Welcome to Sandstone Yoga & Pilates!
Here you can read Michelle's blogs.
We've secured ourself a double page spread in this month's Om Magazine! This article breaks down all you need to know to help you choose a safe teacher training school. You can find it on page 96.
Om Yoga magazine can be downloaded as a digital edition from the app store or purchased from most retailers.
If you want to know more about teacher training then why not join us at our Discover Teacher Training Event on Saturday 11th March 2.30pm. You can find out more about our Yoga Alliance Professionals UK accredited course, ask Bliss Founder and Course Director Michelle questions about the course and participate in a short yoga class to get a feel for our style.
To book this event click HERE
As another year ends I just want to say a big thank you for all for your support in 2016. In the last year the team has grown both in terms of teachers, styles and support staff and we have welcomed over 1500 new clients to Bliss!
I have been surprised by how busy the classes have been through December!
2016 has been fun for Bliss as we have professionalised our support team, developed our Sutton pop up, ran our first overseas retreat & welcomed another 27 students into the Academy. We now also have Dawn Wright on board, another SYT with Yoga Alliance UK.
Bliss is going to grow into something even more special in 2017 and you guys will be the first to know of course. I want to reassure you that I am not leaving, am still a yogi at heart and running an ethical yoga business is at the heart
of all I do.
We are looking forward to 2017 with at least 6 new classes on the January schedule. We have already established a pop up location for Lichfield in 2017 and we start there in January. The Academy opens its doors again in June.
Have a wonderful break and a safe journey into 2017 and you are welcome on the mat alongside us...
Om Namah Shivaya
What a Trip!
I have just spent two and a half weeks travelling around the wonderful island of Sri Lanka with my family. Boris, myself and our two teenage daughters aged 15 and 13 love visiting other places, seeing the world from different angles and meeting new people. Both Boris and I have spent long periods overseas, together and apart, and seeing our kids respond to the challenges of being on the road in a country and culture so removed from our own was truly inspiring.
An Unexpected Paradise
To be honest, you can’t go wrong in Sri Lanka! It’s a country steeped in history and variety. A safe and welcoming place to travel offering opportunities to go on safari, surf, snorkel and dive in the Indian ocean, visit hill station tea plantations, Bhuddist shrines, Hindu temples, drop in for yoga on the underdeveloped beaches and just hang out with the locals without any hassle. What’s not to love?
Follow Your Dreams
I developed short vlogs (first one below) whilst out there which I will be sharing with you in the coming weeks. The trip made me realise again the great diversity and abundance in this amazing world of ours and how yoga can help you achieve your dreams and follow your hearts true desire. Travel and feeling free is so important for me to feel fulfilled and able to enjoy being at Bliss Yoga – big thanks to the amazing team here for supporting me in that.
Be a Yoga Tourist
I really would encourage you to be a yoga tourist when you are on your travels. Just google yoga in the place you find yourself in. Myself and Ruby who is 15 enjoyed Rukshan’s classes near the Bhuddist temple at the top of the hill in Mirissa where we ended our travels. He inspired her and now she is even thinking of training with us when she is older.
Have mat, will travel may just be my new mantra . . .
Hari Om Tat Sat
Even Michelle is Late to Class Sometimes
You know that feeling when . . . you arrive at the Bhuddist temple only to find the class has started and your fellow yogis are already on their mindfulness walk. Click the image below for video
This is summer’s height, midsummer, the longest day and the shortest night of the earth’s solar year. Here we celebrate the completion of the cycle that began at the winter solstice. In the midst of the longest day of the year, we simultaneously begin our return to the dark half of the year.
Solstice means “standing of the sun” and we can connect to this great turning point in the earth’s yearly cycle by taking a moment to stop, be still and look back at our own unique journey since the winter solstice.
From now to the winter solstice everything in earth will be withdrawing within. We can use this time to focus on what we wish to nurture and develop in ourselves during the coming months.
The summer solstice is a doorway into the second half of the year, energizing the paths that lead within. Stand on the threshold and ask yourself what you wish to encourage in your life?
Summer solstice is a time for celebrating the fertility of the earth. Traditionally this is a time for lighting bonfires and staying up all night to see the sun rise.
Or join us for our two very special Solstice events;
Be sure to book your place online for either event.
Bring that incredible solar energy into your life with Bliss!
I know you think that I can't promise you that but after 2 and half years of running my studio I know we have changed many lives for the better.
Feedback rolls in, week after week, completely unprompted, saying how people feel better, happier & healthier, how life just became a little sweeter once they added us to their routine.
I truly think that becoming involved in an authentic, friendly, diverse Yoga & Pilates community like ours can be life-enhancing. You have somewhere to come where you will always be welcomed yet challenged, inspired and leave feeling so much better!
