Ashtanga Fusion

As part of our exciting new timetable refresh, we've introduced some new classes! We chatted with Angela Sykes, Senior Yoga Teacher and Yoga Kula founder and director about her new Ashtanga Fusion class, which runs Mondays at 6:30pm and Thursdays at 10:15am.

 

First things first. What is Ashtanga Fusion and what makes it different from a regular Ashtanga class?

Ashtanga Fusion is based on the Ashtanga series’ with the freedom to introduce other sequencing, styles, approaches and techniques meaning that each class offers something fresh whilst also feeling familiar. This class is dynamic yet mindful so you will build strength, stamina, flexibility and develop a sense of inner calm.

What will be the focus of this class?

Each week will have a slightly different focus, and that is the beauty of this class! It is creative which allows each session to take on a different mood or ‘Bhavan’.  Some weeks we will focus on technique, others on building strength, the breath and other weeks the more therapeutic side of yoga. Students attending regularly will build up a holistic picture of a yoga practice presented in a dynamic, exciting and creative way, often using music.

Will we still be working with the Primary series?

There will be time dedicated to looking at key sections of the Primary Series, well as exploring some Second Series poses. The great thing about fusion however is that the body and mind are offered something fresh,built into a familiar sequence which works to bring us back to the now and offers a new way to move and be.

What made you want to explore the fusion style?

My practice is very much ‘fusion’ and I have been lucky enough to experience and train in many different styles with some of the best teachers in the world, in not only yoga but also Karate and Tai Chi. To be able to bring my personal practice and experience into my classes is what I enjoy the most about teaching yoga as a whole.

What should students expect to gain from the class?

Start with a clear intention and let the process unfold. Your intention is the thread which binds the practice together – if this is positive, clear and framed you will begin to notice changes not just on the mat but also off the mat and that is true power of the practice. As a by-product you will also gain strength, flexibility, stamina and a sense of inner calm.

We’re so lucky to have you both as a senior teacher and studio director here at Yoga Kula. What are your favourite things about Kula?

Thank you! My favourite thing about Kula is the intention and dedication we have to encourage and support others. Kula is a Sanskrit word meaning community, family or tribe. We see everyone as an important part of our Kula, and try to make the studio experience the very best it can be for everyone who comes along.

If a student is new to Yoga Kula, would you recommend this class to them? If not, where should they be looking to start their yoga journey?

We always recommend taking one of our 6 week beginners courses if you are brand new to yoga as this is such a great way to build a solid foundation in the practice. If you are new to Yoga Kula, have some yoga experience  and are looking for a dynamic class then yes come along!

Don’t forget we have a New to Kula offer which is 10 classes for £50.00 and is a great way to try out our classes to find what's best for you. Yoga is about listening to your mind and body and doing what feels right. We have classes for students of all abilities here at Yoga Kula, and everyone is welcome.

You can purchase our New to Kula class pass here.

What does yoga mean to you?

Yoga is anything done mindfully and artfully – it doesn’t need to be confined to your studio classes or time on the mat.

 

Click to book Angela's new Ashtanga Fusion classes at 6:30pm on Mondays and 10:15am on Thursdays.

 

#seeyouonthemat.

 


Ashtanga Level 2

Ashtanga Level 2

Exciting news! Helen’s Saturday Ashtanga is becoming a Level 2 class!

But what exactly does that mean? We caught up with Helen to find out.

We love your current Ashtanga All Levels class. Will your new Ashtanga level 2 class be a big leap from the all levels class?

Absolutely not! Many of my classes follow a very similar pattern and are often strong practices, so this will feel quite familiar for many of you (I'll just not talk as much!!)

If a student is confident with the Ashtanga Primary Series, but still has work to do on perfecting postures will they be okay in this new Ashtanga Level 2 class? 

Absolutely! You might come across some elements that are new to you and perhaps more challenging, but over time you will learn how to access the postures. I’ll be here to help you on that journey so please don’t worry.

What part of teaching our new Level 2 Ashtanga class are you most excited about?

I’m looking forward to creating a quiet and safe space where people can focus on the breath, and begin to move with ease through the sequence.

What are the added benefits of the Level 2 practice?

/ Opportunity to deepen your knowledge of the sequence. This means you’ll be able to practice more independently wherever you go!

/ You’ll find your confidence will increase by taking time to explore more complex postures, improving both strength and stamina.

/ We’ll make space to focus more on the breath, and how the sequence can be seen as a moving meditation.

/ More physical and verbal adjustments from the teacher means your alignment will improve, and you may be able to access the postures on a deeper level

What is your favourite thing about teaching Ashtanga?

