Monday, 22 December 2008

Hello Yogis

Just done my last class of 2008 and am feeling fairly chilled. It was lovely to get a bit of a stretch after not being able to do anything for a week.

Just wanted to say thank you to you all for attending class and making my first few months of teaching so enjoyable. It's been lovely to share the joy that is yoga with you all and I hope that you are already feeling its many benefits. I look forward to taking your practice further in the new year.

Classes start back on the following dates:

Monday 5th January - Ski Club level 1
Monday 5th January - Cairns Church class
Tuesday 6th January - Ski Club level 2
Wednesday 14th January - Blanefield Class

Keep the mats out and try to keep the sun salutations going daily throughout the holidays.

Have a happy and peaceful Christmas and New Year. See you all in 2009!

Jo x

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Monday night class at Cairns will be on. Jo x

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Sorry class cancelled this evening 17th December in Strathblane. I've got a vomiting bug! First class of the New Year in Strathblane is 14th January.

Merry Xmas and Happy New Year to you all.


Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Xmas Meltdown

Hello yogis

If it wasn't for yoga I would be in meltdown! I find this time of the year so stressful. Mostly I think because the children have so many activities on and I am attending Xmas concerts here, there and everywhere! Bah humbug!

Anyway, I am meditating and doing a lot more pranayama than I normally do which is keeping the meltdown at bay.

I had some good feedback from some of my students about the meditation technique by Shiva Rea I posted on the blog a couple of weeks ago. So if you are heading for Xmas meltdown why not give it a go.

For those of you I did alternate nostril breathing with this morning, this is another excellent breathing exercise to keep you balanced, combine this with a bit of meditation and you should stay as chilled as it it outside!

So, look after yourselves at this stressful time of year, yoga gives us the tools to cope with the stresses of modern life. Be good to yourself and use them.

Om Shanti

Jo x

Friday, 5 December 2008

Hi Everybody

Last class before xmas at Blanefield is 17 December. We start back again on 14 January

Last class at Cairns Church is 22 December and we start back on 5 January.

The Ski Club classes stop on the 15th for Monday class and 16th for Tuesday class, and begin again on Monday 5th and Tuesday 6th January.

I will see many of you before then, but if I don't I hope you have a fantastic Xmas and New Year and I look forward to seeing you in the New Year.

Jo x

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Hi Everyone

Good to see you all in class last week, particularly those of you who were new. Well done, especially those who did the ashtanga session at Cairns on Monday. It's quite a tough session for the beginner, you did fantastically and I hope to see you all again next week.

For those of you who might be interested in trying some meditation to accompany your yoga practice I have pasted below an article by the renowned American yoga teacher Shiva Rea.

This method is one I have used myself which I found particularly useful when I first started meditating. Meditating takes a lot of patience and trial and error, but the rewards are worth it. So why not give the method described below a go and see how you get on. Be warned you might feel a bit daft the first couple of times you do it, don't let this put you off, that feeling goes when you get in to it.

Good luck

Jo x

A Higher Hum: Breath and Mantra Meditation
The following meditation is based upon the mantra "so hum," ("I am that") used within the traditions of Tantra and Vedanta.
By Shiva Rea

Mantra, the chanting of sacred words or sounds, is a central part of yogic meditation. Mantra comes from the combination of two syllables: "man," meaning "to reflect" or "be aware," and "tra," meaning "tool for" or "agent of." A mantra is a tool for reflection and the cultivation of awareness, and is used for both concentration and contemplation on the Source.

Within yoga, mantras are based upon sounds that reflect the energy of our divine nature. Om is considered to be the universal, consummate mantra. The following meditation is based upon the mantra "so hum," ("I am that") used within the traditions of Tantra and Vedanta. Since "so hum" also indicates the sound of the breath, it is a mantra that repeats itself effortlessly.

