Welcome to 2019

Goodbye 2018 // Hello 2019

Goodbye 2018, Hello 2019.

As 2018 draws to a close and we prepare to say hello to 2019  we took some time out to reflect on the fantastic year 2018 has been and what we have learned along the way. We also thought we would share some highlights on things to come in 2019.

 

New Teachers and Classes. 

At Yoga Kula often look at our timetable and class offering throughout the year and 2019 is no different! We are very excited to welcome three new teachers in January including Amanda Winburn, Binny Saandal and Miz DeShannon. Amanda will be teaching our new Restorative and Meditation class on Sundays at 5:45pm, while Binny joins us for Vinyasa Flow on Mondays at 5:15pm, Slow Flow and Yin on Thursdays at 8pm, and Hatha on Sundays at 4:30pm.

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Amanda Winburn

Binny Saandal

Miz DeShannon

Goodbye.

As well as new welcomings we are very sad to say goodbye to two wonderful and incredibly talented teachers Anthony Middleton and Isabel Slingerland. Anthony and Isabel are preparing to start a new adventure in Holland and we wish them the very best of luck.  Isabel will continue with her Hot Vinyasa Flow class every Wednesday at 8pm until the end of January.

2018 at Yoga Kula.

2018 saw the launch of our first Teacher Training Course, and our current trainees are now well on their way to being fully fledged teachers. We can’t wait to work with our 2019 intake and be part of their teaching journey. 

TTC
// We’ve worked with some incredible brands, including Sweaty Betty, Neom, Victoria Leeds, Harewood House and Harvey Nichols throughout the year, delivering events such as Yoga Nidra, pop-up sessions,  and wild yoga. Throughout the coming months we already have events planned with Issho in Victoria Gate. To view all of our upcoming events, click here.

Wild Yoga

 

We were lucky enough to not just feature in 3 issues of Yoga Magazine, but for Angela Sykes, founder and director of Yoga Kula to be featured on the cover of the July issue.

 

We finished the year with a big thank you to all of our students, with a Nourish class with Angela followed by non-alcoholic mulled wine and mince pies! Kula means community, and our community of loyal Kulis are so important to us.

Nourish Class

We already have a lot of exciting news to share with you over the coming months of 2019, with new classes, new teachers, new workshops to look forward to. Keep an eye out on our Workshops page and on MindBody!

#seeyouonthemat


peaceful yoga setting

New Year, New Teachers, and Free Classes

We are very excited to take a holiday at Christmas and spend some time relaxing and renewing with family and friends. However, we are also extremely excited to re-open the studio after the Christmas break and welcome you to 2019 at Yoga Kula.  We begin the year with some news, welcoming three incredible new teachers who are bringing with them some brilliant classes.  We’d love for you to join us, especially as the first session of each of our new class options is free!

We hope you enjoyed Yoga Kula being part of your yoga journey in 2018, we loved seeing you on the mat and look forward to your yoga practice developing, deepening and flourishing in the brand new year ahead.

There’s lots to look forward to in the coming months, with our new classes and pop up sessions,  our ever popular beginner courses and incredible workshops.

 


 

We firstly welcome the radiant Binny Saandal, who will be teaching three classes a week here at Yoga Kula.

Binny Saandal

Binny Saandal

“Movement is the song of life”

My Yoga Philosophy is to teach with a passionate heart, to inspire people to take their practice beyond the mat into real life. My teaching style is playful and creative, and through rhythmic transitions from one posture to another, integrated with light-hearted analogies. You will leave you feeling both inspired and nourished.

Join Binny for Slow Flow + Yin (FREE First class Thursday 3rd January. Click here to book)

Binny will also be teaching Ashtanga Fusion on Mondays at 6:30pm and Hatha on Sundays at 4:30pm.

 

 

 

 

Amanda Winburn

Amanda Winburn“My approach to teaching a peaceful, soulful restorativepracticee is from the heart. I like to guide my students on a journey to self through the breath, through feeling, connecting with the energy in the room and creating a safe place for self exploration”.

Amanda will be teaching Restorative and Meditation on Sundays at 5:45pm. (FREE First class Sunday 6th January. Click here to book)

 

 

 

 

 

Miz De Shannon

Miz will be teaching Hot Vinyasa Flow every Sunday at 8am

Miz DeShannon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other timetable changes

Monday

7:45pm-9pm Restorative is now Restorative and Nidra with Catharine Rosenthall

Tuesday

11:30-12:45 Yoga, Pranayama and Relaxation is now Yoga Technique with Rachel Woolhouse. (FREE first class 8th January. Click here to book)

1:20-2:30 Yoga for Living with Cancer  with Lara Heppell has had a price reduction, with a single session now costing £6.50. Student’s first class is also free!

