Replenish, Revitalise and Reconnect Retreats - Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter

Having taught Yoga for almost five years now - this is the first year I’m venturing into doing some retreats.

My students keep asking me when I’ll do one, and I’ve been to enough to know for myself just how replenishing they are.

My four seasons Replenish, Revitalise and Reconnect Retreats are themed around the seasons:

Spring. Summer. Autumn. Winter.

Dates and timings:

  • Spring: March 24th (Sunday) 1.30pm-7pm

  • Summer: June 8th (Sat) 1.30pm-7pm

  • Autumn: Oct 5th (Saturday) 1.30pm - 7pm

  • Winter: 8th Dec (Sunday) 1.30pm - 7pm

Each session offers you the opportunity to treat yourself (or treat someone else), to a restorative retreat exploring yoga, pranayama meditation, yin yoga and yoga nidra.

The experience in detail:

The retreat will open with a wonderful upbeat and energising 90 minute hatha vinyasa flow practice. A blend of strengthening, releasing, replenishing and revitalising.  

We'll then break for a light 'clean' snack and cup of yogi tea before we gather to explore some cleansing and relaxing pranayama breathing practices, leading us nicely into a whole body cleansing meditation. 

Feeling relaxed, we'll then take some time to stretch and release with some restorative yin yoga, before closing with a deeply relaxing guided yoga nidra, enhanced with a relaxing blend of essential oils.

Following our practice, we'll gather and chat and enjoy a delicious 'Vegetarian / Vegan Meze Supper'.  

You'll also get your very own 'Relaxing Roller Blend' of essential oils to take away with you.

And then finally, you’ll float-off home, restored, replenished in mind, body and soul.  Bliss!


The retreats will take place at the dedicated light and airy yoga studio on Broadlands Farm, Ascot, Berkshire. If the weather is lovely, we’ll get the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful gardens.

Address: The Yoga Studio - Broadlands Farm Bagshot Rd, Ascot SL5 9JN

Each retreat costs £55.00 (Includes all yoga sessions, all resources, relaxing oil blend and all refreshments).

There’s a discount if you book all four retreats - discounted to £45 per retreat (£180). 

Beginners are very welcome. 

Spaces limited to just 12 places. 

To book simply text or call me on 07946 001388. Payments can be made via my dedicated PayPal link here:

paypal.me/MichelleCarvill

Any questions, I look forward to hearing from you.

All best wishes

Michelle x

Run yourself a bath – discover the joy of yogic bathing…

In my family, I’m the only ‘bather’.

My husband sits firmly in the ‘shower’ camp – and as my daughters have grown, they too have transitioned from bathers to showerers.

When I ask why, the reason for the switch is… ‘it’s quicker’.

I decided to ask a few of my colleagues and friends the question – Are you a shower or a bath person? No surprises, that 9/10 of them were all ‘showerers’. Again, the reason being – it’s convenient and quick.

Admittedly, in a morning if there’s a strict time regime, (which there so often in is modern day households - whether single or family), I can see how hopping quickly in and out of the shower makes sense.  However, perhaps bathing is the perfect opportunity to slow things down.

Our lives seem to be busier than ever before. We’re often on autopilot manically going through the motions of our daily routines – whizzing through the hours in the day without a moment to think. Our lives can be so planned and frantic that no time is given to stop and consider just how the mind is feeling, how we’re breathing, what our mood state is, how the body is feeling – we’re highly disconnected and it’s all just rush, rush, rush in a highly ‘mindless’ way.

This need for the quick shower so one can move onto the next part of the day, without any thought or connection with the self, reminded me of why I start my yoga classes the way I do. I always encourage the class to start by taking some time to truly tune in to the space – taking time to feel and hear the breath, time to feel the weight of our bodies, time to tune in to how we’re actually feeling. Starting off the class this was, with a very ‘mindful’ approach to connecting with ourselves, taking that time to be peaceful and mindful, is often the first and only time, in a whole week that one has stopped to reconnect and tune in to how they’re feeling. And if you think about that – that really is nuts.

This simple act of tuning in and being present is indeed still part of our yoga practice. In the West, yoga is more commonly associated with the asana, the physical practice. The downward facing dogs, warriors and triangles. The asana, the physical aspect of our yoga, movement and breath - urging us to connect with how the body feels as we move, acknowledging the movement and how our breath helps us to let go and deepen into the practice is a key part of our yoga practice – but it is just one part.

Another key part of our yoga practice – is the practice of being present, connected - fully ‘tuned in’.

Being present, or ‘mindful’ over the past few years has become big business. Bookshops are now filled with books about mindfulness practices, there are courses, schools, practitioners, experts and gurus – and anything that helps us all as human beings stop to pause and reconnect and be present with what we are doing – can only be a great thing.

But mindfulness is not new, nor is meditation – they too are all part of the ancient practice of yoga.