When the class is united by the breath and moving almost as one, there is a real sense of peace, calm and meditation in the room.

Will you be exploring the advanced series in this class?

No. The focus will be on the primary series but you may find you will be introduced to some postures from the sequence that are new to you (and you might consider them advanced) as we will have more time to flow through more of the practice than in other classes.

What advice would you give to students who are considering coming to this class? 

Come and have a go! You never know until you try.

If you can, commit to the class on a regular basis; you will very quickly become familiar with the sequence. You will see your strength and stamina increase pretty swiftly when you come to a regular practice.

Can you sum up the class in 3 words?

Breath, movement, and strength!

Is there anything else you can share with us?

A Saturday Level 2 Ashtanga class is a fantastic chance to develop your practice and deepen your understanding of this fabulous yoga system. Plus, after 90 minutes working hard on your mat, imagine how much sweeter that post-practice coffee and brunch will taste!

Join Helen for Ashtanga Level 2 at 9:15 every Saturday.

Click here to book.

#seeyouonthemat

 


Vinyasa Krama: The Art of Transition.

We took some time recently to catch up with Isabel Slingerland to find out more about her Vinyasa Krama workshop on September 1st, and see what she has in store for us. 

Tell us about your upcoming workshop, Vinyasa Krama. How will the workshop differ from a regular Vinyasa class?

Vinyasa Krama means to link action with consciousness (so we are aware in each moment). In order for us to practise this in a Vinyasa flow class we link the breath to the movements. A well-crafted Vinyasa sequence builds gradually so the body and mind are fully prepared - one posture leads seamlessly into the next in a 'Flow'.

The focus will be on the transitions from pose in to pose, constantly moving. We often think  of our yoga poses as individuals, frozen in time, something to achieve - to reach for. We do this without realising that the present time will always be right now, and we want to explore the moments that lay in between the poses. 

The flows will be slowed down so that we really can explore how to move between poses. What makes this class different from a normal Vinyasa flow class, is that we can take time to workshop some of these technical terms. This understanding of the fundamentals of Vinyasa flow can really benefit the participant with their own yoga practice, having more knowledge of the techniques and feel more confident going further into Vinyasa Flow classes in the future.

Who is the session aimed towards?

The session is aimed for people that have had some yoga practice before, but want to deepen their understanding of the fundamentals of a Vinyasa Flow yoga class, finesse their techniques, and delve into deeper understanding of there own practice. 

What do you enjoy most about this style of yoga?

I have always loved moving, its an expression of freedom and enjoyment. It's one of the reasons for my pathway into dance and from that into Vinyasa Flow yoga. I always found it hard to be still, I was chaotic, had tons of energy and was restless. I found that the way to find rest is to go through movement, through moving I can become more aware of my inner world and my inner sensations and I would be less distracted, and eventually I would be able to rest fully and find stillness. 

The workshop is 2 and a half hours. How will this be broken down?

The session will be broken up in sections. We will study the sun salutations and move slowly through them, study and workshop breath techniques and explore the energies, followed by some slow flowing sequences. Here we will focus on transitions, where we can put all of our new knowledge into practice. The session will end with a long guided relaxation.

You’ve spent some time in India earlier this year. How has your travel benefited your teaching?

Traveling around India has given me the time to dive deeper into a self practice and self study. I had the the time and space to practice, to meditate and to read and journal. I studied in Rishikesh as part of their International Yoga Festival, where I began to focus on the idea that we are constantly in a state of transition, however we are often unaware of it.  For me this was a real discovery, and realisation that that's what a Vinyasa Flow yoga class is all about! The idea was then planted to teach a workshop focusing on transitioning.

When do you teach at Yoga Kula?

You can join me at Kula for Hot Vinyasa on Wednesdays 8pm, Sundays 8am, and for Forrest-Inspired Flow on Sundays at 5.45.

Would you like to add anything?

Yoga is about expanding consciousness, practising to be be conscious each moment to moment as we deal with constant change, and being present while we move. We can’t divide life into separate moments, and the practise of yoga will lead to an understanding of presence.

Everything we learn on the mat is also ours off the mat – join me and learn to flow through a Vinyasa sequence with complete presence and awareness. You'll begin to notice yourself moving through life navigating the ups and downs with presence, awareness and enjoying the flow.

x

Join Issy for Vinyasa Krama, The art of transition on September 1st. Click here to book your place.

#seeyouonthemat


6 Week Course: Monday

Taught at “The School of Philosophy” in Chapel Allerton (not at Kula studio)

Mondays 7pm  – 8.15pm

£50 for 6 weeks.

