I have been practising yoga since I was a teenager, introduced by a friend's grandfather. We were inspired by his level of health and fitness, so we borrowed his Barbara Currie Power Yoga DVD to see what it was all about. I bought my own copy, and continued to practice over the next 10 years whenever things got too much - during exam time at school and university, relationship breakups, stress at work etc.
Then, during my travels in Australia, I went to some free meditation sessions at a Buddhist festival, and came out astoundingly clear that I wanted to study yoga and meditation. So I set out on a search to find somewhere to study, and through what can only be described as a synchronistic chain of events, I ended up back in Wales at Mandala Yoga Ashram (a place I'd never heard of previously although its been there 30 years!) studying to become a yoga teacher. I completed my training there in 2014, accredited by the British Wheel of Yoga, and moved in for a further two years to deepen my understanding.
I have been teaching yoga since 2013 and taught on courses at the ashram, in village halls, yoga studios, gyms, and at the British Wheel of Yoga Festival. In 2016 I trained with Tanya Fitzpatrick to become a Level 1 Somatic Movement Education Coach and see clients on a 1-1 basis who are dealing with chronic muscular pain.
What is yoga?
Yoga is a 3000+ year old discipline that originated in India and involves movement/posture work (asana), breathing practices (pranayama), and relaxation/meditation. It has its roots in the Hindu tradition, but is not a religious practice in itself - it can be practiced by those of any religion or none. It is more a mindfulness practice and is about developing our awareness physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, whatever that means to you. For me the word "spiritual" refers to a centre at which we feel at peace, connected with our authentic selves, with nature, and with those around us.
Yoga brings many benefits, including:
increased physical fitness, flexibility, mobility and strength
reduced tension and stress
improved self-esteem and mood
improved coordination, balance, and even memory!
facilitating changes in lifestyle habits
At the core to all of these is developing awareness.
"I was a bit apprehensive about trying yoga but I needn’t have worried. Sian has a very gentle approach, explains everything clearly and is really supportive. I take things at my own pace and have seen an improvement in my physical ability each time. Her classes are also a great chance to wind down, relax and put the week behind me" Elaine Collins
What is Somatics?
Somatic means "relating to the body", and in this case I am talking about a movement re-education system developed by Thomas Hanna, called Hanna Somatic Education.
Hanna Somatics helps people to release chronic tension that is causing pain, by re-educating the brain in the way it senses muscles and organises movement.
When we suffer with chronic pain, quite often the cause is muscular. Muscles can become habitually contracted through injury, accident, conditions such as fibromyalgia, years (or sometimes less!) of repetitive movement or being in the same position (e.g. golfing, sitting at a desk, holding a bag on one shoulder etc.), and the brain has simply forgotten how to release them. In fact, it no longer senses that the muscle is contracted - contraction has become the norm.
Hanna Somatics provides a series of simple exercises, performed in a specific way, that reminds the brain to release muscles when they no longer need to be contracted i.e. once the activity that required them to contract has been carried out. Releasing the muscle means relieving the pain. The more we practice these exercises, the more we develop our awareness of our holding patterns, and the quicker we can let go. This means more efficient movement, more energy, better sleep, better quality of life.
If you are suffering from chronic muscular pain that nothing seems to solve - painkillers, endless visits to the doctors, chiropractors, physiotherapists, massage...then book a session with me, learn the exercises specific to you, and go away feeling empowered in the knowledge that you can free yourself from pain.
"Better than physiotherapy. Instead of feeling like a chore, I was surprised to find I actually enjoy doing these exercises. They are very relaxing - I do them first thing in the morning and last thing at night when I can't sleep. I'm much more supple - after only 2 sessions, I could bend down to put my shoes on, which I haven't been able to do for years!" Sally Ann Nixon