Yoga and mindfulness as personal & social practices

From improving wellbeing to working with the mind and changing your life

You might get into yoga to improve flexibility, as a way to de-stress and enjoy relaxation, to learn more about meditation, or for specific health reasons. It might take you on a more in-depth journey of personal development. Often it starts with an alternative way to exercise and manage stress, but it has the potential to help you in many different ways. The mindfulness and embodied approach which is evident in Karin's teaching can underpin and support every area of our lives - it trains the mind which is involved in everything we do, including how we are in community, work, relationships and family.

Hatha yoga and Scaravelli-inspired yoga

The word hatha comes from the two Sanskrit terms - "ha" meaning sun, and "tha" meaning moon. In Sanskrit, when “ha” and “tha” are put together, "hatha" means "forceful", implying that yoga is a powerful discipline. “Yoga” means to yoke, or to join two things together. Hatha yoga is designed to join together sun (active, or yang) energy with moon (receptive, or yin) energy, in order to create balance and greater power in the yoga practitioner.

Hatha yoga is an ancient system of yoga based on the idea that before it was possible to reach a state of enlightenment through meditation, the body needed to be in a state of healthy balance to enable the yoga practitioner to work with the mind.

In contemporary yoga, we still practice many of the traditional postures and breathing exercises in order to balance mind, body and breath - because we know they are beneficial whether we are aiming for enlightenment or not. The way yoga postures are taught has been influenced by research in anatomy and physiology, and Karin's teaching is informed by the latest thinking in yoga development to ensure the way postures are practised is as beneficial as possible and safe. Her teaching is partcularly influenced by her own study and practice of mindfulness, and Vanda Scaravelli (1908-1999). Vanda Scaravelli explored the natural ability of the body to be supported by gravity but yet to move very freely with the breath. A Scaravelli-inspired yoga class like Karin's will encourage students to deeply listen to their bodies, to get to know and understand the anatomy and physiology of the body to create balance and harmony in every movement and to let go of accumulated tension and unhelpful postural and mental habits. We are often not aware of habits we have in the way we hold and move ourselves, and in the way we think and act in the world. These habits can so easily influence our yoga and mindfuness practice without us even realising - we just bring them with us from our home and work life. So the first step is to become much more aware of ourselves and then gradually undo the unhelpful habits to replace them with grace and balance.