Yoga & weight loss

May 2, 2012  |  Destinations, London Yoga, Yoga  |  Share
Yoga & weight loss

Yoga and weight loss seems to be a big issue at the moment throughout the yoga world. So we thought we would put together a little list to help you understand how yoga can be a route to healthy weight loss. The YogaWellbeing team bring awareness to the fact that it’s just one element that works towards overall wellbeing. The other factors to bring balance to are diet, sleep and relaxation.

How can yoga help?

Yoga is a Natural and Holistic approach to Weight-Loss. Practising Yoga for weight loss is something more and more people are learning about through Health care professionals, doctors, friends and health experts. By drawing from a combination of complementary techniques, including Simple and Easy Yoga routines to Mindfulness Meditation, Breath-Work, Guided Visualisation and Relaxation therapy will hopefully encourage the use of effective tools for working with the body – Holistically. This means that our mental approach to how we view our bodies can be re-patterned in order that we happily accept what nature has dealt us.

Yoga Retreat

The Yoga Retreat has been the focused approach to adapt an exercise routine from the wide array of yoga postures and style.  The main theme of the retreats is to assist individuals to progress towards a place whereby they have the continued determination to achieve a healthy and sustainable approach to life, embracing their on-going path towards physical and emotional Well-Being. An important part of the course will include instruction on Yogic Breathing (Pranayama) This section has been specifically tailored from the various forms of Yogic Breathing which will thereby help to increase the oxygen intake to all the body cells, which in turn increases oxidation and burning of fat cells. As the Yoga Therapy series develops, simple seated postures and sequences are added. We also introduce more heat into the routine to help work towards weight loss.

Therefore, the direct benefit of combining yoga exercises with yogic breathing is that weight loss is made easier as you’re not only burning energy, the yoga exercises also store energy so that it is ready to be burned off instead of being stored as fat within the cells of the body.

Would like to know more about our Yoga Retreats? Then click here, we would love to hear from you.


 

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Top 10 vegetarian restaurants in Spain

September 30, 2011  |  Accommodation, Destinations, Featured, Meditation, Stress  |  Share
Top 10 vegetarian restaurants in Spain

Most of the yogis that I speak to about past yoga retreats or yoga holidays comment on the fact that it’s a challenge to find vegetarian food in Spain. So we thought that we would put together a guide to help you out when your on a Yoga Holiday in Spain. Also, we have put together a list of vegetarian tapas and vegan tapas just incase your a little confused when faced with the 10 page tapas menu. Have a leisurely read…

Health food stores

The health food stores in Spain generally carry a wide variety of organic, gourmet, and vegetarian items, both classic Spanish (such as jars of organic pisto) and international (such as sushi wraps and organic tiramisu). Soy, rice, and almond milk are easily available, as are a myriad of meat alternatives, including seitan, tofu, and soy crafted into hamburgers, kebabs, filets, and other faux creations. You might also be able to get your hands on delicacies such as Catalanbutifarras made from soy.

Aside from health food stores and supermarkets, such as NaturaSì in Madrid, a number of vegetarian restaurants have health food stores on the premises or next door.

Herbolarios

Though the selection can be extremely limited, most herbolarios have a dietética section where they sell vegetarian products such as almond milk, soy milk, rice milk, tofu, and a veggie burger or two alongside low sugar, wholewheat, and diet foods.

Vegetarian and vegan tapas

Going out for tapas is the quintessential Spanish experience you won’t ever want to miss. But before you despair upon finding that most tapas places have only one or two vegetarian tapas on offer, let this be an opportunity to participate in the grand tradition of the Spanish tapas crawl. Go ir de tapas and have a tapa or two at one place, then move on to the next, and so on until you’ve had your fill. Just follow your nose with our quick guide to vegetarian and vegan tapas.

Note: While these tapas are usually suitable for vegetarians or vegans, unless you have a chance to see the tapa in front of you, make sure you ask if it contains any meat or shellfish. One tapas place may put bits of ham in their cheese croquettes, and another won’t. One place might try to put ham strips on your pan con tomate, and another wouldn’t dream of it.

