Trauma eliminates any sense of choice. We learn to self-lobotomise and numb our sensations in the moment of trauma. Breathing heals deeply. We can learn to breathe and stay breathing even in those moments of trauma in a way that becomes a choice. The body can respond with involuntary movements and trembling, as healing work takes place throughout the physical body, but on an emotional and spiritual level too. Anthony Abbagnano also pioneered breathing over the internet.
Both online and live sessions have their advantages and one is not there to replace the other. Some who are more shy and intimidated in groups find it easier to let go and participate fully in the safety of their own home. Others value the support offered in a group with Anthony and can allow themselves to delve deeper in this setting.
Anthony offers two free online sessions on a Sunday which can be accessed by anyone all over the world.
The number of teachers is growing. The number of breathers is growing. Anthony does not see this breathwork as a replacement for yoga and meditation. He works with many people who already practise yoga and meditation and want to explore breath further. Yoga has helped them develop an understanding and mastery of the breath that prepares them for this allowing, this letting go of the breath and of the self. Breathwork can work as a partner with yoga and meditation as a primary tool. The more this tool is employed in every aspect of life, the more we can exist in a meditative state.
Commitment and Consciousness may well follow where it was not before due to this work. Originating from the UK himself, Anthony sees it as an honour to return. Having left structured England in after spending his teenage years in a straitlaced boarding school, Anthony has never really lived in Britain since then. The English are always…. I often ask for three words to describe how people feel at the start of the workshop and in the UK, we rarely make it to three words.
Myth 1: You need to be flexible or of a certain body type to practice yoga.
Inversions tend to have that effect, either filling people with fear or excitement or both. Like anything that seems a little scary or out of reach, we need support, a mindful approach and a little leap of faith. So often we see pictures of poses and believe there is just one way to do them and yet, with a little creativity, we could find ourselves enjoying an experience or pose we once thought was out of our reach. If Sirsasana has got you curious, then read on…. All participants in my workshops and classes — old, young and in between — have succeeded in doing the headstand.
An alternative to the FeetUp is to use two Iyengar chairs in the same way. The chairs go against a wall and face one another with folded blankets resting on the seat base to cushion your shoulders. The chairs need just enough space between them to get your head in between them.
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To start, just nestle your head and shoulders in between the chairs, your hands can take hold of the side of the chair away from the wall. Begin to walk your feet towards your face until you feel your hips begin to stack over your shoulders. From here, you can work to draw your knees in towards your chest and either walk your feet up the wall or try taking both legs up at the same time.
To work towards Sirsasana unassisted, then prep by exploring specific poses to develop your shoulder and core strength. For the next step, come to kneeling facing towards a wall. Set your foundations by interlacing your fingers and then tuck your little finger under towards your palm and out of the way. Place your forearms to the ground and check that your elbows are underneath your shoulders. Be sure not to cup your head, instead allow your head to just lightly touch the wrist creases, crown of the head very lightly touching the ground. Another option is to use a brick to create space in your shoulders and form a solid foundation, as per the image above.
Once you have a grounded foundation, press down through your forearms, drawing your shoulders away from the ears and from here, lift your knees away from the floor, returning to dolphin pose. Be mindful not to collapse into the lower back, ideally we are looking to get to a place where the hips are as close to stacking the shoulders as can be.
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This can be a great place to stop and practise. Alternatively you can also explore coming up by bending one knee in towards your chest and with your other leg straight, explore little bunny hops with your bent leg until eventually your straight leg kicks up and the second leg can follow. As always, we would love to hear from you! Contraindications include neck injuries, extremely high blood pressure, ear and eye problems, if you are menstruating, or have acid reflux. Actually, not this invitation.
In , Yogamatters had the privilege of gifting yoga mats and yoga blocks to PPT to equip five new yoga classes being set up in prisons across the UK and Ireland. And as you can see from this invitation, the Prison Phoenix Trust story goes way back beyond then. Over thirty years ago, in , PPT founder Ann Wetherall was working on a research project with Sir Alister Hardy at the Religious Experience Research Centre investigating spiritual experiences arising from imprisonment.
Through her correspondence with prisoners, Ann discovered that there was a spiritual hunger among prisoners that was not being met. She felt if prisoners were introduced to disciplines like meditation and yoga, and supported in their efforts, they might feel differently about themselves.
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With this as its aim, The Prison Phoenix Trust was registered as a charity in July , and the work continues to be funded solely by donations. Our History, PPT. Ex-prisoners were there too and yoga teachers currently delivering yoga and meditation to prisoners all over the UK and Ireland.
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In his mind, there is no doubt that impulsiveness has been reduced, physical and mental health improved and consequently fewer victims of crime as a result of attendance at the yoga classes in 91 prisons across the UK and Ireland. That has always been my reason why. Yoga and meditation work. The PPT has a small team of 9 employees and relies upon its network of volunteers and supporters to enable it to continue this transformational work.
There is a huge demand for yoga and meditation in prisons across the UK. There is a colossal amount of work to be done. This is where current director of the PPT, Sam Settle, picked up the conversation to elaborate further on the work to be done. We also respond to the ever changing needs coming from prisons themselves. So for example, the team from the Prison Service set up to reduce suicide has asked us to collaborate with them, as they try to get to grips with this terrible problem which we hear about so much in the news.
Growing public understanding of the benefits of yoga and meditation on mental health and the positive reputation that the PPT has among prison managers — both of these mean that what we offer is appreciated and put to work by the prison service for needs they identify, like suicide and self-harm. The other area we are working on this year is classes for women.
At the moment, only 4 of the 12 female prisons in England and Wales have yoga classes. After all, no celebration is complete without a cake. And this was some cake! As representatives of Yogamatters, Twanna Doherty and I both felt privileged to have been a part of such a memorable event celebrating the fantastic work of this incredible organisation.
I cannot wait to listen to these stories in more detail and to offer them to all of you as Yogamatters blogs. Watch this space! To everyone involved in any way with the Prison Phoenix Trust, we thank you for all that you have achieved in the last thirty years and we cannot wait to see the transformational work that we know you will continue to undertake in the future.
But a CV has an added pressure of having to sell oneself, quickly to the intended employer. As well as listing all relevant experience, but only on ONE page, while looking professional, and reading clearly. I am very happy teaching my four classes a week. It is endlessly challenging, fun, funny, satisfying and rewarding.
However, I was unprepared for the level of time and effort that goes into the non-yoga-teaching aspect of managing your own yoga classes. So, I have decided that it would be a good idea to become an employee of an established yoga studio. But with more and more yoga teachers qualifying every year in the UK, I suspect that my CV will have to be impressive to land a job in a yoga studio.