If you are new to Yoga we recommend you complete at least one cycle of our Yoga Beginners 6 Week Course. During the six weeks you will study the building blocks of a yoga practice which you can then bring with you into our drop in sessions. You will learn key yoga postures and the fundamentals of yoga practice such as the importance of breath and alignment. You will also be introduced to some basic yoga philosophy and meditation techniques. Our beginners courses are very popular and fill very quickly, so we recommend booking ahead to guarantee your place.

Elena will be teaching this course at “The School of Philosophy” in Chapel Allerton. Her friendly and approachable style of teaching makes it suitable for complete beginners to feel welcome and comfortable in learning the basic building blocks of yoga.


Beginners Yoga Class

6 Week Course: Sunday

Yoga Beginners 6 Week Course taught by Becky Hill at Yoga Kula in Chapel Allerton, Leeds.

Sundays 7:30pm  – 8.45pm

£50 for 6 weeks.

If you are new to Yoga we recommend you complete at least one cycle of our Yoga Beginners 6 Week Course. During the six weeks you will study the building blocks of a yoga practice which you can then bring with you into our drop in classes. You will learn key yoga postures and the fundamentals of yoga practice such as the importance of breath and alignment. You will also be introduced to some basic yoga philosophy and meditation techniques. Our beginners courses are very popular and fill very quickly, so we recommend booking ahead to guarantee your place.

Becky will be teaching this course at Yoga Kula in Chapel Allerton. Join Becky to learn basic ‘asanas’ postures and breathing techniques over 6 weeks to give you a great foundation and the confidence to attend Kula classes.


Chapel Allerton: A Yogi’s Paradise

Chapel Allerton is, without question, one of my favourite places to hang out in Leeds. Firstly, it is the home of one of my favourite yoga studios (Kula, obviously), which I go to multiple times during the week. I am sure if you are a resident of the area you don’t need to be told how wonderful it is here, but for those of you who are not here it goes:

There are loads of amazing places to go and eat, with Crust and Crumb serving standard, gluten free, vegetarian AND vegan fry ups (as well as their infamous power bars)! Opposite has THE BEST sticky ginger stem loaf, Nichols is the place to go for vegetarian and vegan eats (but make sure you book because that place gets super busy) and Ned's has a seriously impressive and extensive menu from delicious daal with veg pakoras to homemade mince pie ice cream - they are also catering the Kula Christmas Social this year. I mean, Chapel A is actually a foodies paradise with Thai, Mexican, Indian, Italian… and more all at your fingertips straight out of the studio, be it a yoga, fitness, pilates or knitting class. Not to mention the communal herb stand that they have – take your pick!

There is also a CARA (Chapel Allerton Residence Association) card that offers discount at loads of local eateries (you do not have to be a resident to benefit from this either! Anyone can sign up).

For those of us that have dogs, it seems to me that the whole area is very dog friendly, with some places such as Crust and Crumb offering free doggy treats for your furry bestie. There is also a local park nearby, or Roundhay down the road for those pups that require more space to stretch their legs after a coffee and a biscuit.

My personal favourite way to spend my time in Chapel Allerton is to head to a Sunday morning class at Yoga Kula, pop to Oppsite for their do-it-yourself beans on toast or peanut butter and jam on toast, or, if I take a later class to Crust and Crumb for an Oatmilk Cappuccino and Power bar.

Also, if you manage to make it to one of the Wedneday or Friday morning classes this time of year you can catch a beautiful sunrise as you head out to face the rest of the day!

There is so much to offer in Chapel A, I haven't been able to mention it all in this blog - so come and discover what else is here yourself! And if you see me in any of the local spaces come say hello (you probably know what it is I will be ordering)!

Beliz
x


Nature

The Power of Connecting

Susanne Thomas teaches restorative yoga at Yoga Kula and runs regular workshops with us, her next workshop is a Restorative Partner workshop which will explore a deeper sense of release and compassion and new techniques to help rebalance body and mind.

Here she talks about the importance of being present, restoring and connecting with ourselves and others.

Join her for her next workshop by booking your space here. 

The Power of Connecting

I recently returned from a beautiful dance retreat that reminded me that the different bodywork practice and training I’ve engaged in over the past 25 years are all interlinked.

The week’s retreat was categorised as a dance retreat, but all sessions were based on somatic work, experiential anatomy and authentic movement—in other words, a meditative approach to body and mind connecting—just like in yoga, mindfulness and asana study.

We spent seven hours a day being present, moving, sensing, connecting to ourselves and each other both indoors and out. It not only left me feeling grounded, calm and centred, but also blissfully happy and full of energy.

Sometimes life is so easy and all the wisdom that the sages have been telling us for centuries—and that are flooded on social media pages these days—suddenly fall into place in a beautiful, embodied way.