Vegetarian tapas

tortilla de patata = potato omelette, often containing onions
tortilla de pimientos = potato omelette with bell pepper
tabla de quesos = an assortment of cheeses
croquetas de patata = potato croquettes (breaded, deep-fried, and cylinder-shaped)
croquetas de queso = cheese croquettes (breaded, deep-fried, and cylinder-shaped)
patatas bravas = fried potatoes served with spicy tomato sauce and garlic mayonnaise
quiche de rocquefort = a Rocquefort cheese and egg mixture cooked in a light pastry shell
buñuelos de queso = cheese fritters
empanadas de queso = cheese-filled turnovers
aros de cebolla rebozados = batter-fried onions
montaditos = small roll sandwiches; bread choices include white and wheat; vegetarian filling choices include a variety of cheeses, omelettes, and sometimes vegetables
tosta = a tapa on a slice of bread; vegetarian choices include a variety of cheeses, omelettes, and sometimes vegetables

Vegan tapas

pisto manchego = zucchini, tomato, bell pepper, and onion stew
escalivada = grilled eggplant, onion, and bell pepper
aceitunas = olives
champiñones al ajillo = garlic-sauteed mushrooms
alcachofas al ajillo = garlic-sauteed artichokes
pimientos asados = roasted bell peppers
pan con tomate = bread rubbed with ripe tomato, olive oil, and salt or garlic
berenjena con miel = fried eggplant strips drizzled with honey
zarangollo = zucchini and onion stew

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Retreat breathing exercises

September 15, 2011  |  Breathing Exercises, Destinations, Featured, Meditation, Stress  |  Share
Retreat breathing exercises

We all know the feeling, we lose track of our breath and find it a challenge to stay aware throughout our everyday. When your on retreat you get the time and space to learn some breathing exercises (Pranayama) that you will be able to use as a tool for everyday stresses that we combat in our everyday.

Pranayama are an important part of a developing yoga practice. Pranayama is one of the Eight Limbs of Yoga, as defined by the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. In addition to deepening your yoga practice, learning ways to calm or invigorate the body through breathing will greatly benefit your life off the mat. Breathing is an involuntary act; it is an essential part of life. Although we cannot control whether or not we breathe, we can control the way that we breathe. It has been proven that different methods of breath affect the body’s health and life force is the core of Pranayama practice.

Three-Part Breath – Dirga Pranayama

A good breath for beginners, this exercise teaches you how to fill and empty the lungs completely. Benefits: Focuses the attention on the present moment, calms and grounds the mind. This pranayama exercise is often done while seated in a comfortable, cross-legged position, but it is also nice to do while lying on the back, particularly at the beginning of your practice. When you are lying down, you can really feel the breath moving through your body as it makes contact with the floor.

Instructions:

1. Come to lie down on the back with the eyes closed, relaxing the face and the body.

2. Begin by observing the natural inhalation and exhalation of your breath without changing anything. If you find yourself distracted by the activity in your mind, try not to engage in the thoughts. Just notice them and then let them go, bringing your attention back to the inhales and the exhales.

3. Then begin to inhale deeply through the nose.

4. On each inhale, fill the belly up with your breath. Expand the belly with air like a balloon.

5. On each exhale, expel all the air out from the belly through your nose. Draw the navel back towards your spine to make sure that the belly is empty of air.

6. Repeat this deep belly breathing for about five breaths.

7. On the next inhale, fill the belly up with air as described above. Then when the belly is full, draw in a little more breath and let that air expand into the rib cage causing the ribs to widen apart.

8. On the exhale, let the air go first from the rib cage, letting the ribs slide closer together, and them from the belly, drawing the navel back towards the spine.

9. Repeat this deep breathing into the belly and rib cage for about five breaths.

10. On the next inhale, fill the belly and rib cage up with air as described above. Then draw in just a little more air and let it fill the upper chest, all the way up to the collarbone, causing the area around the heart (which is called the heart center in yoga), expand and rise.

11. On the exhale, let the breath go first from the upper chest, allowing the heart center sink back down, then from the rib cage, letting the ribs slide closer together. Finally, let the air go from the belly, drawing the navel back towards the spine.

12. You are practicing three-part breath! Continue at your own pace, eventually coming to let the three parts of the breath happen smoothly without pausing.

13. Continue for about 10 breaths.

Try this breathing exercise out before you even come on our yoga retreat and it will be the perfect introduction to winding down before you set off.

