Style of Yoga
In each session, we make a connection with ourselves by being aware of how we feel and look at the ways in which we experience stress, pain, and discomfort in the body-mind complex. We practice detachment so that we are not triggered by any difficult feelings as they arise but observe objectively. We accept any tension and work with it with compassion and honour ourselves by not pushing into any physical pain. We remind ourselves not to force but to be aware of the messages the body sends us and listen. We practice mindfulness by connecting to our senses and our breath. The physical practice of Yoga then becomes meditative.
The Breath is central to each session. We take time to develop Yogic 3 part breathing to oxygenate to the muscles, strengthen the respiratory system, release tension, activate the relaxation response and create a sense of feeling energized but also calm.
We also need to be strong and it is always vital to activate the deep core postural muscles that support us in our movement practice. We practice core breathing that engages the pelvic floor, the TVA (Transversus Abdominal Muscles) and multifidus muscles of the spine. Then the physical practice can begin with some limbering movements that loosen the spine. There is a lot of information about the structure, function and movement of the spine that will help you understand your unique composition and posture.
Each practice is different and the focus is to vary the movement in the body so that the interconnectedness of bone, muscle, fascia is combined in diverse ways. It is important not to be concerned about doing the movements correctly, but more about how you feel as you move. However, safe practice is essential and verbal adjustments are made so that there is no strain on the joints and muscles. Safe alignment cues are given especially for the lower back in standing positions or when the body is working against the force of gravity where strain might arise. It is important to explore the pain-free full end range of movement around the joints and understand the edge of movement and what stops us from going further.
With continued practise, one becomes more aware and deepens the authentic connection with oneself. You are unique. Your practice is personal to you. Yoga can keep you fit and healthy into old age. There is lots of advice about posture that you can practice in everyday movement and experience off of your Yoga mat.
Rachel believes that Yoga is accessible to everyone, no matter what you age, health concerns, abilities or injuries. Although some people might not be suited to a mixed ability session and might need 1-2-1 advice. Each individual has a unique body and she will look for hypermobility in your joints and give adjustment for safe alignment. Muscles are strengthened and stretched to help them to become toned. Each person must approach their practice in a personal way and not expect to look like someone else in the same posture. Safe alignment in the joints and muscles is crucial. Rachel gives clear verbal instruction with explanations regarding safety, alignment and benefits. She gives a few hands on adjustments if needed. She observes all her students and will demonstrate postures if they are complicated.
Rachel sessions vary so that no class is repeated. She has a staged approach so that all levels can benefit in a mixed ability group. Beginners are given space to accept themselves at the stage they are at and gives lots of advice about their personal limitations and encouraged to be non-competitive. Advanced students can stay longer in postures, take them to the next level, and play with what they can do. There may be balances and sun salutations.
Every session ends with Savasana and meditation. Again these practices are never the same. The body scan will vary in relaxation, the emphasis may be on sensations, releasing, grounding, senses, internal connection, breath. Most people will experience the state of Bliss at this time. The meditations may be on the hearth, breath, gratitude, forgiveness. We often complete the practice with chanting OM to release endorphins from the brain.
The ultimate practice is to feel even just a little bit better at the end of the session. Hopefully, you will come away feeling refreshed, limbered and clearer in your body, mind and heart. The beauty of Yoga is to take from it what you need. It is a never-ending journey, a never-ending source of challenge, and transformation.