In Praise of Small Town Yoga
A lot of the yoga in the public eye consists of amazing bodies doing very acrobatic things in beautiful places, which all seems beyond the reach of what most people want or need from yoga. So much commercial hype. It seems worlds away from the yoga classes I teach in my local church hall with 70s flowery curtains, old lino flooring and my two Ikea bags of props.
My Hassocks classes and other local classes are all on a drop-in basis, but most students come regularly. Many text me if they can’t make it that day. There is a sense of personal relationship and commitment. By now I’m getting to know each student and I feel like I can tailor and progress classes more effectively. I also feel that there is good camaraderie and a laid back vibe, as the classes are small and students get to know each other. Many already knew each other – small town life! This is conducive to the kind of relaxed atmosphere we want, to be able to focus without being self-conscious, and to then drop down together into the peace and quiet at the end of class. Well-equipped, modern studios and gyms and big ‘superstar teacher’ led workshops are great, but I suspect my Hassocks kind of local, community orientated, ‘just come in your old leggings’ class vibe helps many people to develop a sustainable, beneficial yoga practice.
Students tell me they come to class to support energy, muscle tone and flexibility; to relax, slow down, take a breather from busy daily life; to have skills to de-stress when life gets challenging. In my experience from 17 years of yoga practice and eight years of teaching, just going to your weekly class(es) consistently, with an enquiring attitude and getting motivated to do some practice at home really gets yoga into your life and changes things. J
With my regular students in mind, I’m also now offering monthly Saturday morning workshops, so that we can approach postures in more progressive steps, based on what we have been doing in class that month, and also have more time to explore relaxation techniques and meditation. Any requests for things to cover in workshops are very welcome!
I am always refining how I teach and at the moment I’m working on integrating some new learning into my classes. I’ll be writing about this in my next posts. Having regular students gives me the chance to try new things – some work, some don’t work out so well…. I regularly ask for feedback and so please do take me up on that. I believe teaching is a two-way dialogue and in my class preparation I am continually asking the question, ‘how can I share what I have learnt and experienced in yoga so that students can have their own helpful and enjoyable experience of yoga ?’
Workshops and Classes Update
Saturday 6th MAY YOGA WORKSHOP 9:30am-12pm
United Reformed Church Hall, Hassocks
Delve Deeper into your Practice
Join me for a Spring-themed morning of yoga –challenge yourself in a strong and well-rounded flow practice (with gentler options), rest in restorative yoga postures, explore the healing properties of breath, and experience the deep rest of savasana and meditation. An opportunity to take care of yourself and explore how yoga can be both energizing and deeply relaxing, a wellspring of nourishment in your life. Limited to 14 places. £25.
Saturday 17th June YOGA WORKSHOP 9:30am-12pm
United Reformed Church Hall Hassocks
Creating & Maintaining a Home Yoga Practice
Learn a well-rounded sequence which can be adapted to be more gentle, more dynamic or more strength-orientated depending on your needs on any given day. With lots of crucial tips and handouts so you can effectively start a rewarding, regular practice at home. Limited to 14. £25
Fridays 12pm-1pm Drop-in £8 Open Class ( mixed Level)
Venue: Halton Shaws (home studio of Tory Papenfus) see my class schedule for details
Haywards Heath Class
Thursday Evenings 7pm-8pm Dynamic Alignment ( not for beginners)
Alternative Healthcare centre (70 Oathill Road, Haywards Heath)
One-to-One one hour slots available: £45 per hour