Be the change!

Daniela Silva

 

Building a joyful environment with your yoga practice 

By Daniela da Silva

On 26/12/2012 a young black man got shot in my hometown, his name was Giovane R., My little sister, at the time twenty-one, saw it happening. He died on the spot. Statistically, that was not a big deal, black guys, as we know, are likely to die as victims of violent deaths. Yet, personally, that was very significant in my life, because this young black man happened to be the father of my beloved niece. 

I filter to the maximum the information that I consume and post. I am careful not to escape so much from my main subjects and I expose very little information about my private and family life, but today is an exception. I am sharing things that are most personal because I believe that given what I do (teach yoga) to remain silent would be unethical.

The Sanskrit word Yoga means to yoke, as in harnessing a wild animal to a vehicle. In this analogy, the 'animal' is the unconscious mind in it's primitive and brutal nature, and the vehicle is then the awareness or high consciousness. Thus, the practice of yoga is aiming to bring awareness to our habits, impulses and thoughts. Yoga is an open invitation for the practitioner to become 'aware' of his beliefs and of his impact in this co-shared universe.

Therefore, despite welcoming clients who come to the class to unwind, learn new skills or to shape up their bodies, I ultimately know that the reason why an individual comes to a yoga class is not going to be the same reason of why they decided to stay. At the deepest levels, the practice of yoga will take us to an inner-recognition of not only ours but everyone else's divinity. The physical aspect of the practice is purposeful and it is true, but sooner rather than later the deep changes in the practitioner's perception will occur what will lead them to recognize their divine nature. This can be referred to as Ahimsa, it is the first limb of yoga which stands for nonviolence and non-harming of other living being.  

This week, we as yoga instructors and students must remember ourselves of our responsibility to promote global peace. Other forms of exercise can most definitely promote relaxation of the mind but they don't provide inherited philosophies and spiritual teachings as yoga does. Despite the adaptation that it went through, the yoga essence remains unchanged and therefore it holds the potential to directly impact actions.  

A gym-goer cannot be offered an explicit framework to understand their experiences, but yoga can give meaning to everything we do, hence is ethical at least to raise awareness in the mat and offer our collective practice to the memory of the many black lives lost since the beginning of times. 

Our practice survived to this day so we can be aware of our interconnectedness. We are a co-creators of divinity, acceptance and love. We are destined to reflect a universe designed by our collective thoughts, actions and feelings. So I invite you this week to perceive life through the lenses of this highly sophisticated ancient philosophy, seeing this journey as a 'supreme gift', in which we have as a choice to become a refined version of ourselves, acting from an infinite not hateful perspective. 

Your practice has transformational power and ultimately it has a positive influence over others. In the next flows, we will be dedicating our practice to the creation of a non-violent world because I want to live in a world where more children, like my niece, get to know their fathers and are empowered to feel safe into their skins.

No matter the colour. 

Namaste! 

#MoveForTheCulture

 

 

 

 

#MoveForTheCulture

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Thriving when teaching yoga online.

Daniela Silva

Creating your yoga teacher identity in 2020

I start my daily routine as an online yoga teacher opening my email to check for last-minute bookings. After testing the mic, wifi connection and positioning the camera, I glance at our Online Yoga Whatsapp Group for any updates from regulars. Mondays and Fridays I definitely post a story on my Instagram to influence behaviour steering curiosity, anticipation or desire to join a class. Yoga has really adapted well to the modern world!

Lately, to create a stronger group bonding feeling, I started to introduce mantras, what was a gradual process and it's going well.
I believe that most yoga teachers have experienced the awkward moment in which we invite the class to chant an 'OM together' and the feedback is a big silence! Well, at least in a zoom format, we are less exposed and can teach the mantra not worrying as much if the group don't join. Chances are that they will chant, what is great, because helping online yoga students to get involved with other aspects of the practice will convert them into frequent attendees, and with dedication and hard work you might be able to attain loyalty- And in the digital world full of celebrity teachers, free apps and famous studios, loyalty is what will save self-employed fitness and yoga professionals from drowning on the sea of irrelevance.