Wednesday

No timetable changes

Thursday

9-10am Rocket with Pam Vargas is now All Levels  – come along and enjoy a playful practice without any pressure to be at a particular level. Expect a fast-paced dynamic class.

8-9pm Yoga Technique is replaced by Slow Flow with Binny Saandal  (FREE first class Thursday 3rd January. Click here to book)

Friday

No timetable changes

Saturday

12:30-1:45 Hatha is now Yoga Technique with Claire Dambawinna

 

Sunday

8-9am Hot Vinyasa Flow – New teacher Miz De Shannon

9:15 Ashtanga with Julia Knight is now a 75 minute class, running until 10:30am

11am Yin with Julia Knight will now run from 10:45-11:45am making Sunday morning Ashtanga and Yin the perfect double class option.

4:30-5:30pm Hatha will now be taught by Binny Saandal

5:45-7pm Forrest Inspired Flow will become Restorative and Meditation taught by Amanda Winburn (FREE First class Sunday 6th January. Click here to book)

 

#seeyouonthemat


KulaChristmas

Kula Christmas Gift Guide

With Christmas well on the way, the Yoga Kula elves have put together our gift guide for the yogi in your life. Whether that’s someone who’s been practicing for years, or someone who’s looking for a beginners course, we have everything on hand to help with your Christmas shopping. 

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Beginners

What better for a beginner yogi than a beginner’s kit? We sell everything you or a loved one will need, including mats, blocks, bricks, belts, and even a bag to carry equipment to and from class. You can purchase any of these items from the Yoga Kula shop at our studio in Chapel Allerton. 

We also offer beginners courses, which run for 6 weeks and are the perfect introduction to yoga. For more information about our courses, click here. Our January courses begin on Sunday 13th at 7:30pm and Monday 14th January at 7pm.

There’s even our New to Kula pass. This is a great way to try out each of the styles of yoga we have to offer here at Yoga Kula, giving you access to 10 classes for just £50 – 50% off our drop-in rate which works out just £5 per class. We have a variety of beginner level classes available, and it’s a great way to achieve that New Year’s Resolution of trying something new!

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The more experienced

Do you know a yogi wanting to work on something specific in their practice, or wanting some more detailed information than in a class setting? Why not treat them to a 1-1 session with one of our senior teachers? We have availability on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, we’d just need to speak with them first in order to make sure their session is tailored to their specifications and requirements.

We also offer regular workshops at Yoga Kula, ranging from perfecting your technique in advanced postures to trying something totally new! You can view our full list of upcoming events here.

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Stocking Fillers

We have plenty to offer here at Kula aside from the gift of yoga. From candles and incense starting at just £2, ranging through to detailed books on the practice of Ayurveda, the sister science to Yoga. 

 

We also offer a range of massages with the wonderful Harriet Morgan Thompson (Morgan Sports Massage) with appointments available on Monday and Wednesday afternoons. So if someone in your life needs some gentle TLC, a remedial massage would be perfect. View our full range of massage options here. 

If you’re unsure on the perfect gift for that special someone, why not consider one of our gift vouchers? With four beautiful designs, these are available to purchase online by clicking here or by dropping into our studio. Please note if you purchase a gift voucher online you must come to the studio to collect a card voucher, we do not post vouchers. Gift voucher can be purchased for the amount of your choosing, so whether it’s an Anytime drop in £10 class you’re wanting to treat someone to, or £100 to spend on massage and shop products, it’s up to you!

 

Gift Card Gift GuideGift Card Gift Guide

Gift Card Gift Guide Gift Card Gift Guide

 

 

 

 

 

Whatever you purchase for the one you love, or whatever you’re treated to, make sure you take the time out to relax. Be grateful, kind, and spend time with those important to you.

Merry Christmas,

Love, the Yoga Kula team

x


Beginners Yoga Class

Yoga for wrist injuries

Harriet is Yoga Kula's resident Massage Therapist, being a Kuli and a therapist, she understands how we can use yoga correctly to strengthen ourselves and prevent injury, here she talks about alignment for preventing wrist injuries.

