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YH Weekly | Beyond Asana

Welcome to your Yoga House Weekly

Today we are taking a look the first limbs of Yoga – Yamas & Niyamas. A yogic guide to living a more meaningful and harmonised life. Little gems of wisdom that give us directions a well lived and joyful life. In yogic philosophy these guidelines sit as the first two limbs of the 8-fold path. We hope they spark your interest into how you can bring yoga into all parts of your life.  
Natalie continues our Asana Series with her favourite posture Kapotasana/Pigeon pose which she has modified for pregnancy yoga. We also keep you up to date on our workshops and retreats and we have a gorgeous recipe and a great playlist from Junior.
Moving through postures in a yoga class is very beneficial for our bodies and mind, but asana is just one of the limbs of yoga. Today we are going to take a look at – Yamas & Niyamas.
The simplest way to explain the Yamas & Niyamas is as the yogic guide to living. A way to take the awareness and mindfulness you find on your mat into the world after you leave the studio.
These yogic ‘moral codes’ form the foundation of our whole practice, and honouring these ethics allow us to progress along our path and cultivate a more present and aware state.
The Yamas, a Sanskirt word which translates to ‘restraints’, guide us towards practices that concern the world around us, but also within ourselves. Here a short explanation of each Yama.
Ahimsa (non-harming or non-violence in thought, word and deed)
When we act with ‘Ahimsa’ in mind, this means not physically harming others, ourselves, or nature; not thinking negative thoughts about others or ourselves; and making sure that what we act with harmony, rather than harm. It is the base for all spiritual practice and yogic living.
Satya (truthfulness)
Satya means truth in speech, action and thought. Through satya, we learn to cultivate an ability to rise above judgments, expectations and faulty perception. We begin to see and accept the nature of things as they truly are, the truth becomes more apparent and a place from which we express ourselves. As we become more aligned with the truth, we inevitably become more authentic, more honest and more genuine.
Asteya (non-stealing)
Asteya means to be open to that which is being offered by life, without looking or grasping for more or taking from circumstance what is not given freely. The grasping mind can be destructive, creating unhealthy attachments and preventing the presence of mind and appreciation for that which we already have.
Brahmacharya (celibacy or ‘right use of energy’)
Brahmacharya is a specific way of conducting oneself through moderation, focus and presence that conserves the primordial energy of our being. This energy most obviously manifests on a gross level as sexual energy, hence in many Yoga schools Brahmacharya is considered the practice of celibacy for vedantic practitioners, and sublimation for tantrics. Ultimately, it is not a matter of whether we use our sexual energy but how we use it.
Aparigraha (non-greed or non-hoarding)          
Aparigraha means not holding onto or identifying with that which we seem to be, or that which we seem to have. All that we label as ‘me’ or ‘mine’ reinforces our sense of identity, and therefore our ego. Through the practice of non-attachment we let go of possessive tendencies towards material things, thoughts, actions, ideas and people, increasing our sense of lightness and freedom.
The Niyamas, a Sanskirt word which translates to ‘observances’, are recommendations for a more harmonious life.  Here a short explanation of each Niyama.
Saucha (cleanliness)
In order to deepen into practice we must begin to recognise, honour and respect the body-mind as a temple. Impurities act as obstacles to our spiritual evolution (mental, physical, emotional or otherwise). If we wish to go deeper into spiritual practice and experience, Saucha is a basic necessity.
Santosha (contentment)
By letting go of expectations and preconceived ideas of how we think things should be we can cultivate a sense of contentment with that which actually is. Accepting a situation for what it is allows us to maintain an inner peace not reliant on external factors. Santosha means fully embracing the now.
Tapas (discipline, austerity or ‘burning enthusiasm)
Tapas is used to cultivate a sense of self-discipline, passion and courage in order to burn away ‘impurities’ physically, mentally and emotionally, and paving the way to our true greatness.
Svadhyaya (study of the self and of the texts)
Svadhyaya means to undertake an investigation into the actual nature of our true self, either through introspection or through the study of sacred text. The study of sacred text puts us in resonance with the higher levels of consciousness to which they point producing profound personal transformation and deep spiritual insight.
Isvara Pranidhana (surrender to a higher being, or contemplation of a higher power)
Isvara Pranidhana means to cultivate a deep and trusting relationship with the universe, and making each action an offering to something bigger than us.  
Explore the Yamas & Niyamas Further 
This book takes a deep dive into the first two limbs of the eight-fold path of yoga sutras (the basic text for classical yoga). The Yamas & Niyamas are explained in depth and with simplicity. Providing steps to take this spiritual guide to the practice of yoga and off the mat. 
The Yamas & Niyamas by Deborah Adele
Contuning our Teacher Asana series,
Natalie shares her love of Kapotasana / Pigeon pose 
modified for Pregnancy yoga or those with really tight hips
Kapotasana/Pigeon pose is a wonderful hip opener in pregnancy, however as your body changes & baby grows getting in & out of the pose may be tricky! Our hips can get really tight when sitting for long periods – especially if you are spending most of your work day seated & what we want in our pregnancy is to open our hips not tight hips!

