My teaching style has changed over the years as my own practice has changed - I always aim to teach authentically, from the heart, and enjoy sharing the learnings that I receive on my own evolving yoga journey. Currently, I teach a combination of more dynamic, stronger classes (vinyasa flow) plus more gentle classes (hatha, restorative and yin). Each class style is described below. In masterclasses, workshops and retreats I tend to mix it up and teach very intuitively, depending on the needs of the group. This is how I like to practise myself - using my intuition to guide my practice and following the balancing principle of yin (gentle, soft, receptive) and yang (dynamic, active) energies, both of which lie within each and every one of us. A regular, sustained yoga practice helps us to connect to the totality of our beings - mind, body and spirit - and we become more able to hear the quiet, innate wisdom of these aspects working together in harmony. This inner listening guides both my teaching and my practice. It is my joy to share the healing magic of yoga with others.
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Yoga is a vast subject – but, as a starting point, it's an ancient Indian discipline that's thousands of years old. The translation of the Sanskrit word, yoga, is 'to yoke' or 'to join together'. This could be interpreted in hundreds of ways,
but is often taken to mean the bringing together of body, mind and spirit to create a state of inner peace. To achieve this state, yoga encourages you to first heal the body through posture work, then calm the mind and connect to your spiritual essence through breathing work and meditation and, throughout, to behave in a positive, beneficial way off the mat too.
If you read any of the ancient yoga texts, it seems that yoga used to focus mainly on breathwork and meditation. In fact the physical postures, that we tend to associate with yoga these days, were just a means of preparing the body to be able to sit still for long periods without discomfort. But, like anything, yoga has evolved through the millenia, and continues to evolve today. Nowadays, certainly in the western world where there is a great need to reconnect to our bodies, yoga is more associated with doing physical postures on a mat to heal ourselves physically, although, generally, most yoga classes will also involve a focus on the breath, in order to achieve a sense of mental calm.
The truth is, yoga means something different to everyone that does it. Like with anything, you get out what you put in, and the deeper you immerse yourself, the more subtle the fruits that it will yield. But, equally, if you just want to dabble in yoga, it's a brilliant way to improve the body condition, learn how to breathe properly and to create an improved sense of relaxation and mental calm in your life. Whatever your particular yoga journey, the only way to begin it is to get on the mat and see for yourself what it becomes to you!
Vinyasa flow yoga adopts a flowing, dynamic style where each breath is linked to a movement, which gives the class an element of cardio work-out as well as building strength and flexibility. Some classes will explore different themes (e.g. hip-opening, balance or back-bending) and some will be stronger or gentler than others (I always tune into the group energy of the class to determine how hard to make you work!). But each class will be challenging in its own way and will have its own beautiful flow. All my classes are open to everyone, regardless of experience or ability, and I do my best to make it accessible to all by providing modifications and alternative postures where needed. However, due to the flowing nature of this class, complete beginners might find it a bit overwhelming as a starting point, as there isn't as much time to break-down postures and explain alignment etc. Better for beginners or those who wish for a gentler class are my Hatha yoga classes - we still cover the same physical postures but at a much slower pace, with time to explain alignment properly and give more individual attention.
In yin yoga, you ease your way into postures slowly, without necessarily going to your deepest point, then hold the shape for between three and five minutes. Props are used to make sure the posture feels comfortable. The pace of the class is slow and meditative, allowing you to go within and let go of deeply held tension, both physical and emotional. This can be a great complement to the more dynamic 'yang' styles, such as ashtanga and vinyasa flow. Restorative classes are deeply relaxing and basically involve lying down in various beneficial, supported positions! We always end with a long guided relaxation.