Gentle Yoga › Women's Health
Yoga for Healthy Bones and Stability
A steadily paced hatha yoga class focusing on balance as one of the key pillars of bone strength. This class is great for everybody, but is especially important for women to help protect against osteoporosis. This yoga class establishes a steady foundation through the pelvis, hands and feet to help feel more connected to the body and the surrounding world. Developing balance and stability helps build agility, equilibrium and mental focus. It also helps improve proprioception - your relationship with space and the environment around you and how you move within it. You will need 2 cork bricks, a blanket, two tennis balls and a chair (optional).
Hot Flush Remedy
A simple visualisation exercise to help to manage hot flushes often associated with the menopause. This yoga class is one simple pose, breathing deeply whilst lying in a constructive rest position. You can do this any time when experiencing uncomfortable feelings of heat. Expect a short demonstration of Petra’s Hot Flush Wave, with Ocean breathing and 3-part breath. If you practice this daily to reduce stress, you will also develop the simple skills for managing hot flushes, as you learn to allow the heat to flow calmly through you, rather than resisting it.
Menopause Yoga: Befriending Your Body
A soothing and calming yoga class to cool hot flushes and help you surrender to the natural process of change associated with the perimenopause and menopause. Expect hip opening stretches and simple somatic movements through the spine which lead to a restorative yoga practice, followed by a deep relaxation, a guided meditation and a mantra. This class is taught wholly on the floor and is very gentle and grounding. It is designed to help you befriend your body with kindness and self-compassion at a time when your body is transforming and can feel out of your control. You will need a yoga mat, a strap or belt, 1 bolster and 2 cushions (or household equivalents), and 2 blocks (or thick books). NB - Modifications: take extra care with hip and knee injuries. Osteoporosis: avoid flexion rounding your back in forward folds; keep your spine straight. Trauma: please note that hip opening poses and stretches across the chest can release tension but may also trigger trauma. Follow your own breathing pace, pause the practice when needed and find a comfortable resting pose.
Yoga for Osteopenia
This is a brief yoga tutorial of some of the ways you can use a chair to modify your yoga practice if you have osteopenia (weakened bones) which can affect women as they go through the menopause. If you have osteoporosis, you must always consult your GP before practising yoga, and ask your osteopath or physiotherapist which range of movement is suitable for your body.
Yoga for Pelvic Floor Health
This yoga class brings awareness to the pelvic floor and lower body through breath, gentle movement and deep relaxation. Starting with a long relaxation, we then bring gentle movement to the body, practicing yoga poses to bring tone and range of movement to the pelvic floor. Class ends with a guided lower body relaxation. Pelvic Floor health is essential as we transition into Perimenopause and Menopause. As our levels of oestrogen begin to fluctuate, this can have an effect on the tone and elasticity of the pelvic floor. Increased levels of stress and anxiety during this time can also lead to hypertonic or overactive pelvic floor muscles caused from too much tension or tightening of the pelvic floor. Pelvic floor muscles can also be weak or hypotonic meaning the muscles are not providing enough support for the bowels, bladder, and uterus. You will need a bolster, blankets, two cork bricks (if you have them, or books), a belt, sandbag or weights (optional).
Open to Your Heart’s Desire
This heart-centred gentle yoga class is designed to help you connect to your heart's desire, to your inner wisdom and to feel more love for oneself and one another. It includes opening to self love through embodied enquiry, gentle stretching and movement, finishing with yin postures and a guided visualisation to connect deeply to your heart’s desire and its expression in the world.
Yoga to Rest & Digest: The Vagus Nerve
This yoga class uses simple practices to resource and reset the nervous system using breath, sound, gentle movement and massage to stimulate the vagus nerve and encourage deep relaxation. Either follow the class in full or learn the practices which resonate with you to be done in your own time. The vagus nerve acts as a “super information highway” communicating between the brain and our body’s systems regulating our mood, digestion, heart rate and hormones. The vagus nerve balances our nervous system by switching on our parasympathetic 'rest and digest' mode and influences how we connect and feel safe with others. You will need a bolster, blanket, tennis ball and/or soft pilates ball. Gabriella uses a Yoga Tune Up Coregeous Ball.
Gentle Yoga for Emotional Release
The journey into perimenopause and menopause can bring up a range of emotions from anger, rage, grief, loss and frustration. This gentle yoga class is an opportunity to move with your feelings; allowing them to arise, shift and release through somatic movement, gentle yoga postures and breath work. Welcome the full spectrum of your human experience. You will need a blanket.