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Ayurveda yoga retreat

September 8, 2011  |  Accommodation, Destinations, Featured, Meditation, Stress  |  Share
Ayurveda yoga retreat

Yoga Retreats and Holidays can be life changing. However do you return feeling that you haven’t had a chance to even consider your diet? You have practiced yoga asana, the breathing techniques and meditation but haven’t been told by your yoga host how to balance our diet. Here’s an introduction to Ayurveda to help keep everything in balance;

What is Ayurveda?

Ayurveda is the ancient Indian philosophy of health and wellbeing. It means the ‘art of living wisely.’ In simple terms, Ayurveda is a holistic system which guides us so that we can live a healthier and more balanced lifestyle. It recognises that we are all unique and focuses on food, lifestyle, massage, yoga and herbal remedies to suit our individual make-up.

Where did it come from?

Ayurveda is timeless – it has existed for over 4000 years but yet it still applies to modern day life. The key to its longevity is because Ayurveda is logical. An early description given in the Charaka Samhita (the earliest Ayurvedic literature) written circa 150BCE-100CE says:

“It is called ayurveda because it tells us which substances, qualities and actions are life enhancing, and which are not.”

The wisdom of Ayurveda encourages us to take responsibility for our own health according to the different stages of our lives, the seasons, and the environment we live, work and play in. These factors all have a big impact on our health and it makes sense to adapt our lifestyle accordingly so we can continue to live in harmony with our body and stay at optimum health.

Ayurveda is all about living life to the full and keeping yourself balanced – whatever is thrown at you!

The doshas:

In Ayurveda we are said to have body-mind types, these are known as dosha and consist of vata, pitta and kapha. Eachdosha has certain attributes and describes our individual characteristics, inherited traits, our likes and dislikes and our tendencies.

Generally we are a combination of dosha but one will usually dominate. If a dosha becomes out of balance, which can happen for a number of reasons, it can effect how we behave and even our health.

Typcial characteristics of each dosha type:

Vata – types tend to be visionary, imaginative and full of creative energy but when they are out of balance they can be forgetful, spaced out, anxious and uptight. Typical vata problems are erractic digestion, bloating, anxiety or joint disorders.

Pitta – types are confident, passionate leaders, organised and perfectionists but excess pitta can make them fiery, snappy and irritable. Pitta people have a tendency to suffer from skin irritations, overheating, heartburn and ulcers.

Kapha – types tend to be loyal, kind-hearted, calm and full of love, but a kapha overload can make them lethargic, lacking in energy and a little overindulgent. Kapha types are prone to congestion, excess weight and sluggish digestion.

It’s important to try and keep our doshas in balance in order to stay on top form. It’s not always easy with the hectic lives we lead, but if we can learn what our body needs and adjust our lifestyle accordingly, it’s a big step closer to staying healthy.

 

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Yoga break in the UK

Yoga break in the UK

A yoga break is what we all need from time to time. To recharge away from the big city and carve some time for yourself. Reconnecting to all of the positive elements in the present moment.

So many yogis and yogini’s have got in touch with us and outlined that there is no way they can afford £400 – £500 Yoga holidays, Yoga breaks or even Yoga weekends. Considering the current state and how we find ourselves in the UK and beyond. More people want to spend part of their holiday in the UK and they need it to be affordable. We responded by hitting the Yoga Wellbeing drawing board and coming up with the concept for the £99 Yoga Holiday. It’s the first Yoga Holiday for £99 and we are creating an opportunity for everyone to enjoy. Including unemployed yogis, elderly yogis and yoga loving families.

Yoga in London for some can become about fitting classes in and losing track of the main root. So we are trying to bring it all back to what’s important. Yoga outdoors, meditation good organic food, good people and an open fire. What more do you need.

So if you feel like the purse strings are a bit tight at the moment and that you can’t even take a break or holiday this year. Then this might just be the Yoga break for you. Click here if you would like to join us.

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Yoga Holiday Spain

July 12, 2011  |  Destinations, Featured, Meditation, Travel News  |  Share
Yoga Holiday Spain

Our Yoga Holiday was spent in the stunning mountain scenery of the Monasterio Santa Eulalia. We arrived on the Friday to a beautiful sunset and an amazing dinner of fresh seafood. The morning yoga session was set up the mountains at sunrise watching the different colours change the land. Arriving at our platform nestled in mountain range Laura taught a energising yoga session. We were surrounded by natural beauty and settled down to relaxation with the sounds of the local birds twittering away. It was a far cry from the Yoga in London studio.

