Monthly Archives: June 2015

Summer Opening

230160_beach_resortYogawest will be open 7 days a week over the summer.

Some of our teachers are taking a well-earned break, but some have agreed to keep classes running.

You can get a copy of the summer timetable here

International Day of Yoga June 21

international-yoga-day-logo-210x236June 21st is the summer solstice, the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. In India, the first full moon after the Summer Solstice is known as Guru Purnima where the Guru or teacher is honored. According to yoga legend, the first transmission of yoga by Shiva (the first Guru) is said to have begun on this day.

The United Nations has declared June 21st as International Day of Yoga, following a proposal by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi who said “Yoga embodies unity of mind and body; thought and action; It is not about exercise but to discover the sense of oneness with yourself, the world and with nature.

Yogawest is open as usual on Sunday (and as it’s also Fathers Day, we are expecting a bumper crowd of Dads coming to classes during the day!). Sam is teaching her 10am general class and her 11.45am intermediate class; Diana is teaching the Sunday evening general class at 6pm.

It’ll be worth making it to class on Sunday if you can: the knowledge that many thousands of yogis around the world will be practising at the same time will lend a special something to the energy of the classes.
IYNAUS1034_YopaDay_poster_F.inddIf you can’t make it, then you may be interested to see the sequence that Geeta Iyengar has suggested… you could choose elements (or all!) of this and practice at home instead. Sunday coincides with the Iyengar convention in Exeter this weekend, and many of our teachers and students will be there following this sequence led by Birjoo Mehta from Mumbai.

Download poster from IYNAUS (US Iyengar Association) showing poses in silhouette: IYNAUS-Intl-Yoga-Day-2015

Download list of  Geeta Iyengar’s suggested sequence


Yoga may guard against heart disease

article from BBC online

Yoga may guard against heart disease, study finds

Doing yoga may be a good way to protect against heart disease, particularly if you cannot do more vigorous exercise, research suggests.

A review in the Netherlands of 37 studies involving nearly 3,000 people found yoga was independently linked to a lowering of heart risk factors such as high blood pressure and cholesterol.

Yoga does not count towards the recommended physical activity that we should all do each week.

Experts say it may still be beneficial.

Yoga is an ancient form of exercise that focuses on strength, flexibility and breathing to boost physical and mental wellbeing.

There are lots of different types of yoga – tantric, Hatha and Ashtanga to name a few – but most are not strenuous enough to count towards the 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity the government says we should get each week to give our heart and lungs a workout.

Yoga does count as a muscle strengthening exercise – something the same guidelines say we should do on two or more days a week, every week.


Prof Myriam Hunink, from Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam, set out to investigate what effect, if any, yoga might have on heart health.

Compared with no exercise, yoga had significant benefits – it was linked to a lower risk of obesity, high blood pressure and raised cholesterol, the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology reports.

When pitched against other types of exercise, such as brisk walking or jogging, yoga was no better or worse based on the same measures of heart risk.

Prof Hunink said: “These results indicate that yoga is potentially very useful and in my view worth pursuing as a risk improvement practice.”

It is not clear why yoga might be beneficial, but experts say it could be down to its calming effect. Stress has been linked to heart disease and high blood pressure.

Maureen Talbot, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said: “The benefits could be due to working the muscles and breathing, which can bring more oxygen into the body, leading to lower blood pressure.

“A larger study is recommended though to assess the effects of yoga more fully.”

She said the benefits of yoga on emotional health were well-established.

Full article:

Making Yoga an Exercise in Democracy

JUNE 10, 2015

NEW DELHI — India has persuaded the world to dedicate a day to remember what the world does not wish to forget on other days anyway: that yoga is the gift of an ancient civilization that once lived in India — and in Pakistan, too, if you wish to annoy the Indians.

After Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whose known yogic skill is limited to one elementary pose, nudged the United Nations, most of the world united in marking June 21 as the first International Yoga Day.

