CategoriesUncategorized

How does your Ankle Mobility stack up?

Have you ever sprained, twisted, or even broken your ankle?

Do you suffer from poor ankle mobility?

Most of my students come to me asking for support with shoulder and hip mobility – not many ask for support with their ankles, even though a lot of the time this is the area that they might need to work on the most!

 

Ankles play an important role in helping our entire body to achieve better mobility, stability and strength for better movement patterns and range of motion – be that just day-to-day activities, or in our sports and fitness training.

 

All movements stem from the feet and ankles. Poor foot health and ankle mobility can lead to poor movement patterns that ricochet up the body.  Poor movement results in stiffness and pain, as well as an increased risk of injury.  If you have poor ankle mobility, you are likely to also suffer mostly in the knees and hips, but this can even be the cause for lower back pain too.

Find out how your ankles check out with my quick mobility test below.

 

Or if you would like to do a full-body check – download my FREE Mobility Test here…

ANKLE MOBILITY TEST

DORSIFLEXION – GARLAND POSE OR SQUAT

Standing with your feet slightly wider than your hips, toes pointing forward, lower down into a squat position keeping your torso upright and chest high.  

 

Make note of your position, then compare it to the table below…

SO WHY ARE ANKLES SO IMPORTANT?

Poor ankle mobility prevents your glutes from activating properly during closed chain activities, which in turn results in inactive glutes and increased lower-body injury risk.

 

What is “closed chain” activity?

Definition from Wikipedia – “Closed kinetic chain exercises or closed chain exercises (CKC) are physical exercises performed where the hand (for arm movement) or foot (for leg movement) is fixed in space and cannot move. The extremity remains in constant contact with the immobile surface, usually the ground or the base of a machine.”

If your glutes are not fully activated in movements such as squats, then you won’t be able to achieve full range of motion in your ankles.

 

 

Basic core strength and hip mobility are also key for creating good movement patterns, but if your ankles limit you, then it is likely you will be limited on mobility and strength in these areas too.

 

More and more athletes and fitness professionals are now including ankle mobility tests and exercises in their programs to help achieve a better range of motion and support further training in other areas.  Basically, if the experts are doing it – you should be doing it too!

ONLINE COURSE FOR

Ankle mobility

My online short course for Ankle Mobility has been designed to help you:

  • Test your current range of mobility
  • Strengthen your ankle joint
  • Improve flexibility and range of motion
  • Track and measure results

PRE-ORDERS NOW BEING TAKEN

Course launches, with first online class March 21st 2022

 

Although this is a short course, you should see and feel some improvement within a week or two of practice – as with all things it takes time, discipline, and consistency to build and maintain good ankle health.  

 

So, my tip for you today would be to purchase this course – then keep it hand to use some of the sessions once or twice a week to keep up and maintain your ankles long term.

workplace wellnessCategoriesUncategorized

Workplace Wellness – keeping fit, happy and healthy at work!

Wellness in the workplace is top of my list to discuss this week – it’s often the environment where many of us end up stressed out, frazzled and eventually burnt out!  A girls (or a guy) got to eat, but that doesn’t mean we have to work ourselves into the ground!

We need to prioritise our wellness more often – both as an employee and an employer.

Fitter, healthier staffer are way more productive, cost the company less in expenses and create a happier working environment and company culture.  So if you don’t have a wellness program in place – maybe today is the day to start looking into it!

MORE ON THIS HERE: flotality.co.uk/corporate-wellness

Meanwhile… here are a few top tips to keep healthy, happy and productive at work…

Workplace wellness Tips

1. Take your breaks

How often do you find yourself sat at your desk taking your lunch break whilst still ploughing through emails and work?! I’m just as guilty for it as the rest of you!  

However, our bodies and minds need us to take that break, we need to take our eyes off the screen, move around and recharge – trust me you will be way more productive for it, gain a burst of energy and maybe even get more done than you might have if you stayed sat at your desk plodding through!  

2. Eat and drink well

Avoid those sugar crashes from snacking badly at your desk, try to drink more water to improve focus and make sure you do take breaks to actually enjoy eating your food properly.  

