ANDREA - a full time Yoga, Pilates and Tai Chi instructor.

I fell in love with yoga over seven years ago, when I got a Nintendo DS and bought a game called Let's Yoga. From then, I began 'playing' yoga everyday, sometimes twice a day. At first, the practice was more physical for me, but after few months I started to really count on yoga to bring me a sense of calm during especially chaotic days. Soon after, I began recognizing the benefits of a regular asana and meditation practice and continued to incorporate yoga daily - not just during times of chaos. I found myself feeling more energized, more compassionate, happier, and with more awareness. Now, I teach full-time and couldn't be happier to do what I love. What began as a physical practice for strength and flexibility quickly became a lifestyle. I teach my students to take their yoga off the mat and apply the principles learned in the class to their lives outside of the studio. I do not only teach my philosophy, I live it.

Friday, 25 December 2015

Merry Chirstmas! - Awesome Christmas Sayings

If you will get bored this Christmas you can have a look at this video and you can try this special Sun Salutation with me :)

10 Awesome Christmas Sayings: 

What is Christmas? What does it mean to practice the true spirit of Christmas?

1. “Christmas doesn't come from a store, maybe Christmas perhaps means a little bit more....” ― Dr. Seuss

2. “Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.” ― Calvin Coolidge

3. “My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others. Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that?” ― Bob Hope

4. “Christmas, children, is not a date. It is a state of mind.” ― Mary Ellen Chase

5. “Christmas is doing a little something extra for someone.” ― Charles M. Schulz

6. “Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful. ” ― Norman Vincent Peale

7. “Christmas is a day of meaning and traditions, a special day spent in the warm circle of family and friends." ― Margaret Thatcher

8. “Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love.” ― Hamilton Wright Mabie

9. “Christmas is not as much about opening our presents as opening our hearts.” ― Janice Maeditere

10. “What is Christmas? It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future. It is a fervent wish that every cup may overflow with blessings rich and eternal, and that every path may lead to peace." ― Agnes M. Pahro

Honor the true meaning of Christmas in your hearts and not just today, but for all days to come. May all your practices and paths lead you to greater peace, abundance, beauty, light, and love!

Merry Christmas, yogis!

Friday, 11 December 2015

Practice 11th Dec - a bit of twisting in classes

Twists are one of my very favorite groups of postures. Twists are postures that generally involve moving the shoulder girdle to face in an opposing direction in relation to the hips. There are different twists that target the upper, middle and lower portions of the torso, all having their own unique set of health benefits. 

Here are my top five reasons why you should practice yoga twists.

1. Improve Digestive Function

When you are in a twist, you will be essentially compressing your digestive organs – placing them under weight. This will cause a lack of circulation. When you release your twist there will be a rush or fresh blood that will flood your digestive organs. Fresh blood flow equals fresh oxygen and nutrients. Twisting will increase blood flow to the digestive organs, thus increasing their ability to function.

2. Detox

As mentioned above, when you twist you will cut off blood supply to your digestive organs, and then re-introduce fresh blood to your abdominal organs when you release your twist. This re-introduction of fresh blood can help to cleanse the cells of any built up waste because with increased circulation comes increased cellular detoxification. You can also help to move stagnated impurities and gas through your digestive tract due to the compression that comes with twisting.

3. Maintain Normal Spinal Rotation

The muscles and other tissues that surround the spine can become stiff overtime. This will lead to a decreased range of motion, pain and discomfort that can really affect quality of life. Practicing twisting postures helps to keep the spinal muscles mobile, helping to keep you mobile as well.

4. Reduction In Back Pain

Slumping over a computer at the office, slouching behind the steering wheel, sitting in chairs that offer poor back support and standing with our shoulders drooping forward are all things most of us do on a daily basis. All of these habits can lead to back pain. Twists stretch and strengthen the back muscles which can provide serious relief from the back pain caused by everyday life.

5. De-Stress

Twists are wonderful postures if you deal with stress or anxiety. These postures will help to open the chest, shoulders and back, all of which can help to decrease feelings of anxiousness. You will be releasing stored tension in the body as you twist, which can have a positive effect on your mental state. You will get double the benefit if you combine your twist with slow, rhythmic breathing as well.

