Confessions of a Lazy Yogi

The lazy yogi brings you the ultimate in lazy yoga: Do Yoga For Me

You’ve heard of Do Yoga With Me online classes.

You’ve tried Do Yoga to Me traditional Thai Massage.

Now introducing Do Yoga For Me, exclusively at Louth Yoga Studio.

Yoga made easy

No need to brave the weather, sacrifice your evenings or even to find your gym kit.

You can share the benefits of yoga without leaving home.

Do Yoga For Me is a complete “done for you” service where somebody does all the yoga practice you want, just for you.

Levels

Choose from complete beginner, intermediate or experienced.

Postures carried out at different levels
From left to right: intermediate, beginner, experienced

Specify if you want practice to focus on balance, inner calm, flexibility or strength and we will adjust to suit. We can even work with your physical restrictions.

All this for just £40 a month (£35 by direct debit/standing order). For obvious reasons, this service cannot be provided simultaneously for more than one person, so book now to reserve your yogi.

Coming soon

Do Pilates For Me

Contact us

toolazy@april1.fool.uk

Pain-free hair-free: why sugaring beats waxing

I’ve heard Kim of Sweet & Smooth talk with passion about the products and system she uses to remove hair, and I’ve heard happy clients talk with pleasure about the experience, and I finally got around to trying it for myself.

Step 1: Chalk

Advice before you go

Don’t use any oils or moisturiser (including soap that contains moisturiser) the day of your treatment or the hairs won’t stick!

If you usually shave, stop for as long as you can bear before your appointment. If you shave frequently, the hairs are all at different stages of growing and it will take multiple treatments to catch them all, leaving you feeling like the effects don’t last very long.

What’s involved

The room and environment are very calming and pretty, and Kim makes you feel that you are in capable hands. She sprinkles chalk over the target area so the sugar sticks to the hairs not the skin.

Step 2: Dragging out

Then she scoops out a handful of warm sugar that looks like honey or golden syrup and places it on your skin. She drags it firmly over your skin with her fingertips, which is part of what makes it feel like a massage. Then she peels the sugar back, removing hairs with no sense of them being ripped out.

The sugar is applied and removed in multiple directions so it grabs the hairs no matter which way they are growing.

Step 3: Peeling off

The advantages

The process is gentle enough to be used on the face.

The products are kind to your skin.

The pain is non-existent.

Over time the hairs will become finer and the numbers will reduce.

To book

Kim offers appointments to suit you – weekdays, evenings or even weekends. Contact her on 07775 593911 to book your appointment at Louth Yoga Studio on Pawnshop Passage, Louth.

Do yoga to me

Traditional Thai Massage – perfect for lazy yogis

If you are feeling tired and achy, but yoga sounds just too much like hard work, then the solution is to let someone else do it for you!

Thai massage is much more dynamic than other types of massage you may be more familiar with. You still get to spend an hour lying down, but your limbs are moved around in a similar way to doing a yoga class, just without the effort from you.

Where other massage techniques focus on rubbing muscles, the Thai system involves the compressing, pulling, rocking and stretching, which is why it feels like having yoga performed on you. Also you remain clothed while your arms and legs are manoeuvred and manipulated.

In fact, it’s as much a workout for the person delivering the massage, as she uses her bodyweight to get deep into the knots of tension you are holding in your arms, legs and back. Thai massage can be very intense, and the sensations aren’t for everybody, so an alternative is a gentler massage combined with aromatherapy to give the same benefits.

At Louth Yoga Studio

Traditional Thai Massage is now available as a service at Louth Yoga Studio, with options including:

  • foot and hand massage
  • back, neck and shoulder
  • aromatherapy
  • full traditional massage

Regular days are Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, although appointments may be available at other times, so it is worth checking. Contact Mae direct to book your appointment.

Relaxation takes effort

The stress of relaxation

Stress is easy. Anyone can get stressed. It’s an instinctive part of our make-up and goes way back into our evolutionary past, hundreds of millions of years.

Relaxation is tougher. After the stress response, the hormones priming us for fight or flight should fade away, bringing us back to our resting state. That’s the way we are made – experience stress, react, recover. The problem is that causes of stress have changed. For most people the risk of getting eaten on any given day is minimal. Unfortunately, the risk of being exposed to stress is so high as to be inevitable. Too much traffic, dodgy air conditioning, troublesome IT, annoying colleagues, money worries, queues and any number of other irritations. Two problems with these are that the fight or flight response isn’t appropriate, so we don’t “burn off” the stress hormones by responding as nature intended, and the stressors come thick and fast meaning our opportunity to return to the resting state is limited.

