“Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen” (Brene Brown, Daring Greatly)
Making the decision to start yoga is often said to be the first step of a long journey. Where and how you start that journey is significant and worth consideration. In the years that I have been fortunate enough to teach the beginners course at Hills Yoga I have felt privileged for a number of reasons and I wanted to share my experience with those contemplating our beginners course.
In terms of choosing a yoga school, there are so many choices now a days. Sadly anyone can teach yoga – the proliferation of gyms and fitness centres offering yoga are an indication of how easy it is to gain a qualification as a yoga teacher. Additionally you can follow thousands of hours of yoga classes on your TV via You Tube or DVDs.
However most students I have been fortunate enough to teach are looking for something more than that – in fact many have tried Gym-yoga and video classes and have found them to be unsatisfying and to date I haven’t met anyone who has developed a consistent, beneficial practice that serves them from these mediums/options.
Many students I find come to the mat for the first time with a number of injuries or physical restrictions that they have not had the time to attend to because they have been focussed on their jobs or taking care of their families. And not in an unrelated request they come in search of “me time” - a mental and emotional break from the endless, frenetic “busy” pace of life we chase in our modern society. We have confused busy and over-stimulated via non-physical activity with “fulfilment” and eventually that comes home to roost in the form of a stiff body with limited range of movement, a tired mind and exhausted nervous system. Most students I have found come in search of freedom – freedom from their aches and pain, stresses and pressure.
The beginner course Corinne developed 15 years ago, puts students on that path to freedom by:
· Space - Teaching in a clean, peaceful, fully equipped space solely dedicated to yoga one class at a time.
· Experience - You’re guided by an experienced team; we the teaching staff at Hills Yoga (Corinne, Denise and myself) have over 60 years combined yoga practice between us – we are passionate about yoga and practicing it in a way that yields maximum benefits on and off the mat. (We are also all Mums – so understand the importance of cultivating a strong, aligned body and steady mind so we can continue to take care of our families).
· Breadth - The course is extensive and sets you up for success. Corinne has designed and refined over her 17 years of teaching a course that allows students to experience all of the major movement groups of the poses (asanas) – standing poses, forward bends, inversions, back bends and twists as well pranayama (breathing) and meditation techniques.
· Alignment - is our mantra and we’re hands on – at the beginner level and every subsequent level, via our in-class adjustments and use of props we want students to experience and feel alignment for themselves because through correct alignment comes strength and stability.
· You’re set up for success – the 6-week course re-opens a conversation between students and their bodies they are then able to continue. Our students learn to listen to their bodies and then honour where they are at, which in practical terms means learning how to set themselves up in asanas in a way that maintains integrity. In fact I feel a huge amount of pride looking at our recent graduates who started with us earlier this year who now instantly know how to set themselves for Sarvangasana (shoulder-stand).
What I love about teaching the beginners course is that I come face to face with that courage Brene Brown talks about in the opening quote – I am there on the first day when they choose to be brave and try something new. I see it as my responsibility to nurture that courage and curiosity and guide it towards the development of a practice that will serve them for life. I also get to see seismic shift in students in that 6 weeks. Many report feeling less stiff, having less pain in their backs, being able to sleep well and having moments of mental clarity in times that previously caused them stress. I get to see students experience BKS Iyengars; Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure what cannot be cured.
I hope you choose to have your first yoga experience with us and we look forward to meeting you on the mat.
Atha yoga anushasanam
“Now, the practice of yoga begins”
Kim, Hills Yoga Teacher