Category Archives: News

44 – the final flush of fertility

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44 – the final flush of fertility (and documenting my pregnancy)

Napping with the girls

Napping with the girls

My second daughter will be here sometime between now and the next full moon. She’s feisty and strong and her kicks sometimes take my breath away. How awesome. ‘Awesome’ – that word is bandied about too much, usually to describe something slightly above mediocrity, but my husband Daniel and I are truly awestruck that my body has grown us another baby. We wonder who will arrive this time? For most of the last 4 ½ years we’ve just stared at Tulsi, hardly believing our luck that this magical creature is ours. And another one is nearly here . . .

Pregnancy is an everyday miracle. We can’t comprehend the trillions of complex decisions and manoeuvres that are unconsciously made within our pregnant bodies. It’s the stuff of Gods, way beyond our human understanding.

Daniel and I have had a long and complex journey with pregnancy, this is my 6th pregnancy and at 44 years old – really, truly, in the final flush of my fertility – we’ve been blessed with another girl. It’ll be Daniel and all his girls and all their tiaras.

Interested in joining our Peacock Tree Yoga pregnancy class? Click here!

Documenting my pregnancy

Astonished that we’ve got this far, I am keen to capture the experience. Once we dared trust that this was indeed a strong pregnancy we began to document it. From 17 weeks I took a ‘bumpie’ shot each week.

bumpie_shots_fordocumenting_my_pregnancy_blog

She had a good start, Goddessing in the American desert, absorbing ancient cacti karma . . .

Up until then, the only documentary evidence of my pregnancy was taken before I even knew I was pregnant, whilst in the American desert studying with my teacher at Zen Wellness.

Urdvha padmasana next to a cactus

6 weeks pregnant – who knew?!

There have been numerous pregnancy yoga photos, and last weekend we had enormously messy fun making a plaster cast of my tummy*.

I’d always really hoped to be able to experience pregnancy for a second time. The first time around I had done pregnancy training with the phenomenal Uma Dinsmore Tuli (famous for her groundbreaking book, Yoni Shakti) and since that time, I’d become, I suppose, a little bit more ‘womb centric.’ I began to really notice and value the power of female friendship and what happens when women support each other with kindness, empathy and humour (whether they have children or not).

Come and join our Peacock Tree Yoga pregnancy community!

The beauty and strength of women

I also enjoyed designing and executing our own goddess workshops, and contemplating women’s deeply creative and cyclical connection to nature. I loved teaching pregnancy yoga classes and watching new friendships blossom with growing babies.

And so, as this pregnancy has progressed, so has my sense of connection to mother earth and the miracle that’s happening within me – culminating in the weekend’s ‘project’, which involved Daniel digging a womb-like hole in the sand on the beach, me lying in it naked, and waiting for the waves to wash in. And it wasn’t in the tropics – it was at Saltburn, North Yorkshire. And no, the beach wasn’t deserted; it was well populated by dog walkers, because, well, that’s our reality isn’t it.

'Beach womb' photo documenting my pregnancy

As this pregnancy has progressed, so has my sense of connection to Mother Earth.

I am not easy to say no to at the moment, and bless him, my husband is such a good sport, so my insistence of, ‘Daniel I just have to do this,’ meant that that’s just what had to happen.

While I was communing with Mother Earth and the elemental forces of nature and Daniel was taking my photo, I could hear him chatting merrily to passing locals, “Turned out nice again,” “Look what just got washed ashore,” “Yes, she was just like that when I got here,”. Oh my goodness, I do love him.

Weirdly I wasn’t embarrassed, not a jot. When I am pregnant all vanity disappears – I just exist in this state of awe, beguiled by the fact that my body is creating life, and I am utterly thrilled with my pregnant form – how astonishing it is! So what if some of the locals gawped, most walked on by in that true Yorkshire way of “Nowt to see here,” and those that did see – well then what a nice thing to look at and chat about over fish and chips.

