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The Power of Intention

At the beginning of a yoga class your teacher may say to you take a few moments here to set a Sankalpa an intention for your practice, something that you wish to bring more of into your life or something you would like to work towards during your practice. We can use intentions on and off the yoga mat. For example you can set an intention to practice yoga with kindness for yourself and others, this could include moving through your practice slowly with gentle movements taking good care not to go to deep into a stretch and not jolting your body, seeing how your body feels today rather than pushing into a pose just because you did it last time. Also letting go of any negative thoughts or feelings you have for yourself and your body, not being critical of yourself and others by taking your attention back to your breathing when you notice that you are doing this. An intention is formed by the heart and mind and is used to focus and harmonise the mind and body.
Intentions are very powerful. As you set your intention you put your energy and focus on to it and send a very powerful signal out to the universe, the universe begins to give you opportunity’s to put your intention into practice and make it happen, the next step is to look out for the opportunity and take it with both hands and enjoy your intention as is manifest into your life.
Here is the story of when I set my first intention. I was on one of Eva’s beautiful yoga day retreats when I said to her that I had seen the pictures of the retreat in Egypt and how I’ve always wanted to stay in a tent on a beautiful beach like the one they go to. I said to Eva ‘ I have a family and wouldn’t really be able to fit in a week’s yoga retreat for myself’  Eva said to me ‘ well then set an intention to go there one day!’ I had never heard of this before but I like the sound of it! It felt good to not have to figure out the details of how I will get the chance to go there and just be happy knowing that one day I will go there.
About a week later I bought a yoga magazine and it had a special focus on yoga teacher training, I read though it and thought hmmm I do love yoga and I’d love to share it with others, I wonder if I could be a teacher? So I messaged Eva and asked if I would be able to do the teacher training course which she said yes of course. So 4 weeks later I signed up! 18 months later we all met at the airport very excited to be flying to Egypt! To take our final exam together on the beach! There was 18 of us in total and we all got our tickets for the flight, we boarded the plane and began finding out who we was sitting next to, it was very exciting. I got to my seat and settled in for the flight sitting next to Eva! As the plane took off I suddenly remembered the intention that Eva had encouraged me to set 18 months ago! I was overwhelmed when I realised that I had set the intention to go to Egypt and now at random I was sitting next to Eva who had encouraged me to set the intention and also a little bit spooked at the true power of Intention
❤
Ps. I have definitely set an intention to go back to Egypt with Eva ♥️
By Lindsay Howarth

Article in the Spectrum Magazine

By Deana Morris (Editor of Spectrum) and Eva Kristlova

When I sat down with yoga studio owner Eva Kristlova, to interview her about the business of running a studio, life was very different.

We were sitting in a café. We were talking about community and how she’d had that principle as the primary driver for Yoga Life Studio in Eastbourne’s South Street.

BWY teachers who may dream of starting a yoga studio would be interested in Eva’s approach because Eva’s studio is big step away from the gleaming gym-culture model.

Our conversation had focused on how it’s possible to run a business that supports its community; not only by providing a space to practice and a place to teach, but also give to its communities in other ways.

Then along came the corona virus pandemic.

Right now teaching yoga is an online experience. Yoga teachers around the world are getting to grips with webcasting technology.

Before the UK’s lockdown rulings, Eva’s studio was one of the first in Eastbourne to act and close its doors, to shift online for the safety of its clients.

‘We’re a community yoga business,’ said Eva. ‘It was critical that we put our clients first and we were aware many of our community were in higher risk groups. We initially thought we would be closing our doors for 14 days, but that was before the lockdown was announced. Now, of course, no one can know how long this situation will be with of, or whether it will return in the future.’

Up until a few weeks ago, Eva’s studio worked like this:

Eva’s rented space to local yoga teachers and Eva taught classes at the studio herself. The studio also had one class a week which was ‘pay by donation’, all donations going to a charity of the teachers’ choice. This makes the studio experience available to everyone, regardless of income, and benefits charities needing financial support.

Her community focus has attracted yoga teachers such as David Sye, whose work in war zones and conflict-hit communities is well-known. David regularly teaches weekend workshops at Yoga Life Studios.

