Yoga Focus – What is Kundalini Yoga?

Often referred to as the ‘Yoga of Awareness’ or ‘Holistic Yoga’, Kundalini yoga is a practice fusing several ancient practices and principles to enable the practitioner to manage and manipulate the energetic flow in the body. Kundalini includes the practices of Bhakti yoga (devotion and mantra chanting) Raja yoga (meditation, mental and physical control) and Shakti yoga (the expression and control of energy or power).

A kundalini yoga class can leave you feeling like you’ve been to therapy, done a workout and felt the earth move – vibrationally speaking. Kundalini is a modality by which practitioners can deeply cleanse the nervous system, tune into their inner potential and release energetic blockages or imbalances to find a peaceful life and a balanced outlook. This isn’t just yoga to make the body feel better – this is yoga that can create shifts in every area of your life.

Historically speaking…

The exact date and emergence of kundalini tantra is unclear, but the practices of kundalini energy manipulation and philosophy are mentioned in the Upanishads (vedic yoga texts) dating back to 1000 BC. The term Kundalini means a spiritual energy or life force located at the base of the spine and often represented by a coiled snake. Practicing Kundalini yoga awakens the kundalini shakti (energy of universal creation) and allows it to rise up through the chakra system along the spine to the crown of the head. Each chakra is a wheel or hub of energy at a particular point in the spine where energy channels intersect. Through practicing asana (physical postures), pranayama (yogic breathing techniques) and mantra it is possible to direct the flow of energy through the chakras to have profound effect on the nervous system, the mind and the flow of life. If you’ve ever felt like a passenger in your own life, kundalini may be what you’re searching for.

The practice of kundlini yoga historically was part of tantric tradition. Tantra means secret mantra and as such, the practice was the preserve of the very few privileged gurus and selected students. The modern presentation of Kundalini yoga that we often see today is a blend of several traditions brought to the mainstream by Yogi Bhajan in the 1960’s. Practice involves the use of Kriyas – yoga ‘sets’ of asana, pranayama, meditation and the use of yogic muscle locks or bandhas to direct energy flow and prepare the nervous system, mind and body for the flow of kundalini awakening and rising through the chakra system.

On wearing white

Traditionally teachers and students in kundalini class wear outfits of all white. The choice of white as the universal colour of practice is that colours have an effect on consciousness. Many holistic traditions refer to colours as being inseparably connected to energy points in the body. The chakra system is strongly identified with colours at points from the base of the spine to the crown. The Aura of each individual presents as colours depending on energy flow and interaction.

White is the colour that represents all 7 colours of the chakra system. By wearing white, we project the auric body further away from our physical form, making the energetic changes of our kundalini practice more profound. Wearing white contributes to the efficiency, profundity and progressive effect of our practice. Having said that…your practice is personal to you. If you feel more comfortable or you feel you have a deeper connection to another colour, you can wear whatever assists your practice.

Bowing to the truth within you

Each Kundalini session (following modern principles of Yogi Bhajan) starts with the process of tuning in. We do this by rubbing the palms together, pressing the hands together at the centre of the chest and engaging in the powerful mantra Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo three times. This is your recognition of the universal truth within; bowing to your own destiny.

What to expect

Kundalini yoga is weird – there I’ve said it. Now that’s out of the way, let’s look at what a typical class will involve. After tuning in, we start the Kriya – a set of postures (some of which may be familiar to you if you’ve practiced other forms of yoga), breathing techniques, muscle locks and mantra chanting (silently or out loud). Kundalini isn’t as dynamic as a vinyasa class – you won’t be getting up and down from your mat over and over – but it is still challenging. We use rapid repetition and controlled movements to channel energy. You will feel this as heat, emotional release, fatigue or muscle shakes (along with many other possible effects). It’s a full body, mind and spirit experience in each session. Classes will close with mantra, meditation or sound experiences.

Join me on Wednesday evenings twice a month to embark on the extraordinary journey that is kundalini yoga. Awaken your divine energy in 2021 and make this year the year you reclaim happiness.

Your Practice, Our Community: Lockdown 2.0

Well we were expecting it weren’t we? But that said, lockdown still comes as a blow to most of us (myself included). But, I’m still here helping you to stay motivated, lifted and encouraged to keep practicing yoga and meditation. We have a great community of yogis and meditators, so lets get through this together!

Back online each week with the following:

Weekly – ’10 minutes a day’ mindfulness practice uploaded to Youtube. Donation based class; pay what you can/wish by PayPalMe

Wednesdays 12 pm – Yin Yang Yoga, £5

Thursdays 6 pm – Vinyasa Yoga, £5

Fridays 10 am – Yin Yoga, £5

You can find out more about the styles of yoga here.

