Live In The Moment | Totes Yoga Fitness

At the beginning of the year my goal was to be more present and enjoy each day as I feel like the days, weeks and months go so quickly. We are living in an era that hasn’t been experience in our generation. Two weeks ago I saw what was coming and was very tearful. Since then I feel that I have adjusted to this new way of living. Whilst I am putting financial and economic worries in the back of my mind, I am still aware of the anguish that the world is suffering from. Let’s try putting all of those negative thoughts away for the moment and have a look objectively at our situation.

For the first time ever we have something we tend not to: time.

You have this time (if you are furloughed or unemployed) to do what you wish. I have been reading blogs from people on lockdown in Italy, Spain & China and they advise to not do much other than rest. I found that interesting as we are a generation where we need to create or build something, work on achieving goals all the time. Perhaps this time we will give ourselves permission to rest and slow down.

10 Self Care Lock Down Ideas

  1. Skincare: No make up! Give your skin time to breathe with no foundation. Enjoy home facials. Bliss.
  2. Haircare: I got into a bad habit of washing my hair everyday. I am now re-training it to once every other day or 3 days. If you want hair extensions they suggest to only wash your hair once a week! Also – keep heat away from your hair. Let it heal & recover.
  3. Learn new dishes: Not confident in the kitchen? Practise some new recipes you have been thinking about. Or try new ingredients and different methods to existing recipes.
  4. SLEEP! This is a big one for me. The first two nights of Quarantine I slept for 12 hours each. I obviously needed it! Time to recuperate and rest mind & body.
  5. Go for a longer walk. Explore the area you live in with new eyes. Appreciate the sun on your face and wind in your hair (weather permitting).
  6. Deep clean: something we all have been avoiding. Nominate a day and stick to it. Clearing your physical space helps clear your mental space.
  7. Watch the boxset you have been thinking about. Or have a movie marathon with your family or housemates.
  8. Drink two litres of water a day.
  9. Learn a new language. I use Duolingo app and do 10 minutes a day.
  10. Do a Totes Yoga Virtual Online video a day! Join us and enjoy what your body can do! We miss you and want to hear from you!

Enjoy Today

We are not in control of much at the moment but you are in control of choosing how to fill your time. Some of us are choosing to draft up new ideas and potential businesses whilst the others are wanting downtime. No one is in the wrong. Whatever you choose, try to Live In The Moment. I want to stick to my New Years goal of enjoying each day even though I’m not working or allowed out of our residential post code.

When tricky times come, allow yourself to experience negative emotions and then we can start to pick ourselves up and keep going. We can’t stay in the past. Whatever you are doing, enjoy today because you won’t have this day again. Look out for others and help them where you can. I believe this experience is making us a selfless, more kind and generous society.

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Injuries And How To Avoid Them | Totes Yoga

What Do Yoga Teacher’s have to say about recent news articles?

Recently there has been a few news hitting headlines about Yoga related injuries and negativity around the subject. I have had a few class attendees address this to me and asking my opinion before class. It is important to stay informed and I felt motivated today to talk about this. I am going to talk about my personal experience as a Yoga Teacher and also social media’s impact.

The truth is, yes. You can of course have injuries from doing too much yoga. I include myself in this statement. The truth is, you are more likely to experience injuries from any repetitive movement whether that is boxing, tennis, running or even sitting at a desk all day (back, shoulder and neck pain is real for 9-5 workers). My best advice is everything in moderation. Mix up your workout routine as much as you can. A little of yoga here, a bit of cardio and weight lifting there. Most of my routine is yoga, pilates, bodyweight training, etc. I do my best with my job – as does those with 9-5 jobs. All we can do is our best with our time. If you are only interested in one form of exercise 3-4 times a week is enough. Otherwise I strongly advise against doing 1, 2 or 3 hours of the same thing everyday. Am I a hypocrite, as I use the hashtag #yogaeveryday on instagram? I will come onto that next.