3. Move & breathe

Be that enjoying a fitness or yoga class, going for a run or just simply taking a walk – whatever your preference, just make sure you get up, get out, move and breathe.  

Our bodies are not build to be sedentary, they crave movement in order to keep aches and pains at bay. Combining movement with breath can also help elevate stress, calm the mind, bringing focus and clarity – ultimately making you more productive so that you can work smarter, not harder, and avoid burnouts! 

4. Walking meetings

How many meetings actually require you to be sat at a screen?  Could you opt to take your meetings on a walk instead?  Bet that plugging into a Zoom call on your mobile, or if in-person why not suggest a walking meeting instead.  It’s a good way to get away from the desk, or screen, get active and get some fresh air – the healthier meeting option!

5. Unplug

These days we are contactable 24/7 – but that doesn’t been we have to be available to work 24/7 – learn to switch off your email and work phone at the end of the day. Take technology breaks and completely unplug from all digital tech 1 hour before bedtime, maybe read a book or practise some yin yoga,  you will benefit from a better nights sleep.  And the same for when you go on annual leave – the world won’t end without you, and you are entitled to time off.  So take it!

#workplacewellness #corporatewellness #wellbeing #wellness #wellnesstips #wellnessatwork #worldwellbeingweek

CategoriesCorporate Wellness Uncategorized

3 reasons a workplace wellbeing program will boost your business health – both staff and profits!

Find out how a simple wellbeing program can improve productivity, reduce staff absence and attract better, more loyal talent…

Wellbeing – a word we’ve heard a lot this year, but what does it actually mean?

You essentially have two parts to your wellbeing:

  • Your physical wellbeing: How fit and able your body is. Are you free from aches and niggles? Do you have good mobility? Would you consider yourself fit and healthy?
  • Your mental wellbeing: How fit and clear is your mind? Are you always on the go mentally? Do you suffer from stress and anxiety? Do you worry a lot? Have you ever felt overwhelmed or close to burnout?

Mental wellbeing is often overlooked, but if not looked after will impact your physical wellbeing eventually, so it is important that we look after both equally to achieve optimum wellness and remain fit and well ongoing.

Offering a wellbeing program that looks after your staffs physical and mental well-being is a great way to support your employee’s health but also the health of your business too. Below are my top 3 reasons why your business should seriously consider adding a wellbeing program to their schedule…

3 reasons to introduce a workplace wellbeing program!

1.    THEY BOOST PRODUCTIVITY

Healthy, happy staff are generally more productive – fact.

People who stay fit and active, both physically and mentally, tend to perform better – they have better focus, higher energy levels, are more productive and maybe more driven and engaged too.

Healthy, fit, staff are also more likely to be happier in general, creating a cheerier working environment too and improving the company culture, injecting good energy.

Essentially all the above factors can only improve your business both financially and from a cultural point of view too. With this in mind, wellbeing programs are an obvious no-brainer!

2.    THEY REDUCE ABSENTEE & HEALTHCARE COSTS

Healthy, happy staff will also take fewer sick days and their healthcare costs are likely to be considerably lower than staff who are not fit and healthy. Both sick days and healthcare costs negatively impact on your business profit. Offering a simple wellbeing program might help reduce this expense and will easily recoup the cost of such service from the money you will save on expenses incurred by unhealthy staff.

3.    THEY ATTRACT BETTER TALENT, INCREASE EMPLOYEE LOYALTY & ENGAGEMENT

Healthy, happy staff who feel supported by their employers will naturally be more loyal to the business, better engaged with their job and the direction of your company and talk positively about the company too which could intern attract new and better talent.

Perspective talent might also be swayed to joining the team if they can see clearly that their new employers care about their health and offer extra benefits to support them.

Wellbeing programs can also motivate and inspire current and new employees to look after themselves better – imagine if you could help just one person in your company change their bad habits and live a healthier lifestyle – surely that’s got to be worth its weight in gold!

YOGA FOR WORK & FOCUS

Yoga is a brilliant tool to calm the mind, relieve stress and improve mental clarity – all vital requirements when you need to be focused on whatever lies ahead.

