Ashram

Life in the Ashram // Angela Sykes

 

Hi Kuli’s

I have been lucky enough to spend a good few months of my life in Ashrams in India and Sri Lanka and have found this way of living and approaching spiritual life to be really insightful. As I write this, I am in India right sitting in a café overlooking the sea and wanting to tell you all about my most recent Ashram experience while it is still fresh in my mind!


Angela // AshramWelcome to the Ashram!

I arrived in the dead of night to a sleeping Ashram – the only sound was the deep roar of the jungle lions. I was tired after a long journey and was asked to sit and wait in the dark reception. As I was hungry and thirsty so I went in search of some drinking water and then sat down and waited. After a while a sleepy looking volunteer came and gave me a sheet and a pillow case and showed me to my dorm – I lugged my massive case along in the rocky ground (why did I bring so much?) up the hill to the shared dorm. My lovely volunteer could only take me so far, as it was the women’s dorm so I wheeled my bag into the pitch black dorm past row after row after row of full beds until I could just make out through the darkness an empty bed.

After a long trip it is really lovely to take a warm shower and settle into a comfy bed isn’t it? Well here was my first lesson – that wasn’t going to happen today! I made my bed in the dark as best I could and tried to put up my mosquito net. I had a toothbrush in my hand luggage and brushed my teeth and splashed my face before getting into bed and falling asleep for a few hours.

Each Ashram has a programme of activities you can take part in such as Yoga, Satsang, silent walks, chanting, classes, talks and meditation. The Ashrams tend to be mainly staffed by volunteers who are dedicated to a yoga path of a particular lineage – in this case Sivananda.


Starting my Ayurvedic DetoxAngela // Ashram

In the morning I went to find the Doctor to start my programme and he asked where I was staying. I explained where I was and he said I was to move to another dorm and then come back and see him. I went to my home for that one night and moved to a smaller dorm nearer the Ayurvedic centre. As I wheeled my bag over I took in the location! The ashram is set in the jungle hills of Neyyar Dam in Kerela and is absolutely stunning. My new dorm – less so. It was very dark and didn’t smell great but hey I can do this!! I have lived in a cave for goodness sake! I unpacked, settled in, and heading to the doctor for my first consultation.

He explained that my VATA dosha was out of balance and that he would design a programme for me which would balance this. As VATA dosha imbalance tends to be the route of disease it is important to get it back into balance. I started right away with a nourishing Ayurvedic meal and once that had settled I went for an oil massage and a steam bath.


Treatment

The next day I started to take detox medicine – twice a day 7.30am and 3.30pm. The medicine tastes very very bitter and unpleasant but I knew it was good for me so down the hatch it went! Each day I had treatments all designed to bring VATA back into balance. I started with an oil massage, followed by power massage and then shirodhara (oil poured onto the third eye).

A few days in my started my oil ingestion which was the most unpleasant part! Each morning I drank a cup of oil which would lubricate my body from the inside out and bring me back into balance. During the 5 days of oil drinking all I could eat was rice soup and boiled vegetables as it is very easy to digest. This first part of the programme is bringing all of the toxins to the colon so they can then be purged out.


The Purgutation

Once the oil ingestion is over you start your purgation – getting it all out! On the morning of my purge I went to the Doctor’s office and was given a huge cup of thick, green oil to drink which wasn’t a fun moment. I was then sent to my room with a big kettle and told to rest for 2 hours. After two hours I was to start drinking the water and then a purge would begin. This process takes a while so I settled into a combination of drinking water, resting and purging. When the whole kettle was finished and the purge had ended I went to the dining area for some rice soup.

 


Enema, and final consultation.

The final stage is to oil the colon and nourish the body with a series of enemas. As VATA collects in the lower back I also has hip and lower back baths. I was coming towards the end of the programme and really excited about the beach! Even though my body was tired I could feel some of the VATA related stiffness had gone. In my final consultation the doctor took my pulse and let me know that my doshas were back in balance. He said I need to come back next year and the year after and then following that every other year.