Training as a yoga teacher with the British Wheel of Yoga, Eva joined the Yoga Life Studio that was within her town’s enterprise centre, run by Wenche Beard. ‘It was a great space but the location wasn’t ideal,’ admits Eva. ‘You could hear the noise of people around the studio. Distracting really. We were the only yoga people in town then though, which seems strange now. Eastbourne has a strong yoga community with around half a dozen studios now.

‘The reality for me is running a yoga studio as a way of life, not a profit pursuit. The money I make comes from my teaching, the studio income from teachers hiring space keeps the studio running.’

Life Yoga Studio’s current home is within converted stables. Bare-brick walls, cast iron radiators and wooden floors are all part of a welcoming, colourful cosiness. The only outside noise now is the chiming of the nearby town hall clock.

But as a community-focused studio, how do you keep communities thriving when you’re teaching online?

A pioneer of local yoga studio teaching online, here are three tips Eva passes on to you from her experience.

1.The Yoga Life Studio in Eastbourne had to close their doors overnight due to the Covid19 pandemic. After the initial shock and fear of uncertain future and the health, mental and financial impact on the studio, our clients, teachers and the whole population there was no time to waste.  I knew that we in some way still need to provide service for our clients as so many people rely on their yoga, breathing and meditation practice and for so many people their regular visit of the yoga studio is the highlight of their week. A time when they can recharge, refuel and clear their mind, ready for the daily challenges of our lives.   Me and my team found the prospect of teaching online quite daunting.  But somehow overnight we managed to set up several online classes using Zoom, purchased a microphone and with the help of friends and family converted our studio into a recording space, complete with a big screen.  So here is my Number 1 tip – Overcome your fears. We adapted so quickly because we knew that our community needs us. So even though the online teaching and setting everything up from the scratch was scary, we dived in and did it anyway despite of our limited knowledge and lack of experience and online teaching confidence. If you know you have to do something, go for it. Even if you throw yourself in deep end you will learn to swim. Try not to hold back because of fear or lack of confidence – remember we are all constantly learning. And there is lots of support available.

2.It was a steep learning curve for all of us! But with patience and determination we made it work. I  set up a little support group for the teachers where we share our online teaching experiences, dos and don’ts,  trial runs and any feedback. We started to deliver several daily online classes, some from the studio and some from our teachers’ living rooms.  We learnt and still are learning so much! My second tip is – ask for help.  There is help and support available if you look for it.  We are not always good at asking.. we feel we should be able to know and do  everything perfectly. In fact, reaching out will bring you and your community much closer. Nobody knows it all. So within the studio and Eastbourne yoga community I encourage the teachers to support each other, we practice in each others classes, we help each other with the test runs, and constant communication takes place amongst us all. It is like having one big happy yoga family.

3.
My third tip is to remain authentic.  Teach from your heart, share your own essence.  And do it for greater good, not for financial gain.  The world needs more yogis now – more then ever. Yogis, healers, peace makers, you.  Remember – Be You – everyone else is already taken.  You clients will really value a teacher that is ‘real’ – complete with slip ups and confusing their left and right side. So show the world who you really are, the fabulous and unique you. And believe that you are good enough!
So being authentic, dealing with technical issues and frozen screens live, laughing about it and teaching anyway just makes us more relatable and I think that our clients like that. Knowing that we are just like them!

Our clients were so grateful that they could still join us online and be part of our fabulous community. After all that’s what people are missing most.. Contact and true connection with others. Now we feel that through providing online classes people can still see each other, wave and chat and take part in a class together. It is really important to me as a teacher that I can still help someone and make them feel better, calmer and happier, knowing that they are still a part of this amazing community.

We had some amazing feedback and so much gratitude from regulars and from complete strangers for us adapting to the current situation and still looking after our community that is now growing internationally.  We will carry on uniting the international yoga community even after all this is over.

And here is my extra tip that in fact runs throughout this article – community. That’s what matters most. Create it, be part of it, support it.

