Issue 21

Yoga at Caswell Clinic

I have been teaching yoga for nearly six years, and practising for over twelve. I am a qualified teacher with the British Wheel of Yoga – the governing body for yoga in the UK.

I teach two sessions back to back on a Thursday afternoon at the clinic. Most weeks we are in the family visiting room, and occasionally we have the class in the sports hall if the family room is booked up.

Yoga has been described as many things, but first and foremost it is a PRACTICE. In other words, the more you do it, the better you get at it, the more benefits you feel and you deepen your understanding. Yoga is a vast subject. In time yoga becomes a daily practice, a way of life.

It is a practice that works to deepen our awareness of the way we breathe and the way we move. We start to notice where we are out of balance, where we are strong or weak, flexible or not as the case may be! The important thing is that you start from where you are. Yoga is for everyone. It is not competitive in any way. The main thing is to simply show up every week.

The breath is a very important part of yoga practice and in class we spend a lot of time being aware of the breath, coordinating movements with the breath, and using the breath to help us relax and find a little bit of calm in a sometimes hectic world.

Yoga can help your body become more flexible, and many of the postures build strength and stamina. The balance postures help develop concentration. The standing postures develop strength in the ankles, hips and legs. Other postures develop strength in the shoulders, arms and upper body. All postures promote flexibility and exercise the joints and attached muscles. Many postures are energising while others promote a sense of calm and relaxation.

Yoga is more than simply a series of postures. Fundamental to yoga practice is awareness of the breath, and in addition to breath awareness during posture work, we also practice specific breathing exercises which can have a calming, balancing effect on body and mind.

All yoga sessions end with a period of relaxation, and different techniques can be used to relax the body and bring a sense of calm, peacefulness and equanimity. Having the skills to relax in this way gives us a breathing space and often helps us to see more clearly. We become more centred and grounded and somehow better able to deal with the challenges of daily life.

If you are interested, speak to your Occupational Therapist or Primary Nurse

Lynne Jones (Qualified teacher of Yoga at Caswell Clinic)