Gentle Yoga to Unwind
A gentle yoga class of floor based movements for when we're low on energy and needing a gentle boost. Keeping low to the ground, and with few poses which use wrists, this yoga class uses gravity to unwind the spine, open the chest and shoulder area, helping our heart centred energy to flow more freely. A perfect class if you're suffering from PMT or you're on your period. Many of our day to day movement patterns can create a rigidness to the spine and rib cage that negatively affects our respiration and levels of tension throughout the chest, shoulder and neck area. But by moving in a flowing and ‘softer’ way, working with gravity as opposed to against it, we can begin to release these areas of tightness to become more free in our body. This sequence of predominantly floor based Hatha Yoga asana will work to unravel the upper body, especially the chest area, to create increased synchronicity between the upper skeletal system, breath and ultimately the heart space. You may need a block and bolster.
Yoga for Strong Bones
This yoga class takes us through a series of poses which have been proven (in a seminal two-year pilot study of yoga and osteoporosis) to improve bone strength. This class builds strength and balance, but in a gentle, accessible way. The key pillars for sustaining bone strength include stimulating the bones through weight bearing movement, muscular engagement of the arms, legs, abdomen and glutes, and balance, which helps build agility and equilibrium. Maintaining our bone strength and density to prevent the risk of osteoporosis is hugely important as we journey into menopause and beyond. You will need 2 cork bricks (or books!) and a blanket.
More One Blanket Restorative Yoga
A very simple, gentle class perfect to calm you down when anxiety is high or when you are preparing for sleep. This is a minimalist restorative yoga class focused on the abdomen, side body, hip flexors, and neck. All you need for this restful practice is one blanket or towel. You may also like to have some extra cushioning ready for your head.
Evening Yoga Relaxation
A beautifully peaceful yoga class, perfect to take right before bed. Use it to help settle into a great night's sleep, or anytime you feel overwhelmed and in need of calm. This class can be done either on a yoga mat or even in bed to allow yourself to fall into a deep and restful sleep. On this journey, we will explore what needs to be released and let go by focusing on the breath to connect and ground through the body. We will explore a little activation of the body to bring awareness, then a deep relaxation with some juicy restorative yoga poses. You will need a strap or a long towel.
Cooling & Calming Practice
This cooling and calming yoga class and breath practice soothes the nervous system and deeply relaxes the mind and body, suitable for anyone feeling overwhelm or the need to calm. But this class especially is a great menopause yoga class, providing relief to hot flushes, night sweats, irritability and sleeplessness. In addition to supported forward folds, gentle inversions and restorative poses, there is slow deep breathing and cooling pranayama practices. This sequence is recommended for anyone feeling overwhelmed or stressed, or anyone experiencing menopausal symptoms, especially if you are experiencing excessive heat in the body and to mitigate the effects of hot flushes, night sweats and irritability. A soothing practice to do in the evening before bed. You will need a chair, a bolster, two blankets and an eye pillow.
All Trimesters: Shoulders & Spine
A wonderful, gentle pregnancy yoga class suitable for all trimesters which is designed to stretch out the shoulders and lower back. Expect a selection of simple poses which will help to open up the chest, shoulders and the back of the body. This is a short sequence you can do anytime when you feel you need to stretch out and release these areas of the body. You will need a wall and a chair.
Enliven Your Body
This embodiment practice is a wonderful way to enliven and energise the body on those days when you are feeling low in mood, brain fog, sluggish or have been sitting too long in front of a computer. Practice it every morning to awaken the body and mind or during the day when you experience a slump in energy. Give yourself some time to feel your body before and after the practice to notice the shift in energy and welcome a newfound sense of aliveness.
Pregnancy Restorative Yoga
Pregnancy Restorative Yoga with Nidra
A really relaxing yoga class of gentle movements followed by yoga nidra. This class doesn't need a yoga mat and can be done in limited space or even in bed. Start with seated joint mobility, restorative forward folds and hip openers, all preparing your mind and body for total relaxation through the practice of yoga nidra. A great practice for when you are feeling tired, in need of a 'yogic power nap' or to prepare you for bedtime. Options for using bolsters to support are used, but you can use pillows or cushions as well. This is a pregnancy yoga class, specially created for mums-to-be to be able to find time to relax, but you may also want to try this is you're not pregnant for deep relaxation.
Honour Your Cycle: Winter
A beautiful yoga nidra (yogic sleep) for menstruation, especially designed to ease flow, ease pain and feel nourished and supported. Uma uses the sound of Tibetan singing bowls to help us to drop into a deep, nourishing relaxation. The first 6 minutes 40 talks through setting up for yoga nidra, how to create a comfortable yoga nidra so that you feel held and supported. You may wish to start at 6.40 if you'd like to get straight into your yoga nidra after you've set up. You may enjoy a hot water bottle for this class. We recommend a scarf to wrap around the waist and a blanket to keep warm and you will need to set yourself up next to your sofa or a chair, so that your knees are resting up, and your ankles higher than your knees.