Blackheath Yoga Group

Blackheath Yoga Group

Linda HendersonHello I am Linda. I have taught Postural Yoga for over 30 years. I teach a very traditional Yoga in mixed ability classes. In my experience absolute beginners as well as more advanced practitioners are able to improve their Yoga practice in a class where students have varying flexibility and strength. Being attentive to each student’s way of working and their needs as to whether practical help is required, encouragement or just more time. Correct breathing and postural alignment is central to Yoga. During the class we practise core standing and sitting poses, twists, balances, supine and prone poses. Each class concludes with a short meditation and a prayer for the Earth.

I do provide try-out mats, blocks, belts and blankets.

Postural Yoga – What is it?

As an experienced, qualified Alexander Technique teacher I have developed a system of Yoga which integrates the AT principles of spinal alignment, awareness of breath and a deep listening which respects and works with the body’s process. The emphasis on these three fundamental principles is my unique contribution which I share with my students.

Yoga Asanas – Physical Benefits

Asanas yoga class

There are many benefits that may be experienced in practising yoga asanas. So many it is difficult to list them all, so I have listed but a few here. I cannot make claims that yoga can cure or prevent an illness or disease, but if yoga is practised with care and sensitivity and this has to be stressed, then you may feel various benefits listed below. Illnesses are usually a result of the body being out of balance and yoga attempts to create a balance through the practise of the asanas.

Some benefits that may be experienced:

Increased strength and stamina, joint flexibility, increased energy, relief from muscle pain and stiffness. Circulation can improve and a general feeling of well-being. Headaches may well disappear or at least reduce, balance problems may cease and you may well experience an overall feeling of wellness, a lightness and being more at home in your body. Students often say they sleep much better after a yoga class.

The progress that I mostly see in my students is that not only do they become more supple and stronger in their bodies but they become more confident in who they are.

Linda Henderson demonstrating second yoga pose

Pranayama – The importance of the breath

I teach a very grounded and self-acceptant form of yoga. Stress on awareness of the breath in and out of poses, so that yoga is practised not just on the mat but outside of the class in everyday life. I encourage deep listening to the breath, feeling and sensing the energy flows within the body so that postures are not grappled with and the body beaten into shape in a recognisable yoga pose. The friendly atmosphere of the class facilitates yoga to be practised in a non-judgemental and trusting environment where the student can raise questions if they wish, or quietly look towards their own practise.

Digital pranayama or alternative nostril breathing is practised – which is a simple breathing technique which calms and quietens the mind.

Meditation – Benefits

Asanas yoga classThe practise of Dhyana Meditation is the meditation of the heart. It is part of the eightfold path of Raja Yoga and has been practised for over 2,000 years.

Dhyana means absorption in Sanskrit – the absorption of the little self in the Universal Consciousness or Love.

This meditation is a meditation of love so we begin by sitting upright, comfortable and closing our eyes. We are sitting in our heart focussing on the powerful energy of love. It is sometimes easier to evoke love by holding an image of someone you love in your heart - sometimes God is too abstract a concept for us, so you may want to focus on the image of a loved one or even a beloved pet. Love opens our heart to the feeling that we are in harmony and at one with life not separate but part of the living whole of existence. It is said the heart contains everything, it is as big as the universe and sitting there in the silence in the invisible interior depths of the heart we can experience the source of our being - LOVE.

It is a place of stillness, peace, joy and love where our true being resides, this is our natural home. While we are resting in the heart the mind will continue to distract us with thoughts but we pay it no attention. We just sit in this stillness and silence listening to our breath, knowing we are breathed effortlessly by a force that moves through our body and gives us life. This force is the primal power of love that moves through all life and every animate and inanimate thing in the universe. Stay with your attention on your breath.

It is important to remember that our nature is consciousness that we are beings of love and light. This is our true essence – it is what we are but this becomes covered over as we grow up and we forget our true nature. In this meditation we are just returning to our true nature which is love and light, it is just that we have forgotten it. The grace of love can bring meaning into our lives and where there is a feeling of separation and isolation it can reconnect us to the timelessness of our soul and its natural relationship to the cycles of life.

This meditation is best practised sitting rather than lying down, but many prefer to lie down after a yoga class and relax in Savasana which offers a deep physical, mental and emotional relaxation in an awakened state.

Prayer for the Earth

We finish the meditation with a very short two minutes silent prayer in the heart for the soul of the Earth. I think we are all aware now that the Earth is going through an ecological crisis – we are also facing the 6th mass extinction of species. Our prayer is just a small contribution we can make in this age of what some scientists have called Ecocide.

Blackheath/Shooters Hill Yoga Classes

Suitable for beginners and all levels. Easy parking at all venues.

VenueMonTueWedThuFriFees
Mycenae House
Mycenae Road
London SE3 7SE
10.00-11.1519.00-20.15£10 try-out
£11.50 drop-in
£100 block of 10 classes
Shrewsbury House
Bushmoor Crescent
Shooters Hill
London SE18 3EG
12.15-13.30
This class is suitable for all levels and those in retirement
£8.50 try-out
£10 drop-in
£85 block of 10 classes

Note: Pay from when you join the block – flexible attendance - mix and match classes.
Newcomers please ring before attendance to check space availability.

What do I bring to Yoga?

Enthusiasm! Wear leggings or track-suit bottoms and bare feet. Bring a non-slip mat if you have it - try-out mats, blankets, belts and blocks are provided.

When should I not practice Yoga?

When suffering from acute back pain, severe muscular pains that could be related to posture.