Over 50 people have completed our Yoga Foundations course already and I’d like to offer you the opportunity too.
This course introduces you to simple yoga practices including postures that you can work with at home with clear handouts. Many find a daily practice from this course. You will learn sequences, breathing exercises, meditation techniques and understand a little more about the history & philosophy of yoga.
People just love being part of a yoga community with like-minded individuals.
There is no compulsory home study. I’d love you to join us and if booked and paid in full by 1st June 2016 you will save £45. Please let us know if you want the course brouchure sent across to you.
This course really is for you – it’s time to change your life!
“Everyone has noticed how calmer I am since starting this course. The sessions go by so quickly and I was a novice really”.
Wow! What an amazing night’s sleep I just had!
Last night I tried our new Monday night class Kundalini Yoga with our long established and ever-popular teacher Dawn Green. It was great to see familiar faces and new ones at the very first session, and we all literally came out glowing!
The class follows a particular format (a Kriya) with a few moments of awareness at the beginning then specific postures and movements that are unfamiliar to many of us. The Kundalini postures have different names such as Jupiter and Sufi grind and the main type of breathing is known as breath of fire which is great for abdominal toning.
Movements are repeated for short periods of time and each one works on a different energy centre in the body. These centres or chakras as we yogis call them are systematically recharged during class and that’s where the healing, the toning, the work takes place.
We work through each of the seven main chakras, one by one bringing heat and energy up through the body. My body felt warm from the inside in a very different way from a hot yoga class. I could actually feel my body feeling more upright and my shoulders feeling less burdened. I felt healed.
The ending with a mantra from Yogi Bhajan (in English) was wonderful. This is a not-to-be missed class for all. Beginners and those recovering from injury are welcome, and those who love to work can also be challenged in this class.
A truly authentic experience!
I am absolutely thrilled with the way our Teacher Training Academy is shaping up. We are four weekends in now (8 days) into our 2015 cohort and it is a course that is proving to be a great foundation for yoga teaching.
The students are coming together wonderfully as a group. There is a mutually supportive atmosphere; our students physical practice is developing but the main thing I am seeing is a growth in confidence in their teaching. They enjoy the time in between weekends to consolidate and practice.
To train to teach yoga is a life-changing, life-enhancing step. It is a step into the unknown, into a new world where you are not only benefitting from yoga practices but are prepared to share your knowledge to enhance the lives of others too. It is truly rewarding.
Training yoga teachers is probably the best job I have ever had. I can’t wait to see where our students take their yoga careers (or hear how many people they have helped!).
Our Academy is open for applications for September 2016. It is one third full already. Please let us know if you would like to discuss the course with us.
Ayurveda - from the Sansrit words 'Ayur', meaning life, and 'Veda', meaning knowledge has increasingly fascinated me over the years. It is something that I have been inspired to delve into as I journey along the path of self-discovery. Yoga, meditation, breathing & deep relaxation encourage us all to stop, even just for a short space of time.
It is when we allow ourselves this pause, to tune into who we are, that we can gain great insights into ourselves: we can even find things we never even knew!
I like Ayurveda because it gives you the chance to answer a set of questions to discover your own personal body type/constitution or DOSHA. Ayurveda then suggests diet, yoga postures, specific breathing and lifestyle choices based on your own dosha. There are 3 main doshas and I myself am a mixture of Vata (airy, fast moving, creative) and Pitta (strong digestion, cannot skip meals, likes challenges).
The Vata in me can lead to over-thinking and sleepless nights: the Pitta can make me impatient and often rushing. For me, meditation and eating homemade soup help rebalance the Vata: swimming, jogging and shoulderstands help rebalance the Pitta.
Coming back to Ayurveda is wonderful; healing practices, inner wisdom and a deep self knowledge are the boosts I get from studying it. I love the fact that it acknowledges just as we change with the seasons, so can our dominant dosha. It joins up lots of things in that way.
Do join Lynny Jennings for our Discover Ayurveda: Wellness & Diet for Your Dosha Workshop on Saturday 19th March 2 - 4.30pm, as part of our Spring Equinox weekend.
I can't wait to hear which dosha you are and how you are finding the yoga rebalancing tips targeted for your type!
Kiran has made our Hot Yoga classes in Aldridge, Walsall just so popular and has become a firm favourite on our weekly schedule. However, Kiran has left us for a short while to study in India!
Her last class with us was Saturday 23rd January and she will be back doing her 3 weekly hot classes at the studio and external bookings in March.
She is completing a 300 Hour Intensive training course in Vinyasa Flow in Goa. In addition to her 200 hour course this will mean she is RYT 500 hours. She’s looking forward to gaining more knowledge & new ideas for sequences whilst she’s away.