Rest and Recover!

As I finish writing to you, I am now in Varkala, which is an idyllic beach resort in Kerala, India. I am resting and recovering (and writing!) from a recent Ayurvedic cleanse in the Sivanada Ashram. I am feeling good now but as always India tests you in various ways, and is your mirror to showing you how to step onto your power, get aligned and stay humble.


If you’d like to learn more about Ayurveda, we have books available to purchase in the Yoga Kula Studio, as well as some great workshops coming up which will allow you to deepen your knowledge and balance your doshas through diet, practice and lifestyle.

Love, Angela x

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Isabel Slingerland

International Teacher // Isabel Slingerland Returns

We are incredibly excited to share with you the return of Isabel Slingerland, for one weekend only!


Isabel SlingerlandIsabel joined the Kula family in 2015, and quickly became one of our most popular teachers. Her teaching focusses on awareness of movement and breath, with an emphasis on healthy body mechanics, alignment and postural strength to create an intense, physical, and internally focussed practice.

After moving to Holland in late 2018, she’s been very much missed here at Kula. We can’t wait for her to join us for two incredible sessions this September.

Keep reading to see what we have in store for you!


 

Workshop  // Unravel // Neck, Shoulders and BackIsabel Slingerland

Friday 13th September, 7:15-9:30pm

| £20

‘Turn your wounds into wisdom.’ – Oprah

Our neck, shoulders and back are often a major source of aches, pain and tension that can be hard to relieve. This workshop that will focus on the tension we hold in these areas. Through mobilising and strengthening the muscles in our neck, shoulders and back, we can alleviate tension and pain.

During this workshop we will explore different breath exercises and yoga poses that focus on relieving tension and building strength. You will also investigate your own habits and movement patterns, firstly through self awareness and attention, and then by working with a partner.

Finally you will practise therapeutic Thai Yoga Massage techniques and hands on adjustments. Taken from the Forrest Yoga practice, these will teach you how to help and support different yoga postures whilst learning how to relax tighter and overactive areas around your neck, shoulders and back.

You can expect to leave this workshop with

  • a deep awareness of your own body and its anatomy,
  • an understanding of injuries,
  • relief from tension, aches and pains.

Book your Space


Pop Up // The Wiser SelfIsabel Slingerland

Saturday 14th September, 5-6:30pm

£10.50 drop in, or use your Anytime Class Pass.

Join Isabel Slingerland for a pop-up yoga class that will connect you to your inner wisdom.

Leading you through an energising vinyasa flow sequence, to remove stagnation and connect you to your intuition, this class will focus on moving energy up through the spine to activate our Ajna Chakra (third eye).

We will start the class with Pranayama (breathing) exercises, before moving through a vinyasa flow sequence that will focus on moving the spine and opening the shoulders, tuning into the areas where we hold tension.

Finishing with a guided ‘wiser self’ meditation, inspired by Ana Forrest, we will work with visualisation techniques for a profound and restorative end to class.

Book your Space


To see our full list of upcoming events, click here.

 

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James Boag

International Teacher James Boag

We are incredibly excited to welcome International Yoga Teacher, Sanskrit Scholar and Kirtan expert James Boag for two inspirational sessions at Yoga Kula.


About James

Originally from Yorkshire, James teaches yoga and applied yoga philosophy globally.

James is known for his storytelling, his rich kirtans, deep meditations, principle-based approach to asana and movement, and for bringing the timeless wisdom of the traditional scriptural teachings vividly into the context of our lives today. He has been teaching for over twenty-five years, teaching yoga since 2003 and leading integrated programs on applied yoga philosophy around the world since 2009. He regularly returns to Mysore in South India where he completed his MA in Sanskrit, to lead courses on the Bhagavad Gita, Yoga Sutras and Indian Mythology.


