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Yoga

Taking Care of your Joints During Yoga

June 23, 2021 • By

As an Ashtanga yoga practitioner it’s almost inevitable that at some point during our dedication to practice we will endure some kind of injury. The most common complaints from an Ashtangi are wrist pain or knee discomfort. We spend a lot of our yoga practice pushing our bodies to the very edge of our comfort zone and, unfortunately, this can often result in twinges that delay our progression.

Before I started practicing yoga many years ago I used to suffer terrible knee problems. My knees would swell and become painful after 12 hours shifts and long distance runs. Eventually I had to seek medical help and was referred to a physiotherapist. I was given a recovery programme and vast amounts of anti-inflammatory medication. The moral of the story being, prevention is better than cure.

It wasn’t until I started to understand my body better through my yoga practice that I learned the importance of taking care of my joints. It’s not something we often think of when we are young, more interested in getting abs or a bigger bum, both of which become impossible tasks if you suffer joint problems.

In order to have a near perfect practice every time I roll out my mat I’ve started taking care of my joints from the inside out. I always ensure to warm up my knees and ankles at the start of every practice, I eat well, stay hydrated and I have started to incorporate Feel Joints daily vitamins into my wellness routine.

Feel are a subscription-based service that makes it super convenient to get your daily intake of goodness and stops you from running out as soon as you’ve got your body to a good places. When taken consecutively for a minimum of 90 days Feel Joints are clinically proven to alleviate knee osteoarthritis and sooth pain right at the source. The not so secret, secret is their highest quality, anti-inflammatory ingredients.

Think about what happens to your joints during your yoga practice, especially if you are new to the practice;

  • Downward Facing Dog – your ankles and wrists are closest to the Earth and are therefore taking the majority of your weight. A well seasoned practitioner may have built up strength in these areas overtime but would always benefit from extra nutrients to these areas.
  • Jump through: the hands and wrists take all the body weight on a jump through and there is also the added risk of injury from the movement (as soon as a joint becomes mobile, it risks injury)
  • Marichyasana B & D: the knee joints in these variations become temperamental if performed incorrectly. The knee joint should be kept locked to keep it protected, however if you have any issues with your patella these postures can often be problematic. Natural anti-inflammatory nutrients will help to alleviate this.

To ensure that your practice can stay consistent and you enjoy many, many years of a healthy yoga practice it’s important we take care of these often forgotten about areas of the body. If you’ve ever suffered an injury during your Ashtanga practice, either on or off the mat, you’ll know if can throw you off course for weeks, months or years, holding us back from progressing in our practice and feeling the full benefits of yoga.

I’ll be taking a holistic approach to my practice moving forward, taking care of my body from the inside and out.

For 20% off your first month use JOINTS20 at checkout.


Wellness & Lifestyle

Copenhagen

September 23, 2019 • By

Visit Copenhagen | Northern Yogi

If you’ve read this blog before or follow me on social media you’ll know I’m a huge fan of Scandinavia, having fallen in love with Stockholm last year. Continuing on with my Scandinavian love affair, this year my travels took me to Copenhagen. The city just happens to be one of the most relaxed, cool and vegan friendly cities I’ve visited in 2019.

Yogi Life | Northern Yogi

Yogi Life Copenhagen | Northern Yogi

I visited Copenhagen in early Spring and, considering how much further north it is from the UK, the weather was beautiful. I took coats and big jumpers, but most days found myself not needing either, stowing my jumper in the basket of my bike. The average weather is around 11 degrees which, if you’re reading this post in Oz, will think ‘that’s bloody cold!’ Maybe it’s because I’m used to the chillier weather (being Northern and all...) but I found it pleasant, sunglasses on drinking cappuccino outside kind of weather. We even did cocktails outside one evening, the danish kindly provide blankets for outside seating.

Speaking of cappuccino’s and cocktails, lets chat about the vegan spots I found to dine at (with a little help from my good friend HappyCow)

SimpleRAW Copenhagen | Northern Yogi

SimpleRaw: Quite possibly one of the best vegan restaurants I’ve eaten in. We started with the Rice paper (asparagus, marinated tofu and greens. Served with ginger and chilli dressing) and went on to Tempeh in red wine marinade with pea puree, red wine sauce, miso glazed mini carrots and peas. The place has a really chilled vibe, great wine and great service.

