We are all individuals and have very different needs at different times in our lives, so it is helpful that Yoga comes in a variety of styles. Finding your unique fit can be a very personal thing. What works for one, may not work for another, so it is important to listen to your body and ensure that you find balance and joy in the practice. I can offer you Gentle, Hatha, Yin and Restorative and Pre & Post-Natal Yoga, depending on your needs.
Gentle yoga caters to a wide range of students, from absolute beginners and seniors and those returning to their yoga practice after a break to those recovering from chronic illness or an operation. We practice a gentle form of Hatha Yoga with a focus on modifications and props. Movements are slow and gentle and designed to encourage increased flexibility and relaxation.
Hatha Yoga is a great place to begin if you are new to yoga. A typical Hatha class will include some Pranayama (breathing exercises), some asana (postures) and relaxation – this may include an element of meditation too.
Classes can be as challenging as you make them but for most people starting out, it is an accessible practice and one that will not overwhelm. In the Hatha classes that I teach, I tend to focus on breath awareness and the importance of listening to your own body to create a practice that serves you and allows you to proceed at your own pace. We are all individuals and as such we all require an individual approach to our yoga practice.
Pre-Natal & Post-Natal
Pregnancy is a very special and unique time in every woman’s life. There are so many changes to contend with and yoga can help physically, mentally and emotionally with this transition and shift into a new way of being. As such, our needs are different during this time, so classes are tailored and guided in an appropriate way, to nourish each woman’s unique essence so that she is able to give herself the gift of connecting to herself, and her baby, on that mat.
In an ideal world, Restorative Yoga would be part of everybody’s daily practice. When we take the time to fully relax the body and mind, we give ourselves the opportunity to release stress, a common cause for a wide variety of ailments in today’s world.
Restorative Yoga is practiced with the body totally supported with props consisting of blankets, bolsters, cushions, blocks, straps and sandbags to allow the body to let go and surrender to relaxation. The main emphasis for the practice is this act of surrender, which can be achieved through breath awareness. This will allow for deep, conscious relaxation, promoting the relaxation response in the body and helping the immune system to counteract the effects of stress, whatever form it takes. Whether you are suffering from insomnia, grief, jet lag, high blood pressure, menopause, osteoporosis, fibromyalgia, chronic pain or simply an overactive mind due to a stressful lifestyle, this practice could reap huge benefits.
In May 2008 I took my Relax & Renew training with Judith Hanson Lasater in Massachusetts, at Kripalu and in May 2009, I returned to the same venue to assist Judith on this training. I offer one-on-one Restorative Yoga Sessions as I believe personalizing the practice can bring truly amazing results.
Restorative Yoga is suitable for students of all ages, physical fitness and ability.
Physically, Yin Yoga targets the deep connective tissues of the body during long-held floor postures with muscles relaxed. By working with the physical body in this way, the meridian system, the energy pathways in the body, are stimulated which can in turn nourish our organs, our body and mind collectively.
The two major differences between a Yin and a Yang Yoga practice are that Yin postures should be done with the muscles relaxed and should be held a longer time. This is because connective tissue does not stretch like muscle and will not respond well to brief stresses. This gentle practice will increase your flexibility, open your hips, lower back and shoulders and will enhance your overall sense of well-being. It is a wonderful complement to other yoga practices including meditation.
“If you would foster a calm spirit,
First regulate your breathing;
For when that is under control,
A heart will be at peace;
But when breathing is spasmodic,
Then it will be troubled.
Therefore, before attempting anything
First regulate your breathing
On which your temper will be softened,
Your spirit calmed.”
Kariba Ekken~17th Century Mystic