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The Yoga Lifestyle Blog

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Welcome! I'm passionate about leading a balanced and peaceful life and keen to share practical ideas on how incorporating Yogic ideals are beneficial in the modern age and really can be for ALL!

Read on for information on Yoga, Meditation, Mindfulness, healthy eating, journalling and how to fit them in to your busy life!

Ready...Steady....Go! Part 2

So, I left you at the starting blocks....let's bring you up to speed. 

I was shown around by the agent, who respectfully allowed me the space and time to wander around, to take it all in and to do some visualising. My initial plan, if there was a plan, was to have simultaneous classes being taught and I wanted as many classes as possible. The more Yoga the better! But the energy of the place was softer than that, somehow...it called for reserve and respect and taking things slowly - to not 'pack em in', but to allow for immersion and for quiet. Even on that first visit I knew that what I'd be heading into would require strength and tenacity, but I could also already feel that things would only be successful in this place if my main focus was how things felt. Logistics would iron themselves out! It was around the end of the viewing that the agent casually mentioned the upstairs flat was also available. I said I'd take a look. 

Well! If I'd felt energies stirring in the ground floor of the building, it was nothing to what I experienced upstairs!! That space - still full of builders bags and old sofas and tools and random paintings and bits of furniture....held the secret ingredient to helping me make my dream a reality. It literally showed ME what it might become and I went off into some kind of reverie in my imagination, visualising massage couches, crystal therapies, sound baths and the like as we explored all the rooms - and there are a LOT of rooms! After some discussion it was agreed that the flat could be altered for use as a holistic therapy centre. The responsibility of the red tape would be mine, but I could then hire out spaces to practitioners to help me pay the rent. My family, my partner & some of my braver friends queried it as a sensible option. "What if no one rents a space? What if you're left footing the bill for a huge, empty building? What about heating it?" they asked. I shrugged. 'It'll be ok, I'm sure,' I would reply. Internally, briefly, I might waiver a little, or allow myself a moment of doubt, but not for long. The overriding feeling was: this is right, this is needed and this is happening! I signed the lease, paid my deposit and got the keys. I was ecstatic! The first thing on my mind was to share it. So I organised a winter solstice Yoga workshop and began inviting my loyal clients along. A friend offered to perform sound baths and we set up a booking system for one in the new year. I was as high as a kite, feeling these were signs it was the right thing to do and people would come, people would enjoy what I offered. I took bookings and I got the hot chocolate ready.

As we know, though, things took a turn in January 2021 and we were locked in again because of the pandemic. I had to leave the hot choc on the shelf and give back people's booking money. It was a blow. However, in all honesty, this still didn't deter me...although my 'sensible' brain allows that it probably should have! I had a brief half an hour's misery, sat at my dining room table with my partner, mulling over the feasibility of keeping it all going when we weren't even allowed out of the house but I quickly snapped out of it and looked at how I could steer my way through, not whether I should or not. In the end, I simply took it as bonus time to get things better prepared I suppose! We ripped out a kitchen to create the reception area, 'sold' spaces to holistic therapists eager to join the fun, renovated the basement from a tanning booth to a meditation cave and, generally made good a building that was in serious need of some TLC. 

Slowly, we heard word that things were due to open up again soon and so I looked to the future once more and how I might like to share the spaces with the public. My first thought was for those clients who'd got me through lockdown one: before this studio was even thought about as a venture. The clients who, for years and years, had turned up in cold community halls and village centres to my classes, followed me to Devon for retreats, paid for online sessions when none of us could meet in person. Their loyalty knows no bounds and I'm eternally grateful to them. So they got first look! We had a 'soft opening' across two weeks, when they could book and attend classes and try out the space, with just me leading them and helping them settle. (It very much took me back to my days in teaching in schools and the first few weeks of term!) And then, I held an open day. I invited everyone from far and wide to share the space, to take a look around, to feel what I - and others who have joined me since have felt - the magic of 21 Welford Road. A place to take a breath, to pause, to be looked after and to reconnect with yourself, The Breathe in Space was launched on June 5th 2021 and I couldn't be prouder! Classes and holistic therapies are now in full swing. You can find all the details here, on this website (go to 'about us' and 'classes') Come and visit us, if only for a herbal tea - we absolutely love what we do and we'd love you to see it for yourself. Namaste.

