Laura's Blog


10 Reasons Why I Salute the Sun


Posted 5 years, 2 months ago

Why should you do Sun Salutations?

Talk to ten yogis and you may get ten different answers to the question.

Before I was teaching yoga full time, I had an office job as a recruitment consultant. My old boss, who wasn't very observant at the best of times, always knew if I had or hadn't done some yoga at home before starting work. Starting each day with a little bit of yoga truly does transform your experience of the rest of the day. Sun Salutations or Surya Namaskar can be a complete practise on its own taking anywhere between 1 minute to about 10 minutes so is the perfect way to add a little yoga to each and every day. At my yoga classes in Southampton I am encouraging everyone to do at least 1 Sun Salutation a day for 21 days in the Sun Salutation Challenge. Here are my top reasons for saluting the Sun:

1. The Sun Salutation can be a complete practice; the poses lengthen and strengthen, flex and extend many of the main muscles of the body while distributing the prana flow throughout the system.

2. Sun Salutations boost the cardiovascular system, strengthening the heart.

3. In this simple sequence I am really able to focus on coordinating my breath and movement creating a movement meditation which calms my mind preparing it for the day ahead.

4. By letting the speed of my breath dictate the pace of my movement, it stops me rushing and sets the tone and pace for the rest of my day as steady and focused. I achieve a lot more with this pace then when I feel rushed or hurried.

5. The sequence heats my body and awakens my metabolism giving me more energy for the day.

6. Through the strengthening of the core, the back and the upper body I feel physically and mentally strong and able to face any challenges which may lie ahead.

7. After my night's sleep it feels great to stretch my whole body and stops me from having any niggling aches and pains as I go about my day.

8. It reminds me to be grateful. The Sun represents the physical and spiritual heart of the world. We salute the Sun to give thanks for a new day.

9. Every Sun Salutation allows us to experience devotion. We stand at attention, open ourselves up to energy, bow with respect and experience humility.

10. When I start my day by doing something good for my body I make better choices all day when it comes to looking after and nourishing by body with food, drink and activity. It reminds me of the union between my body and mind (this is the definition of the word yoga), that they both need to be nourished and to work in harmony.


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6 Week Yoga for Runners Course - Starts Thursday 6th Sept


Posted 5 years, 2 months ago

6 Week Yoga for Runners Course – Keeping Runners Running!
Increase Focus & Flexibility, Build Strength & Stamina, Improve Posture & Eliminate Nagging Aches & Pains

Yoga 4 Runners Course
Course Start: 6 week course starting Thursday 6th September 2012
Course Time: 8.15pm – 9.15pm
Course Venue: Main Hall, Richard Taunton's College, Hill Lane, Southampton, SO15 5RL
Course Cost: 6 weeks for £48 payment due at time of booking
Contact: Laura Fisher, 07866 459208, laura@laurafisheryoga.co.uk

How Will Yoga Help Your Running?

* Yoga postures can correct muscle imbalances resulting from high impact training, aligning the joints, improving bone density, stretching and stabilising the body to prevent pain and injury, particularly in injury-prone zones: hips, hamstrings, knees, Achilles tendon and iliotibial band to name just a few.

* Standing yoga postures correctly align the knee, strengthen the arches to provide better shock absorbers and maintain healthy connective tissue in the foot and shin. They also improve balance, pelvic stability and leg strength for powerful efficient form.

* Dynamic flowing yoga sequences develop a sense of rhythm between breath and movement, build stamina and coordination, combining upper body and core strength with lower body flexibility.

* Slow, gentle, hatha yoga with longer holds in postures balances out your athletic efforts, cultivates awareness of any resistance, promotes release of tension to avoid injury and can help you recover and rejuvenate after sports.

* Yoga breath work and concentration exercises can improve body awareness and confidence, focus and patience, and positive pleasure in your athletic pursuits.

How Yoga with Laura has Helped Other Runners

Candice“I joined Laura’s yoga class to improve my strength and stability. I have certainly achieved this and have a much better posture and balance, which is highly important for trail runners to avoid injure. Though I enter trail marathons, I am not competitive and run for personal fulfilment – relaxation and stress management, self-achievement and enjoyment of nature. If I am struggling to relax into a run or am finding it mentally tough, I always run through a yoga sequence in my mind to achieve calmness and serenity. So not only has becoming a Yogi enhanced my personal running experience by giving me the core skills to improve my technique, but also maintain focus and harmony. ” Candice – Trail Runner – Eastleigh

James“Having previously struggled with running injuries I have found Laura's yoga class to be invaluable to my training. Her class has helped by regularly stretching out my fascia and has improved my balance, coordination, breathing, body awareness and focus, all essential for helping maintain good running form, particularly when trail running. I recently completed a 100 mile race across the South Downs Way with no sign of injury, no niggles or even a single blister! I attribute my success in no small part to Laura’s class which I couldn’t recommend more highly! I even completed a sun salutation at 54 mile on route!” James – Ultra Runner – Eastleigh.

Keith“At work we had a health and fitness open day where Laura came to talk about Yoga. I had never considered yoga, thinking it was just bending and not really exercise. But as it was in works time I thought I’d give it a go. I am not very flexible and I struggled at first, but Laura is very patient and knowledgeable and helped me a lot. It has been a year since I started yoga, and I have noticed that I don’t get as tired and stiff from running, my suppleness and flexibility are improving and I don’t get injured as much. I fully expect to continue with yoga and running as a form of exercise. I see them both linked now, each one helping the other. I definitely feel my running has improved through yoga.” Keith – Marathon Runner – Gosport.

