Tag Archives: Yoga Journey

Forming that habit

It is said that it takes 21 days to form a new habit. No coincidence that our Introductory Offer also lasts for 21 days. It’s almost as if we planned it that way!

We encourage our new members to practice unlimited classes during this Introductory period and make the most of our full schedule. This gives you the opportunity to experience the full spectrum of our Fierce Grace System:series of postures which are designed to compliment each other, building strength, alignment and flexibility.

These 21 days might involve learning to touch your toes, figuring out what time of day suits your practice best, which classes support what you want to achieve or mastering side crow – everyone it different!

At Fierce Grace Brixton we embrace everyone at all stages of their practice, whatever you are working on. Naturally, this is also reflected in our classes: SOB for new members and those with injuries or who want go “go back to basics”; FG for a user-friendly challenge, enjoying the graceful and fluid movement of your body and mind from one posture to next set to music; Classic for concentration and focus – a linear stretch, working deeply on alignment, building a solid base; Deep Core to explore your Yin side, opening up those hips, releasing tension and pressure in joints; FG2 for an explorative expression; Fix for a burst of energy – a “pick me up”; and then Fierce (aka The Beast) for intermediate/ advanced students who want to take their practice to the next level – not to forget late night Deep Core Dark to deeply relax and calm the mind and spirit, ready for the night ahead in preparation for the day ahead.

Here are some tips to forming that new habit: 

1 Pick just one habit to form at a time. Streamlining is key here. It’s tempting to write a long list, but start simple and specific, like ‘I’d like to build my core strength’.

2 Start small. Set a ridiculously small goal to start and your motivation will sky rocket.

3 Forget performance, only focus on starting. Turn off the chatterbox and focus on yourself being in the moment. The FGB staff love Yoga Nidra on Sunday 5.30pm and Tuesday 5pm – it’s the perfect chance to switch off and calm the mind.

5 Have a plan for failure. Everyone has bad days, and just because you fell over in tree pose, don’t mean endgame for your yoga practice. After all, who hasn’t been in a class where a someone has fallen over? Embrace it – it happens to us all.

6 Enjoy yourself and reward your achievement. Work on habits that make you feel good and when it goes well – give yourself a ‘gold star’! Maybe treat yourself to a new yoga mat, clothes for class (I always do a great class with new leggings on!) or something delicious from Brixton Village.

Chances are if you’re reading this – you’ve already begun, but if you’re still thinking about it… we say go for it. Traditionally January is the time to start anew, but February is a month full of love, change and motivation.

Live Life with Fierce Grace

Click here for more on our classes and how they compliment each other.

Can Yoga help you fall in Love?

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.”
-Rumi

Classes Explained

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.

 

S.O.B.

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!

 

DEEP CORE.

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.

 

FIERCE.

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.

Hot Founder Special: Meet Liz

This week we meet one of our Hot Founder members, Liz Popovich. Having regularly practiced hot yoga for six years now, she’s a great example of how yoga can keep you interested, engaged and ever evolving. Her practice today is just as exciting as it was when she discovered the sweaty delights of hot yoga, but she freely admits the variety offered by the Fierce Grace system of connected classes is her idea of bliss.

 

1.What brought you to yoga? How long have you been practicing?

I started practicing about six years ago. I had a back injury and my chiropractor told me that I had to stop using the cardio equipment at the gym, which was my only form of exercise at the time. When I asked what type of exercise I could do, she said: “yoga, but make sure it’s hot yoga!” I was living in Islington at the time, so I did a drop-in class at the City studio. This was before Fierce Grace – it was still the Bikram method – and I remember leaving the class, still dripping sweat even after changing and wondering what just happened to me! I was hooked. I moved to SW4 the next month and joined the Bikram studio in Balham immediately. I practiced six days a week there until the Fierce Grace studio opened in Brixton…

 

2. How have you been finding Fierce Grace?

I was in love with Fierce Grace from the very first class. As soon as the Brixton studio opened, I signed up for an introductory package, and knew I was going to commit to a Founder membership within the first week. The timing was perfect because I had reached the point where I was looking for more variety in my yoga practice. I actually abandoned two other yoga studio memberships to make the change. I find the classes brilliant, the teachers inspiring and the studio so friendly and welcoming. I feel like I belong there.