Has it been easy? No of course not (life isn’t, I run a popular yoga school and we’ve completely renovated our house during my pregnancy!), I’ve been sick most days, suffered nausea throughout, I’ve had nerve-wrecking insomnia, fainting and anaemia, but all of those are just pregnancy symptoms. I’ve not been ill and this has been a strong, straightforward pregnancy. I feel so lucky and I feel compelled to document my gratitude.

Here’s to life everyone!

francesca_king_pregnancy_photogrpahy_documenting_my_pregnancy_blog2

Get strong with the Peacock Tree Yoga 21-day Plank Challenge! #peacocktreeplank21days

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Ready to take up the Peacock Tree Yoga 21-day Plank Challenge?

We'd love to see your creative planking too!

We’d love to see your creative planking too!

Following our hugely successful 7-day #peacocktreelent, we’re upping the ante and challenging you to build yourself up to a three-minute plank, over the course of 21 days!

Why we run the Peacock Tree Yoga 21-day Plank Challenge

The Peacock Tree 21-day plank challenge is your opportunity to create strength in both body and mind; to develop your will power – and build a core of steel in the process. And it’s perfect for powering us up as we move into the firey months of the year!

It’s not as hard as it sounds – you just need to build up gradually by following the plan. But beware – once you’ve discovered your potential, there’ll be no stopping you!!

Print off the 21-day Plank Challenge practice sheet , stick it to the fridge, and while you wait for the kettle to boil at the start or end of the day, for example, get on your yoga mat and plank like there’s no tomorrow!

The Peacock Tree Yoga 21-day Plank Challenge schedule

Keeping track of your progress

Can't afford a hunky PT? Never mind, we'll support you! #peacocktreeplank21days

Can’t afford a hunky PT? Never mind, we’ll support you! #peacocktreeplank21days

Try your best to meet your daily goals – and give yourself a sense of satisfaction each time, by ticking the relevant box (as flamboyantly as you wish!). And let us know how it’s going – post your photos and films on Instagram and Facebook – but don’t forget to tag them with #peacocktreeplank21days!

Oh, and if you want to give us and your fellow students a laugh, feel free to get playful with it – find a strange location to practice, do it in your work clothes, or try some plank variations!

But above all, enjoy it – be grateful for what your body is allowing you to do (even on days when your body doesn’t allow you to meet your goal), really feel how your body is changing and becoming stronger, and join in with our online conversations for support and motivation throughout the challenge. Not part of our Facebook community? Come into the fold!

Not sure how to do plank properly?

The simplest, safest and easiest way to build yourself up to a three minute plank is to adopt dolphin plank, which involves resting on your forearms with elbows bent, rather than on your hands and with straight arms. Keep your toes tucked under and your body and legs off the floor, in a strong horizontal line (like a plank!).

Plank

Is your plank straight?

If you find it too difficult to hold the full posture, drop your knees to the floor for extra support – just make sure your thighs and torso are in a straight line. And do try to lift your knees again as the challenge progresses – you might surprise yourself!

If your neck hurts, you can always place a block or a stack of books beneath your face and rest your forehead on it while you hold the posture.

If you’re familiar with plank and other core strength exercises, you might like to work on some plank variations – be it a high plank, a side plank, or an acro yoga plank…

Beware of a cheating bottom!

Your biggest foe during this challenge will be your bottom. It will either try to cheat, by being higher than the rest of your body, or it will be lazy, sagging down to create an unwelcome dip in the centre of the posture.

Not sure if you have a cheating or lazy bottom? Then check yourself out in a mirror or ask someone else to tell you if your body is in a straight line.

Ready? Okay, download the The Peacock Tree Yoga 21-day Plank Challenge schedule and get planking!!