Find a comfortable posture for meditation (seated on a cushion or blanket, in a chair or against a wall). Place your palms facing up in jnana mudra (forefinger and thumb touching) with your palms facing up to open your awareness or facing down to calm the mind. Scan your body and relax any tension. Let your spine rise from the ground of the pelvis. Draw your chin slightly down and let the back of your neck lengthen.

Bring your attention to the tidal rhythm of your breath, feeling the rise and fall of your inhalation and exhalation. As your focus settles on your breath, begin to employ the simple mantra "so hum." As you inhale, say "so" silently to yourself, and as you exhale say "hum." Keep your focus on the sensation of your breath while silently repeating the sacred syllables, "so hum." As you drink your inhalation, gently drawing your breath along the base of your throat, listen for the sound of "so." As you exhale, listen for the sound of "hum" as your breath is amplified in the throat.

Let your mind become absorbed in the sound of so hum-in your internal chanting and your actual breath. As if you were watching the waves of the ocean, let your mind be naturally drawn into presence and stillness—no place to go, nothing to do, so hum, so hum. If a thought (vritti) arises, come back to the mantra so hum.

In the beginning, it may be helpful to set an external timer for 10, 20, or 30 minutes so you are not distracted. When you are finished, bring your hands together in anjali mudra (prayer position) and close with a moment of gratitude, reflection, or prayer to soak up the energy of your meditation into your being and life.

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Hi Everyone

I hope those of you who did an autumn/winter flow yoga class with me this week enjoyed the class. I enjoyed teaching it!

I was getting a real sense of low energy in the classes over the last couple of weeks, which is completely normal at this time of year. At this time we want to be cultivating and gathering energy inwards not giving it out too much, which is why I switched to flow from ashtanga. Those of you who are very attached to the ashtanga practice, dinnae fech, the flow we are doing is working deeply into areas which will benefit your ashtanga practice in the new year.

The flow we did, is deeply relaxing and will I hope stand you all in good stead for the annual, stress fest that is the run up to Xmas. We will stick with the same flow and after a couple of times doing it you will start to 'get the flow of it'!!!!

For more info on seasonal yoga go to the energy in season link under 'my favourite websites' where you can find all sorts of advice on seasonal living from the fantastic Julie Hanson and Sue Woodd.

I have been asked to post some information about the music I use in my classes:

The tracks I mostly use during the relaxation at the end come from the cd Music for Meditation 2 by Lex Van Someren. Which I have to say is one of the best I have come across. The mantra track which a few of you have commented on is called Devi Prayer by Ananda.

Hope you all have a great weekend - see you next week.

Jo x

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Hi Everyone

For those of you who might be interested in taking your yoga practice a little further there is a workshop taking place at Yoga Glasgow this weekend which might be of interest.  The Saturday workshop will involve Pranayama, Meditation and Mantra.  Pranayama is an ancient technique of breathing exercises used by yogi's to clear and cleanse the body and mind.  Meditation is a technique used to get into a deeper state of relaxation and awareness.  Mantra is using words or affirmations to focus attention and instill one pointed concentration.  It's a great opportunity to explore the techniques used to learn to quieten the mind and relax.

Siobhan is also teaching an Indian head massage workshop on Sunday.  If you've never had an Indian head massage you've missed out - it's fantastic! Why not learn this wonderful technique to try out on family and friends?

Places will be limited so if you are interested contact Siobhan at yoga glasgow asap.

For more info and Siobhan's contact details go to

Jo x

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Hello Everybody

Just a wee reminder.  Please feel free to email me or post on the blog any questions you may have regarding the practice, be they about specific asana or yoga in general.  Don't be confused - just ask!

Jo x

p.s. Just been at a backbending class with the fantastic Allison Dearling.  If anyone is looking for an ashtanga class at the weekends she does a fab primary series led class on a Sunday at the Chi Yoga Centre in Glassford St, City Centre.  See the Chi Yoga Centre website for details - there is a link on my blog under favourite websites.
Hi Level 2's

Good session this morning!  Most noticably, the breathing - fantastic, loud ujjayi breath almost in unison- what more could a yoga teacher ask for!!