There is no getting away from the fact that our hands are a primary tool that we need to use for everyday tasks. An injury in the hand or wrist can be debilitating and the rehabilitation process difficult as we can't get around using them.

Because of the use of modern technology we sometimes can't avoid repetitive movements such as typing, texting, or using a keypad/mouse. One of the most frequent types of wrist conditions today is RSI (repetitive strain injury), such as carpel tunnel syndrome and tendinitis. RSI stems from repetition but are is often brought on by poor postural habits, as well as workplace ergonomics.

Other more acute injuries like sprains and strains caused by poor alignment or lack of flexibility may be managed effectively. When the shoulders and upper back don’t provide a supportive structural base for arm movements, the burden of the activity may fall on the smaller joints. Furthermore, poor alignment in the shoulders and upper back can constrict nerves in the arms, which can manifest as pain, swelling, and numbness in the wrists. Restriction in the neck and shoulders can hugely impede blood flow and nerve transmission to and from the wrists. Because of this good shoulder alignment is imperative to allow this flow to happen.

Most of us are too short in our front bodies. The position people adopt when texting is quite unlike any other. Text neck is slowly becoming the slumping phenomenon. If the muscles at the front of the body such as the chest and neck are too tight we are pulled too far forward to utilise the shoulder and back muscles. This imbalance doesn’t allow us to use the rhomboids which retract the shoulders or the complex rotator cuff muscles fanning the scapula girdle. These are used for actions such as throwing a ball, opening a door or pouring a kettle. This often occurs with people practicing ashtanga a lot as the repetitive press ups pull the shoulder forward and tighten the chest, not allowing for engagement in the back of the shoulder. 

Like most areas of the body we need to make sure these areas are long yet strong enough so strength and stretch are essential. 

Wrist stretches - flexion and extension 

Prayer ? position 

Chest opener using a wall stretch or reclining over a bolster, blankets, a brick or even a rolled up towel is a great counteraction to chest tightness. 

Shoulder retractions allow engagement of the scapula muscles that prevent winging.

The three poses wrist pain is most obvious in are chaturanga, upward and downward facing dog. With poor alignment, undue pressure is placed through the wrist. Adaptations may require dropping to forearms or to the knees in a press up position to take weight out of the hand. Add to that a winging scapula where the muscles around the shoulder blade aren't strong enough to keep it under control and pain occurs. 

So to summarise how to avoid wrist pain:

  • Distribute pressure through the hand using the guide above.
  •  Maintain correct alignment of the wrist in weight bearing activities. In yoga terms the 3 poses most frequently used are chaturanga, upward and downward facing dog.
  • Keep open in chest so shoulder and back muscles can be utilised - either through stretching or massage and strengthening back. If the neck / upper back muscles are too tight they may need relaxing through soft tissue massage work. 

Harriet will be teaching a module on our TTC course on injury prevention.

 



Soft Tissue Release

Soft Tissue Release // Harriet Morgan-Thompson

On Sunday 11th November, we are joined by our resident massage therapist Harriet Morgan-Thompson, for a wonderful soft tissue release workshop.

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What is the difference between massage and soft tissue release?

Soft Tissue Release isn’t actually a form of massage but a technique used to release soft tissue. As it’s done fully clothed it doesn’t use oil or glide across the skin like massage does, so is ideal for people who aren’t keen on the invasive nature of traditional massage as there is no skin on skin contact.

Most massage treatments are characterised by the passive state of body tissues as these tissues are handled, stroked, kneaded, and manipulated. In soft tissue release, the tissues are instead held in distinct positions and then moved or lengthened, we use active methods to achieve relief. This approach makes it easier for us to assess the texture, tightness, and movement of the tissues. Practitioners are then often able to identify specific areas in need of treatment, particularly when they are addressing areas with multiple layers of muscle fibres moving in different directions.

Is soft tissue release just used for injury?

Not at all, it’s actually a way to prevent injury. It realigns the body to its natural position so is often used to correct posture and restore balance. This in itself can release tension and reduce tightness, but can also be very relaxing. Much like stretching it’s a case of locking into the muscle before someone stretches it themselves – so this practice is perfect for yogis.

Soft Tissue Release can be used to address muscular tension points and imbalances, restricted joint movement, posture and balance issues, and general strains.

What parts of the body will we be working with throughout the session? 

We will be exploring these techniques on the neck, shoulders, and feet.

Who is this workshop aimed towards, and what will students take away from the session? 