Classes will run when minimum participant numbers (3 people) have been reached, so please book early if you’d like to practice. There is no limit on the number of people who can join, so spread the word to anyone else who needs a little pick-me-up during lockdown.

If you have any issues with booking, please let me know [email protected]

See you online!

Namaste

Online Retreat Centre

We may still be in lockdown, but the stresses and strains of life don’t give us a break. Work stress may have slowed down, but family life has certainly ramped up. Living in containment, even with those we love can be challenging.

The Well Nest is still fully open and ready to help you with your mental and physical wellbeing. Classes are on offer throughout the week on a pay as you go basis, monthly subscription or donation/pay what you wish basis.

What’s on?

Weekly classes:
Tuesdays at 12 pm – Mindfulness on Facebook Live. Donation based.
Wednesdays at 12 pm Yin Yang Yoga on Zoom. £5 per session
Thursdays at 6 pm – Vinyasa Yoga on Zoom. £5 per session
Fridays at 10 am – Yin Yoga on Zoom. £5 per session

All Yoga classes are part of the monthly subscription – £25 per month, giving you access to up to 12 classes.

You can book your sessions here, and follow us on Facebook and Instagram for regular updates and special offers.

If you’ve never tried meditation or yoga, now is a great time to start your journey. All you need is a space to roll out your yoga mat or a chair in a quiet corner (headphones help!) and you can gain the skills to make a real difference to how you feel physically and mentally.

Life is about balance and there is a real strength in peace. Take your chance to get out of your mind and into your body – into your true experience of the present moment.

Classes are now by Zoom!

There is no need for your wellbeing practices to take a hit at this difficult time. We need to stay social (even from a distance) and we need to stay active and connected. Our bodies and minds may be under significant stress, but things will be continuing at The Well Nest.

Most of the community classes are moving online. You can still practice with the same yogis, same teacher…but from your living room, kitchen, spare bedroom…any comfortable place.

Class Schedule

The following classes will be available every week from week commencing 23rd March:

Tuesdays 12 pm – 12.30 pm – Mindfulness & Meditation (on Facebook Live) Currently free as we all need this right now. No sign-up, just join @TheWellNestUK on Facebook from Tuesday 24th March.

Wednesdays 12 pm – 1 pm – Yin Yang Yoga by Zoom, £5.

Thursdays 6 pm – 7 pm – Vinyasa Yoga by Zoom, £5

Fridays 10 am – 11 am – Yin Yoga by Zoom, £5. This gentle, restorative class is back by popular demand. Mindful movements to connect body and mind.

All classes can be booked through the Events page of the website. Booking for each class opens 10 days before the event so you have time to book.

Classes are running at nearly 20% discount (and free in some cases). We all need to survive these tough times and we will do if we work together. I want to be able to continue to offer wellbeing classes for all when life gets back to ‘normal’. Your support right now means the world.

Workshops and Retreats

Staying at home doesn’t mean missing out on developing your mindfulness practice and learning the tools to help us navigate difficult times.

This month’s retreat will be a Home Retreat by Zoom. Teachings and meditations will be provided with notes and guide sheets being provided by email.

Saturday 11th April 2 pm – 4 pm – Reducing Stress and Anxiety with Mindfulness, £15

Full details fo the Home Retreat can be found on the Events page where you can also book your place.

This workshop is running at 25% discount. We all need to survive these tough times and we will do if we work together. I want to be able to continue to offer wellbeing classes for all when life gets back to ‘normal’. Your support right now means the world.

Namaste

COVID-19 Update

All classes, workshops and treatments will be continuing as normal with The Well Nest until venues or official guidance suggests another course of action. Classes will be taking place in the community, privately and for 1:1s as arranged.

I will continue to keep everyone updated on the situation, but in the meantime, please be reassured that the following steps are being taken so that you can continue to attend wellbeing classes and therapies:

  • No props or yoga mats will be available to borrow for the foreseeable future. Please bring your own mats and props and care for them appropriately to ensure hygiene and cleanliness
  • Payments should be made by card or loyalty card where possible to keep cash handling to a minimum
  • Class sizes will be limited to less than 15 people
  • Please do not attend class if you are unwell or have been in contact with others who are unwell. Follow guidance issued by the NHS and WHO
  • Please wash hands and/or use hand sanitiser before and after class
  • Therapies and 1:1 sessions take place in a dedicated space used only by me and my clients. The space is kept clean and sanitised in line with professional standards. Hand washing facilities are available for use

If you have concerns about attending group sessions, I still have availability for private sessions for yoga, meditation and healing therapies.