Whole Life Yoga // Movement Whole Life Movement

Saturday 7th September, 4:30-7pm  |  £20

In this yogic movement ‘play-shop’ we use yoga principles to explore how we can cultivate healthy neuro-muscular patterns and efficient kinetic chains through the body. This will include working with yoga postures ‘actively’, against gravity, inspired particularly by the work of Hatha yoga teacher Simon Borg Olivier.

We will then explore these principles through a broader spectrum of movement to invite greater vitality, presence and rejuvenation.  Discover new ways to move and be still.

This session is perfect for those with some yoga experience who want to delve deeper into mindful movement. You will leave the session full of inspiration and embodied knowledge to take back to your regular classes.

Book Your Space


Pop Up // Kirtan and the Power of Sound Kirtan + The power of sound

Saturday 7th September, 7:30-8:45pm  | £10.50 drop in, or use your Anytime pass.

The yoga tradition offers a myriad of tools we can work with to cultivate deep presence and sustainable wellbeing.

These include many sound-based techniques and practices. The extraordinary visionaries and research scientists of the ancient yoga tradition recognized the pervasive, penetrative power of sound and how the readily accessible resources of our own voices can be harnessed to foster harmony through the whole of our being.

The call and response singing and chanting of kirtan is simple, yet powerful, cleansing and uplifting. James will also speak briefly about kirtan, Sanskrit as an energy-based language, the symbolism and effects of the words we use in the practice, and how kirtan relates to other practices and paths of yoga.

Participants will be able to bathe and soak in cleansing, nourishing sound, while also deepening understanding of key, archetypal principles. This practice can help us bring the harmonising power of yoga into all aspects of our lives.

Everyone welcome! Do not worry if you are not a virtuoso singer. The joy and practical benefits of yoga are open to everyone.

This session is perfect for those who are interested in broadening their yoga experience and who want to deeply feel the power of sound. James has hosted his transformational Kirtan all over the world including Mysore, India.

Book Your Space

Hypnotic Sleep

Hypnotic Sleep

Join Catharine Rosenthall in a hypnotic evening workshop that will transport you into a deep restful sleep. Hypnotherapy practices will access the potent potential of R.E.M, the brainwave pattern where stress and negative thoughts can be processed to a narrative format, bringing us into a pure sense of serenity allowing us to drift off  with ease and comfort.

 

Sleep is vital to our health and wellbeing, just as eating, drinking and breathing. We cannot live without food or water, we also cannot survive without sleep.

The evening will begin with some gentle pranayama to calm and soothe the mind, leading to some deeply held restorative poses to invite the physical to soften and let go before the practice of yoga nidra.

Yoga nidra translates as “yogic sleep”. A beautiful practice that induces an effortless state of being, moving between wakefulness and dreaming. The practice is known to mimic the effect of sleep on the brain through altered brainwave activity. This state of consciousness is where we find deep healing and rejuvenation.

Find your inner peace as Catharine systematically leads you on a journey to calm and soothe the body, mind and senses in preparation for a blissful night’s sleep, ready to awaken feeling replenished and re-energized.


You can expect an evening of Hypnotic Sleep

  • Hypnotherapy practices
  • Yoga Nidra
  • Pranayama
  • Restorative poses

Benefits:

  • Relieves stress and anxiety
  • Reduces Tension
  • Aids restful sleep
  • Stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system (also known as our rest and digest mode).
  • Promotes calm and a sense of inner peace.
When |  Friday 22nd November, 7:30-9:30pm
Where | Yoga Kula Leeds


Shiva Shakti Ritual Flow

Shiva Shakti : Ritual Flow + Puja

‘When we can grasp even a simple understanding of the universal energies of Shiva Shakti we understand yoga on a deeper level’ Angela Sykes – Yoga Kula Director

Shiva Shakti: Ritual Flow + Puja  |  £27.50

Friday 8 November | 7:30-9:45pm. 