“I love the concept with Vinyasa Flow that it’s one movement, one breath. The sequences can be strong but uplifting and invigorating. I can’t wait to bring my learning back to Bliss. I really will miss everyone there”.
Kiran’s hot classes will be covered by Amie (who has a Hot Yoga background too). Amie’s Thursday Beginners class will be covered by Claire (a new teacher to Bliss Yoga) whilst she is away. Katja and Kelsey are picking up her external bookings too.
TRAVEL WELL, SAFE JOURNEY
OM NAMAH SHIVAYA KIRAN XXX
Happy New Year everyone!
I really hope 2016 is a good one for you, and I hope you intend to make Yoga & Pilates a part of your life this year!
Having had time off to reflect over the break I can't wait to get back to the studio, even though I haven't been separated too far from my mat of course! I love the simplicity of both yoga & Pilates and the wonderful afterglow they both leave me with.
Many of you may be bursting at the seams to roll out your mats with us but some of you may have fallen off the mat for a while, especially during December. Please just come back to the mat, come back to your practice, hit the reset button, come back home. We don't keep a register to hold you to account, nor does your mind or body. We are just happy you turned up as will you be when you float out of the door.
Feeling guilty is part of the cycle we sometimes find ourselves in but our ethos at Bliss is rooted in the non-judgemental philosophy of yoga. Just be grateful whenever you turn up to class. You'll get a warm welcome from us, all the emotional and physical benefits of a great session and no doubt 2016 will be the year you really do make a lifelong change ... X
I know you are going to miss coming to class with us over the holidays. Yoga & Pilates are so important to so many of you now: we really have become part of your routine and we love that! Also don’t forget the 25th is full moon too and that often results us in us feeling a little more emotional and on average, sleeping 20 minutes less.
Additionally, it’s easy to lose touch with our practice during December so I thought I’d share some things that work for me when my routine is changed. I hope you find them helpful over the holidays and fear not – we open again on January 2nd 9.15am with over 25 weekly classes! Can’t wait!
1. Try to get exercise and fresh air every day
2. Practice the simple breathing exercises you have learnt in class
3. Practice simple stretches, even if you can’t remember specific poses – locust, half moon pose, camel and variations on these will help
4. Focus on the positive – we are lucky to be alive and living in this amazing world of ours
5. Use lists to organise the pre-Christmas clutter in your brain - even when there’s a lot left to do, lists help us to stay mindful of all we have achieved and prioritise tasks left to do
6. Drink plenty of water – for lots of reasons you will probably need it!
At this time of year it is good to meet to give thanks for all that we have in our lives and to feed our body with positivity in the darkest months.
You are invited to our free Celebration and Positivity Event to be held at Bliss Yoga Aldridge on Sunday December 6th 6.30pm. This event will include simple chants, short periods of silence and a chance to raise healing vibrations for yourself and others.
Along with other simple practices, we will be chanting the Mahamrityunjaya Mantra, which was once a secret mantra. It is said to be beneficial for mental, emotional and physical health and to bestow longevity and immortality.
Please do come along, bring anything for our charity collection for the homeless of Walsall and join us for a cheap curry opposite the studio afterwards from 7.30pm in Aldridge (optional). Abhaya Rupa and Michelle will lead the session. Bring along names of those you want to pass on the positive vibes to.
So many of you know that there is much more to yoga than down dog – do celebrate being part of a yoga community with us on that night.
“I’m so glad I chose to train locally with Bliss, rather than an intensive abroad. I think I will be a better yoga teacher by practising what I have learnt in between weekends”.
The first weekend was a fabulous mix of getting to know each other, settling in, mutual support and understanding what we need to do to pass this fully accredited, globally recognised qualification. We also learnt a lot about yoga to practice at home!
25 trainees have enrolled in our Academy and I am proud of them already! We touched on both physical and less physical aspects to yoga. They have already gained experience of teaching and are getting used to being the person leading a session rather than following. Gulp!
I can honestly say the Academy is already better than we could have ever dreamed of and I know the teachers we grow at Bliss Yoga will make wonderful yoga teachers. Their future students are lucky.
Training to teach yoga can be daunting but if you would like to take the next step in your journey then do pass us your name and come along to our 2016 events to find out more. Remember there’s always the amazing Yoga Foundations course if you want to just learn and not teach just yet.
Whatever you decide it became apparent to me that our training is nationally groundbreaking as we are started to pull recruits from a wider area. Our humble little studio has had a big impact on so many already.
Recruiting now for entry to our Academy in 2016 – add your name to our list of potentials now!
I was impressed by the warmth of the students towards each other
I can’t believe 4 years ago I was teaching a handful of students in my attic!! Our Aldridge studio is now celebrating its second birthday and we have over 1000 people through the door each month!