Changes in my Timetable from Jan 2016

Good afternoon my lovely yoga people :)

There will be few changes in my timetable from January, so I want to keep you posted :)

  • There is a possibility that I will teach another Pilates class in Venue360 on Monday 6pm - this needs to be confirmed - I got a confirmation about this class - I will teach Pilates on Mondays at 6.45pm. It will be a 50 min class. Can`t wait to start!

  • I won`t be teaching LBT in Venue360 on Tuesdays anymore.

  • The yoga class in David Lloyd Luton on Thursday 7pm will be removed from the timetable Body Balance will be the only holistic class that evening and will start at 7.30pm. (This means we can move the yoga in Pure Gym sooner - I will talk to you next week) - this class was reinstalled and put back into the Timetable thanks to all of you who spoke to management and filled out comment cards - THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR FIGHTING FOR ME!!!! 

  • Saturday 5pm Yoga in Bannatynes is cancelled :(

If anything else changes I will let you know asap.

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

A little practice today...

I haven`t been on my blog for ages now, so sorry for that, but I was extremely busy, I` ve been in America, plus I have new classes from mid Nov - maybe some new in new year :P 

I` ve been practicing a little today, I got a new phone so I tried to make a video for you, so you can watch it and practice with me :)  here it is 

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Classes covers while I will be on holiday

I am going to a really nice holiday - be ready for some cool pictures, and whole away you should check it here what is happening with the classes - here is the list of 33 classes (except private classes) with all the cover instructors:

Sunday 8th November
10am Pilates Bannatyne´s Luton - Bodybalance
11.15am Yoga Bannatyne´s Luton - Tina
4pm Pilates Dunstable LC - cancelled
5pm Power Yoga Dunstable LC - cancelled

Monday 9th November
11.30am Fitness Yoga Hitchin LC - Lucy
12.30am Tai Chi Hitchin LC - ask at the reception
8pm Yoga Bannatyne's Luton - Brendan

Tuesday 10th November
11.15am Pilates Venue360 Luton - ask at the reception
12.15am LBT Venue360 Luton - ask at the reception
5pm Yoga Ultimate Atlethe Luton - cancelled
6.15pm Yoga Tru Gym Luton - Toke
7.30pm Pilates David Lloyd Luton - Andrea

Thursday 12th November
7pm Hatha Yoga David Lloyd Luton - Toke
8.15pm Yoga Pure Gym - Toke

Friday 13th November
9.30am Hatha Yoga David Lloyd Luton - Jane
5.30pm Pilates Tru Gym Luton - Toke
6.30pm Yoga Bannatyne's Luton - ask at the reception
7.50pm Fitness Yoga Houghton Regis LC - Aga

Saturday 14th November
9.30am Hatha Yoga Hitchin LC - Lucy
10.30am Tai Chi Hitchin LC - Lucy
5pm Yoga Bannatyne´s Luton - Brendan

Sunday 15th November
10am Pilates Bannatyne´s Luton - ask at the reception
11.15am Yoga Bannatyne´s Luton - ask at the reception
4pm Pilates Dunstable LC - cancelled
5pm Power Yoga Dunstable LC - cancelled

Monday 16th November
11.30am Fitness Yoga Hitchin LC - Lucy
12.30am Tai Chi Hitchin LC - ask at the reception
8pm Yoga Bannatyne's Luton - Brendan

Tuesday 17th November
11.15am Pilates Venue360 Luton - ask at the reception
12.15am LBT Venue360 Luton - ask at the reception
5pm Yoga Ultimate Atlethe Luton - cancelled
6.15pm Yoga Tru Gym Luton - Toke
7.30pm Pilates David Lloyd Luton - Andrea

Friday, 23 October 2015

A Beginner’s Guide to Yoga

Here are few questions people ask me, some of you ight know the answers, but some of you find it interesting to read about it :) 