Souls Copenhagen | Northern Yogi

Souls: We ate here twice in our four night visit to Copenhagen, an indication of how good it is. At lunch I opted for the ‘Fall Salad’ and for dinner I chose the Soul burger and truffle fries. Neither did disappoint. A very cool place to eat.

There are lots of vegan street food options but my best tip for finding good ‘eats’ in Copenhagen is to venture away from the main tourist areas as these tend to be a little pricey. Download HappyCow, a free app that will let you search for veggie and vegan friendly places all over the world. I wouldn’t eat when travelling without the help of the little app.

Yogi in Copenhagen | Northern Yogi

Top Tips for Copenhagen:

  • Hire a bike! The danish are big lovers of getting around on two wheels and so Copenhagen is a really easy and safe place to travel by bike. There are bike lanes away from the traffic and you’ll blend in with the locals (always fun). We hired bikes from our hotel for 20kr per day.
  • Go cashless: Copenhagen is a cashless city, like most of Scandinavia, so don’t bother changing your money to Kr. I changed around £70 for taxis and ’emergencies’ but everything else went on the card. Most places don’t take cash, so neither should you.

Yoga, Yoga & Meditation

Lululemon X The Refuge Manchester

July 4, 2019 • By

Lululemon Yoga Event | Northern Yogi

This past month has been a difficult one for me personally. I’ve had a lot going on in my private life (more on that at a later date) and I’ve been spending a lot of time trying to heal some hurts. As a dedicated yoga practitioner I know my yoga practice is my anchor when I’m feeling unsettled so I was really pleased when Lululemon invited me to attend their Bank Holiday Yoga event at The Winter Garden in The Refuge.

The class was held in the Winter Garden, an amazing, bright space for a yoga class. Lululemon rolled out their sticky mats, which looked great against the contact tiled flooring. The room is filled with greenery and trees so you really feel a calm aura as you soak in the environment.

Yoga Event Manchester | Northern Yogin

The class was taught by a wonderful teacher, Jen Possamai. She taught a beautiful Indian inspired yoga flow that focused on our Agni, our fire. We started with some calming breath work and gradually built up heat flowing through Vinyasa, warriors, balances and even grasshopper pose!

Refuge Manchester X Lululemon | Northern Yogi

I’m a great believer in messages from the universe and with all  the difficulty I’ve been managing lately I was very surprised to find a little quote left at the end of my yoga mat as I rose from Savasana, it read:

“Inner peace begins the moment you choose not to allow another to control your emotions” 

Let us sit with that for a moment.

If you are interested in attending a free Lululemon event you can find them here: CLICK


Wellness & Lifestyle, Yoga

Lisbon

November 20, 2018 • By

Yoga & Meditation Lisbon

For a very long time now Lisbon has been in my top ten must see places to visit and last month I was lucky enough to take my first trip. We spent 5 day, 4 nights exploring all the city has to offer. I’m already planning my next trip!

When to Go:

Apparently the best time of the year to visit Lisbon is either early Spring or late Autumn as the heat and prices are both very high June – September. We opted for autumn and were not disappointed with the weather. In the day it reached 31 degrees but at nighttime fell to a lovely 17 degrees. Although 31 degrees is still very hot to be wandering around the city it’s really easy to stay in the shade. Lisbon is famous for it’s winding streets and aside from creating a beautiful landscape they also provide much needed shade.

Yoga in Lisbon

Where to Stay:

We stayed at Hotel Tivoli Avenida Liberdade Lisboa because I wanted somewhere with a pool so we could have one afternoon of lazing around. It’s a beautiful hotel with the most amazing roof bar. Head up there around sunset for the most incredible views of the city and a great cocktail! 

Where to Stay Lisbon

What to Eat:

Eating Vegan is Lisbon was actually really easy. You’ll find with most major cities nowadays there are always vegan cafes and vegan options on the menu. I downloaded Happy Cow, the app that helps vegans find eateries around the globe, I was never more than a few KM aware from somewhere I could eat. A few notable places:

  • Zenith – The ideal breakfast or lunch place for both meat eaters and vegans. They have pancakes, toasts, acai bowls, smoothies and vegan options of most things.
  • Foodprintz – By far one of the best eateries I visited whilst in Lisbon. It’s 100% vegan and hosts yoga classes too. I have to avocado on rye with a green warrior juice and cappuccino.  This place has a lovely, peaceful atmosphere, friendly staff and great food.