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A week of #peacocktreelent

Well done everyone and thank you SO much for getting involved with #peacocktreelent. You’ve amazed, inspired and amused us with the things you chose to give up – from coleslaw (yes, really!) to your car, technology, the daily mail on-line (ha!), packets of haribo . . . to name but a few – WE SALUTE YOU! Here’s a look back on some of your Facebook and Instagram posts – click on the images to read the comments that accompanied them.

DAY 1 – Letting go

DAY 2 – Motivation

DAY 3 – Alternatives

DAY 4 – Temptation

DAY 5 – Support

DAY 6 – Benefits

DAY 7 – Insights

Launching into Lent with Peacock Tree Yoga (#peacocktreelent)

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Lent is traditionally about giving something up (more on non-attachment in a moment…), and we definitely think that’s a good idea. But this year, we’re asking you to commit to doing something too: We’d like you to keep us all up to date with how it’s going, and help create a supportive and encouraging community, by using #peacocktreelent on your social media posts.

PTY rob yoga kula blog photo 6

Let’s support each other OFF the mat, too!

As practising Christians will know, giving up something we enjoy, but which is not necessary for our survival, is a central part of Lent. In recognition of the 40 days and nights Jesus is said to have spent fasting in the desert, believers go without for the same length of time – ending their ‘penance’ just before Easter Sunday.

Lent and non-attachment

Going without something we like but don’t need is a familiar concept within the world of yoga too. In Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, ‘aparigraha’ (not being possessive – over objects or people, for example) is listed as one of the codes for living known as the Yamas. The Yamas, which focus on matters of the self (small ‘s’) and what we should avoid doing, sit alongside five Niyamas, which are more about our behaviour in the world and how we should behave.

Find out what happened when Steve gave up technology for a month

As yogis, we can use Lent to practice not wanting things we don’t need, thereby removing our attachment to them – as discussed in our blog, Spring clean your mind for Lent. It doesn’t really matter what we choose to give up – only that it is something that has the ability to cause us distress if it is taken away – something our minds have become ‘sticky’ towards.

Marking Lent with Peacock Tree Yoga (#peacocktreelent)

Giving something up isn’t easy. But it can be made easier by having a supportive network around you. And that’s what we’re trying to achieve with our social media campaign. We want to build the same vibrant, friendly community online as we have in our classes!

We’ll share our experiences – our frustrations and revelations, the highs the lows – in the form of images on Facebook and Instagram, and we’ll group our photos by tagging them with #peacocktreelent (please do this – it makes it a lot easier for us to find your photos and videos!)

Of course, you’re welcome to get started as soon as you like – we know many people will want to begin on Wednesday 1st March, when Lent officially begins – but we’ll be online, sharing our own Lent pictures as well as daily ‘prompts’, from Monday 6th – Sunday 12th March.

Get creative!

Tulsi drinking a babychino before the start of #peacocktreelent

Tea? Coffee? Babychinos? What’s your weakness?

Throughout that week, we’ll include ‘prompts’ in our own posts, to help give a focus to the images you post. So on the first day, for example, the prompt will be ‘What I’m giving up for Lent’. You might simply post a picture of a bag of coffee. Or, you might choose to post a picture of an empty cup, a coffee cup stain on a table, or a selfie in which you’re holding your favourite (empty) coffee mug.

The comment you add to your photo, should you choose to, might also give us some insight into your experience of Lent – so on the first day, for example, you might tell us what you’re giving up for Lent and why, or explain how reliant you’ve become on that thing. Whether you include a comment or not, please remember to use the tag #peacocktreelent!

Get ahead…

For those of you who might want to plan ahead (apparently this is a thing on Instagram), or at least have an idea of the sorts of moments you could capture and tag with #peaocktreelent on Instagram or Facebook, we’ve listed the prompts below. You don’t have to use them in chronological order, or at all, however – other moments might come up that reflect your experiences better, after all.