1. What Is Yoga?
The word yoga, from the Sanskrit word yuj means to yoke or bind and is often interpreted as “union” or a method of discipline. A male who practices yoga is called a yogi, a female practitioner, a yogini.
The Indian sage Patanjali is believed to have collated the practice of yoga into the Yoga Sutra an estimated 2,000 years ago. The Sutra is a collection of 195 statements that serves as a philosophical guidebook for most of the yoga that is practiced today. It also outlines eight limbs of yoga: the yamas (restraints), niyamas (observances), asana (postures), pranayama (breathing), pratyahara (withdrawal of senses), dharana (concentration), dhyani (meditation), and samadhi (absorption). As we explore these eight limbs, we begin by refining our behavior in the outer world, and then we focus inwardly until we reach samadhi (liberation, enlightenment).
Today most people practicing yoga are engaged in the third limb, asana, which is a program of physical postures designed to purify the body and provide the physical strength and stamina required for long periods of meditation.

2. What Does Hatha Mean?
The word hatha means willful or forceful. Hatha yoga refers to a set of physical exercises (known as asanas or postures), and sequences of asanas, designed to align your skin, muscles, and bones. The postures are also designed to open the many channels of the body—especially the main channel, the spine—so that energy can flow freely.
Hatha is also translated as ha meaning “sun” and tha meaning “moon.” This refers to the balance of masculine aspects—active, hot, sun—and feminine aspects—receptive, cool, moon—within all of us. Hatha yoga is a path toward creating balance and uniting opposites. In our physical bodies we develop a balance of strength and flexibility. We also learn to balance our effort and surrender in each pose.
Hatha yoga is a powerful tool for self-transformation. It asks us to bring our attention to our breath, which helps us to still the fluctuations of the mind and be more present in the unfolding of each moment.

3. What Does Om Mean?
Om is a mantra, or vibration, that is traditionally chanted at the beginning and end of yoga sessions. It is said to be the sound of the universe. What does that mean?
Somehow the ancient yogis knew what scientists today are telling us—that the entire universe is moving. Nothing is ever solid or still. Everything that exists pulsates, creating a rhythmic vibration that the ancient yogis acknowledged with the sound of Om. We may not always be aware of this sound in our daily lives, but we can hear it in the rustling of the autumn leaves, the waves on the shore, the inside of a seashell.
Chanting Om allows us to recognize our experience as a reflection of how the whole universe moves—the setting sun, the rising moon, the ebb and flow of the tides, the beating of our hearts. As we chant Om, it takes us for a ride on this universal movement, through our breath, our awareness, and our physical energy, and we begin to sense a bigger connection that is both uplifting and soothing.

4. Do I Have to Be Vegetarian to Practice Yoga?
The first principle of yoga philosophy is ahimsa, which means non harming to self and others. Some people interpret this to include not eating animal products. There is debate about this in the yoga community—I believe that it is a personal decision that everyone has to make for themselves. If you are considering becoming a vegetarian, be sure to take into account your personal health issues as well how your choices will affect those with whom you live. Being a vegetarian should not be something that you impose on others—that kind of aggressive action in itself is not an expression of ahimsa.

5. How Many Times Per Week Should I Practice?
Yoga is amazing—even if you only practice for one hour a week, you will experience the benefits of the practice. If you can do more than that, you will certainly experience more benefits. I suggest starting with two or three times a week, for an hour or an hour and a half each time. If you can only do 20 minutes per session, that’s fine too. Don’t let time constraints or unrealistic goals be an obstacle—do what you can and don’t worry about it. You will likely find that after a while your desire to practice expands naturally and you will find yourself doing more and more.

6. How Is Yoga Different From Stretching or Other Kinds of Fitness?
Unlike stretching or fitness, yoga is more than just physical postures. Patanjali’s eight-fold path illustrates how the physical practice is just one aspect of yoga. Even within the physical practice, yoga is unique because we connect the movement of the body and the fluctuations of the mind to the rhythm of our breath. Connecting the mind, body, and breath helps us to direct our attention inward. Through this process of inward attention, we learn to recognize our habitual thought patterns without labeling them, judging them, or trying to change them. We become more aware of our experiences from moment to moment. The awareness that we cultivate is what makes yoga a practice, rather than a task or a goal to be completed. Your body will most likely become much more flexible by doing yoga, and so will your mind.