We spent the day relaxing and having a wander around the local artisan market that comes to the monasterio. We tried local organic cheeses, got to try out a pottery workshop and bought some beautiful local essential oils. We then all floated to our evening session and said goodbye to the sun and another day. What an amazing area this is, I felt so inspired that I sat and drew the landscape for an hour, something I haven’t given myself the time for back in London.

That became the main theme throughout the retreat, giving yourself the time to invest in yourself as a whole. We are organising another luxury yoga break in October at the Monasterio Santa Eulalia. To book now then click here, we would love to hear from you.

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Yoga Retreats

April 28, 2011  |  Accommodation, Destinations, Holiday Tips, Meditation  |  Share
Yoga Retreats

When booking a yoga retreat in the UK, some yogis would rather look good in a bikini than consider the spiritual side. Everyone has there own reason’s on booking onto a retreat, some first time yoga holiday yogis are more interested in the physical side.

And in fact most people, who attend yoga classes at an early stage don’t stop to think about meditation or how well their Seven Chakras are aligned.

Sports play an important part in our everyday life because people have come to realize that their health is directly related to the type of lifestyle they choose to adopt. Here’s a our top five benefits for joining a yoga retreat this Summer;

1. Yoga is a good medicine for our body. Yoga is probably the first physical activity that will help you get rid of locomotor problems thanks to the wonderful postures that enable us to work our joints and muscles without damaging them. The same is valid for our back problems which will be soon forgotten if you stretch your spine with the help of these poses. People who suffer from bad blood circulation can improve the circulatory system with the help of several inverted yoga positions.

2. Yoga – an invincible enemy of the stress. When they practice yoga, people concentrate on the moves they make while taking deep breaths. This is the best method to free your mind of any thoughts and thus, rest your brain for a while. If you work in a stressful environment, yoga will help you restore your inner balance by putting a stop to your frenetic lifestyle.

3. Yoga is the best remedy against obesity. Sedentariness and bad food habits have caused a lot of weight problems to the entire population of the planet. Thanks to yoga, you can take up a healthier lifestyle and the meditation will enable you to stick with it. Unlike other type of sports which may be difficult to practice, such as, bicycling or jogging, yoga does not require a lot of physical efforts, but it will definitely help you lose weight and tone your muscles.

4. Yoga offers personal trainings. There isn’t just one type of yoga exercises, so people can choose to practice the poses that are more appropriate for them and their intentions. However, the intensity and the difficulty of the yoga poses will vary as the practitioner gets accustomed with the poses.

5. Yoga – a communion with nature. There is nothing that can help you restore your inner balance like the contemplation of nature; therefore, yoga is now practiced in the most peaceful natural environments. People who choose to leave the city life for a couple of weeks will also benefit from the wisdom of the best Hindu practitioners.

Here at Yoga Holidays we would love to hear your thoughts. Does it surprise you that many yoga teachers promote yoga for weight loss, slimming yoga or even sexy yoga? What message are yogis sending out there when they advertise yoga retreats, yoga holidays or yoga classes?

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All inclusive holidays 2011

April 26, 2011  |  Activities, Destinations, Featured, Travel News  |  Share
All inclusive holidays 2011

All inclusive holidays can be eco friendly.  Yet choosing a genuinely eco-friendly escape can be complicated; from deciding how to travel, to researching the eco merits of the tour operator or hotel and how the food is sourced.

The first consideration is your choice of location, and method of transport. If you’re off to Europe, even the more distant corners, travelling by train is often a brilliant option.

If you are flying, offset CO2 emissions by paying money to an organisation such as Climate Care (www.jpmorganclimatecare.com). The money will be invested in projects supporting energy renewal schemes and reforestation.

Why not try to opt for greener hotels and B&Bs such as guesthouses and homestays. ‘The ‘eco-friendly’ label is used too easily by hotels, spas and retreats across the globe, which in reality still offer water in plastic bottles, use toxic toiletries in the bathrooms and fill the bedrooms with unnecessary electric gadgets. Most are still using chlorine in their pools and hot tubs, and fossil fuels to heat their water.

