have someone you can discuss the yoga poses with.
Michelle and I both have our favourite poses ones we are both good at individually and ones where we both struggle with as well as ones we do so happily. This helps us to improve in a greater way then you imagine -Because we can both see that one day we can achieve it… Not putting on time limits. Just showing each other it can be done.
There can be elements of competitiveness and positive growth through training together.
I met Michelle at the studio and we have a good friendship as well as doing classes together. Most of all we can laugh together and not take it all too seriously. We are both able to encourage and motivate one another, so that we get to class. Why is it important to have each other in the class, you might be asking? It’s great because it’s sharing, learning and improving. (Sharing is caring, people) If you want to give up, having that support in the room helps. Together you help shape the class and show others that determination. Our classes are always more fun and relaxed when we practice together.
We would both recommend on sharing your yoga journey with someone as well as on your own. It’s very powerful as you become more aware and in tune with you body as a team. There is a universal connection and you can see that in practicing yoga together.

Michelle on Practicing Yoga with May…

My journey with Hot Yoga started in 2011. At the time I was working in Canary wharf for the head office of a bank and was looking for an outlet to release my stresses of working in such a busy environment. So I signed up to the 30 day offer at Bikram Yoga London Canary Wharf. I really enjoyed my first class and the feeling it gave me, however after the offer I left employment at Canary Wharf and could not find a studio closer to where I lived so I did not continue my practice. Five years later after doing two more introductory offers at Sohot Bikram Yoga and Hot Yoga Society, I came across Kula. Kula was perfect because it was close to home and I was looking for an alternative to my gym work out.

Since joining Kula last year June, I cancelled my gym membership and have not looked back. The studio has a lovely atmosphere and the Kula team are amazing. I feel myself getting less stressed in certain situations and I am losing weight which was one of my main goals. The Kula teachers are very encouraging and helpful, which I did not find at other studios I visited over the years. I have also met some really lovely people at Kula, like May who is a real gem at encouraging me to enhance my practice.  We normally practice together when time permits and motivate each other to attend a class on those days we are feeling like we have had a stressful day at work and cannot be bothered. I also persuaded my bestie Patricia to sign up and she is now hooked as well.

Thanks for Reading!

A Yoga Story of 2 Friends..

Yoga with Friends

Annemiek (left of the picture) on practicing with Sammy

Yoga together with my friend is getting recharged, having fun and having a proper workout all together. The best thing is afterwards when you are so happy you’ve looked after yourself, your body & your mind & each other.  You sit down in the chill area, we have a little chat and we enjoying that big bottle of water that suddenly tastes better than the best G&T. It’s just a treat to share a passion like this and it makes yourself & your friendship grow stronger and stronger.

Sammy (right of the picture) on practicing with Annemiek
Practicing yoga with one of my best friends:
She loves me even covered in sweat, a purple face and with my tummy after 3 babies. She laughs with me when I fall over, she encourages me to keep going when I’m tired and run down. She inspires me with her strength and when we catch each other’s eye in the mirror, no words are needed. She just gets it!
Practising with my buddy makes me stronger and more humble as we are in our journey together. It’s like our secret medicine that we take together and no one can take away from us

Bikram Yoga & ACL Reconstruction Rehab

image of Standing Bow Pose
Standing Bow Pose

If you are reading this you are either researching the best ways to rehab, currently rehabbing or just plain curious.

An Anteriror Cruciate Ligament (ACL) reconstruction of the knee joint is one of the most common surgeries and the recovery time can be up to a year. That is a long time for anybody and even after the instructed rehab has finished for many the pain can still be a problem as surgery doesn’t always mean a pain free life.

This is where Bikram Yoga comes in as an aid for your ACL reconstruction rehab. (more…)

5 ways to help you into a deep slumber from our certified nutritionist

Nourish your sleep
Nourish your sleep
From Jess, our BYCJ Nutritionist:
There are three crucial things the body does while you’re in a slumber…

  1. Your brain recharges.
  2. Your cells repair themselves.
  3. And your body releases important hormones.

A good sleep really is a fundamental part of feeling refreshed and energized throughout the day and if you don’t get enough sleep, and quality sleep, it can leave you feeling groggy and under-performing. (more…)

Young Yogis

beginners-workshop-clapham
Beginners workshop Clapham
Before the boom of Bikram Yoga, yoga was not the number one choice of exercise by the younger generation of the western world.

The image of sitting in a room with old people, doing funny movements and postures – oooing and ahhhing was the typical the stereotype, and the emergence of Bikram Yoga changed this whole perception.

Bikram Yoga has been around since the early 1970’s, but in the last decade it has become the worldwide practise it is today. (more…)

The Importance of Savasana

image of the dead body posture
Bikram Yoga Posture – Dead body pose
Keeping still is one of the hardest things for us to do, especially in that heat! 60 seconds of absolute stillness can seem like 20 minutes and there will always be something distracting you right?!

Savasana is sanskrit for Dead Body Pose and once we actually get to that place we will not be moving a muscle! So there is no doubt this is hard to do when we are live and kicking, however it is one of most important postures in Yoga and for some it takes years to master and for others it may be a walk in the park. (more…)

Nutrition For Yoga

Glass of water
Drink plenty of water when you excercise.
Our internal body balances varies with age and gender. About 45% to 50% of body weight in females is water. Since males generally have higher amounts of lean mass, body water is around 50% to 60%.When normal conditions exist in the body, we have many mechanisms to help preserve our fluid and electrolyte balance. (more…)

Meet the Staff: Stephanie Hollis

image of Steph Hollis
Steph Hollis – Bikram Yoga teacher
“Never underestimate your own body’s healing power….this Yoga is a medicinal practise that will give your body the tools to heal and change for the better”.

That was the first of many lessons that I have learnt from my first Bikram Yoga teacher and now mentor back in Sydney 6 years ago.

I was a Ballet dancer when I first discovered Bikram Yoga (thanks to my mother!), and was immediately hooked…..the intensity and discipline that Bikram yoga demands was very familliar to the Classical Ballet training I was going through. At the time I thought I was healthy and strong, but very quickly I realised how much damage I was doing to my body and mind as a Ballerina ( Yoga tends to go give you tremendous awareness and insight into your bodies true needs and wants).

Shortly after I started Bikram Yoga I was diagnosed with PCOS, and was told I had to be on medication for the rest of my life.I decided to leave the Ballet world as it was jeopardising to my body and overall well being. I started practising Yoga almost everyday….hoping that my body would start to heal and restore, just like my teacher had said. After 6 years of regular practise and a Teacher Training in-between, I have not needed my medication for 3 years!!! It works!!

Meet the Staff – Letitia Simone Wilkinson

letitia
This month we have a Meet the Staff entry with Letitia, who has been with the studio since it opened in the summer of 2013. Enjoy this great read!
Why and when did you start working at BYCJ? I have been with BYCJ since we first opened, I was a dance student at the time and was already practising Bikram Yoga, therefore, BYCJ was the perfect place to work alongside my dance training and luckily I have wonderful friends to work with too!

(more…)