Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Keep on Yogging

We all love a bit of yoga on the beach but in this country the opportunities are few and far between, right?
Yogging, a mixture of yoga and jogging is the answer to UK yoga on the beach all year round.
In Formby we meet most Sundays at 9.30am to enjoy a yoga class in the great outdoors.
On the last weekend of the month its a Saturday at the same time.
If its raining or the tide is high we head off to the pinewoods.
As you can see by the photographs it is a lovely way to feel energised.
Here we are with frost on the sand and still able to enjoy our yoga outside in temperatures of 0!
Small bursts of jogging help our muscles to stay warm and the blood to keep flowing before we make a few stops for some yoga sequences focusing on strength and flexibility before a blissful relaxation with the sounds of the waves rolling in.
If you fancy giving it a go email me on to book a place.
The class costs £5 and if you want to bring your son or daughter over the age of 11, one child comes free.
Just a few guidelines

1. We aim to run the classes in all weathers except heavy rain and strong winds. I will confirm the class 24 hours before on my Formby Yoga Facebook Page and Instagram Page.

2. Yogging is a mix of yoga and jogging. The jogging is just enough to keep your muscles warm so you can enjoy the benefits of yoga outside. Running shoes are advisable.

3. You will get sandy and gloves can protect your hands and keep you warm.

4. As the wind can whip up on the beach a hat, hoody or buff is recommended. 

5. Ending the class with Savasana is a lovely wind down but make sure you have layers to keep you warm if you feel the cold. A hat or hoody can keep you warm and stop sand getting in.

6. Please meet at our meeting point (confirmed when you book in) at 9.30am prompt. The class is an hour long but allow 5-15 minutes to run, jog or walk back from the beach.

Monday, 8 January 2018


This year is an exciting one for me as this week I give up my day job and venture full time into the world of yoga teaching.
It means I have more time for classes and events.
Last week I ran my very first monthly workshop looking at ways to make yoga a part of your daily routine with lots of tips, sequences and ideas.
February's Workshop on Saturday February 3rd costs £10 and we will spend two hours exploring the Ashtanga sequence.
I have new classes starting but for an up to date timetable here is my current list of classes.
If you have any queries please do not hesitate to email me,

The February Workshop takes place at Holy Trinity Workshop between 2pm and 4pm on Saturday February 3rd and costs £10.

In the workshop we will be exploring the Ashtanga Sequence. 
Ashtanga Yoga is a dynamic system of yoga - ideal for burning up fat!

We will learn about breath, bandha and gaze and practice the 90 minute sequence including the sun salutations, standing postures, the most accessible poses of the primary series and the finishing sequence.

If you would like to book a place, please let me know as the spaces are limited.

Formby Yoga Timetable

Formby Yoga Classes

Monday: 8pm – 9pm
Strala RELAX at Holy Trinity Workshop

Tuesday: 6.30pm – 7.30pm
Teen Yoga at Absolute Yoga, Crosby £5 drop-in

Wednesday: 9.30am-10.30am (starts January 17th 2018)
Ashtanga inspired class at Holy Trinity Workshop

Wednesday: 7.30-8.30pm
Ashtanga inspired class at Formby Fitness

Thursday: 6.15pm-7.15pm Very Gentle Yoga at Holy Trinity Workshop

Friday: 6-7pm Strala RELAX Class at Formby Fitness 

Saturday: 9.15-10.15am
Dunes Leisure Centre, Southport, free to members

Sunday: 9.30am – 10.30am
Yogging (mix of yoga and jogging) in locations around Formby Beach - email or message to book and for further details

· If you have never been to Formby Fitness and are not yet a member you can try my Wednesday or Friday class for free. Just ring 01704 878887 to book.

· My classes at Holy Trinity and Yogging are £5 drop in or £25 for 6 class pass valid for 3 months. 

