Thaxted Yoga

Thaxted Yoga

I couldn’t believe my luck when I drove past and saw the fresh green and blue sign, the windows draped in soft white voile with tiny mirrors catching the sunlight.  It was early 2015 and whilst I was preparing to move into my new home nearby, Thaxted Yoga opened.  It didn’t take long for me to join a class.  Each time I stepped into the little studio, I felt enveloped in a calm, gentle energy, topped up with the warmth of a big Casey hug.  I discovered a different part of myself in each class I took, the ‘Be Mindful’ artwork on the mantelpiece reminding me of my intention.  It quickly became my happy place.

Thaxted Yoga

Casey’s yoga classes had humble beginnings at the top of the Guildhall in Thaxted, before moving to the central studio I came to know and love.  I wasn’t the only one.  As the lease on the studio ran out, it became clear Casey would need a bigger space.  Her sparkling enthusiasm was infectious as she shared her studio dreams with me.  She set out to create a space that would continue with the Thaxted Yoga ethos of a personal approach, whilst accommodating more mats and the opportunity to take classes in a range of styles with different teachers.  She has achieved that and more.

Thaxted Yoga

I had a sneak peek at the studio ahead of taking my first class there.  I’m sure I had a big smile on my face as I stepped through the door.  The calm, gentle energy of the old studio was already there.  Perhaps it was less to do with the space and more to do with the people?  It was instantly recognisable as Thaxted Yoga; clean white walls, beautiful greenery, piles of purple bolsters and rolled up mats, a ceiling draped in soft white voile with lights reminiscent of the windmill in Thaxted, a diffuser softly releasing aromatherapy oils, and of course, the ‘Be Mindful’ artwork.  I found it the most peaceful space, and that was before practising any yoga.

Savasana at Thaxted Yoga

I took the new ‘Gentle Yoga’ class with Casey.  I arrived to find the mats set up with a very inviting selection of props.  The pace was relaxed, allowing us to deepen our awareness and fully experience each pose.  Small adjustments had profound effects.  Using blocks helped to personalise the poses whilst grounding our bodies.  Every so often, I noticed my attention lost in the expansive views of the Essex countryside; watching a horse flick its tail or the sunlight shining on the freshly harvested field.  Each time, I returned my awareness to my body feeling even more relaxed and refreshed.  We ended the class in Savasana.  This is typically done lying flat on the mat, but we continued to use props.  I found myself lying along an inclined bolster, a second bolster under my knees, blocks under my arms, a soft blanket draped over me and a lavender eye mask soothing away any remaining tension.  As Casey guided us through Savasana, a gentle breeze blew in from across the fields.  By the end of our well-being chant, I felt truly settled.  Om, shanti, shanti, shanti.  Peace, peace, peace.

With Casey at Thaxted Yoga

You can find out more about Thaxted Yoga and the classes on offer here.

The Wheel of Well-being

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If you follow my blog regularly, you may have noticed I didn’t share a post last week.  It was one of those weeks when unexpected stressors were being thrown at me quicker than I felt I could deal with them.  We all have them.  It can be any number of things; an illness, a difficult communication, something going wrong, an extra task coming your way when your diary’s already full.  When the stressors start hurtling towards you, it can quickly become overwhelming.  It can feel difficult to pick yourself up if the next knock blows before you’re fully upright.  You feel thrown about by stress with a disconcerting lack of control.Read More

The Lake Meditation

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Sunlight shimmering on the surface.
Trees reflected,
water like a mirror.

Ducks swimming, calm above, furiously paddling beneath
a fan of ripples.

Murky green water,
shadows
depth.

Mysterious koi carp lurking beneath
the surface.

A gentle breeze gathering ripples.
Water undulating,
swirling
bubbling.

A vessel.
Fluid.
Contained.
The lake.Read More

Mindfulness for Health – A Course Review

 

 

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I embarked on Breathworks’ ‘Mindfulness for Health’ course with high hopes.  I was already familiar with the wonderful work of Breathworks and I was eager to bring more of their techniques into my practice.  I wasn’t disappointed.  In fact, my expectations were exceeded as I deepened my practice in a supportive and inspiring community. Read More

Mindfulness Toolbox

Mindfulness Toolbox

Last week I completed Breathworks’ ‘Mindfulness for Health’ course.  Over ten weeks I was able to deepen my practice, be part of a supportive community and witness transformation in myself and others.  I’m looking forward to sharing the experience with you next week.  In the meantime, I’ve created a mindfulness toolbox to remind myself and others of the practice in an easy and accessible way.  Some of the ideas are so simple and take such little time, yet they can have a truly profound effect on your day to day life, whatever your situation.  You can find the toolbox here.

Crochet Therapy

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I’m sitting on the bed.  I’m holding a ball of yellow  wool.  It’s soft, bright.  A crochet hook is gently cradled in my right hand.  “Yarn over hook and pull through a loop,” says my roommate sitting next to me, wool and hook in hand too.  I watch as the string of yarn turns into neat little chain stitches.  I forget where I am.  I forget I’m in hospital.Read More

A Taste of Summer – Pesto Courgetti

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Growing food is such a grounding experience.  I can easily see the appeal of allotments and why people devote endless hours to their gardens.  My little kitchen garden is taking shape this year.  I have trailing tomatoes, bags of potatoes, pots of herbs and a planter full of courgettes.  I find the process fascinating, watching a tiny seed grow into something so fresh and delicious.  Little Nieces D and P were as delighted as I was when we discovered the first tiny green tomato on the plants they helped to sow.  I don’t know what I’ll discover when we lift the potatoes as the leaves have been stripped bare by slugs.  But the courgettes are flourishing with huge leaves and vibrant yellow flowers. Read More

‘The Treasure of Pleasure’ – Rewiring the Brain for Happiness

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I’m waiting for two hospital admissions.  I don’t know when they’ll be or how how much notice I’ll be given before I have to pack my bag, say goodbye to my kitties and face yet more inpatient treatment and sleepless nights on a plastic hospital mattress.  I have imminent meetings and assessments to review the care I receive, which, given government bureaucracy, can create huge amounts of stress.  Not to mention the day to day challenge of managing my condition, living with difficult symptoms and finding ways to enable me to complete basic tasks most people take for granted.  It could easily consume me.  My life could centre round illness and disability, and all the suffering that accompanies it.  That would be perfectly understandable.  It might even be expected.  It has happened in the past.  But I know if I broaden my awareness, there is always something pleasant to experience.Read More

The Joy and Heartache of Impermanence

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I’m looking into my front garden.  The lawn and hedges are fresh and green.  Tall, delicate stems of verbena wave across my window.  Lavender is starting to release its aromatic scent.  There are roses in tight bud, others already opening to reveal layers of vibrant petals.  The beautiful colours capture my attention.  I feel happy and content as I take it all in.  But there’s something else; a weight of sadness and a sense of loss.  I know this moment won’t last.  Like everything else, it will pass.Read More