Support Centre › Tips Section
Tips for Yoga
Yoga can help to...
- Reduce inflammation
- Reduce stress response systems
- Alleviate back pain
- Improve your sleep
- Improve your fitness
- Make you happier!
Lots of studies have been done on the effects of yoga and we can now confidently say that it has a very real effect on long-term health. To us at MFML, yoga is an antidote to modern life; to its stress, stiffness, speed and sleepiness.
That’s why yoga isn’t just another workout. And why all those people who recommended yoga to you were probably right.
If you are a beginner to yoga and looking for somewhere to start we recommend checking out our beginner’s page - it is a great resource for you. You can find gentle yoga classes, along with some classes specific for beginners that break down the poses and offer support and guidance as you start your yoga journey.
You also have access to a 30 day beginners yoga challenge and some tutorials on the foundation poses.
If you have less mobility, you might want to start here.
To find out more about all the different yoga styles - click here (insert NEW ‘styles page’ link) but to know what style is best for you it’s simple: try them!
As a starting point, decide what you and your body needs right now.
Need to chill out? Try Yin or Restorative.
Need to get your blood pumping? Try Vinyasa Flow.
There are so many different styles and different teachers it can be difficult to know where to start. The key is to find a style, or styles, that work for you, your body and your needs. Start by picking just one class and give it a go. Soon you’ll find a style or teacher that really resonates with you and you’ll never look back. You can use the guidelines below as a starting point!
A practice taking its inspiration from Anusara (‘flowing with grace’) – a modernised style of yoga based on hatha, with a focus on philosophy and alignment.
A traditional practice of static postures and breath work.
A traditional yet physically dynamic practice built on six series’ of fixed postures, which get progressively more challenging.
A modernised version of Hatha Yoga, founded on the lifetime learnings of Ana Forrest. Intensely physical, grounding and healing.
A vinyasa-based yoga method rooted in a rigorous physical practice yet with the aim of cultivating compassion, contentment and one-ness.
A gentle, de-stressing practice to unwind the body, and rest the mind and nervous system. Poses are passive and often supported with props.
A state of deep but conscious sleep that unwinds the nervous system and induces complete physical and mental relaxation with inner awareness.
A soft, slow form of yoga in which poses (seated or lying down) are held for longer periods to create space for deep body opening, awareness and insight.
A dynamic style of yoga in which poses are linked together with breath into a graceful and heart-quickening flow.
A simple but profound practice of cultivating inner awareness and discipline through observing the breath.
An exercise method distinct from yoga, that strengthens and tones the whole body while focusing on core work.
A workout that combines ballet-inspired moves with elements of Pilates, dance, yoga and strength training. Classes often include classic dance moves, static stretches and high reps of small range movements.
Do give this article a read about how to get the most out of your online yoga classes.
We don’t believe in ‘correct’, but we do believe in ‘right for you’. The first thing to ask yourself is ‘is there any pain?’. If there is pain, it is important that you stop what you are doing immediately and carefully back off from that version of a pose.
Also do feel free to ask questions about alignment from our teachers via our facebook MFML Movers community.
You may also want to deepen your knowledge and you can do that with some of our short tutorials and anatomy workshops with either Andrew McGonigle or with Lucy & Ben Parker. These short bite-sized workshops can help you to understand your own bone structure and body alignment better
It also may be a good idea to see a ‘live’ teacher once in a while, just to keep you on track.
Tips for Meditation
Starting a meditation practice can feel daunting as a beginner but we have awesome resources and suggestions to help you.
We have an awesome selection of beginner meditation practices and talks to introduce you to different techniques and methods. We recommend you start out listening to Dan Peppiatt’s class ‘What on Earth is Meditation?’.
We really recommend starting small, short and manageable. Pick one short (5-10mins) practice that works for you and try to sit at the same time each day for a short meditation or mindfulness class (try setting an alarm to remind you!)
If you struggle with building a habit and getting started then we recommend having a read of this article by Rahkee Jasani on ‘how to build the habit’.
Any time! Some people prefer to wake up and sit in meditation with a clear morning head, and others love to do it before bed to unwind from the day. The best trick is to choose the same time every day and stick with it. Trial and error will help you to figure out what works best for you and your schedule.
Discomfort in the body during meditation is a big thing! Doing a short yoga practice beforehand can really help you to find more spaciousness and ease for sitting still. We recommend something focused on opening your hips and releasing your spine. You could try:
Tips for Qigong
Qigong is a Chinese healing practice drawing from Taoist tradition which combines posture, movement, breathing and focussed intent. The word Qigong literally means energy cultivation. It provides a wonderful complement to yoga with soft, circular movements counterpointing yoga’s more linear shapes. Want to find out more about Qigong? Read here.
Qigong is a calming practice and is gentle for the body. It is practice that can be done by all levels; it is suitable for most bodies and beginners are welcome. If you are just starting out we recommend this series with Mimi Kuo Deemer which introduces the basics of Qigong in three classes: Moving Meditation: Qigong Basics.
Tips for Pilates
Pilates is a low-impact, inclusive form of exercise which strengthens and stabilises the body. It focuses on the core and the breath and its six key principles are: control; concentration; powerhouse (core) centring; breathing; precision and flow.