If you are practising at home this week, bear in mind the tips I gave you re the sun salutations and vinyasas, use the tummy muscles to pull yourself up into downward facing dog from upward facing dog and don't let yourself collapse into the plank on the jump back, bring your awareness to your core.  

Have a good week, see you all next week.

J x

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Hi Everybody

First of all I'd like to say well done to Fiona my friend and level 2 yoga student who just completed the Loch Ness marathon in a fabulous time.  Amazingly she turned up at class on Tuesday morning after running the marathon on Sunday, now that's dedication!  There was a lot of ooing and aahing as her quads were very sore indeed and its the first time I've ever seen her miss out a vinyasa!  Well done Fi, for the marathon and for making it to class!

Have been getting a bit more of a chance to observe how you are all getting on in class and am pleased to see how much progress you are making.  Hope you all feel like you are starting to loosen off a bit and are gaining a bit more strength in the upper body.  Becoming more familiar with the postures and what is coming next is half the battle and you are all getting there.

Next week Ski Club classes are off but the Cairns Church and Strathblane classes are on as normal.   If you are off on holiday, I hope you have a great time.  

Jo x 

p.s.  A bit of housekeeping - Strathblane class - to keep the heat in the hall we are using the side door  (the second one along, not the one up the stairs) to gain access to the building.  We will be keeping the door open with a yoga block, please ensure after you come in that the door is still kept ajar by the block so that the next person can get in.

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Hi Strathblane Yogis

Thought you all did brilliantly last night.  It was fantastic having Gerry there to help and I hope you all got some useful tips to help with the postures.

As I said last night I will be making the class 90 minutes long as of next week.  This will enable us to get more of the sequence in, and also to have a longer relaxation period at the end of the class. A good relaxation at the end is important for you to get the most from the practice and should not be rushed.

I hope you all received the e'mail I sent with the sun salutations handout.  If you did not, please e'mail me and let me know and I will forward it on to you.

Will order the blocks for everyone today and will hopefully have them by next week.  

See you then.

Jo x

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Sun salutations handout

First of all a big well done to my student and pal Rachel who successfully completed the Berlin Marathon at the weekend. She's amazing, lots of determination and focus. I get tired just thinking of all the training she puts in, and, she does ashtanga on top of the running! See you for a well deserved pint soon R.

Well done level 2's this morning. The pace of the class is going really well, nice to see you all working so hard. As I said this morning, with the next block of level 2 I would like to make the class 90 minutes long so that I can start introducing the rest of the postures to complete the primary series. Don't worry we'll take the more advanced postures really slowly, and they are of course optional.

All levels - for the benefit of anyone who would like to try practising the sun salutations at home I will be e'mailing a handout of some pictures of the sequence which you can print out and have in front of you when you practice. Hope this helps.

See you at your next class.

Jo x

Friday, 26 September 2008

Its been a long and tiring, but very enjoyable week of yoga for me this week.  I was doing a workshop on adjustments for teachers with David Keil of Yoga Miami, a fantastic teacher who was over  teaching at the Chi Yoga Centre.   I've learned a great deal and am looking forward to sharing it with you all.

Got to be a student again this morning.  I was in my regular Friday morning yoga class with my teacher Harry at Esporta, bliss!  Incidentally if you ever have any injuries Harry's your man. Deep myofascial (i think that's how you spell it)  massage, its brilliant and has sorted me out a few times.   Check out his website at there is a link on my blogsite under my favourite websites.

Hope you all have a great bank holiday weekend.  See you all next week.

Jo x

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Am starting a  3 day post graduate course with David Keil, an american authorized ashtanga teacher today.  'Observations and Adjustments for Teachers'.  Am looking forward to sharing what I learn with you.  Am hoping its not going to be too physical as I was on a workshop with him on Sunday and am still smarting!

