There are lots of activities you can do to relax and ‘escape’. One of my all time favourites is yoga. I started yoga in 2012 in Berkshire. A few years ago I moved to Surrey and spent some time looking for another yoga practice I could attend. I wanted to find a yoga class that
had a sense of community; where there is no judgement, everyone is friendly and there is a feeling of warm welcoming. Donna-Marie told me about a yoga class in the Community Room at Tesco Super Store in Addlestone so I went to check it out, and I honestly haven’t looked back!
Taking into account my social anxiety was at its highest point back then so it was really daunting for me to walk into this room on my own where I knew no one. I didn’t know what to expect. I was completely out of my comfort zone. My anxiety was laid to rest because as I opened the door I was met with the kind smile of Jackie and a gentle gesture welcoming me into the room. Some of the people getting ready for the class turned and smiled too. It made me relax a little and feel more at ease.
Pricing and Equipment
Jackie came up to me and said ‘Hi’; she told me the first class is free. If I choose to come back the following week then it would be £5,00 per class, payable on the day before the lesson begins. (I really like this payment structure. My life varies from week to week and sometimes paying a monthly fee seems a bit of a waste if I cant make a class for a week or two.)
Jackie then showed me a really big bag in the corner of the room full of yoga mats and blocks. She said I should choose a mat and a block and find a place to set up. It was lovely that she explained all of this in the beginning so I knew exactly what to expect and how things work. I don’t remember who I set up next to but they were very amicable and we shared some small talk before the class began.
I love the convenience of everything being supplied for the class too. There are enough mats to go around if you don’t have one; or you can choose to bring your own. I cycle everywhere and I don’t have a carry bag for my yoga mat yet so its handy that I can just cycle to the class and know that everything is there.
Also, if you’re running late and rush out the house and forget your yoga mat – not a problem; just borrow one of Jackie’s. She also has straps and both sizes of yoga blocks.
Jackie teaches Vinyasa Yoga. Vinyasa means: ‘To place in a special way’. (I learnt something new!) The class itself is relaxing in terms of having an easy session or pushing yourself that little bit further. Obviously I’m not saying you should attempt to do the splits when you haven’t done them in 20 years, or at all. But just that you can go at your own pace, relax and enjoy it. Its your body and you know what works and what doesn’t.
Yes, okay you’re stretching and incorporating breathing into it and sometimes you can work up quite a sweat, but we’re always reminded that we should do what feels right for us. I think this is so important, its very easy to try and copy a yoga instructor move for move and think: ‘Oh this is so easy’. Only to wake up the next morning realising- let me rephrase: FEELING exactly which muscles you’ve over stretched the day before. Jackie’s gentle reminders every now and then are great little hints that we’re all at our own level in our yoga practice and this is accepted openly and freely.
The great thing is that this is a class for all levels of yoga practitioners, whether you’re a beginner or advanced. Jackie will verbally walk you through each move or sequence, offering help if needed to get into the correct position or get into that deeper stretch. Then she’ll say something along the lines of ‘If you feel you can’ or ‘if you want to try’ you can attempt the next level of that specific move.
I always try the next move; sometimes it works well and sometimes my body just says ‘no’. And that’s okay. Its a journey, not a race. This gentle encouragement keeps you on your toes. For me this is a reminder for me to always try new things. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. And that’s also okay. The point is that I tried.
The Best Way to End Any Lesson
Savasana. What a beautiful word. I never knew one simple word would instil such a sense of peace and calm in me. Its pronounced ‘Shavasana’ and I personally think it should be incorporated into the end of every exercise routine or class! The lights go off, you lie down on your back and let your body become heavy and let it sink completely into the yoga mat while listening to soft calming music. 5 – 10 minutes of absolute pure chilled bliss. Jackie has added a few of her own personal touches to the end of each session. After the Savasana comes to an end everyone quietly sits up slowly, (there’s a little sequence we do with our hands which would lose its simplicity and meaning if I tried to explain it here). And then Jackie says the following:
Looking down and into your heart, that reservoir abundant with love, light, kindness and compassion… when you are in that place and I am in that place we are all the same. Namaste
To end a yoga session with these words flowing through your mind and heart, its bound to makes your soul smile. As everyone is packing up, Jackie comes round with a little silver heart-shaped box and everyone picks out a small square card that has a unique quote on it. Its such a lovely thought and parting gift; and something to think about for the rest of the day.
Religious, Spiritual or Not So Much
Yoga dates back 5000 years when it was first recorded in Northern India. Some people are wary of doing yoga due to the spiritual or religious aspect of it, which I can completely understand. Jackie is conscious of this so she will tell us the name of each yoga position, sometimes the Indian name for it, and sometimes the English equivalent. Some people come for the physical aspect of yoga; to stretch their bodies and become more supple and flexible. Others come for the ‘me time’ aspect of it – something they get to do for themselves. And some will come for the emotional and mental wellbeing of it; to rest their mind and embrace their soul. Whatever their reason for coming, they all enjoy the time they spend in Jackie’s classes.
Schedule your ‘Me Time’ into your weekly routine and go replenish your mind, body and soul. The really great thing is that Jackie offers four classes throughout the week so its easy to find one that works for you. If you’re based near Addlestone in Surrey or can get there easily, I would highly recommend looking up Yoga With Jackie to see when you could come for a class. Her positive yet calming manner is contagious; you cant help but leave her class feeling relaxed, refreshed and revitalised.
Have you tried yoga before? Or do you know someone that has? I’d love to hear from you and any experiences you may have had. Please leave your comments below and I’ll be sure to reply.
Much Love, Namaste