After a break in July for a holiday, I was keen to get back to workshop planning and what better than a Yoga for Strength workshop! Our core workshop in January ran twice due to demand, and this event was really popular too, with fifteen brilliant yogis getting on the mat for some Sunday morning yoga. It was lovely to see a mix of people: regular students from class, private clients, and visitors from further afield.
We started with an energetic warm up, flowing through challenging sequences and gradually adding more core strength exercises, including versions of Side Plank which always test our stamina. We introduced some different exercises, including using yoga blocks for leg strength drills, and ultimately built up to an experiment with Crow pose. This is a challenging arm balance and working on this pose has to be done with patience: all the preparation is far more important than the final pose, and we have to be kind to the body and just have a few attempts, not push ourselves. With the help of props (and cushions!) there were some amazing attempts at ‘flying’ in Crow, and we certainly woke up our muscles on this lovely Sunday morning!
The Warrior poses are so often a staple of a yoga sequence, building strength and stability on the mat. They can appear relatively straightforward, but in this workshop we explored some of the key details that make these poses really beneficial for the body. Alignment points on the hips, core and feet can make all the difference, and it was brilliant to see this amazing group of yogis make progress in these areas. Our Warriors were definitely deeper and stronger by the end of the session!
We also explored the philosophy behind the Warrior poses, the Hindu warrior Virabhadra (after which the poses are named) and the idea of finding a calm, inner strength in these postures. Keeping calm and strong was a real challenge as we introduced more flowing sequences, including some really graceful Dancing Warriors and impressively smooth transitions from Warrior 3 to Warrior 1. Warrior poses can often feel like they’re all about the legs, but we soon found there’s also a lot of core strength required (sorry!). Our yogis did brilliantly on this lovely Sunday morning, and it was particularly great to see a mix of students: about half the group were long-time Sunday morning attendees; the other half were new to the workshop programme and really took their practice to the next level. Well done!
It was another lovely sunny morning in Thornford as we welcomed a great group of yogis to explore chest-opening poses, combined with challenging balances. We warmed up with our usual energetic flow - great for waking us up on a Sunday! - and moved into working on Locust and Bow poses. These are challenging as they require such careful and safe alignment of the hips and knees, so it was great to see yogis working to a level they were comfortable with.
Working towards Sugarcane was always going to be a challenge, as there’s so much going on in this pose. The workshop gave us a chance to really practise our transitions from Triangle to Half Moon, gradually opening to chest to feel more confident in the pose. For many students, achieving a strong Half Moon pose is an amazing achievement and demonstrated the brilliant progress they have made. Well done, yogis, a fantastic event!
Yoga twists have so many benefits, but most yogis find some more comfortable that others. Our April workshop focused on a wide range of twists, including the different ways of adding twists to known poses, gentler seated or supine twists, and revolving standing poses and balances for additional challenge. We even managed an attempt at Half Moon pose followed by Revolved Half Moon pose, demonstrating to us all that there are so many ways to challenge the body - and brain! - on the yoga mat.
It was lovely to see such a brilliant group of yogis enjoy their practice and bring so much energy to this Sunday morning session. This was our busiest workshop yet and many of the same committed students are also booked to attend in May and June.
To celebrate one year of yoga in Thornford Village Hall, all proceeds of the workshop are being donated to Thornford Pre School, who also use the hall. The popularity of the event means we raised close to £200 to donate to this excellent local charity, and Yoga with Emma is incredibly proud to be supporting the community in this way. Thank you to all the yogis who attended and also the many others who supported and promoted the event.
It was lovely to welcome a group of experienced yogis to Thornford for this workshop. The lovely Spring weather of the previous week had sadly not stuck around so battling it through the wind and rain was a triumph before we even made it onto the mat!
In many ways, this was always going to be the most challenging workshop, as releasing tension and creating space in tight hips is not easy. Even for yogis who are experienced and generally quite flexible, there is often a tendency to ‘hold’ or ‘grip’ in the pelvis, making it really difficult to ‘let go’ and sink into a comfortable lunge or a deeper Warrior pose. We combined our usual energetic flow sequences with a range of hip-opening poses, including some gentle options like Baby Cradle and Seated Pigeon, much stronger Lizard and Pigeon variations and new poses like Half Frog pose (shown above).
