Yin Yoga Workshop 28 February

Pathways of Sensation

A mellow morning of yin yoga in which we get to explore how each movement, each gentle tug we create within a pose creates a chain response in different parts of the body. Following, allowing these guidelines of energy through the connective tissue (or fascia) to unfold is a delicious way of releasing tension. Through careful listening and non-doing we gain access to the body’s inner wisdom.

In this session we purposely take a holistic approach. We don’t focus on one particular area or set of joints, in fact we want to try and include the whole body from top to toe.

Yin Yoga not only improves the range of motion within our joints, it also helps to calm the mind and find a sense of ease within our very being. Expect to feel refreshed and relaxed for the rest of your Sunday.

Sunday 28 February, 10 – 12am via Zoom
£15 (includes recording)

Please contact Elles to book.


TUTI Meditation

The next TUTI meditation course will be from 8 to 26 February.

Lockdown is a challenging time for many of us. We may have more time than we know what to do with, or feel stressed by unusual demands. Setting aside a moment for yourself each morning is an important step towards looking after yourself and bringing more light into your day. And especially in winter, we can do with a bit of extra light!

Lockdown provides us with a tremendous opportunity to find a kind of happiness that is independent of the adventures and travels you relied on before. The TUTI meditation mornings are there to give you a new routine with a positive intention. The presence of other people turning up at the same time as you, and meditating alongside you, is an invaluable support in that process.

For as long as the lockdown measures make it impossible for us to move about much, Elles will be hosting a simple daily morning mediation that is suitable for everybody.
Find out all you need to know here.

Turn Up, Tune In

Three weeks of early morning yoga and meditation
Monday to Friday 7.30 to 8.00 am
Starting 11 January (via Zoom)

A New Year: a fresh start, full of potential. Here we are, stepping into 2021 with our best foot forward, but when the good cheer fades and the fairy lights have been stored the reality may suddenly feel like too big a challenge. Especially this year, with Covid measures compounding the winter chill, we might be tempted to just lock our sensitive selves away for the while…

Let’s not though: let’s be bold and keep our doors open regardless. Meditation is one of the best ways to do exactly that. With the help of our yoga community we can keep the inner light burning bright and wake up to the potential of each day as it comes.
Think of it as your spiritual support bubble. All you have to do is to turn up and tune in.

Turn Up, Tune in = 1 part yoga + 2 parts meditation
10 minutes of wake up stretch
10 minutes of meditation
10 minutes of meditation

Depending on your time limits or interest you can choose to come for 10, 20 or 30 minutes, and as many days of the week as you like.

* You will receive many tips and helpful articles to point the way.
* Instructions during the session will be kept to a minimum so as not to intrude too much upon the silence of our pristine morning.
* One gong in between the two meditations to signify the half way point.
* On Fridays you can stay on for a Q&A, and some more details/suggestions on the stretches we do.
* Suitable for all abilities, whether you are new to meditation or not. Both the wake up stretch and the meditation can be done on a chair.

Costs for the three weeks:
£15 for students who also do a yoga class (= £1 per session)
£30 for ‘Turn Up, Tune in’ only (= £2 per session)

To book please contact Elles.

The Three Bells

To signify the end of a yoga or meditation session I often ring a bell or gong three times. I intend no specific meaning with that, except to give you a few moments to make the transition to the rest of your day and perhaps appreciate what you have just given to yourself.

That said, it can also be nice to use the three bells as a moment for affirmation or gratitude, in which case it’s good to know where the sounding of them originally comes from.

The gestures that accompany the ringing of the gongs or bells are an ancient tradition. In Buddhist circles you will often see people bring their hands together at the forehead, at the heart and then bow down. The three gestures have a certain symbolic meaning and are sometimes accompanied by a mantra or a prayer. In effect they are a summary, a reminder, of what is most essential on the spiritual path (or in other words, the path of happiness).

