Offers

What to expect from a Zen yoga class

The benefits of practising yoga are unlimited. From increasing your flexibility and improving joint health to boosting your emotional and mental wellbeing, yoga is a great, gentle way to bring natural health and wellness to your body and mind. And there are so many different classes to choose from, such as Astanga, Bikram, Hatha, Iyengar, Kundalini, Vinyasa and so on.

But we were curious about Zen yoga, whose traditions are rooted in Zen Buddhism, so we headed along to one of Positive Change Yoga’s Day Retreats in Dysart – led by yoga instructor Scott Hutchison-McDade.

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We learned that Zen yoga takes influence from lots of different types of yoga – sometimes adopting traditonal postures and, at other times, adding its own unique twist. That we can expect a range of movements and sequences in Zen yoga – some of which will be familiar and others which may be completely new.  There are elements of Qi Gong included in Scott’s classes, for example, which blend effortlessly with the fluidity of a number of traditional yoga sequences.

Buddha

Scott makes the class feel at ease and prepares us for a meditation.

“Don’t worry about emptying your mind,” he reassures. “It’s impossible. Your mind is like a train station. Trains (aka thoughts) will come and go but as long as you don’t get on and follow their journey, it’s perfectly fine.”

The meditation is one of many we practise throughout the day. For this one, we close our eyes and internally repeat a mantra to the sound of drums. For others, we use mudras.

After the meditation, we practise some classic Qi Gong moves, followed by balance work, squats and traditional stretches. It’s tough but, as Scott would say, it’s also beautiful and incredibly awesome.

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After a plant-based lunch, we practise Yoga Nidra, otherwise known as Yogic Sleep. We get comfortable under blankets and drift into a meditative state while trying our best to stave off sleep and wandering thoughts.

“If you find your mind wandering, or if sleep comes, just reconnect with my voice,” says Scott.

Our class concludes with some crystal therapy to rebalance our chakras and a sound bath.

The result is thoroughly chilled – and one that’s worth giving a go if…

a) you don’t take yoga too seriously

b) want to experience a myriad of movements, postures and benefits

c) want to feel more spirituality connected with yourself and the world at large

d) want to have the option whether to take things at a slower pace or step it up a gear

e) you are there to release tension, unleash your emotions and explore your best possible self

f) want the full experience e.g. incense, candles, drums, gongs, crystals, yoga, mantras, meditation, chanting and so on…

g) want to feel the love

Love

Find out more about Zen yoga and its origins here. Or to book a class or retreat with Positive Change Yoga, click here.

News

New Calm on Canning Street yoga studio opens in Edinburgh’s West End

A new yoga studio is set to open in Edinburgh’s West End this week after an extensive two-week refurbishment.

Calm on Canning Street is the newest of Edinburgh’s wellbeing spaces and has been founded by yoga practitioner Katy Lomas.

Katy says Calm will be more than just a ‘functional’ yoga studio and offer a sanctuary where people can relax and connect after classes. The studio also has three wellbeing rooms, which will offer massage, life coaching, counselling and other therapies. IMG_1069 2

The timetable will include Over 50s Yoga, Kids & Teen Yoga, Pregnancy and Parent & Baby Yoga, as well as donation-based ‘Karma’ classes. Katy says the studio will also launch lunchtime mindfulness sessions to help city workers manage their stressful lives.

Katy says the studio has a strong community focus and Wednesday afternoons will be reserved for charities and not-for-profit organisations to use free of charge. The first community partnership is with Four Square, which will be running an eight-week series of mindfulness sessions for clients at risk of homelessness.

The studio is even offering concession passes for doctors, nurses and social workers.

“Calm on Canning Street is the culmination of everything I have learnt over the last 10 years,” says Katy.

“Our core values are community, connection and consciousness and we’re truly committed to ensuring we bring yoga to the people who need it most. My aim with this space is to help people feel calmer and more grounded, support local businesses and to provide a beautiful sanctuary in the heart of the Edinburgh.”

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Katy says she has been on quite a journey since launching her marketing career in London on a Graduate Scheme with Barclays 10 years ago. After relocating to Sydney in 2010 and working in banking for nearly five years, she decided to give up corporate life altogether and explore off-grid living and an alternative, more simplistic way of life.

She relocated to Portugal and lived in her camper van in an off-grid community for eight months before travelling to India to become a yoga teacher. Motivated by the desire to spread the benefits of yoga to more people, she decided to move back to the UK and set up her own yoga business, Katy and The Calm. She moved to Edinburgh to be with her partner, Ross, and together Ross and Katy have created Calm on Canning Street as a combination of their passions.