This workshop will teach you techniques to provide soft tissue releases for personal or professional use; paying particular attention to the neck, shoulders and feet to encourage natural alignment. These skills will benefit anyone with an interest in learning about different forms of massage therapy and wanting to gain a deeper understanding of additions to stretching. No prior experience is necessary to attend this workshop – all levels are welcome. You can expect to leave this workshop feeling educated; relaxed and cared for.

What is your favourite part of being a massage therapist and working with Yoga Kula?

My favourite part of being a Massage Therapist is helping people feel better, so to work with the collaboratively supportive team at Kula enables me to do that. Yoga Kula provides a wonderfully welcoming and relaxing environment, and it’s lovely to be a part of it.

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Book your space on this wonderful workshop by clicking here.

To book an appointment with Harriet or to see the range of massages we offer at Yoga Kula, click here.

 

#seeyouonthemat.


Warm Core

Warm Core // Yoga Workshop

As the clocks change and we head towards the darker nights and winter, find some light, build some heat and ignite your inner strength with the wonderful Catharine Rosenthall on Friday 26th October for her Warm Core workshop at 7:15pm.

We took some time with Catharine to explore this workshop and ignite our excitement ready for Friday!

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We'll be heating the studio to 26 degrees. Can you tell us about the benefits of working with a higher temperature?

This deep tissue warmth is great for muscle stiffness, it improves flexibility and joint mobility, promotes healing, decreases soreness and inflammation, increases circulation, improves skin tone, promotes weight loss, removes toxins, reduces stress, and speeds recovery from injury.

As the studio is heated at 26 degrees by infrared heaters, it’s a comfortable gentle heat. The infrared waves penetrate deep into the body tissue in a way that a traditional heat cannot. Because the air itself doesn’t get hot with infrared heat, it’s suitable for people with respiratory issues who could possibly find it uncomfortable to go to a regular heated yoga class.

Does a student need to be particularly strong to take part?

We will be focusing on developing this strength and stability and exploring how to use this in our everyday lives and our yoga practice. No previous yoga experience is necessary to attend this workshop, everyone is welcome.

Will this be a strong and dynamic session or will it be gentle and restorative? What style of yoga will we be practicing? 

This session will focus on being strong and powerful so it will be a dynamic practice but will be suitable for all levels. This workshop will bring awareness to your core, we will learn how to activate and utilise these muscles in yoga asana, as well as functionally in everyday life. Explore how and when to activate the deep core stabilisers through traditional yoga methods and other contemporary practices.

How important is having a strong core in day to day life?

Some of the many benefits of a strong core are increased balance and stability, a reduction in back pain through increased support and strength, enhanced sporting performance and improved posture and reduction in injuries.

Can you sum up the workshop in 3 words?

Stability, strength and warmth!

How will this be different to a regular hot yoga class?

A regular hot yoga class is heated at much higher temperature of around 30-35 degrees, whereas this will be a 26 degree gentle heat. This is a perfect heat for a warming practice. There are a range of hot yoga classes available at Yoga Kula if you are interested in attending these for a deeper practice.

Whilst this is an All Levels workshop, does this mean every posture will be accessible to all or will there be advanced postures given as options?

All postures can be modified or progressed as required to suit the students, so please don't worry if certain postures don't suit you or your body, everyone is different and has a range of abilities - we can always adapt around this.

What should students expect during the session?

A warming progressive practice that will bring awareness to the core, with a focus on alignment and opportunity to access inner strength and power.

Would you like to add anything about Friday's workshop?

We will end the workshop with a guided meditation and relaxation to focus on the subtle energetic association with the core, exploring the Manipura Chakra or Solar Plexus Chakra, also known as the Fire or Sun Centre. The fire element manifests in the body as heat in the Solar Plexus. The Manipura Chakra is the centre of vitality and is the energy centre responsible for personal power, self esteem and confidence. You will leave the session feeling relaxed and exhilarated. A perfect way to ignite your inner fire to welcome the shorter days and winter months.

Click here to book our Warm Core workshop with Catharine Rosenthall on Friday 26th October at 7:15pm. 

#seeyouonthemat.


Yoga Sutras - with Jane Craggs and Louise Tanner

Unfortunately this event has been cancelled. Please look out for our exciting upcoming workshops and events here.

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We'd like to welcome our wonderful guest teachers, Jane Craggs and Louise Tanner to Yoga Kula. We've taken some time to speak with them ahead of our Grounding Sutras workshop on October 21st. If you're interested in the philosophy of yoga, this is fab workshop not to miss!