Looking for positives during this challenging time. Stay well

Namaste

Quick Yoga Sequence for Balance and Strength

After spending lots of time indoors it feels so great to stretch the legs and test our balance. You can practice yoga literally anytime and anywhere, without a mat and props, even wearing trainers. As long as we can breathe we can practice yoga!
Practising yoga outside gives us a really great boost. All the fresh air, greenery, the sounds of nature and songs of the birds – so soothing and nourishing for our nervous system! Instantly we feel recharged and revitalised and this feeling is likely to stay with us for a while!

Why don’t you try it these yoga stretches next time you find yourself walking in a forest, park, fields nearby or in your garden! And of course at home too. All our postures are done standing, focusing on balance, strength and positive attitude. Let me take you through it:

To start with take couple of deep mindful breaths. Fill your lungs and your whole body with prana (life force, energy). As you exhale imagine that you are cleansing your whole system and releasing whatever does not serve you anymore.

Start to test your balance by simply transferring your weight from side to side and rocking gently forward and back. Feeling the ground underneath your feet, connecting with the Earth and exploring how balanced or unbalanced you feel.

Our first posture is Standing Knee to Chest pose. Transfer your weight to the right side of your body and slowly start to lift your left knee. Here you can either reach for your knee and take hold, or you can hold the back of your thigh. I chose to hold my knee and give it a squeeze. Notice how this simple balance feels for you – is it easy or perhaps slightly challenging? Remember that each day is slightly different. One day we might feel stable and next day wobbly. It depends on what is happening in our body, in our life, whatever might be on our mind, how we feel emotionally and so on. Just be as you are.
See if you can hold your knee or thigh for up for 4-8 breaths. Switch the sides whenever you need to. Please note – balancing outside is trickier than on a smooth surface of a yoga studio. Whilst in the posture say to yourself: ‘I am balanced’.

From here we enter one of the most iconic yoga poses – Tree Pose. To start we again transfer our weight to the right, feel the right foot grounding and connecting with the earth. Imagine that you are sending roots all the way down into the ground. Then lift your left heel off the ground. Here you have couple of options. You can either:
– Leave your toes on the ground and rest your left heel above your right ankle
– Bring the sole of your left foot to your right calf (avoid knee!)
– Bring the sole of your left foot to your right inner thigh
– Bring your left foot on the top of your right thigh (half lotus)
You can have a little play here and try all four options – see which ones come easily and which ones make you unsteady. Each side might feel slightly different. Chose one position that feels best for you and stay for several breaths. Focus your gaze on a still point ahead of you and say to yourself: ‘I am grounded’.

You can try a transition from the Tree Pose straight into the Dancer Pose – or not! If your legs need a little break give them a little shake! And when ready prepare for one more balance. We will start on the right side again.

Beautiful and graceful Natarajasana – Dancer pose.
I like to start with my right hand on my heart/chest. Slowly start to lift the left foot and reach for it with your left hand. You can either take hold of the outside or inside edge of your foot (why not try both variations). Hold your left foot in your hand and then slowly start to push your foot into your hand whilst tilting your upper body forward and reaching forward with your right hand. Don’t forget to smile and appreciate your strength and amazing ability of your body to balance. The Dancer pose is very uplifting – let it lift you! If you feel slightly off balance you can always use a wall or anything stable you can see around you or even a friend – use your right hand to hold on! As you feel your heart expanding say to yourself: ‘I am loved’.

Step your feet wide distance apart, right toes pointing to the right and left toes forward. Check that your right heal aligns with your left instep and that your hips are level. Lift your arm to the sides (shoulder level) and bend your right knee so the knee is directly above your ankle (Warrior 2). Then place your left hand on the back of your left thigh and reach up to the sky with your right arm, gazing up and creating a lovely back bend. You just entered Reversed Warrior! Feel your heart opening and say to yourself ‘I am peaceful’. This posture is also referred to as a peaceful warrior. Enjoy this beautiful pose and all the beauty around you.

After you practiced on both sides slowly fold forward into your Standing Forward Fold – soften your knees, relax your spine, shoulders, arms and jaw. When ready very slowly come up into standing again (Mountain pose).

Now shake your legs and arms and give yourself a big smile! Enjoy your day!

