Full of excitement and anticipation, as I nervously walked into the Shala on my first day, any apprehension instantly melted away. I was relieved to learn that many of my fellow students had experienced similar fears about whether or not they were ‘ready’ to take the next step on their yoga journey, and most were also unsure whether they actually wanted to pursue a career in teaching. Thankfully I needn’t ever have worried about my preconceived perception of the standard of my practise. I was by no means the strongest asana practitioner in the room, however there was no pressure or emphasis placed on whether or not we could nail the perfect handstand; quite the opposite in fact!
From my experience of developing my home practice as a teacher trainee I would say that it can feel quite challenging when you're not sure where to start and what to do. Plus its easy to put a lot of pressure on yourself to advance your asana practice to meet a perceived expectation that you might be setting yourself or holding onto subconsciously and especially within a timeframe which is in line with when the course ends.
As you get ready for gift giving this festive season we wanted to show you some utterly joy-filled & nourishing pressie ideas for sharing the practice of yoga with those you Love. There’s gift vouchers in any numeration with e-cards, limited edition homemade bolsters & eye pillows, or how about booking your loved ones on some of our incredible upcoming Yoga & Holistic Health workshops!
Yoga has been our pillar of support during this turbulent year - Not just the asana and meditation practice, but also for keeping a sense of routine, healthy habits, community, and our connection with those who share this with us. Our priority for each and every one who joins us for their practice at Heather Yoga is that you feel very much part of a community and our journey.
Yoga is about balancing effort and ease, so there should be no straining to reach your toes. One of the beautiful things I feel that we often forget about with the yoga practice, is that it is one of those very unique and rare times in the day where we don’t need to achieve anything at all! Its an opportunity to let go of our ego and meet ourselves ‘where we are’ not ‘where we would like to be’.
Over recent years, yoga has been commonly marketed as a means to get fit, and while improved fitness can often be one of the ‘perks’ of a regular asana practise, it’s certainly not traditionally regarded as the primary goal. There are of course the obvious superficial physical advantages, including increased strength, flexibility, balance and improved posture, whereas the less marketed, yet arguably more profound energetic benefits are only realised by many of us once we start to feel and experience them ourselves.
So, what happens when you integrate Qi Gong practises with yoga? A fusion of these two deeply healing methodologies can cultivate a more heightened awareness, by synchronizing fluid, intentional and mindful movements with the breath, creating portals to journey into a blissful, meditative state of flow, while simultaneously strengthening the body.
While more dynamic yoga disciplines generally work the superficial muscle groups, Yin goes deeper, to target connective tissues, ligaments, bones and our remarkable fascial network, by passively holding and relaxing into static postures. On entering into a pose, and finding the ‘edge’, or manageable amount of sensation; emphasis is then placed on finding stillness and softness.
From this Thursday as the doors to our yoga centre temporarily close for a month, all of our online offerings will continue - multiple daily yoga classes, themed workshops, courses, and special events - beamed from our brilliant teachers homes direct into yours, and we will keep holding the space for our amazing community in the virtual sphere with much needed connection and supporting of each other.
The truth is, there’s no hard and fast rule when it comes to which time of the day we should aspire to roll out our mat. Each of us have different rhythms and energy patterns, which can change and fluctuate depending on our individual circumstances and the time of year, therefore it’s essential that we take our own personal wants and needs into consideration, when deciphering what time we should aim to set aside for our yoga practise.