it's been 18 years last weekend since my first date with my life companion :)
to celebrate this impressive number we spend a long weekend in nature, camping, enjoying the Sun, picturesque mountains, cold rivers... which is what we both love...
I feel privileged to have this long relationship experience, I feel lucky to see us change so much over these years and at the same time being the same us, to see our relationship going through thick and thin, troubles and joys and each single experience making the relationship only richer and stronger,
it made me also think how very often we take things for granted and only on occasions like this we stop and appreciate things we have and experience,
I practise yoga to be grateful for and appreciate every moment of my life, every relationship with other people... yes, even the difficult one :)
because every experience, every relation with the family or friends is a lesson, it's meant to teach us something...
pay attention when you're with other people,
really be with them,
enjoy their happiness,
accept their decisions, even if you don't agree with them,
see that nobody is trying to hurt you, everyone is trying to find their own way to be happy and it's just that some people may not know how to find peace within themselves,
and enjoy every moment of being together
Flexibility or strength? Which is your main challenge on a yoga mat?
For me it was always the second. I remember my first few months of yoga practice when I couldn't understand how people were able to come to chaturanga dandasana (four-limbed staff pose) without collapsing on their faces. I wish I'd recorded my whole journey with this pose because I honestly thought at some point that I'd never be able to do it.
It's an integral part of my everyday practice now and it simply feels good to have a stronger body. I'm using and challenging the muscles that have been neglected for a while and it's a good feeling to find more strength and feel my upper body really active :)
If this pose is a challenge for your body as well, try this simple exercise..... and enjoy your journey !
Another short video to help you in your home practice.
Let's think about our spine more often, not only when it hurts. Let's get into the habit of moving it regularly. Few minutes a day will do, either in the morning to awaken the body or in the evening to stretch the back after the long busy day. It's easy, no experience is required. Listen to your body, find more space when you start flexing and extending your spine. Allow the breath to guide your movement. Enjoy !
All our Barking classes are taking place @ The Boathouse, 62-76 Abbey Road, Barking, IG11 7BT.
This spacious and quiet studio at the Roding River is a perfect place for our yoga classes.
Only 10 minutes walk from Barking station.
And those of you who drive to the class will be pleased to know that parking is available on weekends and from 18:00 on weekdays. Please contact me to get the code for the parking.
How to find us? Easy.....
This is a turn to Abbey Road, Abbey Park is behind me.
Pass Galleons Cafe...
Keep walking... We are behind these new blocks of flats on the right.
If you are driving this is the parking gate. Parking is available to us on weekends and after 18:00 on weekdays.
If you are walking or cycling go further up the road and turn right at Nisa shop.
Look for the metal stairs between the buildings.
Walk up the stairs to the terrace and go through the glass door on the right.
Once in the building turn right again and follow the corridor around studio1 to get to studio2 where our classes are taking place.
By the request of some of my students here is a gentle 15min morning vinyasa yoga sequence to start your day and get the juices flowing :) This is a gentle yoga practice for all levels, take it easy, tune into your body, into your breath, notice how you feel and let your breath and your body guide you through this practice. Enjoy and have a lovely day!
This is a simple sequence of yoga poses that anyone can do. You don't have to be experienced, you don't have to be young, fit or flexible to try it. And you can really benefit from 10-15 min of regular yoga practice. Keep your knees soft if you're new to the practice, try engaging your belly to protect your lower back, relax your neck and the head. Don't rush the movement, slowly start tuning into your body, feeling the rhythm of your breath and don't forget to relax at the end. Enjoy the practice!
One of the things that hits you when you come to live in Western society is that saying 'I'm busy' is something people expect you to say if you're a working professional. It almost raises your social status.
Some of you know my work experience and that I've been in a corporate financial world for some time. Just like a lot of others coming to London I wanted to find a good job somewhere, where I can use my experience and skills, learn something new, improve my English and get a decent payment for my work. I can't actually say I found my first job in the City, because I guess I've been always lucky to get a job without looking for it. Opportunities were always coming to me and I was just saying 'yes' each time. And so I got the job in Investment Banking sector. I'm old enough to remember reality from the other side of the Iron Curtain so I appreciate the easiness of living in West. With a job like this I felt like a queen :) For a while.....
I remember when I jumped on this crazy train, I thought I could handle everything. I saw how different environment it was to what I was used to, but at the same time I knew that I'm not like most people around me. I wasn't partying, drinking, socialising, even eating out, as I've been always trying to prepare my own meals. Weird, right? I was doing fine being me in this new environment and simply working hard.