  • Mon 6th: Letting go (what you’re giving up – a habit, a behaviour, a type of food… More ideas here
  • Tue 7th: Motivation (what’s motivating you to do this?)
  • Wed 8th: Alternatives (how you’re filling the gap)
  • Thur 9th: Temptation (moments when you’ve been close to falling off the wagon)
  • Fri 10th: Support (friends, family, clubs and groups that are helping you stick to your Lent goals)
  • Sat 11th: Benefits (examples of how sticking to your Lent goals is benefiting you)
  • Sun 12th: Insights (what your Lent goals have taught you)

Any other business

Below are a few other important bits of information about our week of social media Lent support. If you have any other questions, please do send them to us (email is best) and then we can add the information to the page and everyone can benefit from your inquisitive nature!

  • You can carry on using #peacocktreelent for the entire 40 days of lent, if you like! – we’ll continue to be inspired by you!
  • You can use other #s alongside ours if you’ve committed to another challenge, such as the Trussell Trust’s #40in40 challenge.
  • There’s no limit on the number of posts you tag with #peacocktreelent.
  • Oh, and if you’re giving up social media for Lent, print this blog / take a screenshot ASAP, capture your experience on camera throughout the week commencing Monday 6th March, and send your photos to us at info@peacocktreeyoga.com !

Finding my Yoga Kula

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When Peacock Tree Yoga teacher and student, Rob Milner, took up yoga in March 2012, he couldn’t have anticipated the world it would open up for him – the yoga kula, or community, he was about to enter. In this guest blog, written after his second trip to an Austrian Sivananda Yoga ashram, he recalls how it all began…

PTY rob yoga kula blog photo 6

The Peacock Tree Yoga kula, where my world opened up…

Yoga was something I’d been curious about for a while, but I hadn’t really looked for a class. In fact, it was my mum who found the advert and suggested we both give it a try.

From the moment I started it just felt like the right place to be. I remember distinctly how Lilley had set up the environment, with incense, the right kind of music and a well-balanced class, and it was a spiritual experience. I wasn’t familiar with spirituality that much at the time, but looking back, that sense of connection to the peace within appealed to me on some level. Yoga was the thing I was looking for, though I didn’t even know I was looking for it. You can say it was fate, or the universal order, or just luck, but the yoga found me when it was the right time.

chloe mckay and rob milner

Who knew yogis love to party?!

I started with the beginners’ class, once a week. Initially I couldn’t even touch my toes, but yoga allows you to steadily improve your flexibility, focus and strength. Sometimes the results are quick, sometimes they are more gradual, but you can see your progress, and that’s wonderful motivation.

After finishing the beginners’ course I moved into the intermediates: giving the body and mind the extra level of challenge allows it to rise and adapt to the situation. It’s important to build up to it though, always finding that relaxation within the postures, where the breath can be even and steady. A lot of the practice is in the mind and it’s the meditative aspect that really connects us with the true practice of yoga.

 

A seed takes root…

PTY rob blog swiss chalet

Sivananda Yoga Ashram, Austria

Once I’d done intermediates for a while I needed to get deeper into the yoga, so I started going several times per week. I gradually invested more time in it and improved my practice. I did some yoga at home too and started assisting with some of the classes. One evening after class, Lilley mentioned the Teacher Training Course to me and this piqued my interest. It was the next step that I was seeking on my yoga journey.

With a year to go before doing the teacher training, I began preparing and started counting the days. The training itself was a month-long intensive in a Sivananda ashram in the Austrian Tyrol, among the forests and mountains and provided a true retreat experience.

PTY rob blog shrine

Diving deeper in Austria…

A major revelation I had when doing the course was that there was so much more to yoga than I had been aware of. I’d been practising the postures (asanas) and the breathing (pranayama), but had really only scratched the surface. I was introduced to Vedanta, which is the philosophical backbone of yoga and started practising meditation twice a day.

The schedule was intensive and not always easy, but yoga is also about applying the calm, peaceful state of mind to more stressful situations, so that we don’t get so emotionally involved in every little thing, but learn to approach all of life’s events with a balanced outlook. Good things happen and bad things happen. Everything can be a lesson for us, and sometimes it’s important to go through bad things in order to develop our character and grow stronger and wiser.