7. Is Yoga a Religion?
Yoga is not a religion. It is a philosophy that began in India an estimated 5,000 years ago. The father of classical ashtanga yoga (the eight-limbed path, not to be confused with Sri K. Pattabhi Jois’ Ashtanga yoga) is said to be Patanjali, who wrote the Yoga Sutra. These scriptures provide a framework for spiritual growth and mastery over the physical and mental body. Yoga sometimes interweaves other philosophies such as Hinduism or Buddhism, but it is not necessary to study those paths in order to practice or study yoga.
It is also not necessary to surrender your own religious beliefs to practice yoga.

8. I’m Not Flexible—Can I Do Yoga?
Yes! You are a perfect candidate for yoga. Many people think that they need to be flexible to begin yoga, but that’s a little bit like thinking that you need to be able to play tennis in order to take tennis lessons. Come as you are and you will find that yoga practice will help you become more flexible.
This newfound agility will be balanced by strength, coordination, and enhanced cardiovascular health, as well as a sense of physical confidence and overall well-being.

9. What Do I Need to Begin?
All you really need to begin practicing yoga is your body, your mind, and a bit of curiosity. But it is also helpful to have a pair of yoga leggings, or shorts, and a t-shirt that’s not too baggy. No special footgear is required because you will be barefoot. It’s nice to bring a towel to class with you. As your practice develops you might want to buy your own yoga mat, but most studios will have mats and other props available for you.

10. Why Are You Supposed to Refrain From Eating 2–3 Hours Before Class?
In yoga practice we twist from side to side, turn upside down, and bend forward and backward. If you have not fully digested your last meal, it will make itself known to you in ways that are not comfortable. If you are a person with a fast-acting digestive system and are afraid you might get hungry or feel weak during yoga class, experiment with a light snack such as yogurt, a few nuts, or juice about 30 minutes to an hour before class.

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

My new achievement!!!

Well, this one was a pose I would look at but I`ve never tried it, simply because it looks awesomely impossible :P But I did it - for the first time on Sunday, with like 5 blocks under me to start off, and once you get a feeling of it, it will became a really nice showing off posture :P :) I am so happy I can do it!!!!
I think I tried it because I  corrected my arms and hands in Crow, I did the Crow on Friday slightly different than usual and I could stay in it forever, I just knew my balance it perfect. I could do it for few second before, but not as balanced and perfect as now :)

So now I can start with more difficult postures, my yoga experience is growing each day, it doesn`t matter how many hours you practise, there is always so much to learn!

A bit more info about my new most favourite pose: Firefly Pose - Tittibhasana
Want to fly? Fire up your core. Firefly pose is an arm balance pose that requires more core strength than arm strength.

  • Squat with your feet a little less than shoulder distance apart. Tilt your pelvis forward and bring your trunk between your legs. Keeping your trunk low, straighten your legs enough to lift your pelvis to about knee height
  • Bring your left upper arm and shoulder as far as possible underneath the back of your left thigh just above the knee and place your left hand on the floor at the outside edge of your foot, fingers pointing forward. Repeat these actions on the other side.
  • Lift yourself off the floor by carefully shifting your center of gravity. Press your hands into the floor and slowly begin to rock your weight back, off your feet and onto your hands. Keep your inner thighs as high on your arms as possible.
  • With an inhalation, stretch your legs out to the sides as straight as you can, keeping your pelvis high to make your legs parallel to the floor.
  • Press through the bases of your big toes but pull your toes back toward your torso and spread them apart. The inner edges of your feet should be angled slightly forward, the outer edges slightly back.
  • Straighten your arms as much as possible. Hollow your chest as you widen your shoulder blades as much as possible; this will round your upper back, which will lift your torso higher.
  • Without tensing your neck, lift your head and gaze forward. Breathe slowly and hold the pose for 15 seconds or longer, then release your feet to the floor with an exhale.
Beginner's Tip
You can approximate this pose by sitting on the floor, legs spread to a ninety-degree angle, elevating each heel on a block, and pressing your palms into the floor between your legs.
  • Stretches the inner groins and back torso
  • Strengthens the arms and wrists
  • Tones the belly
  • Improves sense of balance

