After an unexpected trip to A and E last week, and after much careful thought I have decided to take a break from Yoga teaching, with immediate effect, to ensure that I recover completely and thoroughly.

This has been a very difficult decision for me, and I hope that you understand. When I am fully back on my feet I will be in touch, and I will still be posting  here on my website

I very much regret the short notice, but in the meantime I can recommend Yoga teachers on if you would like to reach out to any other teachers.

Love, peace and namaste,


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YES! I am teaching a Yoga class this Autumn in Shrewsbury

All welcome, mats available 7pm – 8.30pm in the Ballroom, The Lion Hotel, Shrewsbury

Here are the dates:

  • September 2, 9, 16, 23, 30
  • October 7, 14, 21

8 classes before…

….Half term NO CLASS October 28

  • November 4, 11, 18, 25
  • December 2, 9, 16

7 classes after half term….

15 classes altogether £ 97.50 if paid in advance (£6.50 per class)

8 classes for £56 if paid in advance (£7.00 per class)

£8 per class drop in.

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New Year Yoga Classes Begins 9th January 2013

Each Yoga course from Catharine is carefully planned to provide a varied balance of learning, activity and experience. Courses are not repeated so you should not get bored not matter how many courses you attend!

More information coming soon, in the meantime, here are the dates and the cost.

  1. 9th January 2013 – New Year Course begins – Please try to arrive at 6.45pm to complete registration forms
  2. 16th January 2013
  3. 23rd January 2013
  4. 30th January 2013
  5. 6th February 2013
  6. 13th February 2013
  7. 20th February 2013 – Half term Special Yoga Class included in the price for the term (see the information on this page)
  8. 27th February 2013
  9. 6th March 2013
  10. 13th March 2013
  11. 20th March 2013
  12. 27th March 2013 – Last Class before the Easter Break

£75.00 for the course (£6.25 per class)

£7.50 on the night for pay as you go.

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Yoga for a healthy heart

Yoga can help keep your heart in shape. Here’s a few ways in which yoga benefits your heart:

  1. Reduces stress
    Stress may cause some people to drink too much alcohol, or lean on caffeine, sugar and fatty foods which can increase your blood pressure and may damage the artery walls. A regular yoga practice brings deeper awareness of the body, mind and emotions and is likely to calm you down and make you more in tune with your physical and mental health.
  2. Promotes physical activity
    Maintaining a normal BMI (body mass index) can help your heart and regular physical activity can help you maintain a healthy weight.
  3. Blasts tummy fat
    Excess abdominal fat has been linked to increased risk for heart disease. By strengthening the large muscle groups in the body, such as the gluteals and quadriceps, yoga gets your body burning more calories, meaning you are less likely to store them as fat around your middle.
  4. Improves your diet
    A healthy diet (including fruits and vegetables, fibre and heart-healthy fish and light on red meat, saturated fat, sodium, sugar and processed foods) is critical to heart health, and studies have linked regular yoga practice to mindful eating.



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Yoga for bigger bodies

Many people may let their size or how they feel about their bodies hold them back from attending a yoga class. They may think they are too big to practice yoga, or may think they need to lose weight first before they try.  But there is no need to wait!  A Yoga practice can be adapted for everyone’s needs, gentler movements and a slower pace can be introduced where necessary, and the yoga postures can be adapted to be more accessible and comfortable for the larger body. The breathing and meditation is also hugely beneficial for all.

Listen to your body:

It is however really important to listen to your body when moving in and out of every pose to keep yourself free from injury. Every single body on the planet is unique and not all postures will work for everybody.  Listen inward just as much as you listen to the teacher.

Use Props:

If needed you can use props. Straps will make your arms longer, and blocks can bring the floor up to you.  And if getting up from the floor proves tricky try using a chair.  Don’t hold back, be creative with solutions and make it happen.  If you are unsure ask the teacher to demonstrate how props can be used.

Be positive:

Yoga isn’t about competition, and it’s not about perfection. Use the practice as an opportunity to connect with your mind and body.


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Yoga for sciatica


What is sciatica:
Sciatica refers to pain radiating along the sciatic nerve, which originates in the lower spine as a combination of several nerves from the low back region. The nerve branches from the spine to the left and right buttocks and then travels down the back of the legs, at about the middle of the thighs, to the feet.

Sciatica is tenderness and pain anywhere along the sciatic nerve, typically showing up on one side of the body. There are two sciatic nerves—one for each leg. These are the longest nerves in the human body. Each originates from several nerve roots that exit from the spinal cord, then thread through apertures in your sacrum and merge to form the main body of the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve passes between layers of the deep buttock muscles, through the deep muscles of the back of the thigh, and down through the outer edge of your leg to your foot.

Look for the Root Cause Of Your Pain:
No one’s body or symptoms are exactly the same so you should work with a trained practitioner such as a Physiotherapist or an Osteopath to discover the root of your sciatic pain and which movements are the right fit for your body.

The Yoga Solution:
Hamstring stretches and hip openers play a significant role in relieving sciatica pain. Here are some yoga poses for you to incorporate into your daily routine to help sooth your sciatica.