On the flip side, all this variety offers a huge opportunity for growth for independent teachers, but I can't emphasise more: You'll have to work to create engagement!
Pattabhi Jois (the founder of Ashtanga Yoga) has a full guided class on youtube, yet most Ashtangis are not attending to his (totally free) class because in general, we don't have enough desire to follow a yoga routine without real-time feedback.
The power we have is one of creating real relationships!
So if anyone can go online and be guided at no extra cost or donation-based scheme by no less than Deepak Chopra during their meditation, but still, choose to check-in with their local teacher, this gives us an important clue into human behaviour and more precisely about the power of shared experiences and real-time interaction.



Many yoga instructors feel conflicted when implementing Eastern elements into a modern yoga class, however, to form an identity within the field it is imperative to find ways to communicate some of the essences of this practice; my advice is to find a language to assist you to connect without going over the board because being radical rarely inspires but repels people. Develop your style accepting that most people coming to our classes won't become vegan, neither they care to bow before the noblest of sages Patanjali...Equally, is worth remembering that they came to us and not to a Zumba or CrossFit class so they do crave something a little more than the physical benefits and a little less than full lectures on the Upanishads.

Fine lines, I know.

Going forward you don't have to be the best, but you do have to somehow inspire and connect with your audience, treat them with massive respect and gratitude because the consumer is now more than ever spoil for choice, and if we are not willing to go the extra mile, others, with bigger budgets, will!

In recent conversations with colleagues, I hear the same complaint: 'In the digital era, there's too much work for no nothing' I understand but disagree. If I measure the time that I spent trying to figure out the IGTV dimensions, hashtags, TikTok trends and online marketing by the money I am making, I am screwed! But I am not measuring my efforts in how much cash I am generating, why? Because in the digital era attention is a form of currency, and engagement is the ultimate fortune!

Post it!


If you get 10 likes, ok that is too bad for our egos but ultimately you are building your digital presence for free. In today's world, as uncomfortable as it is everyone is googling you, I guarantee, some of you are using strategies such as 'being invisible on the web as a way to protect your reputations, don't come across as attention-grabbing etc. but depending on the field, people are almost suspicious if you can't be bothered. It gives the impression that 1. you can't do your job as well as Adriene 2. you are hiding something 3. you are disengaged. Yoga teachers fall into that category. Be strategical but post it!

Talking about ego, it is important to build a thicker skin because being ignored over and over again is part of the deal. It's not personal, only the process.

As we progress in our careers we become more confident and able to lead yoga classes with a certain authority that start to define our style and communicate not only our influences but also our personalities. It was like this in a formal environment and crucial when online. Be persistent to form your identity and refine who attend to your classes, because if you attract the wrong guy you might get a bad review, and you don't want that.

In the past, I wanted everyone to love my style (pick me, pick me!), therefore I disappointed people who attended my class to 'relax'. Thank God it was at a gym and the complaint was not on Trustpilot but to the studio manager who happen to be my friend. Before, during and after your online sessions, explain a bit what your class is about. Set expectations correctly because there's nothing worst than tricking sushi lovers into a traditional Italian restaurant, no matter how good the pizzaiolo might be!

Be consistent and aware that your caption is worth a thousand words

Recently I had advice suggesting that my pictures on Instagram were perhaps intimidating and to do more business I should 'appeal for a larger audience.
Wrong! based on my previous experiences (with sushi lovers) I knew that I was not excluding my clients, but filtering them! Today, I instruct both beginners and advanced practitioners, but they know what they are signed for: a stronger session, arm balances, sweat, progression, transformation. My most sought after class? Inversions on Wednesdays, and the least popular? Yin, I have low attendance because people prefer to hire me to make them stronger, not mellow. Finding your identity as an online teacher is a matter of tuning what you are best at with what your client wants and how they prefer it.

 



An idea that I am working on to create engagement is to 'educate while entertaining', once you have a language to deliver your message and a style as a guideline, use technology to serve your public. In the video below there's a practical example encompassing most of what is in this blog post.
My last but perhaps most important (yet subjective ) tip is to always, always assume that your client is highly insightful and communicate at this level, consumers are becoming intolerant to messages that underestimate their intelligence but open to those who can deliver what they desire. In the digital world, the client will always get what he wants and a good service provider will be characterized by those who can figure out what that desire might be.

Faster than Google.

Daniela da Silva

 

 

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Why Online Yoga and CBT is the right combo for your business

Daniela Silva

As a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic, more people than ever are struggling with their mental and physical health. For many organisations this situation is creating uncertainty and impacting businesses and employees in a number of ways. Since the beginning of the lockdown, the lucky ones who kept their jobs are now unable to implement boundaries between work and home lives. 