 

3. How has your practice changed or developed since coming to FGB?

I think I’m much kinder to myself in my practice now. This could be because I’m six years older, or because I’ve dealt with a nagging hip injury/condition, but I feel that I’ve moved beyond a solely physical practice into one that’s more mindful, observant and kind. It feels more comprehensive and much more satisfying this way.

 

4 . What is your favourite class and why?

I have to say all of them – because it’s the variety that works for me. I love the fact that in a given week, I get a mix of FG, Classic and either Core or Fix. For me that’s perfection!

 

5. What do you like doing in Brixton?

People watching. Every day I go there, I say to myself “you don’t see that every day!” Brixton has such a great vibe and colourful people – all you have to do is wander through the village and you’ll be entertained!

 

6. Tell us a fun fact…?

I was able to retire six years ago after being a co-founder of a medical software company. We sold the company and I took the opportunity to retire early after working way too much for the sixteen years I was part of the company. It’s not a coincidence that my yoga life started immediately after retirement – this is what anchors my days now. Bliss!

 

7. Anything else to add…

I am so grateful to all my teachers from FG and before whose generosity and inspiration help to keep me on my yoga journey. I hope to do this for the rest of my life.

 

Thanks Liz! It’s always a pleasure to have you at the studio. x

 

Back to Basics

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What we’re looking forward to this year…

Yeehaw!!! New Classes for the New Year at Fierce Grace Brixton

 

We don’t know about you but we are looking forward to starting a new year. Don’t get us wrong, life at the studio has been fierce but 2016 has been a big old year for saying goodbye to some of the most creative talents who have touched many of our lives in varying degrees. And we have also seen seismic changes on the political landscape. So what will 2017 bring?

 

Two new classes, that’s what. That’s right, we are going to be introducing FG2 and Fly to the schedule over the coming months. We have already talked about FG2, designed to help you meet The Beast with grace, for all levels. It’s 90 minutes of getting out of your comfort zone, with expressions of each pose to challenge and surprise. If you came to our Christmas launch class with Michele Pernetta then you know all about this!

 

But brand new is FLY, a 60 minutes class designed to unlock the secrets to arm balancing.   Look forward to building upper body strength, balance and focus, and learn the alignment protocols of inversions and arm balancing. As well as poses you have already experienced in other classes – Crow, Crane, Side Crow, Flying Pigeon, and Dolphin, – you will advance your practice with other fun balancing poses.  Become super strong and light as air. Supafly.

See you on the mat, fly girls and boys.

 

Here’s what our studio team are looking forward to:

 

Katie Gerald owner, director and member

Three years ago we were laying out our plans to develop he studio and build a Fierce Grace yoga community in Brixton. Two years ago we opened. And here we are with a strong and vibrant community with wonderful staff and teachers who support our members in their commitment to maintain and develop their own physical and mental well-being.

I still continue to be wowed by it all. How supportive our members are of each other and also of staff and teachers. Some sort of magic takes place in the studio whereby members – new and experienced, young and old, fit and not so fit, healthy and not so healthy – take up the challenges, seize the opportunities and enjoy the benefits and variety of the six class integrated system of integrated yoga which is Fierce Grace.

So what am I looking forward to in 2017? Well without doubt, its going to be exciting and challenging. We’ve got a great new studio manager Serena whom I’m looking forward to seeing implement her plans to take the studio forward – to strengthen and broaden and deepen the community, focusing especially on overall service and also expanding daytime membership: there are plenty of classes, so there really is no excuse not to come practice during the day! So all you mums and dads and folk who live or work at home or nearby, come down to FGB and join me to get your day-time lift!

