Use the menu above to find my yoga classes in Bournemouth and beyond, more about me and information if you are new to yoga. Read on below for class updates, tips, latest news and yoga trends and events.
With the opening of Amethyst Cave, the latest new yoga studio in the Southbourne area of Bournemouth, I’ve been thinking about the variety of small independent yoga studios now open in the area and some of the aspects that make for a good yoga studio. This follows on from my nomadic yoga travels where I’ve tried out all sorts of studios and classes around the world.
Up in Pokesdown there is Shiva Shakti. A small former shop space it only allows for an intimate class. No toilet facilities. Only possible to fit in very small numbers and a bit cramped. A variety of now established classes day and evening plus massage and meditation. Windows covered so not overlooked and road noise not noticeable. Very nicely decorated.
Amethyst Cave is the latest addition- on Southbourne Grove close to the main shopping area, a convenient position. Windows covered so not overlooked but remains light enough. Plainly but nicely decorated. A slightly bigger studio. Road noise ok but internal acoustics atrocious. A variety of classes just getting going and have some other activities going on apart from yoga. Kitchen and toilet facilities at back of the studio. Plenty of equipment- mats, blocks etc. Have yoga books to borrow, a nice touch. I attended 2 classes which were different but both very good, if sparsely attended.
Beehive Community Studio is at the other end of the suburb at Southbourne Crossroads. Again a slightly larger space. It hosts many other groups and activities. Has toilet and kitchen. No equipment supplied, road noise very noticeable and windows are not covered so passersby can and often do look in which can be disturbing. A cold space. Decoration is pretty rough round the edges.
Shore Pilates Studio is very close to Beehive. A lovely mirrored space with views across the sea. Well provided with equipment. Ample parking nearby if you need. Mostly Pilates classes but several yoga classes are held here. Cosy (warm and carpeted) and pleasant atmosphere. The only local small studio off the ground floor so no issues with noise or being overlooked or the door opening straight onto studio space.
With 3 of these being former shop spaces the options are naturally limited and they have certainly done what they can to make a suitable space.
In general classes tend to be small so each student gains more individual attention from the teacher who may be able to adapt the class or give hands on adjustments- not possible in a larger class. Although for some people not being able to ‘hide’ amongst a larger class is offputting. A number of different independent yoga teachers hold classes at these studios, so there is a chance to try out a few classes for different styles and approaches as suits you. As they are independent prices vary and level of teaching experience also varies. The lack of space in the studios makes it harder to drop in and the class may not run if no one turns up. They do tend to be a decent length of class and not so much purely physical asana focus, bringing in other aspects of yoga. A place to neatly stow away your shoes, coats, bags etc. is especially important in the smaller space and all the studios seem to deal with this well.
From a yoga teacher’s point of view it must be hard to make classes in these small yoga studios financially viable. Will all the studios be able to financially keep going, maintaining enough classes to cover rent and enough students at each class to retain teachers? None of them seem to have a particularly unique selling point so it will be interesting to see what happens, especially now there are several in such a small area of Bournemouth. None are part of a larger chain or organisation so don’t have the support, although that can make them more flexible to run things as they wish. There are an enormous amount of other yoga classes out there, from leisure centres, to teachers hiring halls, to larger concerns like Yoga Lounge in neighbouring suburb Boscombe who charge a premium, so competition is high. Surely the studios that can and do hold other types of classes or events have more chance of surviving.
My latest experiences with yoga now I’m back in the UK, in Bournemouth and the surrounding area:
I’ve tried out some more different yoga classes. Firstly Jackie Hayfield Yoga based in the Ringwood, Hampshire area. In the newly converted spacious studio at the bottom of her quiet garden Jackie led us through some gentle rebalancing sequences moving with the breath, based on the teaching of TKV Desikachar. I felt the classes I attended were less about physically working the body or getting fit and more about rebalancing, calming and quietening the mind. I was so pleased and surprised to find a class in this style, which is not common in the UK. She included some Vedic chanting which I have been missing, not everyone’s cup of tea but as we were all up for it she included it. She has a beautiful caring manner and as a trained yoga therapist can adapt each class to provide what the students want or need to work on. My only slight issue was the studio being rather cold, a difficulty with many yoga venues, which will no doubt not be a problem during summer months. Contact Jackie on Facebook for group classes, private sessions and to check out her events and workshops.
