Relax. Restore. Restart. With Adventure Yogi
If you checked out my previous post ‘My Down-Time Adventure With Adventure Yogi’ then you now know what happens at a WellbeingYogi retreat - starting with one embracing the relaxing ambience of the British countryside (or a exotic location - you choose!) to delicious vegetarian food to make you feel amazing. What you also need to be ready for is silent walks in early hours of the morning tranquil surrounding countryside, lots of fresh air and 4 hours of yoga. Yes, you heard (read) it right - 4 hours of yoga daily.
If silent walks concept sounds strange to you - just go for it and embrace the new experience. Walking in silence helps you relax and take your attention off the thoughts that are bothering you. Breathe the fresh air in and out, enjoy the dusk and clear your mind to start a day from a new page. The great thing about the silent walks is that while it’s a pure ‘me-time’, you are still walking with other people sharing this new feeling with them. And, you can always discuss your thoughts and experiences after with your new yoga friends.
I will be honest with you - I have never ever have done 4 hours of yoga a day. Never. My absolute maximum was 1,5 hour of bikram yoga in a cozy and modern yoga studio in Covent Garden. I enjoy London yoga classes but it never occurred to me that I would do (and enjoy!) 4 hours of yoga a day. Adventure Yogi WellbeingYogi retreat completely changed my prospective on this - with the help of an inspirational yoga teacher Rachel Johnston who doesn’t just host a yoga class - she shares her experience and knowledge so that one day her ‘students’ would be confident to practice yoga themselves and make it a part of their daily healthy lifestyle routine.
It’s probably better that you hear from Rachel herself (also check out her web-site here and blog here) about why she openly shares her yoga insights during a class, what type of yoga is the best, how much yoga is too much and how come Rachel ‘teaches to make herself redundant’.
What is a restorative form of Hatha yoga and why is it your preferred type of yoga?
The yoga I teach is influenced by many things. I don't have a name for it. I owe a great debt of gratitude to the study of Yoga asana (posture work), Pranayama (breath work) and Meditation, namely the teachings of B.K.S Iyengar and Vanda Scaravelli as taught by Ruth White, Anna Ashby and Peter Blackaby. But it is natural human movement that is the driving force behind the 'style' I teach. I am really interested in restoring functional movement in bodies as a way to restore health and so my yoga work takes inspiration from many different physical practices, not just the varying yoga styles. I have a great respect for the work of biomechanist Katy Bowman (I highly recommend reading her book Move your DNA), Ido Portal, Jill Miller and Jules Mitchell. In addition to yoga my own movement practices include walking, running, swimming, rock climbing, my art practice (printmaking and ceramics) dance and more recently Tai Chi, but that's just right now… I like to keep things in flux.
Throughout your classes you were saying that you teach us yoga in order for us to do it ourselves during our lifetime - would you not want us keep coming to your classes?:)
HAHA! Of course! I love to continue to teach people. It is always a privilege to help provide the space to build community, so long as what I am providing serves them, but yes my philosophy is this: I teach to make myself redundant. I want my students to be questioning. You should learn from a place of authority for sure, but that learning should always be balanced with a healthy dose of questioning and self driven research. Everybody deserves to gather the knowledge to move, look after and provide for their own body. Movement, like nutrition, is a very individual thing so with practice you can become you own best teacher.
Bruce Lee says it well:
“...A teacher is never a giver of truth; he is a guide, a pointer to the truth that each student must find for himself. I am not teaching you anything. I just help you to explore yourself.”
My Adventure Yogi retreat experience has been absolutely amazing! Would you recommend people go on yoga retreats more often?
Teaching regular classes and teaching retreats are two very different things. I love retreats because it is a luxury to be able to spend quality time on this work with people and I would recommend retreats for this reason, but there is also a lot to be said for the sense of community and progression that comes from regular weekly classes. I can't possibly choose, make time for both! :)
How often do you recommend that people practice yoga? Can one have too much yoga?
I would recommend you practice the yoga asana as little or as often as your body requires, it is a very individual thing. I would recommend practicing some kind of movement everyday. It could be little and often, big chunks of time and then rest, solo, in groups, planned or completely spontaneous play. Just move and do it mindfully!
What is your most favourite yoga pose?
I'm a big fan of squatting so I have to say Malasana, closely followed by Savasana...I'm good at lying down :)
What does it take to make a perfect hand stand?
Practice practice practice with a focus on the foundational detail and a dedication to progression and not perfection. The pose is meaningless if it is not serving you exactly as you are right now.
A little bit about Rachel
I loved Rachel’s positive outlook, attention to detail and connection with the people in the class. Unsurprisingly, she has a great story of finding her yoga way. She’s always been interested and fascinated by movement. She grew up dancing, swimming, playing various team sports and sprinting for her schools athletics team so it was only natural for her to make a living from. Rachel went to her first yoga class aged 16, and after dabbling for a couple of years she became hooked at University through a close friend. She decided to take a Yoga Teacher Training with Ruth White after graduating from her Photography BA, initially as a way to learn more, and it has organically grown into a good way to pay the rent whilst she continued her studies as an artist. It is now her full time passion and job!
I absolutely salut Rachel’s approach and not only it made my yoga time at Adventure Yogi enjoyable and memorable but I also learnt a lot about the body, mind and the importance of movement. With Adventure Yogi’s dozens of retreats taking place throughout the year in most beautiful locations around the world, there is a team of amazing yoga teachers to make your yoga experience outstanding. So don’t hesitate and go explore - silent walks, destinations and, of course, yoga! (And stay tuned for my blog post about healthy and nutritious vegetarian food at Adventure Yogi retreats!)
Adventure Yogi full schedule is available here: http://www.adventureyogi.com/calendar/