Every Saturday morning I wake up feeling tired, achey, my back is sore, my neck is tight, my forehead is furrowed and my mind is foggy. I am hungover, not from drinking, just from the week. I will reiterate, this is my normal state on a Saturday morning, even when I go to bed between 9 and 10pm and do nothing on a Friday evening except come home, eat tea and watch Netflix! This is the joy of having a chronic, autoimmune condition (and still insisting on working and working out pretty hard throughout the week).
Because of this, more likely than not, you will find me taking a 20 minute walk from my house to Urban Gym for a 10 am yoga session with Jo aka @nutsaboutyoga.
Jo’s teaching philosophy
“My classes are all about encouraging my students to feel and listen to their body. Moving in a way that suits them in that particular moment. Finding a good balance between effort and ease with each movement/posture.
I feel its important to guide my students to take a step away from their busy mind and feel into sensations that arise.
It’s all about focusing on self awareness and working towards finding our own little piece of inner calm in this hectic, conditioned world we live in.
I can confirm that Jo achieves this in her classes. Having been a regular student for about 2 years, I have found that I have become increasingly good at listening to myself and honouring what I need, both inside and outside of yoga.
What should I expect?
If you follow directions to the venue you arrive at a door that looks like one of many terraced houses except it has a sign on the front of the building “urban gym”. You will probably tentatively push the door open and follow your nose down the stairs towards the sound of chit chat and calming music. As with most yoga venues you will take off your shoes and walk into this basement studio where Jo’s lovely face will be there to greet you. If it is your first time I recommend that you introduce yourself straight away, especially if you are a bit nervous, you will feel better immediately. Mats are provided so you don’t need to bring your own unless you want to.
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**Friday Night Special** This Friday 29th June 7-8:30pm *Yoga for a healthy back* A strong and healthy spine is essential to our well being. In our day to day life we spend a lot of time sitting down, whether that be at a desk, taking journeys in the car or even relaxing on the sofa at home. This can weaken our backs, the ligaments and tendons shorten over time causing tension and compression in the spine, which contributes to bad posture. This workshop is designed to help you understand the range of motion through the spine and to learn yoga stretches and postures that will help lengthen the connective tissue, decompress the spine and strengthen the core and back muscles to give you the necessary support the body needs to heal naturally. #yoga #healthyback #fridaynightspecial #pureyogabristol #wappingwharf #cargo2 #bristol #peacefulwarrior #chinmudra #yogateacher #yogalove #strength #loveyourspine #backbend #instayoga #jellyfish #funkyleggings #inthemoment #foucus #breathe #loveyourself #ilovetostretch #asana #beagoddess #energy #igyoga #igyogacommunity #namaste #myyogajourney #yogini
This class is a Vinyasa Flow class although I find that all yoga teachers are so different, you will not necessarily find that the name of the class says everything you need to know. But don’t worry I am here to give you a run down.
Almost all yoga classes that I have been to begin with Savasana (lying on your back like a corpse). As you may be able to tell there is a lot of new vocabulary in yoga, if you are a beginner you will soon get the hang of it and your teacher is there to guide you through so there is nothing to worry about. Savasana is the opportunity for the teacher to settle you into the class and perhaps do some meditation or breathing exercises. After years of practicing yoga I find this to be a very “normal” thing to do (facilitated meditation is one of my main reasons for attending a yoga class) however, if this is new to you, just know that you can’t get it wrong. You may feel restless, I definitely did in the past, if you do, that might suggest that some calming of your mind (and body) is something that could be helpful to your long term health.
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***NEW CLASS*** Starting Sunday 5th November. Mindful movement and meditation at #pureyogabristol 11:15-12:15am Come and join me for a mindful focused practice…coming out of the mind and into the sensations of the body and breath. Get to know your body a little better. Giving it the love and care it needs. Leave the class with a sense of calmness and contentment. Book online at pureyogabristol@.com or on MoveGB. #mindfulmovementandmeditation #newclass #yoga #wappingwharf #cargo2 #bristol #yogateacher #yogalove #mindful #focus #body #breath #mind #sensations #love #care #calmness #contentment #yogalife #stretch #centred #meditation #backtothebreath #presentmoment #instagood #yogaeveryday #selflove
Vinyasa flow refers to a flow of movements, that all connect together. Taking a Vinyasa involves moving from a downward dog to a plank through a push up to an upward dog then back to a downward dog (you are encouraged to modify to suit your level). But I am getting ahead of myself.
The class generally begins with movements that are close to the floor such as a “cat/cow” to get your spine moving. It progresses through different flows designed to help strengthen and stretch different parts of your body. Jo is fantastic at tapping into the collective energy and always seems to know exactly what you need. She often themes her classes based on different parts of the body (which may also be connected to deeper meanings for those of use who like to explore the body-spirit connections). For example, she will do hip opener classes or healthy back classes. These still follow the same sort of structure.
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Friday night special… Extended Hatha Class this Friday 20th July @pureyogabristol 6:45-8:45pm. Come join me for an extended two hour hatha yoga class. This longer class is perfect if you are seeking to explore a deeper level to your practice, drawing awareness on connecting the mind with the body to prepare for meditation. We will hold postures for longer, connecting with the structure of the pose in order to build heat in the body with resting time after each pose, creating balance and uniting opposite energies. The class will work through a selection of different postures, breathing exercises and finish with a meditation and relaxation. £20 or book via MoveGB. Photography by @thomaskatan #pureyogabristol #yoga #bristol #extendedclass #cargo2 #wappingwharf #fridaynightspecial #twohours #deepenyourpractice #connectingmindandbody #meditation #unitingoppositeenergies #relaxation #yogateacher #yogalove #comestretchwithme #instayoga #innerstillness #breathe #chinmudra
I have problems with my hands, due to AS, they naturally want to claw. We once did a hand meditation at the end of of Jo’s classes and my hands opened up so naturally, it was overwhelming, they have not been open when in a relaxed state for as long as I can remember.
The reason Jo’s class is so important to me is two fold, one general and one specific:
- Mind, body, soul connection. Yoga is a way for me to move my body holistically building strength and flexibility. This is done in combination with the breath which makes it a meditative practice throughout. My mind wanders sometimes but we are encouraged to bring it back to the breath or sensations of the body.
- To be reminded of something bigger than myself. As I mentioned, Jo seems to have an amazing talent for giving you exactly what you need in a class, she taps into a “collective energy” so on days when you need some power and strength she seems to be able to deliver that and on days when you need to be grounded and more gentle, that seems to be the case too. This is partly made possible by the range of modifications that are given and the reminders to listen to what your body needs.
This class is accessible for all levels and if you are someone who works out a lot this will be complimentary to some of your other exercise regimes. I don’t do yoga on a Saturday morning to further pound my body and work up a giant sweat, I do it as a way of rejuvenating and strengthening: giving my body the gift of movement, my mind the gift of stillness and my soul the gift of space.