Is 2020 the year you start your yoga journey?
PUBLISHED: 16:52 10 January 2020 | UPDATED: 17:04 10 January 2020
With many of us aiming to move a little more and make health a priority this January, yoga is a great way to take care of mind, body and soul
January is a funny time of year to be making drastic lifestyle changes. It's a cold, dark and pretty miserable month, making it difficult to stick to your ambitious New Year's resolutions. Getting yourself up and out of bed on a freezing January morning is hard enough as it is, without the added challenge of forcing yourself to head to the gym. If you're set on making some positive changes this month, the key is to keep your goals realistic and achievable.
Enter: yoga. Forget any ideas that the practise is only for flexible people, or for fitness fanatics who can happily hold a plank for five minutes straight. Yoga offers something for everyone, and is a great way to get moving and develop strength, stamina and balance - even if you are new to exercise or aren't currently very active.
Run by the enthusiastic Sarah Gartshore, Bright + Well Yoga offers a variety of yoga classes in central Ipswich. From the gentle flow of Hatha yoga to specialised pregnancy and post-natal classes, Bright + Well has something for all, including both beginners and experienced yogis.
"The great thing about yoga is that it's a really adaptable practise," Sarah told me when I popped down to one of her lunchtime express classes. "Each pose can be easily altered to suit different ability levels. Because it's so easily adaptable, you always have the option of sticking to a more soothing, restorative practise, or trying something a bit more challenging."
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I was in the mood for a bit of a lunchtime challenge when I tried out the express class, so I gave some of the more advanced variations ago. Sarah's classes follow the Hatha style of yoga, which takes you through a variety of fundamental yoga poses in a medium paced flow, while also incorporating some breathing work and meditation techniques. The lunchtime express class lasts just 45 minutes, but never feels rushed, with plenty of time dedicated to each aspect of the practise.
"Yoga is all about listening to your body," Sarah says. "For me, the breathing and mindfulness aspects are just as important as the poses. By making a habit of focusing on your breath, you can actually change the pathways of your brain and stop an intrusive thought in its tracks. Yoga is a really great entry point to mindfulness and self care routines."
Alongside her yoga classes, Sarah will also be running a number of wellness workshops throughout 2020. The first event of the new year will be taking place on Saturday, January 18th at The Studio, at 11 St Peter's Street, Ipswich. This self care workshop will focus on setting intentions for 2020, and will invite attendees to create a vision board for the year ahead. There'll also be some gentle yoga and guided relaxation to help you to feel renewed and ready for 2020. As with the rest of Sarah's sessions, the workshop is suitable for all levels of yogi, including complete beginners, pregnant and postnatal women.
Pregnancy and postnatal yoga is something that Sarah is particularly passionate about. Her pregnancy yoga classes include elements of birth preparation, incorporating breathing techniques, positions for birth and mindfulness. Babies are welcome at her daytime postnatal classes, which are designed to help women regain some strength and get back into exercise after birth. Classes take place on Mondays and Thursdays at the Quaker Meeting House and at Quay Place, both in central Ipswich. Private and corporate classes are also available.
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