Little tips for your balances:
Fix your gaze – focus on a still point ahead of you (Drishti)
Connect with the ground – the standing leg is rooting into the ground
Slow down your breathing – make your breath steady, even and regular
Clear your mind – if your mind is full and busy you will find it difficult to balance, so try not to respond to your thoughts.

Benefits of this practice:
Finding balance and strength, connecting with nature and yourself, energising your whole system and releasing stale energy. Uplifting and bringing positivity to your day.

Mind Games

Be mindful of your mind – it can be positive and encouraging one minute and negative and looking for obstacles and ways to discourage you the next.  Deep down we all know that the mind is not always right, it can obscure the reality as it is trying to be our master.  Of course we need to listen to that inner voice too but let’s not be ruled by it.

The mind can put many fears and limitations onto you. For example

-you are not good enough

– you are too old for this ..

– you are not flexible enough, strong enough

– you will never succeed and so on

 

How about we say No to this self-judgement and our own negative self-talk.  We don’t want to let our mind stop us from following what we want to do and fully achieving our potential and life purpose.

I went for a run today.. My mind was stopping me from going for a long time. I’ve been running my whole adult life but last year there was a block.  My mind was creating reasons for me not to go.  After many months of saying to myself that I will go for a run, this morning I finally announced to my son that I am going for a ‘power walk’.  I didn’t think I would be able to run anymore as my mind was so negative.  My mind told me :

  • You left it too late
  • You put on weight
  • It is not good for you
  • You don’t have time for this
  • It is not good for your knees
  • You will never get fit anyway
  • You will not be able to stick with it
  • It is boring

Well this morning I decided not to listen to my mind and the limitations that I was made to believe.  I went for a run and it felt amazing! I started jogging with a smile on my face, the sun was shining, the birds were singing.

The run was up the hill.  Soon enough my mind started to resist, urging me to stop, walk or just turn back and go home.  It was very interesting to observe this, I chose not to listen and carried on.  I checked my legs – they were happy running, no pain and all ok there, my body was fine.  I checked my breathing – it was regular, even and well paced.. no problem there either. I checked my body – little bit of sweat but it felt good.

So.. I checked my mind. And just like a toddler having a tantrum or a stroppy teenager here it was.  My mind having a great time discouraging me and pushing all these negative and limiting thoughts forward.  It was actually a bit of a revelation.  Knowing that we all have a choice.  Do we listen to our negative mind and let it rule and control us? Or do we recognise it for what it is – and soothe and nourish that toddler/teenager within us.  Can we chose to listen to our heart more, our soul, our whole being?

I know it is not always easy. We all have our inner critic, sometimes it sits quietly and sometimes it shouts.  We can really explore this in our yoga practice too.  As we know Yoga is meant to be non competitive and all inclusive.  How many of us were told my our minds that we are not strong, flexible, as good as someone else, and so on.. Just watch that little voice and don’t give it the satisfaction of a response.. Allow your mind to become quiet.

 

I’ve been teaching yoga for few years now but still every now and then my mind pipes up with the most ridiculous thoughts and brings up my own insecurities.  The top ones being – who do you think you are; you are not good enough; you need to lose weight so you look better in that pose; you can’t do arm balances well, this is boring, when is the class going to end and so on.

Sometimes that negative self talk can throw us. But just pause and take a moment. Reflect on all that you do in your life that brings joy to you and to others.  All the things that you can do, how far you have come, and what you achieved. Reflect on all the wonderful people in your life and all the blessings.  You will be surprised – the positives outweigh the negatives by a lot!! Switch your mind set to positivity. Even crack a little smile, observe your thoughts and let those negative ones pass without response. Cherish the thoughts that bring you self appreciation and respect.  And you know, who cares that you cant hold the ‘Crow’ arm balance? Only you, nobody else, so let it go…

Taming our negative mind is a constant practice.  When we recognise it is just playing games with us because it wants our attention and to be in charge it can be the A-Ha moment.  And we will slowly start to turn a corner.

When we quieten the busy mind and become still and without thought, all the treasures that have been buried underneath all the chatter and activity of our mind will come to the surface.