There is a growing body of research to back up yoga’s mental health benefits and in my personal experience more than ever people are looking to incorporate yoga in their lives as a tool for self-development, not only to rip physical benefits.  

80% of people undertaking Yogatherapy at Blue House Yoga, enquired with work-related problems. Yogatherapy a technic using the continuous practice of yoga, breathing exercises and one-to-one talk therapy, CBT based. 

As we move forward it is crucial to establish a healthy work-life balance in order to lead well-rounded and fulfilled lives, managers and business owners are not always able to tackle emotional issues but research commissioned by Mind.org suggests that work is the most stressful factor in people’s lives. They surveyed 2,000 people and found that over half of managers (56%) said they would like to do more to improve staff mental wellbeing but they needed more training and/ or guidance and 46% said they would like to do more but it is not a priority in their organisation.

Yoga has the potential to promote long-term improvement to work-life balance and real positive change rather than quick-fixes. Below some strategies to implement the practice in peoples lives. 

Format: Online Yoga

Working online enables teachers to charge a fraction of what they would in a face to face environment. This is not a new concept, take for example "MasterClass" the educational platform in which anyone can afford lectures pre-recorded by experts in various fields including Martin Scorsese for example. But the problem of pre-recorded sessions is that it does not allow engagement and that is why online tools fail to hook most of us because it does not offer the real human interaction and feedback, so when offering online yoga classes chose the ones in which real-time interaction is possible. 

Continued yoga practice improves self-awareness and invites mindfulness which will help organise the priorities of life and nurture gratitude.

Chose a teacher that implement spirituality in their sessions. Albeit we are in 2020, streaming yoga classes via zoom it's always good to remember that yoga is not a physical exercise, but a spiritual practice, the physicality is a bonus. 

 

Combining Yoga & Psychology

To effectively help different work cultures and to implement long term positive improvement in both your workplace and home life, I started implementing principles of psychology when delivering my online sessions. Psychology is an approach that helped me to translate and amplify many of the principles of yoga to my clients.  From the beginning of my career, people looking for my services were not precisely the typical 'creative type', much opposite, I work closely with clients that had success in their careers for being analytical and data-driven. It is pointless to mention passages of the 'Bhagavad Gita' when trying to convey the importance of spirituality to a lawyer at his lunchtime! But I notice that it was much easier to grab their attention if during my sessions, for instance, I mentioned Maslow's hierarchy of needs that has at the bottom of the priority our need for self-actualization.

Despite my personal interest in psychoanalysis and psychotherapy, I thought it was more adequate to first pursue qualification as a CBT therapist to address problems at the workplace. Last year I completed a level 5 CBT course with distinction and for 2021 I plan to finish my research in the effects of yoga on the symptoms of anxiety. This research combines my passions and is a requirement that I must meet in order to conclude my BSc in psychology with the University of Derby.  

CBT is an effective and relatively quick method for managing anxiety whilst yoga is highly transformative but gradual in nature and progression in the practice takes time. Therefore they are complementary. 

Bringing Yoga to the Workplace

Ensuring you have a healthy work/life balance is the responsibility of the individual as much as the employer. In fact, employers who promote mental and emotional harmony and flexibility in the workplace boost their team’s motivation, productivity and retention. Studies have shown that employers who offer flexible working benefit from a 75% reduction in recruitment costs and sickness absence rates also fall by 25%.

This is a result of individuals being able to manage their own time and incorporate self-care to boost mental health and refresh the body and mind. It is important to remember that work is just as important as life; it installs purpose and also provides a sense of importance and belonging. 

When it is not possible to have flexible hours in your workplace online yoga becomes even more attractive as it can be accessed from home but still as a team what boosts social satisfaction and reinforces the feeling of belonging to a group. Studies show that companies that provide team-building activities have an 85% improvement in internal communication, increased creativity and employee satisfaction. This is because the activities invite social engagement and reduce stress from the workplace.

Online yoga stimulates cognition, self-esteem and reduces anxiety. Yoga and CBT can teach your staff how to change their perceptions and see their cups, indeed as half full. 

To know more about bringing daily online yoga into your workplace, or to find out more about our wellness strategies request today your brochure. 

