It’s that time of year again when we vow to become all-round super-humans – our healthier, slimmer, stronger, more adventurous, more travelled, more successful self is right around the corner! But how do we make that New Year Resolution stick, sadly just like those few extra Christmas pounds?
Fear not! We have collected all the top tips on how to stay focused on the path to greatness.
1. Motivation comes best from within. Decide what you want to change, not what you think you should change.
2. One thing at a time… We only have so much willpower; don’t spread yours thin! You are more likely to succeed with just one resolution rather than many.
3. Set behavioural targets. Rather than “exercise more”, define the parameters – “I will go to yoga 4 times a week and go for a run.” That way you can measure resolution progress, tick things off and high five yourself!
4. Stay happy! Self-control and motivation thrives on a good mood. Be kind to yourself, stay your No. 1 Fan! Write things down you’re proud of where you use willpower, even down to “I got up early to go to yoga!”
5. Willpower, like a muscle, gets stronger the more we exercise it. Run even if it’s raining! Get up for class even if it’s cold… it’s hot in the studio!
6. Don’t stress out! Stress can make us hungry and tired so STEP. AWAY. from temptation, back awaaay from the muffins…give yourself a break until you’ve relaxed (probably by coming to class…) and you’re back in the game!
7. …But do treat yourself – it’s in our nature! And here’s the science to prove it: our pleasure-seeking function is located in the primitive part of the human brain; it’s hard-wired and powerful! In fact it is a lot stronger than self-restraint, a rational desire, relatively new to the human brain! We get a delicious dump of dopamine from giving into survival instincts such as eating, even when the evolved part thinks we should resist.
8. Be patient… It takes 21 days for a new habit to form and about 6 months for it to really set in. Just like your yoga postures, if you fall out, get back in! Still struggling? Tackle it in 24 hour windows.
9. All the gear’s the right idea! Incentivise yourself from the off. Buy some sassy yoga-pants to make you want to show them off every day of the week, or assemble a list of great reads if you want to read more (or come along to our Free Book Day at the studio Saturday 9th January!)
10. Map your success! Many of us are visual, goal-orientated creatures. Clock in days throughout the year to assess your resolution progress. You can always go a step further and get geeky with it by marking % achieved against % time completion… rulers and felt tips at the ready!
Why not make our 30 Day Challenge your 2016 Resolution? Come to class every day for 30 days and see enormous advancements in your practice as well as getting your name in shining lights (or board marker) on our new 30 Day Challenge board by the studio entrance!
‘The Beast’ is our toughest class yet, Fierce aka The Beast is guaranteed to challenge even the most experienced yoga practitioner to take their practice to new heights. Try it for yourself at Fierce Grace Brixton on 5th December 12.15 -2pm
What is ‘Fierce’? Blending arm balancing poses, deep hip opening, inversions, lotus, shoulder opening, deep backbends and deeper meditation, this class is 1 hour and 45 minutes of intense hot yoga challenge. Requiring strength, flexibility, balance, patience and a sense of humour, it is taught in an encouraging atmosphere; you are encouraged to work at your own pace while learning the correct stages of entry into these challenging poses, whilst advanced yoga students are encouraged to explore new horizons under expert guidance.
“Fierce” makes us superhuman with its wide alphabet of physical, emotional and spiritual expression. It’s the ultimate expression of Fierce Grace. Ready?
Health Warning: This class should only be undertaken if you have at least three years practice under your belt and are proficient at the Fierce Grace class. If unsure, ask a senior teacher if they think you are ready.
A user-friendly Intermediate / Advanced class. Learn the developments of the poses you have learned in the other classes. We will encourage you, while pushing you. If you are new to it, we will help you learn the steps to master some of the most glamorous poses in yoga. If you are an advanced practitioner, we will guide you to new heights.
Key benefits: Stamina, grace, flexibility and strength. Learn to use the body to deepened awareness, meditation, lack of ego. Take your practice to new heights.
Fierce Grace presents WILD, a new, multi-system, cardio yoga workout unlike any other, designed by Michele Pernetta, one of the UK’s top yoga-fitness gurus. Few classes bridge the gap between conventional gym workouts and yoga, but WILD, a weightless gym, manages to fire up the body with the strengthening benefits of weight training, non-stop movement of cardio and the muscle lengthening and alignment of yoga, all in a dynamic one hour class.