We invite you to join Senior Yoga Teacher Angela Sykes and Meditation and Tantra teacher Zeenat Cameron for an evening invoking and experiencing the powerful energies of Shiva Shakti. The divine masculine and feminine.

The session begins with a short mythic story (5 mins) from Angela around the Shiva Shakti concept so participants begin to understand these energies in a simple way. Mythic stories are ancient and allow concepts which we find hard to comprehend easier to understand and remember. Angela’s story will introduce you to Shiva Shakti as cosmic energies personified and set the scene for a mythic flow based around these cosmic ‘characters’.

The mythic ritual flow is dynamic and playful (as are the energies) with pauses for mediation, mudra and breathwork. Expect to feel open, energised and ready to invoke the Shiva Shakti in a deeper way through Puja.


Puja + Ritual Yoga in Leeds

Puja is an ancient Hindu ceremony in which particular energies and invited in so we can experience ourselves more fully. In essence we are both Shiva and Shaki but we as humans forget our divinity – puja brings us back into a sacred space within ourselves. Zeenat will perform the puja ceremony whilst informing participants of the why? Often in India when you attend puja you have no idea what is going on or what anything means. Zeenat ensures you will be aware of the steps with a clear picture of why puja is performed and the power of ceremony.


Throughout the evening, you can expect:

  • Shiva Shakti Ritual Flow
  • Meditation
  • Mantra
  • Mudra
  • Story
  • Tantra philosophy
  • Puja
  • Music
  • Refreshments

Shiva Shakti Ritual FlowAbout Zeenat:

Zeenat is initiated into the tantric lineage and has the blessing of ancient gurus to perform the puja ceremony. This blessing goes all the way back to ancient times so she has the support and wisdom dating all the way back to when tantra began.

About Angela:

Angela has been teaching yoga for 12 years and practicing for almost 20. As well as being Senior Yoga teacher she is trained in other healing arts such as Ayurvedic massage styles, pranic healing, reiki and bio-dynamic breathwork. Her approach is rooted in East meets West. She teaches from an Eastern approach while making it accessible for everyone. She uses yoga as a healing tool rather than something purely physical and believes that when used correctly yoga can transform not only individuals but also communities and the world.



Chapter Organics

Brand Focus // Chapter Organics

We’d like to introduce you to Chapter Organics, one of the new local brands we’ve introduced to the Yoga Kula Hub.

Chapter Organics are a Yorkshire based brand, who create all natural infusions for home + body + mind. Their products harness the natural healing and restorative benefits of essential oils and create powerful blends for each chapter of your life. Each Chapter is available in the form of a candle, a mist, and a hand wash.

Chapter 1: The Remedy. // A verdant fusion of fine Peppermint, Tea Tree and Eucalyptus essential oils. Expertly blended to refresh and cleanse. Provides moments for nurturers in search of relief and balance.

Chapter 2: The Tonic. // Revives your senses with an energising blend of Lemongrass, Sweet Orange and Ginger essential oils. Expertly blended to reinvigorate and awaken. Provides moments for nurturers who want to feel refreshed. Those who feel tired, stressed and anxious.

Chapter 3: The Peace. // Invites you to slow down with a restful blend of Lavender, Patchouli, Ylang Ylang and Bergamot essential oils. Expertly blended to soothe the mind, ease stress and tension. Ideal for preparing your body for relaxation and sleep. Provides moments for tired nurturers in search of tranquillity. Those needing to unwind and relax.


You can find Chapter Organics products available to purchase in The Yoga Kula Hub, as well as throughout a few of our specially selected workshops.

If you haven’t yet checked out the Yoga Kula Hub, you can find us just a few doors down from the studio. We stock local brands of clothing, skincare, candles and so much more.

 


Yoga Mental Health

Yoga + Mental Health

As it’s World Mental Health Awareness Day (October 10th), we wanted to take some time to share the positive impact a regular yoga practice can have on your mental health and wellbeing.