Connecting with my yoga kula

Acro Yoga Kula

Our Acro Yoga Kula in York!

A very important aspect of my teacher training, and one of the main reasons I practise in a class, is that you get to meet and connect with a lot of really wonderful people. I’ve made some really deep connections with people I’ve met through yoga and they will always be special to me and remain my lifelong friends.

Maybe it’s the type of people who are drawn to yoga, but I find yogis to have an inspiring attitude, looking for self-improvement and a more peaceful existence, sitting a level above the stresses and strains of everyday life.

I love the fact that yoga is open to everyone, it’s never too late to practise and you will always gain some benefit. There are so many variations that all bodies can find the yoga, you don’t have to be super fit, but just have a little discipline and go to a class.

Catching up with fellow TT's Anju and Elizabeth at London's Sivananda Centre

Catching up with fellow TT’s Anju and Alice in London

Through yoga I’ve made friends all over the world, and love to visit them and reconnect with them. It’s great catching up with my fellow TTCs (what we call the people who did the Teacher Training Course) and seeing how they’re getting on. Some are teaching, some are practising, but they have a deeper understanding of yoga from doing the course, as do I. It was a pivotal point for me, and I think of my life before and life after the TTC as two different things, almost a rebirth.

Wherever I lay my mat, that’s my home

I recently returned to the ashram in Austria for a yoga vacation, with my mum, and I really enjoyed connecting to a new group of people. I specifically chose to return when the teacher training course was on this year as I love the energy that all the extra people create.

Yoga is a path we can walk with others

Yoga is a path I like walking with others

But one thing I also realised is that though the environment is lovely (it’s really a detox to be in the mountains, away from the busy stimulation of daily life) it’s not necessary to go anywhere to experience the bliss of yoga. The important part is the people you practise with.

Next time you’re in your class, try to become aware of the beautiful people that surround you and the amazing community and sense of connection that’s there. Talk to people, smile at people, be happy with people and look for opportunities. Follow your intuition and say yes to things. You never know where you may end up. I feel so lucky to have had so many opportunities since returning from my course, but they were always there, I just wasn’t aware of them.

Life is beautiful, the world is beautiful, and people are beautiful. Yoga is a way to connect to the blissful self within, but also a way to create unification with those around us too. All you need to do is commit to a practice and give yourself to the yoga, and you might find that it leads you to the place you want to be.


Rob sounds brilliant! Where can we find him?!

PTY rob yoga kula blog photo 4

Rob Milner

Rob has a really strong practice, so you’ll find him teaching some of Peacock Tree Yoga’s more challenging classes, while Lilley is 5000 miles from home:

  • Mon 17th October: Improvers, Acomb, 6.45 – 8.00pm
  • Mon 17th October: Ashtanga, Acomb, 8.00 – 9.30pm
  • Mon 24th October: Improvers, Acomb, 6.45 – 8.00pm
  • Mon 24th October: Ashtanga, Acomb, 8.00 – 9.30pm

5000 miles from home

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Next week, I’m flying 5000 miles to meet someone I’ve never met before – but who has played an important role in my life for over 7 years. He’s my teacher. He’s a martial artist, who lives and works in the American desert. 

Any reference I make to him tends to elicit the question, ‘Lilley, how on earth did you end up with your teacher – an American martial artist? How did that happen?’ Well now seems as good a moment as any to tell you…

It was autumn 2009, Daniel and I had just come back from six months in India and we were living in London (with our friend Timothy Newton Crum, who owned a penthouse around the corner from the British Museum and a tin bath on the roof, but I digress . . .) and in terms of my yoga teaching career I was wondering what to do next.

No such thing as coincidence?

