It is said that it takes 21 days to form a new habit. No coincidence that our Introductory Offer also lasts for 21 days. It’s almost as if we planned it that way!
We encourage our new members to practice unlimited classes during this Introductory period and make the most of our full schedule. This gives you the opportunity to experience the full spectrum of our Fierce Grace System:series of postures which are designed to compliment each other, building strength, alignment and flexibility.
These 21 days might involve learning to touch your toes, figuring out what time of day suits your practice best, which classes support what you want to achieve or mastering side crow – everyone it different!
At Fierce Grace Brixton we embrace everyone at all stages of their practice, whatever you are working on. Naturally, this is also reflected in our classes: SOB for new members and those with injuries or who want go “go back to basics”; FG for a user-friendly challenge, enjoying the graceful and fluid movement of your body and mind from one posture to next set to music; Classic for concentration and focus – a linear stretch, working deeply on alignment, building a solid base; Deep Core to explore your Yin side, opening up those hips, releasing tension and pressure in joints; FG2 for an explorative expression; Fix for a burst of energy – a “pick me up”; and then Fierce (aka The Beast) for intermediate/ advanced students who want to take their practice to the next level – not to forget late night Deep Core Dark to deeply relax and calm the mind and spirit, ready for the night ahead in preparation for the day ahead.
Here are some tips to forming that new habit:
1 Pick just one habit to form at a time. Streamlining is key here. It’s tempting to write a long list, but start simple and specific, like ‘I’d like to build my core strength’.
2 Start small. Set a ridiculously small goal to start and your motivation will sky rocket.
3 Forget performance, only focus on starting. Turn off the chatterbox and focus on yourself being in the moment. The FGB staff love Yoga Nidra on Sunday 5.30pm and Tuesday 5pm – it’s the perfect chance to switch off and calm the mind.
5 Have a plan for failure. Everyone has bad days, and just because you fell over in tree pose, don’t mean endgame for your yoga practice. After all, who hasn’t been in a class where a someone has fallen over? Embrace it – it happens to us all.
6 Enjoy yourself and reward your achievement. Work on habits that make you feel good and when it goes well – give yourself a ‘gold star’! Maybe treat yourself to a new yoga mat, clothes for class (I always do a great class with new leggings on!) or something delicious from Brixton Village.
Chances are if you’re reading this – you’ve already begun, but if you’re still thinking about it… we say go for it. Traditionally January is the time to start anew, but February is a month full of love, change and motivation.
Live Life with Fierce Grace
Click here for more on our classes and how they compliment each other.
It can be hard to see your friends in the big city. So what could be better than bringing your friends to FGB? Just imagine hanging out post class over a cup of green tea in the foyer or un-rolling your mats side by side in the studio…
We thought it would be great if you were rewarded for bringing your friends, so we offer a very special perk, called 1-2-3 FREE* to members who bring along 3 friends who are new to Fierce Grace Brixton and who sign up for an Introduction Offer. As a thank you from us, you’ll get 1 MONTH FREE yoga!
We chat to Valentine Ohagwa about bringing along her 3 friends, getting a free month and why she came to FGB in the first place:
“11 years ago I was reasonably fit, until I suffered a road traffic accident where I was hit by an uninsured drunk driver.The long and short of it is: 10 years and 4 operations later, I still have a damaged right leg which causes back, hip and knee problems. No only that, I can no longer wear heels or run!
Finally, I found yoga. Yoga is the only form of exercise I have done which I feel is fully helping me heal. Realistically, I can only do 70% of the class, but I have to remind myself that it’s better that nothing!I have been coming to Fierce Grace Brixton for about 1 year now and have told all of my friends about it. Over this year, they’ve seen my mood lighten, change and I’ve become more of a positive positive. I encouraged them to come along and they loved it! I’m so happy that the 1-2-3 Free offer helped me practice 1 month for free. If I was 100% able, I would be a teacher!”
So there you are folks: bring your friends and get free yoga. Simple.
Friends with benefits, really!!
*Friends must be new to the Fierce Grace Brixton studio and sign up for a package with us.