In the UK, statistics from Mind show that 1 in 4 of us will be experience a mental health problem each year, and 1 in 6 will report a common mental health problem in any given week.

This can vary from depression, anxiety, mood disorders, eating disorders and many more. Whilst yoga is not a cure for any of these conditions, it can certainly benefit your wellbeing, release stress and relieve anxiety.

As we discussed previously here, there is a direct link between yoga and stress release, and likewise with stress and mental illness.

Did you know according to a recent survey, 74% of adults in the UK reported feeling so stressed at some point over the last year they felt overwhelmed or unable to cope. 51% of adults who felt stressed reported feeling depressed, and 61% reported feeling anxious.


Here are just a few ways yoga can improve your mental health. Hatha Flow

Yoga is an integrative mind and body practice, combining postures, controlled breathing techniques, and often meditation or relaxation.

A regular practice can work to move you from your sympathetic nervous system to the parasympathetic nervous system. This moves you from a state of fight or flight, to rest and digest, which is the state where successful healing can take place. In this state, you are more relaxed and less likely to feel anxious or stressed.

Yoga is proven to lower your heart rate and blood pressure, therefore releasing tension within the body.

An opportunity to put time aside in your day for you, time to relax your mind and focus on your breath.  Through this, you will learn controlled breathing techniques which can be used to release tension and tightness.


We asked our students how yoga has improved their mental health and wellbeing, here are just a few of their responses.

TTC“Yoga brings rest, release and restoration to my life.”

“It has taught me to live in the present. What will be will be.”

“Yoga eases my anxiety, helping me feel more relaxed and less stressed. It releases all the tension in my body.”

One of our students even spoke with The Yorkshire Evening Post about his experience with depression, and the benefits he found through his yoga practice. Our highlights include:

“Finding my yoga practice allowed my self-criticism and hatred gradually to ease. I could focus on poses that distracted me from my mind.”

You can read the full article by clicking here.

If you’d like to share your experience of yoga with us, click here. We’d love to hear how your practice has benefitted your life!


Which style of yoga should I practice?

There are a wide range of yoga styles available. Whether you’re wanting to be guided into a gentle and restorative meditative state or looking for a dynamic class to distract from the world off your yoga mat.

Just as everyones body is different, so are our minds and so there is no one style of yoga for everyone. It’s about listening in, it’s about focus and it’s about doing what’s right for you.

With over 40 classes per week, we have something at Yoga Kula to suit everyone of all abilities and experience levels. From your very first class or beginners course right through to training as a yoga teacher, we’d love to see you on the mat! You can view our full timetable here.

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Yoga for Beginners // Becky hill

What to expect from your first yoga class

Doing a yoga class for the first time can be pretty daunting. A mix of nerves and excitement as you approach something brand new.

We took some time out with Becky Hill, who has been teaching our Begin // Foundation course at Yoga Kula for over six years to explore what you can expect from that very first class:


A warm welcome.

Teachers know how scary it is walking in to that studio for the first time. Remember, we were beginners once, too! So we’ll say hello, introduce ourselves, and make sure you know where the toilets are and where you can keep your belongings. There will probably be other students there too, who will be just as nervous!


A quick check on how you’re doing.

It’s really important that your yoga teacher knows about anything that might affect your practice. We’ll ask whether you’ve got any injuries, had any recent operations or illness, and check you’re generally feeling OK. It’s confidential and makes sure that what they teach helps rather than hinders you. You can ask to speak privately, and it’s fine if you’d rather not say – just make sure you look after your wellbeing during class.


An introduction to the props and yoga equipment. Becky Hill // First Yoga Class

Blocks, bricks, bolsters, blankets…. we use a lot of extra bits and pieces in yoga. These are known as props and can help you find comfort in a pose. Before the class starts the teacher will set out the props you’ll need on their mat – grab your own (there are plenty in the studio) plus anything else you might want.

