"Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor'" (Thich Nhat Hanh)
It’s worth reminding ourselves that the meaning of yoga is union, both of mind and body. It is this essence and purity that I try and capture in all my classes whilst overlaying some of the other practices I’ve studied.
WHAT TO EXPECT
Asana (physical postures), pranayama (breath practices), meditation and prayer-based traditions inform my practice and teaching. I primarily teach a slow but strong flowing Vinyasa (or Yang) style of yoga, integrating a significant focus on the breath and its healing qualities, precise attention to alignment, and the Buddhist meditation methods of mindfulness and compassion.
Thrown into the pot are also some long-held Yin or Restorative poses, essential oils, a sprinkle of yoga philosophy and a dose of much needed quiet time for healing and release to occur in the mind and body.
I enjoy being creative and experimental, working with a variety of sequences and range of postures to help my students deepen their practice and understanding. I like to encourage thoughtful and conscious movement to help cultivate a quality of attention that translates into daily life.
My friendly, down-to-earth and balanced approach to yoga has helped to make it accessible to people of all ages and abilities and my intention in teaching is to take the spirit of mindfulness off the mat and incorporate it into daily living.
Over the years I have been influenced by different teachers and their styles of Hatha yoga and meditation. Here is some background on the styles that I primarily teach:
Vinyasa means ‘breath-synchronized movement’ so with this style of yoga I like to teach slow and smooth movement through varied sequences of postures linked by the thread of the breath in a flowing, almost dance-like style, sometimes interspersed with longer holds. Breath focus is integrated throughout the class, helping to centre and quiet the mind.
Named after B.K.S Iyengar, this style is a structural, posutre-based approach to hatha yoga which concentrates on body alignment and is often used therapeutically. Precision work in physical postures is the meditative focus of the Iyengar system, which uses props, including blocks, chairs and straps.
Yin is a slow, nourishing style of yoga, which works our deep connective tissue: the ligaments, joints, muscles, tendons and fascia. It focuses on target areas to release this connective tissue, improving flexibility and energy flow within the body and leaving you feeling a deep sense of relaxation and calm. In a Yin practice students will be required to hold individual postures (mostly seated or lying down) for much longer than they would do in a typical flowing or ‘Yang’ class.
In this style of yoga, students rest in supported positions over bolsters and blankets to allow the body to open, the breath to deepen and the nervous system to slow down. The eyes are closed and the focus is inwards. My restorative classes will include four or five poses held anywhere from five to 15 minutes, combined with essential oils, reiki, breath awareness and guided meditations.
My meditation practice has been primarily in the Buddhist tradition so the style that I like to teach is called Mindfulness Meditation which is derived from a 2500-year-old Buddhist practice called Vipassana (Insight Meditation). It is a form of meditation designed to develop the skill of paying attention to our inner and outer experiences with acceptance, patience and compassion. Mindfulness is non-judgmental, open-hearted, friendly, and inviting of whatever arises in awareness. It is cultivated by paying attention on purpose, deeply, and without judgment to whatever arises in the present moment, either inside or outside of us. By intentionally practicing mindfulness, deliberately paying more careful moment-to-moment attention, we can live more fully and less on ‘automatic pilot,’ thus being more present for our own lives.