Category Archives: All about Yoga

Everything Yoga related: Yoga Asanas, Mudras, Meditation, Yoga Therapy, Breah-work and Yoga Interviews.

Yoga, Dandelions & a Doggy

Yoga
Last Sunday Jon and I took Milly for a walk around a local park in Plymouth. Walking along the fields we saw hundreds of Dandelions and Buttercups dancing in the sun. I love Dandelions and there were so many of them along the grass at and were dotted about like little clouds, I wanted to lie in the grass and do some yoga around them…Milly wanted to join in!

The weather in the UK has been reasonably decent these past few weeks, with the exception of the rain storm during the May bank holiday. We have been able to get out in the sunshine and we hope this pleasant weather stays whilst we work on our garden and it’s just been so great not having to take my huge winter coat everywhere I go, all I need is a light jacket.
There is just something about nature that airs my heart out and because I now live nearer to the countryside (the South West of England) I’ve become even more appreciative and fascinated by wildlife and botanics. So much so, it will be something I study in the distance future to perhaps grow and dry my own herbs and create my own concoctions and potions!

In general with my life, I am quite content with everything. I’ve never been so happy in my body and mind as I am now, I have a plan and direction of where I’d like to go with my career and I feel very fortune to certain individuals (including Milly) who have come into my life and shown me love and kindness or an appreciation for my quirkiness, these lovely souls sincerely love me for who I am and have not judged me or attempted to change me and I think these people have come into my life recently because I was beginning to practice self love which in turn attracted the right people, my little tribe of wild flowers! I feel truly grateful for all I have and all that is coming!
Plymouth

Devon

Spring time

Dandelion

walking the dog

yoga in the park

yoga outside

UK Yogi

Yoga with dogs

Yoga on the Hoe

yoga in Plymouth
Today I met up with a woman named Jeanette who is friends with my yoga teacher and is currently doing her yoga teacher training. I offered to be her yoga guinea-pig whilst she assessed my sun salutations and we discussed me performing and teaching a belly dance class at her yoga festival this September in Newquay.
Initially the weather was beautiful and warm but it suddenly turned very cloudy and chilly so we ended up practicing yoga in our coats! Jeanette taught me some lovely partner yoga stretches to music called Isochronic tones and after a sun salutation warm up she disected my salutation asanas to help me see where I may need improving which was really fun and interesting. We learned that both my cobra and down-dog are beautiful and near perfect but my forward fold and chaturanga needs adjusting. To be fair, it was rather chilly so my hamstrings were reasonably tight however Jeanette showed me ways to find space in my hips as I bend forward and to slightly balance on the balls of my feet rather than resting on my ankles in order to get that proper stretch my hamstrings need. She also suggested to practice this asana with the wall behind me as I fold to help encourage an aligned folding. And my Chaturanga (Plank) was good but we noticed my core wasn’t 100% activated and I was pushing my butt up slightly to compensate for lack of core work during this asana.

We also chatted a lot about our mutual love for different yoga styles and holistic therapies and Jeanette showed me a map of what the festival is going to look like and where I’m probably going to be teaching. Her personality and temperament is similar to mine (including that day dreamy look I have when thinking of things.) and our sense of humour is the same. It’s so lovely to meet such a kindred spirit and we’re already talking about attending different types of yoga workshops together, she’s even invited me to try Yoga Nidra and Womb yoga with her soon.
It was a super fun day!

sun salutation

cobra and down dog

forward fold yoga

Yoga and my innate desire to be Free

Yoga Wheel
It’s been a really busy week for me. So much so that I couldn’t attend my usual yoga community class. A good friend of mine Jodie popped round with cake and we did about 20 minutes of yoga stretches. Sometimes just 10 or 20 minutes is all you need to help unwind or kick start the day. I’ve been working the late night shift in my part time job and it’s been tough because it messes up your body clock. By the time I come home, had a very tiny meal and a cup of tea it’s almost midnight.

It has been the yoga community that has liberated me and made me feel beautiful, regardless of my current financial circumstances. I am fortunate to say I had help of a very kind uncle I was able to do a kids yoga teacher training not too long ago and now I am considering doing a Teen yoga teacher training to help young adults with self worth, self love and self confidence.

If it wasn’t for the support of my own yoga teacher Jo and a few Yogi friends I don’t know where I’d be today. I feel free in my mind and body when I practice yoga (and belly dance) and I want to be able to facilitate workshops to kids and teens in yoga, art, dance and mindfulness so I can encourage them and inspire them and to let them know they are not alone.

