Tag Archives: Teacher Nina

The science behind falling in love

Love is in the air… Love makes the world go round… It drives us to madness, to euphoria, to despair; that crazy little thing called love…

How good do you feel after you sweat it out at hot yoga? Through exercise we release endorphins giving us that post-work-out buzz, dopamine giving us a big dollop of pleasure and serotonin, providing us with a healthy appetite, a restful night’s sleep and a positive outlook. Powerful hey? Well, the science behind love is pretty similar. At Fierce Grace Brixton, we are getting loved up for Valentine’s Day this Sunday. Whether you’re a yogi with a Single-Standing-head-to-knee, some Loved-up Lunges, or a “It’s Complicated” Crow, we’ve done a little digging into the science behind love.

Research has shown there are three stages of falling in love, all with a varying hormonal response.

Stage 1: LUST
Psychologists have suggested it takes us anywhere between 90 seconds and 4 minutes to detect “fancy-ability” in someone, 55% of which is from their body language. The things we find attractive in a partner can be the result of a “love map” – things instilled in us from childhood about what we do or do not want in a partner. Furthermore, it has also been suggested we all belong to certain “chemical families”; and instinctively choose partners who balance and complement our own bodily hormone levels. Or maybe they just have a nice smile?

At this stage, the hormones oestrogen and testosterone play a key role; testosterone is not only confined to men, indeed it makes for some hot-bloodied females out there!


Cue the love-struck Stage 2! Example A: Take Shakespeare’s tragic hero Romeo: “Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight! For I ne’er saw true beauty till this night” Classic Stage 2.

A whole range of hormones and neurotransmitters called ‘monoamines’ flood the bloodstream. Those giddy butterflies… the teenage giggles… staring into space at your desk fawning over your new love then boring your friends with it over dinner… Yikes. The increased levels of serotonin in the blood stream render us with temporary insanity!

Dopamine, created in the brain, secreted by the adrenal glands, affects our organs and our senses, influencing our mood and emotions with big highs and lows. And, oh, our sweat glands: those clammy palms you get around your new love-interest whilst you’re trying to be totally cool, calm and collected? Blame science. Love is quite literally a drug; nicotine and Class A’s scientifically have the same effect on the brain!

Also enhancing the release of testosterone, our sexual desires are ignited and we more aggressively and passionately pursue our beloved.

The neurotransmitters norepinephine and PEA act as a stimulant. In our alert state, we begin to notice all those ‘small things’ that make us fall in love. The brain actually starts to re-wire itself through the central nervous system, creating a rewards-type reaction when we are with our loved one.

Here, two more hormones that come into play. Oxytocin, is the hormonal creator of strong bonds. It is secreted into the bloodstream by mothers during childbirth. It is also secreted along with vasopressin to strengthen our feelings towards our partner, released in its greatest form after ‘mating’. What a wonderful place the body is.

Science aside, this Sunday we will be celebrating the theme of love with our fabulous Partner Stretching class, taught by senior teacher Nina Rashid. Nina will guide you through some partner stretches and balances that may have you falling out of postures, but certainly more in love… Maybe you want to gaze into each other’s eyes, maybe you want to giggle along with a friend or maybe you want to come along solo to soak up the FGB love, come along and live and love life with Fierce Grace. And enjoy strawberries and fizz afterwards. Win win. Book here.

Wild Class

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.

Sleep well in Autumn

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 Nidrathe 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!

Night all.

Teacher Feature – Nina

We recently caught up with our amazing teacher, Nina Rashid as she shares her yoga journey with us and tells us about life inside and out of the hot room…

What is yoga about, for you personally?

My life, my saviour, my passion.

What drew you to yoga?

I have always tried to keep fit and healthy, I love the softness in yoga compared to other sports l did when younger, basketball, football.

Have you always been in the yoga industry?

I worked in the airline industry for 21 years, 14 of them flying around the world as cabin crew. I was based in the Middle East and absolutely loved it, had so much fun, met friends for life from all over the world.