Thought I'd give you all a laugh ( it made me laugh and cringe) and post a picture of me a friend took on holiday in Munich twenty years ago and sent to me yesterday.  The hairdo will give you a laugh!  I can't believe I used to go around with hair like that!  All I can say is thank god for hair straighteners.  Don't laugh too much now!

Also here I am, more recently with my little lotus flowers.  Butter wouldn't melt.  Hoping to start childrens classes soon.  When I can muster up the courage!

Jo x

Monday, 22 September 2008

Marathon Girls

Just wanted to say good luck and hope all the hard training pays off to my friends and yoga students Rachel and Fiona who are both running marathons in the next couple of weeks. Hope all the ashtanga has helped!

They have both raised lots of cash for charity and I'm sure knowing how determined they both are that they will perform well. Enjoy, and hope you get pb's.

Jo x
Hi Ski Club Level 1

Well done today, by the looks of you I'd say you are starting to get the hang of it! As class is off next week do try and fit in some sun salutations at least a couple of times before the next class. Try and do 5 x A and 5 x B. Doing it first thing in the morning is best, wakes you up and get's the energy flowing, preparing your body for the rest of the day. It is normal to feel quite stiff first thing in the morning.

See you in a couple of weeks.

Jo x

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Hi Everyone

Just a reminder to try and get your mats out at home at least once before attending your next class.  Try getting up 15 minutes earlier one morning and doing the sun salutations.  Five x A and Five x B if you can manage.  It's a challenge at first, particularly if your not a morning person (like me!).  However, it makes a great start to the day as it opens up the energy channels, leaving you feeling energised and ready for action.  It's also a great way to get some ujjayi breath practice in. It's only 15 minutes and once its part of your routine it becomes as normal as brushing your teeth.

You will feel stiffer in the morning, this is normal!

I look forward to hearing how you get on next week.

Jo x
Hi Strathblane Yogis

Well done last night, particularly if it was your first time!  Practice was a little quicker this week, so slightly more challenging, but balanced out I hope by starting  to become more familiar with the postures and being able to anticipate what's coming next.

If you have a yoga block remember to try watching tv sitting on the floor on your block in one of the cross legged positions I have shown you.  Try it without back support for short periods of time to begin with and then if you need to with back support for a little longer.  (If you have back problems sit with your back against a wall or the sofa to begin with but try to sit up straight.)  Build the amount of time up gradually.  This has no end of benefits, but mostly will increase your hip flexibility, lengthen out the psoas and strengthen your core muscles all of which are compromised by lounging on soft chairs.  Give it a go, it's difficult at first but if you ease yourself into you will soon grow to enjoy it and the benefits.

See you all next week

Jo x

Monday, 15 September 2008

Bearsden Level 1

Hi Level 1 Ski Club

Well done this morning.  I hope that if you were at class last week you felt you were getting the hang of the sun salutations this time round.  If it was your first time, well done you did brilliantly!

After class you should feel quite light and energised, and, most importantly, relaxed.  You might get some niggles, as old injuries, where there may be scar tissue, get lengthened out. Persevere you are doing yourself good, believe it or not!  We will talk a bit more about this next week.

In the meantime remember and practice the ujjayi breath at home or whenever you can.  It is the key to the practice and once you have the hang of it you will feel the practice start to flow with the breath.

See you all next week.

Jo x

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Hi Strathblane Yogis

Hope you all enjoyed class last night and that you felt it was slightly easier than last time!  You all did brilliantly.  Am hoping to concentrate on the standing postures over the next 6 weeks or so, by that stage you will be familiar with them and should be starting to regulate the ujjayi breath with more ease.  You will then start to feel the practice flowing with the breath and that's when you really start to feel the benefits both physically and mentally.

Well done and look forward to seeing you all next week.

If you can, try and remember to get a yoga block ( a block not a brick), and bring blankets for relaxation.  