I had been teaching and assisting for Rob Leadley and Hayley Del Harrison for a few years in York but here I was in London starting again. I had a ‘to do’ list which ran to 36 pages of A4, and was experiencing ‘overwhelm freeze.’ So naturally, instead of doing anything constructive, I was messing about on the internet – where I stumbled across a link which said, ‘Don’t open a yoga school before you read this’. Intrigued, I clicked.

Jason - White Crane w flute - high-res copy

Jason Campbell in ‘White Crane’

Several pieces of really good advice followed. I was hooked. I’d never seen information on how to be a good teacher or how to run a strong school. I had had plenty of teachers who were great at the asanas (the yoga postures), but no-one who inspired me to commit and no-one who was putting yogic principles into business and life. Looking around, no-one seemed to know much more than me in terms of how to organise and inspire their students. But this organisation did.

So I did a programme with them – ‘How to be a successful independent practitioner’ – and it was informative, stimulating, logical and strong. I learned an enormous amount very quickly.

Then my world changed again. Daniel had gone back to India and I had gone to live with my (late) sister-in-law, to look after her and my niece and nephew. So the mentoring programme I’d been offered after the initial programme I undertook was shelved as ‘something for the future’.

Be light, be playful, be present – and take care of business!

By 2011, we were back in York, and a year into Peacock Tree, I realised I was ready. I wanted a teacher, I really did. I didn’t want to learn from mistakes, I didn’t want to waste time figuring out how to do it; I just wanted someone to show me, right from the start how to design things well. So I contacted them again.

To say I was keen to study the art of ‘Zen Business’, under the guidance of the man at the helm of this organisation, Jason Campbell, would be an understatement. Jason had already established several retreat centres under the name Zen Wellness and I loved his line, ‘Be light, be playful, be present and take care of business.’ There was just one problem: I couldn’t afford it.

So I wrote him an ambitious email, reminding him who I was and explaining myself: I was ‘creative and European and would work really hard’ – and if he’d just let me have a couple of trial months then I’d be up and running. He found my email entertaining and admired my chutzpah, he then redefined the terms and here we are all these years later. We speak on Skype 2 or 3 times a month, he’s helped shape my business (and me, to some extent!), but we’ve never actually physically met. It’s an extra-ordinary relationship.

The Yoga of Life

lilley-harvey-yoga-teacher

Teachers help us refine ourselves

Everything we have ever done has worked. I feel that hiring him to effectively be my teacher, mentor and boss was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. He keeps me bright and accountable.  He offers me great advice on the myriad things that come up when you run a yoga school. He offers wisdom and balance and when I’m off track, he helps me to recognise it and to get back on. He helps me to navigate.

The most important thing he taught me was how to prioritise – something I’ve become so adept at that I now have my own mentoring clients, and my teacher would like me to take on more. Jason has taught me to be aware of how I use my resources – where I spend my time, money and energy.

Why do we need a teacher?

We need teachers to guide us, motivate us, excite us and help us to craft our vision. For me, it was important to have a teacher who was a leader in their field, and who I could emulate. I wanted it for me and also for my school. I wanted someone to teach me how to condition myself to be the best I could be – and to constantly strive for that.

Yoga is a special subject, we’re not selling a product we don’t believe in, what we’re offering is life transformation (in small, do-able chunks). The great thing about a skilled teacher is that they know what you need next without overwhelming you. Just building things, changing things, a little bit at a time.

Teachers never really stop teaching either. Yoga isn’t my job, there’s no separation between work and life. I never plan on retiring. This is my cultivation, we’re all in this life to learn and grow and we need strong teachers to help us do that. And they need strong teachers behind them, to guide them.

An American Adventure

So next week I’m going to Phoenix Arizona to meet my teacher, Jason Campbell, and his students – my contemporaries and colleagues. I’m going to be studying two days of Zen Business with other studio owners from all over the US, and then I’m embarking on a new teacher training course, Medical Chi Gung, which I’ll be doing be studying over the next couple of years. It will give me an additional depth to my teaching, and keep me bright and motivated and learning.