I’m looking forward to seeing our experienced teachers continue to develop their skills, especially for injuries, to help manage and help resolve them, reducing or eliminating pain; newer teachers honing their skills; and introducing and supporting brand new teachers – watch out for Saturday 5.30pm FG classes! All supported by ongoing training from Michele Pernetta and Emma Croft.

And some great new classes. FG2 will be starting on Friday evenings at 7pm taught by all-round star Shirley – this introduces a few little optional twists to FG to get you experimenting. Fly will be coming shortly, offering a 60 minute class working on upper body strength, complimenting Fix for when you need to get in and out quickly. And possibly a pregnancy class and more for children. And DDC Deep Dark Core on Wednesdays at 8.45pm to take you into deep relaxation and mediation whilst practising Deep Core, completing the day, preparation for sleep – taught by Paula. All part of Fierce Grace being a living, breathing, ever-developing system of yoga.

We will also be having some great new workshops. Michele Pernetta will be comeing to lead some, and we also plan to have some tightly focused on specific areas such as breathing – get your pranayama breathing finally nailed! If possible, we’ll do another Touch Your Toes in Windrush Square.

And welcoming back the newly married Lisa Hong and also a new addition to the world when Victoria, the life force that she is, gives birth to her first child in February 2017. We wish them, and you, and Michele, well and all the best for 2017. Enjoy. 

 

And more form our studio team on what they’re looking forward to in 2017…

 

Lisa Hong:

I am looking forward to another fantastic year of self growth, kindness and of course being Mrs Willoughby!

 

Maria G:

‘Become who you are’

 

Serena S:

Settling into our new place: having spent some months travelling with my husband and after recently relocating to London (and living with a very generous friend for a while), we are looking forward to moving into our own place and make it our own. On a more yogic note, I look forward to overcoming once and for all a small and nagging wrist injury I’ve been nursing for some months: It has taken longer than I would have liked but I’ve learnt a lot from it (namely, how to work my planks in a healthier way by using my fingers and shoulder strength more) but I sure look forward to it being over!

 

Victoria W:

In 2017 I am looking forward to always making the most of myself! This also means taking the absolute best care of myself, I intend to still be practicing the Beast when I’m 100+!

 

Paula Cronin:

I’m looking forward to a fresh start, new happy beginnings, hanging with a loving, positive tribe, and welcoming in all the new good energy and blessings!

 

Kam B:

I’m looking forward to finding more time to relax and seeing what happens; how the year unfolds.

 

Gabriela:

I look forward for meeting new/old people as each individual can inspire you and influence in some way, for new adventures, commitments (more hot yoga practice J) and learning opportunities. I am trying to see every obstacle and challenge as an opportunity to learn and growth, therefore, I look forward for those happy but also sad and difficult moments.  

 

Lila C: I’m looking forward to keeping an open heart and mind, writing more and seeing where my next adventure lies…

 

Nadia:

I’m looking forward to the fresh wave of energy the start of a new year brings, travelling with friends and new adventures!

 

Daniel Gleeson;

I can’t wait for the new FG2 class at FG studios (as a student more than as a teacher!). It’s the FG we know and love… and then some! I’m really looking forward to my partner and I exploring more of the gorgeous hidden mountain town of Telluride, which we discovered in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. It’s incredible any time of year, and we can’t wait to return again and again. I’m also hoping optimistically for 2017 to start undoing damage and uncertainty created in the world in general in an unsettling 2016. There’s always hope – things can and will get better.

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

FG Teacher Training Grad: Feng

Tales of Teacher Training – Meet Feng Cal, One of This Year’s Graduates

 

So many members express an interest in finding out more about the Fierce Grace Teacher Training. Whether you want to change career or just go even deeper, this intensive course is guaranteed to take you to a whole new level. So we thought we’d have a chat with Brixton member and one of this year’s graduates, Feng Cal.

