About what I do
I have been living with the principles of yoga practice for over 40 years, influenced by many traditions and people including Iyengar, Ashtanga, Shadow Yoga, “Scaravelli inspired”, the Core Strength Vinyasa Yoga of Sadie Nardini, Pranayama with Philip Xerri, Yoga Philosophy with Peter Connolly, various vinyasa flow practices, and time in India. Significant for me was initiation into Surat Shabd Yoga in 1984 – a primarily internal, meditation based yoga practice.
I hold mixed ability drop-in classes. Some people in the class have been doing yoga for a long time, and I am looking to encourage them to progress. Equally, some people are just starting, so they do less. But we all work together. In a mixed group like this, it is particularly important to recognise that yoga practice is not a competition. It is an individual journey. So don’t be put off if the person next to you can do things that you can’t. With practice you will be able to do it too. For now – do what you can. Do what is right for you. You start at the place that you are currently at and progress forward from there.
My classes are aimed at making a structural change in our bodies. If you are not very fit and strong now, and you do nothing, then nothing will change. If you start working steadily to improve, then the structure will reflect that activity and you will grow stronger and more flexible. Not too much, not too little. ‘Balance’ is a central theme in yoga.
The overall aim of the work we do is to increase strength, flexibility and overall health at a pace that is right for you. Then you can be as healthy as you reasonable can be, and you will arrive at old age as gracefully and as fit as you reasonable can be.
Some of the central principles that I thread through all of my classes include:
- working with opposing muscle groups – working muscles in contraction followed by stretching those muscles.
- working with awareness of the underlying anatomy – it is important to understand the structure we are working with.
- working with breath – breathing is central to life and is generally paid little attention.
- working into the end of range of movement – this increases flexibility and awareness of safe practice.
- working with awareness – this leads to increased levels of concentration and perception on many levels which is the direction in which yoga practice leads.
The class sequence usually consists of physical posture work (asana) followed by breathing work (pranayama) and relaxation.
These classes help to tone and strengthen, to improve general range of movement especially in the spine, to increase a sense of well being and improve general health.
I also run one-to-one sessions. These allows specific attention to a specific person – with attention to the age and the constitution of that person, their vocation, capability and the path to which they feel drawn. It allows a program to be developed to suit you as an individual. They are really great if you:
- are new to yoga and would like to have extra guidance in the fundamentals of the practice, or to gain confidence before joining a regular class
- want to deepen your practice, or explore specific areas of interest or material not generally covered in classes
- have any injuries or health conditions
- can’t make normal class times or normal classes, for whatever reason
- want to take you practice to another level [more one-to-one details]
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) calculate that the UK economy looses around 13 million working days a year from illnesses caused by work-related stress, costing in the order of £3.7 billion. On average, each stress related absence involves 29 working days. In addition there are 35 million days lost in the UK due to musculoskeletal issues.
Yoga can directly help with both musculoskeletal issues and with stress issues. The yoga postures (asanas) directly strengthen the body, and start to realign and re-balance the body making you stronger, healthier and more flexible. The breathing practices of yoga (pranayama) start to effect the energy of the body, improving mental clarity, alertness, mental focus and concentration making you more resilient to stressful situations.
Many of the musculoskeletal issues and stress related issues mentioned in the statistics above, result from not doing what is healthful for the body and also not doing what is healthful in our thinking, or for our mental state. Yoga, practised in the right way, can improve both of these areas leading to a happier, healthier, less stressed, more balanced and more productive workforce. [more Corporate details]
Most recently I have been developing AntiFragility Yoga. This is coming out of principles I encountered in Osteopathy and naturopathy, years of practising and exploring yoga and my own ageing. I am finding I can do things now in my late 50’s that I could not do in my 20’s and 30’s. What I am doing now has a significant thread of “toughening up” – body-fabric needs work to maintain strength. I am working toward being strong and robust in my old age, working towards a physical body that can handle what life throws at you. Ageing does not necessarily mean becoming frail. Frailty is all too often a consequence of activities that are not health or strength inducing, a consequence of life choices – irrespective of age. All in a context of personal responsibility, common sense and a recognition that progress happens best with regular steady practice, and results will always be in proportion to the practice we put in. [See AntiFragility Summary]
Please feel free to have a look around via the menus.
Any issues, thoughts or comments, please get back to me.
Dale@DaleSpenceYoga.com or Dale@AntifragilityYoga.com
“This is my simple religion.
There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy.
Our own brain, our own heart is our temple;
the philosophy is kindness.”
H.H. the Dalai Lama XIV