Friday, 9 October 2015

My Timetable for Oct - mid Nov

These are the classes I teach at the moment - from mid Nov I will have few more added to my timetable (3 confirmed so far)

11.30am Fitness Yoga Hitchin LC
12.30am Tai Chi Hitchin LC
8pm Yoga Bannatyne's Luton

11.15am Pilates Venue360 Luton 
12.15am LBT Venue360 Luton 
6.15pm Yoga Tru Gym Luton  
7.30pm Pilates David Lloyd Luton

7pm Hatha Yoga David Lloyd Luton
8.15pm Yoga Pure Gym 

9.30am Hatha Yoga David Lloyd Luton
5.30pm Pilates Tru Gym Luton  
6.30pm Yoga Bannatyne's Luton
7.50pm Fitness Yoga Houghton Regis LC

9.30am Hatha Yoga Hitchin LC 
10.30am Tai Chi Hitchin LC  
5pm Yoga Bannatyne´s Luton 

10am Pilates Bannatyne´s Luton 
11.15am Yoga Bannatyne´s Luton 
4pm Pilates Dunstable LC 
5pm Power Yoga Dunstable LC

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Winners of Week 4 September Challenge

Oh yes, I said winners, cos we have ľ winners of the last week's challenge - John and Kate - congratulations and thank you all so much for beautiful pictures!!!
I know I am a week late announcing our winners, but after all month of posting and writing so much about each of the poses I really needed a little break from my blog :P
Thank you for joining our challenge, for taking and posting pictures, it was good fun and I loved seeing your progress!

Here are all the pics from the week 4 balance postures:

Monday, 28 September 2015

September Challenge # Day 28 Balance Poses

Well - today is the last day of Balance Poses, enjoy my most favourite one :) 
Half Moon Pose (Ardha Chandrasana)
Say hello to leg and ankle strength as you seek stability and extend into this balancing pose, Half Moon Pose.
I know it is a full moon today, a kind of special day - let's just say the moon has a rich symbolic significance in yoga mythology. In hatha yoga, for example, the sun and the moon represent the two polar energies of the human body. In fact, the word hatha itself is often divided into its two constituent syllables, “ha” and “tha”, which are then esoterically interpreted as signifying the solar and lunar energies respectively.

How to get into it:

  • Perform Utthita Trikonasana to the right side, with your left hand resting on the left hip. Inhale, bend your right knee, and slide your left foot about 6 to 12 inches forward along the floor. At the same time, reach your right hand forward, beyond the little-toe side of the right foot, at least 12 inches.
  • Exhale, press your right hand and right heel firmly into the floor, and straighten your right leg, simultaneously lifting the left leg parallel (or a little above parallel) to the floor. Extend actively through the left heel to keep the raised leg strong. Be careful not to lock (and so hyperextend) the standing knee: make sure the kneecap is aligned straight forward and isn’t turned inward.
  • Rotate your upper torso to the left, but keep the left hip moving slightly forward. Most beginners should keep the left hand on the left hip and the head in a neutral position, gazing forward.
  • Bear the body’s weight mostly on the standing leg. Press the lower hand lightly to the floor, using it to intelligently regulate your balance. Lift the inner ankle of the standing foot strongly upward, as if drawing energy from the floor into the standing groin. Press the sacrum and scapulas firmly against the back torso, and lengthen the coccyx toward the raised heel.
  • Stay in this position for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Then lower the raised leg to the floor with an exhalation, and return to Trikonasana. Then perform the pose to the left for the same length of time.

Sunday, 27 September 2015

September Challenge # Day 27 Balance Poses

I am not sure if someone noticed, but yesterday I didn't go on computer, so we had a day off / but here is today's posture:
Wild Thing (Camatkarasana)
One poetic translation of Camatkarasana means “the ecstatic unfolding of the enraptured heart.”

We did it in the classes past few weeks, be creative, you can do variations, too, I want to see many pics!!