The first question we'd like to ask before we start exploring the philosophy behind them, is what are Yoga Sutras? 

The Yoga Sutras are one of a number of ancient texts, written around 2000 years ago. They are referred to as Darshanas (systems) which explain how we can realise our true self. The Yoga Sutras were written by Patanjali, and the teaching is based upon his life experience rather than inference. This means he has followed these practices and achieved all the advanced states of mental control he describes ultimately achieving enlightenment.

How important is knowledge of philosophy in everyday yoga practice?

The second chapter of the Yoga Sutras was written for people living ordinary lives - rather than living as monks. These are practices to support our everyday human experience, in particular the practices of yogic mindfulness to steady and focus our mischievous minds which can often distract us from our thoughts - and these practices can be used both on and off the mat.

Will the session be primarily theoretical or practical?

The session will be approximately three quarters practice and a quarter theory, which will be weaved into the practical elements of our session.

You mentioned Bhavana (yogic contemplation and visualisation) and sound in the workshop details. Will you be exploring this too?

In the Yoga sutras, Bhavana is understood to be recalling an actual inner experience of peace and serenity. It is not the same as imagining something one has never experienced. It is one of the inner mindfulness practices: it can be used along with the breath, sound or physical experience to intensify focus and create a positive shift in our mental state. This can develop mental stability and lightness, leading to the experience of personal integration, peace and a sense of wholeness.

What is an embodied yoga practice?

We often find our minds spend the majority of the time roaming, paying little attention to in the present moment. As a result, there is little focus on our body or breath.An embodied yoga practice uses the support of the breath to focus the mind into an integrated, present moment experience.

What inspires your yoga practice?

Yoga practices can be made available to anyone, regardless of their current physical and mental status.  It is accessible and open to all and that's something really special to be a part of.

Does a student need to have previous yoga experience before attending? 

We would ask that students have experience of practicing yoga, as this session is aimed towards students wanting to deepen their current practice, as well as yoga teacher trainees. This time together will be spent developing an understanding of the methodology, technologies and art of this practice.

Can you sum up the afternoon in 3 words?

Wait and see!!

Click here to book your space on our Grounding Sutras workshop with Jane Craggs and Louise Tanner on October 21st at 11am.

#seeyouonthemat.


Claire Dambawinna

Begin // Build with Claire Dambawinna

After her wonderful Ashtanga Level 1 class on Saturday morning, we took some time out to chat with Claire Dambawinna, who will be leading our new 4 week; Begin // Build course starting on Thursday 18th October at 6pm.

 

Good morning Claire! We're really excited about your brand new course, let's talk about the importance of a good yoga foundation during practice, and how Begin // Build can support this. 

 

Your new Begin // Build course looks at breath, alignment, foundation and stability. Why are these principles of yoga technique important in a someones' practice?

Knowledge of yoga technique is one of the most important aspects of our yoga practice, in order for us to practice safely and to avoid injury. With any posture, we always need to start with the breath. That's the most important part - we have to breathe as we practice, not just to help relax and calm the body and the mind, but because if we're not breathing properly, the body holds tightness and tension which is where injuries occur.

When we build postures, we work from the ground upwards, starting with a good, broad and solid foundation to build the postures from. We can then move on to explore the stability and correct alignment of the body. We start with the lower part of the body - feet, knees, hips, and lower spine, and then we can align the upper spine, shoulders, chest, neck and head. This allows the breath to flow evenly through the whole body.

What will students take away from the course?

Students will come away from the course with a good grounding in how to safely build and practice their yoga poses. Aside from focussing on technique, we're also going to explore how this knowledge can be applied to different categories of poses. We'll be able to deeply explore forward folds, twists, back bends and also standing postures. We'll be able to really hone in on how having the foundation knowledge of the practice relays into the physical postures. This knowledge can then be taken forwards into classes.

If students would like to further expand on this knowledge after the course, we would recommend our Yoga Technique class on Thursday evenings at 8pm. Throughout the course, we will look at 4 categories of postures over 4 weeks, whereas in the Yoga Technique class, we would spend up to 12 weeks on a category. The class is the perfect way to take the learning even deeper and build that confidence in your practice.

Some students already regularly attend studio classes, would it be beneficial for them to join the Begin // Build course? 

Most definitely. The course is for everyone, and there's always something to learn. For those newer to yoga, they'll be starting their journey with good knowledge and stable practices from the beginning, whilst for students who already attend more dynamic classes, this is a great opportunity to focus on their technique and build good habits to practice safely. Of course all of this knowledge can be carried through to all classes.