When the water is turbulent it is hard to see through it.  But when the water becomes still it is clear to see. And it is the same with our mind. When it is busy and full of negativity we can’t see clearly. When the mind settles and becomes still and positive we will be able to see everything with much more clarity.

 

The silence is not empty

It is full of answers

(Rumi)

 

Many classical and modern yoga texts explore the mysteries of mind in a great detail (for example Yoga Sutras of Patanjali). This is just my musing drawn from my own experience.

 

Here are some techniques that help me with quietening my mind:

  • Close you eyes and try to direct all of you awareness inward, away from the hustle and bustle of outside world. Dive into your own universe and try not to get distracted. Find your own inner sanctuary.
  • Connect with your breath, feel each inhale and each exhale as they follow one after the other. Notice the length, depth, sound and rhythm of your breath. Notice the rise and fall of your chest, expansion and release of your ribcage, rise and fall of your belly, subtle movement of your whole body.
  • Regulate your breath. Really nice and simple technique is introducing a count to your breathing. This ratio should be available to most: Inhale for the count of 4 (one, two, three, four) – pause (retain breath) – exhale for the count of four (one, two, three, four) – pause (retain breath). Give yourself several rounds.
  • Check on your body – notice the meeting points between the body and the floor and where in your body you hold tension. Use your exhale to soften your body and release tension into the ground, away from you. You can do a little body scan here – starting with your feet, feeling your heels touching the floor, relaxing them into the floor. Feeling your calves touching the floor and releasing them into the floor and so on. Release the tension that you hold in your muscles, joints, bones, your mind and your heart. Your exhales will really help you along the way, they are really powerful.
  • Visualise that you are beside a beautiful mountain lake. The surface of the lake is still, calm and peaceful. Your surrounding are serene and quiet. Now imagine that the surface of the lake is the state of your mind, completely still.  With no activity, nothing to do, no thoughts. Occasionally you will notice little ripples or waves on the surface of your lake, these are your thoughts.  Chose not to respond and simply watch those ripples or waves fade away. The surface of the lake and state of your mind is peaceful and still once again.  You can use the same imagery with the sea, imagining sitting on the beach watching the waves coming in and receding again. In that case fill your mind with the in and out motion. Nothing else.
  • Present moment – our mind tends to constantly run away from Now. We find ourselves dwelling and going over past events or agonising and worrying about future. Try to bring your awareness to now. This very present moment. Your breath, your body, the sounds around you, the scenery, the scent.. For as long as you can stay here, in this very moment. The present moment is the only place where life exists.. so enjoy it.

You will find your own techniques that work for you –  these are my go to tips that I like to use.

 

To summarise – You are the master of your mind, not the other way round. Enjoy the little explorations of your mind’s mysteries and if in doubt, just breathe and trust the process.

Namaste, Eva xxx

Moving Yoga Online

Same as so many businesses around the globe The Yoga Life Studio in Eastbourne had to close their doors overnight due to the Covid19 pandemic. After the initial shock and fear of uncertain future and the health, mental and financial impact on our clients, teachers and the whole population there was no time to waste. We knew that we in some way still need to provide service for our clients, so many people rely on their yoga, breathing and meditation practice and for so many people their regular visit of the yoga studio is the highlight of their week. A time when they can recharge, refuel and clear their mind, ready for the daily challenges of our lives. We were determined to keep the studio open for our clients for as long as possible but that didn’t last very long.
Neither I nor the rest of the Yoga Life teachers are internet whiz kids so the prospect of teaching online was very daunting. Everything was very overwhelming and surreal but somehow overnight I managed to set up several online classes using Zoom, purchased a microphone and with the help of friends and family converted our studio into a recording space, complete with a big screen.
It was a steep learning curve for all of us! But with patience and determination we made it work. Our teachers set up a little support group and we all shared our online teaching experiences, dos and don’ts, had trial runs and asked our clients for feedback. We started to deliver several daily online classes, some from the studio and some from our teachers’ living rooms. We learnt so much! I cannot believe that only 2 weeks ago we didn’t know any of this and now we are all delivering classes to general public, online.
As well as our regular clients who were so happy to continue with their classes we reached a much wider audience. We could not believe the amount of people from all over the world who started joining our live yoga classes. We have participants from Guernsey, Denmark, France, Pakistan, Israel and even Australia! With numbers growing.
Our clients are so grateful that they can still join us online and be part of our fabulous community. After all that’s what people are missing most.. Contact with others and being able to connect. Now we feel that through providing online classes people can still see each other, wave and chat and take part in a class together. It is really important to me as a teacher that I can still help someone and make them feel better, calmer and happier.
We had some amazing feedback and so much gratitude from regulars and from complete strangers for us adapting to the current situation and still looking after our community that is now growing internationally. We will carry on uniting the international yoga community even after all this is over.
Looking for positives during this challenging time. Namaste