Another new yoga class for me was Gentle Yoga at 2Riversmeet Leisure Centre in Christchurch, Dorset. A little short at only an hour long but as a local authority venue the price was extremely reasonable and the teaching standard good, a great choice for those short on cash. The class was indeed gentle with plenty of mobilizing and stretching warm up movements and yoga poses and a few gentle sequences, and was very well attended. As always a few new (to me) ways of approaching poses or new versions which keeps things interesting. Modifications of postures were given so all could join in safely. The room is not ideal, being a little cramped and acoustics making it difficult to hear. The floor mats are also a bit thick and squishy for yoga, making balancing poses in particular extra challenging. If you’re looking for a more relaxing class that isn’t working on strengthening, or have health conditions that make a stronger class unsuitable I’d really recommend this. If you prefer a more active yoga class Power Yoga is immediately beforehand.
I am still adding to my yoga poems with a view to leading a class or workshop where they are read aloud. Its been a great process for getting to the heart of what each pose or practice means to me as well. Here’s a taster:
Triangle or Trikonasana
We make a steady solid triple sided shape
Three angles join us to our ground
A strengthened base for joyful arms
Announcing a stretch out to fingertips
And as we work to support ourselves
We feel enlivened.
Well that’s all for now. Enjoy your yoga and be creative.
So 6 weeks of yoga in Costa Rica. It turned out to be almost all self-practice as drop-in classes were practically non-existent. What a shame that the culture of top all-inclusive yoga retreats doesn’t spread out into local classes being available and studios being set up. The market is very much aimed at the package yoga holiday tourist I guess.
The only studio I found was in the Pacific seaside resort of Manuel Antonio. I managed to attend 2 aerial yoga classes there at Holis Wellness Center. What a great studio with plenty of equipment, quiet and a fantastic view out over the sea. Small classes and plenty of personal attention from the teacher made for a wonderful experience. Impressive to hear her teaching in Spanish and English too! The aerial hammock set up was somewhat different to what I have experienced before allowing many more poses to be done and new ways to support the body. The classes were challenging and fun.
My own practice was mostly done in the bedrooms, due to the array of biting and buzzing critters around to disturb practice otherwise, plus in many places an overly hot sun. Although the warm climate does make for easier stretching. With the floors being tiled an opportunity for checking your alignment carefully against the grid this supplied and using extra muscular strength to avoid slipping. Poses lying on the back could also be done on the bed, with a softer bed making you aware of where the body normally braces against a harder surface. Where I was in a cabin the balcony or veranda often provided a comfortable space and amazing setting for yoga practice. With the railings proving useful for a variety of heights of support, for supported or gentler practice after some of the tough walks. Practicing yoga outdoors as always added to the peacefulness and promoted mindfulness with the gentle sounds, serene views and natural beauties.
Study time was ample and I finally finished reading and reflecting on the Bhagavad Gita classical Indian text. The particular version has extended commentary so took around 5 months to work my way through it! Plenty to cogitate upon for some time to come.
My travels are ending for now. I return to yoga teaching after quite a break by covering 2 classes next week. And I am looking forward to returning to attending a regular class myself. More than that is not yet clear, but of course yoga will always be with me wherever I go.
Before moving on to yoga in Tasmania the last 2 yoga classes I attended in New Zealand were indeed at Yoga Academy Auckland, a very well-appointed studio in the heart of the city of Auckland. Using plenty of props teacher Bonnie led us through 2 very enjoyable classes. The ones I was able to make were the shorter length classes, which I felt would have benefited from a bit of extra time, especially when using so many props and explaining and demonstrating the set up of them for each pose took quite a while. The teacher and students were very welcoming. And on the second class I was able to leave my luggage in the changing rooms with no problems, as I was off to the airport later that day. The studio did suffer a bit from external noise but the church bells chiming only added to the meditation practice.
