Love is in the air.
This Valentine’s Day, forget the chocolate, flowers and squeezing into overcrowded restaurants!
Why not celebrate Valentine’s Day with a little bit of yogic love? Physically stretching the muscles in your chest, shoulders and belly can create a deep emotional release, helping you to appreciate and honour yourself and your loved ones.
Can Yoga help you fall in love?
Let’s look at the science: from a physiological point of view, yoga helps high cholesterol, blood sugar levels and supports the circulatory and respiratory systems. On the emotional side, Yoga promotes a healthy, open heart, can live stress and anxiety. The heart chakra is related to our ability to give and receive love.
Our FG classes are full of gorgeous heart and chest openers like backbends, Cobra, Camel pose, Wild Thing, Locust, Wheel and Bow pose. Chest openers are a great way to open up the muscles of the chest to reverse forward-leaning posture and are said to bring more joy and love into your life. Understanding the benefits of these poses will give you motivation to include them as a regular part of your practice.
Chest openers can combat the blues and improve your mood. When you open the heart by lifting the chest, your outlook improves. The typical posture of someone who is in a poor mood or depressed features hunched shoulders and a hanging head. If you roll your shoulders up and expand your chest, you automatically look more confident, open and radiant!
Start by loving yourself and opening your heart to all possibilities.
“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”
First classes can be overwhelming and great at the same time. Even if you’re coming back to FG after a seasonal break, it’s useful reconnect with your intentions. We chat to FGB teacher, Omae about her Top Tips for hot yoga practice… one of the biggest she says: ‘be kind to yourself’. Spot on, Omae. Thank you!
What brought you to teach Fierce Grace yoga?
I’d been working at the studio and practicing Bikram for about 6 years but as soon as I tried Fierce Grace I knew I was ready for a change. So when Michele announced the very first FG teacher training it was too good an opportunity to miss! It was four intense weeks but the real life changing experience starts when you get up and teach your very first class. I was terrified! I still get nervous but I don’t allow my nerves to get the better of me 🙂
Any advice for newcomers?
First time in the hot room can feel amazing but it can also be overwhelming! It’s different for everyone so come with an open mind. Get used to the heat by taking it very easy and pacing yourself…. get used to breathing through the nose. Rest as much as you need. Expect to feel exhausted as you are working twice as hard as anyone else but it does get easier.
What about advice if you’ve been practicing a while?
Those that have been coming a while can face their own set of challenges. Learning how to be kind to yourself can be one of the biggest. Don’t feel you have to push push all the time! Sometimes it’s about holding back and really listening to your body, accepting yourself just the way you are. There’s potential for transformation but it can be a long, hard journey. Connecting with breath is the surest way to advance your practice.
How do you encourage people out of their comfort zones?
Try out the different classes and teachers. If you always have the same spot in the room change it up a bit! Sometimes it’s small changes that make the difference. Noticing your habitual patterns is the first step, we all have them! Practice giving your full attention to any task you do, including your practice.
And tell us about evolving your own practice
This has been a real journey for me and very humbling. I love this yoga so much and it’s become such a big part of my life! However the last few months I’ve had to really learn how to hold back as an old back injury has resurfaced and it’s really affected my practice….I can’t do half the stuff I used to do, and as a teacher, that’s hard! But I see lessons everywhere and I know that there’s a huge one here for me. It’s actually given me a valuable opportunity to understand just how important breath and awareness are. I’m gradually getting stronger again and I’m strangely grateful for this experience.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
I’m having a wonderful time teaching at FG Brixton, it’s a beautiful, well run studio with amazing staff and students, I love it here! We are all one community and this incredible practice gives us the chance to not only connect with ourselves, but also each other.
Here’s to a year of positive change, more love, more understanding, more Peace!
Wise words, Omae! Want to know more? Come to her classes on Wednesday 10am and 12.30pm at FGB.
Out with the old, in with the new?
Some people like routine and the same old, same old and some people’s heads are turned by the novelty of new.
As new classes are introduced to the schedule this year, it’s the ideal opportunity to shake things up and build yourself a Fierce Grace hot yoga practice that brings you strength, flexibility, stamina, fitness and joy. But before your head is completely turned by the glitter of the new, we wanted to remind you of the gems at the heart of the Fierce Grace system.
Created as a series of interconnected classes that work together, the classes complement each other, with different focuses, because yoga is about balance. The balance of strength and flexibility, of focus and relaxation, of fierce and grace.