I have been called a Yoga Entrepreneur quite a lot in the last couple of years and if that’s my dharma (my life’s work) then I am very happy to be seen like that. It is an honour to be an ordinary person whose whole life has been transformed by yoga and then help so many to journey to health & happiness by developing a studio like ours.
Since opening we have also set up the regions first yoga Teacher Training centre – The Bliss Academy – to train up to 25 yoga teachers and opened classes at the Bakehouse in nearby Sutton Coldfield.
Today we employ more than 20 teachers and offers 30 classes a week at Aldridge and Sutton. They include everything from pregnancy yoga to beginners Pilates and hot yoga. Over 4000 clients have been through the doors since opening in Aldridge.
We are currently extending our Aldridge studios to make a larger practice space and give beginners and our Academy students more room. We are also refurbishing our Reception area and our windows have had an uplift.
We really care about our clients experiences with us and we will continue to provide more than just standard classes. Our Meditation and Mindfullness sessions are always sell outs. We are now taking yogis abroad to Andalucia on retreat and we have an amazing venue for our 2016 UK retreats coming soon!
The last 2 years have been an absolute roller coaster with so many ups and downs but I wouldn’t change any of it. I’ve learned and experienced so much. Setting up your own business is incredibly challenging and definitely not for the faint hearted. But I’m so pleased to have created a thriving business supporting Aldridge, Walsall and Sutton Coldfield.
I’ve got a great team of teachers with brilliant experience but most importantly the right approach. We are with people on the mat and want them to leave feeling healthier and happier with an afterglow. The wider Bliss team, including Lisa Rushton, our Aldridge Co-Ordinator, is deeply committed and efficient. Team Bliss is 2 – Happy Birthday to Us and thanks to all.
I have just had a wonderful two weeks under canvas in Cornwall and Devon. I was so lucky to spend time with family and friends who are yogis or surfers – or both! The benefits of yoga for surfers is well known but my time on the beach made me realise how similar the addiction to our ‘hobby’ is. For many yogis, we can’t imagine how life would flow so well without our regular yoga fix. We love how our bodies and minds respond to the varied practices. For surfers I can see the same need to want to get back to the waves shortly after having left. Just like us, for surfers the freedom, the challenge and the simplicity of the art make it a lifestyle choice. Yoga became a regular part of my life nearly 30 years ago. I can honestly say I become more grateful every day for what yoga has given me. Now I just need to roll up the mat, leave it on the beach, pick up the surfboard and embrace the waves to join my family in their alternative addiction! Watch this space X x x
As we start our fourth cohort of the Yoga Foundations course and embark on our first Teacher Training course I have been revisiting many of the ancient texts that form the philosophical foundations of yoga. I have really loved spending the summer reading the Vedas, an ancient collection of poems, verses and wisdom.
During September and October I will be using short passages from these to form the inspirational and thought-provoking opening and closing of my classes, workshops and retreats.
I love the Vedas for their simple language and the truly uplifting connections they help us to make with the universe we live in. They are as relevant today as ever. Each day when I pick a short section it relates completely to my life and seems to focus my intention.
Do come along and see how theses short readings at the beginning and end of class may help you in your journey to health and happiness.
‘Not one of you is small
Not one of you is feeble
All of you are truly great’ Rig Veda
People often say “I can’t believe how quickly the places get snapped up for Bliss Retreats”. To be honest I used to agree, but having spent time really understanding what works on retreats through years of practice as a student, I think I know what makes time on retreat with Bliss so special.
Firstly the venue is always wonderful. It may not be a spa with 100 staff waiting on you but it is completely authentic. Each venue is picked as it typically represents the area it is from and the building itself forms part of the landscape. We are in the mountains, in the countryside, near a river, on a farm: anywhere that just feels right. I take time to personally visit all centres, spending a night, eating the food, practicing in the studio/shala and just breathing the place in. For every retreat venue we offer I have rejected many for simply not feeling right.
The food is also important. Boris set the bar pretty high for us in the early retreats in Snowdonia. If venues can’t offer a varied vegetarian diet with unlimited access to non-alcoholic drinks with multiple diets catered for then it’s not for us. I choose places where the food is so amazing you want to take a photo of it before you eat! Plus when you eat you think “Wow, I wished I could cook this at home!”
The yoga itself is also wonderful. We have a varied practice of posture work, movement, breathing, meditation and yoga nidra (deep relaxation). Every session is optional and suitable for beginners. Participants understanding of yoga really deepens over the weekend and people come away saying they have learnt so much.
Finally and I think this is so very important – at Bliss, because we are not competitive or cliquey so you will make new friends, have fun and meaningful conversations with people just like you. We have side lined much of the pretension of the modern yoga world and as a result Bliss Retreats, just like Bliss Yoga Aldridge and Bliss Yoga Sutton is an inclusive, yet professional experience that will help you journey to health & happiness and boost your confidence.
