Yoga with Alex

Alex instructs postural yoga twice a week.

Time: Thursdays 6-7pm
Location: Nuffield Derby Gym, DE21 6DA (members only session)
Level: Beginner to Intermediate

Time: Saturdays 10:45-11.45am
Location: City Balance Mind And Body, 659 London Road, Derby. DE24 8UQ
Level: Beginners & Intermediate

In postural yoga, the act of observing the breath is used as an anchor to encourage the mind to stay in the moment, rather than entertain future or past thoughts.

Throughout the practice, attention is drawn towards the control of the breath and the awareness of the bodies sensations.


What do you need to come along to yoga?

Come along to yoga if you are able to comfortably bend both forward and backward, bear weight through you’re wrists and feel well in yourself. Bring a drink and flexible long-sleeved clothing.

About Alex’s approach

Postural Yoga is a western adaption of an Indian physical health and awareness system that focuses on strengthening and balancing the nervous system thereby moderating the excessive activity of the mind using the postures and yoga breathing techniques to re-focus our awareness on our bodies’ sensations, rather than worries and issues that can loop around our mind’s.

Within class participants will be taken through a slow warm-up where the spine will be mobilized, the muscles of the inner and outer core will be warmed and stimulated. The class will then perform two or three rounds of Sun Salutations, a form of vinyasa yoga sequence where the postures are made to fit together in an order that alternately lengthens and contracts the spine and body. After this, the class moves into the phase of standing postures where gravity is used to strengthen and lengthen the body before transitioning down onto the floor for seated postures, twists, balances and inversions.

About Stretching and yoga

Often people often say, “I can’t do yoga, I am not flexible”, or “yoga is just stretching”.

In one sense postural yoga is about stretching, many of the poses involve the controlled lengthening of tissues under the pull of gravity and body weight in positions that are difficult to maintain. Postural yoga works your balance, rotation, bends and uses more-often-than-not a lot of strengthening.

How is postural yoga different?

Why would you practice postural yoga? Where the poses are performed slowly, this  allows us to tune more into how you feel as you breath and move. As a society, we can exist too much in our heads.

More technically the action of loading muscles and fascia,  whilst they are contracting and supporting us as we exhale deeply, creates a phenomenon known as a Pandiculation. We see animals pandiculating as they stretch before they move. Research indicates that pandiculations are very good for our posture, flexibility and strength. In theory pandiculations conjoin the seperate parts of the body that once reconnected work better as a whole.

Tom Meyers the Anatomy Trains author links yoga postures to his connective tissues lines or meridians. The suggestion here is that postural yoga could help unwind our injured and fatigued bodies. See an article by Tom Myers

Crow is an arm balance where all the weight is bourne into the hands and shoulders. This poses is all strength and balance.

Some beginners can get both feet off the floor first time whereas others have to build up their strength and overcome a fear of falling forwards.

This pose leads to a Tripod headstand and then handstand.

Out of High Crow into Tripod Headstand. The movement of the knees onto the elbows requires stabilizing the abdominal cylinder.

Transitioning to early or quickly onto the elbows can place excessive load into the top of the skull. The glutes in this position will have a limited stabilising role, rather move on an exhale with a gentle engagement of the waist muscles, (to fire the Trans Abs), while maintaining a straight spine. Moving with a flexed spine emphasizes the Rectus Abdominus rather than the spinal extensors and stabilizers like the Erector Spinae and Multifidus.

Down dog is the combined lengthening of the whole back of the body, particularly into the calves and thighs. 

Where the upper back is over rounded than this pose can work towards a flatter longer spine.