Ready...Steady....Go! Part 1

Well, where to begin?! What a year! What a six months! What a week! How are you? Chin up, we’re nearly there... I’ve been reminiscing this evening and thought I’d start to share with you all the extraordinary journey 2020 and 2021 has taken me on and how I came to be preparing to open The Breathe in Space in little under two weeks’ time:


After last years lockdown number 1 was lifted, I went back to my beloved day job: teaching yoga in studios, halls and gyms across Northampton. Most classes were joyful, happy affairs, full of smiley faces (behind the new face masks) and relieved attitudes. Some were, simply, not: folk were resistant to the challenges we were facing, concerned about where the changes we were undergoing would take us and fearful they were still doing the ‘wrong thing’ by being out in public again. These latter classes were my favourite, to be honest. I could feel the catharsis the yoga brought about for my clients viscerally. I witnessed how it shifted their mindset subtly, yet profoundly and, ultimately, how it helped them heal from the grief the pandemic had triggered in us all. In short, those sessions reactivated my love of yoga and my passion for sharing it with people. 

Yet something in ME had changed too. Asked today what that might have been, I still couldn’t tell you, but rest assured, I’m glad whatever it was did change. I had a sense of restlessness, of a fire being lit inside me, but I didn’t know where to put the energy of it. I’d started running in lockdown-it gave me the sense of freedom we’d all craved-and yet now, ‘in the real world’ post lockdown, it wasn’t hitting the same high for me it had previously. I was craving something else, something more, something that could represent freedom and clarity and wellbeing in a new way.

A chance conversation with another practitioner saw me realise something about my own practise, my small business and my lifestyle as a whole: I was ready to expand. This saw me looking into a property we’d discussed, as a potential venue for my own studio. It took me by surprise, how eager I felt in looking around: it looked right, it had potential, and I could really see it working. However, it somehow didn’t  add up to everything I didn’t know I needed. There were issues with the landlord, the letting agent, the distance from home, the estates nearby.  Numerous ‘road blocks’ were in its way and, eventually, I had to let it go. During the weeks I’d spent mulling over my tentative plans and drawing up ideas on a pintrest board for how my space might look and function, I’d maintained my timetable of classes, most of which took place in a community centre ten minutes from my house. Every journey there took me past a beautiful old building which at one time housed a hairdressers. Like many small businesses in the pandemic, they’d succumbed to the tragedy of closure and I watched week by week as builders moved things in and out, added a ‘for lease’ board and the building sat quietly waiting for its new benefactor. I felt a sense of curiosity about the place and something akin to sorrow every time I drove past.

At the start of a class in the community hall, having just driven by said building, a client of mine approached me and asked how my plans for the new project were coming along. I explained I’d shelved them and her face (beneath the mask, of course) lit up. ‘Have you seen the old hairdressers on welford road is up for lease?’ she said excitedly. ‘It’d make a perfect yoga studio.’

When people say ‘I just knew then’ or ‘I went cold’ or some such, we often mistake it for embellishment in a story, or superstition, or simply a false memory. But believe me sincerely when I say, I really did know then and I really did go cold. I drove back home after my session feeling giddy with excitement and sick to my stomach. What if someone already had it? What if it wasn’t big enough? What if I couldn’t afford it? What if this was a stupid idea and I was simply fantasising? I pulled over, took a photo of the lease board and began calling the number on it there and then and every day after for around two weeks. Finally, with no response, I gave up. And then the agent called me back...