Whether you are new to yoga, or hot yoga, or Fierce Grace; or you are someone who has been practicing for a few years, one of the truths of yoga is that your practice is different every time you get on the mat. Class after class your practice changes and evolves. Mood, energy levels, stress levels, different teachers, there are lots of factors that contribute to your practice being a living, breathing, every-changing thing. But how to evolve more consciously? And how can we help?
Well, start by looking at the foundations of your practice. Is it solid? By this we mean paying attention to the building blocks of the poses. Set yourself up properly; even if you think you know how a pose should look and feel, or you have been practicing for a while, listen to the teacher and their instructions for getting into position. You may hear something different. Use your breath, use your focus and work to your limits, whatever they are that day.
Try some of the new classes on the Fierce Grace schedule. They have been created to help you work in specific areas, taking some poses further and breaking down others into different steps. Fly for upper body strength, Deep Dark Core to add a more meditative dimension, FG2 to take some poses into different expressions to keep you challenged, interested and evolving.
Go back to some of the old classes in the schedule. We all have our favourites, and the classes we aren’t so keen on. Sometimes we aren’t keen on them because they challenge us in ways that make us physically or mentally uncomfortable. Work through it, man!!! That’s what Fierce Grace means!
When you first get back on the mat in 2017, or you step on the mat for the first time, think about your practice. How has it changed? What do you want from it? Fitness, health, flexibility, free heating? Whatever it is you want to get out of Fierce Grace, bring your fierce, bring your grace and remember to bring a towel, appropriate clothing, no aerosols, plenty of water and practice evolution.
Filling the shoes of Sophie Munson is no small feat, but our new studio manager Serena Sabala is looking forward to getting to know everyone over the coming weeks as she settles in. We thought you’d like to know a bit more about her…
Moving to London from Italy in 2005 for a career in fashion sales, she started Bikram yoga classes in 2008 and fell in love with it, becoming a teacher in 2012. After meeting her husband while travelling and teaching she lived in the US for a couple of years where she first managed a yoga studio and realised this was a role that combined both her corporate skills and her passion for yoga.
“I love being able to put my organisational and managerial skills to work in a yoga related environment. I love teaching yoga but as I teacher I felt like some of the skills I had developed during my many years of corporate work weren’t being put to use (and I did enjoy using them!); managing a studio allows me to do that within a context that resonates to me more than anything.
From my previous experience I have learnt that managing a studio requires a very wide and varied skill set. There are so many different aspects to the business (from customer service to staff management, budgeting, marketing and maintenance of the premises), most of which actually have very little to do with the yoga itself. I have to continuously remind myself that the ultimate goal still is to maintain a space where people can come in and change their life around, inside and out, for the better through the practice of yoga.”
We know how special Fierce Grace Brixton in so we asked her what she will be bringing to the party:
“Fierce Grace Brixton is already a well established and thriving community. The aim is for it to always be a place where the staff LOVE to come into work and members feel at home. The struggles we sometimes face in the day to day running of the business should never take away from a fun, laid back yet professional atmosphere we want to create and maintain for all those involved.
I try to never forget the higher purpose and to never lose a greater perspective: my life has changed and improved in ways I can’t even begin to explain thanks to the practice of yoga and to be able to now pass this gift onto others is worth all the hard work it takes.”
Sounds like Serena is pretty much the right woman for the job! We ended our chat with asking her to share something of her life philosophy with us. “In life, very much like in yoga, progress is not linear: some days feel like you’ve gone forward ten steps, others feel like you’re suddenly going back. I always try and remind myself that, as long as I’m doing my best, I can be assured that I’m moving forward. Maybe not at the pace that I’d like but there’s a lot to learn from what look like set backs or challenges.”
‘Spring forward, fall back’ might be an easy way to remember which way the clocks go when they change but they can also be a bit of a reflection of what happens to our energy levels. Motivating ourselves to exercise in the winter months can feel a bit more of a challenge, and those early morning classes are a real pill. The days are shorter, it’s harder to get out of bed, it’s cold…the excuses are SO much easier to make. But we are here to remind you of the benefits of keeping up your Fierce Grace practice this winter, when you might think you would really rather be hugging a hot water bottle in bed…
IMMUNE BOOSTING. Hot yoga is great for your immune system, helping you combat the inevitable germ assault that is winter in the city. Think of it like one of those power packs you pick up in a video game, or the real life Ready Brek glow that keeps your Wei Qi healthy allowing you to deflect germs like Wonder Woman and her magic bracelets.