1) Smiling Cow Face Variation

2) Half Lord of the Fishes Pose

3) Sleeping Pigeon Pose

4) Reclined Twist

5) Supported Bridge Pose

6) Open Lizard Pose

7) Bound Angle Pose


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Festive yoga poses!

If you are looking to bring a bit of festive spirit to your

classes, or just want a fun way to keep the kids active

over the holiday season, then these poses are a great

place to start.   Give yourself the gift of a yoga practice

this year before the festivities begin, or use it to keep

calm during the busy period.

Begin standing with your feet together and come up onto your toes. Slowly lower

yourself down into a squat, squeezing your buttocks to open your hips as wide as you

can. Lift your arms above your head and join your palms. Hold for 5-10 breaths.

Begin in a high plank position and lift your right arm and right leg. Keep your hips

lifted and buttocks squeezed. Hold for 5-10 breaths, release back to plank and repeat

Start in a crouched position with your forearms on the ground in front of you.

Snuggle your knees into your armpits, engage your core, and lift your toes off the

floor. Balance here for 5-10 breaths and lower yourself back down to the ground.

Stand tall in Mountain Pose. Then stand on one leg, reach the opposite leg out

behind you, place the outside of your foot into your hand, bend your torso forward

with your arm out in front for balance, and arch your leg up behind you.

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Siddhasana – The Accomplished Pose

The Perfect pose, also called Accomplished Pose, or Siddhasana, is a comfortable

seated position for meditation. This pose opens the hips, lengthens the spine and

promotes groundedness and inner calm.

The Sanskrit word siddha (pronounced sidd-hah) means both “perfect” and “adept.”

In Yoga, an adept isn’t just a skillful practitioner, but an accomplished master who

has worked to attain inner freedom.

Many Yoga masters in bygone eras preferred this posture and used it often in place of

How to do Siddhasana (The accomplished pose):

1. Sit on the floor with legs straight out in front of you.

2. Take the left foot and place it into your groin.

3. Now take the right foot and place it over the left foot.

4. To make the posture steadier, slide the right foot toes into the space between

the left calf muscles. This may require some adjustment to the position. It is

like creating a lock, so that the lower body is stable for long durations of

5. The knees should touch the floor.

6. Now, make your spine straight.

7. The chin can press against the chest.

8. Become aware of your breathing process. The breathing can be natural and

9. The hands can be kept on the knees.

10. Maintain this position for as long as you are comfortable.

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Yoga poses to do every day

For those with busy lives, much as you may love attending a full yoga class, it is not

always possible every day. The following five moves are ones you can do from home

and work.  Just a few minutes with a couple of postures can be incredibly

powerful (a little yoga is better than none at all!), especially when combined

with breath, intention and presence.


Just 5 minutes of seated meditation each morning can significantly calm your mind

before a busy day. Pick a quiet area to check in with yourself and to be still with your

thoughts. This will leave you feeling clear and emotionally centred. Hold: 5 minutes.


Late morning to midday take a few minutes to hang in a forward fold. This move

calms your central nervous system, reduces anxiety and elongates your spine. You’ll

also give your hamstrings and lower back a good stretch, especially if your workday

consists of sitting at a desk. Hold: 5-10 deep breaths.


The standing pigeon increases both circulation and your ability to focus. This

position will also strengthen your thighs and open your hips, making it easier to

stand or sit for long periods of time. Hold: 3-5 deep breaths.


The child’s pose has a calming effect on the mind. This position also allows you to

easily regulate your breathing, which helps reduce stress and anxiety. You’ll find this

especially helpful midday, when stress levels often peak. Hold: 5-10 deep breaths.


The shoulder stand is a great move to do before bed. The position has a soothing

effect on the parasympathetic nervous system and helps reduce insomnia. For

beginners, it’s helpful to have a partner help you get into the position. As you become

more comfortable, the easier it will be to hold this stretch. Hold: 30 seconds – 5

minutes, depending on your comfort level.

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Yoga and music

Photo from

Photo from

We all know that music affects our

emotions, music moves us.  Have

you ever noticed the music your

yoga teacher plays?

In yoga we connect with the rhythm

of our breath, and link every

transitional movement to either an

exhale or inhale.  Some teachers  count the breath out loud, but a good tune in 4/4 time with a steady tempo can get everyone in the room breathing.

The yoga playlist can also set the mood, from calm to intense.

Although sometimes it is wonderful to practice yoga in silence, it is generally found

that pairing music with the poses can have amazing results.

There are some great sites offering downloadable music perfect for practice. These

sites have become popular with yoga teachers due to their ease in creating class

This company features artists such as Deva Premal, Wah!, MC Yogi, Sean Johnson,

and a lot more. You can purchase individual songs and albums, or listen to playlists

by yoga teachers like guest blogger Derek Beres and Janet Stone with DJ

Curious what yoga teachers such as Kathryn Budig or Jill Miller listen to when they

unroll their mats? You can check out their custom playlists on OmStream, another

company specializing in music for yoga.