Virtual Classes by Skype

If venues advise that they will be closing for a period, I plan to offer my regular classes as advertised in the class timetable, remotely via Skype so that you can practice with me from your home.

Your mental and physical wellbeing is important at this time of stress. I’d like to do what I can to help you stay motivated and uplifted and to keep your wellbeing routine going.

Please get in touch if you have any questions.

[email protected]

How Can Sound Therapy Help Me?

“Everything in life is vibration” – Albert Einstein

All things vibrate energetically due to their atomic or molecular structure. When we talk about our own vibration, we mean our overall state of being; relative to all that we interact with. It’s important that we recognise our own vibration and how that can be affected by all that we come into contact with – not just other people, but food, technology, weather, scent, buildings…it all matters to our vibration.

But why is vibration important?

Because we need to find balance to find wellness and wholeness. It sounds simple and yet in modern life it is so hard to find that balance and more so to keep it. Ancient cultures understood vibration and the importance of balancing energy to bring wellness to the individual and the community. Energetic balance is central to Shamanic principles of wellbeing, just as it is central to yogic philosophy, Traditional Chinese Medicine, aromatherapy, sound therapy…the list goes on.

Our ancestors knew that the individual could not find balance alone. But, as we move away from small community living to global society, what we actually find is we are billions of individuals that have lost a lot of our real and meaningful connection to each other. Competition and selfishness have caused us a great deal of physical and mental suffering.

If we recognise that balance is found in the principle of interconnectedness; that all things affect us just as we affect them; then we can regain our balance.

How do I know if I’m out of balance?

There are a number of signs that you may be feeling out of balance energetically:

  • Feeling stuck and not sure of which decisions or directions to take in life
  • Feeling of carrying a weight that often manifests as sadness or dissatisfaction
  • Loss of motivation, even for the things that you enjoyed previously
  • Stress and anxiety and feelings of overwhelm
  • Periods of illness or inability to shake off illness
  • Mood swings
  • The ease and joy of life feel difficult to find
  • Fatigue or lethargy
  • Digestive discomfort

How can I find my Balance?

All things are connected, so all things affect your energetic balance. An upset in the balance of your energy can have great physical and mental effects, but sound therapy can help you to find the balance that has been lost by directing sound frequencies into the body and mind.

Sound Therapy

A profound way to access and heal energetic balance is through sound therapy. As you relax, traditional instruments that have been used for healing practices for centuries, are played on or near to your body. The frequencies of the sounds produced, effect and realign the frequencies and energetic balance of our bodies and minds.

The pure sounds enter the body and mind and can have a profound effect on emotional states, mental busyness and stress levels. Sound therapy can also treat physical ailments as the sound frequencies enter the body and resonate with water and fluid content in the cells. Rhythmic and repetitive sounds can also directly affect brainwave states to bring individuals into deeper states of relaxation, awareness and consciousness. The deeper states of relaxation activate the parasympathetic nervous system, turning down the body’s stress response and activating the release of hormones to bring the body back to balance chemically as well a energetically. Long-term or chronic illness such a fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue and osteoarthritis can also be alleviated through sound therapy as sound waves enter the body and encourage healing on a cellular level.

Sound therapy also has deep connection to Chakra theory. Each Chakra (energetic wheel) vibrates at a certain frequency and can be assisted back into balance and free movement through the use of sound therapy. Particular frequencies played on or near to the Chakras can have a profound rebalancing effect on overall wellbeing.

What’s involved in a therapy session?

Therapy sessions utilise tonal (singing bowls, bells, chimes etc) and rhythmic (drums, rattles etc) instruments as part of the therapeutic process. There may also be use of vocal toning and mantra to aid the process of relaxation and to create further resonant tones.

So many of our modern illness and imbalances are caused by stress and we often find ourselves tolerating the effects of stress for far longer than we should. Thinking, ‘things will get better’, ‘this will pass soon’, but often we struggle on for years.

Sound therapy isn’t just about listening to nice music and relaxing for an hour (although that does happen). Techniques of visualisation, reflection and grounding are built into the practice and afterwards to allow each client to gain a deeper insight into their own wellbeing and how practical steps to rebalance can be take in everyday life.