BEAUTY BOOSTING. The warmth of the studio also helps with circulation, giving your complexion a glow, your extremities a warm blooded hug, your muscles a chance to enjoy improved blood flow and your digestion a massage. All good news for anyone who finds their veg box is full of root veg, their skin drying out with central heating and cold air, and their hands and feet encased in so many layers they go up a shoe size.
ENERGY BOOSTING. The lack of sunlight affects our melatonin levels, which in turn affects energy levels. Maintaining a regular practice will help ensure you sleep well, helping stabilise energy levels. Necessary for the ‘heads down’ approach everyone gets until early December.
MOOD BOOSTING. Exercise is a mood booster, not telling you anything you don’t already know there, but Not only that but the warmth of the beautiful Fierce Grace Brixton studio, and its happy, smiling members will give you a boost that will last all day!
Tasty and delicious and equally nutritious! Smoothies have rocked the health and fitness world for many years. Packed full of goodness, smoothies give you a daily dose of what your mind and body needs. In doing so, they help to support a strong yoga practice.
That’s why this week, during our month of healthy choices, we have put together some of our favourite smoothies for you to enjoy! So get raiding Brixton’s markets for the finest fruit and veg and get blending!
Brixton Berry Bonanza
With its vibrancy, energy and bustling atmosphere, this berry extravaganza captures our beloved Brixton in a cup. Feel your taste buds explode!
Seeds are a great addition to your smoothie, adding extra vitamins, minerals, fiber and protein. After your next class, nip into Brixton Wholefoods, just around the corner from the studio at 59 Atlantic Road and see which ones get your juices flowing!
Fierce Grace Green Goodness For your everyday staple smoothie, with some fierce flavour and some graceful goodness, go green! You’ll feel the difference immediately – pretty much the same as hot yoga!
Half a banana (frozen if you would like it more chilled)
1 / 2 sticks celery
Handful of spinach
Half a dozen almonds
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 tbsp hemp seeds
1 / 2 scoops protein powder (optional)
Splash of unsweetened almond milk, topped up with water
Adding protein powder to your smoothie is a great idea after class in order to repair and replenish muscles, plus it will keep you going until lunch. Our Arbonne protein powders available to buy at the studio are made from split pea. They provide 20g of vegan protein, delivering vital amino acids to support muscles, plus 20 essential vitamins and minerals and a low glycemic index.
Classic Cleansing Cosmopolitan Simply heaven in a cup. The perfect way to replenish after a strong Classic!
½ or whole avocado
½ or whole banana
1 small orange
1 tbsp honey
Avocados are a strong foodie favourite, almost what you could now describe as a cult! Remember that the stone actually contains 70% of the fruit’s antioxidants – to read more, read our blog here.
Deep Core Date Daiquiri
Dates are full of soluble and insoluble fiber and amino acids therefore helping to regulate the digestive functions of the body. They also include copper, potassium, zinc, magnesium, calcium, iron and vitamins B and K. And they are delicious.
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
2 tbsp oats
2-3 pitted Medjool dates, to taste
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 tbsp peanut butter or almond butter
¼ to ½ tsp ground cinnamon, to taste
1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
4-5 ice cubes to chill
This smoothie includes more than 8g of protein but you can add more vanilla protein powder to boost it up to 20g. Perfect for post-Deep Core-power-up to nourish those worked muscles and tissues!
Flaxseeds might be small but they pack a good nutritional punch! See the analogy? Like our own Fix, working incredible magic in record time, you could call them the “Fix” of the seed family! 1 tablespoon of flaxseed will add some protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals, including potassium for your heart and iron and zinc for your immune system. Plus a few grams of unsaturated fats and inflammation-reducing omega-3 fatty acids. You can buy ground flaxseeds from Brixton Wholefoods or put whole ones in a coffee grinder.