Based on a unique structure of modern/ancient exercises from Martial Arts, Kundalini Yoga, Ballet Conditioning, Qi Gong, Physiotherapy, resistance stretching, HIIT and Super Slow along with strength conditioning. Simple functional movements allow the body to make it’s own micro adjustments to loosen, tone and integrate safely.
Experience WILD at one of our upcoming FREE taster classes:
- City – 5PM Wednesday, 14 October with Gwen* – BOOK
- City – 7PM Wednesday, 14 October with Michele Pernetta* – FULLY BOOKED
- West – 6PM Thursday, 15 October with Michele Pernetta* – FULLY BOOKED
- Primrose Hill – 6:45PM 21 October with Gwen* – FULLY BOOKED
- Brixton – 2-3pm 31 October. BOOK
- Taster session are FREE but they must be pre-booked.
After this initial taster session, FG Brixton will be scheduling a WILD class every Saturday in November at 2-3pm. Like our other classes, Wild will be included in your FG package. So there’s no reason not to come along! As ever, we welcome feedback from our classes and hope you enjoy the challenge.
WILD was specifically designed by Michele Pernetta to bring cardio fitness and build stamina, core power and strength, along with yogic breathing to help oxygenate the entire body and purify and balance the nervous system.
Michele explains “I wanted to develop a class that targeted strength, oxygenation and stamina, while remaining in the arena of yoga wisdom. Many cardio activities can wear out the joints. This new, dynamic class speeds up the development of building long lean muscle, core stability, cardio fitness and helps prepare the body for every expression, whether it be yoga, the gym, sports or just living a fun, active life”.
WILD is a new approach to improve your general overall fitness, help build strength, stamina, mobility and burn serious calories, whilst sculpting every inch of your body. It is nothing short of transformational. We can vouch for the positive effects it can have on muscle tone, overall fitness, vitality, flexibility, injury prevention AND skin.
Suitable for all levels, except the lazy…
WILD classes launch at City, West, Hothouse and Primrose Hill on 2 November. The schedule will be announced shortly.
*Please note WILD will be replacing the classes regularly scheduled at the above times. At Fierce Grace City the 5PM class on 21 Oct will be switched to a Fierce Grace class (hot) and the 15 Oct 20:30 class at Primrose Hill will be switched to a Fierce Grace (Hot) class to accommodate anyone that may not wish to attend a WILD tasters.
Tonight, Fierce Grace creator and founder, Michele Pernetta herself, is venturing south of the river to teach an extra special Fierce Grace class here in Brixton. It’s going to be popular! In preparation, she explains the 7 principle postures behind our classes…
Fierce Grace is a system of interconnected classes. These classes work together to allow the body full expression, full range of motion, full functionality. The classes have a core set of poses running throughout them, poses that ensure we never lose our core, our support system, and build a powerful foundation.
These core poses recur in various forms throughout the FG system in order to ensure the correct alignment of the body is regularly re-patterned into the musculo-skeletal system. They provide the “skeleton” to all the classes so that continuous progression is made, structural alignment is regularly repeated, as well creating a template for safety, as the key muscles are continuously strengthened and conditioned in every class. This approach provides a structure on which the other more than 100 poses of the FG system can be safely supported.
“Hanging a beautiful, heavy coat on a bent flimsy hanger will only cause the hanger to bend and eventually snap. That’s why one must create a solid and aligned foundation in the body, while building musculature and before attempting more advanced poses.”