Following an initial consultation, you will relax on a therapy couch or on the floor (supported by blankets and pillows) and will be guided into relaxation before the therapy session begins. Based on your individual requirements and concerns, the therapist will play instruments directed at particular health concerns, imbalances or reactions that have manifested in the body or mind. Following the treatment you will be brought slowly out of the session with grounding techniques and self-reflection on your journey or experience during the treatment and in the following weeks.

How to book

Sessions are available throughout the week at The Well Nest Studio, very close to Stafford town centre. Please contact Hannah to check availability and make your booking. [email protected]

The first session you have will last 75 minutes to allow for the initial consultation and discussion of your requirements. Sessions can thereafter be booked for 60 or 45 minutes.

First session (75 minutes) £45

60 minute session £40

45 minute session £35

Small group sessions can also be provided at The Well Nest or at your home. please contact Hannah to make enquiries [email protected]

Men’s Wellbeing Series

The importance of men’s wellbeing can’t be stressed enough in a time when we hear frightening statistics about mental health, and about how men in particular tend to suffer with the stresses and strains of modern life. Men are much less likely to seek help for mental health issues, workplace stress or anxiety from life in general.

The Men’s Wellbeing Series aims to provide men with an opportunity to try wellbeing activities designed specifically for men, in a community space which aims to promote sharing and openness. This is an opportunity to invest in your health and wellbeing and learn techniques to calm the mind and release stress and tension from the body. Whether you suffer with the pressures of life already, or want to get a handle on your wellbeing before your health is affected, these workshops will provide valuable tools to help you take back control of your mental and physical wellbeing.

There are two options for men to try in this series, and no experience is necessary for either workshop. Each workshop can be booked individually (no need to do both) so you can choose both, or the one that appeals the most. To kickstart the Men’s Wellbeing Series, each workshop is offered at £5 off the usual investment.

The Workshops

Yoga for Mind and Body

Wednesday 26th June 2019, 6 pm – 7.30 pm, £15

A truly beneficial workshop for mind and body to help you unwind, de-stress, stretch and relax.

This workshop is a great place to start your yoga practice. The session will include dynamic movements for flexibility and strength and restorative, longer holds to encourage joint mobility and mindful movement. There will be guided relaxation and meditation included. 

To find out more, or book your place – visit the Events page.

Introduction to Mindfulness

Tuesday 9th July 2019, 6 pm – 7.30 pm, £20

A fantastic introduction to mindfulness that will give you the opportunity to try practices and learn how mindfulness can help to calm the busyness of the mind.

The workshop will cover: what mindfulness is, how to connect with the present moment through awareness, using mindfulness to calm the busyness of the mind, using mindfulness in daily life and in stressful situations. Participants will try different mindfulness meditations which can be practiced during and after the session.

To find out more, or book your place – visit the Events page.

The Venue

The Workshops will be held at a great new community space above Candid Beer in Stafford town centre.

Candid is a craft beer bottleshop/taproom/coffeeshop/co-working space and events hub rolled into one. Community and conversation are central at Candid.

See you there!

World Meditation Day 2019

Tuesday 21st May 2019 is World Meditation Day! I wrote recently about the benefits of a Mindfulness or Meditation practice and the difficulties of getting started.

When we are presented with an opportunity like World Meditation Day, there really is no better time to get started on the meditation journey.

Just sit…and observe

Meditation is for everybody

So what can you expect as a beginner? The good news is, absolutely everybody and anybody can meditate. It seems difficult because we hear phrases like ’empty your mind of thoughts’ and immediately we have fear that we won’t be able to do it. Luckily that’s not what meditation and mindfulness are about. If we could empty our minds, we wouldn’t need to meditate! Don’t be put off by popular phrases and preconceptions; come with no expectations and you’ll find your meditation experience all the better for it.

So what will you find at group meditation with the Well Nest? A warm and friendly welcome, a calm atmosphere in relaxing surroundings, full instructions from start to finish, knowledgeable insights and teachings and guidance through your meditation experience. At the Well Nest, we love beginners – because we remember how it feels to attend that very first group meditation session and feel like a fish out of water. But don’t worry, meditation really is for everybody. We will sit in chairs (no special clothing required) and enjoy teachings, progressive relaxation and meditation.

Meditation is for everybody

Join us…

Come and join us on World Meditation Day as we hold a Lunchtime Escape in Stafford town centre. At 12.30 pm at TopLine Studio, I will help you find 45 minutes of calm in the middle of your day. This is a great opportunity to try something that could really make a difference to your life and those close to you.

If sitting doesn’t appeal to you, why not try walking meditation. Learn to tune into the body and your surroundings in a whole new way: mindful walking classes are available at The Wolseley Centre. Spend your Saturday mornings wisely and invest in you.

