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A celebration of yoga

In celebration of International Yoga Day, we caught up with Sapphire Manager Natalie Valenti, who worked as a yoga teacher before discovering Forever and who remains a devoted yogi!

We asked Natalie what is was she loved most about yoga, the benefits it brings to her everyday life and what her top yoga tips would be. Read on to discover how yoga can enrich your life and why Natalie would encourage everyone to uncover the power of this practice for mind, body and soul.

“I'm very lucky that my mum insisted on me accompanying her to a local yoga class when I was 16 years old. I think that she wanted some company as we were new in the area and as much as I enjoyed the benefits that yoga brought to my body physically at that time, I must admit I didn't enjoy the hour-long class.

At that age, I didn't understand what was so special about moving in time with your own breath, creating alignment in your body and learning to relax.

However, I am eternally grateful for my mum’s persistence as my yoga practice is one of the most important parts of my daily life now and I can easily pin-point parts of my life that would have been much more difficult without it.

When people ask me about the benefits of yoga it's almost impossible to answer, as to me the advantages are endless. Physically, it lengthens and tones the muscles creating a long, lean figure (who doesn't want that?) and because yogis are often tipping their bodies upside down on a mat, the fresh rush of blood to the face is like a free facial. There is definitely such a thing as a "yoga glow!”

You can tailor your practice to exactly what you need so for example, if it's early morning there are certain poses that are like drinking a natural double expresso because they unleash so much energy into your body! My go-to morning poses would be downward facing dog and sun warrior. Alternately, there are poses that will encourage a great night’s sleep, such as child's pose and recline goddess. I honestly don't know how people cope without it!

You can do yoga in any place, anytime... on a plane, whilst walking your dog, on the beach, no equipment is needed which is great.

The word yoga actually means "union" so it's a union of your mind, body and soul. It sounds deep but it’s just about breathing deeply, being present in the moment and being grateful for your life. The physical poses feel best when you are able to relax into them. It’s a really liberating feeling not to be in competition with anyone and just be yourself.

I sometimes stand tall in line in the super market, align my posture and listen to my breath. No one knows and after a few minutes I feel incredible... it's like my own little super power!

I love that it is called a yoga practice. There is no perfect pose. No end goals. Just "do the practise and all is coming".

Yoga helps to clear your mind, bring life into perspective and really makes you grateful for the little things because of its simplicity. Moving to the beat of your own drum.

If you try one new thing this year please make it a yoga class. The benefits are endless. No one ever regrets being at a yoga class!”

If you feel inspired to give yoga a go, why not embark on one of our F15 programmes which incorporate yoga into the exercise plans and will introduce you to the various poses that will be suitable for all levels from beginner to expert.

Are you an avid yoga fan? If so, let us know what benefits it brings to your daily life in the comments section below.


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