Rachael“Running has always been part of my life but 3 years ago I attempted stretching after a race and realised I couldn’t touch my toes. I decided that I needed to work on my flexibility and had heard that yoga was good for this so I started going to Laura’s classes. Laura said ‘yoga is a journey’, which was good as I felt so far away from being a ‘bendy’ person. At first I saw the physical improvements such as relief in my lower back. It also taught me to recognise when I was tightening up and how to release my muscles. After the obvious benefits I started to notice that the breathing and meditative exercises had transposed from my yoga mat to my running. When doing races I noticed that I found it far easier to calm my breath and concentrate on my end goal. Now yoga is as much a part of my routine as running and I want to thank Laura for her teaching as I always look forward to class.” Rachael – Southampton.


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First Article Published


Posted 5 years, 4 months ago

Really excited to have had my first article published today on teachasana.com. This is a great website to support new yoga teachers as they start out on the wonderful journey of teaching yoga. Check out the article here: http://www.teachasana.com/2012/07/5-tips-for-including-a-dharma-talk-in-class/.


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Setting the Pace for Life


Posted 5 years, 4 months ago

Running Man

Rhythm is something we all naturally have, something we are born with – and like our own personal metronome it is this rhythm that sets the pace at which we are most comfortable. Respecting and honouring our natural pace gives us the ability to more skilfully manage our energy levels and stamina as we go throughout our day. When our pace and rhythm gets disrupted the effects are quickly felt. Take for example a long distance runner, if they set out at a pace that is too fast or even too slow the ensuing run will be much more demanding and challenging, both physically and mentally, than if they were to find the balance of their natural rhythm on that given day.

Runners are often acutely aware of the correct pace for themselves and the importance of respecting this yet for the rest of us it is rare that we take the time to assess the pace at which we take each day. Instead we let the demands on us and the societal pressures to continually do more set the pace and in turn we get disconnected from own natural rhythm. The result – just like the long distance runner, our day is more demanding and challenging, both physically and mentally.

The most common resistance to slowing down and tuning in to our personal metronome is that we don’t have enough time in the day to stop rushing and still meet all the demands. But trust me you do. A slower more integrated pace by no means effects your productivity; in fact the opposite is true, the more you can regulate your pace the better you can manage your energy levels keeping an abundant store of steady energy all day.

So how do we reconnect with our natural rhythm and pace when we have ignored it for so long? Simple, tune into the breath – that continual natural rhythm has so much to teach us. In yoga we see the breath as your inner teacher. Observe your breath first thing when you wake up in the morning, set the rhythm of Samavritti – same length inhale and exhale. This even rhythm brings steadiness and ease to the mind and helps to keep the nervous system balanced. As you sit up in bed and take a few gentle stretches and start to count your breath, let a natural pace establish itself, it will probably be somewhere between 3 – 6 counts. As the breath gets more full and deep follow the lead of the breath as you get out of bed and stay in this even and steady rhythm as you go about the rituals of the morning. Continue to feel the pace, rhythm and depth of your breath so that you notice when you have shifted out of your natural pace: you begin to rush when you can’t find your car keys your breath becomes quicker yet shallower; you get stuck in slow moving traffic, you hold your breath starving the body of oxygen leading to a yawn which instead of interpreting as the bodies cue for you to breath more fully and deeply you instead take as an indication of tiredness and low energy and down the spiral goes. Yet when you are aware you can start an intervention, take control over your pace and energy levels by returning to the breath, returning to Samavritti and letting your natural breath count re-establish itself.
Through conscious breathing we can let this inner teacher show is the way and keep us in harmony with our natural rhythm and pace.


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How do we practise yoga with integrity?


Posted 6 years, 2 months ago

Last week the vinyasa yoga classes that I teach in Southampton were focused on integrity and how we build and sustain it through clarity, strength and flexibility.

Through clarity of our intention comes integrity in our action. How many times do we do something and not know why or sometimes not even know that we did it? One of the main aims of yoga is for us to learn live in the present moment with truthfulness (satya) and honesty. To do this we need to learn how to be present in all our actions to be clear and honest with ourselves and others about the intentions behind our actions.

Integrity has its Latin root in the word whole. This is not dissimilar to many translations of the word yoga meaning union to bring everything together as a whole. In yoga we have the word avidya which is like a net curtain that comes down and blocks our vision as we are unable to see the whole picture but through practise and awareness we can notice our blind spots and shine a light on them. When we aim to look at a situation in its wholeness we can choose how we react in the present moment, how we respond to the hand we are dealed.

To live with integrity both on and off the mat there are three simple things that we can try focusing on. Firstly clarity of intention, be honest about why you are doing something, if you don’t know the intention behind your action, don’t act. The second two comes as a pair, the need to be balance that of strength and flexibility. Strength of courage to speak up, to be present in every moment and speak what is in your heart and flexibility to see different perspectives and to truly try to understand another person’s point of view with an openness to change your own. All three of these can be first practised on the yoga mat and then filtered into daily living. There isn’t a yoga pose I can think of that isn’t a balance between strength and flexibility. Naturally most students start unbalanced in these two areas either strong with limited flexibility or flexible with limited strength. To have integrity in your yoga practise, to protect the body and find sustainability these two need to balance out and it is only through having a clear understanding about your intention in each pose can you work through refining the balance between strength and flexibility.

Experiment with finding integrity in your practise, be focusing on your intention and the balance between strength and flexibility.


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