I hope this blog post finds you well and keeping things together. It’s a challenging time for all of us, and suffering with anxiety, I’ve had many ups and downs, during life, not just lockdown. I wanted to share something positive with you, that’s helped to keep me strong over the years, but has been an extra special help during this “new normal” and period of isolation. But first, some background…. Four years ago, after experiencing a stress related breakdown, myself, my husband and our beautiful Kitty cat upped sticks from the bustle of London to a small town in the East Midlands.
Less than two years later, after I’d been struggling to find a local yoga class, the most wonderful yoga studio entered my life – just a few minutes walk from my front door. And this wasn’t just any old yoga studio. I’ve practised yoga for many years – be it in huge, cold and cavernous town halls, or a wall to ceiling mirrored room in a gym. Never before had I experienced the peace and serenity of a warm, welcoming, purpose built studio such as this.
Balance Yoga Studio was opened by the fabulous Lynz – and it’s so much more than a studio – it’s a community. Lynz grew up and worked in a pub environment for much of her pre yoga teacher life. She brings this important sense of togetherness into her teachings and workshops. I never feel as though I just turn up for a class and leave again. There’s always a chat, a warm smile, a chance to belong and to be part of something bigger. I’ve been through a lot with anxiety over the past few years, and the community at Balance Yoga has helped me manage that on a daily and weekly basis.
Lynz is one of a kind – the perfect balance of yoga teacher and approachable, down to earth human being. Her life story, realness and experiences make you feel like it’s OK to be whoever you are. To show up however you feel on the day. To talk about it after class, to meet like minds and be honest about your mental health. And there has always been an online aspect to the community, through a Facebook group where we all chat, share memes, recipes and little yoga challenges.
One of the most refreshing and exciting things about Balance Yoga Studio is the fact that there is more on offer than a standard Vinyasa class – not that there’s anything wrong with this style, but it’s pretty much the standard on offer in most modern classes, and it can be too energetic at times. I was introduced to Yin Yoga – a floor based practice, which is a mindfulness practice, holding physical poses for long times and focussing on sensations. It’s done absolute wonders for my anxiety. There’s also gentle yoga, a monthly meditation class and hatha on offer.
You can turn up just for class, or you can take the nuggets of yoga principles provided in classes and workshops, and make it part of a lifestyle. Some of the workshops including family yoga, journaling and raw chocolate making. There are also some fabulous charity events. Last year, I was part of a trial group for a Stress Less Workshop, where I learnt some life changing methods to reduce my stress and anxiety, and I made some fantastic friends – including one particular friendship which will last for life.
And, I wanted to save the most amazing thing for last – Balance Yoga Studio has gone online! For the last two months, Lynz has been working really hard to keep the studio going during lockdown – and that has meant zoom lessons, which have been a wonderful sanity saver. And it’s been great to stay in touch virtually with friends and the community that has been built up over the past couple of years. Now, it’s been upped even further and there’s a permanent virtual studio being launched on the 1st June, which will run alongside regular classes once the physical studio is able to re-open. So, for everyone with limited time, or who doesn’t live locally, this is perfect.
The virtual studio will offer a range of live and pre-recorded classes – I find the live ones really keep me accountable to my practice, plus a monthly meditation, Q&A and weekly plant based recipes. Keeping up the community spirit that I have come to know, love and be a part of. I can’t imagine life without it.
You can join Balance Yoga Virtual Studio from anywhere, and you can fit in your classes at a schedule which suits you. Why not take a look – it’s a warm and caring community, and you can still feel those wonderful vibes through your screen.
If you want to get a taste of this wonderful experience, you can also check out the Balance Yoga Meditation channel on YouTube.
Thanks for reading. Please feel free to share your experiences of how yoga has helped you in your life.
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