 

Daniela da Silva  

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What To Pack For A Summer Yoga Retreat!

Daniela da Silva9 comments

Going on your first yoga retreat and not sure what to pack? Don’t worry we’ve got you covered. Even if you’re a seasoned yogi but have always favoured a winter retreat, follow this checklist to explore the sun and the soul on your summertime retreat. These essentials will ensure you can achieve maximum relaxation and enjoy every last drop of your yoga retreat!

What you pack for a yoga retreat will depend on the style of break you are booked onto. If your chosen retreat is as much about the yoga experience as it is exploring culture or basking in the sun, don’t worry, you can just chop and change the checklist wherever you feel necessary. Follow this list to make your retreat memorable, whatever your chosen type of sanctuary and personal goals. 

Summer Yoga Kit

  1. Yoga Attire

For retreats that offer two sessions per day, a good general rule of thumb is to bring 1 yoga appropriate outfit for every 1.5 days. So, if you’re on a 5 day yoga retreat, 4 lots will be plenty!  This is because you won’t spend all day in your workout gear if you’re also looking to explore or enjoy the sun. You will likely change into swimwear or something casual to wander around in.

Top Tip: If you are embarking on a more intense program, like Bikram yoga or a blended course of yoga and HIIT workouts, you will want to increase this to 1 workout outfit per day. Don’t worry if you have not got a wardrobe full of yoga gear. Loose pants and tank tops, with appropriate supportive layers, will be perfect. If this is your first foray into yoga retreats, read more on our blog or check out this post if you’re nervous! 

  1. Mats

Enquire with your provider whether you need to bring a yoga mat. Most travellers prefer to bring their own mat to ensure that they can focus during sessions. We recommend packing a lightweight mat and if you’re travelling to and from different sessions, a yoga mat carrier will also be essential!

  1. Towels

You’re more than likely going to be practising in the sun, and whilst that sounds utterly fantastic, you’re going to get warm. A little towel to wipe your sweat will ensure you’re not slipping around on your mat.

  1. Water Bottle!

This is a must for every summer yoga retreat! To replenish and rejuvenate your body, you must stay hydrated. You can carry your personal water bottle to daily sessions, out on excursions or wherever you are. As a bonus, this will also cut down on single use plastics, a big issue for the more touristic retreat destinations. Don’t forget to empty your bottle if you want to carry it through hand luggage on your flight home.

  1. Extra Gear

You might be wondering if you can bring your blocks or straps to use in classes. Normally, a yoga instructor will have planned out the session, but straps can be worked into a lot of poses and positions. Just don’t get too concerned with working them into every session. You will have plenty of time for private practice, too. Straps are also a great option if you are new to yoga or haven’t done a week-long retreat before as they will help prevent overextension.

Summer Clothing

  1. Swimwear!

A couple of items of swimwear will allow you to be flexible with your activities. If you plan on visiting the beach or utilising your venue’s pool, a cycle of 2-3 swimsuits will be plenty for a week in the sun!

  1. Day Clothes

This will depend on your personal goals for the week. If you are looking to go out exploring every day, you will want an outfit per day, but most retreats are super casual. We find that guests love to keep things relaxed and tranquil, hanging out in shorts and tees, light dresses or their swimwear.

  1. Nightwear

Again, this will vary massively. If you are on an austere retreat in Goa, the chances are you’re not going to be touring the local nightlife. However, if you’ve opted for something a little more exhilarating, like a Mykonos Yoga Retreat, sampling the bars is part of the experience and has excellent healing and revitalizing properties! Therefore, you might want to pack a dress or a smarter outfit, but sandals will always be fine!

Top tip: Don’t forget a little cross-body or clutch to keep hold of all your personal items when out letting your hair down!

  1. Something Warm

One jacket or a shawl will be enough for any summer yoga retreat. Mornings and evenings might get chilly and if you want to watch a sunrise or end up talking way into the night with new friends, a shawl or sweater will ensure you stay cosy without ruining the fun!

  1. Footwear

Summer is time for sandals! If you intend on soaking up the rays or just relaxing at the accommodation, you’ll probably find yourself barefoot more often than not. Pack 1 pair or flip flops and 1 pair of nicer sandals that are comfortable and versatile.