Please roll out your mats with us on retreat soon!
About Michelle Nicklin
For a long time Bliss Yoga has had a reputation for working with pregnant mums through our pre-natal classes and Preparation for Birth Workshops. Often parents-to-be also practice yoga with us to improve their chances of conception. Yoga and the associated stress benefits that result is another tool available to parents-to-be. At all our classes we end with deep relaxation and use breathing techniques that have worked for so many before.
We are happy to work with you in class or 1-on-1 to discover how yoga might help you at this time.
A very informative article is here http://www.gettingpregnant.co.uk/fertility_yoga.html
Having just run another amazing Snowdonia Retreat I am blown away by how much our clients love them! I am feeling totally inspired to bring you wonderful yoga experiences – even if you are a beginner.
I am also thrilled to have been able to visit our Andalucian mountain retreat recently and feel confident that those retreaters will have a great time. “It has taken me 18 months to find the perfect European venue. This is not just yoga in the sun this is Andalucian Yoga Heaven”
Retreating gives you the chance to enjoy a varied yoga practice in a non-competitive environment; eat amazingly healthy, vibrant food and hang out with like-minded people.
I am so pleased to announce the dates have been confirmed and our first Andalucian retreat will be May 29th – June 2nd 2016.
I collected some amazing photos whilst visiting in May and also some fab videos which can be found on our YouTube Channel ( Bliss Yoga & Pilates) and on our Facebook page.
So if you do want to join us either in October in Snowdonia or Andalucia next year do let us know. Enjoy your time on the mat with us and roll out your mat in amazing locations with us.
The menopause is not an illness but a natural biological process and the great news is yoga can really help you to rebalance given all the changes happening.
The menopause is a part of every woman’s life. It is the stage when your menstrual period permanently stops. This stage usually occurs between the age of 40 and 60 – associated with hormonal, physical and psychological changes. These changes can occur gradually or abruptly. It can start as early as the age of 30 and last until as late as the age of 60.
Try Sphinx, Alternate Leg Raises, Triangle and Wide Angle Forward Bend postures. Try Kapalabhati breathing, meditation with a soft focus on rebalance and of course, Yoga Nidra. Michelle is currently developing a short Yoga for the Menopause course and a CD which will help you practice yoga at home during this time.
It’s so fantastice to see an increasing gender balance in our classes. At one class this week there were 10 men, all of whom feel the benefits of a pyhsical workout that conditions the body and leaves the mind feeling calmer and clearer. “This is one of my favourite times in my week now” said Mike, a regular at our classes and workshops. Most men are concerned about their flexibility but you don’t have to be flexible to try yoga. Just one class per week might enhance your ability to play other sports and assist you in recovering from injury. Now we provide Pilates too – come on boys: What’s Stopping You?
Lots of our students have come so far in their yoga journey now they want to delve deeper into the practice of yoga and integrate it into their life. I am writing a Going Deeper with Yoga course for them. I personally have found the yamas and the niyamas an invaluable set of guidelines by which to aim to live by.
The yamas and the niyamas are the Living Principles as described by Patanjali in his Yoga Sutras. Two of these I hope both myself and our teachers display in their dealings with others in the world: SATYA and ASTEYA.
Satya is your personal commitment to tell the truth: to be truthful in the world and allow others to speak their own truth. Asteya is non-stealing, not taking from this world what is not rightfully yours. Stealing in this sense comes from a feeling of not having enough, from feeling a lack in life and it causes us to want things that are not ours and develop unhealthy feelings towards those that are seen to ‘have’.
I have really enjoyed revisiting these principles lately. Yoga will always give you what you need and by challenging myself to speak my truth, allowing others to speak theirs, not taking from others, nor coveting what’s theirs seems a pretty good way to be happy in the skin I am in and be thankful for all I have in life.
Do let me know if Going Deeper with Yoga is something you might be interested in.
I was so surprised recently when we surveyed the participants at our Solstice event and found out that most people had the preconception that yoga was only for hippies.
Come along to any Bliss Yoga class and you will soon see that YOGA IS FOR EVERYONE, including hippies of course!!! Yoga is so diverse a discipline that everyone can find it resonates with their life at some level.
The physical Asanas (postures) are great for toning and strengthening all the muscle groups; Pranayama (breathing exercises) helps to de-stress and reduce blood pressure;Meditation calms the mind and allows us to put our lives back into perspective; Relaxation (Nidra) helps to clear the subconscious mind of deeply-rooted thought patterns and prepares us for a good night’s sleep.
