Gentle stretching to cool and unwind
This gentle, all-levels hatha yoga class works with forward bends and pranayama (breath work) to cool the body and calm the busy mind. A perfect class to take as a middle of the day work-break, if the day is feeling overwhelming, or to gently calm at the end of the day. Gentle stretching is a wonderful way to destress and enhance feelings of safety in the body. Stretching triggers a host of physiological reactions including increased blood flow and oxygen to the muscles, hydrating surrounding connective tissue, releasing feel good chemicals such as endorphins and activating the parasympathetic nervous system - the rest and digest mode. Props needed: yoga mat, chair, blanket
Vagus Nerve Practices for Anxiety Relief
Anxiety is nervous system’s way of keeping us safe and out of danger. Due to the hormonal fluctuations in peri-menopause and menopause, women often begin to experience anxiety for the first time impacting the ability to cope with everyday life. This class is mostly seated and also includes a restorative yoga pose. The class encourages us to lean into our anxiety from a place of curiosity and compassion to listen and learn how and why it’s trying to protect us. The first part of the class is seated, and we use touch based somatic exercises to soothe our nervous system. In the second part of the class we simply lie on our backs with legs over a chair or sofa, to down regulate your nervous system and shift into a sense of feeling at ease and safe in your body. Props needed: Chair, yoga mat and blanket.
Love Your Body: Affirmations, Breath and Flow
Connect to your body, gain more confidence with your body. In this class we work with the power of affirmations, breathwork and a gentle slow flow vinyasa yoga to learn to appreciate all the amazing things our bodies can do. Our bodies go through a lot of change during our lives and especially during menopause - so much so that you feel your body has let us down or betrayed. Yoga teaches us that our bodies are “sukrta” or well-made just the way they are. You might need a Journal, pen, yoga mat and bolster/cushion
Journaling: Rewrite your Menopause Story
It can be helpful to write down your menopause experience, in order to consciously re-write your menopause story. This is a journalling exercise in which you're guided through a series of journaling prompts to reimagine and rewrite your menopause story. Journaling freely and expressively in this way has the added benefit of being a wonderful relaxation tool, and a soothing way to deal with the stressors of daily life. Get curious - what are some of the narratives about menopause that you have internalised and how are they shaping your menopause experience? Journaling helps bring clarity to our experiences by writing down your thoughts and feelings, essentially decluttering your mind, breaking them down into pieces that are easier for you to process emotionally. In this class, Props needed: Yoga mat, journal and pen
Anhedonia or ‘loss of joy’ is a menopause symptom caused by low oestrogen. But we can reframe our thoughts to help change our feelings. Join Petra in this Gratitude guided visualisation to help you focus on what you feel grateful for and set an intention on something that brings you joy, everyday of your life.
Calming Anxiety and Overwhelm
Low oestrogen affects ability to produce the hormones that make us feel happy and calm, and causes low brain energy that affect our mental focus, memory and make us feel overwhelm. Join Petra for this simple class to calm anxiety and overwhelm. It includes gentle movement to improve vagal nerve tone, Ocean breath with sound to soothe your nervous system, a restorative Supported Child’s pose with the option to ‘retreat from the world,’ and two breathing and meditation practices: Mind Meets The Breath and Ladder Breath.
Awakening to Yourself
Oestrogen is an anti-inflammatory, so your perimenopausal symptoms can include sore joints and muscle stiffness, especially around the hips, shoulders, wrists and ankles. Join Petra for this simple morning class with somatic movement to help you limber up, lubricate joints and set a positive intention for your day ahead. You can even practice this class in bed.
Second Spring: A Guided Visualisation Meditation
It’s never too early to prepare for your Second Spring and we can start by becoming more comfortable with change. Join Petra for this guided visualisation meditation as she walks you through the seasons of a woman’s life, drawing on Nature’s seasons: Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter and arriving in your Second Spring.
Second Spring: Opening Your Heart
Embracing your menopause can foster a positive mindset, which may benefit our moods and mental health. Join Petra for this 5-10 restorative pose called Mountain brook that can help you to breathe more deeply by gently stretching across your chest, and open your heart to opportunities in post menopause Second Spring.
Cooling Hot Flashes
Hot flashes are not just physical sensations of heat - they start in your brain. Low oestrogen can make your internal temperature gauge over-sensitive to small changes causing either hot flashes or cold chills. These symptoms can also be triggered by stressful thoughts, and if you feel embarrassed by your hot flash, this stressful feeling can make the flashes hotter and last longer. Join Petra for this class to both cool your body and calm your mind. She shows you two simple cooling breath techniques and subtle versions you can practice in public. This is followed by her Hot Flash Wave guided visualisation, Ocean breath and a restorative supported reclined cobbler pose to release heat and relax.
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.
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 Flash Remedy
A simple visualisation exercise to help to manage hot flashes 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 Flash 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 flashes, as you learn to allow the heat to flow calmly through you, rather than resisting it.
Menopause Yoga: Finding Ease
This gentle vinyasa yoga class is designed as a moving meditation to calm your mind and nervous system to help you prepare for rest. It is followed by Petra’s ‘disappear from the world’ restorative yoga poses, Max Strom’s ‘Mind Meets the Breath’ meditation and breath work, before ending with a relaxation practice, seated meditation and a mantra. You will need a strap or belt, a bolster, a cushions, 2 blankets, 2 blocks and 1 cork yoga brick or weighted eye pillow (or equivalent). NB - Modifications: hip and knee injuries take care. If you experience hot flushes, keep your head level with your heart. Osteoporosis: avoid flexion rounding your back in forward folds; keep your spine straight. Claustrophobia: avoid placing the blanket over the head. Headaches: avoid placing weight on the head. Trauma and previous experience of panic attacks: breathe at your own pace and pause the practice when needed.
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.
Menopause Yoga: Befriending Your Feelings
This dynamic vinyasa yoga class is an energising but soothing practice which ends with a restorative yoga pose, relaxation, seated meditation and mantra. This class is designed to help you befriend your feelings at a time when erratic hormonal Pre-Menstrual Tension can trigger ‘energy surges’ and fiery emotions such as menopause rage. You will need a strap or belt, a bolster, a cushion and 2 blocks. NB - Modifications: hip and knee injuries take extra care, use a blanket when kneeling. If you experience hot flushes, keep your head level with your heart. Osteoporosis: avoid flexion rounding your back in forward folds; keep your spine straight. Trauma: 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.
Pregnancy Yoga: Hips & Legs
This pregnancy yoga class will help with discomfort in the hips and legs, which can be quite common in pregnancy, from Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP) to antenatal Sciatica, Restless Leg Syndrome to full on leg cramps. This class is designed to alleviate some of these niggles, helping you feel more comfortable in your body. Suitable for all trimesters.
Menopause Yoga for Strength
A gently strengthening yoga class to re-energise and empower by building strong bones. This dynamic hatha yoga class with poses that are held for 10 rounds of breath helps build bone mineral density and muscle mass, and raise the heart rate. This class has been designed to help prevent osteoporosis (weakened bones), sarcopenia (muscle loss) and cardiovascular disease, which can develop post-menopause. Expect a range of simple heart-lifting backbends to energise, breath work, a restorative yoga pose, relaxation practice and seated meditation. You will need a strap or belt, 2 bolsters, a cushion, a blanket, and 2 blocks. NB - Osteoporosis: avoid flexion rounding your back in forward folds; keep your spine straight. If you have previously experienced panic attacks, avoid holding your breath and instead follow your own breathing pace.