The Journey so Far

For those that know me well, I have a love of writing.  About 7 years ago I started to write a book, I have a completed manuscript but so far I have not done anything with it.  I still view it has a work in progress and from time to time I pick it up and re-write sections of it, I love doing it and I have always said it will have its place in time.   As well as the book I am an avid journal writer, I write in my journal every night most of the time before bed but sometimes I write in my journal after yoga practice or as part of a meditation exercise.  I am almost through my 4th journal this year.  A few years ago I started to write a blog called Love Yourself Better. I wrote it because I found myself having these constant negative thoughts that needed to be challenged and it was a great way to get everything out of my system and challenge things.  Writing things down provides a release to all the things you are holding onto but maybe not able to vocalise. It is a great way of facing your feelings and fears in a non threatening way.  Writing helps to put things into perspective, it helps you to untangle your thoughts and feelings,  you can then analyse it, make sense of it, identify patterns and you can challenge your thinking behind what you have written.  So when I qualified as a yoga teacher and set up classes it was only natural that I wanted to blog at the same time too.  Unfortunately I haven’t had much spare time to write anything as I have been working my way through 12 very long leadership modules and they have had to come first, I still have a 2000 word assignment to write but I am almost there.  Today is the first time that I have had some space to write and I have so wanted to.  Writing is an intuitive process and I know when it is time to write, I know when the words I have to say are ready to come out on paper or on screen.  I usually have an idea what to write but then I start writing or typing and something else miraculously appears.

It seems such a long time since I qualified as a yoga teacher along with Gemma, Jo, Tatjana and Lauren.  Yet it is only four months ago.

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Teaching Yoga was a journey I never expected to undertake, it was never in the plan.  I had been considering applying for a Lecturers post at the University and I was part way through an application but something didn’t feel quite right and I decided to sleep on it.  The following day I saw an email from Mick at the YogaLife Project  in Manchester advertising their Yoga Teacher Training Course and I knew that that was something I would like to do and after a little more consideration I decided to sign up.

Two years later I am teaching my own beginners class, again something I never expected to do.  On the day I received my certificate I remember feeling a little lost and thinking where do I go from here.  I hadn’t planned to teach this side of Christmas due to the leadership course but with 12 months insurance paid for it seemed such a shame to waste it.  I had many sleepless nights wondering/debating if I should start teaching or not.  My main concern was that I was studying at the same time and I was worried it would all be a bit too much to do.  I noticed a local school was advertising a gym space for hire and I decided to contact them and ask if they had space and they did.  From then on everything fell into place.

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The very first beginners course started on the 30th October and it is running for 8 weeks, the Monday coming up will be class 6, I cannot believe we are heading towards the end already.  I am very passionate about teaching and I regularly run workshops and educational sessions through my job anyway so it is great that I can teach something else that I love too. I cannot tell you it has all been easy and there have been a couple of times when everything has bottlenecked and I have felt the pressure of working full time, facilitating and preparing workshops, studying for my course, teaching yoga, running a home and just generally keeping up with life.  At those times of pressure it has been really important to take time out, make sure I get some fresh air or bring myself to the soothing kindness of my yoga mat but it has all been worth it and I am proud of what has been achieved these past few months.

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From January 2018 there will be two classes, another leap of faith,  but I wanted to be able to accommodate those students that had really developed their yoga practice and wanted to explore yoga a little more and have the opportunity to deepen their practice but also maintain the more gentle level of beginners for those who preferred that style or are new to yoga.  I am really looking forward to 2018 and developing the yoga classes further, it really is quite an exciting time.  To see classes available, dates and prices please visit here

Om Nema Sivaya

Andrea

 

 

What happens in class…

I thought it might be helpful for those who are attending the forthcoming 8 week beginners yoga course or are thinking of doing the course to write a blog piece about what happens in class. The prospect of a 90 minute class can be quite daunting one but more so a very enjoyable one. It offers the time and the opportunity to explore yoga, delve a little deeper within ourselves and most importantly relax.

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Have you ever taken the time to observe the body following a long working day at the office, perhaps you have been sat at your desk all day, or you have been on your feet for hours, some of you may have been driving for a long period of time in the car or perhaps just moving from one meeting to another with very little movement in between? If we take a moment to notice we can feel a series of aches and pains running through our bodies, tightness in our joints, stiffness in the neck and heavy tired eyes from hours of concentration. We can alleviate these symptoms by engaging in yoga practice but for it to be effective we need to combine both movement and breath.

