MEDITATION, AERIAL YOGA, AND A SANCTUARY WITHIN: Ancient fitness fundamentals in a Dynamic Contemporary setting

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No time to meditate? No time to breathe? If that’s you, like it was me, you’ve been missing out on one of the simplest and most powerful ways to gain control of your life, build your mind and body strength through yoga.

With the excitement of the gyms, shops and beer gardens reopening, it’s easy to see why people are whizzing back to “some form of normality.”

For me, the anticipation was great to return to a sanctuary away from home… a hidden gem of a health & wellbeing studio nestled inside an industrial estate in West Yorkshire where I frequented pre-lockdown for Aerial Yoga, Trigger Point Pilates, Barre Fitness and a range of workshops from family Yoga to Aerial Hoop and Gong Baths.

The Sanctuary Wakefield is the perfect analogy for our modern lives today, whilst the fully equipped, state-of-the art studio and Zen vibe represents the peace we can achieve by tapping into the power we already have within us through such practices, much like the breath, it is accessible yet tucked away in the midst of our busy lives and surroundings.

And so many of us get trapped in the external world of excess and situations out of our control, that we feel unmotivated to exercise, breathe deeply and even when practicing Yoga more people are skipping the meditation part of the practice.

“Meditation is one of the most important parts of Yoga, the whole practice started with people sitting and meditating,” explains Natalie Green who set up The Sanctuary two and half years ago, a former professional dancer and experienced gym instructor.

Like me she has evolved away from some of the restrictions of the traditional dance and fitness industry, to follow her pursuit of making Mind and Body Fitness accessible.

Natalie, a down-to-earth Barnsley lass, seamlessly runs this slick studio that offers everything I would have previously had to travel to London to experience.

After spending years working in gyms and dancing around the globe, she says: “The breathing and movement that Yoga combines, really resonated with me, it has always felt like dancing.

“It made me feel amazing both mentally and physically so I decided to specialise in these.

When I set Sanctuary up 17 years later my aim was to provide Yoga and Pilates in a contemporary environment with a modern approach, making it more fun and accessible – hence Aerial Yoga.”

During a one-to-one session, as Natalie is currently training clients individually and hosting group classes online until restrictions ease on 17th May, I am reminded of the power of Yoga to release stress, improve strength, flexibility and balance. Not to mention, what a workout a professionally led session can positively have on your whole self.

It has been more than a year since I balanced into an Aerial Yoga sling which is a great way to extend your Yoga stretches and build strength.

But it wouldn’t have been a session without focusing on the breath and as for someone who needed to declutter her mind, this simple pranayama (breathing) technique of breathing deep for 5 seconds in through my nose and then 5 out through my nose.

Sounds soft but this technique is a way to super charge your mind and life, and even more important for those tempted to skip meditation!

Natalise smiles as she explains the true power of what she shares with her guests: “Learn to breathe properly and see the world, your world clearer. Then add physical yoga into the mix and as you unravel your body, your thoughts and problems will also become resolved.”

If you are interested in starting Yoga or Pilates or you’re not sure if it’s for you, you can contact [email protected] or call her on 01924 609677. It can change your mind, body and life!

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