The Great Outdoors

Since September 2017, I have been teaching classes at my previous employers, Eunomia, an environmental consultancy in Bristol. The classes have become so popular that I ran back-to-back classes at times, or squeezed up to 10 students in the loft. I’ve loved being able to share my practice with so many and receiving such positive feedback, in particular when running a recent six-class programme.

The office loft has always felt restrictive, what with it’s oversized sofas, dusty library shelves and light fittings so low that you can barely reach your arms overhead. So, when I woke up that morning and the sun was shining, I realised the time had come to venture outdoors for my first teaching practice on Queen Square.

For those that don’t know, Queen Sq is a beautiful tree-lined space. An oasis of calm amongst the hustle and bustle of city life. I used to sit at a desk that overlooked the Square, so it’s always had a special place in my heart. Teaching yoga even on a chilly Spring day was just too good an opportunity to pass up.

I planned the class so that it included poses that invited connection with the environment. For example, Thread the Needle where I cued to reach towards the trees and sky above as they opened up across their chest, before threading their arm underneath and placing the side of their face on the mat and grass beneath. The unprompted highlight though was when a poodle gatecrashed the class while we were in downward dog forever now known as downward poodle.

The freedom of the great outdoors really brought out the best in all of us. There was a greater sense of openness and this enabled us to access poses that may otherwise have not been possible. Breaking free of the shackles of the way things are always done can be so liberating and empowering, for teacher and students alike.

Today’s class taught me not to be afraid of trying something new. Going outdoors felt like I was taking a giant leap of faith. The reality however was very different.  It reminded me that taking my practice outdoors is no different to any other location. Yoga is all about self discovery and opening up new learning pathways to explore.