Friday, 15 December 2017

Yoga in School

Recently, I had the opportunity of working with children at a Southport school and teaching weekly classes.
Children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 attended a programme of yoga classes to help them relax and unwind during the Summer term.
Yoga is a wonderful tool for children as it challenges them physically, helping to improve strength and flexibility, while introducing a variety of breathing techniques and demonstrating the benefits of relaxation.
Simple exercises such as playful breathing techniques can increase the amount of oxygen in the blood resulting in a more alert and focused mind.
Yoga poses can also help relax the muscles, especially if children are spending long amounts of time hunched over their desks.”
At the end of the four programme, the children reflected on what they had enjoyed about the sessions and how Yoga makes them feel.
Chloe said, “Yoga makes me feel grateful, still, happy and peaceful,” whilst Igor, aged seven, explained, “My favourite part of yoga is the Sun Dance because it feels like a real sun and it lights me up like sunshine.”
A spokesperson for the school said, “The children thoroughly enjoyed the Yoga sessions which have had a positive impact on how children behave around the school.
“In Year 1, the Yoga lessons have helped children to develop listening skills, observational skills and improve their ability to follow instructions. Children now line up now in stick pose and lips closed!  
“Thank you so much for coming to our school!”
If you would like to know more please email

Tuesday, 3 October 2017


Welcome to the new term.

Working in an education environment I always see September as the start of the New Year.

This September I went to Whitby to train with Yogging founder Heather King to bring Yogging to Formby.

Yogging is essential a mix of Yoga with Jogging.

The jogging helps to keep the muscles warm enough to practise yoga outside all year round in the UK.

Thanks to a group of my yoga students who trialled the classes on Formby Beach last weekend I am not offering two classes every weekend at 9.45am on Saturday and Sunday mornings.

If you'd like to join in or find out more information please email me at

There is nothign like enjoying a welle arned Savasana while listening to the waves and cormor

Friday, 4 August 2017

Gone Fishin'

I'm away between August 5 and 12.
My next classes begin Monday August 14 and run as below with the exception of Thursday August 17 when there is no class.

General Classes 
Monday 8pm - 9pm: Gentle Flow Class at Holy Trinity Workshop, Formby

Wednesday 7.30pm - 8.30pm: Strong Flow at Formby Fitness

Thursday 6.15pm - 7.15pm: Beginners Flow at Holy Trinity Workshop, Formby

Friday 6pm - 7pm: Relaxing Flow Class
at Formby Fitness

Monday, 12 June 2017

Our Mala

Last autumn my yoga teaching was transformed when I attended Strala Yoga intensive in London with Tara Stiles and I had the 'aha' moment when everything I felt about how I should share my love of yoga fell into place.
 In London I also sat on the next mat to Niraj Shah who set up The Present of Yoga and this week I read about Our Mala  on his Instagram page.
Here I found something else I was looking for - a way of using yoga to give back. 
From this month I will be sending all the profits from my last Thursday class of each month to Our Mala to help support traumatised refugee women heal by providing free specialised yoga classes.

Ourmala was founded in 2011 by a Yoga teacher called Emily Brett at Hackney City Farm in East London.
Emily had been teaching Yoga to vulnerable refugee and asylum-seeking women at the British Red Cross’ Destitution Centre in Dalston, all of whom had experienced gender based violence, were at risk of destitution and were either pregnant or had children. 
The Mala Initiative is a community of inspired Yoga, Meditation and Wellbeing teachers, studios and organisations committed to helping Ourmala's mission. This is to help refugee and asylum-seeking women find strength, hope and support to rebuild their lives through the practice of yoga. Consistent practice helps them move on with life and leave despair behind.
All funds raised via The Mala Initiative go directly to providing free therapeutic Yoga classes, travel refunds, hot lunches and English lessons and much more. £5 pays for travel to class for one woman, £40 pays for travel refunds for eight women.
If you want to help support this work then join me in a very gentle @stralayoga flow on Thursday June 29 at Holy Trinity Workshop in Formby.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

The Keep Calm Exam Guide for parents

Yesterday an article I wrote for The Liverpool Echo was published with advice for both parents and teens.

If you didn't see the article, here is the full text with some links that were not available in the paper.

The Keep Calm Exam Guide for parents

By Jane Gallagher

SATs, GCSEs, A levels and degrees. As a mum of four, almost grown-up children, I have been around the exam block more times than I care to remember. The dark clouds of exam season blackened even the sunniest days between April and August. And while 2013 may have been a good summer, for me it was the darkest of times. I had one child preparing for GCSEs, another taking A levels and the eldest sitting his university finals. Yes, the stress levels were high and not just for my children; my own stressometer was off the scale.

I worried about whether I was nagging too much or too little, whether I should be rewarding their efforts with sweet treats or inedible healthy concoctions. Should I disconnect the wifi or did they need it to access the internet? And the real question behind this stress - what would happen if they didn't make the grade?