The wonderful thing about yoga is that there are always modifications & variations of poses to suit everyone. This seated variation of Kapotasana is fantastic in pregnancy & feels absolutely wonderful as it releases the piriformis and other muscles along the hips as well as the inner thigh muscles.

To get into the pose: as I am demonstrating in the photo below:
Sit on the chair with your feet supported on the floor or blocks. Cross your right ankle past your left thigh. Flex through the right ankle – this helps direct sensation away from the knee to the hip. Press hand on the sole of foot & outer knee. Ground down through standing foot & lift up through chest & side of ribs.
– You have the option to come forwards – however this is not for everyone. If comfortable hinge at the hips slightly, allowing baby to move towards the space between your legs. Make sure not to compress your belly as your fold forward ensuring you do not press on your baby.
– Another option is to place the chair facing a wall – reach the arms up above head height & rest hands shoulder distance apart on the wall – this will allow you to feel the benefits of a side stretch & more opening in the belly as well as hip.
– For a bigger opening in the hip hold onto back of chair
As with any poses, always practice with caution & listen to your body – you are your best teacher
Join Natalie Thursday | 11.30am | Baby & Me | Catford
Saturday | 9.45am | Pregnancy Yoga | Lee & Online 
Pepper & Spinach Egg Muffins
½ tbsp olive oil
½ red pepper, deseeded and finely diced
3 spring onions, chopped
100g baby leaf spinach
5 large eggs
40g goats’ cheese or feta – use vegetarian cheese if required

These keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.
– Preheat the oven to 190°C, fan 170°C, gas 5. Lightly grease 6 holes of a muffin tin, or use silicone muffin cases.
– Heat the oil in a nonstick frying pan, add the pepper and spring onions, plus a little seasoning, and fry for 5 minutes until slightly coloured and softened, then tip onto a plate. Add the spinach to the same pan, cover with a lid and cook for 1-2 minutes until wilted. Press dry between layers of kitchen paper then chop.
– Beat the eggs with a pinch of salt and plenty of pepper. Divide the veg between the 6 muffin holes then pour in the eggs. Dot with the crumbled cheese and bake for 15 minutes or until set. Cool and store in a lidded container in the fridge. Best eaten at room temperature.

Full Moon Sound Bath
with Kate Young 
Join us for this special Sound Healing that falls under the Red Full Moon. The healing is hosted by the beautiful Kate Young. Kate creates a journey using quartz crystal bowls and her voice which thread together and unify in their own soul song.
Saturday 21st August | 6-7pm | £25* | Catford Studio 
*£25 per person or £40 for a pair booking
If booking for two, please email

Love Your Hips
with Aina Wethal
Join Aina for this hip loving workshop that will focus on all areas around the hips including the groin, hip flexors and glutes – connecting you to the element of water. Expect opening meditations, playful sequences and gentle yin. 
Saturday 11th September | 2-4pm | £20 | Lee Studio 

Gong Bath Sound Sanctuary
& Guided Meditation 

with Alicia Davies

Be washed by waves of sound, the body, mind and spirit enter a state of cohesion, while the vibrations of the powerful Gongs and other healing instruments cause the cells to resonate sympathetically
Sunday 12th September | 6-7pm | £20 | Catford Studio 

Prenatal Yoga + Nutrition for Healthy Pregnancy Workshop
with Natalie & Zannie
Join us for an afternoon of Prenatal Restorative: gentle & supported yoga followed by Prenatal Nutrition.
This workshop will show you how to nourish and replenish body & Baby.
Saturday 18th September | 1.30-3.30pm | £20 | Lee Studio 

Radiate Cacao & Sound Workshop

with Lisa Hood
In this late afternoon of bliss we will create a space for you to let go of all that is not serving you. Enjoy sipping cacao, rituals, journaling, meditation, soft gentle movement with Yin Yoga and powerful alchemy crystal singing bowls.
Saturday 18th September | 5.30-7.30pm | £25* | Catford Studio 
*£25 per person or £40 for pair booking
If booking for two, please email

Detox & Energise Workshop
inc Essential Oils

with Patricia Zafra
You will learn what these pure and therapeutic oils have to offer beyond your yoga practice and discover simple tools and daily habits to take a more natural approach in the way you live your life.
Saturday 2nd October | 4-6pm | £20 | Lee Studio 

Reconnect and recharge – 
Join us this September in a beautiful countryside location for three amazing days of yoga, glorious vegan food and good vibes all around.

A perfect way to recharge and rewind the body and mind. We will eat delicious food, surround ourselves by nature, practise longer deeper yoga sessions with pranayama, Yoga Nidra, yin, dynamic flows, alchemy crystal singing bowls in the evening to send you off to a restful sleep.. you will be able to book extra massages with Lizzie, she’s bringing her crystal healing bed!
We have last final spaces left waiting for you to join 🙂

14th – 16th September 2021
Canterbury with Kasia Blackwell, Alex Beer (vegan chef) Lizzie (

Enjoy this beautiful playlist by resident Yoga House music man Junior

Join Junior
Monday | 10am | Vinyasa | Lee
Wednesday | 10am | Forrest | Catford
Thursday | 6.30pm | Forrest | Lee
Friday | 10am | Vinyasa | Lee

We are here for you, please get in touch and
Keep Practising!

LOVE from the YOGA HOUSE team

& Kasia x

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