If you fancy a run or hitting the gym, pack your trainers, too! If you can, save space in your suitcase and wear them on the flight.

All The Extras

  1. Camera

Obviously!

  1. A Backpack or Day Bag

Double up your carry-on bag and bring a backpack or bag that you’re happy to go off exploring with. Ensure it is big enough to carry your camera and water bottle and perhaps a towel if you’re planning to visit the beach.

  1. Sun Care!

Sun cream is absolutely mandatory! A yoga retreat is all about improving your health and protecting your skin is vitally important! Sunglasses and hats are also strongly recommended! Lip balm is also a good idea.

  1. Your Usual Toiletry Kit

Of course, you should pack all the basics, but a yoga retreat is all about nature and healing your body. Don’t feel the need to pack your heavy make-up kit if you don’t want to. Embrace your sun-kissed skin and go to worship your body and connect with yourself!

  1. A Good Book

You’ll have down time for personal meditation, reflection and relaxation on any summer yoga retreat. But what combines a retreat with a summer holiday better than a good book read on the beach or sun lounger?

A yoga retreat is a fantastic excuse to completely digitally detox, so a good book (or three) will be perfect to keep your mind busy in a healthy way.

What To Leave Behind

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, whatever your chosen type of retreat, a summer yoga retreat is a time to unwind and be at peace with yourself and your surroundings. Natural and casual is always the motto, even if you’re venturing into clubs and bars in the evening. Don’t worry about packing heels, heavy cosmetics or anything you don’t feel is utterly necessary.

A negative attitude and any self-consciousness should be completely abandoned. Remember why you booked your trip; it is your time to focus on healing and tranquillity!

Get in touch with Blue House Yoga to book a retreat this summer or for more information about embarking on your personal yoga journey!

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Would A Yoga Retreat Suit Me?

Daniela da Silva10 comments

A yoga retreat is a time for self-reflection, meditation and exploration. But it is also a time for fun! We find that yoga retreats are so popular because they are a unique blend of excitement and downtime and they bring together a brand-new group of people. The demands of modern life push people to seek the most out of their holidays and a yoga retreat really is the best of both worlds.

At Blue House Yoga, we receive a lot of enquiries from guests before they book about whether or not a yoga retreat is something they should embark on. We understand your trepidation, but yoga really is a joyful and enlightening experience that can alleviate your general feelings of anxiety. We have put together this post to help address any concerns you may be having, read to find your questions but never hesitate to get in touch with our team!

Can I Go On A Yoga Retreat As A Beginner?

This is perhaps the question we get asked most frequently. We understand your anxiety, but quality yoga instructors will be able to guide a mixed-ability class. There is often a lot of apprehension about embarking upon a yoga retreat as many are concerned that they are reserved for the advanced practitioner. Poses and classes can be tailored to include everyone and all abilities.

More importantly, a yoga retreat is about embracing new skills. One of yoga’s biggest rewards is mastering its challenges. Regular yoga over the course of a week will show you impressive, positive results for your body and mind. We find that our retreats build a micro-community or culture of encouragement and support from all abilities, so if this is your first attempt at yoga or you’re still very new, committing to a week-long yoga retreat might be the best option to accelerate your skills quickly and ensure you reap the benefits of incorporating it in your daily routine.

Everyone Is Welcome!

More recently, the practice of yoga has become stigmatised and stereotyped. We find that women tend to practice more regularly and attend scheduled classes or retreats. Here at Blue House Yoga, we want to discourage any stigma surrounding who can practice the ancient spiritual exercise that was historically a practice only for men.

Gender stereotyping often discourages men from being mindful or engaging in emotional and physical exploration in any form. Avoiding or ignoring sources of stress is a leading cause of mental health deterioration in men. The causes of stress are universal, and yoga can help both men and women detox mentally, emotionally and physically. We teach Pranayama breathing techniques to invite peace into the mind; this technique is scientifically proven to soothe the central nervous system, too.

Flexibility is another concern for men who want to try to learn yoga skills but believe they won’t be able to complete a class. Regular yoga practice and gradually honing your skills will improve your flexibility and physical performance. Classes, poses and stretches can be coupled with breathing techniques to improve muscle elasticity and endurance, too. We find that our male yogis really benefit from their practices and often find it improves their performance in other sports.