Flotality’s Workplace Wellbeing programs can include access to live classes, a yoga video library and also a collection of mini desk yoga flows too for those 5-min tea breaks when your body is scream at you to move and stretch.

We also offer Focus Flow classes design specifically for businesses and their staff to help focus and prepare them for the day ahead or even to refresh their minds for the afternoon if booked at lunchtime. These bespoke sessions are non-sweaty so no need to worry about shower facilities for after and can be delivered online or onsite.

Find out more…

If you would like to find out more about Flotality’s Workplace Wellbeing programs or request a quote, please head over to www.flotality.co.uk/corporate-wellness or drop me a message on here!

how to do the splitsCategoriesUncategorized

The Splits Challenge – How to Do the Splits

How to warm-up, get limber and work towards getting low…

How to do the splits!

The famous splits – a goal for many yogis, beginners or regulars alike! At first, this posture may seem impossible but with a good warm-up, regular practice and a bit of perseverance – most will get there.

Here are my key postures and tips to help you on your journey to the splits…

1. WARM-UP!

Before jumping right on in there it is important to thoroughly warm-up for the splits.  That means getting your blood flowing, mobilising the body and joints, warming up those muscles etc. Particularly the legs.

Start with a few sun salutations, then look to do a mini flow that focuses on hip mobility and let flexibility.  Plank to down-facing dog AND Lunge to Pyramid pose (lunge extensions) are all good mini flows that will help.

HOW TO DO THE SPLITS how to do the splits

Other poses you might want to include in your flow are:

  • EXTENDED TRIANGLE
  • STANDING SPLIT
  • GARLAND POSE with reaching twist.

2. USE YOUR BREATH

Movement with the breath allows you to get deeper into poses and stretches by encouraging the body to relax and release.  As a general guide, use your inhale to lift or extend, use your exhale to lower or fold.

3. BUILD UP

Once you are warmed up and feeling limber, you should look to hold each of these poses for at least 30 seconds or 5 breaths.

How to Do the Splits

  • FROG POSE (middle right)
  • LIZARD LUNGE (bottom left)
  • LEG BREAKER – progress to MONKEY TWIST for advanced yogis (bottom centre)
  • PIGEON POSE – but keep pushing up through the hands to enhance the stretch down the front of the back leg. (bottom right)
  • HALF SPLITS – ensure the back leg is vertical, lift though your hips and pull back against the front leg.  Reach forward with your chest and nose – aim to fold your chest over your thighs and reach your toes with your nose! (below)

4. SEND US YOUR SNAPS!

Don’t forget to let us know how you get on – we would love to see both your progress shots and your final achievements!

Plus, we want to help, so feel free to send them in and we can give you a few more tips to help out!

Good luck!

x

CategoriesUncategorized

How to Practice Yoga at Home

Practicing yoga at home has lots of benefits and can compliment your existing class routine as well as be a handy go to in the holidays when you’re all out of sync and it can be hard to get to the studio!

One of the best things about yoga, apart from all the obvious health benefits, is that you can practise yoga anywhere – you can practice yoga at home, on holiday, or even in a spare meeting room on your lunchtime at work if you really wanted!  Plus it’s also FREE if you do a self-guided practice!

However, if you are new to yoga or just lack confidence it can be hard to get started.  Below we will guide you on how to get started, along with a few tips and things to try!

Tips for practicing yoga at home or away

Purchase a mat

If you haven’t got one already, yoga mats are fairly in expensive to buy.  They come in a variety of size, thicknesses and of course beautiful colours.  Think about the style of practice you might be doing and where you might be doing it, then pick a mat based on that.  For example, if you are looking to practice yoga whilst away on holiday, you might want to consider purchasing a lighter travel mat.  Whereas if you are looking to just practice at home and in your local studio you could go for a much more robust style mat like the Yogi Bare one that I use – it’s perfect for those doing more of a flow style or who find their feet slip around a lot when using a regular mat!  or alternatively, if you are practising more of a yin style yoga then you might prefer a mat that is more cushioned.  There’s no right or wrong answer – it’s purely down to personal preference.