The truth is, I don’t enjoy posting pictures of myself online doing yoga poses. It makes me feel narcissistic, self-centred and insecure all at the same time. Also, its hard to find the time with a nice backdrop. Why do I do it then? Well, before social media you would advertise your classes and fitness-related services on posters, local magazines or maybe putting leaflets through doors. I have done all of these forms of advertising but without a doubt the most successful form of advertising is online. Where are people looking? Most of the time on our phones. At the end of the day, we have bills and mortgages to pay. To put it briefly, a girls got to eat. We need an income to survive. I have to advertise to get business like everyone else. 

Have I felt pressure to post certain yoga poses online?

Of course! Everything on Instagram is visual. When you look at yogis with lots of followers, the pictures they are posting are extremely impressive! But are those the poses they are teaching in general classes? Most definitely not. You have to  be realistic when teaching the general public and consider their needs first. I have briefly mentioned on social media about yoga-related injuries and I purposely avoid teaching particular poses:

As previously mentioned, I won’t go near headstands. I want every person in my classes to be safe. That is my priority number one. The advanced poses need one-to-one attention in my opinion, and when you have classes of 12-30 people you cannot offer that. Instagram is not real life. Now a days we are very much living our lives on social media. I don’t love it but that’s the truth and I can’t change that. The only part of posting online I enjoy is to connect with others in the comments. When will we realise a lot of what we see online is either not real or not maintainable? Barely anyone is posting their worst days and failures online.

I have felt the pressure of comparison, doubt and low self esteem when I can’t achieve the “advanced poses” to post on Instagram

I do the best I can, with my abilities but don’t push myself into being unsafe. On social media, you are looking to impress. In real life, you are looking for connection; that’s what makes group fitness classes special. I want everyone in class to feel successful and that means making the exercise/pose personal and unique for you! Go to the place where you feel the stretch, not to where you hurt in the stretch. I offer lots of modification and options because I am teaching real people and they are all different. Authenticity and uniqueness is much more interesting then all the smoke and mirrors online.

Instagram needs ‘pretty pictures’, as that’s what it runs on. I confess, I post the most visual stimulating poses on my account to keep up with the other yogi’s. And it still doesn’t look as good. Mostly all businesses have Facebook & Instagram pages. I am playing ball to create engaging content where I can connect with people who I can work with and help. My real “why” of teaching is this: Yoga, Pilates & Barre is about feeling good. I’m not a dancer by any stretch of the imagination (no pun intended), but I love how Barre makes me feel like an elegant ballerina. The buzz (endorphin release) I get after teaching a Pop Pilates class. Seeing the progress of regular participants. Best of all when someone doesn’t need to pay for weekly back adjustments anymore! My summary is this: Do what makes you feel good, be yourself always and understand your body has limitations. None of us are superman or superwomen. Take care of yourself, be sensible in your limitations and be grateful for what your body can do.

Some extra links to look at:

Love Yourself | Totes Yoga

It is the middle of February, which means we are seeing a lot of heart shaped boxes, endless Valentine Day adverts and lots of red! In every shop there is a Valentines section and special meal deals for two. Some people see this time of year as just a way for companies to make money and others see a lot of significance in this special time. Whether you are sharing Valentine’s Day with someone or not, you can still enjoy this time of year. I see the importance of valuing and loving those around you as well as showing love to yourself.

What does it mean to really love yourself?

Will I be more self-absorbed and post lots of selfies on Instagram? No! Loving yourself doesn’t mean to only consider yourself, but it DOES mean to value yourself in the same way you value your friends and family. When I was a teenager I really hated being alone. I really struggled with being by myself and unless someone else was there I felt sad. As I’ve become older, I have really enjoyed being alone and actually need it now if I’ve spent a long time around others. Spending time with yourself is a good way to get to know who you are, what you want out of life and what makes you shine! For me, I found out a large part of it was yoga and exercise (weird, I know!). For you it could be reading, baking, a sport, a charity, a destination, electronics, DIY, drawing and the rest!

Love Yourself Quotes Self-Love Worth

Be in the Now

I would say at the moment, I am the happiest I have ever been. I’ve grown into someone I am proud of, and even though I have flaws and insecurities, I still love my little quirks and ocassional weirdness. I hope that I continue to work on myself and grow, learning new things whilst I enjoy the view. Try to write 10 things you love about yourself and then 10 things you are grateful for. If you’re not there yet, that’s ok too. Take one step at a time and be kind to yourself – this is also a form of loving oneself.