And it is not just parents who worry. Anxiety levels among young people are on a rapid incline with exam fears just another to add to the list of worries. Last year ChildLine reported a rise of 20% in calls with concerns about exams. So how can parents support their children at this time?

From my own experience I have two words to offer: let go. Let go of your anxiety. The summer of 2013 had pretty much played on repeat until 2014 when I began studying myself (to become a yoga teacher) and had my own Eureka moment. I decided that it was time to practise what I preached. At the end of teaching a yoga class  I would remind my class that should their thoughts drift back to the past (have they done enough revision?) or ahead to the future (what if they don’t get the grades they need?), remind themselves to come back to the present.

That night in the early summer of 2014 I went home and decided the best way I could help my children was to let go of my own fears and anxieties. Of course I could still do the supportive things and there are lots of excellent online articles about how you can do this. And while I couldn’t make them work harder or less if they didn’t want to, I could take control of the only thing in my power. I could work on reducing my own stress levels. I could made sure that I found time each morning to sit quietly, stretch a little and focus on my breathing. And once I reduced my own stress levels it had an amazing ripple effect. And while I can’t say the exam results in our house have been better since 2014, they certainly haven’t dropped, unlike everyone’s stress levels which have reduced considerably.

Why Yoga Works

Yoga, incorporating breathing exercises, movement and mindfulness has much medical evidence to support its effectiveness. For example, researchers from Boston University’s medical school found that levels of the amino acid Gaba are higher in those who perform yoga than those who don’t. Higher levels of Gaba in your system make you feel happier and more relaxed. It has been proved that focusing on the breath in yoga stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which has a calming effect on the body and can also improve concentration. Dr Katherine Weare, Professor of Education at the University of Exeter concluded in a 2014 report into the practice by saying: “Mindfulness correlates positively with wellbeing, positive emotion, popularity and friendships, and negatively with negative emotion and anxiety.”

How much yoga do you need to do?

In 2016 researchers at Western Sydney University found a 33% reduction in anxiety among patients who practised just 12 minutes of yoga a day compared with those receiving treatment as usual. More importantly, they observed an increase in resilience and frequency of positive experiences and a reduction in the frequency of negative experiences.

Do Good Grades Really Matter?
While exams results can indicate a level of knowledge and skills they are not the only predictor of success in life. The Institute of Directors surveyed its members and found that they valued soft skills — communication, team-working and leadership — just as much as academic and technical skills. Seamus Nevin, Head of Employment of Skills Policy, said: "Exam results are important, but they are only one element of a broad and comprehensive education. And whatever happens, it’s never too late to return to studies. After all, the former lead singer of D:Ream picked himself up after a disappointing Grade D in his A-level Maths to become a Master of the Universe, otherwise known as Professor Brian Cox.

Simple Practices for Parents and their Children
You don’t need to attend a class to gain the benefits of yoga, you can reap the rewards of the ancient science of life by regular practice in the comfort of your own home.
If you have 1 minute try some breath awareness
Sit comfortably with your spine long, eyes closed and hands resting on your lap. Take your attention to the part of your body where you feel your breath. Notice how you are breathing and then take your awareness to the tip of your nostrils. Notice the cool air entering your body and with your mind’s eye follow that breath. Notice where the inhale becomes and exhale and where the inhale becomes an exhale. Spend one minute riding the wave of your breath.
If you have 3 minutes
Follow the Breathing Space Meditation by Professor Mark Williams, Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the University of Oxford which is available on youtube. 

If you have 12 minutes

Begin with 5 minutes of breath awareness, move through five rounds of Sun Salutation A (tutorials on youtube) and conclude by lying quietly in a comfortable position and take yourself through an auto-suggestive relaxation by saying silently to yourself (‘I relax my feet, I relax my feet, my feet are relaxed’ and so on moving through the whole of your body and ending with the crown of your head). 

If you have time for just one pose
Try Viparita Karani otherwise known as Legs Up The Wall Pose which is perfect for tired bodies and helps to calm anxious minds.

Simply lie close to the wall with your legs supported by the wall. Rest your hands by your sides, above your head or lightly on your abdomen and feel the expansion of your abdomen as you inhale and the gentle release as you exhale. Keep the back of the neck long and soften your shoulders into the floor. Stay here for up to 10 minutes with your eyes closed.

Keep on Yogging

We all love a bit of yoga on the beach but in this country the opportunities are few and far between, right? Wrong? Yogging, a mixt...