Eva Kristlova
Yoga Life Studio
www.yoga-life.co.uk
@yogalifestudio
For online class schedule follow www.yogaeastbourne.com/online-yoga-classes-timetable/

Join my YOGA Classes ONLINE

Dear Yogis
 I am very happy to offer ONLINE yoga classes via ZOOM.  Here is a weekly schedule with ZOOM links and Meeting IDs and passwords.
Just click on the highlighted ZOOM LINK and it will take you to the right location.  Or simply key in the ID number into the ZOOM app when prompted.  Please note – no need to click on the link until about 5-10 minutes before the class starts. If in doubt or/and have any questions please email me on info@yoga-life.co.uk
Timetable :
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Tuesday:
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9.30am  Yoga with Eva  ZOOM LINK  ID – 119-958-302  Password – yogalife
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Wednesday:
 *
1pm  Lunch Yoga with Eva  ZOOM LINK  ID – 818-983-720  Password – yogalife
 *
Thursday:
 *
12.30pm  Yoga for Construction  ZOOM LINK  ID – 290 353 951  Password – yogalife
 *
Friday:
 *
12.45pm  Restorative Yoga with Eva  ZOOM LINK  ID – 254-301-149  Password – yogalife
2.00pm  Yoga Nidra with Eva  ZOOM LINK  ID – 975-384-217  Password – yogalife
 *
Sunday:
 *
11.00am  Yoga with Eva  ZOOM LINK  Meeting ID 806-929-0328  Password – yogalife
 *
Payments by donation – very greatly appreciated – thank you xxx
Payment by :

Paypal: info@yoga-life.co.uk

Bank: 09-01-29 35062033

*

Stay well and in touch, I really love seeing you on the screen and  practicing together!

*

 Much Love Eva  xxx
*
PS – if you have a spare moment can you leave a review on ‘Best of Eastbourne‘? Thank you soooo much!!!

 

ONLINE Yoga Classes

Dear All,

I am very happy to bring you LIVE ONLINE classes during these challenging times (sorry no face to face classes running at the moment due to current world situation).  I tested them in last couple of days and I am happy to report they were great success! Not only our regular yogis joined the sessions but we also had lovely new participants from all over the world, too!

My online classes are delivered via ZOOM platform. All you need to do is to download the App and join our ‘Online Yogis’ mailing list so I can let you know what classes are running and when. To register please email us on info@yoga-life.co.uk and I will keep you up to date.

Lets keep the community spirit strong and connect at least virtually if not in person. Wishing you all good health, strength and positivity. We will get through this stronger and wiser.

Much love Eva xxx

Interview for the YOGA MAGAZINE

This summer I was interviewed for the YOGA MAGAZINE, feel free to have a read 😉

 

Nestled in the heart of Eastbourne’s ‘Little Chelsea’ is a beautiful and quirky loft space where the Yoga Life Studio has made its home. A place of tranquil calm and warm welcome for all, its manager Eva Kristlova is passionate about how yoga can help others and transform local communities. Hers is a mission of compassion and care – to meet people wherever they are and help them to discover their life purpose.

 

“Being real and following your true self is so important, being in your heart and not trying to be someone else. Connecting with who you are. Your authentic self.”

