I want to welcome Emma-Jane our newest Yoga Quota teacher! She's not only committing herself to the minimum 'quota' of charity yoga classes a year... she'll also be teaching at the Oxford studio twice a week!
The classes are called 'Those Summer Nights' and they are on Wednesday and Thursday evenings 7pm to 8pm.
Emma-Jane is a dance teacher and yogi and her classes are a lovely blend of vinyasa flow and physicality! Come and try them.
And hear from Emma-Jane herself:
"The more I practice yoga the more I fall in love with it! I wholeheartedly believe that yoga is for everyone, regardless of background, age or flexibility. It's not about who can stand on their head or wriggle themselves into pretzel shapes, it's about the way it can make you feel and connect with your mind and body.
I have recently completed a 200hr teacher training course at Yoga London and have found the whole process transformational. I hope that my classes will allow me to share a bit of that transformational magic or at the very least allow you to spend some much needed 'you' time. My classes focus on balance, breathing, building strength and flexibility. Sun Salutes, standing postures, twists, backbends and inversions are included in each class. "
And also why is Anne writing about it in a yoga blog?!
First let's deal with the how is it related to yoga question-
Although in the UK and other western countries yoga is commonly misconstrued as just 'calisthenics on the mat' it's actually a whole system for wellness the poses being one part or pillar (of 8 pillars)
A young student at an inner city London school who I was introducing yoga to through Yoga Quota's charity classes put it very well 'so it's the only form of exercise that is excercising the mind too, it's flexible body and flexible mind- right miss?' Yes! (Although I'm not used to being called 'miss')
So another of those 8 pillars in yoga is meditation. And to start to get into a mindful state in life meditation is a great way to practice. That's the link!
So, what is mindfulness? You know the best definition of it with least waffle that I can find is from Andy Puddicombe who set up Headspace:
"Mindfulness is the intention to be present in the here and now, fully engaged in whatever is happening, free from distraction or judgement, with a soft and open mind."---Headspace
Being mindful is simply about being present. But why??? And will it help me in my life???
Well this is the logic...Being present is closely followed by not getting all worried and distracted by all the mind chatter, all the "will this happen?" "how can I make this happen? Am I good enough? Chatter chatter chatter. Then when you're less distracted, closely followed by being calmer and more content with stuff. Then finally by being calmer and content better relationships follow (and I think ironically better results because you cling less hard and worry less!)
Look, I'm not an expert in mindfulness no monk/nun or anything but I have reaped benefits from yoga and mindfulness.
A long lost uni friend went into the Rat Race Big Time (banking or consulting I don't recall but something like that...) and he ust got in touch with me. He congratulated me for leaving the rat race! He'd just found out about Yoga Quota. I think it is easy for people to see how mindfulness is relevant for a newly discovered hippy, charity CEO type like I am now...but what about Rat Racers? What about all the people Yoga Quota is trying to reach?
Thinking back I can remember so so many occasions in the Rat Race when mindfulness would have helped.
Glibly, nights out are better when you just go by impulse and don't plan too much in the future.
Importantly, interviews go better when you are calmer (often if you have more options than just the one so you worry less...)
Exam prep is better when you are just in the present getting on with it and not on your 6th iteration of a revision timetable worrying about the future stuff to learn.
Client meetings are definitely better when you are present and calm and not sapping half your capacity with damaging thoughts and mind chatter.
So yes. Mindfulness is for you! And other than headspace (which is worth trying!!) yoga can start you on the path...try it!
Don't worry it's not about now dreaming or planning- just about enjoying the journey...
Hope you're convinced..a little! At least to try it!
At Headspace, we define mindfulness as the intention to be present in the here and now, fully engaged in whatever is happening, free from distraction or judgement, with a soft and open mind. Meditation is the simple exercise to familiarize oneself with the qualities of mindfulness. It is a way of providing the optimum conditions for training the mind to be calmer, clearer and kinder. Just as exercising regularly makes you fitter and feel better, regular meditation can transform your mind and wellbeing. ---headspace
Have you seen a singing bowl from Bhutan before?
They are gorgeous made of hand beaten alloy. You drag a suede stick around the rim and the bowl starts singing in 4 pitches. If you have water inside the bowl it starts spitting and zinging about like crazy.
And why? It's a brilliant tone to meditate around and also said to soothe sore joints or ills if you place the bowl on the afflicted area.
What a brilliant birthday gift from Bhutan from my parents. I may do it in to the studio one of these days for a 'Log and Luscious' class with meditation. It will be definitely be used in the Mundy household for a spot of meditation and probably also to call family to dinner (!) the bump started kicking like crazy when he heard the tone (I think this was a positive kick...although who knows!)
"Ever since hearing about the work that Yoga Quota does, I've thought its such a wonderful idea. I decided to join Yoga Quota to have the opportunity to teach yoga to those who wouldn't normally get to have a go and to further help out my local community!"
Thank you Kerry for your kind words. Kerry is in Warwickshire, and we are working together to get some lovely charity classes up there for her. She also has a thriving little practice and student base so feel free to check it out... www.open-yogi.com