Describe your first yoga class

I was tired, full of cold and had just stepped off a very busy flight, was my first night stop in Trivandrum, Kerala, I decided to try a yoga class as I had books and a video (yes, old fashioned VHS) but had not taken an actual class. I was hooked straight away, 2 hour class with an amazing teacher- a 70 year old gentleman, we practiced on a terrace above the thrashing waves, on a very hard wood floor. His style was Iyengar influenced, so long postures. I tell my students now about my first time doing pigeon pose, 20 minutes on each side, WOW!  I had an ayurvedic massage afterwards & felt amazing, no cold, no jetlag, I just felt very calm, peaceful and happy.

How long have you been practicing yoga for and when did you become a teacher?

My first class was in 1997, the following year I studied at White Lotus in Santa Barbara, California. A fantastic Vinyasa flow training. I started teaching in Bahrain as I was then working in cabin crew management, taught group classes and privates.  After moving to the UK in 1999 I started Bikram loved it. Trained in Hawaii 2007 and finally left the airline industry to work for myself! Since then I have done several workshops and trainings. Yogabugs, restorative and am creating a yoga sequence for cancer patients, which I hope to teach soon.

Describe your teaching style

I adjust my teaching in every class, depending on the style, energy of the students. I try to  push people to their edges but in a compassionate way. I love having a good laugh in class as well, not to serious.

What’s your favourite thing about being a yoga teacher?

Helping people to feel good about themselves,  I love seeing the “AHA!” in class, when a student has worked hard and at last understood the postures and breathing. I get a real kick and buzz after teaching, as I am so passionate about the health benefits, physically, emotionally and mentally.

Describe your most memorable yoga class

Teaching Bikram to 13 London Wasps rugby players, in a class full of regular students as well. They were moaning , groaning, swearing (!!) under their breath right from the start. Fit, strong healthy men but they did struggle in the hot room.  It was a very hard class to teach but we had so much fun!

In what way has yoga changed your life?

In May 2013, I was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer, which had also spread to my lymhnodes. I had 3 operations, 5 months of chemo, 2 months of radiotherapy and am on hormone meds for the next few years.  I have always been a positive person but cancer tested everything I had ever known. Physically I felt strong, I remember one oncologist telling me continue doing this yoga thing, as I was much stronger than his other patients.  I was asked several times if I was an athlete!!?? Due to my strong and slow heart rate.  I went back to my old meditation practice, used breathe control when I was in pain. Chemotherapy is very hard on the body and mind, although it did seem to cure my dentist phobia!

What makes Fierce Grace, in particular, special for you?

It was created by my mentor, my first teacher the amazing Michele Pernetta, she has created a very balanced yoga system, balancing Yin and Yang, female and male. There is a class for everyone.  I have known Nigel and Katie for a good few years, their passion for the studio is amazing, all the staff make Brixton a cool, friendly studio. The members are amazing, keen, eager, willing to learn and they love our yoga.

What do you do outside of teaching?

I walk and hike a lot, always with my little Cairn terrier Penny. I recently did a Nordic walking instructors course. I try to get my poles out every day, of course Penny comes with me. This compliments my yoga practice – definitely upper body strength, it is a brilliant cardio workout as well.

What’s your favourite posture?

Backbends, mainly because I find them very hard.

What is your greatest achievement?

Getting through cancer treatment and learning to live as a survivor, every day is still a challenge as the side effects of cancer treatment are permanent.

Who has been your biggest inspiration?

Audrey Hepburn, style, grace, beauty and compassion!

What’s your favourite quote?

Whine less, Breathe more,

Talk less, Say more

Hate less, Love more

If you could give people one piece of advice what would it be?

Live in the NOW,  Choosing to accept your practice the way it is now, rather than trying to force your pose to look perfect. Commit to the journey of yoga to help you move from fear to freedom.