Monthly Archives: August 2015

Four year anniversary

Is it really that long?

As we compile the September 2015 newsletter, we are also reflecting on how Yogawest has changed since we took over at the reins four years ago.

Like watching a baby turn into a toddler (and yes, it does feel like parenting sometimes!), we think that Yogawest is showing it’s fully formed character nowadays and is less the individuals behind it, more it’s own true independent self.

yogawest 2011-15 v1

It’s fascinating to look back over the last few years of event photos, timetables and newsletters: even the garden tells the story!

It’s only three years since we completely replaced the terrible old polystyrene-tiled ceiling with the gorgeously-curved insulated wood installation we all love now. It seems a long time ago that students had to share the room with a whistling North wind chilling their bones, and sometimes a bucket under the leaks! People still tell us how lovely it is to lie in Savasana and enjoy contemplating the ceiling above.

Of course the building itself tells a much longer story. It has housed an Iyengar yoga centre since the early 80s and before then had a variety of uses including a British Legion club. We had a visitor called Martin a few weeks ago who used to sit on the very same stage when he was a little boy in the early 60s when it was a Plymouth Brethren church! He was quite amazed to see it was all still intact, although he wondered where the balcony had gone… balcony? Wouldn’t it be great to see some photos from back then? (I’ve asked Martin to see if he can get hold of any for us).

We are so lucky to have undoubtedly the best team of yoga teachers in Bristol, nay the South West, actually probably the UK. From the core of teachers who were already here, we’ve been joined over the years by newly qualified youngsters (ok, younger than us!), and long term experienced teachers alike. Because the heart of Yogawest is Iyengar yoga, most of our teachers come from the same training background, and although we are all very different as human beings, our common uniter is our love of Iyengar yoga and the strong and thorough training it gives us.

That is why we were granted the name ‘The Bristol Iyengar Yoga Centre’ by Guruji.

yogawest staff

Lou, Eula, Andy and Jon


And of course the nature of Yogawest has changed since we’ve grown our support staff (and stopped Diana trying to do everything herself). Andy’s efficient presence and understated manner is very popular (particularly with the Thursday morning ladies!), and Eula is the nurturing mother greeting and guiding us when we arrive: Eula is also responsible for all the beautiful flower arrangements. Jon steers it all from his captain’s ship upstairs, and for a non-yogi, seems to have got the hang of it all very nicely (and he can be spotted in the family class sometimes!). And of course Lovely Lou (who has her own webpage) is still in charge of keeping things clean and tidy: we like to call her our Facilities Manager, but she’s a dab hand at reception too! A veritable team of National Treasures: thank you to all of you.

yogawest7170-people arriving+elspethAnd while we are thanking people, we’d like to offer a huge thank you to you, our students and friends, who continue to support Yogawest and make it all possible. We often comment on how delightful the people are who come to Yogawest: friendly, happy, loyal and passionate about Iyengar yoga… we salute you!

And there’s still plenty to do…

Yogawest is an old building and there’s always something that needs replacing or changing. We’d also like to add some more ropes in the studios, and cover the radiators, and to get a tressler, to name but a couple of things on our list.

We will continue to add classes and courses: now that the studios are well-heated and receptionists are in place, we want to make more use of the building during the quieter afternoon slots.

Some of our best ideas have come from you: let us know what you like us to put on our wish list.

And next September will be our 5th… (I feel a party coming on)

with love,
The Yogawest Team

NEW Improvers Class (occasional)

Have you been coming to beginner or general classes for ages but are worried about what an intermediate class might entail?

Are you going to intermediate level classes but feel you are not understanding something?

That’s why we’ve launched the once-a-term improvers class!

Improvers class

SONY DSCAn occasional 2 hour class focused on working towards intermediate class poses with time for discussion. An opportunity to build the understanding you’ll need to feel confident in an intermediate class.

You don’t necessarily have to be able to do any ‘harder’  poses in an intermediate class (although some will and you will be working towards them), it’s much more about having a good understanding of Iyengar yoga – i.e. you will know how to set out the props for shoulderstand for example and be comfortable with terminology (such as knowing where your armpit chest is!).

An intermediate level student is one who knows their capability and understands how to work safely in class: skills that are taught at beginner level. There will always be students in intermediate classes who don’t do all the poses – if they are injured, or menstruating for example, or tired, or not yet strong enough.

We always encourage regular attendees to try an intermediate class: just let the teacher know you are new to this level, and they will let you know at the end of the class if you can continue.

So… don’t be scared… be excited!

And this class should bolster your confidence, and answer any queries or concerns you may have.

Next date

November 1st – see full details here

Swati Chanchani’s visit next weekend…

Swati Chanchani is on her way!

Swati_2014Swati tells us she has now left Delhi and is on her way to Bristol!

We thought you might like to know in advance that Swati has let us know a few more details about the upcoming weekend. In particular, she has prepared a talk for us on the history of yoga (entitled Strange & Wondrous) which we think will be excellent.


The timings for both days will be as follows:

10am–12:15pm  asana & pranayama

Two hours break

2:15pm–2:45pm  presentation
STRANGE and WONDROUS:  An Illustrated of History of Yoga from Alexander to Iyengar.

