So these are yoga retreats, right?
Yes… and no!
For me, “Yoga is the settling of the mind into silence” (a quote from the ancient Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, translated by Alistair Shearer). In which case, what we do on these retreats is definitely yoga.
First and foremost they are about making time and space to rest.
We usually start by lying on our mats for a while, before spending a bit of time exploring a few yoga postures, slowly and mindfully. We’ll probably spend some time sitting – silently or with sound – and you can choose to do this on your mat or on a chair. And we always end up by lying comfortably on our mats again!
If at any point you realise that something I’m inviting you to do doesn’t feel right for your body, I’ll help you find an alternative that does.
One of my regular participants memorably described my retreats as containing “less movement than in other classes, but better movement.”
If you’ve never practised yoga before, you’ll be fine. And if you’ve been practising for decades, you may well find this approach brings new insights and understandings!
But I can’t even touch my toes!
Yoga is not about being bendy. It’s not about stamina. It’s not about age, size, body shape, gender, colour or creed. Despite the picture on this page, it’s definitely not about being able to stand on one leg – or on your head or on your hands. It’s not really even about moving…
Yoga is about breathing. It’s about slowing down. It’s about feeling the ground beneath your feet and the air above your head. It’s about (re)connecting with your own body. It’s about creating space around your body, inside your body, inside your mind. And when you do that, when you start to find your way back to stillness, then you can start to move, mindfully, with awareness, listening to what your body needs to do today… here… now. And when you do that, miracles start to happen.
If you practice yoga once a week, it will change your mind.
If you practice yoga twice a week, it will change your body.
If you practice yoga every day, it will change your life.
What do I need to attend a Make Space restful retreat?
Before your first class or retreat with me you will need to complete a short Health Questionnaire which I will email you when you sign up.
You’ll need a non-slip yoga mat. There are dozens of different options out there but most people tend to start with an inexpensive ‘sticky’ mat. If you don’t already have a mat let me know and I will be happy to provide advice on what to buy.
Wear comfortable clothes that allow you to move easily; layers are always a good idea. We work barefoot although, if you really don’t feel comfortable with this (or your feet get too cold!), a pair of non-slip ‘yoga toe socks’ is a good alternative. I recommend having a rug or blanket to hand to ensure you’re warm enough during the relaxation at the end of each class (most people’s favourite part!). You should avoid eating anything substantial for a couple of hours before a yoga class (although I don’t recommend arriving starving hungry either!) and it’s always a good idea to bring some water.
If you’re attending my online classes you’ll need a device (laptop or tablet) with a camera and microphone. I’ll send you an easy-to-use link 10 minutes before we start, but if you have never used Zoom before you might find this video helpful.
When, where and how?
I run regular in-person Make Space retreats in carefully selected venues in and around Hampshire. These offer an opportunity to step away from your busy life for a day or half a day, and rest.
Because when we rest, we make space.
And where there’s space, there’s healing.
Physically, mentally and emotionally.
If you’re looking for a more personalised experience, why not book a no-strings conversation about working with me 1:1. This may include yoga, hypnotherapy, walking in nature and anything else that feels right for us both on the day!
What kind of Yoga?
The yoga that I practice and teach explores the classical postures (or asanas) of traditional Hatha yoga through the natural movements of each individual body. It is not about striving to attain and hold complex physical postures, but rather about learning to feel how your body needs to move today. The experience is at once both gentle and incredibly powerful. With time, this practice can have a profound effect on both physical and emotional wellbeing.
The approach is inspired by the work of Vanda Scaravelli who adapted the teachings of her teacher, Sri B.K.S. Iyengar, to address the impact of the modern, sedentary lifestyle on Western bodies and posture.
I completed my 3-year, 500 hour yoga teacher training with the Scaravelli-inspired Inner Yoga Trust in 2018. In addition to Jenny Beeken (who co-founded the IYT in 1993) and other senior Inner Yoga teachers, my teaching is influenced by the work of Sandra Sabatini, Michal Havak and Bill Wood. I have also trained with Kristine Weber, whose Subtle Yoga approach explores the scientific benefits of slow, mindful yoga and with Uma Dinsmore-Tuli and Nirlipta Tuli (yoga nidra). More recently, I have been learning more about the Feldenkrais Method® of somatic education which complements this gentle yet deep approach to yoga perfectly.