Yoga​ For All

A Yoga Lifestyle Blog

An ongoing series on leading a Yogic life

 

Transition

Hello again! I hope you are well, safe and staying as peaceful as you can in these challenging times! My classes return - full time I hope!- to the pubic domain tomorrow and I've been mulling over what's best to tal to you all about. New beginnings? Fear and anxiety? Staying strong? The immune system? The truth is, at times, all themes merge and become one: YOGA! So if I see you at one of my classes later this week, or next, prepare by coming open minded, ready to gently ease yourself back in, ready to immerse yourself in the bliss that Yoga brings us and nothing more! No expectations, no force, just gentle self care as we celebrate moving forward. Namaste. I'll see you on the mat!

The Yogic Life

An ongoing series of informational entries

Meditate

First Blog Entry - meditation 

July 4th 2018

Do you remember the children's TV show 'Record Breaker's'? The titles had a catchy theme song which included the lyrics 'oooooh ooooooh, dedication, that's the key.' Why am I bringing this up? Because, as I attend to my mind each morning in meditation, this little ditty often surfaces with the lyric change 'ooooooh oooooooh, meditation, that's the key'. Funny how our minds work isn't it?! Which is precisely the point of meditation. 


Our brains are wired, these days, to run at pace, to keep up with umpteen changes a minute and, what's more,  to maintain this acceleration. Targets, outcomes, 'moving forward', aspirations....all words we use in the work place, the classroom and our media coverage regularly to define what we value as a society, what we want from our individuals. 


And, whilst moving forwards is inevitable and change most definitely will occur, what we seem to have forgotten, is that in order to handle these life certainties, we also need to take time to be still, reflect and absorb. You wouldn't expect a car, no matter how powerful the engine, to move continuously at speed without refuelling or a mechanical retune, but that's what we ask of our minds. 


There can be a misunderstanding when meditation is mentioned as a tool for easing stress, anxiety or illness: that we expect the mind to STOP during the process. This can't happen for one simple reason: the mind isn't made that way. Think of it like the sky - clouds drift across it all the time (the thoughts), some are heavier than others, but with enough breeze in the right direction they move on. Meditation is your means to clear the clouds quicker, so your mind can feel free to focus on the important aspects of your life and handle the changes occurring every day with quality responses. 


Try this: sit for five minutes, somewhere quiet, where you won't be disturbed and just focus on your breath. Listen to it come in and listen to it go out. Notice the length of the inhale and the length of the exhale. If thoughts occur to you, acknowledge them, but let them drift away and come back to focusing on your breath. And that's IT. Do this every morning, before you head out into the world and notice how much better you are at handling people, situations and news which ordinarily irks, angers or upsets you. Do this every evening, before you go to bed, and notice how much better you sleep. This needs to be adhered to for at least a couple of weeks, I'd say, before you'll start to notice the effects, but just know this: little is better than none at all and something IS changing for your better health and well being, subtley, every time you meditate.



Meditate

Have You Told You Lately That You Love You?

July 7th  2018

Go to https://wordpress.com/post/yoganorthampton.wordpress.com/114 to follow my blog and read the next entry!

Meditate

Being Kind To Yourself 

July 7th  2018

Go to https://wordpress.com/post/yoganorthampton.wordpress.com/110 to follow my blog and read the next entry!



Meditate

Vishuddha - The Throat Chakra

July 18th  2018

Go to yoganorthampton.wordpress.com/2018/07/18/vishuddha-the-throat-chakra/ to follow my blog and read the next entry!



Meditate

Mudra you think you are?

3rd August 2018

Go to https://yoganorthampton.wordpress.com/2018/08/03/mudra-you-think-you-are/ to follow my blog and read the next entry!



Meditate

Just Breathe!

29 August 2018

Go to https://yoganorthampton.wordpress.com/2018/08/29/just-breathe/ to follow my blog and read the next entry!



Meditate

Retreat, Retreat!

6th October 2018

Go to yoganorthampton.wordpress.com/2018/10/06/retreat-retreat/ to follow my blog and read the next entry!



Meditate

Intention is Everything


Go to yoganorthampton.wordpress.com/2019/09/05/trust/ to follow my blog and read the next entry!



Meditate

Hope


Go to yoganorthampton.wordpress.com/2020/03/28/hope/ to follow my blog and read the next entry!

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