Love Yourself Quotes Self-Love Worth

New Year, Same Awesome You! | Totes Yoga

Welcome to 2019!

I hope you all had a great time celebrating into the new year! I was asked if I had any New Years resolutions. I didn’t know how to answer because in one way, Yes – I have goals that I would like to achieve this year and No – I don’t need a new year to make a change.

A New Year’s resolution is a tradition to accomplish a personal goal or otherwise improve their life.

Just because we have come into January doesn’t mean you have to change your whole lifestyle over night. How often do your New Year’s Resolution last past January? It’s unnecessary pressure to hit goals and make drastic changes within a few weeks. Most of my accomplishments are not in January; I may begin to set up a few ideas and pursue them later in the year and that’s ok. It’s not a bad thing to set resolutions but you don’t have to do this just in January and if you fail by February give up (see previous post about how failure is not negative here:

There is no shame in beginning again or when that happens

Maybe you needed a new year to turn over a new leaf and start fresh. None of us are perfect and can probably work on ourselves in some areas but we must know that our worth is intrinsic. I think it’s important to dream, write out what you’d like to achieve and how you can get there. Everyone knows life is not linear heading in one direction positively and constantly. You’ll have ups, downs and set-backs. Keep getting up and don’t be hard on yourself; you will get there at the right time.

There is no shame in making an effort to change or not

We all have areas within us that we would like to change but I feel like it is more important to focus on what you like about yourself. Don’t drive yourself crazy to change and if you ‘fail’, label yourself negatively forever. It is all about progress! It is so hard to value progress now as we live in an instant gratification society. Everything seems instant! “Get Lean in 15”, “How to get Abs in 2 weeks”, “this women lost 1 stone overnight”. Okay, I haven’t seen the last one but you get my point. Rather than going on a ‘diet’, wouldn’t you rather change your attitude and whole lifestyle towards food?

There is no shame in doing your own thing

It’s important that you live your life to your own beliefs and values and respect those with different ones. If a way of life works for someone else that’s great. If it doesn’t work for you, don’t worry about it. Live your most authentic life, be unapologetically you and enjoy the highs and lows. There is a time to make changes and there is a time to settle. Each season of life has valuable lessons and puts us on the right path eventually. I strongly believe it.

Do you have any resolutions? If so, what are they and have you set a plan about how you’re going to do it? It’s satisfying to try new things and tick things off the list as long as it doesn’t lower your self worth. Keep loving yourself, loving others and doing your best. New Year, Same Awesome You!

What Is POP Pilates? | Totes Yoga

Our NEWEST and most EXCITING fitness program is here!

I am really excited to teach this class. It is completely different to what I am used to even though I am a certified Pilates instructor and teach 5 classes a week. POP Pilates is nothing like traditional Pilates. I would say it is closer to a body conditioning class with Pilates exercises infused. It is set to upbeat, pop music and pre-choregraphed. This program is a challenge and will have you sweat and feel your DOMS afterwards. Whilst it’s a challenge, it is also described as a ‘dance on the matt’. There is an element of ballet/barre moves in some of the tracks too! I am used to teaching relatively slow exercises classes so this has taken me a while to learn how to teach effectively to others. The transitions are quick!

What is the benefit to POP Pilates?

Good question!

  • Core Strength
  • Improved Posture and Alignment
  • Stronger Muscles
  • Alleviated Back Pain
  • Increased Flexibility
  • Increased Agility
  • Increased Range of Motion
  • Body Awareness/Mind-Body Connection

How is this different to regular Pilates?

Even though it is called ‘Pilates’ this is very different to regular Pilates. It is a fusion of continuous ab-work and total body exercises, leaving no muscle unused whilst developed a very strong core. It has a rhythmic flow from one exercise to the next. It is set to upbeat POP Music so transitions can be quick with little to no break in-between. The full 55 minute version has 13 tracks each with a different focus included abs, glutes, thighs, obliques, back, upper body, cardio and flexibility training. It is very unique and originates from United States. There is very few POP Pilates classes in the UK as of yet!