You’ve been part of the Yoga Kula teaching team for almost a year now and we love having you here! How have you found your time with Kula so far?

Thank you for having me here. It's been amazing! The team are so lovely and supportive, and that goes right through from the core team behind the scenes, to the teaching team and the students. There's no sense of ego at Yoga Kula, it's just a kind environment full of excited, passionate and like-minded people. We all learn from each other which has really helped me in my first year of teaching.  We even have Yoga Jam afternoons where we all share knowledge and spend time together. Kula means community, and there's definitely a strong sense of that!

Would you like to add anything else?

Yoga in itself is for everybody. Every Body. It doesn't matter about gender, age, size, shape, flexibility, as long as you have a body and you can breathe in and out, you can practice yoga. If you're considering coming to yoga, stop considering and just do it. You won't look back. There's a style for everyone, whether you're looking for something energetic or simply just want to relax, Kula will have something for you. No one ever regrets coming to practice and you'll feel amazing afterwards.

 

Join our new Begin // Build course with Claire Dambawinna on October 18th at 6pm at The School of Philosophy. 

Click here to book your place.

 

#seeyouonthemat.

 


Tantra, Mantra + Meditation

Tantra, Mantra + Meditation // Shiva + Shakti - with Zeenat Cameron

We're incredibly lucky to be working with Zeenat Cameron for our Tantra, Mantra + Meditation // Shiva + Shakti workshop on October 7th at 2:15. Zeenat is a meditation teacher and personal development facilitator, who for the past twenty-five years has studied and practised extensively in the Buddhist, Yoga, and Tantra wisdom traditions.

Can you tell us more about Tantra Yoga?

The word 'Tantra' comes from the root ‘Tan’ meaning ‘to expand’. Yoga means ‘unity’. So the idea in Tantra Yoga is that we can expand beyond our usual self-imposed limitations and views, to experience ourselves as intrinsic parts of a much larger, vaster and unified whole. Rather than being a small ‘me’ who is separate from all other beings, and limited in power, awareness and knowing, Tantra says we are never separate from the whole, we are totally interconnected with all of life, and we already have everything we need to be happy and whole inside of us. We simply need to recognise this and to clean our minds of the old patterns that obscure our insight.

Interestingly many of the practices in the mainstream yoga world have their roots in Tantra. Hatha yoga, from which all modern postural yoga schools arise, has its roots in Tantra, as does the idea of the subtle energy body, with its chakras and channels. Mantra is a core practice of the Tantra tradition; as is meditation on the breath and body sensations, and cultivating awareness, which nowadays we call ‘mindfulness’.

Think of it as the yoga of inner transformation, a science of consciousness that uses the interconnection between the body and the mind to help us expand our energy and consciousness, for deep levels of transformation and healing.

In helping us access expanded levels of consciousness, the practices naturally open us to the awakened qualities that reside in all of us, such as our awareness, love, compassion, wisdom and joy.

 

What are the Benefits of Yoga Philosophy and how can this complement someones practice?

 In yoga the word we usually translate as ‘philosophy’ is ‘Darshana’ which can also be translated as ‘viewpoint’ or ‘map’. Yoga philosophy is really a map that guides our yoga practice in the right direction, if you want to climb a mountain you need a map of the landscape. If you want your yoga practice to transform your life and bring you to a place of healing and happiness and balance, you need a map to guide you, so you can understand what you are doing and why. Without the philosophy we can do our yoga postures, and meditate for hours on end, without seeing any results, because we don’t always know what we’re doing!  It describes it detail why our mind is normally so agitated, and teaches us how we can be free of inner conflict and awaken our potential. All of the practices – postures, pranayama, meditation, mantra – arise out of the philosophy as tools to transform this agitated mind, and to experience our potential for conscious awakening.

 

What is a primordial energy?

In this context primordial means the foundation, and the ever-existing, so in other words -  the background forces of the universe which continually create and keep everything in motion and harmony. These energies exist in us as our capacity for awareness, connection and love.

 

If someone has never explored Meditation and Mantra before - what should they expect?

Meditation is really a chance to rest quietly and peacefully with awareness (as opposed to when we’re asleep for example, and not aware), rather than being caught up in tension, thinking and having to ‘do’ things. You’ll be guided in very simply ways to relax your body and mind so you can access that state, for example by focussing gently on the breath and bodily sensations, and returning your attention to them when your mind wanders.