 

Eva, tell us a little about yourself – your journey so far …

 

I was born in Czechoslovakia and I grew up in a small community, surrounded by family and friends. I moved to the UK in 1996 and I really missed that sense of closeness and belonging, knowing that someone had my back. I began to search, hoping to recreate a community which is supportive, non-judgemental and open to everyone. After living and working in London for 7 years, I moved to East Sussex with my family. We now live in Exceat, right by the Cuckmere River between Eastbourne and Seaford and I work full time running the Yoga Life Studio and teaching yoga there and other locations in East Sussex.

 

How did you get involved with yoga?

 

I studied with the British Wheel of Yoga in Seaford, East Sussex under the tutelage of the wonderful Janet Bond. I cannot thank her enough for her discipline, dedication and trust in me. Even before I qualified, I started to teach at the Yoga Life Studio in Eastbourne, where I also undertook responsibility for its day-to-day running and met my firm friend and yoga partner, the inspirational Wenche Beard. With Wenche we have shared many special moments together – from opening the teacher training school here in Eastbourne to taking our students on life-changing yoga retreats in Greece and Egypt.

 

What do you enjoy most in life and in your yoga practice?

 

Spending time outdoors is a great passion of mine and I absolutely love taking people to unusual locations for yoga classes. Years ago, I started running a class on our local beach. At first, only one or two people came to join me; but now I am joined by a large and faithful group of like-minded yogis, some of whom will even change their work hours to come and join me! I am blessed and humbled to be surrounded by these people who come throughout the year, whatever the weather, to be part of our group, our community. The camaraderie is wonderful; we have rested in Savasana in 0° and paddled in the sea in the snow! We simply love being crazy yogis together!

 

We live in a beautiful place and I am lucky enough to live close to the stunning Seven Sisters where I regularly offer sunset yoga classes overlooking some of Sussex’s most famous landmarks – the white cliffs, the oxbow lakes of the Cuckmere River and the gorgeous English Channel. When I am not on dry land, I take the more adventurous yogis on the river for some SUP yoga which is so much fun!

 

In my classes I like to inject a bit of lightness and fun. Life is serious enough so I want to give my students a sense of freedom and playfulness. I recently started teaching on a local Alpaca Farm! The Alpacas are unbelievably cute and the therapeutic effect of combining a gentle yoga class in the presence of these beautiful animals makes everyone so calm, happy and connected to nature, it’s very special.

 

Tell us a bit about the Yoga Life Studio and what you offer …

 

The studio is tucked away in a converted stable block in a quiet and popular area of Eastbourne. We only relocated this year so this is a new and exciting chapter for us all. We offer a wonderful selection of classes that attract many yogis, both locally and from further afield. Our classes are open to all – from complete beginners to seasoned yogis. Our classes range from gentle Hatha yoga to more powerful Vinyasa Flow. We have antenatal and postnatal classes for new mothers and fun aerial yoga sessions too; and plenty more besides! We also host so many wonderful courses and special events. We are home to the Yoga Life Teacher Training course which is facilitated by Wenche and myself (the next one starts April 2020); Yogabeats with the David Sye Foundation; Yin, Yoga and Cake; Cacao Ceremonies and more!

 

My vision for Yoga Life is rooted in my deep sense of community. I want to be of service to others and create a welcoming and safe space for people to come to, where friendships are formed and beautiful connections are made (even if it is just with yourself). I want our space to be sanctuary where everyone is welcome to come and be part of our yoga family. We run drop in sessions for all and community sessions which are facilitated by volunteer teachers where all donations received go directly to local charities which help those who are most vulnerable in our local area. We also love to take part in free events in and around Eastbourne – recently I have been at the Beach Life festival here in Eastbourne, offering free yoga sessions on the seafront which was a great success.

 

I am just starting to realise how many people’s lives we are making better, how what we do here matters. I believe that sharing yoga is a real privilege and a gift that we can pass on to others. Our clients can see how much we love what we do and knowing that we can make a difference to someone’s life is the ultimate reward. Yoga is all about sharing and giving; living in the way that makes you and everyone around you feel good. If you want to be happy then give!

