Rummaging through some old boxes of yoga books and papers I discovered my beginners handouts from a course back in 2014. I remember this time fondly, my daughter was just a baby and I had been teaching classes in Chapter Arts Centre and Gwaelod y Garth with some fantastic students. I really enjoy teaching beginners yoga classes and I’m really looking forward to teaching in Haverfordwest and Milford Haven this September. Teaching the gift of yoga, the tools to return home to the body and the multitude of benefits that come with the practice, is extremely rewarding.
Stress is generally unavoidable and in-balance even a necessary component of a thriving life. Too much stress however, especially ongoing, can be detrimental to our physical and mental health. The last two years of pandemic have been especially hard for many people.
Most of us could list how stress shows up in the body; shallow breathing, unintentional breath holding, muscle pain, headaches, skin issues and many more. As Bessel van der Kolk insightfully outlines in his book on pronounced trauma, the body really does keep the score.
Recognising how low level, ongoing stress shows up in our bodies can be tricky. Often it takes us coming out of a chronic state of tension, returning to a relaxed state, to notice. We can learn to tune into our bodies during yoga, observing the breath and how our bodies feel in each posture or movement. This helps us build on our Proprioception ‘awareness of one’s posture, movement, balance, and location’ (Collins, 2022) and Interoception ‘sensitivity to stimuli originating inside of the body’ (Collins, 2022). This in turn helps us build a relationship with our individual bodies and work towards recognising stress and tension when they arise.
Yoga is a practice of gratitude. The tools I have learnt from my 20+ years of practice have been invaluable, especially in the few years of solo parenting. Posture and alignment is still central to my teaching and practice. Equally important is our relationship to the ground, our support. We cover simple breathing exercises (pranayama) in beginners classes and I also emphasise awareness of breath, specifically noticing tension in the breathing muscles, as we move through exercises and postures.
During classes we move, breathe and have a bit of a laugh. All bodies welcome, young, old, stiff, bendy, creaky, cranky, tired and energetic. Check out my timetable for beginners and intermediate yoga classes in Haverfordwest and Milford Haven this September.