Teaching Schedule, May and June (+ Workshops and Covers)

Summertime is upon us! And with it, some upcoming changes to the schedule. But first, let us enjoy the glorious spring! Hope to see you on the mat soon.

with Lizzie Reumont at Indaba Yoga Studio

Our bodies were designed by a master architect to house the most precious creation: the soul! Nonetheless, life can be complicated mentally and physically, and too often we end up living without an awareness of what it means to be in the body, without knowing how to use the resources that we have to enrich our day to day existence and to deepen our asana practice. This three – part workshop aims to shine a light on the body’s function and potential so that we may re-integrate the parts in a meaningful way. After all, a yogi is an embodied being: aware, confident and purposeful…integrated and balanced in the world.

Sunday, June 8th, 1.30-4:30pm
Finding Foundation: the feet. The structure of one’s physical architecture is rooted in the feet and connects via the legs to the spine. This 3 hour workshop will explore the anatomical phenomenon of the feet and how it relates to the legs, hips and spine in asana practice. We will look at the ankles, knees and hip joints in particular as they relate to standing postures.

Sunday, July 6th, 1.30-4.30pm
The Centre Column: the viscera and spine. The core body not only has a boney casing of spine on the back and rib cage in the front, but it has top and bottom boney landmarks in the girdles of the shoulders and hips. These hard surfaces offer containment for the vast and oceanic underlying visceral world. In this 3 hour workshop we will explore the dimensionality of the spine in conjunction with opening of the lateral body to create space. Asanas will include side-bending, twisting and back bending (front extensions).

Sunday, September 7th, 1.30-4.30pm
The Cupola: the neck and head. An awareness of the head, jaw and neck in asana practice is crucial to being balanced in body and mind; after all, it houses all of the nerves that help us to function physically and mentally. This three hour workshop will focus on the cranium and neck and their relationship in key asanas and pranayama. We will also explore techniques for releasing tension and emotional holding patterns.

(To book email Indaba Yoga Studio, or book on their website)

Cover Classes:
Monday, May 19th 6pm Indaba
Tuesday, June 3rd 4-5:30pm Indaba
Wednesday, June 4th 6-7:30pm Indaba
Thursday, June 5th 7:45-9:15pm Indaba

Weekly Classes in May 2014:
Mondays 2-3:30pm Indaba

Tuesdays 6:45-8pm The Life Centre, Notting Hill

Wednesdays 10-11:30am Indaba Yoga Studio

Wednesdays 2-3:30PM Triyoga Primrose Hill

Fridays 11:15-12:45pmThe Life Centre, Notting Hill 3 month cover for Molly Harrigan

Saturdays 10-11:30am Indaba Yoga Studio

Day Fifteen, Lizzie’s Yoga Challenge: Iyengar Yoga with Alaric

Alaric Newcombe is somewhat of a household name on the Iyengar scene in London; he is a senior teacher whom generally people either love or hate. I haven’t met anyone who doesn’t have a strong opinion about him either way, and over the years I have stood equally on both sides of the fence. Luckily, I have more recently grown rather neutral, and have a great deal of respect for him as a teacher even if I don’t always agree with the way he treats students. One thing is for certain, he is an excellent technical teacher for asana alignment from an anatomical perspective, and throws in other gems of wisdom throughout the class for those who are open to listen.

The other thing is that actually, he really does care, both about people he knows and about the yoga he teaches. I’ve only seen Alaric a couple of times since my transplant, but over the years he has been gracious in understanding my medical condition and limiting how long I am in certain poses or which to avoid, and I have somehow managed to remain off his hit list of students to pick on. Hallelujah.

Today’s class at Triyoga Primrose Hill was a well balanced twist class. The first half of the class matched supine twists with inversions followed by standing twists and a shoulderstand sequence, and as usual, there were many demonstrations by both Alaric and students either showing the right, or wrong way to do the asana. Alaric has a wicked sense of humour even if not always PC (when one woman was turning her face rather than her chest when he had specifically asked us to turn the chest he shouted “Do you wear your bra on your face?!?”), which makes the class fun, albeit often at another students’ expense. The bottom line is that one can learn a tremendous amount about the actions the body needs to take to practice asana, and capitalize on all of the positive aspects of his intelligent and very funny personality. As with anyone, the aspects that don’t mesh we can usually learn to leave behind. After a class with Alaric, I almost always feel fabulous, and even more importantly, I always learn something.

Back to the challenge: a week later, day seven with Kate Walker

Although this hasn’t been my first yoga class in a week, up until now it has either been self practice, test classes or Rolfing school, not accounting for much time or material to report on. I surprised myself by honoring my intentions to attend Kate Walker’s class today when I actually made it to Triyoga on time, even without a lot of energy to spare.