 

What do you do?

My day (and sometimes night!) job is a finance lawyer in the city.

 

What do you love about your jobs?

I love the fast paced nature of my day job – building client relationships, working in a team and executing deals. It’s a busy and often stressful environment where you have to think on your feet and respond quickly. Teaching yoga actually uses a lot of same skills – building relationships with your students, encouraging teamwork and making sure that we all finish the class together without any dramas or mishaps!

 

Why did you take one month off to do teacher training?

It was a “now or never” opportunity! I happened to have a natural pause in my career development so used my 6 weeks of unpaid leave to do my TT. It really was a case of everything lining up perfectly.

 

Tell us about your own yoga practise

I have been practising yoga for over 4 years now and I have hugely benefitted from my practice, both physically and mentally. Physically, yoga has developed my strength and flexibility, helping to prevent injuries and protect my body from damage from other high impact sports such as running and rock climbing. Mentally, yoga helps me to relax and set aside time (and space) for myself, helping me to find balance in my daily routine. I was drawn to FG by the flexibility of the 6 class system, the friendly and knowledgeable teachers and the strong sense of community.

 

Why did you want to do it?

I wanted to do the FG TT so that I could teach at FG Brixton! For me, yoga has been this amazing journey which was bought so many benefits into my life. I want to share those benefits with the local community, regulars and newcomers, advanced practitioners and those who are just starting. I know how much of a difference it makes to have a supportive yoga teacher and doing the TT is hopefully just the first step in helping me to become the best teacher I can be.

 

What was it like?

It was a very demanding TT but also a very supportive TT. You are fully immersed for the month, trying to absorb as much as you can from the senior teachers and the excellent guest lecturers and benefitting from the support of your fellow students.

 

What did you get out of it?

I learned so much from my fellow students. We were a diverse group, from all walks of life and a wide range of ages yet we all supported each other. We recognised our own strengths and weakness and improved our teaching through feedback and supporting others.

 

Was it worth it?

Definitely! I know the TT is an expensive course but personally I loved being able to completely focus on the yoga and do it full time for a month. Plus, the second half was held in Italy, in the gorgeous retreat house with sun, pool and home-cooked Italian food – what’s not to love?

 

Would you recommend others to do it – if so, why?

Yes – if you want an in-depth hands-on training course that focuses on helping you learn how to teach more than anything else, the FG TT is one of the best out there.

 

Our new manager, Serena!

Meet our New Studio Manager – Serena Sabala

 

Filling the shoes of Sophie Munson is no small feat, but our new studio manager Serena Sabala is looking forward to getting to know everyone over the coming weeks as she settles in. We thought you’d like to know a bit more about her…

 

Moving to London from Italy in 2005 for a career in fashion sales, she started Bikram yoga classes in 2008 and fell in love with it, becoming a teacher in 2012. After meeting her husband while travelling and teaching she lived in the US for a couple of years where she first managed a yoga studio and realised this was a role that combined both her corporate skills and her passion for yoga.

 

I love being able to put my organisational and managerial skills to work in a yoga related environment. I love teaching yoga but as I teacher I felt like some of the skills I had developed during my many years of corporate work weren’t being put to use (and I did enjoy using them!); managing a studio allows me to do that within a context that resonates to me more than anything.

 

From my previous experience I have learnt that managing a studio requires a very wide and varied skill set. There are so many different aspects to the business (from customer service to staff management, budgeting, marketing and maintenance of the premises), most of which actually have very little to do with the yoga itself. I have to continuously remind myself that the ultimate goal still is to maintain a space where people can come in and change their life around, inside and out, for the better through the practice of yoga.”