Our fully qualified yoga instructor, Daniela, has designed sessions that encourage progress and positivity for the whole group. If you have set personal goals whilst on one of our retreats, you can always book one-to-one classes or engage in private practice.

Yoga is an inclusive, fun activity above all. The only thing you should worry about is which yoga retreat to choose and what to pack!

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How to plan a ski and yoga retreat

Daniela da Silva3 comments



Dad and I...

To all the yoga teachers planning to add some extra activities to their retreats, holiday makers, yogis and skiers this article might be helpful when planning to try out the combination of these two modalities.

 

Namaste, 

Daniela

"When the idea of having a yoga retreat blended with skiing and winter activities first came to me I jumped in the concept as the combination seemed so obvious: the yoga helping with warming up and cooling down, promoting balance and coordination, and the thin air altitude would have less impact on lung capacity as a result of pranayama sessions (breathing techniques) the visualisation/ meditation improving the performance outdoors regardless of the skier/ yoga practitioner level an so on. 

Although all that held true there were a few points that could be considered before getting your ski boots and leggings on. I am now overlooking Mont Blanc contemplating the closing of our cycle. The second group who attended the retreat are out and about skiing together, and our chalet oscillates between stillness and vibrant energy that fill the atmosphere after (or après) skiing. My initial anxiety hosting a retreat like this, is giving space to a premature nostalgic feeling. In every retreat one learn more than teach and in Chamonix, it was no exception. Bellow is some of what I’ve been taught, apart from skiing."

Tip number 1: Skiers will skip lunch!

If you are planning a ski and yoga retreat,is wise to make all the participants aware that is unpractical to descend the mountain to have lunch. Although there are restaurants open in the slopes a baguette can range from 5€ to 10€. As the organiser you can prepare a sandwich as an alternative or give the participants free access to use the kitchen facilities, but with this in mind comes the next suggestion.

Ann having a little break in a coffee shop at the slopes.

Tip number 2: Encourage the skiers to take responsibility for their timetable!

If and when staying in a hotel for example, the kitchen closes at certain time, in this case if the breakfast finishes at 11AM one cannot expect to eat at noon for instance, included or not. One of the benefits of sharing a house at a yoga retreat is that this problem can be negotiated and the participants can benefit from its flexibility, however work out expectations. When offering free access to the kitchen its advisable to set simple rules, ask yourself again what is included: breakfast only or hot beverages throughout the day? Are you offering 3 meals, or can the participants help themselves for extra snacks, sandwiches, tea, coffee etc? It’s critical to have the rules established from the start of your retreat as once a habit is formed it is difficult to break it. If the participants decide to eat at a different time or eat out its absolutely fine, as long as they understand that this way they must consider the group’s need and pre-set program versus individual plans. Make clear not only ‘what’ is included, but ‘at which time” it will be available.

Tip number 3: The yogi diet vs. the skier eating habits!

Yoga retreats are well known for its light food. Skiers like to indulge sometimes into rich wine, chocolate and cheese. Maybe open one exception to celebrate the local culture. A fondue night for example is a nice way to bond, and as Oscar Wilde once said: Everything in moderation, including moderation.

Thank you Alice for showing me the fondue way!   

Tip number 4: For beginners, book a private group lesson!

If one participant never skied before or want to refresh their skills, there are cheap options to kick-start their practice. A 4 hour group lesson cost roughly 50€ per person and its enough to create a solid foundation for the rest of the week (surely, individuality must be considered, but generally speaking the group lesson is extremely effective). I am a Brazilian born, beach lover and never skied before, however on my second group I was already able to be helpful in the slopes.

A little play before  our hour 4 hour class start. I am the beginner, Audra is the StarPupil!

Tip number 5: Beware of the fundamental differences and psychics of each activity!

Ski is an amazing sport. But it is unapologetic demanding. It requires from you! One must to be focused, centred and connected with the mountain. A distraction and you will fall. Skiing is the opposite of forgiving; it asks your all, your undivided attention. In each turn it tests your courage and control, in each fall it defies your commitment.

But it also gives back…it races your heart on the way down fulfilling it with adrenaline, it teaches you the best drishti (yogic gaze technic to develop concentration) ever, as you will undoubtedly end up in the direction that you are looking at – What an amazing metaphor! - Once you are on the top of the mountains you will experience stillness, it is magic: a truly spiritual experience. But it’s also exhaustive and competitive! The exhaustion plus adrenaline combined with hunger can cause impatience, hence keep the evening class as 'restorative' and the dinner a little heavier than usual. 