J0 x

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Hi Level 2 yogis

Just wanted to say you all did fabulously this morning, the class was flowing, as it should, without much of a break and I was particularly impressed with the breathing you all seemed to maintain well throughout.

Hope you enjoyed the opening and closing mantras too.  I will bring the words to class next time and you can start learning them if you fancy joining in.

I was on a seasonal yoga flow course at the weekend with the fabulous Sue Wood and Julie Hanson and hope to do something a bit different with you, possibly the last week of the block.  If you want to find out a bit more about seasonal flow before then check out 

If you have any questions or anything arising in practice that you would like an answer to please feel free to post them here, in order that we can all share, or alternatively, (if you'd rather not share! ) by e'mailing me.  

See you all next week.

Om shanti

Jo x

Friday, 5 September 2008

Hi Level 2 students


Just to let you know there is a fabulous teacher, David Keil, coming over from Miami the week beginning 21st September.  I did a workshop with him last year and it was great.  I don't know if there will be places left on any of his workshops but if you are interested check out the Chi Yoga Centre website, where details of his visit and workshops are available.  I'm going along to the observations and adjustments for teachers 3 day workshop and will also be there at the Sunday workshop.  So if you are up for a challenge and there are places left, I would thoroughly recommend it!

Jo x

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Hi All


Try practicing the ujjayi (victorious) breath at home, out walking the dog or driving in the car (perhaps not when other people are around, they might think you are a bit strange!  It's happened to me!).  I personally practice ujjayi breath regularly, usually when walking the dog. It is very calming and wonderful to be able to call on in times of stress.  The breath is strongly linked with our emotions and deep rythmic breathing can work wonders.

Am off to do some now!

Jo x

Hi Strathblane Yogis

Lovely to see you all last night.  Hope you enjoyed class and are not too sore this morning!  The first time is quite overwhelming because it seems like there is so much to remember, but it does get easier and more enjoyable with every practice.  Keep remembering the driving analogy!!

Last nights class was a kind of overview if you like of what the practice involves.  As the weeks progress we will break down the postures using modifications to make it suitable for all levels of flexibility.  I would urge you all to give it at least a few weeks before you decide whether or not the practice is for you, it takes a few sessions to relax into and start reaping the benefits of the practice.

There was a lovely energy in the class last night and it was a real pleasure teaching you all.  I really hope to see you all again next week.

Jo x

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Hi All

Hot off the press!  New class beginning Monday evenings 7.30pm at Cairns Church in Milngavie.  Starts 15th September.  The class is on a drop in basis so you can come along for a session without having to book in advance.  So if you fancy another session, (the more you do the more you will feel the benefits) come along, or maybe encourage your partners or friends to come along who maybe can't make it to a day time class.  

Incidentally, men, who often turn their noses up at the idea of yoga, really take to ashtanga style classes.  In fact my own teacher is a man. 

Class starts in Strathblane this evening.  Am hoping the class will take off as I think its great for people in outlying areas not to have to travel for these sorts of things.

See you all next week.

Jo x

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Hi everybody.  Was lovely to see you all at class this morning.  Hope you enjoyed it and that I can look forward to seeing you again next week.  We had a lovely coffee and bun in the cafe afterwards, just to replace the toxins we had sweated out!  So please do feel free if your not up to anything afterwards to come and join us.

Am up to my eyes in admin for setting up classes, there has been more involved than I had anticipated, and am just about to try and sort out a hall for a Monday evening class, so if you're hooked and fancy another session, let me know.

Will talk a bit about sitting postures next week, very important for breathing and meditation, which as you get more into the practice you might want to try out at home as well as in class.  

See you all next week, and do check into my blog regularly to see what's going on.  I will keep you up to date with my own classes and with workshops taking place that you might be interested in attending.  There are lots of fab teachers coming to the Chi Yoga Centre throughout the year.

Jo x