2:45–5pm  asana & pranayama

Don’t miss this weekend…

There are still places available for this event, and we’d love to have a few more of you there. Swati is a brilliant teacher, and whether you are a teacher, an experienced student or more general level practitioner*, Swati will ensure a marvellous weekend for all that attend.

* Two years recommended


Whole weekend £140, single days £80.
It will be most beneficial to attend both days with Swati if you can.

Note: we are happy for you to use your Yogacard stamps towards this workshop if you wish.

Concession offer

A few of you have told us you’d love to come to the weekend with Swati but feel the cost is prohibitive. It’s true: this is more expensive than some of our weekends, and the reason is – apart from the fact that she is a world-renowned teacher! – that we are flying Swati to Bristol from India especially for this weekend. We think she is worth it (and are sure you will agree).

However, if you can’t afford to come otherwise, we are offering a few places at a concessionary rate of 20% off. This makes the weekend cost £112 and a single day would be £64. Email Jon or call him on 0117 924 3330 to arrange your place at this lower cost.


Book here or call us on 0117 924 3330 to secure your place.

A word from Zoë

Zoë Reason, who has been teaching at Yogawest over the summer while she’s been in Bristol, is a long term student of Swati’s. We asked her to say a few things about Swati’s teaching:

” I first worked with Swati in 2003 – and I had just one class with her and I remember she taught trikonasana and I can still manifest the feeling of how she adjusted me in it. But it wasn’t till 2007 that I started working regularly with her.

She structures these seemingly incredibly simple classes – and, at the time, they feel straightforward and accessible.  Yes you work hard for her – but it never feels like you’re being overly challenged (until the following day).  And then you come to write your notes and you realise how many layers of teaching she’s introduced you to.  And then you practice a class she’s taught and you realise the layers are in your body and your psyche and at some very deep cellular level.  She teaches principles in asana work – unlike some teachers where there’s a new technique or trick to something – so you come away with an understanding that can be applied across all asanas – from the simple poses to the complicated ones. So she really inspires and feeds one’s personal practice.

She has extraordinarily strong group skills (all those years of teaching school children) and she works fast but profoundly.  I often come away from her classes so impressed with her cleverness – in the way she sequences or gets me to understand the links between one asana and another.  The thing that I have come to appreciate more and more about her is how she weaves really subtle philosophical teaching into the straightforwardness of her asana teaching.

One of the things that I first loved about her is how often she would start a class with a story.  And the stories contextualise the why of doing yoga. In the last year many of her stories have been about BKS Iyengar – she was very young when she first met him and she became a dedicated student very quickly.  And in her stories about him I can hear not just how very very sad she is that he’s not with us anymore, but more importantly how much joy there is in that she had such gifts from him over such an extended amount of time.  In her telling of the stories what I think she does it to connect you to your own story about why it is that you do yoga and what yoga really could be about.  She’s an emotional teacher – not in the sense that she behaves emotionally – but because she sees yoga as being an emotional endeavour.  So her teaching is full of heart. “

Read more 


New Classes in September

teacher training image (Jess) lrAs well as the new course dates we have some new classes that start this Autumn: these are drop in classes and you do not have to book in advance –just turn up.


Monday 9.30–11am General

Taught by Annemarie, this starts November 9th.

Thursday 11–12.15pm Beginners

Taught by Jess, this starts September 3rd.

Sunday 4–6pm Improvers (occasional)

A class to help you move into intermediate level classes, taught by Luke: read more 

September Course Dates

A range of new courses  start in September at Yogawest

All courses need to be booked in advance and booking forms are available online or contact us. For courses that are on demand please email the office with your interest and as soon as we have dates we will contact you.

Foundation Class Tue 6 – 7pm Sept 1st
Early Morning Class Wed 7 – 8am Sept 2nd
Gentle Monday 2 – 3pm Sept 7th
Postnatal Monday 1.45 – 2.45pm Sept 7th
Teens Monday 4.30 – 5.30pm Sept 7th
Young Adults Monday 5.30 – 6.30pm Sept 7th
Children’s KS1 Tuesdays 4 – 4.45pm Sept 8th
Children’s KS2 Tuesday 4.45 – 5.30pm Sept 8th
Foundation Course Thursday 8 – 9pm Sept 10th
Baby Massage Thursday 12.30 – 1.30pm On demand
Under 4’s Tuesday 2 – 2.45pm On demand

Autumn Timetable Published

YW-Timetable-Sep15-FC-imageOur updated timetable from September 1st 2015 is now available digitally here and will be at Yogawest in printed form from August 25th.

Check your class

Most classes stay the same, some have new timings or levels, and there are some completely new classes too.

New prices

After 4 years with no increases, we have made a few adjustments to the class fees. All drop-in prices remain the same (£10 for up to 90 mins and £15 for 2-hour classes). There are some increases for the Yogacard-6s and 12s (the first increase in over 4 years). Validity still 3 months.

If you buy your Yogacard before August 31st you can take advantage of the old prices, and cards are valid as usual for 3 months.

New Monthly Card

Some of you have asked to pay us a monthly fee to enable you to attend as many classes as you like during a calendar month. We are launching this from September: the cost is £100/month and you can attend any drop-in class on the timetable.

Do remember to keep an eye on the online timetable which will tell you about any last minute changes, new classes and holiday timetables.