I’ll also be buying a pair of cowboy boots.

Back to School?

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Even as adults, we never quite shake off the rhythm of the academic year. September brings a sense of newness – it feels as though the time is right for going ‘back to school’, whether that means taking a course, developing a new hobby, or joining a club of some sort. This is one reason why the Peacock Tree Yoga beginners course is so popular each September. But we know that going ‘back to school’ can be a nerve-wracking experience, so here’s a reassuring lowdown on what you will – and won’t! – encounter at ‘yoga school’…

Pack up yer pencils!

Well, for a start, you won’t be needing a new pencil tin to etch your name into with a compass. Nor will you be required to cover your books with posters of your favourite pop group. In a yoga class, it’s less about pens and rubbers and more about mats and eye pillows (we’ll provide you with these items in your free trial class). We don’t give out grades either; no-one is ever judged on their ability. We only want to help you to reach your highest potential – whatever that may be – and to live a joyful life in a healthy body, free of stress and suffering.

Go back to school with Peacock Tree Yoga!

At Peacock Tree Yoga, we aim to help you reach your goals.

Back to school fears…

However, we completely understand that for many people, joining a new yoga class can be as terrifying as starting primary school at the tender age of four. But we want you to feel confident about going ‘back to school’ this September – because, like these Peacock Tree Yoga students, we know what a positive impact yoga can have on people’s lives! So, with that in mind, we thought we’d unravel a few myths and misunderstandings about yoga.

Already convinced about the benefits of yoga? Then register now for your free trial class!

There’s a rumour going around…

  1. Yoga is for bendy, slim, young people. WRONG: Yoga is for everyone – and every body. You don’t start off being bendy – that comes with time, along with strength and focus. You might become slimmer – many people find that they do, with a regular yoga practice. You can become younger with yoga too – one of our favourite testimonials is “First time I’ve touched my toes in 35 years”!
  2. Yoga is a religion. WRONG: Yoga complements religion beautifully – and when we say religion, we mean any religion. Yes, yoga is integral to the Buddhist and Hindu traditions, which adopted it, but it is, in fact, a science – of the Self. Yoga gives us techniques for uniting mind, body and spirit – including asana (postures), breathing and meditation – to help us achieve optimum wellbeing and experience the ‘oneness’ of everything!
  3. Yoga isn’t challenging enough for sporty people. WRONG: Yoga can be incredibly challenging – especially for sporty people! Have you ever tried stretching a muscle that’s more familiar with being in a state of contraction?! Or using muscles you didn’t even know you had? Well it’s high time you did, especially if you want to enhance your sports performance!
  4. Yoga is about following rules. WRONG: Yoga shows us how to use our own wisdom to make the best of ourselves and the situations in which we find ourselves. Having said that, we do ask our students to observe some Yoga Etiquette!
  5. Yoga is expensive. WRONG: Yoga is cheap when you consider the cost of having a bad back, a sport injury, or a stressful life – all of which can be alleviated or avoided with yoga. Or when you compare the cost of a class to the cost of that takeaway coffee you buy each morning, the bottle of fizz you put in the fridge for Friday night, or any other indulgence… Indulge your mind and body instead – or as well, if you must!
  6. Yoga is boring. WRONG: A good yoga class leaves you feeling invigorated, relaxed, determined, focused and, yes, happy! And at Peacock Tree Yoga, we occasionally take it further – celebrating the likes of Hallowe’en, Bonfire night and Christmas by practising in costume!

So now you know the truth…

Are you feeling a bit more confident about going back to school? Are you ready to make a commitment to your physical and mental wellbeing, and discovering new ways of coping with everything life throws at you? Then head over to our Yoga Essentials page for a complete break-down of what you can expect from our twelve-week course, and to find out how you can register for your FREE trial class.

