September 9, 2019

The beginning of September can be a bittersweet time – a true mix of endings and beginnings. The children are back at school, which is both a relief and a sadness; the lovely warm days of summer are unfortunately coming to a close; Strictly is starting and all the Christmas paraphernalia is seeping into the shops. But the start of the new term does mean that, finally, there is some time to focus on you, and now is a perfect opportunity to come to Pila Yoga and try one of the classes on the timetable. If, however, you find yourself confused by all the yoga terms, and need help translating all the different styles, here at Pila Yoga we’ve got your back. In part two of our “decoding yoga” series, we have come up with a description of Vinyasa.

What is Vinyasa?

If you take apart the original roots of the term vinyasa, it has two components – Nyasa and Vi. Nyasa means “to place,” while the translated meaning of vi is “in a special way.” Putting these two components together, Vinyasa means an ordered transition between two or more poses. Vinyasa yoga is practised not only with a connection between movement and breath, but also with a connection between the poses in a flowing sequence.

In contemporary yoga parlance, Vinyasa stands as a derivative from Ashtanga, in opposition to hatha. Hatha classes tend to focus on one pose at a time with rests built in between. In contrast, vinyasa, sometimes known as ‘flow’ classes, string poses together to make a sequence. The sequence may be fixed – as it is in Ashtanga, in which the poses are always performed in the same order – but more often, vinyasa teachers have the discretion to choreograph the order and progression themselves leading to lots of amazing, creative and ever-changing sequences to keep you on your toes and make sure you are continuously challenged.

What to expect?

Vinyasa allows for a lot of variety, but will almost always include sun salutations. You can expect to move, sometimes quite dynamically, from pose to pose. Whether the class is fast or slow, includes advanced poses, or is very alignment-oriented does depend on the teacher and the particular style in which they are trained.

We have six Vinyasa classes per week in Pila with Kristina, Elly, Ola, Matt and Evie. Each instructor leads in their own style and have their own inimitable take on their flows.

Evie’s Sunday Vinyasa at 08.45 is Tripsichore inspired, which means that there is special focus on the mind/body connection in the postures – achieved through special breathing techniques. Kristina’s Vinyasa class at 06.45 on a Wednesday is a Power Vinyasa session designed to challenge and build strength.

Who is Vinyasa aimed at?

Vinyasa yoga is suitable for everyone, but if you are brand new to yoga it is a good idea to take a few classes in a slower style of yoga first to get a feel for the poses.

As the leaves start to turn, and autumn creeps in and the summer holidays fade into memory, make the most of the spare few moments in your week with a yoga class at Pila Yoga. September is a great opportunity for some self-reflection and setting new intentions for the new academic year. Here at

Pila Yoga you can pay for an unlimited membership, or buy a pack of session, or even just come as a drop-in. Everybody welcome. See you soon!

Ashtanga at PilaYoga

August 28, 2019

Here at Pila Yoga in Marlow we aim to bring you a wide range of yoga classes, delivered by expert, hand-picked instructors, with expertise covering a number of different disciplines. We want our community to be open to everyone with an interest in yoga and, in the spirit of this openness, we hope to demystify some of the often confusing terminology around yoga so that you can understand our timetable and feel comfortable to come in and try a session that you feel will suit you.

In the interest of this, over the next few months, we will take each of the disciplines available at Pila Yoga, and look at them in greater detail, unravelling the history, the meanings behind the terminology, and we will also look at what a typical class in this discipline might entail.

First up: Ashtanga. Literally, Astha means “8”, and “ang” means “limb”. Ashtanga refers to the 8-limbed paths described by Patanjali in the ancient Yoga Sutras. It was created during the 20th Century by Pattabhi Jois and is often thought of as a modern-day form of classical Indian yoga. There are six series of Ashtanga yoga sequences, which can be progressed through at the participants’ own pace.

Ashtanga has a dynamic, flowing style. It connects the movement of the body with the breath; synchronizing the two. The individual poses (what yogis refer to as asanas) are linked by flowing movements (vinyasas) meaning that it can be quite energetic and challenging; but instructors can provide modifications for those who need them.