220 ml coconut water
1 handful almonds
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ scoop unsweetened protein powder
1 tbsp ground flaxseeds
Take a walk on the Wild side and re-vitalise with this cocktail-inspired smoothie that will satisfy your exotic Mojito taste-buds… but avoid the headache.
2 cups ice
1 cup coconut milk
2 small limes
Handful of fresh mint
1 – 2 tbsp honey
Although smoothies are generally enjoyed to keep you zinging during the day, there are also some soothing smoothies out there. This one contains some great ingredients to ensure you’re soon counting sheep after a Sunday night Nidra!
1 cup chilled chamomile tea
1 banana (preferably frozen)
1 cup coconut milk
Handful of almonds
1 tsp honey
1 tsp nutmeg
The anti-inflammatory qualities of herbal compounds help to calm digestive systems which are ailing under stress. Bananas are high in B-complex vitamins that calm the nervous system, the muscle-relaxant magnesium and also contains melatonin and serotonin to help you sleep soundly. Nutmeg has rejuvenating qualities whilst honey has been used for years as a natural sleep aid.
Got any favourite smoothies? Share them with us! We would love to hear from you!
The familiar ‘drip-drip’ from the forehead in Balancing Stick, the slippy-slide feel of your legs against your arms in Crow and the water-in-eyes conundrum in forward folds: In hot yoga, we sweat, a lot. If you’re working hard, hey, even if you’re not, the sweat is real. Usually we can take the heat by breathing properly, but in the instances it’s too much, were you already dehydrated?
With the average male being 60% water and average female 55%, we are essentially water-creatures without the gills. Your hydration levels within your body have to drop 2-3% in order for receptors to send messages to the brain to generate the sensing of thirst, However, at just 1% it starts to affect our overall physical and mental performance.
Water is the fuel that keeps the well-oiled machine that is the body ticking over. It allows for the digestion of food, the expulsion of toxins and temperature regulation. It is present in all cells within the body. Essentially, if you don’t put a lot in, you don’t get a lot out. Experiencing dehydration during physical exercise pressurises the joints (not very helpful in that Standing Head to Knee, is it?) and also means there is less water to create sweat for the body to cool down, further increasing the chances of cramping.
Something we learn through yoga is body awareness; understanding and listening to your body is partly knowing what to put into it. Unlike food, water is absorbed though osmosis as soon as it enters the body, starting in the mouth and the throat. It is ingested the same way the whole way down, so staying hydrated is very easy, especially if it is little and often. Unfortunately, swigging by the gallon as you run into the studio will only leave you feeling heavy and bloated… a little like offering a deluge to a sad plant after weeks of neglect. System overload and you’ll never win at the Chelsea Flower Show like that.
Water is also found in food, especially in fruits and vegetables. If you’re needing a hydration boost, coconut water can also do the trick. Low calorie, high in fibre and electrolytes, containing metabolism-balancing copper, anti-inflammatory antioxidants and more potassium than 4 bananas, plus a low sugar and sodium content, it’s no wonder it is known as “Mother Nature’s sports drink”. With the explosion of clean-eating and healthy-living in the media over recent years, it’s also got Hollywood’s seal of approval.
Following his record-breaking 11 hour long match at Wimbledon in 2010, American tennis player John Isner credited coconut water as what keeps him going on court, even in hotter conditions. The well-hydrated star said he drinks coconut water and water pre-match, coconut water laced with salts on-court then a cocktail of coconut water and protein powder for post-match recovery. The only draw-back is that it does not contain sufficient carbs or sugar to counteract a heavy perspiration resulting from 3 hours of intense heat; lucky that all Fierce Grace classes are under 90 minutes then, isn’t it! So, after class, have a break, have a Chi (not a Kit-Kat).
Make May the month where you honour your watery selves and hydrate to stay great!
Earlier this month, Fierce Grace launched GoFGYourself, where we invited you to share your stories with us about how Fierce Grace has changed and enhanced your life. It has been amazing to hear your tales and to receive your feedback following the transformations that happen at the studio. In celebration, this week we have two members who have fully embraced Fierce Grace having seen what it could do for them. Introducing Barbara and Chico, two of our regulars who totally Live Life with Fierce Grace!