On to Tasmania, an island state off the coast of Australia. Unfortunately due to the double whammy of it being Christmas and school summer holidays a lot of yoga classes were on either a short or extended break. And as in New Zealand many of the towns or settlements are too small to support a class. I was able to do some outdoor practice which I really like to do. However this was hampered on occasion by all the biting insects around. Carrying on my own practice I also continued my study of the Bhagavad Gita classical Indian text, which I had got on my Kindle, which provided much food for thought and reflection.
I did manage to find one yoga studio open in Hobart, the capital town of Tasmania. It was called Hot Fit Yoga which was a little offputting, as it sounded like the kind of yoga where you have to sweat and physically exhaust yourself, which is not my kind of yoga. But I did 2 of the Yin Yoga classes which they call ‘Long, Slow, Deep’ and they were amazingly relaxing. The whole set up helped- dimmed lighting, a warm room, gentle background music. I had a different teacher for each class, bringing their own take on Yin yoga. Both were very encouraging and gave plenty of options for modifying poses and different ways of using props to ensure a relaxing and intense but comfortable passive stretching class.
The Hobart studio did a relatively inexpensive introductory offer. But all the yoga classes near our hostel in Melbourne on the mainland (where we flew in and out from) were extremely expensive- $25 and upwards a class which is around £15 and rising as the value of the pound drops. So I declined to attend a class in Melbourne.
My exciting new yoga development is starting to write some poems on yoga. I hope to do more and share some of them soon. Costa Rica is the next stop on the journey, a yoga mecca in terms of expensive all-inclusive retreats. It will be interesting to see what the availability of reasonably priced drop-in classes is like and what types or styles of yoga the trend is towards.
Continuing my adventure of yoga in New Zealand. Heading North I managed to catch yoga classes in:
Invercargill at Yoga Centre Southland. My second class here. Blissful, really powerful, with a theme of breathing prana (vitality, life force energy) up and down the spine. Great to have some of the deeper aspects of yoga brought in. Lovely lying warm up sequence that meant you really felt ready to do standing poses later, thoroughly warmed up.
Dunedin Yoga Studio ‘bliss class’ where the stand-in teacher did their best but it wasn’t quite the style as advertised. I thought the yoga class was a bit strenuous for a later evening class and considering clientele that were there (not all young fit people). There were some nice restorative poses to end, but lots of backbends and long holds of poses. I enjoyed learning a couple of new ways of getting into familiar poses, always good to learn new things. A convenient location, nice studio and lots of other classes and workshops going on there.
Picton with Jeannie at Queen Charlotte College (2km walk from town on flat road). Following a recommendation from another yoga colleague in the area who does classes on a day of the week I wasn’t there. A full and friendly class. Nice to see yoga teachers helping each other out and cross-referring as we do in the UK. 2 great mindfulness practices incorporated. A lovely welcome and I felt really at home and able to concentrate on my practice. Just enough instruction, the relaxed teaching style helped me relax and I felt comfortable to modify poses for myself without risk of being ‘told off’. I felt my mind was calmer, overall more balanced and relaxed after.
Wellington City Yoga with Penina. One of the only classes so far I was asked if I had any injuries or conditions before joining in, always good practice for the yoga teacher to do this and not just assume if someone has done yoga before they will know their limits and how to modify their practice. I should have guessed by the number of men in the class this was a strength-based and physical/asana based class with little to no relaxation and breathing. Personally I felt tense and unable to relax by the end, not what I want out of a class. Reminded me that pulling into a pose e.g. with a belt really does increase tension and its better to breathe and ease further over a number of classes not build tension. This was a handy city location and a very well equipped studio. The hands on alignment corrections were helpful- you can easily get into bad habits without realising unless someone observing tells you.
I’m now at my final stop- Auckland- where there are numerous styles and types of set up, sure to be plenty of yoga classes to choose from and try out. I’m looking forward to trying a couple. One that looks close to the city centre is Yoga Academy Auckland.
A few final thoughts on yoga in New Zealand as I have experienced it
Generally in the small towns there is less choice and its harder to find something on a particular day you may be there. I imagine you might have to do online classes if you were resident in New Zealand and wanted a more frequent class or a different style. If you are too remote there won’t be good enough Internet access for this though. Travel can be slow so going to the next town or city along for a class or workshop is not practical. As in the UK yoga class prices are more expensive in large cities.
Attending class whilst travelling enables better focus and deeper practice by far as otherwise you usually have no private space, lots of distractions and interruptions. So you can notice a much deeper effect after class than self-practice. I have noticed that perhaps due to all the travelling and constantly being in new places with new people to meet my balance when doing yoga poses is much worse than usual. When unable to connect with other people doing yoga in a yoga class keeping up on Facebook with my yoga community back home has been very helpful.
A slow initial start to my yoga practice down under. I realised many of the towns are simply too small to have a space where a class could take place, never mind enough students to support a class. So it was on with my own practice, starting with a lovely sunny time in the parks of Nelson.
A week spent at picturesque and peaceful Punakaiki was the chance to live my own retreat with yoga on the beach and in the rainforest as well as plenty of quiet relaxation time and beach walks. I learnt how to avoid the sandflies and had to work around the frequent rain showers. Staying in hostels means no quiet or private space to practice indoors so I’ve had to be a bit creative in finding a space outside to practice. One day I started on a quiet track in the middle of the rainforest only for 5 workmen to turn up to do track maintenance on the very spot! Another time I was sitting meditating by a river when a concerned local asked me if I was ok as I was sitting there so long!
Coach travel is slow here so I’ve been able to do my chanting (silently and mentally) and breathing practice and reiki whilst on the coach. Not having a mat with me and with surfaces often sandy or muddy I’ve had to put a sequence of asanas together when outdoors each time that suit what I need but avoid me getting dirty or covered in sand. And sometimes using a handy boulder, bench or tree log as props.
So far I’ve attended 3 yoga classes in 3 of the larger towns. With trusty Google finding me a local yoga class on the day I’m in town and directions to it. As in the UK there is a range of teaching styles, methods and class venues used. Unlike the UK much less choice in general. I’ve been made very welcome dropping in for a class. I’m still getting used to the Kiwi accent though which to me makes stretch sound like streetch and leg sound like liyg! And some of the poses are named differently here. A great idea at most classes is having disinfectant to clean off the studio-owned mats afterwards.
Perhaps my favourite class so far was Integral Yoga (which I usually attend in the UK) in Queenstown at the Nadi Wellness Centre. And what a fabulously equipped studio looking out onto the Remarkables mountain range. 6 students for a Saturday evening when the rest of the town was parting hard was pretty impressive too. We did some pranayama breathing practices new to me, plenty of chanting and I left the class floating. Nadi Wellness Centre
It was great to chat to teacher David in Te Anau before our class about developing as a teacher in such an isolated country and his inspirations for yoga teaching. A class allowing us experienced students very much to get on with our practice with just enough instruction and lots of mindfulness on anatomical points. Thank youTe Anau Yoga Association
In Invercargill I dropped into a very busy early afternoon class at the Yoga Centre Southland. A different style again with some interesting new variations to me of classic yoga poses. And another variation on Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) – there must be nearly as many versions as there are classes in the world! The students here were happy to give me some more tips on what to see in their area too.
So thats about it so far for my yoga adventures in New Zealand. I will be looking out for more opportunities to join in classes and of course doing my own practice. With views like these from the ‘mat’ the motivation isn’t hard to get out there and do it!
Nearly time to head off for more yoga adventures! I’m expecting to be doing some yoga again in unusual places and with amazing spectacular scenic views as I head ‘down under’. And no I don’t believe you have to stand on your head the whole time, its something to do with gravity and the Earth being round!
This time the views won’t be ‘from the mat’ as my luggage is so limited I won’t be able to take a mat. A case of using what’s provided or practicing without a mat and care not to slip.
Part of the adventure is adapting my yoga. To the space I have, the weather conditions, level of noise and personal state such as level of tiredness. Its been wonderful attending classes and workshops whilst I’ve been back in the UK. It has really shown me what a difference the effect of practicing undisturbed can have on the way you feel at the end of the session and getting that calming effect for the mind of being in alpha brain wave state.
I’m hoping to attend some classes this time, as they will be in English and I will be stopping in some destinations that should have classes. Looking forward to experiencing some different teachers’ styles and trying out new things and meeting new yogis and yoginis. I may even get the chance to offer my chair yoga sessions on a voluntary basis. A start to spreading my unique chair yoga across the world!
Bye for now and I will be sharing more from my yoga adventures soon.
I will be covering some yoga classes this September in the UK, in Bournemouth. Back to yoga teaching and the first use of a lesson planning resource I have been developing over the summer. This lists all the poses or asanas I make use of with their teaching points, suggested props or aids and modifications for common medical conditions, and benefits of the pose or sequence. Also listing relaxation practices to end the class, breathing practices, warm up routines and centring techniques to start the class. It should make my lesson planning much quicker and less off-putting, leaving me to be more creative with what I put in the session and of course doing the actual teaching itself!
This was something I wanted to do for myself for a long time. This summer gave me the time to finally put it all together. A bit of a slog but should be worthwhile. It reminded me of all the varied tools we have at our fingertips to provide the yoga experience. Also a reminder of the many approaches and variations you can use for each pose or asana. I’m considering sharing the resource with other yoga teachers to help them lesson plan if I can produce or find images for each pose, sequence or practice. That’s the next stage of developing the resource and will take a while. Meantime it will be interesting to see how it works in practice.
Contact me for more details on the classes I’m covering in central Bournemouth if you would like to enjoy some gentle flowing Hatha yoga with plenty of emphasis on relaxation.
Heat and motion
Well its almost 7 weeks into the travelling lifestyle and I’m getting used to a new routine of yoga and the benefits and restrictions of practicing on the road and doing yoga outdoors. Here’s the latest view from my mat, a fantastic wild camping site at the top of the Hecho Valley in the Spanish Pyrenees.
Its pretty windy here so a challenge for balance poses and interesting to see how your body instinctively uses the muscles required to keep you still even against sudden gusts. The grass is luckily not too spiky to put a mat down as at many places where I’ve had to practice indoors. But I did have to place it carefully between the many cowpats!
Its been extremely hot at times in Spain which has restricted my physical practice. Below this view from the mat a few days back shows me making the most of the shade of the motorhome, at campsite Rio Ara near Torla Ordesa in Spanish Pyrenees, to do yoga outdoors.
The campsites can be pretty crowded so you have to let go of any worries about being observed practicing in public. I’ve only seen 1 other person doing yoga so far the whole time.
To help against the heat I’ve been practicing the classical pranayama or breathing practice of Sitali/Sitkari where your breath is drawn in over the tongue to provide a cooling effect on the mouth via evaporation.
With lots of driving a useful still and steady yoga pose to counteract the perpetual motion is Tabletop pose. Here all 4 limbs are connected to the ground to stabilize and hold still. This aids the natural ability of the body to come back into a balanced state, the fancy name for this process is homeostasis. Here Motty demonstrates the four square Tabletop pose (doing it on a table is optional!):
Well thats all for this time. More yoga tips and travel stories soon.
I will be sharing some of my views on and off the yoga mat whilst travelling. See my Facebook page Yoga Bournemouth and Beyond for some fantastic pics of the views I am enjoying whilst doing my yoga. Here is my first view:
This summer I am in Europe and so far doing my own practice, rather than attending any classes or retreats. Practicing mostly outside has been a delight, although noise can be an issue. Today’s background noise was rather more soothing and less disruptive than some- waterfalls and a glacial river.
As I am taking long walks or cycles most days I am finding a restorative yoga practice most beneficial. This allows relaxation and stretching without agitating tired muscles and restores energy. Trying to do a more active or flowing asana practice uses energy I don’t have after a very active day and leaves me feeling less refreshed and more tired or achy. Shoulder and neck stretching and freeing exercises and self-massage are helping soothe the soreness of carrying a bag or cycling.
Rainy days mean practicing inside the motorhome and working around space constraints, though its suprising what you can do.
Breathing practices have been easy so far to maintain. Whilst taking long walks I have been able to practice walking mindfully to help focus and calm the mind and lift mood and take time to practice svadhyaya or self-reflection/self-study.
I will add more views as I go along and discover more about yoga practice whilst travelling.
Bye for now