We have a diverse range of people in Bliss classes: professionals; students; athletes; people with back problems; pregnant moms; over 70’s; and hippies (!). One thing they all have in common is that they know how a good yoga class makes you feel longer, leaner and more able to face life’s challenges. It’s magic but it works.
Happy Solstice Everyone – we celebrate this year with a solar (core) focus in our classes and an AMAZING RETREAT WEEKEND. Taking 10 people, some who are relatively new to yoga, away for 48 hours of yoga practices can seem like a big ask. But once again it was truly wonderful to see a bunch of people arrive after a long, tiring week and leave feeling recharged; longer; stronger and more positive. Naturally on retreat we practice the physical postures (asanas); breathing techniques (prananyama) and deep relaxation (nidra). But what people really love too is the chance to try other parts of yoga: mindfulness; meditation and sense withdrawal. Participants love the house we hold retreats in; we love being there. The home made vegetarian food leaves us feeling healthier on the inside; the chance to connect with nature slows our racing minds. The river running through the property; the huge slate mine; the Snowdon mountain range a few minutes drive away all leave us feeling in awe of Mother Nature. The clear head and positivity you develop on retreat will last much longer than the weekend itself. The world is still there on Sunday when the retreat is over – if you want to step out of it for a while then join us soon for a weekend retreat that might be just what you need. Michelle June 2013
It’s a FULL MOON BABY Welcome to the world baby George Alexander Louis and a huge congratulations William and Kate. With many high profile and positive female role models, like Kate, taking up yoga in pregnancy, it’s no surprise our pregnancy classes are proving as popular as ever. I did yoga every day throughout my pregnancies, during the labours and post-natally too. Unfortunately none of these experiences were with a trained yoga teacher who specialised in pregnancy, hence the reason I trained to teach it. My own pregnancies were relatively smooth and my babies were born naturally in the water pool at the Manor Hospital. I found that the breathing helped keep me calm and focussed as I waited for my baby to be born. Yoga during pregnancy is a chance to connect with your baby, grow in confidence and prepare yourself for the amazing rite of passage that lies ahead (you can do it!) We try to work with nature to harmonise you physically and mentally. It’s no surprise so many Bliss Babies are born on the full moon – the time when the moon has a strong pull on the water in our bodies. And it’s great to hear our future Queen Kate had the same experience with her yoga: Baby George was born on the full moon too!! See lovely Archie from our Baby Yoga class modelling our Baby Romper which is available now. We might even send one to Baby George too! Keep breathing everyone Michelle x
Cut Your Stress: Top Tips from Michelle to the People of Aldridge & Sutton Coldfield
Feeling stressed in today’s society is pretty much inevitable but I hope our services continue to help people. Our recent Manage Your Stress with Yoga workshop was well-received; our chill-out escape weekends are always full, the Yoga Basics course is popular and we hope our FREE taster classes (for new people) for National Stress Awareness Day will help our communities.
But how stressed you get or how often this happens are two things that you can have a great influence over.
I myself came to yoga & meditation to help me cope with a stressful job – they really worked. Many of you know I believe that when you really need to come to class you often don’t. Why is that and what can you do about it?
My main advice is to prevent getting stressed in the first place – AND GET ON THE MAT!
I hope you will find the following tips and habits that you can start using in your own life this week to reduce the stress and live a much lighter and more relaxing life.
1. Do only one thing at a time.
2. Write everything down that’s in your head, even if it’s not ordered.
3. Keep your daily to-do list very short.
4. Ask instead of guessing.
5. Pack your bag before you go to sleep.
6. Balance fully focused work with complete rest.
7. Set clear boundaries for your day.
8. Get daily fresh air and exercise.
9. Come to class as often as you can!
It’s been amazing to open up in a lovely light studio space right in the heart of Sutton Coldfield. The classes have been well-received, the teachers like the vibe, the parking is good – we are truly blessed. Finding a stunning second venue in Sutton Coldfield means we can help more people; bring yoga to more and make travel easier for some of our existing clients. Our Sutton team of Kev, Anneka & Tricia are committed to the principles of their discipline and will go out of their way to give you a warm welcome. COMING SOON – we hope to make these classes bookable online through our Mindbody system that is so popular. Additionally those on monthly passes will also be able to book these classes as part of their package with us. Our commitment to you is we will always provide high quality and professional yoga & Pilates sessions whichever studio we are in.
I love nothing more than meeting new people at our classes who say “I just feel so much better for practising yoga. I am much more positive and people have noticed”. Yes yoga really does work and in a short space of time you can see real changes in your life.
Here’s how the five tenets of Yoga promote positive thinking and remove negativity:
Movement: Yoga has the benefit of making you feel fresh and happy by releasing feel-good hormones. The asanas or exercises of yoga increase the flexibility of the body by stretching the muscles. They also open up all the blocked pathways of the chakras or energy centres.
