Sohot Lifestyle founder, Bill Thwaites, is a highly regarded lifestyle coach, with over 6,000+ hour of teaching experience. Bill's unique approach to the Hatha Yoga (Including the Bikram Method of hot yoga) has helped thousands of people over come their physical and mental limitations. Bill's unique insight often challenges established dogma helping students gain a more enriched perspective. Bill's Sohot group of central London hot yoga studios, attracted the likes of Lady Gaga, Benedict Cumberbatch, Gemma Arterton, Olivia Williams, Toby Jones, Maxine Peake, Robert Downey Jr, ... the list is long. With over 80,000 members through its doors the Soho studios established a vibrate active community that spanned the globe.
Today Bill has shifted his knowledge and experience online helping people worldwide
Bill’s inspiring approach to yoga will optimize your biochemistry turbocharging your physiology.
People with an established yoga practice who switch over to Bill's method report gaining far greater results than ever before - enhanced strength & mobility, combined with more energy, stamina and clarity of mind.
Written by Bill Thwaites
With the aid of Hot Yoga, it took only six months to kick my Arthritis into touch and finally lose my stubborn belly fat. But it took me over eight years to figure out how to do that. It took me eight years to identify that my whole approach to yoga had been wrong.
Why did it take me so long? It wasn't for the lack of trying. I had fully entrenched myself into the yoga world, founding London’s most famous group of yoga studios and hundreds of yoga teachers. I am a senior hatha yoga teacher with over 8,000 hours under my belt and have always maintained a solid practice, practicing a full 90 minutes class 4-5 times a week.
So what was it that made me realize the standard approach to yoga was wrong?
There are two main reasons.
Firstly, despite having a very strong yoga practice my Arthritic body was getting worse. My yoga practice slowed down the progression of my condition, but it just wasn’t enough and arthritis’s was winning the battle.
Secondly, I noticed that the vast majority of yoga teachers were off sick more than the stressed out "work hard, party hard" sound engineers I'd encountered in my former life in the music industry, and I’m not just talking about colds and flu. I'm talking about occupational injuries that would take footballers and ballet dancers out of the game. In one month alone I was aware of three injured teachers, one requiring knee surgery, one spine surgery and the third had a slipped disk. These teachers taught all styles of yoga.
Due to our studios' close proximity to Harley Street, I began to work with various internationally renowned musculoskeletal professionals. These experts all reported that they treat yoga teachers just as much as footballers, ballet dancers, tri-athletes and golfers. In fact, one divulged that yoga-related injuries were the mainstay of their business.
So I set out on a journey to figure out why yoga was doing the opposite it is claimed it can achieve. Why was my yoga practice not improving my arthritis and why do so many yoga teachers suffer major occupational injuries requiring surgery? To do that I had to step completely outside of the yoga bubble.
Further investigation revealed that the majority of yoga-related injuries involve damage to the joints, due to long-term repetitive compression.
Working with the Spine Surgeons; Osteopaths, Chiropractors and Physiotherapists, it became blindingly clear that the only way the body is able to heal a damaged joint is if the fluid within the joint is allowed to flow freely so that oxygen and nutrients can get into the joint and waste products removed. The best way to help that process to happen is to move the joint while it's relaxed open allowing the synovial fluid to flow. When it comes to the spine, the diffusion of fluids and nutrients into the intervertebral disks is best achieved when the disks are pulled apart, decompressed.
In yoga, we do articulate the joints in all manner of orientations but never in a decompressed state. For a joint to be in a decompressed state it has to be relaxed open.
I then tried practising various yoga postures with the sole intention of keeping all the joints relaxed open. I had to completely re-wire my mind-body muscle communication pathways. It's a totally different mindset to the way all the various styles of yoga are taught. It requires entirely different muscles. You have to detach yourself from the process of stretching or the extent you are able to position your body.
Although it's physically harder, the typical fight between the body & mind melts away. The body loves what the mind is asking it to do. You find the mind is able to step back into the peak performance state called flow state. Flow-state is where the real magic happens. This is where the mind is no longer continually micro-managing your every move, nit-picking about precision and detail. In flow-state, the mind steps back to become an observer and its the body that perfects the moves. This is exactly how a musician perfects a piece of music.
This brings me onto an additional point about the way yoga is typically taught.
By stepping completely outside the yoga bubble it became clear that the yoga industry is lost in a sea of conflicting mindsets, with no real structure or guidance, when compared to the way someone masters a musical instrument or learns to become a professional ballet dancer.
Often yoga teachers start the class by saying stuff like "take a few moments to ground yourself and set your intention for the class, such as gratitude, patience, compassion, courage, kindness, forgiveness, etc. Then throughout the class deliver a stream of instructions that micro-manage your every move, or worse still, give you hands-on corrections. This keeps students in an analytical processing mode mindstate and has no time to focus on gratitude.
I have played the guitar for over 20 years and when I play a song I know extremely well, my body is in control of my actions, and I am able to turn off my analytical mind playing with any emotion I choose (gratitude or loving-kindness). But I can not do that if someone is giving me a stream of instructions. When I learn a new song I need my analytical mind to start with. Once I have basics structure in place I need to let go of my thinking mind placing my body in the driving seat. Only my body is able to perfect my playing. On a side point, this is why you have to practice set yoga routines and not a random array of postures the teacher deems fit that day.
By getting yoga students to focus solely on opening the body while performing a set sequence of yoga postures I have found it takes only one month for them to turn off their analytical mind letting their body perfect everything. This is possible because the body loves what's being asked of it. The fight between the body and mind melts away and they naturally discover flow-state, or as athletes call all it “The Zone”. When in the zone your biochemistry is optimized.
If you don't know how to switch into the zone, your yoga practice will end up over stressing your biochemistry causing your body & mind to work against you and you end up wasting your time simply going through the motions. That’s what I did for years. My body and mind were never a peace because what I had been asking my body to do was wrong and the body knew it.
The typical way yoga is taught can be best summed up with a Mark Twain quote “It’s not what we don’t know that gets us in trouble. It’s what we know for sure that just ain’t’ so”.
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The past cannot be changed. The future is in your power