Foodprintz Vegan Cafe Lisbon

Juice Cafe Lisbon

Eat Vegan in Lisbon

What to Do:

One of my favourite places was the Botanical Gardens which was like visiting a tropical oasis in the middle of a busy city. The air felt cleaner, there was space to move and space to be still, to breathe, to meditate to relax. It was tranquil and contained the most amazing collection of tropical plants, most I had never seen before. A tropical oasis of clam that is definitely worth the trip.

Surrounding the botanical gardens are cute and kooky shops selling everything from handmade stationary to bags, shoes, jewellery and shampoo. Across the road there is a small tree lined park, in which there is a cafe where you can sit and watch the world go by whilst eating chip butties. Absolute perfection!

Street Yoga Lisbon

If visiting Lisbon for the first time you must take a trip on the funicular that takes you to the top of one of Lisbon’s many hilltops, on which you will find lots of market stalls, sangria and live bands for dancing the night away.

We also took a trip on the oldest tram in the city (number 24) which takes you up to the castle via the little winding streets of Lisbon, it’s classic and you get to see the real Lisbon, complete with washing lines across the roads!

Lisbon really is a wonderful city, it has the perfect balance of ambitious city and laid back cool. It’s charming yet modern. It caters to vegans and there is always something to do or see, even if that means just sitting with a coffee and watching the day pass you by.


Yoga & Meditation

Trying Something Different: Cork Space Yoga Mat Review

June 18, 2018 • By

Corkspace Yoga Mat

Finding the right yoga mat can be such a challenge for both new and existing yoga practitioners. The market is saturated with every style of mat imaginable; eco, patterned, round, travel, cushioned, hot yoga mats, cold yoga mats, yoga mats that mop your brow after class (I wish!).

So, how do we find the one that’s right for us?

Yoga Mat Review

Once you have been practicing yoga for as long as I have (trying not to age myself but it’s been over ten years), you will have tried every style of yoga mat possible, and you will come to know what you like and what you don’t.

Generally you want something that is durable, can take a lot of sweat, is easy to take from class to class, kind to the planet and, most importantly, is not slippy!

In all the years I’ve been practising I have never had a mat that didn’t need ‘breaking in‘. Meaning many slippy yoga practices before my mat finds its grip.

That is, until now.

Yoga Mat | Northern Yogi

I was recently sent a new style of yoga mat, this time made of cork! I have to admit I was sceptical at first. Was this a marketing gimmick? How can one safely practice yoga on something that keeps wine fresh?

Oh how wrong my sceptical self was. When I unwrapped the packaging and peeled out the beautifully smooth, stylishly branded cork yoga mat (that comes with a carry strap!) I thought ‘hmm I kinda like this’.

Then I stepped on it. I placed my yoga feet on my new yoga mat and I took a big yoga breath. And it felt good. From my head, all the way down to my yoga soles it felt good.

I lifted my arms and exhaled as I placed my hands onto the smooth cork. And they stayed there, exactly where I had placed them. They didn’t slide forwards or backwards.

So I stepped my feet back, gently, just in case.

 

Corkspace Yoga Mat | Northern Yogi

Ardo Mukha Svanasana. I’m in downward facing dog and my hands are still in that same position. This is definitely the time when the feet begin to slide. It’s a brand new yoga mat, this is always when the feet begin to slide.

So I waited.

And they didn’t move.

So I took a breath. Then another. Then three more.

Five big breaths is downward facing dog with my hands and feet firmly gripped into this cork yoga mat. Still.

 

Yoga Practice | Northern Yogi

I got through a full practice on the Cork Space yoga mat with no slips and no slides. I felt rooted in my standing sequence and supported in my seated sequence. It was beautiful, both the practice and the yoga mat.

Yoga Blog Manchester | Northern Yogi

The Cork Space yoga mat is eco friendly and made from sustainable cork and naturally sourced rubber. It’s not just good for you but for the planet too!

You can find out more about this wonderful mat here: Cork Yoga Mat UK

Save yourself 10% off this amazing yoga mat here or add northernyogi at checkout.


Wellness & Lifestyle, Yoga

Stockholm

May 23, 2018 • By

The Nest Stockholm

 

I turned 30 this year and, after 30 years of acquiring material wealth, I decided it wasn’t where happiness lies. Happiness lies in moments and memories, so for my 30 birthday I didn’t want ‘things’, I wanted moments.