I have so many ideas and aspirations and it all comes from my innate desire to be free because I am a free spirit trapped in a caged way of life right now but change is on its way. I can feel it in my wings.

Tantra yoga wheel yoga prop

Yoga brings me Joy

bow pose with strap
My Yoga story started back at university when a friend pleaded with me to tag along with her to a yoga class. I sighed and said OK, even though at that point of my life I just wanted to loaf on the sofa and eat Nachos. The yoga class itself was pretty standard and had no particular style and I really enjoyed it, but not enough to stick at it.
During the last 6 months of my Fine Art degree, I was building a room installation and creating a video performance to be projected into the room. The video performance was a fusion between a dream I had, research of ancient Hindu temple dancing and my alter-ego. During my studies of ancient dance forms (because I am also a belly dancer and wanted to create Art around ancient dance) I discovered that these particular dance styles like Odissi and Kathak were interconnected with Yoga, there is even a status of Shiva as Nataraja (meaning Lord of the Dance) and this particular statue can be found in Yoga studios; also a very beautiful and popular yoga pose is named after him and is called Natarajasana “Dancer’s Pose”. It was at this point in my life I learned that ancient temple dancing (of which Belly Dance evolved from) also had similarities to Yoga and by chance I met a woman who was in the midst of her Yoga teacher training and needed guinea pigs to teach sequences to for free which I thought would be great training to help my body look like a graceful, moving temple dancer. Through this woman I attended a weekly practice of Ashtanga in her home alongside the beginnings of my studies in Yoga Philosophy, more in-depth knowledge in the Chakras and Mudras (which are also used in classical Indian dance).

Coming to Plymouth to live with my partner (since we had been long distance for a year and a half), I had no money, no friends, no job, nothing but my degree certificate and plentiful ideas of where my life was to go. But my ideas didn’t go according to plan and even though I found work just to have some money to support myself, it wasn’t where I thought I’d end up and I became lost and very lonely. It was then I discovered the yoga loft, my teacher (in the photo) was offering community classes (essentially a donation based, pay what you can or it’s free). Which was a saving grace for me, it helped me get out of the house, socialize in a quiet room and continue to develop my yoga practice, then I’d go home and read a yoga book and spend my afternoon doing some belly dance practice.

That was four years ago. I remember I had a phone conversation with my mum during my time of struggle, it was very hard for me to open up to her but I did it. I remember telling her that it feels like I’m hitting my head against a brick wall whilst at the same time keeping my head above water so I don’t drown in my sadness. The reality that regardless of my skills and knowledge in mental health, psychological trauma, art as therapy and the community arts, nobody wanted me. As an outsider looking in, I realized that Plymouth is a city with small town mindedness, the people here are very cliquey and prefer to hire those they know, why hire a girl from the North “when my friend Jane has a daughter who can be an assistant care worker”, right? I’m not judging that mindset but it did cause a lot of issues for me to even make friends, let alone find work suited to my skill-set, so I’ve been working my butt off in a part time retail job to help fund my yoga classes, continuing professional development and travels for the past few years.

I told my mum “It feels like the universe is putting obstacles in my way to nudge me in a different direction, every door just closes on me as if to say ‘No this is not for you’ and I feel in my heart I want to teach belly dance and yoga, I know it sounds crazy and I know you may think it’s not a practical way of living but it feels right, I’ve tried so hard to be ‘Normal’ and it’s not working.” I was expecting my mum to tell me to grow up and be practical, that the world is a harsh place and to just stay in my retail job so that maybe I’ll be a manager one day. But she didn’t, her exact words were “Kate, I don’t ever want to see you end up like me, don’t waste your life in retail and I think your idea to be a belly dance and yoga teacher is a brilliant idea.” She wasn’t judging retail as a career path, it’s a perfectly decent job but this conversation was showing that my mum was beginning to see who her daughter really is.
I remember gasping for breath whilst at the same time sighing with relief, for the first time my mum fully understood and supported me and from that day on I began to work hard towards who I am becoming today.

I’ve spent almost over 4 years practicing yoga and learning so much about it, I’ve continued my studies in Belly Dance and performed on numerous stages around the UK. I’ve gained knowledge in Anatomy & Physiology, Nutrition, mental health, dance leadership, dance therapeutics, yoga philosophy and much more. Both Yoga and Belly Dance bring me so much joy and looking back, even as a child I always loved moving, I’d copy dance choreography from MTV because my Mum couldn’t afford to put me through dance school or gymnastics.