If we constantly face stress, our bodies adapt. We become used to elevated cortisol levels. Unfortunately, becoming used to that state means that the hormones are less effective, inflammation is more likely, bad eating habits feel like the solution to all our woes.

Active relaxation can be achieved but it takes effort and training.

Learning to relax

Activities like yoga, tai chi and qi gong tap into the parasympathetic nervous system and allow the body to relax, reducing blood pressure, slowing breathing and heart rate, reducing the prevalence of stress hormones in circulation. Classes at Louth Yoga Studio promote relaxation by reducing physical tension and tightness, and encouraging slow, deep breathing, in some cases teaching whole new breathing techniques.

Breathing, like relaxation, is one of those things we are assumed to be able to do without training and yet so many people would benefit from learning simple ways to use breath to let go of stress. Mind and body are closely intertwined, pain in one manifesting in the other. Breath links the two and can support and guide both body and mind to relaxation and stillness.

One breathing exercise to try is to lie down with the hands on the belly, fingertips just touching. Inhaling through the nose, feel the belly rise. Exhaling through the nose, allow the belly to fall under gravity, just letting the breath go. Stay focused on the sensations of air moving, the belly rising and falling. Once you are comfortable with the pattern of breathing, introduce a silent count to four on the inhalation, four on the exhalation, gently extending and equalising the in and out breaths without straining.

The Relaxation Response

The person who pioneered the idea of the Relaxation Response is Dr Herbert Benson, who can be heard talking about his technique here.

Stay in touch

To keep up to date with everything at Louth Yoga Studio, subscribe to our monthly newsletter.

Grow younger with every movement

Do we age or do we stop trying?

stereotypical road sign of people in old age moving slowly supported by walking stick Bette Calman showing great flexibility and strength in her late 80s proving age is no barrier to movement

What was your first reaction to the pictures of Bette Calman above?

  1. That’s going to be me at her age!
  2. No way, I can’t even attempt that now!

Stereotypes about old age abound – ideas of people stooped and shuffling, at risk from falls, vulnerable. Yet most people will also know or have heard of someone in their 80s who still walks miles every day, runs marathons or accomplishes some other physical feat that would be impressive regardless of age. How do they manage it? Is it all the luck of the draw?

Dynamic aging

Depending on how you look at it, staying young is either the easiest or the hardest thing in the world to achieve. The less we move, the less we become capable of moving. The weaker we become, the less stable we feel, the greater the fear of falling. The negative cycle goes round and round, our own beliefs in our abilities and the aging process becoming self-fulfilling as muscles and bones weaken and we stop trying.

A fitness instructor once explained her philosophy to me. She worked on the assumption that we deteriorate physically over the years, so the better our starting position, the longer we will maintain strength and balance throughout our lives. Kathy Cummings, who teaches Restorative Exercise at Louth Yoga Studio has recently introduced me to the work of Katy Bowman and her conviction born of experience that it’s not all a downhill slide. People can regain strength through simple exercises and introducing gentle movement into their lives. Katy’s way of looking at bodies views movement as being essential nutrition, as important as food, to be taken every day. In an increasingly sedentary world, is it surprising that we lose the ability to move with confidence and without pain?

In her book, Dynamic Aging, Katy diagnoses the shuffling gait associated with people we think of as frail and elderly as being a symptom of fear (of falling) – picture yourself on an icy surface when your body tenses, your steps shorten and all your focus is on staying upright. Kathy Cummings is a Restorative Exercise Specialist, trained to teach the moves and stretches offered as remedies in the book and is one of the first in the UK to be able to offer the classes. Her workshops, running in May and July 2018, are ideal if you feel that yoga or Pilates will be too strenuous, or if you have a particular area of pain or imbalance you want to correct.

Helping your body help itself

The fundamentals are alignment, stacking the bones so that they bear load and using the muscles to hold them in place rather than sagging and hanging in the ligaments. The detail is best explored in a class with an experienced observer of posture, but a simple test you can try for yourself is to take a couple of steps on the spot, then stop and glance down at your feet. Do the toes point out to the sides with the body weight going mostly through the outer edge of the foot? Or do the point forwards, with the weight more evenly spread between both sides? Don’t try to force the feet to a drastically different position, as your knees and hips and all the muscles of the legs need to start cooperating to build  the alignment, undoing years of habits – that’s where the exercises come in.