So if you really want to get the best out of this system of yoga, then ensuring you mix it up by engaging with as many classes as you can is really important.
If you’re new to FGB, we highly recommend S.O.B. Perfect for beginners or those with injuries the class is taken at a slower pace to get to know the poses, learn modifications and there’s the chance to ask questions throughout. It stands for Stiff, Old and Broken, but don’t let that put you off!
The cornerstone of the practice, Fierce Grace founder Michele Pernetta suggests that everyone take this class at least once a week; and that anyone new to the practice do at least two or three Deep Core classes before diving in more deeply.
More floor based than other classes, this class is about alignment, helping correct postural issues and using deeeeeeep stretches to juice up the joints and release the muscle groups, all helping bring balance to your musculoskeletal system.
CLASSIC. With a traditional hot yoga class format, this class focuses on alignment and breathing, bringing strength and stability to your poses. Excellent for building stamina, this class offers an opportunity to think about posture technique as many of them are repeated.
FIERCE GRACE. Combining Hatha, Power and Ashtanga yoga with interval and Core Training for a fully rounded workout that works 100% of the body, this is the heart of the Fierce Grace system and the class around which all other classes are designed. Set to music, it offers strength and flexibility, fitness and relaxation.
FG2. An evolution of the Fierce Grace class, hit up FG2 once you have a handle on Fierce Grace and challenge yourself to the limit of your capabilities. General level, variations and advanced poses keep you interested, challenged and ever improving. Excellent for experienced and intermediate alike, this class will help get you ready to tackle The Beast.
WILD. High energy and fast paced, Wild combines Kundalini Yoga, Barre, resistance stretching, HIIT and Super Slow training for strengthening and sculpting. Core power, stamina and strength, this is a class for the curious to explore how yoga can be combined with other disciplines.
THE FIX. A mix of Classic and FG, this class is short, super charged and super sweet. Ideal when you want to squeeze a class in but are strapped for time, this class is for topping up your practice.
Aka ‘The Beast’, this class is user friendly Intermediate/ Advanced class. Take practice to the next level, learn developments of poses from other classes and if you’re advanced, we will guide you to new heights!
The Brixton studio teachers are always on hand to give advice, so if you find you struggle with certain classes or have specific goals to achieve, do have a chat with them and keep playing.
Practice Evolution with Fierce Grace.
Whether you are new to yoga, or hot yoga, or Fierce Grace; or you are someone who has been practicing for a few years, one of the truths of yoga is that your practice is different every time you get on the mat. Class after class your practice changes and evolves. Mood, energy levels, stress levels, different teachers, there are lots of factors that contribute to your practice being a living, breathing, every-changing thing. But how to evolve more consciously? And how can we help?
Well, start by looking at the foundations of your practice. Is it solid? By this we mean paying attention to the building blocks of the poses. Set yourself up properly; even if you think you know how a pose should look and feel, or you have been practicing for a while, listen to the teacher and their instructions for getting into position. You may hear something different. Use your breath, use your focus and work to your limits, whatever they are that day.
Try some of the new classes on the Fierce Grace schedule. They have been created to help you work in specific areas, taking some poses further and breaking down others into different steps. Fly for upper body strength, Deep Dark Core to add a more meditative dimension, FG2 to take some poses into different expressions to keep you challenged, interested and evolving.
Go back to some of the old classes in the schedule. We all have our favourites, and the classes we aren’t so keen on. Sometimes we aren’t keen on them because they challenge us in ways that make us physically or mentally uncomfortable. Work through it, man!!! That’s what Fierce Grace means!
When you first get back on the mat in 2017, or you step on the mat for the first time, think about your practice. How has it changed? What do you want from it? Fitness, health, flexibility, free heating? Whatever it is you want to get out of Fierce Grace, bring your fierce, bring your grace and remember to bring a towel, appropriate clothing, no aerosols, plenty of water and practice evolution.
Release the grip of your Ego during class by following these simple, self-awareness steps.
Embrace the good and the bad days. Sometimes the last thing you want it to leave Netflix, central heating and chips and get yourself down to the studio. We know, we feel it too! But often they are the most rewarding classes; when you don’t really feel like it, you leave your chatterbox behind and boom, head up, knees locked, stomach in – it’s a rewarding class.
You are not your ego. You’re not in competition with yourself or anyone else. Ah yes, the wandering eye in the mirror checking out what someone else is doing, how low their Eagle posture sinks, or how impressive their bind looks. Practice is for you at your own speed and pace and experience.