The funny thing is that being aware of something doesn't mean it won't affect you. It will... maybe not straight away, but little by little, step by step. An example? What strikes you first when you're in the City in rush hours is the pace people move in. After some time you get used to it and then some time later you start running just like others. It's not a choice, not happening from one day to another, it's a process that happens almost somewhere in the background of what you're busy doing.
So things that were strange to you originally, start slowly sinking in, all the busyness, necessity of being busy, necessity to rush (you don't want to be a looser and left behind, do you?), the amount of work that's never ending no matter how many hours you'd spend in the office, omnipresent stress keeping everyone in the rhythm of work and finally after the credit crunch in 2008 the fear of loosing our jobs.
When I encourage my students in the yoga class to try re-connecting with our body, tuning into it and really learning to listen to it, it is because we tend to ignore what our body is telling us. Even the pain is not stopping us, we just take the painkiller and..... continue being busy. I definitely wasn't fully connected with my body and only medical test results and visits in the hospital made me stop, analyse my situation and realise what was happening. My body was telling me that I wasn't coping with the situation very well. But most importantly what it was showing me is that the life I had wasn't making me happy, it was a comfortable life, but at some point lost its taste, colours and intensity. And it wasn't making me a better person. Two main emotions that took over were fear and anger, skilfully hidden so nothing was showing outside.
I'm not trying to demonize the places I've been working at or people I've been working with. We are all trying to live a happy life as best as we can, each in our own, very individual way. When I look back now I appreciate my experience because I know that if it wasn't for this experience, my first yoga classes probably wouldn't have such a profound effect on me. I believe that everything happens for a reason and I guess I needed to try to realise this is not how I want to live.
So I changed my life. But it didn't change overnight, at least not in my mind.... it wasn't the end of the story with being busy. When everyone left early in the morning to go to work, I stayed at home and I didn't know what to do with myself. I was so used to the fast pace, fixed rhythm and 'doing as much as you can', that I felt guilty being un-busy! In our modern world it's almost equal to being unproductive. Luckily I have yoga and time to observe and learn, self-study and tune into myself again. And I'm so grateful for this wisdom. I don't feel guilty any more, I feel privileged to be able to practise yoga and share my experience and yoga knowledge with other people. We all so, so need to relax and start listening to our inner self, our true self.
Of course you may relate to my experience, you may not. But I think we all get into the dark place at some point in our lives and by simply more conscious breathing and being in our body we can help ourselves. Isn't it great?
I'm still going through a detox time, but I already feel I can breathe more freely, have more space and strength in my body and most importantly learn everyday how to calm and control my busy mind.
And maybe one day I'll start dreaming of flying again :)
Don't let anyone convince you that you have to be busy to be successful in your life. The successful life is a happy life. If you need a break and feel you're loosing control, stop and allow yourself to relax and let go of anything that's simply not serving you.
New Vinyasa Flow Yoga classes in Hackney Downs at The Well Garden
Great news :)
I've started teaching yoga in Hackney Downs @ The Well Garden, East London.
Every Tuesday 8:30 - 9:30 am and every Thursday 13:15 - 14:00.
The Well Garden Studio is a wonderful environment to give you a place of tranquility to take time for yourself; to release your body and mind from your daily stresses and find your way back to a place of peace and harmony.
Spread the word and drop in if you're around.
Here is the full address: The Well Garden, The Village Green, Hackney Down Studios, 17 Amhurst Terrace,E8 2BT, London
The Well Garden is located directly opposite The Russet Cafe. Next to the A-Side B-Side Gallery.
Free car parking is available : Please ask for The Well Garden parking permit at reception and display clearly in you car window. Please don't forget to give it back afterwards!!
Yoga in Forest Hill at MindBody Therapy Centre, South London.
I had an interesting conversation last week with Devon Burke, the owner and therapist of MindBody Therapy Centre in Forest Hill, South London where I teach yoga every Tuesday. We were talking about various treatments and classes this place has to offer and will offer in future and also about Devon's vision of helping people to understand their own bodies and different conditions. Him and his team are creating a place where people are taken care of on many levels, looked at from different angles and offered a chance to learn how to take care of themselves. So let's say you come to have a massage because you're in pain then apart from having a treatment you'd be also advised which exercises and classes could help you to avoid the pain in future. Sounds logical and obvious, but very often you don't get this overall service. And this reminded me actually how therapeutic yoga practice is, on so many levels, 'fixing' so many problems we are not even aware of, bringing our body into balance.
