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.
‘Satsang’ is community, support, like-minded people trying to life a better life. Why do we need this? Yoga texts recommend we surround ourselves with positive and like-minded people to help us overcome the obstacles to advancing in our practice and to living by the ethical and moral principles called the niyamas and yamas.
What might your satsang provide? Some or all of- give and take of support, sharing knowledge and experience, helping over obstacles or bumps in the road of life or your yoga practice, role models, practical help, learning opportunities.
What might your community be? It could be religious, family and friends and colleagues, fellow yoga students or teachers, or people that share a hobby or interest. You might meet regularly or communicate and interact in other ways e.g. a positive Facebook group could add to your satsang. Your community is personal to you and not necessarily from your style of yoga. Be aware of who you are surrounding yourself with…are they helping or hindering you?
2 of the local opportunities in Bournemouth:
Integral Yoga Dorset hold monthly yoga-related satsangs on a Sunday evening with a chance to share experiences, discuss philosophy and practice yoga: Integral Yoga Dorset on Facebook.
If you are a woman then all women are welcome for nourishing, sharing, support and to be heard unconditionally at regular Red Tent Bournemouth meetings. Find out more: Red Tent Bournemouth Facebook group
On Saturday 17th October I finally got to try my first session of Shakti dance yoga. At Poole Yoga Centre in Poole, Dorset, Magdalena Atkinson treated our mixed group to a Shakti dance yoga workshop with the theme ‘the Goddess within’. My 2 loves of yoga and expressive dance are cunningly woven together in Shakti dance yoga. It started with repetitive flowing yoga movements with chanting and mudras (gestures) that limbered us up nicely physically and encouraged mental focus and calm. Then we moved onto led group dances with specific breathing patterns and then a chance to dance freely expressing ourselves to the music. And closing with a restful meditation. As we went through Magdalena brought our attention to different qualities of the Goddesses that we might like to focus on in our lives, empathize with or develop, and the music matched the emotion and qualities for each.
One of the highlights was Magdalena’s live music and voice accompanying our relaxation at the end of the workshop. Another was the storytelling of one of the Goddess myths from India. I will be looking out for more chances to experience and enjoy yoga and dance coming together.
More info on Magdalena, her music and upcoming Shakti dance yoga sessions here: Magdalena on Facebook
A kirtan or evening of devotional songs and traditional Indian music was presented in exceptional style recently at St. Luke’s Church Hall in Winton, Bournemouth. The Kirtan Band had travelled all the way from London to sunny Bournemouth to inspire, entertain and enlighten us. What is kirtan? In their words ‘a devotional singing practice that aims to elevate the consciousness and bring inner peace to the mind. The sound vibrations, brought about through repetition of the lines, create an energy that is uplifting but also relaxing.’
I certainly felt these effects and the traditional format of call and response plus songsheets meant the chants in Sanskrit were easy to join in with or follow along as you wished. The 2 singers in the band had incredible voices, a very pure sound, and the tabla drums playing was amazing, accompanied by the very rapid voicing of the Indian musical scales or Raags. It was particularly interesting to hear about the composition of Indian music, meanings and use of the chants, and how different scales are linked to emotions and to times of year. This included a demonstration of a tabla duet and chance to try voicing one of the scales ourselves.
Kirtan is a part of Bhakti yoga or the yoga of devotion. If chanting is something you would like to try I highly recommend it either just to listen, absorb and enjoy, or to participate and enjoy, or as a means of meditation or mindfulness to help achieve a calmer, quieter, more peaceful mind. No musical experience or ability is needed and as on this evening you are usually led expertly into the words, melody and speed of the chants.
Yoga can be practiced almost anywhere, even inside a motorhome. Adapting your yoga practice to the confines and constraints of the space you are in there is a surprising variety of yoga you can do. Putting spacial limits on your practice can help you to explore, adapt and do something different to your normal practice and heighten your awareness of where each part of your body is. Fixtures and fittings can be used to support parts of the body and help you into poses. Remember to keep your mind on your practice, letting any noises or items seen around you pass through the mind rather than getting distracted by them.
Sitting space for 1 on a chair or the floor is not a problem so find a quiet time for breathing practices and your preferred meditation practice. Relaxation can be done lying on the floor in the main body of your motorhome- use a mat or blanket if the floor is hard and a pillow under your head if needed, or lie on the bed.
Asanas or postures may take a bit more thought. Here are some ideas:
- In the main floor area work along the length of the motorhome, there may just be enough room to put a mat down. A seated joint freeing warming up sequence is easily done and many other seated or kneeling poses are possible, adjust the way you are facing so you have room to move and stretch as needed. Standing poses can also be done here but poses taking the arms away from the body there may not be room for. Be mindful of what is around you.
- Stretch the hamstrings by using a seat back to lift your leg onto, or the seat to bend forward from standing and rest the arms in supported Uttanasana.
- Use cupboard doors to press your hand onto and turn away for a pectoral and shoulder stretch or use to rest hands or legs against in standing poses to give you support.
