Before going to my first yoga class, I’d tried it at home using a DVD and YouTube. It isn’t easy getting into your downward-facing dog or maintaining balance for your warrior pose while keeping an eye on the screen! For Day 50 of #100DaysNoTV I joined Sally at her Yoga Hut so I could learn how to do it properly.
Sally’s Yoga Hut is at her home in the Cambridgeshire Fens, about a 20-minute drive from our house. It’s lovely to be in the car, listening to podcasts, driving through the flat, Fenland landscape: you’re surrounded by the wide open sky which meets the farmed fields all around. It’s easy to feel away-from-it-all.
how can yoga help you?
In this class, we do Hatha Yoga which combines yoga poses (asana) and breathing techniques (pranayama) and is designed to bring peace to your body and mind. We finish with guided relaxation which leaves you feeling so good.
Practising yoga regularly can help to build your muscle strength. As well as muscle definition looking good, the increase in strength can help protect from pain in your joints, and greater flexibility can prevent damage in the future.
I’ve had discomfort in my lower back and hips since giving birth, and it can disrupt my sleep. During the night after a few yoga classes, the pain is already less noticeable. Stiff shoulders are common with people who sit at computers – let’s face it, that’s most of us – and yoga can provide welcome relief from this too.
It’s easier to notice the physical advantages of yoga, because, well, you can feel it! When it comes to its benefits for your mind, it’s less easy to notice immediately. I suffer from social anxiety on an almost daily basis and yoga helps to ease this. I leave the class with a clearer mind, feeling more positive – ready to face the world and get stuff done!
When the Yoga Hut was built, the floor was laid on top of clear quartz, rose quartz and amethyst. Sally did this to absorb some of the negative energy from the electric under-floor heating and to aid the general feel and healing energies of the space. I find that fascinating.
In Sally’s words, “Clear quartz is known as the master healer and is great to absorb negative energy and helps with healing on any level. Rose quartz is similar but is more for love and harmony and feelings of inner peace. Amethyst is great for connecting to your higher self and for your spirituality. It is great for clearing the mind and for emotional issues.”
take a deep breath
Our class is an hour long with around 50 minutes of asanas working every part of the body and 10 minutes of relaxation. I normally find it difficult to switch off my thoughts and just chill. The combination of a warm floor, soft blanket, soothing words from Sally and the Tibetan Singing Bowls helps to empty my mind.
Sally explained how they work: “The Tibetan Singing Bowls work on vibrations and healing at a subtle, cellular level. Everything on Earth has its own vibration, including ourselves, and when something is amiss certain parts of our body won’t be vibrating in harmony with the rest. The singing bowls provide a ‘sound bath’ which can help bring everything back into balance and are also scientifically proven to induce relaxation within the brain. Sound healing can help with stress, anxiety, depression, low energy levels, pain and so much more.
“The tingsha chimes that I use at the end of relaxation have similar sound benefits but are useful in bringing the mind/body back to the present moment.”
It was my first experience of sound healing and it’s a difficult sensation to explain. I felt sleepy but not close to sleep; I knew where I was yet felt space all around me.
After the chimes we sit up gently, eyes closed until we’re ready to open them. Back to reality but with a lighter mind and ready to face the world again.
where it all began
Sally began her yoga journey in a local gym when it was pretty rare to encounter a class. After gaining a lot of knowledge from her colleague and yoga teacher she pursued it as a career, teaching since 2003 and becoming freelance in 2005 after qualifying at the Sivananda Ashram in the Bahamas.
The Yoga Hut was born of frustration at having to teach in studios that lacked fresh air and positive energy. It’s become a genuine retreat for people to take themselves away from the stress of everyday life. Classes are small and personal; the space is inviting and calm.
At first, I wasn’t sure what to expect from a yoga class. Despite knowing Sally already, I was a bit nervous as I knew the classes were small – the average is four – but everyone was welcoming, and it suits me better than a class in a large studio.
I’ve never been a big believer in spiritualism and energies, but I fully embrace it when I’m at the Yoga Hut and I leave feeling refreshed and calm. Whether it’s the yoga itself, the peaceful setting or the crystals’ healing properties, I don’t know. And it doesn’t really matter – I feel better and that’s why I’ll keep going back.
Yoga is great and it doesn’t discriminate on age or fitness level. Doing it in a class will allow your teacher to help you adapt the stretches to suit your ability, and you won’t have to pause-and-play your way through a video 🙂
Bye for now!
A final note: I should point out that it’s wise to talk to someone who knows what they’re doing before you attempt any type of yoga – possibly even your doctor if you have any specific ailments. A qualified teacher will be able to advise you on what to try, and what to avoid.