A (very) brief summary of Yoga.
Recent years have seen a global explosion of yoga. It has moved out of the ashrams of the Indian subcontinent and has been on a whirlwind tour across the world. It has changed the lives of millions of people who have all been touched by its simple, yet profound approach to health, happiness, and spirituality. It helps keep your body fit and supple, and can improve mental health.
What is Yoga?
In a nutshell, Hatha Yoga works based on the idea that we can effect our lives in a positive way through working with our physical bodies. We go into stretches and hold them with correct breath so that we can develop our understanding of, and strengthen the connection between mind, body and life force (Prana). In this way each posture, each movement becomes a meditation. We find that over time our bodies become stronger and more flexible, and our minds more at ease. Whilst this is fantastic, and is certainly useful in living a healthy lifestyle, it is not the end in itself but rather a stepping stone along a deeper spiritual path. This means that if we if we wish to take our practice further, we can use the springboard of the Hatha Yoga exercises to deepen our meditations and help us become more conscious, loving individuals in the world around us.
Many people think of yoga only as a set of physical movements, stretches and breathing exercises, that can make us supple and relaxed. Whilst this certainly is true, yoga is also so much more than that. It is a way of finding balance and harmony, within our minds and hearts. It is a way of understanding our place in the world, and living happy productive lives. It is a therapy. It is a tool for healing both our physical bodies, and our emotional selves. It is a peace. A peace that comes from letting go of our stress and anxiety. It is a union. A union of ourselves and the present moment. It is an awareness, an engaged presence that finds joy in every movement, every word. Yoga is a way of life and of living. It is joyful, compassionate, and inspiring.
And it all starts with our bodies.
Why so Physical?
The philosophy of Hatha Yoga, which is the grandfather father to nearly every type of modern yoga states that by controlling our bodies through postures (Asana), movements (Vinyasa) and breath control (Pranyama) we can achieve uplifted states of being. This is a very basic explanation but from it was can understand why Hatha Yoga places so much importance on physical exercises.
Inside the hardest fruit is the sweetest reward.
Whilst it is debatable whether or not you me or anyone else can indeed reach the mystical heights that we described in the ancient texts of yoga, It is certainly true is that the exercises that have been developed for that end can be an amazing therapeutic tool for our bodies and minds. Safely learning and repeating postures and movements affects your body and mind in a positive way. Over time your muscles will lengthen, becoming stronger and more toned. This means that amongst other things, you will be less likely to injure yourself. It can also aid in correcting musculoskeletal problems, giving relief from long lasting physical pain or discomfort. The breathing exercises found in yoga slow your heart rate, and activate a relaxation response in the body. This means that we feel more relaxed, at ease, and present. This is a huge help in dealing with the stresses of modern day life. Embarking on your yoga journey essentially means that you become committed to learning how to do something that you currently cannot do. The learning process that you go through in yoga will change you. It will not be easy, but the rewards will be great.
About My Teaching
For beginners I teach Hatha Yoga with a focus on holding each posture with correct alignment and introducing some of the more simple dynamic movements that are available. I have several beginner classes available, My more advanced students will be guided through more challenging sequences and postures to encourage the development of strength as well as improving flexibility.
I like to keep my lessons fun and informal and am very relaxed in my approach to teaching. I will encourage you to work hard, yet honour the limitations of your body, to find the correct way to develop your practice and hopefully challenge your expectations of what you think is possible, no matter your level or ability.
I currently run a variety of classes in Norwich and Sudbury. To view the full class list, please click here.
What to Expect
The structure of my lessons is usually the same each week as I know that repetition is a great way to learn and improve. There may be some small variations or differences between the different classes, but typically we will practice or cover some or all of the following techniques.
- Opening meditation (5 – 10 mins).
- Sun Salutation warm ups.
- Standing & seated postures.
- Balancing postures.
- Strength building exercises.
- Inversions such as Headstand and Shoulderstand.
- Relaxation (10-15 mins).
"I had the pleasure to attend quite a few sessions with Laurence so far and I highly recommend him both as a person & yoga teacher. His teaching is very precise, hands-on and always with a smile on the face. You really can learn a lot from him!"David
- "Laurence is a great teacher, full of wisdom and patience. I can't recommend his classes highly enough."Ian
"Laurence is a fantastic yoga teacher with lots of experience. He makes you feel completely at ease during classes and will adjust you to help you achieve the perfect posture"Sophie
"Laurence is an amazing teacher and it was a joy to attend his classes . . . . His passion for yoga bounces out of him and his classes are fun and serious at the same time. . . When I was away he covered my classes, in total 24 hours. He was (and is) very reliable and punctual, and my students enjoyed his input . . . . He is an asset to Yoga."Brenda
- "Having only just started yoga I have been really impressed with Laurence's teaching and pace of the classes. He always has a method for breaking a move down, helping you to achieve the final position in small steps. His knowledge and ability have certainly inspired me to take my yoga further."Josh
"There is something very special about Laurence’s yoga class. It has a very welcoming and healing energy. He is also very playful and that attitude is relaxing and refreshing! The actual asanas are very toning and the Nidra style relaxation at the end is divine!!! Highly recommended."Georgina
"Laurence is one of those teachers who is so immersed and involved in the pleasure of his teaching that every minute of the class was challenging, fun, engaging, inspirational and spiritual! I can't wait to find another opportunity to visit Suffolk so that I can go back."Jan
"I would highly recommend this person to work at a yoga centre. When he came to visit India I was so happy because he handled my yoga centre for me whilst I was away. He gave this service to me and I was very happy with his teaching."Mahi
- "Laurence's yoga teaching is of a very high standard. He is very experienced and passes on his knowledge and skills in a clear, easy to follow way as he helps all ages and abilities achieve exercises and poses relevant to their fitness and experience level. Laurence's warm, friendly nature combined with his professionalism and enthusiasm for his art result in excellent instruction. His love of yoga and teaching is evident as he creates a welcoming and safe environment in which to learn. Learning yoga with Laurence is fun, enjoyable, relaxing and non-threatening."Erin