Posts In: Yoga

The Christmas Whirlwind

December 4, 2019

We are officially in the run-up to Christmas: it is now ‘fully-fledged’ December; Ross Kemp has turned on the lights; the twinkly decorations are up around the house; the radio is spurting out a non-stop flow of Mariah Carey and Slade…

Christmas can be a truly crazy time of organising, going out, shopping, socialising and dashing about to make sure you get to the school carol services/nativity plays, work drinks and the usual traditions. For some of us, it is also a stressful time of working out how to fit in seeing all parts of the family, the in-laws and close friends.

While Christmas is certainly a time of joy and merriment, with all this frenetic activity, it can also be incredibly challenging. Add to this busy-ness the work that needs to be done before year-end, and the magical way that Christmas seems to suck money from your bank account, you are not alone if you find this time of year as anxiety-full as joyful.

If you do find yourself in a bit of Christmas whirlwind, here at PilaYoga we have three top tips to help keep your feet on the ground.

1. Take time to rest

Winter is a time that is conducive to hibernation and rest. Be aware of your energy levels, and if you feel yourself flagging, give yourself permission to stay home and cosy-up. The world will keep turning if you don’t accept every social invitation offered up. Have the confidence to say no.

2. Service

What you do to others, you do to yourself. When we do something for someone else, we activate the heart centre. Switch the focus from parties and presents for a while, and think about what you can do for those less fortunate – elderly neighbours, those who are struggling or on their own,friends who might be in an unfamiliar situation this Christmas – entering into the season with a family that looks different than it did last year. See what you can do to help, offer your support, be an ear.

3. Yoga

When you can, step onto the mat. Many types of yoga are perfect for relieving stress. When Auntie Gertrude has pushed all your buttons, and criticised everything from the way you stuff your turkey to the children’s table-manners, come into PilaYoga! We all tend to see the world with more loving eyes after a yoga class. The time in the class will certainly help you to cope with external stresses, and will give you a welcome break from the somewhat relentless nature of the Christmas holidays.

Take a look at our classes, from Hatha to Yin, Vinyasa to Restorative – we have a style of yoga that is bound to suit you over the festive season. Whether you need a break from the endless mulled wine and minced pies socialising, or some friendly faces and a warm space to cocoon you if you need buoying up, You can book a class using the MindBody app.

Give the gift of Pilates and Yoga with our Christmas offer of 3 PilaYoga classes and 2 Reformer Pilates classes for £50 (RRP £93). Marlow Club members can experience full access to PilaYoga for December for just £15pm and only £20pm thereafter. 

Thanksgiving with PilaYoga

November 27, 2019

There are a number of things that our friends across the Atlantic have given us which, quite frankly, we may be better off without: peanut butter and jam sandwiches, American Football, a certain orange-faced President…

That said, there is one fabulous thing that the Americans have that we really ought to consider adopting here too – Thanksgiving.

Quite the best of all holidays, Thanksgiving has the festive fun of Christmas – but without the over-the-top present exchange, extravagant decorations, sleepless nights thinking about whether you have spent enough/too much, worry about how to fit the dinner into the oven, and overall pressure to produce the most instagrammable set of holiday photos.

The spirit of Thanksgiving focuses on friends, family, love and inclusiveness. It is all about being grateful for what, and who, you have in your life over the sharing of one delicious meal on one day. Essentially it is the fun of Christmas, without all the stress.

Yoga and Giving Thanks

Gratitude is good for you. It boasts a myriad of healthy benefits – an increasingly large body of research indicates that practising gratitude can promote a wide range of physical, mental and social improvements, and there’s nothing like a great yoga class to help you to appreciate the many blessings in your life. The time on your mat can be a sacred time to practise gratitude – and to bring ‘Thankfulness’ into your everyday life.

Here are some ideas of how to bring more gratitude into your yoga practice:

1) Set gratitude as your intention at the beginning of the class.

2) Focus on the positive throughout the practice. It is easy to get fixated on the things you can’t do – the binds you can’t reach, the poses which elude you. Instead, make a commitment to observe all the amazing things you can do, and to be thankful for those.

3) Use your Savasana to practise your gratitude. As your tired muscles melt into the yoga mat, remember all the wonderful things and people in your life to be grateful for. And the practice itself, of course.

4) Bring a friend or family member you are grateful for to the practice with you.

Consciously making a mental note of what you are grateful for, and going out of your way to spend time on what you have, versus what you have not, can certainly improve your health and will have some surprising knock-on effects. Give it a go, and drop us a message to let us know what you are thankful for this year.

At this time of Thanksgiving why not book a session at PilaYoga, December is currently just £15 for unlimited yoga, Pilates and barre in our beautiful studio. A great way to end the year.

Vinyasa Yoga

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.

PilaYoga.

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.

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