~ Michele Pernetta
To progress in our goal of having a strong, flexible, aligned body, which will prevent wear and tear, injuries, ageing and degeneration and last us a lifetime, we must develop and maintain:
- A strong flexible spine
- Flexible pelvis and hips
- Aligned and flexible shoulders
- Strong quads
- Aligned ankles, knees and wrists
- Strong hands and feet
- Strong Core muscles
- Strong back muscles
- Flexibility of hamstrings and glutes
- Upper body strength
To this end, the following poses repeat throughout all the lasses, albeit sometimes fast, sometimes slow, and in beginners and advanced forms, as well as with variations:
1) Spine compass series (Half moon, Backbend, Hands to feet)
2) Chair / Utkatasana, advanced (3 parts)
3) Standing Separate Leg Stretching
5) Warrior 2
6) Reclining Pigeon
7) Down Dog
Although the FG philosophy is that one needs to move the body in every possible way, fast, slow, linear, circular, static, flowing, and to confuse muscles with new poses so we can not rely on habitual patterns and awaken dormant muscles, there is a need to core poses in order for our main alignment needs to be met. These poses neutralize the wear and tear of our daily lives. Sitting in chairs, cars, at computers, the lack of movement, the compression of the front body, the weakening of the back body, these potentially degenerating habits need regular, even daily, countering and neutralizing.
Beautiful sequences for a beautiful body
Inhale. Exhale. Breathe.
As part of your Fierce Grace practice, your teachers tell you when to breathe, or how to breathe as you move. Part of this is because, let’s face it, it’s easy to forget when you are concentrating. It’s nice to be reminded. But there are some very practical reasons why pranayama, to give it the yoga name, is a as important as the poses themselves.
The O2 / CO2 exchange: When you breathe in, you are filling your lungs with O2, aka oxygen. The lungs take it to the chamber of the heart that releases it into the bloodstream, and this act also increases the blood flow, in order to take all the life giving O2 round the body. On the exhale, your body is getting rid of CO2, carbon dioxide, which is a byproduct created by the mitochondria (energy production cells) as they burn sugars, fats and proteins. CO2 is biochemical waste and it makes the blood more acidic – which can impair the function of the body’s cells. By changing the length of the breath in and the breath out, you can help your body do its job more efficiently.
The nervous system: this is a simple one. Fast breathing dials up the stress hormones, heart rate, blood pressure, muscle tension and anxiety, while slowing the breath down dials down all of the above AND turns up relaxation, mental clarity and calm.
Maximising the benefits of your practice: each pose, or asana, has been carefully chosen for whichever Fierce Grace sequence you are doing, because of its benefits to the body. Using the breath properly not only enhances the physical benefit to the body but helps you get deeper into the pose, and power boosting the benefits.
So don’t just look at what your fellow yogis are doing, listen to your teacher and try and follow their directions on breathing for a healthier, calmer, deeper practice. Breathe.
We could bang on forever about the benefits of hot yoga, but today’s lesson from the health pulpit is about cortisol, A.K.A. the belly fat hormone, and how yoga kicks its big fat butt. Most of us would like a slimmer, flatter waist, or the sculpted abs flaunted by those annoying healthy selfie types, but if your body’s cortisol levels are out of whack then you are going to be fighting a losing battle.
Cortisol is the stress hormone released by the adrenal glands in order to regulate blood sugar, blood pressure and the immune system. It’s really handy if you are running from a herd of predators (muggers, in modern times) but chronic stress is the scourge of our time. Sources that can contribute to chronic stress include:
– Lack of sleep
– Negative thoughts and worry
– Sugar and carb-heavy processed foods
– Caffeine abuse (more than 2 coffees per day)
– Loads of other things. Getting on the tube every morning. Sexism. Driving in London during rush hour. Night buses. Automated answering systems.
So anyway, chronic stress can create a nasty cascade of side effects – try these on for size:
– Excess belly fat
– Serious drop in testosterone (important for men AND women)
– Bone and muscle loss
– Low libido
– High blood sugar and insulin resistance
Bad, yeah? Reducing stress from your life, your diet and cutting out sugar and processed foods will help, but this will only get you so far. Guess what? It seems the most effective thing you can possibly do to normalize your cortisol levels…is yoga.
Why? It’s an amazing combination of deep breathing, mindfulness, and cardio vascular activity that seems to work together like the 3 witches in Charmed to burn off the excess cortisol, i.e. the ‘flight’ element of the ‘fight or flight’ equation, whilst at the same time helping the body take its metaphorical foot off the adrenalin button.
A regular practice will help regulate your cortisol levels, and the Fierce Grace system will help you redefine your body shape. Easy!