Breathing: Pranayama or breath exercises lay emphasis on correct breathing techniques. The rhythmic and deep breathing helps us to inhale more oxygen and exhale stale air. It also enhances circulation, which helps to clear toxins from the blood. Thus we feel rejuvenated in body and mind, which again helps us to dispel negative thoughts. We are literally breathing out the negative.
Relaxation: The gentle practice of Yoga Nidra is extremely helpful for relaxing the body and mind. As we lie still, breathing deeply all the tension drains out of our muscles. Our mind switches off as we follow the voice. Yoga Nidra classes are extrememly popular at the studio and all classes have an element of this.
Diet: Yoga believes that what we eat and how we eat has a definite effect on our body and mind. On retreat we eat fresh foods with lots of fruits and vegetables. This is known as Sattvik diet and encourages positive thinking, as well as higher energy levels. We are also advised to eat in moderation, eat slowly and follow regular meal timings for a perfect positive balance.
Meditation: Meditation is a key part of yoga. The various breathing techniques followed by poses, have a calming effect on the mind. They help to release negative emotions like anger, jealousy, despair and sadness. Silent sitting gives us the time and space to introspect. Often our most positive decisions come after meditating.
What a wonderful week for Bliss as we spread the word about yoga & Pilates. We have been on national BBC news and Radio WM twice in one week! It seems everyone is realising how amazing these practices are for both body and mind. Our humble little studio is the perfect spot to highlight what we do to the world. As the media turns it’s spotlight on us we are proud to showcase what we do.
On Wednesday 14th May we were featured on BBC Breakfast News – yes the national show! Our fabulous yoga babies and their equally fabulous mommies did Aldridge proud not only showing their baby yoga moves but voicing their opinions on the forthcoming elections. On Sunday 18th May 9-10am Radio WM hid a clue for their Sunday Morning Hunted programme in Studio 2 at our Aldridge studio. This involved the hunter Debi finding the next clue (in true Anneka Rice style) under a mat after completing 3 yoga poses. Listeners phoned in to direct Debi to our studio – an interesting way to start a Sunday!
On Tuesday 20th May the Breakfast Show on Radio WM featured our hot yoga studio in a piece highlighting the England World Cup squad preparing for their matches in Brazil and, in particular, in Manaus. These matches will be played both at high humidity and temperatures and Michelle did a short class with the BBC presenter and highlighted how yoga can work. Listen now (we are on at 8.54 am) – link to http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01z0n5h
I am so pleased that 6 months in the studio continues to grow and develop. It feels like a place we want to hang out. It doesn’t matter if we come knowing no one. It doesn’t matter what the day has thrown at us. We can still leave feeling relaxed, recharged and rebalance. The studio is a place to be, with no judgement; to connect with our bodies and free our minds.
You will always get a warm welcome at Bliss. Teaching will be consistently excellent from ethically-minded teachers. It’s great to know you are telling friends & family too.
It’s lovely to see the studio throughout the week with the babies, the toddlers, the professionals, the working parents, the grandparents, the healing. We are privileged to serve the community of Aldridge and beyond. We have so many more ideas to develop classes, courses and yoga weekends. Michelle is off to research a retreat centre in Turkey soon. More experiences with Bliss will be added in the coming months.
Our charity work is very important to us. Please continue to donate to Walsall Food Bank via our tin at Reception and watch out for our summer event to support Rosie’s Walk.
Walk up those stairs and come say HI . . .
We are rapidly becoming the number one choice locally for pilates as well as yoga. More and more members are attending BOTH yoga & pilates classes, so what really is the power of pilates?
Pilates is an exercise programme developed by Joseph Pilates early in the 20th century. Pilates develops our sense of our internal powerhouse by using the key principles of breathing, concentration, control, centering, flow and precision.
It puts emphasis on alignment, breathing, and developing a strong core, and improving coordination and balance. Pilates allows for different exercises to be modified in range of difficulty from beginning to advanced. Intensity can be increased over time as the body conditions and adapts to the exercises. At Bliss we also use specialist equipment such as resistance bands to work deeply intelligently into muscles. All classes end with deep relaxation.
We are pleased to announce we are adding the following classes to our schedule:
Saturday 9.15 – 10.15am – Pilates
Monday evenings – 6.30pm
Tuesday Evenings - 6.15pm
Wednesday Evenings 7.30pm
Remember pilates people – you can do unlimited classes for £50 per month with our Blissed Out package (no contract).
We are so pleased to be able to offer hot yoga classes at our Aldridge-based studio. Studio 1 will be heated to 28-30 degrees for our hot yoga and Pilates classes.