You can read more about my Mindfulness and Meditation journey here. Isn’t it about time you gave meditation a try?

May is National Meditation Month

We hear about Mindfulness and Meditation all the time; on social media, in the news, at the doctors surgery and in the workplace…but where do you start if you haven’t tried it before?

Meditation and Mindfulness are founded on some of the simplest practices that have been relied upon for centuries by cultures that truly understood the real benefits of a meditation practice.

Take a seat…and find some peace

Although some of the practices are very simple, they can be very difficult. It’s understandable that most people read articles and think “I should learn to meditate” or “I know I’d benefit from mindfulness” but many don’t actually take the plunge. Part of that is availability, part of it is knowing where to start (what to try?) and what the experience might be in a class or group meditation.

Why not start with The Well Nest?

At the Well Nest we run Mindfulness & Meditation sessions through the week , evening sessions, courses and workshops in relaxed and welcoming environments. No experience is necessary; just come with an open mind and a willingness to learn a practice that could change your life. At the Well Nest we focus on delivering simple and effective teachings and practical meditations that you can take away and practice in daily life, right from the first session.

You are welcome to start your journey with us this month as we launch new Lunchtime Escapes in Stafford – 45 minutes of Mindfulness and Meditation on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the new TopLine Studio on Stafford Street. An opportunity to try something new that could last life time and make a real difference to your quality of life. Or, why not join us to learn the art of Mindful Walking in the beautiful surrounds of the Wolseley Centre on 25th May.

Learn to walk mindfully with the Well Nest

The benefits of a Mindfulness & Meditation practice

The benefits of a regular meditation or Mindfulness practice are well documented: here are just a few…

  • lower stress levels
  • reduced anxiety
  • better sleep quality
  • improved mental resilience and overall mood
  • better overall wellbeing
  • less instances of heart disease
  • less instances of respiratory illness
  • Improved blood pressure
  • Improved relationships….

It’s time to make this May, your meditation month. Join us and learn a practice that could truly benefit your life and free your mind.

New Classes and Courses for Spring

Exciting developments are on the way at The Well Nest bringing wellbeing and peace of mind to new areas in Stafford and surrounds.

A host of new classes, courses and workshops are on the way. There is something for everyone from lunchtime escapes into yoga and meditation to energetic vinyasa flow and in-depth mindfulness practitioner courses to change your mind and your life.

Wellbeing shouldn’t be the last thing we look after: if we prioritise our own inner peace, we can improve our mindset, physical and mental health, relationships and work. Don’t put it off any longer…join us and find something new.

Starting in May, we have a new partnership with Staffordshire Wildlife Trust to bring yoga and mindfulness practice to the beautiful location of the Wolseley Centre. 50% of all session costs go to support the work of the Trust. The following classes and courses will be on offer:

Yin Yoga – every Friday 10 am -11.15 am in the Conference Centre. Practice this restorative form of yoga to increase joint mobility and move mindfully. classes will include relaxation and meditation. No need to book, just bring your mat to practice: £7 per session.

Mindful Walking – learn the practice of mindfulness meditation in the Gatehouse and take that outside to practice mindful walking through the wooded areas, boardwalk and lakeside at the Wolseley Centre. Sessions run one Saturday per month at £15 per person per session. Booking required.

Mindfulness Practitioner Course – 8 sessions to provide a full practice of mindfulness for everyday life. Learn how to use mindfulness to work with emotional and physical difficulties, pain, mental busyness, anxiety and stress. A full programme to change your mind and your life. The course is £160 and booking is required.

Also starting in May, the Well Nest will have regular classes and workshops at the brand new TopLine Studio in Stafford town centre. Ideally located and beautifully renovated and transformed, this space has a lot to offer for yoga and mindfulness practice.

Lunchtime Escapes – taking place 4 days per week, these 45 minute sessions will offer the opportunity to either stretch and invigorate or relax and unwind in the middle of the day. Each session costs £5 and there is no need to book; drop in and leave with a different outlook.

Mondays – Yin Yang Yoga

Tuesdays & Thursdays – Meditation & Mindfulness

Fridays – Yin Yoga

Evening Yoga sessions – Finish the working day by stretching out, flowing through poses or moving mindfully with the breath. Two sessions are on offer to help you finish the day on a high. Sessions are 60 minutes long and cost £6 each.

Tuesdays 5 pm – Vinyasa Yoga

Fridays 5.30 pm – Yin Yoga

Hope to see you at one of our new classes soon! Watch this space for upcoming workshops and events.