The first of these moments came curtesy of my beautiful sister who took me on my very first trip to Stockholm! Sweden has been on my must visit list for a long time now but I had absolutely no clue she was planning to take me there for my birthday, it was the most overwhelming of gifts!

We packed our bags and prepared to spend the next 4 days exploring this new land.

Exploring Stockholm | Northern Yogi

We stayed at the most amazing hotel, the Downtown Camper. One of the coolest hotels I’ve ever had the pleasure to stay in, the Downtown Camper comes complete with a rooftop pool, Swedish sauna, and meditation net hanging above the lounge area. Plus you can eat your vegan breakfast in a swing!

We stayed in a grande double room with views of the city, a big corner window seat allowed us to chill out overlooking the streets of Stockholm at the end of a long days exploration.

Meditation in Stockholm | Northern Yogi

Although Stockholm has a great transport system, taxis and bicycle rentals, my sister and I decided to walk everywhere. It’s one of the best ways to see the city, we loved getting lost down the winding back streets and stumbling across cool coffee shops and picturesque locations. Plus all the extra exercise we were getting allowed for some guilt free cocktails come evening times in the rooftop bar!

We walked from island to island (Stockholm is made up of different islands). One of the things I loved most about Stockholm is that you can be in the middle of a busy city street one minute and sitting by the peaceful waterfront or in an open green space the next.

Stockholm | Northern Yogi

Vegan Restaurants Stockholm | Northern Yogi

The Swedish are a health conscious nations which means it’s super easy for us vegans to find good food! My hotel had a vegan section in their huge breakfast buffet, if you stay here I definitely recommend the Downtown Granola, the hotels homemade granola. It is SO good! For lunch I recommend the Hawaii Poké (just across from the hotel) which does an amazing vegan tofu poke bowl. There is also an incredible vegan/ vegetarian restaurant called Hermans, it’s a buffet style and you can eat as much as you want for a set price, the food is delicious too.

Of course, I had to find some time to workout and get my yoga practice in. Luckily for me The Downtown Camper has an amazing rooftop studio and during the day it so completely empty. I got the entire studio to myself to flow and breathe and practice and centre. I got to see the beautiful skyline of Stockholm upside down. I’m already thinking about my next visit.

Yoga in Stockholm | Northern Yogi

Stockholm Yoga | Northern Yogi

 

 

 


Yoga & Meditation

Finding the Perfect Yoga Mat

May 1, 2018 • By

Yoga Mat | Northern Yogi

The yoga mat is a yogis prized possession. We become so attached, emotionally, to our favourite mat that we end up keeping it for longer than we probably should.

I am prime example of this. I’ve had my beloved yoga mat for almost a decade, it’s seen daily practices, train journeys, plane journeys, a teacher training, sandy beaches, dusty floors and buckets and buckets of sweat!

I’ve taken care of it, I’ve cleaned it religiously and I’ve really really loved it. But now it has this Sarah shaped print in the middle and it quite obviously time for a change.

But your perfect yoga mat it a challenging thing to find, like Goldilocks we are all looking for one that is just right. Not to bouncy, not too slippy, not too heavy.

I recently got to try the new Manduka Prolite Yoga mat and I can honestly say it’s a dream. Retailing at around £70, which is about average for a decent yoga mat, this beautiful mat is my new favourite thing to practice on, ticking all of my must haves when it comes to a yoga mat.

Some tips for ‘breaking in’ a new yoga mat (so it’s not too slippy)

  1. Cover it in salt, leave on for 24hours
  2. Wipe salt away it damp cloth
  3. Always roll your mat top side out so the ends lay flat when you practice
  4. buy some chalk for Amazon, talc won’t work the same as it’s diluted for softness

The Best Yoga Mats | Northern Yogi

It helps to clean your mat after each practice so your sweat doesn’t damage the material. You can buy a ready mat spray or make one yourself out of your favourite essential oils. I like to mix tea tree with peppermint and water to clean mine.

Invest in a mat bag to keep your mat protected whilst travelling from class to class. This is the place where you create magic, transform yourself, learn more about yourself and grow. Keep your yoga mat special and sacred so your yoga journey can be even more beautiful.