My name is Barbara Gillett, I am a 65 year-old pensioner and I am also a fitness instructor. I do chair exercises with the elderly in various places, including in an old people’s home and community centre.
One of the ladies at my local gym where I attended two yoga classes per week told me about Fierce Grace Brixton and about the benefits of “hot yoga”. At this time, I had started feeling pain on my right leg especially around my knee. I went to see my GP who told me I had arthritis and referred me to a specialist at the hospital. Today I am still waiting to be seen. I decided to take matters into my own hands and take the opportunity to go to Fierce Grace and to try the 30 Days.
Going along for my first session, the service I got there was one of such warm support and a great feeling of well-being in myself. During the initial few sessions of hot yoga my pain was already reducing. By the end of the 30 days, the pain was completely gone. I couldn’t believe it!
I felt so great that I realised continuing with the hot yoga was the only way for me to be pain-free from arthritis. I made it a priority to attend 3 times a week. After every session I feel energised, flexible and my joints are relieved.
I would recommend to anyone who suffers from arthritis to at least give it a try. Until today I still cannot believe how long I was suffering with arthritis. Thanks to hot yoga I can today have a normal, healthy life where arthritis does not stop me from doing my job and from having a life free from constant pain!
“You should do some yoga!!!” is the phrase that kept popping up in various conversations that occurred just after my Mum passed away. So, when it was said to me for the 5th time in one week I thought, “Hello, life is trying to tell me something so maybe I should listen.”
I’ve always been physically active throughout my life and have been aware that my emotions are in part connected to my activity levels.
When my Mum passed away I found myself lost in a sea darkness with tidal waves of emotion that kept leaving me out of breath, sleepless and highly emotional. I thought that I would need help to cope, though I didn’t want to take any sort of medication as what I’m going through is all part of dealing with acute grief and loss.
I had tried a couple of yoga classes around Brixton and Dulwich and they just were not right for me. Then my next door neighbour told me about Fierce Grace. Mind you, he had been talking about it for the last year; I guess this time I was really listening to what he said!
I went in just to check it out. But by the time I had left, I had signed up for the Unlimited 30 Day trial! That says it all really!
The various classes work for my different daily needs: Deep Core for strength, Classic for understanding my body and Fierce Grace for movement and stamina. However, the one thing I found in all of them that has helped me cope with each passing day is the use of breath and having to centre and listen to myself each class. It has become a small journey and victory. In doing the classes I’ve learnt to breathe slowly and steadily so when I have a wobble or suddenly find myself in a torrent of emotion I breathe, find my core and do my best to keep steady, which works 95%of the time.
Though I know this journey through life is no easy feat for any one in this world, in doing Fierce Grace classes in an environment that is safe, clean and loved, with teachers that are really caring and amazing, it makes life a little easier to deal with.
Over recent years, hot yoga has got a lot of press. From miraculous tales of recovery to celebrity endorsement, we can now read about hot yoga just about as much as we can practice it. Andy Murray and Ryan Giggs have sworn by it. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar told David Beckham by practising hot yoga he could add years to his football career, well into his 40s. Even the tour-de-force Beyonce said the journey of a hot yoga class can be ‘therapeutic’, finding you can do so much more than you think you can. We may be thousands of miles from Hollywood but we are lucky enough to see these transformations at our studios every day!
In celebration of these joys and benefits of the Fierce Grace system, last week Fierce Grace launched #GoFGYourself. We have invited FG practitioners to share their stories with us by posting video clips or photos on Instagram.
Kicking off what we regard as Instagram’s hottest new trend is Chris Polglase aka The Jungle Drummer, with a positively astounding tales of recovery. Chris is one of the UK’s best drummers, a prestigious live drummer in the club and festival scene, having worked with the likes of Nigel Goldrich, the producer behind Radiohead, Shy FX, DJ Fresh, Scratch Perverts and many more. Whilst playing a live show he plays up to 180 beats per minute, totalling about 11,000 per hour.
