Year 1 of Yoga Teaching

UPDATE- Yoga for Cyclists Autumn Series 2014

Im  offering  an Autumn series of Yoga for Cyclists. After my first year of teaching that you may have been involved in, this will be my second.

Sir David English East Way Bournemouth will be the studio again at the new time of Fridays 7-8 P.M,  starting the weekend right on a Friday.

Dates are 12 September for 8 weeks, we have 10 subcribers, and I welcome some more as the room holds 20 people comfortably. Theres a sauna/ changing for BH LIVE members, and changing if needs be for non members. Mats provided.  If this sounds like something you would like to be part of do get in touch.

Students are invited to benefit most from attending the whole series, and can book places with me for £40 in advance or during first 2 weeks paypal/cash/chq.

Or, come along for when suits them best to try it out. £5 each hour session.  Arrive early if youre driving or ride and park right outside.

Ideas come to me and some I can make into reality but some remain visions, this post is a real reflection on my first year teaching Yoga in Bournemouth. Last year in July after 3 months of Freelancing and having just qualified with my 200 Hours Yoga Teacher Accreditation with Yogaco ( and after speaking to lots of my fellow riders I came up with offering Yoga for Cyclists to students. My accreditation special project was on the topic of Yoga for Cyclists, one of the more precise aspects of a submission bigger than any amount of work that I wrote for a B.A in Adventure Recreation 8 years ago. 9000 words for a dissertation? My Yoga accreditation submission length makes 9000 look like an introduction, perhaps that’s why I now happily blog a thousand words before morning coffee but I’m digressing sorry. September freelancing for schools and at Bournemouth Velodrome as I do, work starts to tail off and so this plan was to consolidate the years I spent gaining 200 hours qualification with an Autumn series.
So the vision of teaching cyclist friends began with finding the premises and booking the best place, I had already got my main two target groups which were Poole Wheelers Club and the Ridebike Poole family so focusing helped me to match the offer with a huge group of contacts. I had been around the public classes all over Bournemouth and written up critiques of their teaching styles, as part of my learning, so I knew what was on offer. My composite schedule of cycle specific sessions is set to best meet the needs of riders who are prone to hunched backs, short tight hamstrings and quads, inflexible necks and low level of core stability. Drawing of course on the ancient traditions of Iyengar and Krishnamacharya’s style, including the fundamentals with a focus on cyclists I had a dynamic series in mind and couldn’t wait to get going to make years of study became a reality, I should at this point also credit many of my old colleagues at Sustrans who helped me to first find a voice and confidence teaching this subject amongst the other work I do, you know who you are. I knew many of the studios and honed in on Sir David English that offered good hire rates, super space with windows on three sides and most importantly for me and BH Live members- pre or post Sauna! :-obviously a key component of a healthy Orienteers Scandinavian lifestyle. Setting about the date schedule I figured an Autumn series would keep people moving as the nights drew in, the fitness of summer receded but the flexibility needed for healthy winter would appeal.

Sir David English Centre Class
Sir David English Centre Class


First time session 7 contacts turned up, like anything that we really want to do, there are a few nerves- but the planning and preparation is key, I hadn’t any fear about doing any moves, just that I could keep the flow of hypnotic vocalisation going for an hour. Lots of my friends teach, lots of subjects, however there isn’t any other lesson I do where it’s entirely based upon my instruction with no verbal feedback or interaction from the students. Happily, reading people is something I’ve honed from years of working in service environments and adapting suitable levels of instruction in the middle of a session is integral. Offering options from the easiest up allows students to in a Yogic sense, accept where they are and go with that option. By week 5 class was up to 11, a huge variety of abilities and experience and the people that had been to classes previously were my touchstones on comparison to what and how they had been taught before. I was loving the teaching- the occasional snorer during finishing savasana proof I had really taken them through a dynamic session and reset the relaxation state of being. Series 2 followed with some new faces, and regulars where 6 subscribers took the whole series in advance, helping with the hire costs. Series 3 too in Spring 2014 was a pleasure to teach- as we’d started this journey at 8 p.m each Tuesday in September as the day turned into night outside, all the way through the winter and Spring returned to bring the lighter evenings again-celebrating with Sun Salutations of course- fundamental Yoga movements. My confidence grew to the point that this part of my teaching week was one part I looked forward to, with the keenest students able to start working through tougher moves, the aim is never to intimidate students, although it is worth showing sometimes to what flexibility a dedicated practice can take you- into Yoganidrasana for example. Heres Iyengar in salabasana, something I will only dream of making.



After Series 3, 30 lessons had passed, alongside a mini- series at Moors Valley Country Park in October, a good start to my first year. Reality of teaching this subject is that it is an add- on for most people, and while developing your own practice is also part of what we hand to students, there have been many who come for a short length of time and for whatever reason don’t come back. Just when you would expect them to be getting deeply interested, the kids, the travel, the parking get in the way of what’s essentially a leisure option. It’s tough to take when despite numerous conversations face to face people vote with their feet and class goes down to 4 or 5 students. The rub- I couldn’t afford to run another series at Sir David English, so decamped to a local school- I didn’t want to let my regulars down, and I didn’t want to stop simply because I couldn’t cover the costs, so compromised on a smaller space. 8 lessons of Summer Series were enjoyed by 32 attendees, and I covered time and cost, didn’t give up in a very tough competitive industry. We see loads of teachers pop up with glitzy business cards, even premises, and these are all within a leisure market with endless choices here in the U.K, and many disappear within months when they discover the realities. I’m referencing William Broad here on where Yoga stands today,(author of ‘The Science of Yoga’ 2013) we will either keep on this new named offer direction, where expensive studios with hot rooms and new names attract short term students, or public health bodies will start to acknowledge the deeper benefits and refer clients to classes run by professional teachers. Its no co-incidence that B.K.S. Iyengar who has just died in his 90’s lived for that long, he taught and practised Yoga daily as I do, does that mean Ive got 45 years ahead in which to teach? gulp….Its been a great first year, which Im proud of having achieved- after a summer of outdoors practice tending to be more based around challenging handbalances and inversions soon be time to come back indoors.





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