Kate is a wonderful, well-established and reliable teacher, apparent by her full class in the middle of the day in Primrose Hill. It had been many months since I had attended her class, but it felt very much like a Kate Walker class; steady with ample time for meditation, warm up, basic standing, seated, back bending and inversion asana work with lots of choice given to the practioner. There was music, set a quiet mood, more than anything else, and there was a good space at the end for a dreamy savasana. I have always liked Kate’s classes and today was no exception. For the practitioner who knows what to expect and doesn’t like to be pushed too much by the teacher, I can’t recommend Kate highly enough. Her class balances effort with ease, and similarly there is a balance in her personality. She has an angelic vibrancy to her personality without affect or ego. What’s more, she just back from five weeks of holiday overseas and is rejuvenated and tanned! Lucky Kate.

Tomorrow my class plan has changed. Luckily Louis’ knee is no longer bothering him so he’s off to Belgium with papa, but I have been nominated chauffeur to the train station during the time of Alaric’s class. I will instead check out Feldenkrais for Yoga with Daniel Gelblum at 12:45pm, the Life Centre Notting Hill. I’m a little bit fascinated with Feldenkrais as I gave understood it to be a related work to that of Rolfing. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s entry!

Day Four, Lizzie’s Yoga Challenge: Jivamukti Yoga with Emma

Perhaps I need to begin this next post with a few caveats. Emma Henry happens to one of my best friends, and I’m a Jivamukti yoga teacher. What this means is that I love Emma as a person and the method of yoga she teaches makes sense in my mind and my body. What this doesn’t necessarily mean is that Emma is my favourite teacher or her classes are phenomenal. But as it turns out, she is one of my favourite teachers in London and, in fact, her classes are phenomenal. Today when I took her class it reminded me why I love the Jivamukti yoga method, and why (in my opinion) Emma has become one of the more talented, and popular yoga teachers in London.

As I entered the full classroom at Triyoga Primrose Hill this morning, it was wonderful to see many friends and familiar faces, and in a sense, this is also what it feels like to return to a Jivamukti class. The chanting, sequences and overall gestalt of the class are recognisable between teachers that share the teachings of their teachers, Sharon Gannon and David Life, in earnest. We have all had different experiences in life and on our yoga mats, and we all have different preferences in music, how we articulate, and how we sequence asana, so no two classes are identical, but there is energy and vibrancy that many Jivamukti classes share. But anyway, back to the class. Emma spoke for several minutes at the beginning of class about the yoga sutras, and why we come to a yoga class, highlighting three of the sutras in particular, which we then proceeded to chant. She was engaging and spoke simply enough that everyone in the room seemed to follow along and ‘get it’ without getting lost in intellectual jargon. This was also how the class flowed as we evolved from sitting, to warming up, to sun salutations, standing postures, inversions, back bends and seated postures before ending with shoulderstand and savasana. It was a challenging sequence, but available to many levels of practitioner without having to offer lots of complicated variations or leaving the less fit having to sit out parts of the class. The practice was balanced, safe and was fun to practice, and throughout the class Emma spoke about the relationship between the sutras that were chanted, the yoga practice, and life. This, paired with an uplifting music selection meant that the time flew by, which is a sign of time well spent.

Emma is a gifted teacher with an angelic voice and deep understanding of the physical body and the ancient yogic texts. She offers excellent adjustments and has a great sense of humour. I’m only sad that this is the only time for the whole month I’ll get to go to her class.

Day One, Lizzie’s Yoga Challenge 2014: Vinyasa Flow with Mimi

Today’s practice, the first of yoga challenge 2014, was at Triyoga Primrose Hill with Mimi Kuo-Deemer. The class was busy with about 20 people in one of their large studios. Mimi started the class with some funny thoughts about the new year and her personal resolution which definitely lightened up the tone of the class–she wants to chew her food more slowly, at least 30 times a bite!

I haven’t been to Mimi’s class in a few years, but what I do remember is the integration of the Buddhist practice with other Asian influences such as martial arts and qi-gong. The class today was very similar to what I recall from my last experience, with her lovely, peaceful presence juxtaposed with her strong (and good) adjustments. The asana practice was varied with enough options for a diverse group of practitioners to stay engaged, but with a gentle and reflective hand at reminding students to adjust the practice to where they were today. There was some music in the background that kept things flowing but grounded.

I have never been particularly drawn to the martial arts, tai chi or qi-gong, and actually felt rather foolish trying to follow Mimi’s soft, elegant hand movements, but this comes naturally to her and is clearly her mark as a teacher; she beautifully blends the masculine and feminine energies of these eastern forms of movement.

Towards the end of class Mimi left room for practitioners to choose the last several asanas and ended with a long savasana. Overall it was a balanced class with a few more challenging postures thrown in, and I left feeling relaxed. It left me questioning two things- first, where the divide is between yoga and integrating other practices into the construct of a yoga class, and second, whether the purpose of going to a class is to be pushed by a teacher or to have the licence to take it easy? There is no ‘right’ answer to either question, which is the beauty of the yoga practice. There are no hard boundaried edges to a class called Vinyasa Flow Open, only a variety of teachers with their unique backgrounds, experiences and personalities.

It was the right class for me to go to today, and I will certainly go back in a few months to check on Mimi’s chewing practice.

Depending on my sore front body from surgery, I will aim to be at Celest’s class tomorrow at Indaba Yoga Studio.

%d bloggers like this: