• belleleroy

Pooped after 2020 craziest events, Christmas & New Year ? Time to put your feet up ! Here is an invitation for you to slow down, rest and recharge your batteries to leave you feeling restored and refreshed. Sounds boring ? Read on…

“Without a doubt, the need for restorative yoga is great in today’s exhausting and time-pressured world. Countless studies show the ill effects of stress on the mind, body and spirit. We all need a few minutes a day to disconnect, settle into ourselves and rest in silence.” Judith Hanson Lasater

Yoga is a philosophy, science and an art, first described in old Sanskrit texts – the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita and the Yoga Sutras. Yoga is ancient, and yet so relevant to us in a modern frenetic world. It allows us time to return to our body and reconnect with ourselves. The word yoga is generally translated as joining or union. Yoga is a journey of exploration of the body & mind with the breath. It connects mind, body and spirit. It helps us to quieten the mind and find balance.

Often, we can get distracted and pulled in all directions in life by everything that goes around us in the world. And boy, there is plenty right now. This affects our balance and wellbeing at all levels. We can lose sight of our centre and a sense of being lost. We need to regroup and ground ourselves. We do so by reconnecting with our “self”. We cannot give or support anyone if our own “jar of cookies is empty”. It is so important to look after oneself first to rest and recharge our batteries so to speak. Often, we come last and resting comes last on our “To do list” which often gets squeezed out as we ran out of time because we have so much to do. An endless list. Restorative yoga asks us to disengage from it all, pause, breathe, come back to our centre to look deep within befriending ourselves. We learn to care for ourselves by “being here” and letting go.

Our body, mind and nervous system needs soothing. In yoga, we talked about “Prathyahara” restorative yoga, we learn to pull back, withdraw our senses from the outside world to tune into our inner world, to our centre to rest and restore ourselves mentally, physically and emotionally by just coming back to a mode of “being”. We "check in" on ourselves and become the observer.

As Judith Hanson Lasater, the queen of restorative yoga says, “we use props to create positions of ease and comfort that facilitate relaxation and health. Restorative yoga is about opening not stretching.” The props allow us to feel completely supported so we are able to consciously let go and rest. This is a neurological response. We learn to be here in the present moment with ourselves and for ourselves. We start to allow tensions to melt away layer by layer and breathe.

Restorative yoga is an act of kindness and love. “Ahimsa” in the yoga philosophy comes as our top priority on the list. It means non-violence. In other words, how can we express love and kindness towards others and oneself on a daily basis to feel good for sure but also to create a better world around us. How about learning to nourish and nurture ourselves with love. A session of restorative yoga can work wonders. Your body and your mind will thank you for it.

By using the breath and choosing carefully selected poses, short term and long-term health benefits are numerous. The practice changes the body physiology including lowered blood pressure, reduced heart rate, decreased release of stress hormones, stress relief, enhanced mental and physical energy and better immunity. It is great to alleviate stress, anxiety, mild depression, fatigue, headaches, digestive issues, backaches etc. The list goes on. More to the point, it stills a busy mind and deeply relaxes the body. It restores the body to its parasympathetic nervous system function, which, in turn, helps the body rest, heal, and restore balance. By allowing time for longer asanas (postures or poses) and deeper breathing, restorative yoga helps elicit the relaxation response. You truly feel refreshed and rested as if you had been on “holiday” somewhere in the sun. Just as good as a good night’s sleep !

Restorative yoga is a practice in and of itself for people of all ages and backgrounds.

The art of learning to become still is one of the most challenging things we can do and yet the most rewarding. Restorative yoga is a form of meditation. “Layers of tension melt away as you learn to be present to what is happening in the body and mind in each moment”. J Lasater.

I am hosting a Restorative yoga workshop Saturday 30th January 2021 10-12 UK time. A blend of breath work, somatics and restorative yoga. To book your space, pls drop an email to by Friday evening latest to receive your zoom link.

To find out more, check Info & prices under my website events page.

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  • belleleroy

When yogis talk hips, it is generally about opening them. However, your hips CAN be too open... Balancing strength and flexibility in the hips area is so important. Awaken those core and hip muscles; they will love you for it.

Those last few weeks, we have been focusing on pelvis, hips and legs in our yoga practice. They all connect and work together as one supporting your spine, your posture and your wellbeing. Too much sitting affects hips, legs, lower back creating imbalances and weak muscles. No wonder people suffer from back issues. We have worked on opening and releasing hips, hamstrings, lower back by recreating space to bring back alignment. We have also worked on strengthening by consciously connecting and engaging our leg muscles and glutes rather than simply relying on our joints to stand in the yoga pose. When you engage your muscles, you create stability.

As my students would tell you, “Woah, this is strong work !” You really feel so much more connected and stronger in your body and mind. In fact, you simply feel a lot more grounded. We use props like chairs, belts, blocks to help us really engage and align. At the end of the practice, you walk like a different person as you have simply transformed your body. When you change your body and your posture, you also change your mindset. As you become aligned and connected, you feel grounded yet light and powerful. You become clear, calm and focussed.