Still don’t believe it’s for you? Then watch at this time lapse film we made in one of our Yoga Essentials (beginners) classes – what’s not to love?! Hope to see you soon!

The 21-Day Plank Challenge

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Ushering in the Summer with the 21-day plank challenge

Don’t stop reading now – this is NOT an attempt to throw this Chinese policeman’s record-breaking eight-hour plank into a cocked hat, with your own three-week plank!

The Peacock Tree 21-day plank challenge is your opportunity to create strength in both body and mind, and set your Summer alight! And all with a 3-minute plank.

It’s not as hard as it sounds – you just need to build up gradually by following the plan (see link below) and ignoring the little voice telling you there are better things to be doing than building phenomenal core strength.

How to do plank

plank-challenge-collage

Don’t let your bottom cheat!!

For the challenge, we ask you to adopt dolphin plank, which involves resting on your forearms with elbows bent, rather than on your hands and with straight arms. Keep your toes tucked under and your body and legs off the floor, in a strong horizontal line (like a plank!).

If you find it too difficult to hold the full posture, drop your knees to the floor for extra support – just make sure your thighs and torso are in a straight line. And do try to lift your knees again as the challenge progresses – you might surprise yourself!

If your neck hurts, you can always place a block or a stack of books beneath your face and rest your forehead on it while you hold the posture.

How not to do plank

Your biggest foe during this challenge will be your bottom. It will either try to cheat, by being higher than the rest of your body, or it will be lazy, sagging down to create an unwelcome dip in the centre of the posture.

Not sure if you have a cheating or lazy bottom? Then check yourself out in a mirror or ask someone else to tell you if your body is in a straight line.

Action!

Print off the 21-day Plank Challenge practice sheet below, stick it to the fridge, and while you wait for the kettle to boil at the start or end of the day, for example, get on your yoga mat and plank like there’s no tomorrow!

21-Day Plank Challenge Practice Sheet

Keep going, stay focused, and keep your eyes on the prize! What’s the prize? The ability to hold plank for 3 minutes within 3 weeks, a core of steel and all the strength you’ll need for our next big Yin Yang workshop on June 4th – more details coming soon!

And when you waiver, just remember:

“It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.” – Mark Twain

We are Six – and it’s brilliant!

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Take your mind back for a moment and try to recapture how it was to be six years old. Do you remember  doing  cartwheels and handstands against the wall with your best friend? Can you recall the way in which a normal day could be transformed into one of magic, secret tunnels and other worlds?

As Peacock Tree Yoga turns six, we are reminded to reconnect with our child selves. Young minds are so clean, so unpolluted – free of the ideas society has about the way we should look or behave. When we are six, the veil has not yet been drawn over our pure awareness of being, of living in the moment. As six year olds, we’re more curious about, and impressed with, the world around us – things many of us strive for as adults.

Peacock Tree Yoga friends

Peacock Tree friends enjoying a post-workshop natter and munch!

Playful Peacocks

At Peacock Tree Yoga, we’re proud to encourage these ‘childlike’ qualities, with our fun and inspiring classes. Enjoying the feeling of being back in our body again. We aim to ensure that every student feels connected and appreciated, and is able to escape the grown up world of demands and expectations.

Visit our Facebook page to see more photos of us in action!

The best part is, our students play along – and this is what makes our school so special, a fact noted by a visiting  teacher at last weekend’s powerful Yin Yang workshop, Jude Claybourne. Our yoga community mightily impressed Jude, who told me afterwards that she’s never encountered one like ours, where people who have become true friends share stories about their practice and development in a loving, gentle, kind and happy atmosphere. We all hang out after workshops drinking herbal tea and fabulous cakes and raw food treats.

This is the stuff of a six-year old yoga school’s dreams, and we can’t thank our students enough for the part they play in making it such a success. Here’s to the next twenty six years of growing and playing together!

Happy 6th birthday, everyone!

Peacock Tree Yoga in York - Scorpion pose