We have two Asthanga classes at Pila Yoga: one taken by Emily on Thursday morning at 10am; and one on a Thursday at 5.30pm with Katharine. Whilst both sessions are categorized as “Energise” on the timetable, meaning that they are faster-paced and physically challenging at times, if you are new to Ashtanga we suggest that you try the morning class. Katharine’s afternoon session is for those who have already a certain level of yoga practice, and is not suitable for beginners or pregnant members.

So, why practise Ashtanga? The benefits of Ashtanga are wide-ranging. With a host of glamorous celebrity devotees from Madonna to Russell Brand, it is tempting to focus only on the obvious physical benefits, but regular Ashtanga practice brings about a host of positives far deeper than toning and weight loss. Increased flexibility, increased strength, and the powerful improved mental focus that comes from regularly flowing through a series of movements are just a few of the pluses that you take home from Ashtanga.

Come in and try out our studio nestled into the heart of Marlow. If you aren’t sure about committing to an unlimited membership you can pay for drop in session, or buy a pack of sessions – we have a number of flexible options designed for every yogi.

Exam Results Time

August 22, 2019

The dreaded results days are nearly upon us. This can be a very stressful time for the whole family: parents and children alike. Here at Pila Yoga we hope that your teenagers all get what they were crossing their fingers for, and that everyone can move seamlessly into the next phase – whatever that may look like. If not, if the letters and numbers don’t appear on that page exactly as they wanted, do remind them that that is all they are: just letters and numbers. Life is never a completely smooth ride of predictable perfection – and often it is the bumps and the obstacles that shape us in the best way, and create kinks in our journey that as adults we would easily claim as the highlights of youth. Love and courage to you all.

Finding ways to deal with emotional stress as a teenager can be difficult, too. Encourage them to talk openly with friends, to get some exercise, to seek advice from school and college professionals as this can all help them get perspective if results day isn’t as happy as they would have hoped. Yoga can greatly help reduce stress, and organising to attend a class or two together in the next few weeks at our tranquil Pila Yoga studio in Marlow will make an important difference in their ability to cope with what they are facing – not to mention help to promote much needed restful sleep.

All our instructors are welcoming and create an environment that will encourage – with any luck – a long-term relationship with yoga which will help your teenagers deal with the highs and lows that life is bound to throw at them. Book in for one of our Yoga Nidra classes on Tuesdays evenings for some much-needed rest and zen, or try out one of our relaxing Hatha classes, or even try a Vinyasa Flow class to move your body in an energising way to help process the stresses and strains of the day.

Yoga can help reduce stress for a multitude of reasons, one of which is because it provides an excellent opportunity to practise living in the moment – not allowing the “what if?” “what now?” “how will I?” questions to dominate the internal mental chatter. Yoga is a practice that helps build your ability to calm the mind: a much-needed tool; especially in stressful periods such as exam results time.

So, book them in with you to a class at Pila Yoga, our bespoke yoga and Pilates studio nestled into the heart of beautiful Marlow. It may also act as a much-needed bonding experience between you and your child before they move on to their next stage – be that college, University, or a move away from home. But most importantly, be gentle at this time of heightened emotion – especially to yourself. Perhaps you will want to book in a few extra sessions for you to enjoy alone, as well! You are always welcome.

Namaste yogis.


Summer Solstice

June 18, 2019

Also known as midsummer, the summer solstice is the longest day of the year. Usually falling on 21st June, throughout history – across many religions and cultures – the summer solstice has been celebrated as the symbolic transitioning into the long, bright (pah! we wish!) days of summer in the northern hemisphere.

International Yoga Day

But it is also an important date in the yoga calendar because, since 2015, June 21st has been recognised as International Yoga Day.  It is celebrated worldwide as yogis take to their mats to salute the sun and reap the benefits of their daily practice. But summer solstice is also an excellent time for those who are new to yoga to take advantage of the buzz and try out a class.