Along with your yoga mat you might also want to purchase some props – like blocks and straps.  I also have a yoga wheel and a bolster cushion for when I do my yin sessions at home.

yoga at home equipmentMake a spot for yoga at home where you will practice

Yoga can help calm the mind as well as release tension from the body and keep you fit and healthy inside and out – however finding calm in a cluttered room could be hard work.  You dont’ need much space to practice yoga at home, but try and find a space where you can find tranquility and stay focused whilst doing it – away from any distractions, clutter or worries!

Bedrooms and lounges often work well as they are naturally areas of the home where you might relax.  We found a lovely sunny spot in our garden room (actually used as our dining area) where we can practice with a beautiful view of our garden rain or shine!

Stick to a regular routine

Yoga can be a great way to start or finish the day!  For those short on time – all you need is 10-15 mins and you will definitely notice a difference in your general wellbeing. You can where what you want – especially if your practicing yoga at home! As long as you can move freely, so first thing in the morning in your PJ’s is absolutely fine if thats what it takes to make sure you do – saves getting dressed twice!

How and what to practice

As with all physical activities you will need to make sure you warm up first – maybe start off with a few neck and shoulders rolls, plus some gentle stretches and twists are perfect, gradually moving down the body awakening the joints and getting that synovial fluid moving.

You could then start (and end if you’re short on time) your practice with a few Sun/Moon Salutations – these are a series of movements linked together in a flowing routine that should be repeated 6-8 times (balance each side), we often use these as our warmups in class as they are simple and easy for most to follow.  Below are a few diagrams to help you with these if you are unsure.

Once you are fully warm, if you have time you can play with a few other hatha yoga postures, holding each for 3-5 breaths.  Then finally finish in Savasana where you might opt to lie still for a few moments and confirm your practice, or you might wish to practice a yogic breathing technique.

yoga at homeListen to your body

As with any yoga session at home or in the studio it is important that you listen to what your body is telling you.  if you feel any pain, pinching or pushing then stop, take it back a notch.  When practicing yoga it’s always good to try and push your limits, getting deeper in to stretches or postures, but you should never feel any pain.  You will also find your body varies from day to day – some days may feel easier or better than others, where as occasionally you might have a day where you can’t even balance on one leg without falling over! And thats totally fine – even yoga teachers get those days!  LISTEN to your body, that way you will always have the best session.

Keep it fun

Don’t make your practise time a chore.  When starting out find a sequence that you enjoy as it will give you incentive to keep it up.  You might want to play music or use incense sticks to create a peaceful setting.  Or practice with friends – sometimes having a buddy to keep you on tack helps to ensure you stick at it as you don’t want to let the other one down.

Don’t worry about seeking the ‘perfect’ practice – go with the flow, see what you feel like doing from day today, somedays you might do well, others can be  a real struggle.  The most important thing is to commit, once you have started see it though, don’t stop mid-flow.  You will find the art of yoga teaches you a lot about the mind and body – the biggest lessons are learnt from the biggest challenges, both physically and mentally.  Just don’t give up!

However, there will be days, or even periods, where you simply dont have the time to  stick to your routine, so equally cut yourself some slack.  Your practice should not feel pressured or stressful.  If it doesn’t work for you to practice yoga today, then don’t stress! Just make sure that when you do get back to the mat you give your self the time to be present and commit to those sessions so that you get the most from it all!

Yoga at Home – Private Sessions

If you are still unsure how to practice yoga at home or would like guidance on a routine you can practice – why not book a private yoga sessions with us?  We can design a routine specifically for your individual needs and goals, show you how to do it, ensuring correct alignment, and build up your confidence to practice on your own.  Email Harriet now to arrange your private session.

my set up for yoga at home

CategoriesUncategorized

How to do a headstand

Headstand or Sirsasana is an inverted balancing yoga posture that can be both refreshing and energising. A headstand is simply the art of balancing on your head with your legs in the air.  However, if practiced badly it can cause injuries particularly in the neck region so it is important that you learn how to do a headstand properly.  Below we have written a quick guide to help you safely learn and practice headstand.