Where/How Can I Do A Class?

Crowborough Leisure Centre, East Sussex now has a POP Pilates Class from this Saturday (24th November 2018) at 9:30 – 10:30. Taster or POP-UP classes may be presented in West Sussex in the new year! Details to follow…

Let me know your thoughts or if you have any questions! I am excited to bring this class for the first ever POP Pilates class in East Sussex!

Image result for pop pilates

Gratitude is Yoga | Totes Yoga

The definition for gratitude is “the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness”.

At the end of a class I will very often say “bow your head with gratitude”

What does this mean? We have had 5-10 minutes in Savasana to relax, reflect, and redefine ourselves.  Just like everything, you can’t have the good without having the bad. In life, you have light and dark; positive and negative.

At the end of one class I was teaching, I began to think about how we view life and the energy it attracts into our lives.  I was recovering from a negative week and it had a lasting impression which surprised me as I am usually a very positive person and in the words of Taylor Swift, I “shake it off”.

We are not in control of our circumstances or the things that happen to us

However, we are in control of our we respond to them. The analogy that came to mind for me was what type of glasses do I want to wear? I can view life through my negative glasses, focusing on what’s not going right or I can put my positive glasses on, reminding myself of everything I have which I am so lucky and grateful to have.

The more I wore my negative glasses, the more negative things came to me and I felt them even heavier. When I’m usually wearing my positive glasses and even when bad things happen, I try to see the best in them, they usually work out for the best and something better comes along.

This type of thinking does take practice if you feel like you are in a cycle of negativity

My mind sometimes does go to the negative which causes anxiety and stress and that’s ok because at the end of the day we are only human and should not be afraid to experience our real feelings. So the question is, do you want to dwell on that negativity or move onwards and upwards?

More than ever, we need more gratitude in our lives. In the negative, look for positives. In the dark, look for light. Keep going, you’ve got this.

Warrior Two | Totes Yoga

Warrior Two is one of my favourite poses. It is a great pose to put into a standing sequence during class. It feels great to open the hips and chest from a standing position. I also find it empowering as it opens the lungs to help us breathe better.

The benefits of this pose:

  • opens the hips, groin, chest and lungs
  • strengthens the legs including the thighs
  • improves respiratory systems and circulation
  • stimulates the inner organs
  • develops balance and helps us feel more grounded

When you start yoga, your Warrior Two will look different as you progress compared to someone who has done yoga for a number of years. How? This position stretches the legs and opens the hips. There is a lot of progress here from a beginners yoga class. The more we stretch (with patience), the more we can delve into the poses and go deeper.

I have beginners look at advanced yogi’s and ask why their pose doesn’t look the same. The simply answer is time with lots of practice! You wouldn’t expect to pick up a tennis racket first time and play like Roger Federer. Don’t get frustrated; just be present and breathe. The muscles will begin to go deeper into poses with time. This is a very energising pose and that’s why it feels so good. I also try to do Warrior Two in my morning classes to get everyone to breathe and seize the day!

Alternatives & Tips:

  • Bend your front knee either behind the ankle or directly over the ankle, but never past the point of ankle
  • Back foot can come to a 90 degree angle, but try to take the toes to face more towards the front of your pose
  • Hands parallel to floor. Take a deep breathe in, find length in your body and as your exhale, relax the shoulders and maybe sink more in the legs.

Image result for warrior two


Join The Totes Yoga Virtual Online Studio for FREE Yoga & Pilates HERE!

Totes Yoga Virtual Online Studio | Totes Yoga

Do you struggle to get to classes in the week? Or find it hard to fit in time at the gym? This is a struggle for so many of us. We have the intention to workout or stretch but it gets buried in our to-do list’s. And then you have the experts say that even one visit to a class or gym in the week isn’t enough.

Totes Yoga want to make Yoga & Pilates exercises more accessible to people all over the world, not just Sussex (We LOVE Sussex)! Therefore we have created a Virtual Online Studio with free videos from 5 to 20 minute classes. Each video has a particular focus and area to work on.