The teacher will run through what they are and how to use them during the class.


Becky HillA mix of poses.

There are literally hundreds of different yoga poses, and during a class you can expect to do a selection that will work your whole body (and mind!). Nearly all yoga classes combine postures that build strength, increase flexibility, or develop balance. Some postures do all three. Most classes involve postures where you’re stood up, sitting down and laying on the floor.


Savasana!

Savasana translates from Sanskrit (the language of Yoga) as ‘Corpse Pose’, so called as we resemble a corpse when we’re in it. It’s the last pose of any yoga class and is a chance to completely relax. Traditionally, you lay on your back, with legs stretched out and arms by your side. But there are lots of different ways of doing it. You lay in Savasana for about 5 minutes, and for many people it’s the BEST part of the class!

To make your Savasana as comfortable as possible, we often relax over bolsters, put lavender eye bags over our eyes, and keep our bodies warm under cotton blankets.


A Beginners Course, such as Yoga Kula’s Begin // Foundation is a brilliant introduction to yoga. It’s slower than your average class, and we break the poses down so you learn what to do in each of them. Everyone is in the same boat, learning together and finding what works for them. It’s a perfect opportunity to take your first steps into yoga.

For further information on our Beginners Courses, including upcoming course dates, click below.

Beginners Courses at Yoga Kula

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We are hiring

We are Hiring!

Yoga Kula is a dedicated yoga studio in the heart of Chapel Allerton, Leeds. Yoga Kula opened its doors in 2012 and since then has grown into a busy, vibrant and exciting yoga centre. We run over 40 classes per week, weekend workshops, a range of specialist yoga courses, on-site therapies and we train teachers on our 18 month Teacher Training Course.

We have hundreds of yoga students coming through our doors each week all of which enjoy the warm Kula welcome and our high level of yoga expertise.


Job Title – Weekend Receptionist 

We are looking for a yoga-minded, dynamic, highly organised and friendly individual to run our reception over the weekends at Yoga Kula. This role requires the individual to have:

  • Knowledge of customer care
  • Excellent reception skills
  • Sales skills
  • A strong work ethic
  • High energy and be excited about what we do
  • Work well in a small innovative team and the ability to work independently
  • The ability to prioritise their work load
  • Excellent administration and communication skills.

The successful candidate will be working with an inspiring team of professional yoga teachers and therapists who are making a powerful and lasting impact with their work. Our customers are generally happy and relaxed and love being at the studio.

It would be essential that the candidate was computer literate with experience in Microsoft Office, Excel and Word. 

Knowledge of Mindbody online operations software is a preference.  


Terms and Benefits outline 

Start Date – As soon as possible

Hours per week – Saturday and Sunday, 9am – 1pm

Location – Chapel Allerton Studio, Leeds

Report to – Operations Co-ordinator

Applications for this position are now closed. 

For any further details please get in touch below.


Apply by sending a CV and covering letter to beth@yogakulaleeds.co.uk, by clicking below.

Apply Here

Yoga Medicinal Herbs September

Inner Peace // Yoga + Medicinal Herbs

‘Nobody can bring you peace but yourself.’ Ralph Waldo Emerson

We invite you to join two of our Yoga Teacher Training Graduates for a very special workshop on Sunday 8th September, from 2-4pm.


Never underestimate the power of inner peace.

Using the medicinal and healing properties of herbs, Gillian Felton and Sophie Bodenham will guide you through a flowing, calming and balanced yoga practice.

Opening with a healing fresh rosemary meditation and moving through a flowing sequence to invigorate and uplift the mind and body, you’ll connect with the sounds of nature to bring clarity of thought.

The practice will then slow with the scent of white sage combined with Yin Yoga, taking you on a journey that cools, calms and balances the body, before the essence of lavender nourishes, restores and connects you to the inner peace that resides in all of us.

Your practice will be sealed and closed with herbal teas and homemade biscuits.

Book Your Space