Compare = Despair. Don’t judge or compare. You could balance longer yesterday, but today your body is doing something different – that’s ok, it might even mean that you can go even deeper into another posture. Surprise yourself. You don’t always know which postures are going to feel like a second skin and which ones will leave you hanging.
Let yourself fail. It’s on our FG poster, right? Laugh trying. We mean it. Fall on your face in crow pose, slide out of dancer like Bambi on ice; its how we learn where our daily limits are and how we become friends with our body.
Be grateful. You were kept late at work, someone is in your favourite mat space, your forgot clean pants, yeah a bit rubbish, but in the grand scheme of things – it’s all ok. Be grateful for the class, for the teacher, for the focus, for your strong legs and determination for getting to class like trooper. Be grateful for yourself. Don’t be your own enemy.
Listen to yourself. Give yourself permission to rest when needed, let your body adjust and develop at your own pace, practice proper alignment before depth, listen carefully to the teacher’s corrections and always try to leave your ego at the door. You never know, it might just lead to a breakthrough!
FG owner, Katie explains all about her unique Cakes & Shakes event and the benefits of protein high snacks…
Did you know you can bake amazing cakes with protein powder?
Its hard to believe how versatile whole food protein in powder form can be; along with your coconut oil or cocoa nibs, they’ve swiftly become staples of the new-clean eating kitchen cupboard in many families!
The protein powder we choose here at FGB is a vegan, super food made from yellow split pea, cranberry and brown rice protein. It’s clean, it’s pure, it’s gluten free, dairy free, whey free and nut free and there are no artificial sweeteners, colourings and preservatives in there either. We have our fridge stocked with our ready mixed “to go” version – for your ease straight after a class, and there’s also individual 20 grams servings sachets to blend yourself at home.
Whats more, it’s packed with 20 essential vitamins and minerals, it has a full amino acid count – which is rare to find in any plant based or vegan food, making it a delicious nutritious power-packed meal. When made as a smoothie or a cake snack it will carry you through breaks and dips in energy when you need a neat homemade superfood treat.
Why do we need protein?
In all meals you should aim to balance 20 grams of protein; whether your a vegan, pescetarian or meat eater, along with leafy greens, some of your five a day fruit and vegetables and little whole food carbohydrate – preferably slow releasing (i.e. brown rice rather than white, sweet potato rather than white potato etc). In fact, you’ll need this combination even more so after a yoga class or workout, as it’s been proven that 20 grams of easily digestible protein within 1 hour of exercise restores muscle repair and growth, prevents tears and can even illuminate those pesky achy muscles!
What is this power-packed Recipe?
All you need is a couple of eggs, almond or rice milk and some protein powder, plus a sprinkle of your favourite extra, I use cranberries. What I’s like to add is that mostly people use their protein powder for shakes or smoothies, which is a great way to combine with your super greens, berries, flax and nuts (not your husband’s!) to make a great meal after yoga, but sometimes you want something you can bite into, and this is where the protein powder is genius for baking.
Using a large fork mix all of the following ingredients in a medium bowl:
-4 scoops Arbonne Meal Replacement Shake mix (vanilla)
-1 tsp baking powder
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-1/4 cup egg whites
-1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
Spray muffin tin with cooking oil spray and pour batter, filling each tin about 3/4 full. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes until golden on top. Yum!
On Saturday 10th & Sunday 11th, we join Katie, FG owner and resident protein lover in the studio, sharing recipes, cakes and free samples for you to try and buy all at 20% off this weekend ONLY.
A clean eating role model for us all, Katie has spent over half her life living gluten and dairy free, discovering many great and varied ways to eat well and this in turn saved her from the diagnosis of a crippling disease, Endometriosis. She is happy to answer questions on a wide range of health spectrum and also including ways to Live Life with Fierce Grace.
RSVP to reserve your cake!
Well wasn’t Saturday a treat! A huge THANK YOU to all who came along to support our Touch Your Toes event in Windrush Square on Saturday afternoon. We had a fantastic turn out – 80 of you all practicing Fierce Grace yoga in the open air! We were also thrilled at the generous donations given by you to the excellent local charity, Brixton Soup Kitchen. £234.76 donated by you, of which we match funded £175, totalling a cool £409.76.