 


Yoga & Meditation

The Best Apps for Yoga Students & Yoga Teachers

March 28, 2018 • By

Best Yoga Apps | Northern Yogi

Everyone loves spending time on their phone nowadays. If we were honest, we probably spend a little too much time on our phones, don’t we? That 5 minute scroll when you’re bored somehow turns into 60 minutes and before you know if you’re watching videos of people testing out induction hobs (yes, yes I’ve done this) or caught up in a meme vortex.
Fear not though yogis, there are ways were can spend time on our phone and make it productive, make it benefit our mind!
As you probably know I love a good meditation practice. I swear the only way to get the perfect night sleep is to do a little meditation before bed. You will wake refreshed, calm and happy.
We all know the benefits of meditation, but we also know how challenging it can be, especially for beginners. I’ve been trying out these 3 lovely little apps for many months now and I have to say they have all, in one way or another, had a positive impact on my life. Get downloading them now to make your phone time good for you!

 

1. Calm (Free for limited package, £35.99 annually)

Calm App | Northern Yogi

Calm won 2017 app of the year and there is a very good reason for this, there is so much content on this app! Calm is the app that aims to bring clarity, joy and peace to your daily life, and used correctly it might just do that.

When you sign up for free you can begin to customise the app to meet your individual needs and what you hope to achieve i.e. reduce anxiety, sleep better, find focus, reduce stress etc.

Once inside you can explore and find what you need at that present moment; meditations, sleep stories, masterclasses and calming music.

It’s a great little app for people looking to bring a sense of calm into their lives but would like some guidance. If you struggle getting to sleep at night, if your mind is whirling, then the sleep stories really help. You can also download everything on the app so you can turn your flight onto aeroplane mode whilst enjoying the app without any interruptions.

Calm also gives you the option to set a daily reminder to be calm, to meditate or just zen out for a minute or so. Never miss a meditation again!

2. Breathing App (Free)

Breathing App| Northern Yogi

The breathing app does exactly what it says on the tin, it teaches you how to breathe!

Brilliantly devised by Deepak Chopra and Eddie Stern, two of the most well respected people in the yoga community and beyond. It’s almost guaranteed that an app created by these two is going to be beneficial for your health and wellbeing.

The Breathing App is inspired by resonance, a term used to describe what happens when our heart rate, blood pressure and brainwave function come into a coherent frequency. Practising resonance (or heart coherence as its also known) is said to:

• Increases pulmonary function
• Lowers blood pressure
• Has positive applications for anxiety and depression
• Improves baroreflex gain
• Improves heart rate variability
• Tones the vagus nerve
• Increases resiliency
• Increases the ability to handle stress
• Leads towards emotional balance
• Clinical improvements in asthma

The Breathing App is a nice way to start practising this breathing technique, helping to improve your overall health and wellbeing. It is simple to use and completely free.

3. Daily Yoga (Free with in app purchases)

 

Daily Yoga App| Northern Yogi

So, as yogis we know we should be rolling out our mat and practising some kind of physical yoga every day. However, some days we may need a little more assistance than others. That’s where Daily Yoga comes in. Admittedly I’m not a huge fan of yoga asana apps, how do you follow a yoga practise of a screen the size of a phone?! If like me you sometimes need that extra kick up the backside that a yoga asana app is for you.
With Daily Yoga you can choose your yoga level; beginner, intermediate or advanced. From there you are exposed to an array of yoga videos, from ‘Getting Toned’ to the ‘Health Enhanced’ and all that’s in between. There is even an ‘Office Yoga’ section that you can do at your desk! Perfect for the busy yogi on the go.

These 3 apps are definitely a must for every modern day yogi. Download and using these is a great way to make your digital lifestyle benefit your health and wellbeing. So next time someone say’s you’re ‘always on your phone’ you can exclaim ‘I’m learning to mediate!’


Yoga & Meditation

Yoga Playlist – Feel Good Vinyasa Flow

February 2, 2018 • By

Yoga is such a personal practise. Some people like to practice at the crack of dawn in complete silence. Some people like to roll around on their mat with the music on blast. There is no right or wrong environment to practice yoga. It is whatever feels right for you at that given time.

Some days I like to practice in silence, listening to my breath. Other days I choose one of my favourite playlists (mood dependant) and flow to the feel good vibes!

Here is one of my most popular playlists. It’ll help take your daily yoga practice on an adventure of your soul.

Enjoy.