top of page



Well, it’s back to school, a mix of excitement and apprehension for our youngsters, new teachers, new friends, new challenges, new subjects. One thing that really impresses me is that quite a few schools and academies are adopting wellness and holistic activities, in particular yoga. I wish this was around when I was younger.

Children, pre-teen and teen, can benefit considerably from yoga. The teenage brain is both complex and developing quickly. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, the changes to the brain and reproductive system between the ages of 12 and 19 are enormous, and the shifts in reproductive and stress hormones during that time can affect thinking and behaviour. Many of us remember our teen years as a time of high anxiety and depression when we could well have used yoga’s benefits. Learning yoga practices at this stage in development can be a game-changer in dealing with hormonal fluctuations, and yoga will provide teens with lifetime tools and techniques for stress management.

Teens are dealing with body changes, peer pressure, social media, exam stress, possibly parental conflict etc, whilst the brain’s prefrontal cortex is still maturing, (where we make executive decisions).

No wonder they are grumpy sometimes, there is lots going on!

A yoga practice is the first step towards re patterning our stress response, it shows us how to respond intelligently and effectively to stressful situations, by using the breath and conscious management of the stress response. Practice, effectively and regularly, and these learned techniques become instinctive, we are able navigate stormy waters much more effectively.

The physical “feel good” element is also important for teenagers. Rather than ploughing through fast fitness focused sequences, most teens respond well to taking time to feel the effects of a yoga posture—whether it’s a challenging arm balance or a calming twist. Explanations of the movement and why a particular movement may cause us to feel a certain way, is of great interest to young connective minds.

Girls usually enjoy the flowing movement and boys will throw themselves into arm balances and more strenuous postures, it’s just how they are. I really enjoy teaching teens yoga as they are risk takers, and they still have a reasonable range of movement. I say ‘still’ as I have noticed, over the last few years, just how tight youngsters are generally -it is a concern and something that shows up in a yoga class. The default posture these days is influenced by our addiction to our phones, it’s hardly surprising that youngsters are so tight in their posterior muscles.

Yoga might not be what our youngsters think it is, there’s plenty of mis-information out there.

I would say if you have difficulty in switching off, or are not comfortable with how you are developing, are carrying some anxiety or even frustration and anger, perhaps lack of confidence or low self-worth, then yoga can help.

Yoga is a set of tools that you can use to improve your life, on your own, in your own space – why not call it ‘technical wellbeing’ instead of yoga.

If I’d had the opportunity and access to yoga in my school years, with a teacher that could show me the benefits of practice, I really feel it would have helped me to navigate my teens a whole lot better.

I commend those schools and academies for providing some technical wellbeing to the next generation and for the youngsters that invest in themselves. Make your health, your wealth.

2 views0 comments


One might not realise that yoga is an excellent way to build muscle strength, many consider yoga primarily as improving range of movement, flexibility and calming a busy mind.

All these are true however a regular yoga practice will considerably improve body strength and conditioning.

The yoga advantage is that the movements engage multiple muscles or muscle groups and are so-called compound movements. That means they never train isolated muscle groups but build strength in entire body areas.

Yoga builds strength in natural movement patterns.

Another advantage is that yoga always alternates movements – backward and forward, sideways or twists – so you train muscles on opposite sides of the body and don’t overtrain one area over another. At the same time, it increases your core strength as you need it for balance and stability during your practice. All that leads to a very balanced muscle development, which helps to prevent injuries.

This strength is referred to as functional stability and with normal range of movement at the joints this allows us to move without disfunction. An experienced yogi will move gracefully from pose to pose, with complete control and in sync with the breath.

Yoga develops both strength and mobility because it alternates muscle groups engaging and stretching during the whole practice. As such, it is a unique type of training, making you able to actively move your body parts through a wide range of motion. Essentially, it removes limitations caused by the tight connective tissue that holds you back, making you strong and flexible at the same time.

My first yoga class was something of a revelation, whilst I was reasonably strong through gym work and triathlon training and competing, I was amazed at how hard my body worked through the class. For an hour, I never moved away from the yoga mat, yet I felt I had seriously ‘worked out’ through the series of postures. The regular yogis, young and older, seemed to take it in their stride and moved effortlessly throughout.

This was mostly down to how tight my body was, I had developed strength through training, but my body was like a straight jacket that offered up resistance each time I moved into the postures.

I persevered with the yoga and very soon my range of movement improved which allowed me to develop the practice, some of the really challenging postures became accessible. Patience is the key with yoga, we need to accept that it will take time to regain normal ranges of movement and increase functional strength.

Yoga works at any age, I can do things at 60yrs that I couldn’t at 50 yrs of age and I expect I will do things at 70yrs that continue to evade me. By using the weight of the body to build strength there is no need for gym membership, simply roll a mat and start moving.

3 views0 comments

I am working with Wokingham Council's SHINE programme , teaching my style of yoga to their members, local residents at age 55 and above. These calsses work out cheaper than anything out there, even my public classes which are keenly priced! I want to encourage more people to take up yoga, so beginners can come to these classes and they do.

SHINE yoga classes are at Cantley Park, outdoor or inside subject to weather on Monday 5:30pm, Wednesday 2pm and at the new Carnival complex on Thursday 5pm, Studio 3.

To book, register with SHINE click here and book a class, it will be great to have you along!

18 views0 comments
bottom of page