You may not have the full hour to do a class but whether it’s an hour or 10 minutes it’s so worth it! The hardest thing about fitness is being consistent. The only way to get results is consistency; showing up and doing the work multiple times in the week. So even if you don’t have an hour, you can scan through videos in our Virtual Online Studio to complete at home or anywhere in the world!

At the moment, our Totes Yoga Virtual Online studio is on a Facebook group here:

I love this facebook group as it is easy to interact with other Totes Yogi’s! The only downside is that I have some people in my classes who aren’t on Facebook and are missing out. Therefore, shortly we will be posting on YouTube to make our videos more accessible for everyone. We hope to be able to bring you better sound and quality videos (something that takes a lot of time and research!).

Make sure you get yourself involved in the group for FREE Yoga & Pilates workouts. Simply follow the link, request to join and enjoy!


Standing Forward Fold | Totes Yoga

Forward folds will always be used in a yoga class. Generally used in warm ups and sun salutations. We tend to hold a lot of tension in the shoulders and neck. Standing Forward Fold is best when we drop the head and fully relax the shoulder blades.

The benefits of this pose:

  • relieves stiffness in the spine, neck and back
  • stretches hamstrings, hips and calves
  • improves balance, posture and co-ordination
  • stimulate internal organs such as kidney, liver and spleen
  • improves digestion
  • reduces fatigue, tiredness and anxiety

This pose is most commonly used in sun salutations which involves a flow of stretches for the entire body. A lot of people think the goal is to touch their toes and that’s a good goal to have however it is not the key to success. Yoga is a process. As long as you are feeling the stretch here you are successful and getting closer to your goal each day! As well as the physical benefits this pose also relaxes the nerves and rejuvenates the mind. Variations of this pose would be rag-doll pose where you grab the elbows with the hands and then allow the upper body to become heavier. Try swaying side to side to achieve more of a stretch for the back and legs.

Alternatives & Tips:

  • Bend your knees, maybe rest torso on thighs if this feels right for you
  • Drop the head
  • Relax shoulders, elbows and wrists
  • Place hands by the side of the toes
  • bring belly in to lift stomach muscles

Image result for standing forward fold

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The Heart | Totes Yoga

On the weekend I attended Les Mills Advanced Module Training (AIM1) for BODYBALANCE with the Creative Director, Kylie Gates. It was an amazing day of learning, developing our skills and connecting with other instructors who are passionate about the program. As fitness instructors, it is really inspiring to meet people who are just as enthusiastic about achieving their full potential as you are. Kylie taught us about the essence of Body Balance. She spoke about the most important thing: The Heart. Of course, we must practice, practice, practice our technique and know the choreography 110%. People can clearly see what you enjoy and where your passion lies. #FakeItUntilYouMakeIt can only take you so far.

One of the presenters at AIM1, Bram, spoke about yoga. He said one of his teachers told him that putting all your energy and passion into something is yoga. Whether that’s cooking, painting, coding, designing, teaching, fishing, etc. So what is your passion? Are you doing it with all your heart? In BodyBalance, I love the music, choreography, flow and over all feel of the program and sharing that with a group of people. I can’t help but smile and feel happy during class even when the occasional technology hiccups happen.

Use your heart and put all your passion into what you’re doing. “Make sure that you always follow your heart and your gut, and let yourself be who you want to be, and who you know you are. And don’t let anyone steal your joy.” – Jonathan Groff

A little story about my own journey…

I started my BodyBalance journey 6 years ago when my mum was doing her initial training! Once I came back from University and started working I followed along with her and did the body balance releases (back when they were on DVD’s!) every day for about 8 months. I really fell in love with it and attended Fitness Fiesta in Camber Sands during Body Balance 70. That release is special because I decided I wanted to become an instructor and spoke to the presenter there about it. It took another 7 releases until I actually built the courage to take the plunge and do it! Below is a picture with myself and two very inspiring ladies Kylie Gates and my mum (she has been a fitness instructor for over 20 years!). If you LOVE what you’re doing, ask yourself, how can you advance it? I loved the attitude of learning at AIM1. Whether you trained on Body Balance 30 or 80, you are never at the end of your journey, there is always more to unfold!

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