In fact, over the many years of yoga asana I’ve practiced – it’s only over the past few years that I’m beginning to understand that yoga isn’t something you necessarily do – but rather it’s something you become.

So… this leads me back to yogic bathing.

My quest is to get more people enjoying the wonders of yogic bathing. And by this I mean taking some time out perhaps even just once a week to experience your yoga practice in a slightly different way – discovering or rediscovering the joy of yoga through the simple act of bathing.

Bathing has been enjoyed as a health benefit for thousands of years – for the Romans bathing was a form of complementary medicine and very much a part of their fitness regime – they built spas wherever they landed, to reap the many health benefits of submerging the body into warm water.

Many studies have been undertaken over the years into the impact of bathing in warm water – from easing muscle spasms to experience profound relaxation, and studies around delinquent children and children with autism becoming far more relaxed after bathing.

And of course, we can aid the medicinal effects of bathing by adding in Epsom salts, topping up those ever-depleting magnesium levels – to aid restful sleep and muscle fatigue. Not to mention an array of beautiful scents and medicinal aromatherapy and Ayurvedic oils and milks.

And let’s not forget that once upon a time we were all fish.

Bathing has played an important part of our lives throughout the ages.  Everything about bathing aids relaxation.  Plus there’s the opportunity to be truly present not only when you’re kicking back and enjoying the aromas, the warm water, the peace and the stillness – but also with the preparation.

In just the same mindful way the Japanese prepare their tea – there’s opportunity to create that feeling of ‘ceremony’ when preparing to bath.

The mood may be different depending whether it’s day or night. The sun may be shining through and brightening your surroundings, or subdued candlelight may create a blanket of calm. You can choose whether to add some uplifting oils – perhaps bergamot, orange or rosemary – or perhaps soothing lavender, geranium and patchouli.

To bubble or not bubble – the choice is yours. You may want some music to tune into – or you may prefer to simply focus on the peace and the gentle rhythm of your heart.

Whichever aspects you choose to add to your ceremony, it’s the perfect opportunity to be truly present through a number of senses. To connect with the water surrounding you, how the skins feels, how the body feels, to feel the muscles unwinding and letting go, to feel the weight of the limbs, to smell the aroma of the soaps or oils, to spend time being present and doing anything other than ‘rushing around’.  Time to say to yourself – right now, I have nothing to do and nowhere to go, I’m just going to be here, present and relaxed.  And this my friend, is yoga!

So next time you’re thinking of rushing through the day – take your yoga practice to another level by simply taking some time to take time out to practice the art of being present – and a wonderful way to do that is to kick back and give yourself the time to enjoy the delights of yogic bathing.

Enjoy x

Getting to a yoga class is another way to practice your yoga too . My gentle Vinyasa Yoga Class is each Wednesday, 8.30pm – Maidenhead Physio Centre – everyone welcome - more details here: http://www.yogacentral.co.uk/classes

In Yoga as in Life... Run your own race

In Yoga as in Life... Run your own race

Sometimes, just sometimes, we get so focused on what others are doing that we feel inadequate. Not good enough. The lesson is to take the gifts of others, as just that... gifts. And remind ourselves to stay true and focused - and that we can't run their race - we can only focus on running our own race...

Warning! Yoga can be like peeling an onion - there may be tears!

Warning! Yoga can be like peeling an onion - there may be tears!

Yoga can be tough. But when you think about the bigger actions at play as part of your yoga practice - then it makes sense. This post explores how yoga helps you to unravel your being - getting back to the truth of who you are. 

Yoga for Anxiety and Panic Attacks

I recently posted a blog around The Science of Yoga - a new study showcasing the tangible physical and mental, wellbeing aspects of yoga.

Our bodies are complex to say the least. When I started studying as a yoga teacher - learning about the physiology of our incredible bodies was truly 'awesome' (in every credible meaning of that word). 

Our circulatory system, our lymphatic system, the nervous systems, our muscles, the mesmorising and less talked about fascia, (the white stuff that pretty much holds us together) - our organs and how each one supports the other. Your body, my body is truly incredible. And that's not even mentioning the brain, the skin, our immune system, digestion - I could go on and on.

Yoga hits us at a deeper level than simply just a physical exercise. 

When I came to yoga I was 23 years of age. I'd been living in London for two years and was heavily burning the candle at both ends. Working and playing very hard.  Coupled with a shock family illness that left me with some post traumatic stress - I woke up one morning and opened my door to leave to go to work - and could not take a step outside of the house.

I was having severe panic attacks - I could no longer get on a tube or function in my usual way. My body had gone into panic and shut down - the only place I felt safe was indoors, in my room. Venturing a step further than that - sent me into uncontrollable panic attacks where on more than a few occasions paramedics were called. 

