Joanne

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1. How long have you been practicing yoga?

I started practicing yoga in August 2016 after a friend recommended a ‘yoga for runners’ class by Alissa. At the time, I used to run up to a half-marathon distance, and I did outdoor fitness training too. Even though I was pretty fit, I often had an injury; my hips and hamstrings were regularly tight and sore and this stopped me from training as often as I wanted to. The ‘yoga for runners’ class was great - I stretched more than I’d ever stretched before. I also liked the way Alissa taught the class - she was friendly but firm, gave lots of instructions and really paid attention to what each person’s body could do. I signed up to the 4-week Beginners’ Series, wanting to learn more.

2. What changes have you noticed since starting yoga?

In my first Beginners’ Series class, I was so tense and unable to switch off that I couldn’t even close my eyes in any of the poses. But I really enjoyed finding out how to breathe and learning about the different poses. After years of suffering hip injuries while running, I was amazed when Alissa said I had really open and flexible hips! Since starting yoga I’m more flexible, my shoulders, arms, hamstrings and hips are much stronger and my posture is better. I feel fitter now than when I was just running. I can also breathe my way through anything. Like a lot of people, I’ve a fairly demanding job and the calmness and strength I get from yoga is a great help.

3. What is your favourite pose?

Oooh, this is a tricky one. With my crazy open hips I can drop into pigeon without really feeling the stretch, but that doesn’t make it my favourite pose. I really enjoy anything with a twist and stack like revolved side angle (Trikonasana). I’m constantly amazed when I get into garland pose (Malasana). I find Warrior II very strong and I aspire to Warrior III if my legs aren’t having a wobbly day.

4. How do you feel after class?

After class, I feel cleansed and energised. I walk away feeling taller and stronger and as if the crevices between my joints have had a good stretch. I like a bit of a challenge too. Every week I can be a bit stronger and more flexible or leave the class, more determined to have another go next time.

5. Why do you practice at Alissa Lawrence Yoga?

I really like Alissa’s style of teaching. She constantly gives instructions to guide me into the pose and I need her voice in my head to focus on my posture. I like the range of classes where I can push myself to different levels and get variety in my practice. Alissa is incredibly observant, paying attention to anyone who needs help, the different ways that everyone’s body moves and flexes and I like that - it means there’s help there when I need it. It also makes it a very inclusive practice.

The opportunity to learn from different teachers is good too - I like Binny’s class on a Sunday morning and I hope to try Georgina’s in future. Alissa also does workshops where I can learn more about a particular style of poses or build strength in an area. I like these as it feels like topping up my yoga practice and learning more.

6. Is there anything else you would like to add?

Yoga was the last thing I thought I’d enjoy. I’d been a runner, trained for half-marathons and obstacle races and always trained outside. But I’ve found a huge amount of strength and mental rest through yoga and I just want to keep learning more.

Mark

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Mark

1. How long have you been practicing yoga?

About 3 years now, with a few months off about 18 months ago for an injury.

2. What changes have you noticed since starting yoga?

When I started I was suffering from a lot of back pain, which was one of the reasons I started.  I was also starting to become generally less mobile and was feeling my age.  I hadn’t done any regular exercise for several years and everyday activities, like tying my shoelaces, were becoming harder and harder.  Now the back pain has gone and I feel infinitely better about my body and fitness than I have in 15 years.  My flexibility is amazing considering where I started from, and most of my aches and pains are just distant memories.  I’m also (I think!) a calmer person, with a better sense of proportion when things don’t go to plan, and I get much less stressed than I used to.  

3. What is your favourite pose?

I enjoy stretching poses, so dropping into anything that opens up my hips or shoulders is nice.  Perhaps strangely, I think Pigeon is probably my favourite as it leaves me feeling wonderful afterwards.  I also like Crow pose, and generally enjoy working on arm balances.

4. How do you feel after class?

Invigorated, alive and like I’m walking about two inches taller.

5. Why do you practice at Alissa Lawrence Yoga?

I really like Alissa’s style of teaching.  Her classes are always fun and lively, but she also takes Yoga incredibly seriously and she structures her classes really well so that they always seem to have a particular logic to them.  She is also very alert to the abilities and experience of her students, and is good at layering her instructions accordingly. 

6. Is there anything else you would like to add?

As a (then) 43 year old man who had never done anything similar, it took a deep breath for me to enter a yoga studio for the first time, but its now become a big part of my weekly routine.  If nothing else, it proves that yoga really is something anyone can take up, whatever their age, type or level of fitness.

Andrea

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Andrea

1. How long have you been practicing yoga? 

14 months since I started Alissa’s beginners class

2. What changes have you noticed since starting yoga?

At first I noticed that I could breathe more easily whilst out running and gradually I have noticed that my whole body has become more flexible. I don’t seem to have the nagging low back pain I used to experience and feel I can bend over now without anything twinging or pulling.  The physical benefits have been noticeable but so too have the non physical; yoga releases tension and tightness from within and the mindfulness that just seems to happen the moment I start the class has really helped me personally to de-stress.

3. What is your favourite pose?

I love pigeon pose- not easy to do but I practice it at home to help with tightness in my hips and glutes after running. Close second is child’s pose-quite often do that when I get in from work!

4. How do you feel after class?

Released, calm and very relaxed.

5. Why do you practice at Alissa Lawrence Yoga?

Alissa takes time to explain the poses and what is trying to be achieved.  She will also help you to move your pose if you are unable to feel it or if it doesn’t feel right. Everyone is on their own journey and Alissa creates a warm and friendly environment.

6. Is there anything else you would like to add?

Thank you Alissa, it’s one of the best things that I have ever done and I urge anyone to try it.

Oh and although I’ve not managed to fall asleep and start snoring yet during Savasana, I’m working on it!