Mantras are simple sounds we repeat quietly to ourselves (no need to do it out loud, in fact they usually work better when we don’t!). By concentrating on the sound as we repeat a mantra, it invokes a certain state of being. Just like hearing a pleasant sound, like bird song or ambient music, can induce a feeling of peace or expansion, mantras can induce positive states.

 

Will there be any physical practice or movement in this workshop?  

There will be a little movement meditation, involving deep belly breathing, and slow simple stretching through the spine, torso and limbs. It’s always good to let the body have a stretch in a meditation class so it can feel happy! You can then either rest and be still, or come into a gentle free flowing dance, depending on what feels right for you. We’ll be guided by music and I’ll offer some body awareness cues to help you. This exercise is called Tandava and it will bring a sense of expansion, spaciousness and relaxation.

 

Will anyone be put on the spot in the session?

Absolutely not, there will be a chance for questions and sharing for those who’d value that, but being quietly in your own space and just listening is also wonderful!  There won’t be interactive practices and also it will be fine to sit something out if you’re not comfortable doing it.

 

How do you feel that your experience as a clinical psychologist lends itself to your teachings?

I’m much more of a Tantra teacher these days than a psychologist, but this background really informs how I work, and how I listen and respond to what arises in the space when I’m with a student or teaching a class. Clinical Psychology and Tantra are both about healing and finding our true wholeness, emotionally, physically and spiritually. Both are about listening to the deep self, being honest about our strengths and weaknesses, and moving fresh into each moment free of the limitations of the pastBoth are about being fulfilled and happy in all aspects of our lives and sharing that generously with others. Yet they approach this in very different ways – Tantra through the practices of inner and outer yoga, and psychology through the therapeutic relationship where we can process our feelings and difficult experiences in a safe, non-judgemental space. I’ve found both work very well together. Psychology offers insights into our different states of mind, and helps us develop a healthy sense of identity for functioning in the world. Tantra yoga takes us beyond the identity into unity with the whole. A rounded person needs to have access to both of these apparent polarities. I’m so glad I studied and practised in psychology as well as in Yoga and Tantra - I feel it helps me help others embrace and move between both of these aspects of our being!

 

What do you consider the definition of spirituality?

In essence I think spirituality is a search for meaning and wholeness, the process of exploring what we need to explore, and experiencing what we need to experience, to feel part of a wider whole beyond the practical demands of our modern lives. We’re all interested in the big questions of Who am I? What is the universe? What is my place in the world? If we explore it through physics we call it science, if through the thinking mind we call it philosophy, if through meditation, yoga or religion we call it spirituality, but it is all looking into the mystery of life.

 

In Tantra we speak of a web of energy, interconnection and intelligence that underpins everything, and that we are all a part of. We call it Shiva, or Absolute Consciousness. From this viewpoint we’re not just our thoughts, feelings and actions, we’re not just our desires and fears - we’re aspects of this cosmic intelligence at play.  To know this and to experience this, is spirituality from the Tantra viewpoint. The realisation that we are one with this ultimate reality heals us. The felt experience of this is happiness, peace, wonder, love, and beauty.

 

Will students learn practices they can use outside of the studio?

Yes, the meditations we will do, you can keep practising at home.  During the session we’ll talk about how to set up the practises so you feel confident to do them.

 

How will this session benefit a student?

You may expect to feel any number of positive states from the practices we’ll explore: maybe energised, playful, and vitalised or calm, balanced, and spacious. Maybe both energised and relaxed. And you’ll have some valuable yoga tools you can keep coming back to, to help you develop these positive states of mind on your own. This may be all you ever need from Tantra yoga. It may be the start of your Tantra journey towards complete liberation from all suffering, called ‘Moksha’ or ‘Enlightenment’. Whichever it is for you is perfect!

 

To book our Tantra, Mantra + Meditation workshop // Shiva + Shakti workshop with Zeenat Cameron on 7th October at 2:15pm, click here.

Zeenat Cameron is teaching on our Teacher Training Course. If you're interested in becoming a yoga teacher, click here to find out more.

 

Zeenat Cameron Shiva + Shakti

 

 

#seeyouonthemat.

 


TTC

Teacher Training Course // Student Stories - Tiia + George

Ahead of our next Teacher Training Course, we caught up with two of our current students, Tiia Ourila-Thorpe and George Ruddiman, to see how they're getting on.