Toes pointed out in poor stance, outer edges of feet parallel in good stance

Another one you can quickly check for yourself if you have access to a long mirror is to look at yourself sideways on. Are your hips and knees directly above the ankles with all that bone structure supporting you, or do you spend most of your time leaning forwards?

Building strength into the day

How many times a day do you stand and sit? If you add up all the trips to the loo and the kettle, it’s likely to be at least into double figures even for people who think they do no exercise at all.

How do you get up and down? Do you have to shuffle to the front of the seat and lever your self out, or use a bit of momentum to get the extra lift? Do you aim for the chair when sitting and land from about a foot above the cushion? Start using leg muscle when you stand and sit by deliberately moving slowly, keeping your weight in your heels, leaning forward with your chest and reaching forward with your arms, keeping your knees in line with your hips (not drifting in towards each other). If that’s too much to start with, prop yourself up on more cushions, books or blocks so you don’t have to rise and lower so far. You will be surprised at how soon you can get rid of the props if you are standing and sitting with focus dozens of times a day.

Next steps

Kathy’s workshops start again on Thursday 10th May and run for four weeks. Sessions last 90 minutes and cost £12 each or 4 for £40. Book via the studio or contact Kathy directly 07967046115.

Oh, I wish I’d looked after me feet!

This post is with apologies to Pam Ayres, who I’m sure would have written about shoes and feet if she hadn’t been busy writing about teeth.

I was always fussy about footwear as a child, and deliberately very difficult to buy shoes for. I just didn’t like my toes feeling squashed, and I thought that was quite reasonable. My position softened as I started buying shoes for myself, and I have bought many pairs convinced that I would “break them in” before realising I didn’t have the endurance and pain threshold required for that. At weddings and other fancy dos, I am the first to be flinging aside anything with heels or pointy toes and either going barefoot or relaxing in trainers regardless of the funny looks. No bunions or sprained ankles for me, thank you very much.

As a result, I thought I had a fairly healthy relationship with my feet, overlooking a tendency to get blisters when hiking. I was surprised to find how wrong I was. During a Restorative Exercise class with Kathy Cummings, we were challenged to really look at our feet, and think about how harshly we treat them compared with our hands. What manual dexterity would you have if since the age of a few months, your hands had spent hours every day encased in gloves with a rigid palm?

The particular challenge was to draw around our feet on a blank sheet of paper, then place a pair of shoes on top. I didn’t have a great pen to hand when I tried, but you can just about make out that the big and little toes are “cut off” by the outline of the shoe.

Outline of bare feet  Shoes on top of barefoot outline

So I started looking for “barefoot” shoes, found a few reviews, a few differences of opinion about what they actually are, and had a sharp intake of breath at the prices. I thought I had prepared myself to spend more than usual, but not quite as much as that! Especially not on something like shoes that I was buying online – it’s enough of a risk buying clothes without trying them on, to buy shoes seemed ridiculous. And they were too expensive so that was that.

Except I kept sneaking looks at the website, hoping that the prices would have changed. Eventually an advert popped up when I was elsewhere online, promising 15% off even on sale items, and I managed to find some presentable shoes (not my first choice, but they will do), in my size and worked out that I could buy two pairs for the price I had considered paying for one. At that point I decided to take the plunge.

Here are is a new picture of the outline of my foot, then the new shoes on top, perfectly covering them, despite the fact that a line drawn around will always make the foot look larger than it is.

Shoe entirely covers outline of foot Soles so flexible one shoes can be rolled up and squeezed into the other The other pair fits as well, I just haven't worn them yet

The company I bought them from is Vivo Barefoot, although several others are available, particularly in Germany. I’ve only been wearing them a week so can’t say how durable they are, but no complaints from my toes so far.

Challenging my resolve

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions because I see them fail too often.

I haven’t given something up for Lent since I was at school (and even that I suspect was under pressure from adults who didn’t want chocolate in the house weakening their resolve!).

I am up for a challenge though, so long as it’s an achievable stretch, something I’ll feel proud of having done but not defeated from the outset.

That’s why I’m setting myself a Lent challenge this year and you are welcome to join me, either subscribing to this blog or joining our group on Facebook.
Every day there will be a yoga pose or Pilates exercise for you to try.

Feel free to post comments on how you are getting on, photos if you’re feeling brave – and if you don’t manage it every day, smile, forgive yourself, and come back with enthusiasm when you can 😀.

I’ve lost my off switch

I called this blog Confessions of a Lazy Yogi for a reason, and that reason is that I’m lazy. I’m often to apathetic to exercise, even when I know it’s what I need.