Hot yoga at this temperature really helps the detoxification process aswell as helping you a little bit further into some postures. Practicing Pilates in the heat makes it a tougher workout, whilst staying true to the original Pilates moves.
Working in a heated room elevates the heart rate, which makes the body work harder. Be prepared to sweat.
At Bliss we still practice breathing and deep relaxation in our hot classes for a balanced session.
Prepare for hot classes by being hydrated before you arrive. Drink coconut water afterwards to replace lost minerals and electrolytes (we sell in Reception). Bring a towel to class too.
Above all remember these classes are not competitive, in the true spirit of yoga which is at the core of our Bliss values. Make sure you are fit enough for class. Don’t push yourself too hard and try non-hot classes too. Above all a sustainable, uplifting yoga practice is important, not just throwing a few good shapes on a mat.
Accept your body and what it can and can’t do (YET!) and before you know it you will be addicted to stepping onto that mat.
About Michelle Nicklin
Michelles’ Latest Piece for the Walsall Advertiser
For many, January is a time for looking to explore a ‘new you’. Like the old you, only fitter, healthier and happier. What better way to achieve this, than with yoga. We spoke to Michelle Nicklin, the director at Bliss Yoga & Relaxation, to help get a better understanding of the different types and benefits of yoga.
“Many of our classes are Hatha yoga which is the root of all other yoga types. We practice the key postures followed by deep breathing exercises followed by a relaxation. This is the classic way to practice yoga and offers all of the benefits including muscle stretching and strengthening and feeling de-stressed and ready for a good night’s sleep.
“We also offer hot yoga which is all of the above in a room heated to 28-30 degrees Celsius. This allows you to work more deeply into your muscles and build up sweat which helps the detoxification process.
“Dynamic yoga is a stronger form of hatha yoga which involves a more cardio-vascular workout, which works your heart and builds up core strength as well as the core breathing and relaxation.
“Gentle healing yoga is a softer form of yoga which is great for older people or those recovering from injuries or with specific conditions such as MS or arthritis.
“Pregnancy yoga is suitable from day one of pregnancy and helps your body cope as it changes with the pregnancy. We offer breathing and relaxation techniques, massages and also postures for the last few weeks and even labour.
“Baby yoga is suitable from 8 weeks to 8 months. It helps mothers and babies bond, as well as helping to relieve colic and digestive blocks and it also improves sleeping patterns.”
Bliss Yoga has a dedicated Yoga & Pilates Studio offering all of the above as well as Pilates.
For the first time in ages the other day I felt like I was getting a cold. Time for a few rounds of the sun sequence (the immune system booster) and some alternative nostril breathing to clear the head (physically and emotionally).
Its so good to be able to have yoga in your toolkit – why reach for anything else from the medicine cupboard? Feeling better already . . .
New Studio, New Start I have been so heartened by everyone's responses to the opening of our new centre in Aldridge. The builders have been working really hard to create an inspirational space for the wonderful practices we hope to offer you over the coming months. This summer has been a time of change and upheaval and we are still working hard towards our goal. Change can sometimes be difficult - even if our old working arrangements weren't ideal, at least we knew what they were! Please bear with us as we shed off our old skin and glide into our new one. I know you will love coming to our new home. Having a centre will enable us to provide more classes and new services, such as hot yoga, ashtanga yoga, kundalini yoga, pregnancy pilates, pilates circuit training, treatments and hypnobirthing. It will also allow us to expand our charity work, which lies at the centre of all we do. This is not the end, just the end of the beginning - our schedule remains the same until mid September when we should have an opening date. You can see our studio address on our website and follow us on Facebook and Twitter for photos. Remember, it's rolling out your mat that's important, not where it's rolled! Michelle x
We are pleased to announce that Bliss Yoga is the proud sponsor of Walsall Junior Athletics Club.
Athletics and yoga are the perfect combination for young people.
See our T-shirts soon!
Just remember it doesn’t matter how long since you came to class, nor if you have never been. It doesn’t matter how bendy you are or how you can’t keep your mind from racing. What matters is that you give yourself the time to experience what yoga has to offer. It has given me the space to experience life to it’s fullest; to strive towards reaching my potential and feel like the glass is really half full.
We returned from our Bliss Yoga retreat on Sunday after 48 hours in the mountains in Wales. I felt totally chilled on my return: a feeling which has lasted longer than usual – it’s Wednesday now and I have yet to allow the usual day-to-day annoyances bother me. What is it about 2 days with like-minded people in a beautiful setting, with amazingly healthy food and practising yoga in all it’s forms that is so good for you?
I still think it’s the withdrawal, the retreat, the switch off of the external inputs and the stilling of the mind. You honestly can’t imagine how life-changing this experience can be until you try it. As one of the participants said ”thank you for this experience at a stressful time in my life”.
Om Shanti Michelle