 

The Yoga Life Studio is based at The Stables, 25 South Street, Eastbourne – please feel free and welcome to come and receive a big yoga hug!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yoga in the Yurt – Stone Cross

In the heart of the East Sussex countryside is The Well Being Centre which is a wonderful healing place and somewhere I love to go. There are two yurts, one for classes and one for treatments (massage, healing etc). The setting is idyllic, surrounded by wildflowers, herbs, fields of sheep and a friendly grey horse called Smurf – the owners are so lovely and are regulars to my classes as well! It truly is a hidden gem, only fifteen minutes outside of the busy town of Eastbourne!

In the yurt you can feel the wind blowing into the canvas, you can hear the rain tapping on the roof, you see ladybirds and spiders on your mat, you hear the sheep calling and birds singing, it is truly beautiful. In the winter we have a wood burner to keep us warm and the gentle pop and crackle of the fire is so soothing and in the summer, we lift the sides of the tent so we can enjoy the warm sunshine and cool breeze as we practise.

My class at the yurt is full of loyal and supportive yogis who turn up no matter what the weather and in return they are treated to a gentle relaxing class concluded by a deep relaxation time, enhanced by my crystal bowls to seal our special time together.

There is a common theme running throughout all of my outdoor (and regular indoor) classes. The key principles of community, support, love and kindness to all are integral to what I am trying to achieve. Yoga is not about performing the postures perfectly and looking hot on your Instagram feed. Yoga is about being present, mindful and kind to yourself and those around you. Creating and being a part of a yoga community is like meeting a whole new family and this is at the very heart of all I do here at the Yoga Life Studio. Come and join me and find out for yourself!

SUP and Yoga in Cuckmere Valley

SUP yoga – Cuckmere Valley

 What do we do when we want to spice our practice up? We head to the river, of course; and not just any river – the beautiful River Cuckmere in the Cuckmere Valley, made up of a gentle meander and several oxbow lakes – absolutely perfect for SUP (Stand Up Paddleboard) combined with a few yoga moves for those who are feeling adventurous!

I take groups of around twenty people on the river at one time and we all have an absolute blast. Before we climb onboard, I explain how to get on and off the board, how to stand up (Downward Facing Dog or Yogic Squat are my preferred options) and how to get back down if balance deserts us! We all wear life jackets but luckily the water is fairly shallow so it is a nice, safe experience for all and it wouldn’t be a complete experience without falling in a couple of times anyway!

Paddleboarding is an amazing way to strengthen your core, which is essential to all yoga practice. There is a method to staying centred and balanced; and moving gently on the water is the ultimate mediation. The key to paddleboarding is the same as yoga – you need to stay present, focussed and soft, going with the flow of the river. If you start moving too much and lose that focus, you are sure to end up in the water!

As for yoga on the paddleboard, it is not as hard as you would think! Once you have mastered simple balance; Bridge pose, Cat/Cow stretch, Cobra, Downward Dog and even the Boat and Child poses and Seated Spinal Twist should be safe and easy enough to try without falling in. One of highlights however is just resting in Savasana on your SUP. Imagine just lying there, the river gently carrying you while you watch the soft fluffy clouds and listen to the restful sounds of nature all around you. Sheer bliss. The experience this gives you is out of this world. You will feel alive, inspired and free all at the same time!

My favourite times on the river are sunrise and sunset. I offer small, intimate sessions for one or two people to come and experience these special times of day with me. We take our SUPs out onto the river together which is quiet and peaceful at these times, no other people, just the calm water, the wildlife and the breeze and we meditate together, watching the sky changing from pink to blue with only each other for company. This is the ultimate beginning or end to your day, so peaceful and nourishing; there is nothing better!

Just a little highlight of my paddleboarding life … I was once floating on the river when I saw a sheep in distress who had fallen into the river! My first thought was to call the farmer but I knew that might be too late for the poor sheep, so I thought maybe the sheep could climb on my board! I stopped my board next to the poor thing and patted it, like you would for a dog, encouraging it to climb aboard … and it did! From there I managed to get it to the grassy bank and to safety. I think we were both a bit shocked but the sheep was safe. From then on, I have always been on the lookout for any sheep that might need rescuing.

 

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