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.

Monday, 29 June 2015

Let´s Yoga in the Park - DLC Power yoga

Today was a great day - we had beautiful weather, I had 3 classes outdoors out of 4, a pretty good statistics :) The last class was in Dunstable Leisure centre and we moved to the park right in front of the BBC radio :P and Gary Cooper :P I really enjoyed this class, we had a great sunset with many warriors, it was a quiet challenging class - well done everyone! And thank you for going outside and for letting me take the pictures :) 

Join us for yoga in DLC on Mondays @8pm and Sunday @5pm!!!

Monday, 22 June 2015

Let´s YOGA today! 21st June 2015

The weather surprised us today and we celebrated the first ever International Yoga Day on the sun in Stockwood Park :) I was well happy when so many of you turned up - thank you all for joining this great outdoor session! 

Here are some pictures:

Friday, 19 June 2015

CHange of classes in Dunstable Leisure Centre

I´ve got some new for people in Dunstable Leisure Centre...
From July we will try something new - the antinatal and the power yoga on Saturdays will be cancelled and we will have a Pilates class at 4pm and a Power yoga at 5pm on Sundays - what do you think??? 

It works much better for me this way...

International day of Yoga - a free session with me in the park

We´ll meet on Sunday at the car park at 4pm just as if you were going to the Athletic Track. It'seasy to get there by coming through the main gate from Farley Hill Road, follow the road till the end and I will meet you there.

So far few people said they´ll come,  it will be great!!!  

Bring mats, water, snacks, blankets, pillows maybe, we´re gonna have some yoga fun! :)  

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Project 10 Challenge

Who wants to loose some weight before summer holiday? Let´s be active, let´s support each other - let´s do it together!!

International day of Yoga

Next Sunday is a really special day for us - it is an International day of Yoga. 

June 21 was declared as the International Day of Yoga by the United Nations General Assembly on December 11, 2014. Yoga, a 6,000+-year-old physical, mental and spiritual practice having its origin in India, aims to transform the body and the mind. From the perspective of yoga, the Summer Solstice marks the transition to Dakshinayana. The first full moon after Summer Solstice is known as Guru Poornima. According to Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, in the yogic lore, the first transmission of yoga by Shiva, the first Guru, is said to have begun on this day. Dakshinayana is also considered a time when there is natural support for those pursuing spiritual practices. Govind Gurbani Yog Guru / Vice President of Rajasthan Swasthya Yog Parisad Jaipur India informed that on 21 June fifty thousand followers of Yoga will perform Yoga in Rajasthan. This initiative found support from many global leaders. At first, the Prime Minister of Nepal Sushil Koirala supported the proposal of Modi. More than 177 countries including USA, Canada, China and Egypt have supported this move, including 175 nations co-sponsoring the resolution. It had the "highest number of co-sponsors ever for any UNGA Resolution of such nature." On Dec 11, 2014, the 193-member U.N. General Assembly approved by consensus a resolution establishing June 21 as 'International Day of Yoga'. The resolution also saw a record number of 177 countries co-sponsoring it. 

If you want to go to London to do some yoga in Alexandra Palace, here is a LINK for more info :)

But I was also thinking about doing something special... I know, it is a Father´s Day, but if you are interested, we could meet in Stockwood park to have a nice revitilizing outdoors session :) Let me know if you are up for it!! :)

Monday, 15 June 2015

My Timetable June 2015

11.30am Fitness Yoga Hitchin LC
12.30am Tai Chi Hitchin LC
6pm Pilates Tiddenfoot LC 
8pm Power Yoga Dunstable LC

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

8pm Yoga Pure Gym Luton

7pm Hatha Yoga David Lloyd Luton - members only
8.30pm Fitness Yoga Houghton Regis LC

9.30am Hatha Yoga David Lloyd Luton - members only
7.15pm Yoga Bannatyne's Luton

9.30am Hatha Yoga Hitchin LC 
10.30am Tai Chi Hitchin LC 
12.30pm Power Yoga Dunstable LC 
1.30pm Anti Natal Yoga Dunstable LC 

10am Pilates Bannatyne´s Luton 
11.15am Yoga Bannatyne´s Luton 

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Cobra pose - Why do it?

 BHUJANGASANA (Cobra pose)

Whenever I hear my students complain that they had spent too much time sitting, standing, biking, driving, lifting, painting – let’s face it, living – I always say “Do some Cobra”. This one pose offers so many benefits, I cannot comprehend why it isn’t more popular. Well, actually I do know why. Often Cobra pose is done in such a way, that it actually creates problems, rather then resolving them. Sad.

Why do it?

– To strengthen upper and lower back
– To stabilize lower back and sacrum
– To strengthen glutes and hamstrings (specific variations of Cobra)
– To stretch hip flexors
– To stretch the chest by widening it
– To stretch and strengthen the neck (certain variations of Cobra)

How to do it?

Start lying on your stomach, forearms comfortably on the ground, shoulders relaxed, forehead down.
Inhale: Pull slightly back with your hands and lift the chest up, head remains in the neutral position.
Exhale: Stay up and press your pelvis into the floor, creating a stable foundation.
Inhale: Keep pulling your chest forward and your hands slightly back, arching your spine from the neck all the way to the tailbone.
Take 4-6 breaths like that, then come down on Exhale.
TRICK: DO NOT PUSH with your hands! Once you start pushing, you loose all the potential benefits and start compromising your back.

Warm up first!

It's stating the obvious I know but due to our daily activities lots of us will be habitually rounding our shoulders and backs with things like computer work, driving, texting, cycling, playing with kids etc. In Backbends we do the very opposite (one of the reasons why they are so great) so we need to start gently and give ourselves a helping hand.

When warming up think about mobilizing your spine in all different directions for example with Cat Cow variations, gentle twists and side bends. Sun salutations are great preparation as they warm the whole body - go easy on your first one so that when you go through Cobra or Upward Facing Dog you're not coming into the full expression of the pose straight away.

What poses help backbends?

Backbends are also front stretches - so they benefit from open and relaxed hips and surrounding muscles including the top of the the thighs (quadriceps) and the psoas.  Lunge (Anjaneyasana) or reclined hero pose (Supta Virasana) can give a great stretch to the front of the thigh.

The front of the chest and shoulders also need to be warmed up and open for backbends. You can practice wide legged forward bend with the hands clasped behind (Prasarita Padottanasana C) or some of the contraction style backbends such as Locust are good preparatory poses before going into stronger variations such as Wheel or Dancer’s Pose.

Core work can be helpful to do before backbends because by giving attention to those muscles on the front of the body we are more likely to use the core safely in backbends. Backbends then become a really nice counter-stretch to core work. If you have done a very strong core practice however, your muscles can feel contracted so doing something like an inversions (e.g. dolphin pose) in between your core work and backbends can help to neutralize your front and back muscles while also warming up the back and shoulders further.

Alignment in backbends

Create a solid foundation - so press down firmly through your hands and/or feet depending on the pose.
Engage your core so that it supports your back by pulling the belly in and up, your tailbone points down rather than scooping under.
Release your shoulders down your back and firm the bottom tips of the shoulder-blades in towards each other and (as if your shoulder-blades are hands gently pressing into your upper back).
Keep the neck long and happy and aim for an even arch over the whole spine.

Watch out for...

Compressing the back of the neck. In Cobra there can be a tendency to tilt the head back whereas the back bend should be coming from sending the chest forward and up. Try curling up to Cobra keeping the chin tucked, the gaze can be forwards instead of up to keep the base of the neck relaxed.

How to follow a strong backbend

In some practices strong backbends are immediately followed by strong forward bends. There is logic in this to balance the energy and practice but if we think about bending a ruler back and forward repeatedly it will start to take the strain on its weakest part. So for some people it can be more gentle for the spine to be neutralised with twists or extensions like Downward Facing Dog in between.

Physical benefits

Backbends are invigorating and strengthening. They stretch the hip flexors and help open up the shoulders and chest, an area where lots of us hold tension.  They build strength and power in the legs, arms and back muscles. By increasing mobility and awareness of the spine backbends improve posture and can help to alleviate some kinds of back and neck pain.

Psychological / energetic benefits

Our body’s natural response to danger is to curl in, protecting our most vulnerable part - our heart, both the physical heart and the energetic heart space. Backbends do the very opposite action opening us up to the world. We are exposing ourselves and that takes courage  - but also builds more of it! Overcoming our fears on the mat can give us courage off the mat too.

As backbends open the chest and upper body they stimulate the Heart chakra (Anahata) allowing us to open more fully in our lives too; to our emotions, experiences and in our relationships.
As backbends open the chest and upper body they stimulate the Heart chakra (Anahata) allowing us to open more fully in our lives too; to our emotions, experiences and in our relationships.

Strong backbends can sometimes release stored emotions: frustration, fear, anger, sadness as well as joy and love, so it’s not unusual to feel some of this again as it works through your body. I’ve felt irritated after a backbend class but I’ve also finished a practice with a real sense of love and compassion. Either way, for me I would rather have these emotions released!

So go safely and mindfully with your practice and enjoy the benefits of this release. Practice with softness stay with the breath.  


What if you have a bad back or back injury? This is really going to depend on your injury - some poses can be helpful to free up tension but others should be avoided. Take a look at individual pose descriptions for guidance and if you have any doubts speak to a physical therapist or experienced yoga teacher.

If you are pregnant substitute strong backbends, for example swap Wheel for Bridge.
As with all yoga poses during pregnancy, if it doesn’t feel good don’t do it.