Much of this can be quite mystifying but over time I started to boil them down to a few simple words that I can understand.
For example:
Clear mind
Open heart
This body, this earth

Or even simpler:

Their significance lies not in any belief, religion or holiness. It is a recognition of what is fundamental to our contentment in life, of what is real and possible in our existence, of what is most essential in the barest way, independent of circumstances, be they political or personal.

A clear mind:
Unobstructed by compulsive thought, by judgements and fears, a mind that distinguishes between the continuous internal gossip and the quieter wordless waters that lie beneath. A mind that is perceptive, intuitive, conscious.

An open heart:
The sense of connectedness to others, of care and kindness, beauty and joy. A heart that allows, listens and embraces all.

This body, this earth:
Honouring that which makes our experience possible. Without this body, this earth, where would we be, how would we feel? A sense of gratitude. Recognising that which is greater than me, that I am only one of many, that we are one, and one with this earth. A sense of humbleness. A surrender to the fact that so much in life is beyond my control, a reminder to trust it instead.

With or without the accompanying gestures, see for yourself if this is helpful to you, find your own words.

Or no words at all. Simply let the three gongs be just what they are: the sound that emanates from a stick striking a bowl.

Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, the story of a newspaper clipping

Here’s the newspaper cutting I told you about in our Zoom class yesterday, which is on the wall in my yoga room.

It says “90 year old in the yoga headstand” with “And, done your yoga today?” written beneath.

My housemate put it up in my room when I lived in Cologne in the 90’s. He had been showing me a few yoga poses that he’d learnt from his father, so I’d only just started practicing. There was no such thing as a yoga class in those days, not even in all of Cologne, so I just picked up bits and pieces from various sources.

The message was clear: if you want to be able to stand on your head when you’re 90, you have to do your practice now.

I thought that was a perfectly good aspiration to have in life so I kept up with it. I also realised how profound the method really was and that I still had a lot to learn. 

Meanwhile yoga classes started popping up everywhere and I attended many of them, though my main practice stayed on my own mat at home. 
By this time I’d moved back to Amsterdam and this mat was made of two thick wonky pieces of black rubber glued together. It couldn’t be rolled up easily so it was out all the time (I lived in a bedsit the size of my lounge now). 

Many years later, by now in England, I remember being surprised at the amount of people teaching yoga classes when to my mind they had really only just started practicing. How was that possible? I’d always thought of myself as an amateur and a beginner, there was so much still to understand.

I was working as a personal tutor at Cirencester College then, helping students make decisions for their future, and one day I heard my own counsel: If these people can teach yoga, why can’t you? 

I graduated from teacher training in 2012 and as they say, the rest is history.

I suppose technically I am a professional now and no longer an amateur, but I still consider myself a beginner really and perhaps I always will. In fact I’d encourage anyone to keep approaching yoga as a beginner. After all, each and every moment is fresh and gives you the opportunity to experience something new, something different. If we let it.

Summer Yoga July 2019

Five days of daily Summer Yoga classes morning and evening on Rodborough common, taking in those glorious views while you stretch, breathe and unwind. 10 – 11am AND 6 – 7pm!! Please find all details here.

Autumn Retreat October 2019

Three days to dive gently but deeply into yoga and meditation on a secluded farm in the heart of rural Devon. Click here for all the details and more photos.

Yin Yoga Workshops 2018/19

Feeling Anatomy
An hour and a half of lush and leisurely Yin Yoga practice preceded by an in-depth look at our anatomy, giving you a map to your inner world of sensations.
Detailed information here.

7 October – The Fascial Network of the Whole Body
18 November – The Architecture of the Hips and Pelvis
20 January – The Intricacies of the Shoulders
3 March – The Pathway of the Spine
19 May – Anatomy of the Breath

10 – 12 am Stroud Yoga Space
£22 per workshop (or £100 for all five)
This includes a copy of the yin yoga sequence after each workshop.
Advance booking only, please contact Elles.