“We know where we are by our breath. Where we are breathing from, how deeply and fluidly and how our heart is beating”
- Cass Phelps
What is Yoga?
The most simple definition I can think of is that Yoga is being present with ourselves. Our everyday experience is perhaps one of moving around from doing one thing to the next, which takes our attention outwardly, or lost within thoughts. During a Yoga practice, we come back to ourselves and experience ourselves more fully - a greater sense of inhabiting our bodies, being ourselves, a greater sense of being alive.
In my Yoga classes, this is explored by bringing attention to our breathing and exploring movements - in a way that is accessible for every body. For me, the movement and the breath are the means of stilling the mind, coming back to ourselves and feeling generally better - it doesn't need to be complicated, or "advanced" in terms of doing crazy balances and inversions - this is not my practice. I'm happy if what we are doing is accessible to everyone in the room. I believe there is a depth in experiencing more from simple things.
The literal meaning of Yoga comes from the Sanskrit word for joining together or ‘yoking’- bringing together the body and the mind. We can be with the movement of our breath and take our body through movements, eventually we may get into the flow and feel like we become our body and experience movements, experience everything, with a depth of sensation. There is a joining of body and mind.
What draws you to Yoga? There are many different reasons why people come to practice yoga. Some people want to ease pain, feel more flexible, calm down, feel more stable or "grounded", or simply to move more. It may be an inexplicable urge to know yourself better. Yoga can give us all of that! Our motivation may be different each day, just as our experience and the outcome of the practice in terms of how we feel may be different each day. The most important thing, I believe, is to be open to whatever the experience is each time. I like the following definition : "Yoga is that which has as its main intention to still the mind, and that which makes us feel better" - summed up by Graham Burns in an article for Movement for Modern Life on "what exactly IS Yoga?" as there is such variation in the way it is taught today, it's useful to have a touchstone.
My Own Yoga
My Yoga practice comes from my personal home practice, which i've been working on (sometimes consistently, sometimes sporadically) for many years. I am greatly influenced by a style known as "Scaravelli-inspired" Yoga - this is what I trained in, with Catherine Annis and Kate Ellis. The style comes from the original teacher, Vanda Scaravelli, who was interested in adapting the practice for each unique individual body and mind- no one size fits all approach, and finding softness; releasing tension and breathing more freely. I'm also influenced by somatic movement - an exploration of the felt sense of different body systems - eg the nervous system, the fluid system, the endocrine system... we have these within us, the full kit, yet, can we tune in to them, can we feel them? How does our experience of movement change when we tune in to a particular system? I also regularly practice Qi Gong and the softness, fluidity and circular movements of this practice greatly influence my yoga and movement practice.... so i'm sure a flavour of that comes in to my yoga classes!
Group Yoga Classes
I design my classes to be accessible to all, regardless of level of experience (beginners very welcome), and still challenging, for people with more experience. I intend them to be welcoming, light-hearted and interactive. I include yoga postures, breathing naturally - freeing the breath so it may feel easier and deeper, but without forcing it, and meditation.
Weekly Group Class Timetable
Yoga Junction, Crouch End, London
9:15 - 10:15am
Yoga Junction, Crouch End, London http://www.yogajunction.co.uk/timetable
1 - 1:50pm
YMCA One KX, King's Cross, London
Virgin Active, Mansion House*
*Note : Open only to Virgin Active Members
The Life Centre, Islington
5:30-9:30pm - One to One Yoga (by appointment only)
The Life Centre, Islington
6:30-7:45pm- Restorative Yoga
Yoga Junction, Crouch End
One to One Sessions
Aside from my weekly group classes, the rest of my time is divided between One to One Yoga, bodywork and energy healing sessions.
What to expect in a One-to-One Yoga session: the sessions are tailored to you, and my attention will be completely with you. What would you like to focus on? It could be moving with ease, breathing freely or building strength. You may be starting out and would like to build confidence to go into group classes, or a practice that you can work on by yourself at home.
What do my One to One Yoga clients have to say?
“As two 50 year old complete yoga novices we were very apprehensive about what the sessions might involve, and our preparation had only involved buying 2 mats and hoping for the best. It turned out that Charlotte is a terrific teacher and encouraged us right from the start when we were very self-conscious about how bad we were and the fact that we were struggling with every movement. We have now had a weekly lesson for around three years and we can link various positions together, breathe, relax and feel better as a result. Our flexibility has improved incredibly and we have both learnt to use breathing as a way of managing stressful situations, (work and children!) as well as getting a great night’s sleep at least once a week after every session.
Charlotte is a great teacher, calm, thoughtful, considerate and committed to helping people enjoy the time, and improve if they want to.
I would have no hesitation in recommending her to anyone who wants to do yoga.”
Caroline and William - Private Yoga
Onsite Business Yoga Classes
What to expect in a Corporate Yoga session: Structured in the way that I would a small group yoga class, and again adapted to the wants and needs of the specific group.
“Over the course of a year I was fortunate to attend Charlotte’s yoga classes in the design agency I worked in. Charlotte was phenomenal and with ease catered to the varying abilities of everyone there. She paid attention to each person and adjusted the sessions dependent on who had made it that day, successfully encouraging everyone to gradually develop their ability. It was great to work in smaller groups and not only build on relationships with others in the agency but also learn to relax in the office space which was useful during particularly stressful days at work. It is one of the things I miss a lot from my time working there and living in London.“
Sophie - Corporate Yoga