- Using the bed, be aware of how practicing on a softer surface changes where you need to apply pressure or how far you can go into a pose. Try all fours positions like cat and cow, lying on your front poses such as Sphinx, hip stretches and lying twists lying on your back, seated forward bends or seated twists. And put your legs up the wall to rest and recover after a hard day’s sightseeing or walking.
If you are parked on a slope use this to your advantage. For example face downhill in seated forward bends letting gravity help you tilt the pelvis and stretch towards your feet. Try facing up and then downhill for your balance poses or Navasana, boat pose, to test your balance.
Or alternately head outside and do yoga in nature if you are pitched in a suitable place.
Feeling daunted or unsure where to start with a home yoga practice between classes? Here are a few pointers:
- Choose the time that best suits you and your schedule.
- KISS- keep it short and sweet to start. Perhaps 10-15 minutes. You are then more likely to regularly practice and any at all will be better than none!
- Ask your yoga teacher for a reminder sheet with a simple sequence of some of the poses, basic breathing and relaxation practices you have done in class and are familiar with.
- OR take a few of the same poses each time working on a particular area of your body e.g. a few different hamstring stretches if you do a lot of walking, running or cycling and notice changes over time.
- OR try out an online class and see if you enjoy and can follow this way of teaching e.g. some free classes to try out at www.eckhartyoga.com.
- Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t manage to practice or can’t focus mindfully as well at home as you can in class.
- Only time for 1 pose? Make it a restorative relaxing one such as Savasana (full relaxation corpse pose), or Viparita Karani (Legs up the Wall).
- You will find over time you can add to your yoga practice, build a sequence and vary your practice to how you feel or what you want to focus on that day or achieve over time.
Unwind and restore after your hard work in the garden. Lie on the ground to support your spine, with your knees bent. Rest, relax and look up to the sky, what can you see, what is the state of your mind as you lie still?
Take some gentle lying twists to release tension in the back and shoulders.
Take happy baby pose to release your lower back and hips:
Put your legs up on any nearby support (wall, log, tree, fence, chair or similar) in your outdoor version of Viparita Karani, legs up the wall pose for 5-10 minutes. Helping to release your lower back and soothe tired legs. Be aware of any sounds you can hear as you lie there, natural or manmade:
Come round to sitting comfortably and contemplate your garden and your gardening achievements, whatever the size and nature of these may be. Practice mindfulness- enjoy being in nature, notice each detail, each little change from last time you were there, keep your mind in your garden, don’t let it wander off:
I will be leading chair yoga at Sunrise Senior Living Southbourne in the morning for their residents.
And then Yoga for Walkers 12.20-13.05pm at Shelley Park, Boscombe BH5 1LX as part of the Integral Yoga Centre Dorset day long yoga event for Bournemouth. Open to all and by donation to 2 charities. A variety of other yoga sessions, bring and share picnic lunch and kirtan (chanting and music) will be happening throughout the day at Shelley Park- search on Facebook for more event details or contact me if you would like to know more.
Shoulder tension and resulting pain affects many of us. An excellent workshop on freeing stiffness of the neck and shoulders is given by Tim Swanson in Dorset. For upcoming dates: http://www.joyousisle.com/workshops.php
A few of my own tips:
- I find regularly checking shoulders for tension i.e. being mindful of it and breathing out and relaxing them down helpful, the more you notice the more you can break the habit of holding the tension.
- Try imagining your shoulders relaxing down like a lift going down to the ground floor as you exhale, then breathe out again and send them down to the basement. Feel your shoulderblades sliding down the back and make sure your head is balanced on top of the spine not pushing forwards (head weight is around 10lbs- more than Princess Charlotte!).
- You can also visualize breathing into the area imagining pain dissipating.
- Badger Balm muscle rub can be rubbed on to painful shoulders. It is natural and so can be used instead or alongside painkillers.
- A tennis ball between you and a wall and move around to massage is useful (and fun). Also experiment with using your own hands to massage the shoulders, perhaps tapping with fingertips, smoothing down with flat of hand or massaging fingertips into the area.
- A shoulder and pectoral muscle stretch I find useful:
Use a wall or door frame and keep the hand about waist height turning the body away from the hand and holding the stretch.
Of course if you have severe or ongoing pain in the shoulders do consult your doctor.
Yoga in the library garden returns to Tuckton Monday June 1st.
Come enjoy the fantastic experience of doing yoga outdoors. We will stretch, relax, do some simple breathing practices and meditations on nature all in natural surroundings.
No previous experience or equipment needed.
Outdoor yoga 1.45-3pm alternate Mondays. £7 per person pay as you go. . Adults only please. Not on if raining!
For more info. and to book your space- Fiona on 07813 679837 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tuckton Library is on Wick Lane in Bournemouth BH6 4LF. Close to bus routes, bike racks available and ample free parking.
I will be covering 2 more yoga classes in Poole this summer, gentle Hatha yoga which all are welcome to come to. Please contact me if you have any queries:
Mondays 20th and 27th July 6-7.15pm at Poole Yoga Centre, Denmark Road. http://www.pooleyogacentre.co.uk
This class runs weekly with their regular teacher Suzanne