We’re so pleased you chose us as your training school for your Yoga Teacher Training. What made you choose Yoga Kula?

Tiia - Before the training started I was already attending classes at Yoga Kula. I have always felt very welcomed and comfortable in the studio, and I knew it would be a supportive environment for teacher training. I also work with Fabiano Culora, one of the course leaders at Northern School of Contemporary Dance and I knew how excited he was to share the course.

George - I’ve been coming to Yoga Kula for a few years and I really like the teachers, they’re all so friendly and welcoming, I love the studio and the range of classes and workshops. When I saw that they were offering teacher training I knew straight away that it was meant to be!

If you were at the start of your course now, would you have done anything differently?

Tiia - I would probably try to get a taste of a range of yoga styles before starting the course. My main experience was in Ashtanga, and although you experience a wide variety of styles through the course, I personally feel I would have benefitted from having a wider experience base to start from.

George - I would have created a dedicated space to practice and study a bit sooner, having somewhere I can leave books open, leave my mat out and have everything in one place is really helpful. Give yourself as much time on the mat as you can.

You’ve just reached the halfway point in your course. (Congratulations by the way!) How have you found the course so far?

Tiia - It has been hugely inspiring for me in so many ways, I have loved being a student again and having such knowledgeable and inspiring teachers on the course has made all the difference for me. I have learnt so much about myself though the course and the yoga buzz in me is growing every session. I have met so many lovely people and seen everyone grow and gain confidence as we have progressed.

George - Really good, enjoyable, the weekends are good fun and I’m learning a lot. It’s a very supportive environment and great to learn different styles of yoga with such experienced teachers. I particularly like the yogic philosophy talks we get to be part of.

Most of us were a bit nervous about it but the build-up of teaching practice has been progressive, done in small groups, nice and friendly with no pressure.

Has the course so far been as you expected?

Tiia - I tried to have no expectations as I entered the course, as having expectations narrows the potential of possibilities. I have loved that each weekend has a different focus and each weekend opens a slightly new viewpoint into Yoga, and the level of the teaching has been amazing. Having the opportunity to work with such great teachers is definitely the highlight of the course for me.

George - I didn’t know what to expect, but it has been a great experience so far.

What are your plans for after the course? Is it too early to say?

Tiia - I will start teaching Yoga primarily for dance students, but my plan is also to start teaching to the general public.

George - I want to start teaching a regular Hatha or Vinyasa class, I’m hoping for a career shift but don’t have any fixed plans or attachments to any specific outcome. I love the saying that "Luck is when preparation meets opportunity" and this is my preparation!! I would like to open a studio maybe, who knows...

What part does yoga play in your life?

Tiia - Yoga has become my every day treat. I now have more knowledge of various practices so that I can tailor my daily practice to meet my needs on the day. I have also started to meditate, a practice which was new to me prior to the course. Since starting the course, not much has changed in terms of what I do, but perhaps how I do it has changed. I try to be more present in whatever I do and also listen to myself and give myself space and time. I feel I am more in tune with myself and I am learning to listen to my needs. I feel I am more observant in my every-day life and see my role in the bigger picture.

George - Yoga has become much more than a physical practice, I have become very interested in the whole philosophy and have started to try and live my life by it, so I feel a bit like I’m always doing Yoga no matter what I’m doing! I am always trying to be conscious of my thoughts, breathing and posture when off the mat, and I’m constantly singing mantra!

What advice would you give to a prospective TTC student?

Tiia - This course lasts for 18 months but you will be learning for the rest of your life. You will do it at your pace, learn as much as you can right now and then continue learning. Don't panic.

George - Experience as much yoga as you can. Explore different teachers and styles and start noticing the differences.

Would you like to add anything?

Tiia - I am very happy that the course lasts for 18 months rather than 1 year. I personally need that time to digest and reflect and learn, and it's so lovely that there is time for open discussions and sharing of views and experiences. I have learnt so much from everyone on the course, not just our tutors. Because the training happens only once a month, it gives me time between each TTC weekend to reflect on what I learnt and also to start preparing for the new study area. You are guided and introduced to wonderful experiences which help you to understand Yoga in a broader sense.

George - Yoga Kula has a real feel of respecting the roots of yoga whilst welcoming innovation which I resonate with. Doing the course over 18 months makes it much easier to fit into your life and you have more time to explore the teaching in between the weekends.

 

If you're interested in finding out more, click here.

#seeyouonthemat