The class was taught by Fierce Grace founder, Michele Pernetta alongside our FGB studio regular, Shirley Williams. Solomon and Mahamed from Brixton Soup Kitchen came down to take part in class as well and they’ll be using the donations from this event to help fund a new van for the Soup Kitchen. Solomon Smith, founder and managing director of the Brixton Soup Kitchen, said: “We want to reach out to more homeless people. There are a lot of people around Brixton who do not want to come in to the kitchen because the estate we are based in had a bad reputation in the 80’s. We have a lot of clients in Vauxhall, Camden Town and also around Victoria and we want to be able to go to them.”
It’s not too late to donate to the Soup Kitchen’s van fund – drop into our studio and donate there and also make sure you come to the next mass outdoor Fierce Grace class in Windrush Square!
Please keep an eye open for new members who joined after practising for the first time at the Square and give them a big welcome to our very special community.
Thank you once again for being brilliant!
Sleep like a Happy Baby
Getting in your 8 hours sleep can sometimes be tough, given that we’re often out late/up early, up checking emails, eBay bids (is that just me?) or social media until pretty late on. I’m a believer that it’s the quality of sleep that is important and not necessary how many hours you get; we all know that 8 is the magic number, but on those nights when it’s just not possible, setting yourself up for a deep sleep is the best thing we can do. Here are some ideas how…
Naturally, regular excise helps us to chill out at night, exercise is a beneficial stressor to the body. The brain compensates for the physical stress by increasing the amount of time you spend in deep sleep and sometimes there’s nothing better than literally falling into bed after a great FG class and sleeping like a happy baby.
Another of my favourites is Lavender essential oil on your pillow; there’s something really comforting and calming about the smell, which you can also dab a small amount of onto your wrists and temples can help warm up the scent in those pre-sleeping hours.
Eliminate screen usage 1 hour before hitting the hay. The light from your phone sends signals your brain that it’s time to be awake and makes falling asleep ever harder, yes, even when you’re watching hilarious Youtube clips.
Try out a progressive muscle relaxation, focusing on each section of the body individually: face, shoulders and arms, chest and abs, back, hips and butt, legs and feet. Tense each of these areas (starting with the face, ending with the feet), then slowly release the tensed muscles until your entire body is completely relaxed.
Also, Yoga Nidra – the sleeping yoga, can help to relax the body and mind with great results. We’re running a few more classes in this on Sunday 11th October, 8th November and 13th December with Nina Rashid. A great exercise for sleeping, recommended by Nina herself, is the 4-7-8 breathing sequence:
Breathe in for 4 seconds
Hold breath for 7 seconds
Slowly breathe out for 8 seconds…. And sleep!
Yoga Nidra is an ancient yoga practice, a systematic form of guided relaxation. It is also called yoga sleep but it is actually a state between sleeping and waking. It restores our body, senses and mind to their natural function. Regular practitioners say it often brings immediate physical benefits, even after the first class. It helps to reduce stress, improve sleep, lower blood pressure and it has the potential to heal psychological wounds.
In a typical Yoga Nidra session, Nina will guide you through several stages, setting intention, Sankalpa, then you learn to focus your awareness on your breath, bodily sensations, emotions and thoughts. Going on a gentle journey through your body and mind, allowing you to reach the most profound level of relaxation possible. It is a very simple practice, asking you to let go and surrender.
Yoga Nidra after the 3.30pm Classic class is a fabulous way to cool down, relax and let go. The strong Yang postures in the Classic class need a calming counterbalance, and what better than an hour of yoga Nidra! It is also a nice way to prepare yourself for a calming Deep core class at 7pm, taught by Nina, deep relaxation will energise and calm the mind, focusing more and letting your body go deeper into the postures. The benefits of Yoga Nidra are cumulative, the more you do it, the more you benefit.
Nina has been practicing and teaching yoga since 1998. Nidra has always been a soothing balance to the different styles she teaches and practices and is very keen to to broaden and deepen understanding and experience of Yoga Nidra in its totality, join her on a on the second Sunday every month on the transforming, healing and awakening practice of Yoga Nidra. Don’t forget your eye masks, cushions and blankets!
“I liked learning about the connectedness of my body, the atmosphere and Nina’s instruction.”
“It had a massive impact on me.”
“I feel completely relaxed and instead of trying to block everything out I have embraced thinking about the things I need to.”
“Nina is a superb teacher – she did an excellent job of leading us through the process. I achieved a state of deep relaxation – I’d love to do it again.”
Sunday 5.30-6.30pm on: 13th September, 11th October, 8th November and 13th December
£12.50 per class or £40 for all four