So why is losing my off switch a problem? Well that’s the switch in my mind, which is always on. I’m thinking all the time, busy with planning, organising, fretting, never letting go. Does that sound familiar?

I know that the two problems are related at times – the reason I don’t feel like exercising is that my mind is just too busy, sometimes feeling overwhelmed, usually not wanting to take time out to do something purely physical. The lie my mind feeds me is that it has to be on, and I have to allow it all the time it needs to either be doing things or recovering from having done too much.

The truth is that my mind is wrong, misguided, deluded. It’s trapped in an anxiety cycle that can’t be fixed by just doing more of the same. When I do something more physical or concentrate on my breathing, I can access the off switch my conscious mind doesn’t want me to know about. While I’m focussed in the moment I can let the day to day worries settle, rest from all that frenetic thinking and worrying. I emerge from yoga or meditation refreshed and relaxed. I might have just as long a list of tasks ahead of me, but they don’t feel so critical and they generally look more manageable.

The amazing thing about opening Louth Yoga Studio is that although I have all the pressures of setting up a new business, I get to practice yoga and relaxation every day. My batteries are recharged routinely, I meet lovely people who bring positive energy to class and we get to have fun trying out silly postures. The greatest compliment I’ve had lately is a description of some of our new members who apparently come home “buzzing” after class – and they’ve been coming three or four times a week so they are obviously enjoying it! If you want to share in the yoga buzz, come along to Pawnshop Passage and find out what we’re up to, or join our Facebook group to get to know people before you even arrive.

Namaste.

Do you get 10,000 steps a day?

I know I don’t. At least not on weekdays. I hardly need an app or gadget to count my steps during the week.

When I do move, if I pay close attention to my technique, it’s more of a controlled fall as my weight pitches forward, the ball of my foot takes the impact and the other leg swings into action. Tension and damage build up throughout the body in this way, and some headaches can be resolved lessening the impact of walking.

Basically, I go from house to car, from car park to office, up a few stairs and reverse it at the end of the day. I could probably stay under three figures if I didn’t need to go to the loo every now and then! I do try to keep moving during the day – simple things like accompanying whoever has offered to make a cup of tea rather than remaining glued to my seat (and of course there’s the obvious relationship between volume drunk and number of trips to the loo, so I score double for that!).

My life is, or could be, very sedentary, which is why I push myself to get out to exercise classes, why I’m happy that our studio is on the second floor, and why I’m delighted to be hosting some amazing new workshops to improve your posture and get you walking more comfortably. Some are during weekdays, one is on a Saturday, so hopefully everyone will get a chance to attend at least one.

Kathy Cummings is introducing Restorative Exercise to Lincolnshire. Based on biomechanics and the philosophy of Katy Bowman  (author of books such as Dynamic Aging and Whole Body Barefoot) these workshops will target your alignment and provide gentle stretches and corrective measures to get you moving with ease.

The six week programme starting in February takes you through alignment, the feet, the hips, the core, pelvic health, neck and shoulders and walking. You can pick and choose which session to attend, or save by booking the full course (£10 per session separately, £50 for the course).

The Saturday Indoor Walking Workshop is a two and a half hour intensive session on 3rd March [POSTPONED] to put a spring in your step and get you out and about as the days are getting longer. Keep an eye on our Facebook page to learn more and reserve your place (£20).

If you need more encouragement to get out and get walking, let Helen Sanders tell you about how you can use walking to lose weight.

The air that we breathe

I sneeze a lot. It doesn’t take much to tickle my nose and smoke of any kind is one of the worst offenders. There must be something about the size of particles that is perfect for triggering my defensive responses.

I’m relatively safe from cigarette smoke as I usually only encounter it in well-ventilated areas and the odd bonfire isn’t a problem, but it really gets difficult when smoke is brought in to a yoga class. Usually the doors and windows are shut to keep warmth in, and we are encouraged to inhale deeply as part of the practice. Add a joss-stick into that environment and no matter how pleasant the scent, the smoke alone will have my nose twitching. The sneeze will usually start to build once I’m up on one leg, or deeply into a twist and wondering what the consequences will be for my lower back if I don’t get myself out of the posture before letting rip!

For many instructors, joss-sticks and candles are part of the ritual of yoga, and creating an environment for practice. My approach at Louth Yoga Studio is to introduce an aroma diffuser, that will fill the air with a mist of essential oils, keeping the atmosphere from getting too dry and adding a touch of aromatherapy. Now I just have to hope it doesn’t make a loud hissing noise all the way through class!

We will be a smoke and flame-free zone.

How my nose interprets a joss-stick