 

No spa for Jenny today, all day skiing on her own instead! Go girl! 

Yoga is not a sport. Yoga is yoga…it adapts to your moods, body shape, energy levels; it becomes the best friend and confidant for anyone who decide to give it a goal, and if you abandon it takes you back at anytime, no formalities required. Overtime whatever we focus on, will manifest in parts of ourselves. So, when planning a Ski & Yoga retreat, design a program that will embrace and nurture each participant, in a way that one can learn with each other creating union and shared interest. Examples: put emphasis in poses that will have a positive impact skiing, for example, Utkatasana, explaining benefits throughout your class to captivate the skier’s attention. At the top of the mountain suggest the group to ‘move with their breath’ and to dedicate that slope to someone or something, just like at the beginning of a yoga class we put through our intention, if they fall, they stand up again making the effort a yogic metaphor.

 Adele is a London Boss-Lady also yoga teacher, headstand fanatical and ski and macaroons lover! 

Tip number 6: The altitude has influence on people’s mood!

All previous Blue House Yoga retreats (except for our first writing yoga retreat, in Somerset) had taken place by the sea. According to recent research from the European Centre for Environment and Human Health in Truro, Cornwall, even stroll along the beach is enough to boost emotional health. The water represents emotions of purity and fertility. Symbolically, it is often viewed as the source of life itself. In Taoist tradition, water is considered an aspect of wisdom. This combined with yoga and good weather translated into not having the need of a formal studio for example and constant relaxation by the pool or gathering at the beach. It was almost as if the sea was the host of the retreats, leaving little work for the organisers.

In the altitude, a different pattern could be noticed. The monumental mountains surrounding us, as the cold weather invited each of the participants for introspection. The earth is a masculine energy (Yang) that controls the water (emotions/Yin) and although the plains and valleys are a feminine expression (Yin) the hills and mountains are the Yang (masculine)

The masculine energy represents practicality, responsibility, seriousness and conservatism, and can also manifest in the body as a rigidity, or inflexibility, stagnating and openness to worry. So beware that teaching in this kind of energy requires from the organiser/ yoga teacher to be more grounded than usual. 

 

Coffee break is also an opportunity to flex that lower back! :)

In conclusion the final considerations do not mean that the beach is better than the mountains! Such assumption would be an absurd. Never before an environment taught me so much. I am coming back now every season as I am in love with it. It awakened on me dormant sides in my personality. For me it was the representation of the high consciousness (water represents the subconscious), to be alert, assertive exploring the selves on me that have been denied or neglected as I did not feel that I needed, but they are now active and we are in good terms. We need all spectrums of our personalities to create balance. 

Gabby is a journalist, yoga teacher and avid skier, she shared her experience in the slopes and also in a warming morning yoga class.

And to offer contrast, the beauty of life is worth to mention that Alma, one of the SkYogi who attended in the first week feels the different: ‘I feel free and happy in the mountains, open, expanded and connected with myself as with the surroundings’. So my conclusion is that all comes to equilibrium when closing the gaps between what is familiar and what is different, masculine and feminine, reclusive and wide open, mountain or sea, competitive or laid back. Every trip (metaphorically and literally) gives us the opportunity to explore our inherited desire to accept and nurture all our sides. When I visited a Brazilian Shaman he told me that I was Iemanja’s daughter (African-Brazilian Water Deity) and it is very good to be swimming at my moms womb absorbing her sensuality and playfulness, but now looking at the solid, large elevation emerging strongly from inside the Earth I meditate into what the mountain represents to me: A father, who will be the mirror not for my limitations but for what I am capable of. What the mountain embodies to me is the action of climbing in order to be rewarded. The successes accomplished with perseverance, keeping in mind that even the highest of the mountains, are subject to the action of the rivers and sea. But this is a natural agreement in life. Listen to your heart and until next season! 

Alma, a innovation manager based in London but born in Greece feels most free and connected being high up in the mountains..

Namaste,

Cintia

Although I’ve never skied before, Yoga gave me a strong base to find perseverance and balance. Join us for the next season for a week of Sky and Yoga in Chamonix. Reservation at www.bluehouseyoga.co.uk

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