Friday, 25 September 2015

September Challenge # Day 25 Balance Poses

Thank you for yesterday's postures - today we are going to strengthen our arms with: 
Side Plank Pose (Vasisthasana)
A powerful arm and wrist strengthener, Side Plank takes its two-armed sibling to the next level, as an arm balance.

Vasistha = literally means “most excellent, best, richest.” Vasistha is the name of several well-known sages in the yoga tradition. There’s a Vasistha numbered among the seven (sometimes 10 or 12) seers (rishis) or lords of creation (prajapatis), and a Vasistha who’s author of a number of Vedic hymns. He’s also said to be the owner of the fabulous “cow of plenty,” Nandini (“delight”), which grants his every wish and accounts for his infinite wealth.

How to get into it:

  • Perform Adho Mukha Svanasana. Shift onto the outside edge of your left foot, and stack your right foot on top of the left. Now swing your right hand onto your right hip, turn your torso to the right as you do, and support the weight of your body on the outer left foot and left hand.
  • Make sure that the supporting hand isn’t directly below its shoulder; position the hand slightly in front of its shoulder, so the supporting arm is angled a bit relative to the floor. Straighten the arm by firming the triceps muscle, and press the base of the index finger firmly against the floor.
  • Firm the scapulas and sacrum against the back torso. Strengthen the thighs, and press through the heels toward the floor. Align your entire body into one long diagonal line from the heels to the crown.
  • If you’d like you can stretch the top arm toward the ceiling, parallel to the line of the shoulders. Keep the head in a neutral position, or turn it to gaze up at the top hand.
  • Stay in this position for 15 to 30 seconds. Come back to Adho Mukha Svanasana, take a few breaths, and repeat to the right side for the same length of time. Then return to Adho Mukha Svanasana for a few more breaths, and finally release into Balasana.

Thursday, 24 September 2015

September Challenge # Day 24 Balance Poses

Wow - I was impressed by those who tried and posted their poses yesterday- remember - it is about the journey, too, don't get upset if you can't do some poses!!
Today's posture is a bit easier and we practiced it :P
Scale Pose (Tolasana)
You will strengthen your wrists, arms, and abs, hanging in this balance pose.

How to do it:

  • Perform Lotus or Easy Pose. Place the palms on the floor beside the hips.
  • Exhale, push the hands against the floor, contract the abdominal muscles, and lift the legs and buttocks away from the floor.
  • Hold suspended for 10 to 15 seconds. Then lower your legs and buttocks on an exhalation, change the cross of the legs, and repeat for the same length of time.

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

September Challenge # Day 23 Balance Poses

OK, thank you for beautiful Tree Poses yesterday, some naughty, some on holiday, but here is today's challenge:
Eight-Angle Pose (Astavakrasana)
Fire up your abs for this difficult asymmetrical arm balance - it is not as difficult as you might think - try it and post the pics!!! :)

How to get tangled into this posture:

  • Stand in Tadasana (Mountain Pose), with your feet separated a bit wider than usual. Exhale, bend forward to Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend), press your hands to the floor outside your feet. Then with your knees slightly bent, slip your right arm to the inside and then behind your right leg, and finally press the hand on the floor just outside your right foot. Work your right arm across the back of the right knee, until the knee is high up on the back of your right shoulder.
  • Brace your shoulder against the knee and slide your left foot to the right. Cross the left ankle in front of the right and hook the ankles. Lean slightly to the left, taking more weight on your left arm, and begin to lift your feet a few inches off the floor.
  • With the right leg supported on the shoulder, exhale and bend your elbows. Lean your torso forward and lower it toward parallel to the floor; at the same time, straighten your knees and extend your legs out to the right, parallel to the floor (and perpendicular to your torso). Squeeze your upper right arm between your thighs. Use that pressure to help twist your torso to the left. Keep your elbows in close to the torso. Look at the floor.
  • Hold for 30 seconds to a minute. Then straighten your arms slowly, lift your torso back to upright, bend your knees, unhook your ankles, and return your feet to the floor. Stand back and rest in Uttanasana for a few breaths. Then repeat the pose for the same length of time to the left.