Emma Lovell Yoga

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The Moment

The moment when, after many years

of hard work and a long voyage

you stand in the centre of your room,

house, half-acre, square mile, island, country,

knowing at last how you got there,

and say, I own this,


is the same moment when the trees unloose

their soft arms from around you,

the birds take back their language,

the cliffs fissure and collapse,

the air moves back from you like a wave

and you can’t breathe.


No, they whisper. You own nothing.

You were a visitor, time after time

climbing the hill, planting the flag, proclaiming.

We never belonged to you.

You never found us.

It was always the other way round.


Margaret Atwood

Heart of the Dragon, Yemen, 2010

Rilke’s Bayon, Cambodia, 2007.

Majesty, UK, 2005.

Images from here




Yoga over Christmas and New Year

Thank you to everyone who has come to my classes this year and making weird and wonderful shapes with me!  It’s been lovely teaching you and getting to know you all.   Here are details of when I’ll be teaching over Christmas and New.  I will not be teaching classes from Monday 22nd December through to Friday 2nd January, so classes will be as follows:

The Club, Chilworth- last class 16th December 2014, classes begin again on 6th January 2015

Neal’s Yard, Salisbury- last class 17th December 2014 and start again on 7th January 2015

Lowford Clinic, Burseldon- last class 17th December 2014, classes start again on 7th January 2015

All Saints Church, North Baddesley- last class 18th December 2014 and start again on 8th January 2015

Sports Direct, Salisbury- last class 19th December 2014 and start again 2nd January 2015

Isaac Watts Church, Southampton- last class 19th December 2014 and start again 9th January 2015

West Wellow Fitness Club, Wellow- last class 13th December 2014, next block starts 10th January 2015


For those of you who have bought a class pass off me, these will be carried over into the new term.

**New class time:  My Isaac Watts class on Friday evenings will now start at the later time of 6.30pm beginning 9th January 2015**


Click here for a nice sequence for digestion that may be useful over the festive period (headstand, obviously optional)!

Appreciating the feet

It’s been all about the feet in class this week.  We’ve been looking at foot and ankle alignment, as well as stretching the muscles around the feet (which can get surprisingly tight).  Here’s a video with some great exercises for foot health:


We often neglect the poor feet, so every so often it’s nice to appreciate what they allow us to do in daily life, and in yoga- balance, strength, stability.

Look after your feet- Give yourself a weekly/daily foot massage.  Put your feet up:

Let go of your toes- gripping the toes could be a sign you are holding something somewhere else in the body

so just stay…and exhale

until the message crawls to the feet

and the gripping goes away

(From: breath:the essence of yoga)

Use your feet- try to walk barefoot as much as you can to allow the foot and ankle the space to move, free from shoes.  Walk on uneven surfaces- when we’re not sitting, most of our day is spent walking on flat, even ground which means we’re never really using the ankle joint and muscles in the feet to their full capabilities (for more information on this, see the amazing Katy Bowman’s work)- stray off the path, instead of steps walk uphill, walk downhill, and don’t forget to squat (see here for how to perfect your squat)!


‘Disconnection from the body is a cultural epidemic. We are taught to control the body by way of the mind, which is considered far superior. But the body has an intelligence whose mysteries the mind has yet to fathom. We read in books how to eat, how to make love, how much sleep to get, and impose these practices on the body rather than listening from within. Without the body as a unifying figure of existence, we become fragmented. We repress our aliveness and become machine-like, easily manipulated. We lose our testing ground for truth.’

Anodea Judith Eastern Body Western Mind.

Yoga at Lowford Clinic, Bursledon, Southampton

I’m pleased to announce that I will starting new yoga classes at Lowford Clinic in Southampton.  Here’s their website:  http://southamptonchiropractor.co.uk/

The chiropractic clinic offers a wide range of treatments such as physiotherapy, acupuncture, and podiatry, and  have recently expanded their service to include Pilates and yoga.

If you are unsure whether the classes will be right for you, I will be holding 30 minute private taster sessions for each new student.

For further information, please contact myself (see my ‘contact’ page) or Lowford Clinic on 02380405335.


It’s normal to compare ourselves to others in a yoga class, to become frustrated that you can’t get into the same shape as your neighbour, or to force ourselves into shapes that are not right for our body at that moment.  It’s also normal to feel proud when we’ve got ourselves into a pose we have been unable to do before.  In yoga, we want to avoid this judgement, instead focusing on the journey to the pose rather then the end result.  It’s important to empty the mind of all expectations of what the pose should look or feel like.  Instead of thinking, ‘what does this pose look like?’, think, ‘how does this pose feel for me?’  Don’t force yourself in what you think the pose should look like -let the body guide you and accept the pose the body finds as right for you at that moment.

‘To be proud of our yoga positions is bad taste.  To be able to do the poses “successfully” means nothing, nothing at all.  Yoga should not become a circus.  It must be done as a refuge from life…  [Yoga] should instead help us to purify the body and the mind, bringing us back to that blessed state of receptivity from which we can start to learn.’  Vanda Scaravelli, Awakening the Spine’

Image from here


‘But perhaps nature needs us like a hostage needs her captors: nature needs us not to annihilate her, not to run her over, not to cover her with cement, not to chop her down.  We can hardly admire ourselves, then, when we stop to accommodate nature’s needs: we are dubious heroes who create a peril and then save its victims, we who rescue the animals and the trees from ourselves.’  Amy Leach, ‘Things That Are’.

Image from here


I’m currently working my way through ‘Updating Yoga Alignment with Biomechanics’ by Jenni Rawlings Yoga.  This is a great online course for anyone interested in alignment in asana, and also in updating their teaching with  a more biomechanical approach.  For more information on the course please see www.jennirawlings.com


The moon

Since we’ve had a full moon this week (and a lunar eclipse), here are some moon related bits.

  Chandra namaskar (moon salutations).  We practiced this moon salutation in one of the classes I attend this week and I was reminded how balancing, opening and calming it is.  Often neglected in favour of the more powerful and heat generating sun salutations, chandra namaskar are more soothing and can be nicer to do later in the day. 

For those interested, this book gives a pretty good historical overview of all things moon related:

Paradigm Shift: Yoga at the Crossroads

This is a really clear and well-written article exploring yoga’s current ‘identity crisis’. A good one for anyone a bit confused about where yoga is going and what it is they’re actually practicing in class:

‘If the yoga tradition is understood to be multi-vocal and ever-changing, then the criteria for authenticity must shift away from an imaginary ideal rooted somewhere long ago and far away, and toward an investigation of what constitutes a meaningful practice right here and now.’

See the full post here.