Despite India’s claim over yoga, it is not a mainstream household practice here. It probably never was. And its modern resurgence in some niches, like schools and affluent urban quarters, is not a continuation of an ancient legacy, but a part of an escalating global movement. Yoga had to wait until India transformed itself into a more equal society to seep into places it had never been permitted to go.

For a long time, yoga was the preserve of the highest-caste men, and what belonged to them usually did not percolate down. But then, about seven decades ago, one of them chose to commit a heresy. He began to teach not only Indian men who were not Brahmins, but women as well, and, later, foreigners.

A strict teacher, B.K.S. Iyengar sometimes hit his adult students. Once, when a couple brought a dazed boy to him, and the boy said that he was dazed because he had achieved spiritual enlightenment, Mr. Iyengar gave him a tight slap and cured him. When foreign female disciples expressed an interest in him, he wrote in his book “Light on Life,” “My flashing eyebrows and fierce glare came to my rescue.” And, when the Vatican approached him to teach yoga to the pope in secrecy he agreed, but on the condition that if someone asked him whether the news were true, he would not lie. The Vatican withdrew the request.

Mr. Iyengar — who died last year at the age of 95, surprising many with his mortality — was largely responsible for liberating yoga from men like himself and creating the circumstances for it to infect the world and in the process win the adoration of Indians.

When he was learning yoga in the India of the time, he wrote, “I can assure you that spiritual democracy did not exist.” The great gurus were secretive and parsimonious with what they let out. Things got worse for him when he began to teach. In 1954, after returning from his first teaching trip outside India, he stopped by the house of a maternal uncle in Bangalore, but he was not allowed in. A Hindu was forbidden to cross the sea, so he had become impure. And, since he was teaching women, “It was generally assumed I was guilty of immorality.” So he got married.

Yoga is today the preserve of women, and there is an ever-failing campaign to lure men to the exercise. In January, in Goa, I went to meet Patrick Broome, the yoga coach of the German soccer team that won the 2014 World Cup. He told me that many players on the squad were embarrassed to be seen doing yoga, because they thought it was feminine.

“Some liked it, some didn’t care,” he said. “Some needed an excuse to come to the yoga studio. So they made it look like an accident that they had landed in the yoga class, as though they were searching for the gym and had got lost.”

Mr. Broome’s favorite Iyengar quote is: “How can you know God if you don’t know your own big toe?” A great yoga teacher is, inevitably, philosophical, and Mr. Iyengar probed the mind as much he did the body. He defined “action” as “movement with intelligence.” And he believed that ultimate liberation is built on “a thousand little freedoms.” “Freedom,” he wrote, “is gained incrementally and over time.” He often claimed that yoga had nothing to do with Hinduism.

It is also India’s claim as it begins to take charge of International Yoga Day. It is hard to accept or dispute the view and still make sense. What is true, though, is that most of Hinduism has nothing to do with religion, and yoga is a part of that which is not magic.

Follow Manu Joseph, author of the novel “The Illicit Happiness of Other People,” on Twitter at @manujosephsan.

Read original article

Father’s Day Offer

fathers day ink block

A Foundation Course for Just £24

Why not get your favourite dad a yoga foundation course for Fathers Day? 5-week course usually £49, offer price £24 (over 50% off!).

Dates Thursday June 18 x 5 weeks
Time 8-9pm
Cost £24 with offer code ‘father’
Find out more about the foundation course here

Postnatal dates


There’s a 2-week mini-course in July (13 and 20th) to get things going in advance of a termtime course starting in September.

A postnatal yoga class especially for those returning to yoga 5 weeks to a year after giving birth (12 weeks after Caesarian section).


Mini-course in July

Dates Monday July 13, 20
Time 2.30–3.30

Find out more here 


Uday Workshop June 6


Uday Bhosale – June 6

Uday returns to Yogawest on June 6 to teach a one day workshop, this will be the first of several visits to Yogawest this year. The workshop will suit everyone with at least 3 months experience.

Special Offer: book and pay for the next event with Uday: July 31–Aug 1, and get a £10 discount off this (June 6) day. 
To claim the discount, book for both events before 10.30am on June 6th, mark up your booking form with the £10 off. 

Find out more here