Tag Archives: Hot Power Yoga

Beating Stress in London PART II – The Yoga Instructor

As you may know, I’m doing a series of posts on coping with stress in London, because I think London can be a stressful place to live.  Previously, the wonderful Helen Perkes talked about stress from a psychotherapist’s point of view, but today I asked Dylan Ayaloo, instructor at the place I do yoga, Hot Power Yoga in Clapham, to talk about ways a yogi deals with stress. 

I’ve talked about How Power Yoga before, and I do find it really helps me – loosens my bodyslows me down.  I’d be lying if I said I didn’t also want rock-hard abs and a toned body, but when I practice regularly I find it really calming.  I should point out however, that I’ve not actually found any time to practice in weeks, oops, so I also asked Dylan to suggest ways in which busy people who can’t find time to practice can de-stress the yogic way.  Here’s what he suggested:

Dylan Ayaloo, Yoga Instructor at Hot Power Yoga (www.hotpoweryoga.co.uk)

1. Practice yoga at least 2 times a week.  We store tension and stress in the body as a result of our lifestyles. Yoga helps release the tension and toxins in the body while creating a balance of strength and flexibility giving rise to a natural state of well being. 

The breathing technique we use at Hot Power Yoga is called ujjaii breathing. The breath builds heat from within, allowing the body to sweat and release toxins.  Its an audible breath which anchors the mind to the present moment. This allows the practitioner to release any attachments to the worries of the mind, anxieties, stresses and any to-do’s lists which all exist either in the past or the future.

We store stresses and tension in all parts of our bodies, mainly shoulders, neck and lower back. The sequence taught at HPY is an intelligent, time tested and highly effective sequence which takes the body through a journey of releasing tension and stress. Each pose builds onto the next, opens, stretches and strengthens the body in a safe manner. While the sequence is not fixed, a regular practitioner will know enough of the structure of the sequence to bring the practice onto their mat at home or when they’re travelling. This is one of our goals, to teach independence so our students can take this practice anywhere.

If you’re caught in a busy cycle and have very little time to do yoga, simply rolling out the mat for 15-20 mins to do a few sun salutations before you start your day – this will have a profound effect on your day. Some people find it more conducive in their bodies to practice in the morning before they start their days, while others prefer to practice in the evenings when the body is less stiff. There is no fixed formula, it is really about connecting with your body and listening to what your body needs. If for some reason you’re too busy for a few days to even roll the mat out for a short practice at home, then we recommend that you at least stick to your daily meditations.

2. Meditate daily – at least 5 mins in the morning and 5 minutes at night. Use a simple method of following the flow of breath in and out, not trying to block out or stop thoughts but simply noticing them as they arise and letting them go. 

3. Keep your mind focused on the present moment.  Stress is a projection of the mind of what may be in the future, we go through what-ifs in the mind and identify with thoughts of what hasn’t happened yet. Stay on task and keep the mind focused on the very thing you’re doing in this moment, to every fine detail of this moment, live each moment fully in the now and here, and stress will not have a place to exist.

NOTE FROM SASHA:  All photos used with kind permission from HPY’s facebook page.  HPY offers free taster classes for newbies – please say you read about it on The Happiness Project London.  And let me know how you get on!

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New Year’s Resolutions

1.  Find the best burger in London (nom nom nom)

2.  Go to the gym twice a week (see above)

3. South America South America South America South America

4. Relaaaax more (get to Hot Power Yoga twice a week, try meditation at London Shambhalah Meditation Centre?)

5. Find a great dance class – ballet or street danceManor Ballet and Pineapple Studios

6.  See more theatre.

7. Submit application for be-friending at Age Concern and do regular collections for The Refugee Council and St Mungos.  Call local hospice (Trinity Hospice) to find out how I can help.

8. Produce herb garden that doesn’t die.

9. Be positive (follow The Happiness Project London rules!)

What are yours???!

Yoga class – Hot Power Yoga, Clapham North

As a busy person who worries about everything, always, I really like this class. 

I’ve tried ashtanga which was great but a little dull, and I’ve tried Bikram in a 40 degree room full of sweaty groaning people and almost died.  This is a nice mix of both. 

Hot Power Yoga is athletic yoga in a warm room around 30 degrees so you relax in the heat, sweat a little and your muscles get pretty flexible (but you don’t come out pale and gasping as I did in Bikram, shudder…).  The class is also really small with between 4 and 8 other people in it (update: it isn’t now – there’s about 40 people there!) , so it feels intimate – you get to know the others there and the teacher knows your name. 

I go to the gym so I like a good workout and physically, it’s tough enough that you sweat and your muscles hurt, and you should check out the shoulder muscles on the people that go regularly, wow! It also makes me so much more flexible and supple. However, its not just about getting a good body (although I’d like this too please).  They have a holistic approach – much of the teaching revolves around you leaving your worries and your busy day at the door, and spending your practice concentrating on YOU.  It makes me forget my latest to do list and worries, and for that one hour I don’t think about anything else other than how my body feels – which I find is a great stress relief. 

There’s also enough “hippie” vibes to keep me happy – a few ohms, Indian chanting and incence, and sometimes the teachers will read inspiring words to you while you practice.  Stretching out while your teacher reads from Kahlil Gibran – what’s not to love?

UPDATE:  Hot Power Yoga is doing free taster passes for newbies – check out their website above and call first to book in.  Make sure you mention that you read about them on the HPL blog.

UPDATE 2 April 2011: Photos from the HPY facebook page. Just went to my first yoga class in a month and it always impresses me how relaxed it makes me. Its 1.5 hours a week devoted entirely to yourself and your body, and the practice is complicated enough that it empties my mind for the only time of the week. I was also impressed with the feeling of community they’ve got going – the energy in the class, the retreats and socialness of it all. If you’re looking for a yoga class in SW London then its highly recommended.