Yoga is an ancient yet living and evolving collection of practices linked to physical, mental and spiritual development. Its theory base includes ideas and principles relating to health, fitness, psychology and spirituality. Yoga recognises that health and being at ease with oneself is a multilayered process. My classes explore the main contemporary practices in yoga of asana (postures), pranayama (breathing practices), body centring and meditation as a creative means to bring ourselves to a place of calm and quiet. It is not complicated in one sense , but there is much to explore ! Appreciation of all that it has to offer takes time.
My Approach to Yoga Teaching and Teacher/Student Empowerment.
Whilst I am respectful of the historical yoga tradition and timeless wisdom that has been handed down to us, I am equally interested in a yoga practice that is realistic and relevant in our current 21st Century context. I wouldn't place myself particularly in one style or another - I teach yoga as I understand it after 25 plus years practice and study. The nature of classes depends on the group, but in general I teach a structured slow flowing approach to the asanas (postures) and variously include pranayama (breathing practices), relaxation, physical and mental centring practices, and meditation.
For me as a teacher the most important element of yoga is that the individual is empowered to trust their own inner reference systems in both practice and life. Whilst we all need guidance from those who have practiced longer in order to gain an understanding of the practices and technicalities involved, ultimately the role of the teacher is to empower the student to understand and trust themselves on many levels and be able to act and respond accordingly. This in essence is the potential of yoga.
Yoga, Meditation and Spirituality
Yoga philosophy in essence carries the message that at a deep level all of life is interconnected through conciousness and nature. Meditation, study and inquiry provide the means to directly realise this for ourselves beyond conceptual doubt; this type of practice may in turn influence and support our deepest values and how we choose to live. More on this here
Why do Yoga?
Even those of us who have practiced this for decades find ourselves asking this question. We may all need reminding what we're practicing and why ! The answer is perhaps best summarised by one yoga teacher wit who in response to the question 'how often should I practice? ' put it: 'you only need to practice yoga on the days you want to feel better'.
Here are a few reasons why I think I have stuck with it for over 20 years now.
- It keeps me healthy, fit, strong, centred and tension free in proportion to the amount I practice.
- This gives me more energy to live my life.
- It helps me to take responsibility for my life and how it's going.
- My relationships with family, friends, nature and beyond are enriched due to it.
- It keeps me in touch with the bigger perspective.
- It gets more interesting the longer I do it.
- I'm not sure I would have learned to surf in my 40's without it.
- It makes dancing more fun.
Yoga for Beginners
As a beginner in yoga it is best to start without too many assumptions , yoga is fun to start for the joy and freedom of movement, to relax or for no good reason at all. But if you decide it's for you, and are prepared to practice, it can really support your life.
Weekly Yoga Classes in Totnes
These yoga classes are possible for anyone to attend who is in basically good health and generally include asanas (postures) pranayama (breathing practices) , relaxation and meditation. Latest class schedule .
Yoga Workshops in Totnes
An opportunity to practice more deeply in the form of an extended class with questions and answers. Workshop schedule.
Small groups are another option for learning; you can set up a group with friends, family or work colleagues at home, work or in a centre. Feel free to e mail or call 07915 650106 if you want to discuss this.
Yoga as Part of Staff Training Days or Work Place Wellbeing Programmes
I have run yoga workshops for Devon NHS staff and formerly at Brighton council, Glyndebourne Opera House and Sussex University. If a yoga session could be useful for your workplace feel free to e mail or call 07915 650106 if you want to discuss this.
1995 - 1997 with Mary Stewart , Sophy Hoare and Peter Blackaby.
Post Graduate Courses
Too numerous to mention everything, but most significantly:
Many of my teachers were influenced or directly taught by Vanda Scaravelli which has been a helpful approach for me regarding the postures part of hatha yoga. But not only , my practice and teaching has been supported accross the yoga practice spectrum by a variety of teachers, practices and approaches. Particularly:
Desikachar ( RIP)
Attending Silent Retreats at Gaia House. And taking a meditation course by Joseph Goldstein and Sharon Salzberg supported by Catherine McGee from Gaia House .
Despite variations in presentation and style all these teachers helped me understand core universal principles of yoga common to all approaches.
I also learn much (if not the most) from my students through their varying needs, questions and responses to my teaching.