Position of the pelvis is key to good posture and good alignment. It is the connection between our upper and lower body, spine and legs. It bears weight and offers support for our spine and upper body. It allows us to stand, walk and run. With or without ease, that is the question ?

If misaligned, it can create back and hip issues along with aches and pain. Our breathing and muscles of the spine, abdomen, pelvic floor, lower/upper limbs can affect the pelvis. Tight hip flexors or a tight lower back can create an anterior tilt of the pelvis probably leading to misalignment, lumbar compression, disc degeneration, sciatica issues and fatigue due to the kidneys and adrenals being compressed in the long term. It will not only affect your spine but also your legs and the way we walk adding extra stress on the joints. A posterior tilt or elevation of the pelvis on one side due to scoliosis or other also has negative impacts.

The pelvis is also 2 parts like big elephant ears (the Ilium) joined in the middle at the pubic symphysis and sacrum, so there is supposed to be some movement when we walk etc. Think walking like a Caribbean lady with a beautiful swing in your hips ! You should feel free and light. Finding good neutral alignment of the pelvis is key to find lightness and keep everything happy in your body the way it should be. Along with core strength, yoga somatics helps to release, rebalance and recreate space to move with ease and freedom. I love mixing somatics with yoga.

Some of my client’s feedback: “I feel grounded and light. I feel so relaxed yet energised. I can feel my hips moving in balance and my whole lower back free. I now walk like a different woman….”

Your 1st group class is free. I offer various classes online such as beginner’s yoga, non-beginners yoga, dynamic morning yoga, meditation, Somatics or relaxation. Yoga online via Zoom available. Classes Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays. To book, Pls email to receive your Zoom link 24hrs prior to class.

To find out more, check

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  • belleleroy

How the body connects… Breath, Posture, Shoulders, Neck, Spine ? Yoga shows the way.

Wild thing or “Camatkarasana” in Sanskrit, is an exuberant celebration of life. This pose requires both flexibility and strength. It opens the heart up toward the sky, allowing us to tap into the energy of love, joy, playfulness and compassion. It is both an arm balance and a backbend focused on the shoulders, throat, quadriceps, and core. It also combats mild depression and fatigue.

Why in our yoga practice do we focus on neck, chest & shoulders ? How many of us are tight in this area ? How many people do you know who have shoulders, back or neck issue ? Bad posture, habits, stress, gym workouts, driving, typing… So many reasons. As our front chest (pectoralis) muscles get tight, our shoulders get pulled forward, rounding our posture collapsing our chest, compromising our core, straining our spine & neck whilst weakening our back muscles. Our arm movement becomes restricted. Watch out for a downward spiral ! It is all about balance.

Our head gets out of alignment creating neck and back strain. Our shoulders start to lose full range of motion which leads to other muscles overcompensating creating more imbalance in the body. It is like a “domino” effect. As our chest becomes tighter, our breathing becomes shallow affecting our mood and energy level. We may start to feel “fatigued” or depressed. Our digestion may also suffer as a tight front compresses the organs. Our shoulders, neck and back start to complain. If you try to do a backbend with a tight front, you are heading for trouble. Your arms and shoulders will not be moving freely to allow the expansion and your lower back will most likely take most of the compression, which will be pretty risky and uncomfortable. I know because I have been there.

For those of you, who would like to find out more about tight shoulders, please read this article from yoga journal

Strengthening is key but always check to see first which area needs to be opened and lengthened to recreate space in the body before strengthening. As we look at releasing tension, opening the chest, shoulders, upper back to recreate space and mobility, we bring the body back in balance. We improve our posture and our sense of well-being. We feel more comfortable in our own skin and move with more ease. We breathe better and find a new level of energy. We feel happier.

All my yoga classes start with a gentle warm up before our main practice and ends with a lovely relaxation. I use a mix of breath, yoga and somatics practice to achieve the best results. My students may find the practice challenging at times but always leave with a smile feeling so much better and taller. I always give alternatives to accommodate everyone. Many of them described the class as “Fantastic”.

As Vanda Scaravelli once said, “Yoga must not be practiced to control the body: it is the opposite, it must bring freedom to the body, all the freedom it needs”

Why don't you join me ? Your 1st group class is free. I offer various classes online such as beginner’s yoga, non-beginners yoga, dynamic morning yoga, meditation, Somatics or relaxation. Yoga online via Zoom during COVID-19 confinement. Classes Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays. To book, Pls email to receive your Zoom link 24hrs prior to class.

To find out more, check

“Wild Thing”, a song written by American songwriter Chip Taylor and popularized by the English rock band the Troggs

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"I help my clients to find balance, strength, ease of movement and

peace of mind for a happier life"

Isabelle Leroy, founder of Yoga with Belle

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Yoga & Somatics in and around Tunbridge Wells

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