Other sites with a decent selection of yoga music:

Spotify is a subscription streaming site (downloads available with some levels of

subscriptions) that you sign up for through Facebook, allowing you to easily share

The music download store of them all, is where you can download and include on

playlists individual songs by yogi favorites like Krishna Das and Michael Franti.

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The different types of Yoga – explained!

There are many different types of yoga, so here’s a breakdown of the various methods so you can help find what might work best for you….

Anusara Yoga: A modern interpretation of Hatha yoga. Based on the belief that we are all filled with an intrinsic goodness, anusara seeks to use the physical practice of yoga to help students open their hearts, experience grace, and let their inner goodness shine through. Classes are rigorous for the body and the mind.

Ashtanga (or Astanga) Yoga: Commonly called ‘power yoga’ this style of yoga is physically demanding as it involves synchronising breathing with progressive and continuous series of postures-a process producing intense internal heat and a profuse, purifying sweat that detoxifies muscles and organs. The result is improved circulation, flexibility, stamina, a light and strong body, and a calm mind. Ashtanga is an athletic yoga practice and is not for beginners.

Bikram Yoga: this method of yoga is a comprehensive workout that includes all the components of fitness: muscular strength, muscular endurance, cardiovascular flexibility and weight loss. One of the unusual but most beneficial aspects of Bikram’s yoga practice is the 95-105 degree temperature which promotes more flexibility, detoxification, and prevention of injuries. This is the only yoga style that specializes in using the heated environment.

Hatha: An easy-to-learn basic form of yoga and is the foundation of all Yoga styles. It incorporates Asanas (postures), Pranayama (regulated breathing), meditation (Dharana & Dhyana) and kundalini (Laya Yoga) into a complete system that can be used to achieve enlightenment or self-realisation. It has become very popular as a source of exercise and stress management.

Iyengar Yoga: Promotes strength, flexibility, endurance, and balance through coordinated breathing and poses that require precise body alignment. The poses are generally held longer than in other styles of yoga. In Iyengar, you slowly move into a pose, hold it for a minute or so, and then rest for a few breaths before stretching into another. Because of its slow pace, attention to detail, and use of cushions and props, Iyengar yoga can be especially good for the elderly, or if you’re recovering from an injury.

Jivamukti Yoga: this method expresses the spiritual and ethical aspects of the practice of yoga that have been disregarded or devalued in contemporary times. It is a vigorous and challenging asana form with an emphasis on scriptural study, Sanskrit chanting, vegetarianism, non-violence, meditation, devotion to God and the role that music and listening play in the practice of yoga.

Kundalini: This practice concentrates on awakening the energy at the base of the spine and drawing it upward. In addition to postures, a typical class will also include chanting, meditation, and breathing exercises.

Prenatal Yoga: For expectant mothers. Some say this is the best exercise for mums to be as there’s lots of core work and a focus on breathing.

Restorative Yoga: In a restorative yoga class you’ll spend long periods of time lying on blocks, blankets and yoga bolsters – passively allowing muscles to relax.

Vinyasa: Focuses on coordination of breath and movement and it is a very physically active form of yoga.

Yin Yoga: Sometimes referred to as yoga for the joints, not the muscles, it directs the stimulation normally created by the asana into areas deeper than the superficial or muscular tissues. Yin Yoga works the connective tissues of the ligaments, fascia, joints and bones. A significant characteristic is the long held, passive nature of the postures. While initially this style of yoga may seem “soft”, it can be quite challenging due to the long duration of the postures, which can last from five to twenty minutes.

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Using yoga in labour

Yoga can be hugely beneficial to use during your labour to help make it more

comfortable, control your breathing and also to focus your mind.

Postures for labour and birth:

The cat pose – kneel on all fours and arch your back.  This helps to push baby down.

Child pose – a relaxing resting pose to

use in-between contractions.

Dog tail wagging – kneel on all fours and move your hips as if a dog wagging its tail.

A very soothing position.

Hip Circles – as if exercising with a hoola hoop, move your belly in wide circles.

Extremely comforting during childbirth.

Polar bear posture – sometimes your baby’s position may not be right for birth.  In

such cases kneel down in the polar bear position with your upper body bent lower

than your hips, this allows the baby a chance to come into the right birthing position.

Squat – this is the most traditional position in which women gave birth.  It naturally

opens up the vaginal opening so that the baby can be born easily.  Practice squatting

beforehand so that you can try this yoga postion during labour.

Breathing – Yogic breathing can be used to sustain and focus, draw attention within, lower blood pressure and maintain calm.

Breathe out into a contraction and focus on the exhale and then continue breathing

as feels comfortable; find a rhythm.   If in doubt breathe out!  The out breath is the

antidote to pain.  If massive contractions and you can’t help but hold your breath, use

sound to help you exhale.

Focus your mind

Focus on your breathing or meditate on a word or sound to help become and stay

relaxed.  Use visualisation to imagine a relaxed place such as lying on warm sand or

floating in water.

Remember yoga is about the individual, not about attaining perfect postures.  All

labours and deliveries are different and unpredictable.  Any movement that brings in

focus and relaxation can be used.

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