Looking back, and for anyone that knows me, they wouldn't believe it - even I find it difficult to believe - but it was a reality. At the time, a living nightmare. 

Thanks to wonderful friends and colleagues, I found myself in a doctor's surgery - the standard would have been 6 - 12 months of Prozac - however, I was very fortunate. At the time (and remember this was 25 years ago) alternative medicine was laughed at even more than it is today - however, the surgery just happened to be trialling an alternative 'stress management' course. 

For 6 weeks I would attend a weekly class that covered nutrition, relaxation, meditation and yoga.

Those 6 weeks changed my life.  I learnt about my body, I connected with my breath and learned how to become in control of my thinking and breathing - in control of myself.

Without any medication - the panic attacks stopped. 

The tautness and tightness within my body that comes with stress and tension, released.

I softened in every way. I grew significantly. And whenever, those feelings of anxiety creep in (as they do in life generally) - I have my practise to hook into.  My yoga practise keeps me sane, keeps me grounded - it's a safeguard looking after my mental and physical wellbeing. 

My story is a very real one - and isn't unique. I've met a lot of people through yoga over the years - and many have turned to yoga as a resource to cope with stress, anxiety and depression. 

If you're struggling with depression or anxiety - then my suggestion to you is to at least give yoga a try.  

Remember, your body is an incredible system - designed to help itself, your skin will heal itself from bruises or cuts - and in just the same way, yoga can help your body, mind and soul to heal. 

To talk further about how Yoga can come into your life - see my Class List or Visit the Yoga South site to find a yoga teacher near you.

Whatever, you do - give yoga a try.

 

 

 

The Science of Yoga - Western Medicine Catching Up...

Really great to see this video being shared around the yoga community this week.

The Science of Yoga talks of the growing number of scientifically recognised tangible benefits yoga can have for individuals. Specifically around anxiety, depression, high blood pressure. 

For those of us that practise yoga - then we are already aware of the well-being benefits your practise provides.

Western medicine is catching up with the 10,000 year old prescription of daily yoga. Even just 12 minutes a day can make all the difference.

The union of breath, movement and mindfulness (yoga) - in fact the word YOGA means union (yoke). 

Tune in - it's got some interesting facts and stats and of course, great to see yoga being recognised as a credible resource for better health. 

Creativity and Mindfulness

So... I was recently introduced to 'adult colouring' books. Remember as a kid getting lost for hours with your 90 pack of felt tip pens (all colour coordinated) and some intricate colouring books?  Well, if that was your thing X many years ago - you may want to make it your thing again now.

Having two children, I have spent many a hour (or 50) colouring in teletubbies, dora the explorer, maca pacas and the like - however, when I was given my first adult colouring book, it took me right back to some of those intricate Gaudiesque Russian architecture that you'd find periodically in your standard colouring book.  

I suppose as children we didn't think about 'mindfulness' - but thinking about mindful / meditation now - and releasing the mind to concentrate on either one thing or the spaces between thoughts - then it fits.

I tried my first mindful colouring and loved it. My children (9 and 13) are also hooked. It's a family affair. We get our pens out collectively and spend some time intricately scribbling. 

Not only does it mean you while away some quiet hours on something that needs your concentration, creativity and flair - but also you get to create beautiful handcrafted art at the same time.  Highly recommend for your Christmas list. ;)

 

 

5 Reasons Why I Do Yoga

Whilst I've been practising yoga for many years - it's only since qualifying as a yoga teacher - that I now come across the question, 'Why do you do yoga?'.  So I thought I'd cover here how yoga has helped me over the years - and why I do yoga - and perhaps some of those reasons will resonate with you too...