Thinking and buying local once your arrive is also crucial. Hiring local guides where possible, staying in locally run accommodation, eating in local restaurants and trading with local craftspeople. A growing number of tour operators and hotels now reinvest in the local community by employing local people and sourcing ethically produced food.

There is also the popular option of volunteering with environmental charities such as Earthwatch; devoting time to working directly with the environment is perhaps the ultimate way to holiday with a conscience. Whichever eco friendly course you decide on for your yoga holiday, it will still have a positive impact.

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Hatha Yoga Retreat Spain?

April 19, 2011  |  Destinations, Featured, Holiday Tips  |  Share
Hatha Yoga Retreat Spain?

Over the last few years, Yoga Retreats in Spain have become the trendy way of adding an extra bit of relaxation to a holiday.

However, less intrepid travellers would probably ask why anyone would want the hassle of flying abroad when it is possible to experience a retreat closer to home. Well, just as Bikram or hot yoga is thought to help the body sweat out toxins and allow the practitioner to safely come deeper into the poses or stretches, practising in a warm climate can have similar benefits. Whatever yogic style takes your fancy, it is always more energising to perform a Sun Saluation in the face of that orange glow of a beautiful sunset.

The warmth of a Mediterranean evening and the audible backdrop of waves splashing on a nearby shore and the whole thing seems to flow easier.

We have had many yogis/yogini’s that have commented on the benefits of our retreats are they can highlight areas of yoga that cannot always be focused on in a single hour-long class once a week. The time to calm the mind as well as develop your physical practice is such a benefit from a four day or even better a week long retreat.

Let’s face it Spanish retreats can involve slightly more expense, but tend to be more exclusive with fewer students per teacher. This means that the classes can involve more personal hands-on teaching relating to each individual needs. Offering a more personalised approach.

Yes, suddenly going abroad for a long weekend yoga retreat to take in some brilliant sunshine becomes something that could be added to the calender. Don’t forget to pack your mat and your sun lotion.

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Yoga Holidays – Really getting away from it all

February 17, 2011  |  Destinations, Featured  |  Share
Yoga Holidays - Really getting away from it all

Join us for an amazing Moroccan adventure in Essaouira. Enjoy the sights and sounds of this exotic seaside destination and experience a truly colourful and exciting culture.

With warm weather, an exotic culture, amazing food and stunning scenery, Morocco is an exciting tourist destination enjoyed by many. Our yoga holiday offers an opportunity to practice yoga twice daily, improving your current standard and working on asana and breath, building strength and flexibilty and spending time meditating, while also enjoying the exciting destintation of Essaouira at the same time.

We start our day with a 90 minute yoga class, followed by a delicious breakfast in the sun. The rest of the day is yours and there is so much to see and do and enjoy. Round off the day with an evening yoga class and meditation.

Essaouira means ‘Image’ and from any angle it is a beautiful picture to behold. Wander around the old city walls, the ramparts, and take in the Atlantic ocean, the harbour and the fishing boats. Stroll along the sandy beach and take a dip in the sea. Eat fresh fish straight from the boats, and enjoy the warm sea-breeze.

Essaouira stands on a vast bay that sweeps south with miles and miles of golden sandy beaches and wooded hills. The colours of the surroundings are blue, white and yellow, the colours of the people, the medina and the markets vast.

Essaouira is situated on Morocco’s Atlantic Coast and has long been a favourite tourist destination. It is situated apx midway between Marrakech to the North and Agadir to the South and can be easily accessed from both.

Between classes there is so much to do. Take a trip into the desert and witness rural life that hasn’t changed much in hundreds of years. Enjoy some of the many luxurious and affordable Spas and Hammams for a variety of treatments from mud baths, massages and full body scrubs. Haggle for your bargains in the treasure-troves of market stalls and enjoy walks and swims along the sandy beaches. Take a camel trip, a horse ride or a Quad excursion into the desert or laze with a book in the Riad sipping mint tea and local delicacies and take daytime naps.

Wander the streets of the Medina, with market stalls, shops, cafes and restaurants. Experience a way of life of life so colourful and different to home, yet only a 3 hour fight away.

Yoga in such an exotic location is an amazing experience. Weather permitting we hold some classes on the beach to sunset. Situated close to Europe, but on the Continent of Africa, Morocco is like stepping into another world.

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