Not many would have envisaged the changes to our lives and routines that have occurred over the last 6 months. Sticking to the positives, it has been great to see more people outside walking, cycling exploring beautiful Finchampstead as well as people engaging with some online fitness programmes available.

On a personal basis, cancelling the local public yoga classes I teach was necessary but saddening. Whilst the essence is health and wellbeing, the social element is as much a part for my classes, getting away from the house and engaging with likeminded people in a pastime that gives so much back.

Rather than sit it out and hope to pick up once lockdown was over, I determined to teach online streaming classes. It is not the best medium for teaching a class that is as much about alignment and good position as it is breath awareness, but I felt that maintaining the routine in people’s lives was as important as the practice itself. Simply rolling out a yoga mat at home for even 10 minutes of yoga is a great way to distance your mind from the issues of the day.

At first it felt a bit alien, a totally different delivery approach is needed for a teacher, articulating the minutia of detail needed for people to engage with the movements, sequencing and postures, but it soon came together. We try not to take ourselves too seriously in my classes and people were very forgiving. Having the ability to ‘mute’ the class is something that is also new to me!

My intention as a yoga teacher is to get more people into yoga, men women, any age, any level of fitness. Lockdown and the economic impact to people’s lives was foremost in my mind so I offered my classes free to anyone, simply access the online meeting and join in. It has been great, and I have derived much satisfaction from seeing new people join in and getting great feedback.

It seems that now we are easing out of the restrictions, public classes are reopening, I expect my classes will resume in time, but I am going to continue with the online classes simply because they are so accessible. I will start to charge a modest price per lesson but please don't let that put you off. You don’t even need to leave home, simply create some space, lay down a mat and join in. People don’t feel self-conscious, they can decide which of the sequences they wish to follow or take a really long stretch and then join back in at their leisure.

There are so many online resources and classes now to help our health and stay mobile and fit. What may have seemed a bit odd 6 month ago is now well worth consideration and I encourage everyone to give it a go, if not mine, although you are very welcome!

Stay safe.

Despite the ongoing success of my Zoom live classes, there still is a low turnout from the chaps. This is a shame as I know how good yoga is for men in particular through my own experience.

Ironically yoga was originally practiced almost solely by boys before it was exported from India for its glossy makeover in the West. In fact many of the yoga postures we see in current yoga classes can trace their origin back to the British Army and Scandinavian gymnastics, but that’s another article.

The good news is that it is now starting to catch on with men, especially with professional athletes and sportsmen. I trained with the yoga teacher that enabled Ryan Giggs to extend his football career through the adoption of yoga into his training and yoga is becoming integral to the strength and conditioning programmes in rugby and other team sports.

The modern setting of most yoga studios is quite intimidating to most men, too. Men will struggle to leave the ego outside and engage with the purity of the practice and being surrounded by relatively flexible women may further compound the problem

This self-consciousness, though an essential first step in the process of evolution, is sometimes too much of a burden without the right guidance from a good teacher. In addition, the outward flexibility in the appearance of a pose is something that looks rather feminine though the eyes of most western men, who generally are exposed to the big-muscle, sword-wielding warrior role model from an early age. Ours is an age where aggression is associated with ambition; stillness is viewed as weak. It is a wonder why most men try yoga at all.

And this is why my online Zoom classes are great. You are in your own space, so no comparisons, no need to feel self-conscious, no need for ego. My articulation and instructions will enable you to get the best out of your body and really engage in the movement and breath.

Some of the postures and movement will be hard, very hard and you will come to realise the effect this is having, the tightness in your body and the challenge of simply breathing and pulling it all together. But it’s not all physical, the best of yoga is what goes on in your mind, or doesn’t so to speak. This is the essence of why we get onto our mat.

So if you have any interest and have perhaps thought about trying yoga, then please join in with us and give it a go, you will be very welcome!

Messing about in the studio over the weekend and I thought I would see if my assistant 'Kev' could get into some of the more common asanas I teach in class. Here we see seated forward bend, Paschimottanasana.

It then struck me how useful this is in terms of understanding what is going on with the body.

This asana is one that some people will struggle with due to the tightness in the calves, hamstrings, weak core strength and stiff hips particularly.

Kev's hips are quite loose, he doesn't have the connective tissue, muscle,fascia holding him back so we can see really nice pelvic rotation over the femurs, one of the cues I use when I am teaching this posture.

Keeping the lower back straight and long is going to avoid injury so we want to avoid flexion in the spine, rounding, when we deepen the asana and finally gazing (drishta) on the lower legs to avoid straining the neck.

It is important for yoga teachers to know what is going on anatomically. Progression in, through and out of the asanas needs to be stable and safe. I will be asking Kev to try some other postures out in the coming weeks to help demonstrate good form for my classes.

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