Following years of playing, accompanied by poor diet, drinking and negative thought patterns, Chris had chronic pain in his hands. He had RSI, breakages, swelling and has permanent osteoarthritis. It became so bad that he was unable to drum for two and a half years, a devastating blow to him mentally and professionally. Meeting Michele Pernetta, he came along to a Fierce Grace class where Michele could offer him modifications for his hands. After one class he went home and drummed pain-free for a full 30 minutes. After one year of regular Fierce Grace practice and lifestyle changes he is now drumming faster than ever before.
He explained “Yoga has helped me take control of my body, and my healing, without needing excessive treatments and physio appointments. When I don’t attend class for a few days sometimes the pain in my hands returns and then my mind-set changes. I then go back to class and I am again able to manage my pain and I feel better physically and mentally.” At Fierce Grace Brixton, it is a pleasure to see little changes in our members every day. Coming in to open up at 6am, we are not exaggerating when we say it is the reason we get up in the morning!
Chris added “Anyone with severe injuries, who is unable to work, or do what they love, or suffers from severe anxiety or depression, I really suggest attending a Fierce Grace yoga class. The benefits you receive from just one class are exponential and the potential to feel good and change your body and mind can happen within your first session.” With a regular practice, we have seen a member half their body size. With regular practice we have seen a member combat depression and find a happy home with us and with themselves. One of our newest recruits limped in the studio and is now skipping out, having seen the effects on her arthritis after a few days!
The Fierce Grace system is a full mind-body workout. It strengthens, it stretches. You breathe, you focus, you relax. The diversity offered by the integrated class-system provides you with a framework with which you can explore various movements, tempos and attitudes. It is YOUR Fierce Grace.
Just the other day we were delighted when a member told us she had taken the day off work to celebrate her birthday; her gift to herself being to practice not one but two Fierce Grace classes that day! She told us “After 15 years of running I started yoga because I was injured. Fierce Grace gave me the body I wanted, then it gave me the peace of mind I needed and now I just do it because it’s fun… FG is my gift to myself”. I think this means we can describe Fierce Grace as the Pringles of yoga: “Once you pop you can’t stop”!
What could Fierce Grace do for you? What has it done already? Has Fierce Grace enhanced your lifestyle? Has it helped you recover from an injury or allowed you to return to or keep doing something you love? We would love to hear from you! To be in with a chance to win 1 month Unlimited yoga, post your video clips on Instagram before 11 May and tag #GoFGYourself and @fiercegraceyoga and @fiercegracebrixton A winner will be announced then!
During this time, Fierce Grace Brixton is running: Check our Instagram for our daily posts of regulars telling us what they love about practising Fierce Grace and you can email email@example.com your words or photos for us to post, to be in with a chance to win a Brixton bag and Complimentary class for a non-member friend.
In Chris’s words, quite literally “Anything is possible with Fierce Grace”.
Last month, several of our Brixton members completed the Fierce Grace Yoga Teacher Training. This month for our ‘Member Mention’ community feature we have the lovely Kelly Garrett to tell us more about the training…
Congratulations on completing your Fierce Grace Yoga Teacher Training, Kelly!
Please give us a little background on yourself…
My background is in mental health as a Psychotherapist. I run my own private practice in Clapham and manage a ‘talking therapies’ contract for the NHS in Lambeth. Plus I supervise trainee counsellors’ with their clinical work. My earlier career included extensive work in the media industry as a Human Resources specialist.
Can you tell us about the Fierce Grace Yoga Teacher Training?
The content of the Fierce Grace Yoga teacher training programme is abundant in its offer. This isn’t just some yoga course where you might spend most of your time learning about the asanas; instead, we were taught and introduced to many subjects that reflected the twenty three years’ experience of its founder, Michele Pernetta. The rich philosophy of yoga was captured within the first couple of weeks and delivered succinctly by Peter Cherry. Not necessarily the most exciting subject for me, Anatomy gave us a greater understanding of what’s going on internally with muscle groups and bones during practise, which is very important considering the many injuries that students have when they come to yoga.
Delivering a yoga class to 60+ practitioners is no ‘walk in the park’ and confidence alone is not enough to get you through. Body language, breath and voice play an integral part in engaging your students – apparently, the deeper the voice, the better. A Voice Coach provided us with many tools on how to use our breath and voice in preparation for the podium and we were filmed regularly to observe how we delivered a class, some of which would be great material for a comedy sketch!