I was also reminded of both the simplicity and power of touch. Not that I necessarily need reminding, as I work with touch so much in Nuad Boran energy treatments, but taking part in the retreat I was of course (and very happily) much more on the receiving side and could experience first hand the near magic that can unravel when connecting.

To feel how a simple pressing down of shoulders when lying in savasana can trigger a release of muscles throughout the body, like a ripple effect of letting go. Or to experience once more how a gentle, continuous rocking motion can send us—subconsciously—right back to our earliest days, with all the associated comfort and sense of safety. I won’t forget the office worker who could not get over his excitement when he realised how destressed and relaxed he felt after our somatic practice session with rocking and weight work.

I’m excited to be running a restorative partner workshop in which we will work with all these clever and effective techniques. Look forward to seeing you there.


Well Woman Workshop

New Summer Timetable

Summer is here and it's brought a new energy - as well as some brand new classes to Kula!

For the summer months we have made a few changes to the Kula Timetable which will be up and running the week starting Monday 3rd July 2017. The first session of the brand new classes to the timetable will be FREE to try - book via MINDBODY to secure your place.

New classes to try for free:

Salute to the Sun with Marie Wednesday at 8am - 9am - TRY FOR FREE on 5TH JULY

Dynamic Hatha with Anthony on Thursday at 8pm - 9.15pm - TRY FOR FREE on 6th JULY

Yoga for Alignment with Julia on Thursday at 12.45pm - 1.45pm - TRY FOR FREE on 13th JULY

Other new classes:

Vinyasa Flow with Kate on Friday at 12.45pm- 1.45pm

Post Natal with Catharine on Friday at 2pm - 3pm

Other changes:

Fridays:

Sundays:

  • Hot Vinyasa Flow will become an All Levels class

If you have any questions on the new timetable or would like some information on the new classes please contact us.


Why I practice Forrest-inspired yoga by Angela Sykes

As a teacher, it is so important to regularly attend yoga classes, workshops and intensives as well as having a committed and regular self-practice.

I attend between 4-6 Yoga Kula classes per week as I really love the teachers and the styles we offer.

Every Wednesday I attend Isabel’s Forrest Yoga class. I love this class for several reasons.

Reason 1 – THE HEAT

The Forrest Inspired class is set in a warm room. I don’t like to be too hot when I practice but I like the light heat during this class. Kula’s infrared heaters also help heal injuries so I see the class as a time to practise and a time for deep physical healing due to the infrared.

Reason 2 – THE TEACHER

Isabel is a gentle and inspiring teacher who has an amazing yoga practice. I know I am going to learn something new whenever I attend her classes. Isabel has trained with Ana Forrest the founder of Forrest Yoga so I know I am getting the lessons directly from the innovator.

Reason 3 – THE CHALLENGE

I like to feel relaxed and strong - to stay strong it is important to have a regular yoga practice in which you are working with poses to build deep strength. Forrest Yoga has long holds in postures which is challenging but a great way to build mental and physical strength. We also have chance to play with gentle and challenging flows, arm balancing postures, work towards deeper backbends and deeper versions of poses. The classes are always layered so students can go to where the are in the pose.

Forrest Inspired Yoga takes place at Yoga Kula every Wednesday 11.30am-12.30pm with Isabel Slingerland.

#seeyouonthemat


Sweet Potato Curry

Vegan recipe: Sweet potato and coconut curry

A few of us at Kula have been following a vegan diet this June - so far so good! Julie Nutchey from Rocket Catering shares with us one of her favourite vegan curry recipes, it's also gluten free and not too hot -  we will definitely be trying out this week! Give it a go and let us know how you get on too.

Julie will also be catering our day retreat in Adel on the 17th June and weekend retreat in July - we can't wait!

Sweet potato and coconut curry (serves 4)

Ingredients
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
4cm piece fresh ginger
1 red chilli
2 carrots
1 large bunch coriander
500g sweet potato
1 tbs fennel seeds
1 tbs mustard seeds
1 tin tomatoes
1 tin coconut milk
2 tbs tamarind paste
200g coconut flakes - lightly baked for 5 mins
200g freshly chopped spinach or spring greens

Method:
- Sweat the chopped onion and garlic in 1 tbs coconut oil until soft.
- Add chopped carrots, ginger, chilli.
- After a few minutes add the fennel and mustard seeds and cook until they start to pop.
- Add sweet potato, tomatoes, chopped coriander stalks (reserve the leaves for adding at the end), coconut milk and tamarind paste.
- Simmer for 25 mins or so.
- When you are ready to eat - add the chopped spinach/greens and coriander, stir through and serve.
- Sprinkle with the toasted coconut.