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.