A great place to begin your pilates journey is with Sally Parkes’ series of 5 progressive pilates classes.
This series starts with basic Pilates moves to help you start building strength from within and connect to your abdominal strength - laying strong foundations on which to build further strength.
Then we recommend you explore our Barre & Pilates course. With this course you can start at the beginning with both barre and pilates, learning the techniques and alignment so you can build up into a more energising and strengthening practice.
The short answer is yes, but we recommend only within a specific ‘pilates for pregnancy’ class as doing core work during pregnancy is not always recommended. However as pilates is a non-impact workout that increases strength and muscle tone, it can be safe to practice during pregnancy. When it is practiced with a trained pilates for pregnancy practitioner it can be good for improving your posture, alleviating backaches, and ultimately could help with labour and delivery.
Want to know more? Sally Parkes touches on the benefits of pilates in her own pregnancies in her blog.
Tips for Barre
Barre is a workout that combines ballet-inspired moves with elements of Pilates, dance, yoga and strength training. Classes often include classic dance moves such as plies, alongside static stretches. Barre also focuses on high reps of small range movements. Barre helps to strengthen and tone muscles and improve your posture. It increases cardiovascular endurance and metabolism. Plus, regular barre workouts can increase your bone density, helping to prevent conditions like osteoporosis.
That’s ok, not many of us have a barre at home! You can definitely still do these barre classes. Sometimes we replace the barre with a chair, and sometimes the classes are without a barre at all and focus on the small range movements with high reps.
This can be quite a challenging workout but is definitely open to beginners. If you have never tried Barre before we recommend starting with this Barre & Pilates course. You can start at the beginning, learning techniques and alignment and then build your practice up from there.
Yoga & Pregnancy
We recommend only practicing yoga from your second trimester onwards, and even then it is a good idea to check in with a health professional beforehand. However if you already had a strong regular practice before falling pregnant then it will be natural for your body to continue to practice throughout your pregnancy.
You can read more about practicing yoga while pregnant in this article.
We also have a home retreat for pregnants mums.
There are few easy modifications you can make if you want to join a general class during pregnancy. You can read more in the pregnancy article and see modifications and suggestions there. But the main areas to be aware of modifying are; abdominal work, cross body twisting, inversions, breathing practices, and when laying on the floor (either front or back).
Yes but it is recommended to avoid deep stretching, so if you are practicing yin or restorative, make sure you have more support than usual, using bolsters, blocks and blankets. This way you get the benefit of the stretch but you are not holding at your deepest capacity and not overstretching the ligaments.
The reason for this is when you are pregnant your body is releasing more relaxin hormone. The function of this hormone is to relax the cervix and ligaments during birth. It serves as a lubrication and loosens the joints and ligaments around the pelvis (also to help with birth). This loosening and relaxing can temporarily offer you more flexibility than before.
While practicing yoga it is important to be aware of this as it could cause you to overstretch and destabilise the joints around the pelvis.
Injury & Illness
Absolutely! Even if that practice is meditation, yoga nidra or breathwork. These are incredibly healing practices and we really recommend them if you’re suffering from illness or injury. In fact, MFML was born out of Kat’s severe injuries after a car crash. With very limited mobility, she found breathwork to be absolutely key to her recovery.
Of course, before commencing any movement practice, we recommend you get checked by a health practitioner to know if you need to rest and recover or if it is good to begin to move gently.
You may want to read this article by our wonderful Lizzie. She is a very senior teacher who has been through significant surgeries, so is able to speak authoritatively on yoga and injury.
We have a Gentle Yoga for Times of Illness course. We really recommend this course for everybody, but especially if you are looking to reconnect with your body following illness or injury.
You may also want to explore other practices that allow you to avoid the painful/injured area and try out alternative ways to move. For example we have wrist-free classes, chair and bed yoga classes, or just pure and simple gentle yoga, that gives you options to always take it easy and opt for more gentle variations of poses.
Sometimes, the best thing you can do is rest, and in these moments we have our fabulous yoga nidra or restorative yoga classes. Whilst resting you could use the time to listen to some of the courses that explore yoga philosophy, e.g. Ancient Wisdom for Modern Life.
Often there is information in the description of the class that will help you decide if it is going to be suitable for your abilities. If you want to contact the teachers directly, the best place to go is our facebook MFML Movers community group.
Yes! There is a lovely range of wrist free classes you can practice here.
If you have a shoulder injury then it is important to first gauge how serious your injury is. Sometimes an injury just needs time to rest. If this is the case then we recommend trying some yoga nidra or restorative practices to give your injury time to heal.
Other classes that avoid putting weight on your arms, but still are activating and strength building are practices like Qigong, Barre classes and some Pilates classes.
Firstly, take it easy! You could try out the chair & bed yoga course or our Yoga Gently course could be exactly what you need. This course is a series of gentle yoga classes for those times when you need additional support and nurture. This course is suitable for seniors, those who are new to yoga, may have mobility issues or are finding a more dynamic practice challenging.
You could also try the Gentle Yoga for Times of Illness course. This is a course with no time frame and a selection of different media resources that you can use to help yourself on a journey to build strength again. This includes audio interviews, articles, recipes and gentle classes.