Hip-opening can be a bit overwhelming, especially if a deep release into the pose can be found, so we concluded the workshop with our familiar floor stretches and seated twists, plus a restful Shavasana. It was a challenging workshop and really great to see the yogis make so much progress - hopefully it also provided some tips and techniques to try in class.
The weather was really on our side for this workshop! It was glorious to spend two hours doing yoga with the sun streaming in. The views from Thornford Village Hall are really stunning so it made for a perfect setting for this joyful, heart-opening workshop.
As ever, the yogis were really open to trying new things and we worked on a range of exercises building up the skills for Camatkarasana (Wild Thing). This is a really challenging pose with a lot of different elements: strength in the wrist and arm, lifting of the hips, openness in the chest, back strength and also the fear of being upside-down! The key is getting comfortable in Side Plank, and we spent some time working on this.
In addition to some brilliant ‘Wild Things', we used a variety of other ‘heart-opening’ poses such as Cobra, Sphinx, Reverse Warrior and an introduction to Camel. The resulting two-hour workshop gave yogis a great opportunity to deepen their practice, release tension in the chest and shoulders, then wind down to a really restful Shavasana. Heart-opening poses can (in my experience) result in some real emotional outcomes as well as physical ones, so we also devoted a little bit of time to this. The true translation of Camatkarasana is ‘the ecstatic unfolding of the enraptured heart’, which gives you an idea of how strong and effective these poses can be.
The Core workshop was immediately popular with local yogis! A large number of current Yoga with Emma students signed up, as did others interested in using this session to improve their fitness. It was perfectly timed after the Christmas break, and certainly woke up our bodies for the New Year. The workshop ran again in February due to the high level of demand!
This workshop was designed to explore fun new poses - we all had a good go at setting up for Crow pose - and also give students useful technique points so they can advance their regular practice. For example, we looked at the difficulty of completing a smooth Chaturanga Dandasana, plus the way a gentle engagement of the core can make our Sun Salutations more powerful and more beneficial. It was a really fun morning (almost thwarted by a power cut in the village!) and the yogis did brilliantly as always!
This event was planned as a result of regular queries from local people, interested in yoga but unsure what it is about or not confident about joining an established class. The resulting Taster Class was a big success, offering brand new yogis a chance to try yoga in a no-pressure, no-commitment environment, where absolutely everyone was new!
We explored some key poses, helpful tips on how props can make yoga more accessible, and enjoyed an energetic, enjoyable class in a relaxed and welcoming space. The class was busy, and many of the attendees went away planning to do more yoga. A follow up email provided web links to videos I would recommend, and many students have also joined Yoga with Emma waiting lists. I would be happy to consider running more Taster Classes, so so get in touch if interested.
Balancing poses tend to cause the most concern for yogis, and it is definitely a tricky skill! By exploring fun balances in this workshop - plus the technique of binding to deepen the stretch - students had a chance to build confidence and strength in their balances.
We made sure we warmed up really well with a strong standing flow sequence, before working on Extended Hand to Big Toe Pose and investigating versions of Bird of Paradise and Lizard. Yogis gained more familiarity with using props and really challenged themselves.
It was a brilliant way to start a Sunday morning, and a lovely wind down with floor stretches and a cosy Shavasana certainly set me up for the day - not to mention the tasty snacks!
I really loved teaching a brilliant group of twelve keen yogis at the first of our Yoga with Emma workshops, in the lovely Thornford Village Hall.
We focused on warming up the muscles with a strong, energetic vinyasa flow standing sequence, with all yogis showing amazing progress since their first classes. We followed this with a variety of hip opening poses, including Lizard and Pigeon, so there was plenty of challenge for everyone. We explored the different elements of Mermaid, including connecting the hand with the foot, and lifting the front arm and chest for a energising opening of the heart.
Wonderful focus from all the yogis meant the 2 hours seemed to fly past! Hopefully the session gave everyone something to work on and a really energising start to their Sunday.