Yoga classes consist of an 8 part sequence, connecting the mind, body and breath that creates a sense of balance. For most classes (apart from class 1 and possibly class 2) on arrival we will sign in, move to the mat area and settle into Savasana also known as Corpse posture. As we settle and relax you may still be aware of the aches and pains that have been accumulating throughout the day but in yoga practice the smallest of movements can make a difference to how we feel. As we close our eyes and begin to move inwards (part 1) we immediately remove ourselves from our working day and we begin to prepare for the here and now, our yoga practice. As we begin to focus on our inward and outward breathing our bodies begin to respond and start to relax, we will start to feel the tension in our bodies that we have been holding in our bodies disappear and we begin to forget that the tension ever existed.

As we venture from relaxation into conscious yogic breathing (part 2) we become energized preparing for our intention setting through solar salutation (part 3). When we begin to move our bodies no muscles or pair of muscles or joint works in isolation, they work together. It is usually tension that causes restricted movement but by focusing inwards on our bodies and continuation of our conscious yogic breathing the tension releases and we can move more easily.As asana practice (part 4) deepens through exploration of postures (part 5) it provides further opportunity to observe the body, what tension is left can be released by focusing the breath on these areas. Asana practice impacts on the health and wellbeing of the spinal cord, allowing are energy to flow more easily.

As we return to stillness (part 6) our bodies are free from tension a result of the combined movement and yogic breathing. We are present, removed from the past that was just a few hours ago. We will recognise/know that a change has occurred, and have created an absolute balance of wellbeing on the physical, mental, emotional on spiritual levels (part 7). Following our yoga blessings we will leave our yoga session behind with a sense of peace, harmony and wellbeing just as we were meant to be (part 8).

Om Nema Sivaya

Yoga and I

Prior to 2007 I had taken part in a handful of Yoga classes at the local gym. The classes were an hour long and the sessions were busy with about 25-30 people in them if not more. The classes were okay but it was difficult to remove myself from the constant thud of the beat of the music in the main gym area next door. At that point in time I didn’t feel yoga was for me. Fast forwarding a few years I was a member of a different gym and it was more geared up towards spa and relaxation, they had 90 minute yoga classes on offer but at that time again, I didn’t feel that yoga was for me.

In 2006 I sold my house and gave up my job and travelled for 8 months. I was unsettled at home and I was in a job that I had stopped enjoying. I had gone from School, Sixth form college, University and then continued with Postgraduate study. I was 31 and still had not left the education system. I was burnt out, exhausted and felt like I needed something more. Around the same time I started to have panic attacks and even though I would get up each day and do what I needed to do my anxiety was taking its toll. I was struggling to find something else that I wanted to do and one day it was suggested that I take some time out and go travelling. It seemed such a ludicrous idea at first but once I had thought about it seemed like a perfect solution.

I travelled to Thailand part way through my journey and as part of a cultural experience I had stayed in a Buddhist Temple.  It was here that practiced meditation 3 times a day. It was a truly enjoyable experience and far different from any meditation experience I had had from the yoga classes in the gym all those years before. The experience stayed with me for quite some time. Unfortunately, on returning to the UK, resuming study and going back to work the panic attacks returned and I was back to square one. This time I did take advantage of the longer yoga classes at the gym, I finally felt ready for Yoga.

The class was small, intimate and away from the main gym, it was quieter,  you could hear noise but it wasn’t so off putting. That first class was memorable for a few different reasons, firstly I was in a high state of anxiety at the thought of going to a class I had never been before, my anxiety continued for the majority of the class.  I honestly didn’t think I was going to make it through, but it was most memorable because at the end of the 90 minutes my anxiety was gone, I had survived. The connection I had made in my mind that if I practice yoga my anxiety would go stayed with me and I never looked back. As the months and years passed I am relatively anxiety free. I say not totally because I am human and sometimes as humans we let work and worry take over, the constant news feed from mainstream media and social media alike cause anxiety.   They  play on our fears and concerns, we pick up so much negativity from these sources we often don’t even realise it, yet what we see and read stays with us affecting our thoughts and feelings. Our thoughts are rarely present and seem to ricochet between the past and the future causing confusion of where we are and what we are meant to be doing.

There are so many benefits to Yoga but for myself it has so much more meaning. Yoga has taught me how to be calm, how to deal with stress, how to remove myself from drama and cope with challenges. Sometimes I forget and my thoughts will flit from past to future and from future to past but Yoga is a constant gentle and kind reminder that there is no past or future and takes me back to where I am meant to be, in the present.