Practicing headstands within your practice has many benefits, they can:

  • Relieve stress and help flush the adrenal glands
  • Increase mental focus by improving blood flow to the brain
  • Strengthen the shoulders, arms and core
  • Improve digestion
  • Release toxins by stimulating your lymphatic system

You will be surprised to know there are many different ways to headstand, from different hand placements to varying entry routes – all have their own benefits when it comes to building upon strength and balance.

As headstand is quite an intense pose you should prepare and warm the body up before going straight into the pose.  Good movements and postures to do this include high plank, down facing dog, dolphin pose and boat pose.

Once your shoulders, arms and core are nice and warm you can start to master the headstand…

Mastering how to do a headstand

STEP 1. Get grounded – Finding the right hand placement

To get into headstand it is best to start on your knees. You then need to decide which hand placement option you are going to use. There are two main options…

How to do a headstand with supported hands

1. The supported headstand

This is where your hands are clasped together and placed onto of the crown of the head to create and inverted V from hands to elbows. Find the floor with the crown of your head, and cradle the back of your head with your clasped hands. 80% of your weight should be through the hands and arms, not through the crown of your head.

Tripod Headstand

2. The tripod headstand

This is where the entire crown and top of the head is to the floor. The hands are placed on the floor, shoulder width apart and slightly back, so that again a triangular base is formed.

STEP 2. Going up – Use a wall for support to start

To begin with inversions can be a little scary, so it is always advisable to use a wall for support if this is your first try.  Once you have your hand placement (the base) nailed you are ready to start taking the legs into the air.

To lift, make start to engage your upper body, pressing the elbows or hands into the ground, lifting through the shoulders to protect the neck.  Once you have found a stable base you can lift your legs off the floor until they are vertical and directly above you.

If you are using a wall you can start by leaning back against it until you feel comfortable. Then begin to practice moving slightly further away from the wall, perhaps only using one foot against it to stabilise.  Finally when you feel 100% confident, move completely away from the wall and practice it freestanding!

Tuck is also a favourite entry for beginners to try to once they have moved away from the wall…

STEP 3. Begin to play with balance and hand positions

Now that you are way from the wall and have have the basics nailed you can begin to play with hand positioning, using the legs to create beautiful shapes, or perhaps adding movement to build strength.

Think about entry into the pose, can you make it more challenging by perhaps trying to go into it with pike…

or straddle legs…

Then, once inverted, test out different leg positions a favourite for mine is scissor legs, but other popular variations include soles of the feet together and twisting, or if you have normal eagle pose in your practice why not give it a go inverted!

Headstand Variations – Hand Placement

Headstand with iron cross hand positioning

Headstand Variations – Leg Positioning

Supported headstand with diamond legs
Supported headstand with diamond legs
Supported headstand with scorpion legs
Supported headstand with scorpion legs
Supported headstand with L shaped legs
Supported headstand with L shaped legs
Supported headstand - Bow & Arrow
Supported headstand – Bow & Arrow
Supported headstand - Scissor or Stag Legs
Supported headstand – Scissor or Stag Legs
Supported headstand with eagle legs
Supported headstand with eagle legs

After you have finished playing, you may want to take a moment to recover in child’s pose.

yoga for back painCategoriesUncategorized

Yoga for Back Pain

Yoga for back pain can be the best, natural, quick fix, pain relief method you will ever discover! If you workout a lot, sit at a desk or do anything repetitively from time to time you might be likely to suffer from a tight back or back pain. There are lots of yoga poses you can do which can help relieve and ease off this pain, and if practiced regularly (after workouts/at the end of your day) you can even rid it all together!

Yoga for Back Pain

Below are our top 9 yoga for back pain postures and stretches:

yoga for back pain1. Standing forward fold

Standing feet hip distance apart, inhale to lift up through the crown, lengthening the spine, and exhale as you hinge at the hinge, gently fold the body over the legs, chest towards the thighs, before dropping the crown of the head towards the ground letting the neck hang long and loose.  Feel free to cradle the arms, take a slight bend in the knees if needed and rock side to side, back and forth.  Stay here for around 10 breaths.