Yoga became my friend, it was the missing piece in my heart and now sits in the chambers next to belly dance. I’ve also recently had some lovely feedback from some cheery older women telling me my physical practice is beautiful and that I am really good at it. Obviously there is more to yoga than making it look pretty and I am far from being advanced but the compliments made me realize I’m no longer the awkward and stiff beginner and that has given me confidence to keep practicing and one day be a teacher.

Because I am so interested in all things holistic I want to combine the yoga with creative movement, belly dance, Reiki and much more. As a budding Pagan Priestess I want to create beautiful sacred feminine circles as well to encourage a sense of healing and love and as qualified kids yoga teacher, again the whole vibe will be holistic and include therapeutic yet playful art into the mix. I want to facilitate workshops for the homeless, refugees and those suffering with mental health issues so I have big plans and it’s so interesting to look back on where I was (and who I was) then to who I am now. I’m still the same person but I have so much more clarity and a bit more sass in regards to fighting for what I want and I think the combined energy of yoga and belly dance had given me the courage to realize my potential, to know I can manifest anything I want if I work hard for it. To see the physical changes in my body helps me see that if my body can change, then so can my life. Both Yoga and Belly dance keeps me aligned and true to myself which is why I’ve been as stubborn as an Ox when people have attempted to change me and my mind, I will not give up the two things in my life that have been constant and consistent forms of unconditional love I have given to myself. So I’m sticking with my gut feeling, my heart vessel is full to the brim with joy and I’m aiming true.

Yoga & Belly Dance Workshop

belly dance
A good friend of mine, Jodie and I are planning a yoga & belly dance workshop to be co-facilitated in and around Plymouth at community centres, festivals and the Yoga Loft. The aim of this workshop is to be a holistic one with Reiki at it’s core, although on a subtle level. With Jodie very interested in Shamanic work and myself a budding Pagan Priestess we do hope all our ideas evolve and grow in order to teach sacred feminine and goddess circles in the near future. But until then, the first few taster sessions will stay simple and to the point.

Jodie did her Yoga teacher training in India earlier this year, she is also a massage therapist and Reiki Practitioner. I’ve been a practicing belly dancer for 15 years, having taken classes with Rachel Brice (who teaches Vini Yoga in her belly dance classes), Petite Jamilla and Samanatha Emanuel. I’ve also studied under a Lebanese teacher in Cyprus. My fundamentals are in Turkish, tribal dances like Kalbelia and the drum solo, yet my style is tribal fusion which is basically a fusion of all dance forms with traditional belly dance at its core. I have qualifications in Anatomy & Physiology (L3), Chakra Balancing (L3), Nutrition & Health (L2) and I am a Reiki Practitioner also.

Belly Dancing is more like a lineage, there is no “Teacher Training” so to speak but the knowledge is passed on from one woman to another woman in order to teach others, there is an unspoken rule that you shouldn’t begin to teach belly dance until you’ve got a serious practice, are performing on stage and can show a decent skill set, able to create choreography and technique alongside general knowledge and history of folkloric dances. I believe one day someone somewhere will make an accredited Belly Dance teacher training but until then I will continue to develop my skills and knowledge in Dance Therapeutics as well as Yoga and general fitness.

I do intend on attending a yoga teacher training one day in the far future for many reasons. Firstly I love yoga but also because it’s a complimenting form of movement that works really well with teaching belly dance. It will also teach me basic skills on teaching sequences, give me a teaching voice plus fundamental knowledge about the body as it moves.

As stated above, in regards to the unspoken rule of teaching belly dance, this is why I have been reluctant to teach it until I felt ready and until I felt I had enough knowledge to share. Some women decide to teach after taking only a few classes, I personally think this is disrespectful of the dance because much like yoga there are so many layers to it other than it’s basic moves like the shimmy or the hip drop. I’ve grown as a person and a dancer and I feel like in order to continue growing as a student of creative movement I need to teach- Kind of like learning on the job. It’s all about taking that leap of faith. With Jodie at my side I feel supported, as does she with me since she is new to teaching Yoga. It feels really good cultivating this new friendship through our mutual love of all things holistic and creative.

These photos were taken by Jon Roberts Photography and will be used for promo material like flyers and banners to promote our workshop. So stay tuned for the date and venue announcement!

yoga & belly dance

yoga with belly dance workshop

tribal belly dance and Hatha yoga

dance and yoga workshop Plymouth