Yoga practice is definitely a lifetime journey, not a quick fix. But even one yoga session can give you instant gratification and relief. Very often it's the pain and our body problems that bring us to our first yoga class and what we want is just to feel better, pain-free and stress-free. But then our yoga practice through the poses, focus and breathing is showing us all other imbalances in our body or mind. Showing us how it's all connected and one won't work without the other. And I must admit I find it fascinating.
We come to yoga classes with a variety of conditions.
Most of us are stressed and lacking balance, we are simply too busy, having too much to do and not knowing how to stop and listen to our inner wisdom that we all have. We can calm our mind in yoga.
Many of us suffer from postural problems like lower or upper back, neck or shoulders pain and this is very often caused by seating at the desk long hours and forgetting to stretch from time to time. And if we don't move our core is weaker which is affecting our posture in general. We can strengthen our muscles doing yoga.
We accumulate the emotions in our neck and shoulders, our thighs and hips and these areas become very stiff. We can improve our flexibility doing yoga.
More and more people suffer from poor digestion, IBS, obesity and diabetes, various causes but yoga with it's overall approach helps to deal with these problems and the symptoms. Because it helps to bring different body functions, systems to balance.
A lot of people cannot breathe freely, suffer from asthma and other respiratory problems. In yoga class we apply pranayama (breathing exercises) to improve the pulmonary functions and find a calm, relaxed rhythm in our own breath.
The list of problems yoga can help with is of course much longer and the deeper we move into our yoga practice, the more profound the benefits will be.
I can't believe it's been a year already since I started teaching yoga in Barking.
Last year I joined The Bath House in Barking team, a group of dedicated therapists and teachers who are very passionate about their work and willing to help people improve the quality of their lives. It's all about promoting wellbeing, happiness, body and mind awareness and at the same time creating a nice community around these values. Everyone is welcome, prices competitive and quality of service top end :)
As a yoga teacher and part of the team I've been also involved myself in promoting a healthy lifestyle and a message of yoga at The Boathouse in Barking. I've started first by offering a regular open yoga classes (for all levels). At some point I've realised how important it is to dedicate some time to people who have never done yoga, only heard about it, maybe have seen some videos on you tube and may have some reservations about it. Some people would be simply to afraid to come to a regular class having an image of a fit, young, super-flexible girl in their mind. My aim is to encourage as many people as I can to try yoga to have this first hand experience and really feel what it's all about. This is why at some point I started running yoga for beginners, a specially designed 6 weeks course for these students who want to go slowly through the poses, modify them if needed, learn the breathing techniques and meditation. Over the months I welcomed to my yoga classes / courses quite a few new yogis and yoginis and it is a true joy to observe their journey. We're creating a nice and friendly yoga Barking community in East London. If you are looking for a vinyasa flow yoga classes in East London, don't look any further, please see my SCHEDULE here and CONTACT ME if you have any questions.
Some of my long-term students kindly agreed to share their stories of working with me. These are very inspirational words of people who already discovered benefits of a regular yoga practice on many levels, physical and emotional.
1) What was your situation like before you joined my yoga classes?
Before starting yoga with Benita I was working long hours and finding it hard to relax or switch off. I was also having issues sleeping. In general, I have also always struggled with coordination and, in particular, balance, so someone suggested to me that I try yoga in order to connect more with my body and learn methods for relaxation.
2) What reservations (if any) did you have about yoga or coming to yoga class?
I was slightly nervous that I wouldn't be able to keep up with the class and that I would look silly, as I'd never done yoga before. However, Benita makes the class accessible to all levels of experience, so this wasn't a problem at all.
3) What has the regular yoga practice with me been like?
I have gained so much from doing the beginners course and now my weekly yoga class. The class is a safe environment where I have an opportunity to completely focus on myself. Benita talks you through everything and encourages you to push yourself if you can, but doesn't put any pressure on you. Each week I can feel myself being more able to move in different stretches. It has become one of the highlights of my week.
4) What is the one best result you have got from with working with me?
There have been lots of good results, I'm better balanced, stronger and have really noticed the difference in the tone of my body. However, I'd say the best result is how much it has helped me to relax. I am sleeping better and am using the breathing techniques we learn in class to help me clear my mind and switch off from work. This has had a dramatic impact on my wellbeing.
Benita has been a dedicated yoga practitioner for over 10 years, received her RYT200 - level1 yoga teacher certificate in Sri Lanka (YogaArts School) and RYT300- level2 in Bali, Indonesia (YogaArts School), accredited by Yoga Alliance Professionals. Her classes are a creative and joyful experience with strong connection of mind and body, resulting in feeling energised but also balanced and calm. Suitable for all levels. read more