 

We know how special Fierce Grace Brixton in so we asked her what she will be bringing to the party:

 

Fierce Grace Brixton is already a well established and thriving community. The aim is for it to always be a place where the staff LOVE to come into work and members feel at home. The struggles we sometimes face in the day to day running of the business should never take away from a fun, laid back yet professional atmosphere we want to create and maintain for all those involved. 

 

I try to never forget the higher purpose and to never lose a greater perspective: my life has changed and improved in ways I can’t even begin to explain thanks to the practice of yoga and to be able to now pass this gift onto others is worth all the hard work it takes.”

 

Sounds like Serena is pretty much the right woman for the job! We ended our chat with asking her to share something of her life philosophy with us. “In life, very much like in yoga, progress is not linear: some days feel like you’ve gone forward ten steps, others feel like you’re suddenly going back. I always try and remind myself that, as long as I’m doing my best, I can be assured that I’m moving forward. Maybe not at the pace that I’d like but there’s a lot to learn from what look like set backs or challenges.”

 

Putting your back into it: FG for a healthy back

Putting Your Back Into It – Fierce Grace For a Healthy Back

It might be a cliché, but it is a busy, stressful time of year. Its easy to get caught up in the fun and the drama, but we can rush around and forget to take care of ourselves.  Fierce Grace Brixton co-owner, Katie, did just that when she hurt her back doing a quick, sharp movement while not being fully aware of her body.

After being in agony for weeks, Katie says that she’s now learned a lot about herself. It might not come as a surprise that yoga has helped in her recovery. To assist her recovery she came to FG 5 days a week. The results…? She claims her back has been healed by FG!

Heat and posture sequences, particularly Classic and Core have been life saving!”

We advise you see a medical professional to ensure you are doing what is best for you – not all back pains are the same! But if exercise is part of the prescription, here are Katie’s fierce tips for working with back pain.

  1. Rub Tiger Balm on aching muscles before going into the hot room. The menthol works deep into the muscle for extra relief (don’t forget to wash your hands afterwards to avoid stinging eyes!) A great tip from FG teacher, Gwen.
  2. Let the teacher know you’ve got an injury. Our teachers are trained to know the correct modifications for injury – let them guide you.
  3. Be aware of what your body is telling you. Listen to your body completely. Use your breath, don’t push it and breathe into the full posture.
  4. Avoid forward bends. Instead of floor bow, turn onto your back and slide up into bridge pose. Try to pull the stomach muscles in while stretching – this helps support the back and engages the core.
  5. Be kind to yourself and REST. Katie used a heated lavender pillow under her back at night. This heat and extra support helped feel more comfortable and get a good nights sleep!

 

Farewell Sophie: manager profile

Well, the time has come to say goodbye after a wonderful two years with Fierce Grace Brixton. Times of change always trigger pause and reflection, so here are a few words I’d like to share…

Why did you want to do the job?

I love yoga and I love Brixton, so when I heard that there was a studio opening up on my turf I was duly excited. Having been here since before there were even doors to throw open, I feel like part of the fabric of the building itself, so it made so much sense for me to progress into the role of manager.

What do you love about the job?

As with any place it is the people who give it soul, and there have been many great ones here, both past and present, staff and members, that have made the job truly enjoyable. So many interesting personalities walk through that door, varying in so many ways but with one unifying factor: a thirsts for self improvement. (This same drive for learning is actually what drew me to the position of studio manager in the first place!) Whether that’s to be stronger, more mindful, or whatever, we are all here because we are making an effort to be a better version of ourselves. You are a special group of people and I will definitely miss you. I have learnt so much from you and hope that you continue to succeed in your life journeys.

What do you feel you have created?

My Fierce Grace Brixton family.

Any last words?

I would like to sincerely thank each and every one of you for every experience shared, opportunity offered and friendship made during this time. I feel honoured to have been given the privilege to see the studio blossom, along with all those inside it.

Thanks for all the good times! It’s been a journey.

And don’t forget…

LIVE LIFE WITH FIERCE GRACE 😉