2. One Legged Pigeon Pose

Come to your hands and knees.  Bring the right leg in front of you bending at the knee and placing its down on the ground at a 45 degree angle towards the right, front, corner of the mat.  Slide the left leg backwards as far as you can go, toes untucked. Make sure the hips remain left and square the front of the mat.  The aim is to get the right bum cheek to the floor and the left hip should rest on top of your right heal.  Use blocks as required. If you are comfortable stay here. If you would like to increase the intensity of the stretch allow the body to fold forwards towards the ground in front until you are completely flat on the ground.  Stay here for 10 breaths, then repeat on the other side.

3. Cat/Cow

Come to your hands and knees. As you inhale, dip the stomach towards the ground and look up creating a small backbend in the spine. As you exhale push through the arms, round the shoulders, drop the head, look down, and suck the navel in towards your spine creating a reverse bend. A lovely movement to gently mobilise and stretch the spine.

4. Half lord of the fishes

Come to seated, legs straight out in front of you. Bend your right knee, lift it over the left leg and place your right foot flat on the floor on the outside of your left leg. The right knee will point directly up at the ceiling. Right arm can be placed on the floor behind you. Inhale to lift up through the crown, finding length in the spine, taking your left arm over to the right knee. As you exhale to twist the stomach in towards the thigh.  Eye gaze should be behind you.  Use your right arm to help deepen the twist and pull you around further.  Hole for 10 breaths, the repeat other side.

5. Supine Abdominal Twist

Lay flat on your mat.  Take your arms out to the side in a ‘T’ shaped position, palms facing down. Inhale to lift the legs together bending at the knees 90 degrees. Exhale to drop the legs over the left side of the body. Shoulders remain flat to the ground. Inhale to turn the head so that you look at the back of the right hand. Stay here for 10 breaths.  Inhale to lift the head and legs back to the centre. Repeat on the other side.

6. Apanasana

Lay flat on your mat.  Inhale to lift the legs together in towards the chest, bending at the knees. Exhale as you hug the knees with both arms bringing them tighter into your chest. Stay here for 10 breaths.  feel free to rock side to side, back and forth, to give your lower back a little massage at the same time.

7. Head to Knee

Come to seated, legs straight out in front of you. Move the fleshy bits out from underneath your bum so you can feel your sit bones are in contact with the ground. Bring the sole of the left foot in to the right thigh and square the body off to face the right leg. Flex the toes back towards you rather than pointed. Inhale to lift the arms and body up through the pelvis, creating long neutral spine, arms above the head, lifting upwards through the crown.  Exhale as you keep a long straight spine and fold forwards over the right leg , first bringing the chest toward the thigh, then finally dropping the head towards the knee. Stay here for 10 breaths, then repeat other side.

8. Reclined hamstring stretch

Lay flat on your mat legs straight out.  Inhale to lift one leg, keeping it straight, hinging at the hip, as you reach 90 degrees exhale bringing the leg further towards your head, still keeping it straight, as far as you can go. You may want to use a strap, or your hands if you can reach. Stay here for 10 breaths, then repeat on the other side.

9. Garland Pose

From standing come down to a squatting position.  yo make want to take your feet out a little wider and even turn the feet out slightly rather than having toes pointing directly forwards.  Aim to have the heals flat to the floor if you can.  Inhale to lengthen though the spine and bring your hands to prayer position in front of you, use your elbows to encourage the knees to go outwards. Stay here for 10 – 15 breaths. Again feel free to add movement, bounce or rock side to side to get deeper. This stretch is not only a great hip opener, but also helps release tension in the lower back.

Want to try one of our classes?

If you are new to yoga, or just would like to try to practice more regularly with company, then why not pop along to one of our classes.  We have various levels and styles of classes from the more strength focused Yoga for Fitness classes, to our very chilled Restore & Recover gentle yoga sessions, or if you are looking for something in the middle why not try our Stretch & Tone class.  Full timetables , price and class details can be found here.

We also offer 1-2-1 sessions and private bookings for those who would like something a little more personalised. Read more here.

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