  1. Yoga gets those all important endorphins flowing. When I teach people I often hear the words... 'I feel like I've just had a session at the gym'. Sometimes, something that looks so simple enables you to work just as hard as that 'high impact manic fat buster' gym class. Yoga really does get things moving. And the beauty of it is, that you move your body in ways that works for your body (rather than unnecessary stress on the body). The reward - endorphins fly about and you feel great. 
  2. Yoga sorted out my back pain.  In my early 20's I played a fair bit of golf. To the extent that I overworked my lower vertebrae. This left me with days where I simply could not move - walk - get to the loo - ridiculous. I felt like a very young old lady. Back problems account for 80% of long term time off work - and poses one of the biggest challenges for the NHS. Back health is hugely important. Even the NHS recognise that Yoga helps to prevent back issues by strengthening key muscles. It's true - it works. I certainly walk the talk when it comes to Yoga fixing my back issues. 
  3. Yoga connects me to me. Ever feel like you're living in your head - rushing around, disconnected? You get into bed at the end of the day thinking - what happened? Where did that day go? You haven't stopped to think about how you are, how you're feeling. Doing yoga, even for just 15 minutes every day - connects you to you. It's time to breath, move, connect and contemplate. It makes for a much more productive and appreciative day. And after all - your body is the most important thing you'll ever own. It's good to feel like you're spending some time looking after it. See it as 'tuning in' to yourself - your 'me time' - time to say hello to yourself and importantly, look after yourself.
  4. Yoga makes you strong and flexible. As soon as people find out I'm a yoga teacher, I often hear - 'I can't do yoga - I'm not flexible enough'. My retort is always the same 'how then do you propose you become flexible?'.  Yoga isn't just about enabling your body to learn how to get back to how flexible it's meant to be - it's not great being very flexible if you're not strong - (as those with hyperextensive joints will know), over flexibility can cause all matter of injuries. And so importantly, yoga helps you to become strong (not muscle clad weight training strong) - but working with your own body weight so that you are 'bone loading' in all the right ways to assist with bone health - preventing osteoporosis, hip, knee, shoulder and wrist issues down the line.  With strength and flexibility comes confidence and freedom. You'll certainly gain an extra spring to your step when your core strength, bone health and flexibility is improved. If you want to be doing up your own shoes in your 60's, 70's, 80's and 90's - strength and flexibility now will enable that freedom.
  5. Yoga is a stress buster. It's true - no matter how bad a day I've had, how stressed I'm feeling - as soon as I get into my class it all shifts. I practise and I feel better. Stress dissipates. I focus on me, my breath, the postures - and guess what - I come out of the class having a) had a mental break and b) feeling far more optimistic. Yoga practise helps you to 'let go' of stuff. Release things that don't serve you - and put things into perspective. I guarantee that when you leave a yoga class - you'll always feel a whole lot better than when you entered it (even if when you entered you were already feeling great! ;)). 

 So there you have it - just 5 compelling reasons why I do yoga - I could go on (and on, and on) - but hopefully, there's enough there to at least get you to start thinking about bringing yoga into your life.

Would love to see you at one of my classes - Weds 8.30pm -9.45pm Maidenhead - see details here - or call me on 07946 001388.

Namaste

Mx 

 

 

 

HOT OFF THE PRESS - MY NEW CLASS IN MAIDENHEAD

Super excited to report that as of Weds 21st October - I'll be running a friendly vinyasa flow yoga class  in Maidenhead - from 8.30pm - 9.45pm. 

"Where? Where?" - I hear you ask ...

I'll be using the excellent studio space at Maidenhead Physio Centre - Denmark Street (opposite the Italian stores). You can't miss it. But just in case you think you might -  There's plenty of parking too.

Whilst I regularly teach in London - this will be my first class in Maidenhead. The class will vary week to week - there'll always be some kind of flow to keep our energy moving - and you'll be guaranteed to stretch, replenish, breath and relax. 

My classes are for every body - from the well practiced yogi to those just starting out, I'll be sure to adapt the postures to make them work for you. 

For your first taster - it's just £6 for the class - and then ongoing £8 per class.

I do hope you can join me for the perfect end to the day. Call 07946 001388 to book your spot.

Michelle x

PS: I do have a few yoga mats up for grabs - but if you have your own, do bring it along. 

 

 

Yoga South - Exciting new collaboration coming soon...

There are many wonderful things that yoga brings to your life. Over my many years of practice I've met some wonderful teachers and fellow practicing yogis. 

When I undertook my Yoga Alliance teacher training at the wonderful Sam Rao Yoga Teacher Training School - this presented not only a great time to meet some like-minded future teachers - but also a fabulous alumni of teachers that had been through the school - were out in the big wide world teaching - and happily coming back to share their practice and knowledge with current students.

Since qualifying through the Sam Roa school - I am now delighted to be joining forces with a number of the alumni to create a yoga teaching collaboration.

Yoga South is a collaboration of like-minded teachers based across the South of England. The intention is to provide a hub for those looking for yoga classes, with trusted and qualified teachers, who all have a passion for all aspects of yoga - not just the physical postures (asana), but also the other aspects of yoga - the importance of the breath, the importance of safeguarding the body, and a passion for anatomy. 

New Yoga Teacher Collaboration for the South - coming soon

Very excited to be part of an exciting new yoga teacher co-operative, Yoga South.

Some of the very best like-minded teachers in the South of England will be coming together to share and collaborate.

The beauty of the collaboration means that there is more choice for those looking for yoga classes.

The quality criteria for yoga teachers to be featured on Yoga South - also gives those looking for yoga classes assurance that the experience and teaching ability of the yoga teacher is solid.

All Yoga South yoga teachers will be Yoga Alliance accredited, which means they keep up to date with their continued training requirements, health and safety provisions.

Another bonus is that the majority of the teachers have been trained through the high practical, rigorous and thorough- Sam Roa School of Yoga Teacher Training - giving further assurance of robust teacher training. 

Watch this space - I'll be sharing more info soon.