How did you find the guidance through the course?
Michele Pernetta, following her long history with yoga, radiates everything yoga. Her knowledge and experience permeates every page and aspect of the course and she was dedicated to making sure we got as much as possible from every minute of every hour during the training. She has an incredible sense of humour, particularly when sharing the many anecdotes from her past. At the same time, she is extraordinarily humble and doesn’t take herself too seriously. She was gentle in her approach and made the sometimes arduous task of learning accessible to us all. She has spent countless years establishing the Fierce Grace programme and has certainly developed a fantastic product. Most days began at 06.00 am and ended at 21.00 which was both physically and mentally challenging. If nothing else though, being taught by Michele was worth the thirty days in and of itself!
Karen Bellfield, or ‘mother earth’ as I liked to call her is a truly grounded Senior Teacher whose presence and energy was calm, holding and authentic. Someone who really knows her stuff, she effortlessly supported us in trying to make sense of the amount of data we had to digest during posture clinics. Her instruction was rich and meditative with added wisdom as she guided us through many morning classes. I always looked forward to our modules with Karen.
When and why did you decide to do the teacher training? What were your motivations and aspirations?
I first thought of doing teacher training in 2011 when I was practising Bikram Yoga. At the time, I just ended a long-term relationship, sold my flat and moved into full time clinical work, having spent many years in the corporate world. It was a huge transitional time and yoga felt very containing. When you fall in love with yoga, one of the first things you notice is an intense desire to share it with others. Of course you’ll talk to your friends about it and drag them along with you to classes, but for me, the possibility of teaching was exciting and after many years of practise and my love of the FG sequences inspired me to do the Teacher Training programme.
How long have you practiced yoga? What first brought you to yoga and what about it did you love?
I’ve been practising yoga for 6 years now. I initially started with Bikram yoga, then moved into Vinyasa flow and finally ended up at FG. I particularly love the Deep Core and FG classes. Both have helped improve my practice significantly. Hip openers and more Yin postures are my favourites. Moreover, I have a very busy schedule, often juggling many things while maintaining a complex case-load within my private practice and yoga helps me remain centred. My practise has allowed me to develop strong mental and physical strength, clarity of thought and a renewed sense of being.
What would you say have been the most enriching / positive / beneficial aspects of the training?
A deeper understanding of yoga, both from a philosophical and physical aspect. As a practitioner, I didn’t realise the challenges teaching a class may present. I always thought that it was about delivering the monologue, but it’s so much more than that. Each and every student is equally important and have different needs, whether new, injured or advanced – balancing this all while making sure you deliver an energetic class on time can be tough, so I have a new found respect for my yoga teachers.
What did you find the most challenging?
The long days were probably the most challenging – up to 15 hours per day, 6 days a week is no small feat! By the end of week 2, I felt like I was living in a bubble! Additionally, trying to absorb the enormous amount of data in a short space of time was daunting.
How did you stay motivated and energised throughout?
Laughter! We laughed a lot. Being a bit of a perfectionist, my starting point was to try and get everything right. There were definitely moments when my motivation dipped, but by the beginning of week 3, I realised that at the end of the 30 days it didn’t mean that I would somehow become a perfect yoga teacher, but that I have a good enough framework to develop and like most professions, this would take months, if not years. Michele’s encouragement and support was always a good antidote when my energy was in the basement.
Has your training changed the way you approach your own practice?
I have a different perspective. I have a much better understanding of what it means to practice yoga. I am more accepting of my limitations and have an awareness of what’s going on inside my body. I’m not preoccupied with how deep or how perfect my postures are, but being ok with where I’m at on that day. As a therapist, I’m also acutely aware of the mental benefits and approach my practise more holistically.
What would you say your own teaching style is like?
I’m still in the process of developing my own style as a yoga teacher, but I imagine my class will be challenging and energising yet equally containing and soothing. I hope that students will leave feeling more connected to themselves and their practice. I have spent many hours listening to different types of music to create a playlist that will hopefully reflect my intention to provide a space for them to have this experience.
Congratulations Kelly! We look forward to seeing you at the studio soon.