Teacher Spotlight: Giorgos Alexandris

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Why do you teach yoga?


I have been fortunate enough to have had incredible teachers who have inspired me to practice and had a profound effect in my life through teachings of the yoga tradition. I teach to help students find inspiration themselves and practice in a way that expands awareness of their physical form and their breath, leading to a better understanding of themselves. As my life has been positively transformed through yoga I hope that my teaching has a similar effect on my students. 

 


What makes Yoga on The Lane special to you?

YOTL is a great place to teach yoga. There is a homely vibe that differentiates it from other studios. It is as close as a home practice as you will get! A real community feel -  a warm and welcoming space for students to come together and practice. The studio is run with care and love and this approach is obvious to anyone that has spent time here. 

Practising first thing in the morning is certainly challenging but it is the best way! Starting the day with a yoga practice is a great way to check in with yourself to see where you are mentally and physically. It is important to remember that yoga is not about performance - morning stiffness or tightness should not be a reason to avoid practice but reason to embrace it. You feel more by doing less! Also - you won’t have to think about it for the rest of your day and can get on with the rest of your life. 

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What tips can you give for motivating a morning practice?


My practice is constantly changing and evolving with time, the change of season, the weather, mood... currently my practice is focused more on creating a feeling of introspection as we move deeper into autumn. Forward folds, seated postures and inversions are the main focus. I find that as I get older less is becoming more and I explore the subtler aspects of asana practice.

Bring a first-timer for free this August

Just reserve yourself a spot in the class as you ordinarily would and then bring your first-timer (first time at Yoga on the Lane, not necessarily first time on a yoga mat!), and we’ll sort the rest out at reception. Saturday morning’s 9am and 10.15am classes will be limited to three free first-timers. In all instances it will be first come, first served. Your friend will then be offered a ten-class pass for just £85 and if they buy one, so can you!

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The Quarterly: Spring Awakening

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After a short hiatus to make a baby, Naomi is back with another Quarterly at the Round Chapel on Friday 13th of April. It’s a celebration of spring, obviously, and we’re hoping that it will remind spring to actually kick in weather-wise. There will be a joyous uplifting season-specific workshop and then all kinds of spring treats from the wonderful Ania at Fingers Crossed. Tickets are £45 and can be booked here: https://billetto.co.uk/e/the-quarterly-spring-awakening-tickets-274118 

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Mischa Varmuza Joins the Team

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You know how you do something and you just know instantly that it is absolutely incontrovertibly right. That’s how Naomi felt when she first did Mischa’s class: “Mischa’s teaches thoughtfully with intention and focus and her approach is underpinned by her evident dedication to the practice. Her humility and kindness are perfect for everyone from beginners to advanced practionners. And her intelligent and always-evolving sequences have the kind of a philosophical framework for the yoga geeks to get their teeth into. She is really is just perfect for Yoga on the Lane.” Which is why we've found space on the schedule for four weekly classes:

Wednesday 9.30am Dynamic (Community has moved to Tuesday lunch)

Thursday 6.30pm Level One

Thursday 7.45pm Dynamic

Friday 12.30pm Dynamic

Want to know more? Here’s her extended biog:

Mischa's yoga journey began over a decade ago and slowly began to weave its way through her life; she is continually humbled and inspired by the potential of yoga to transform, expand and heal and is devoted to sharing the practice with others. She holds enormous gratitude to leading vinyasa flow teacher Claire Missingham with whom she completed her initial 200 hours and went on to assist for some time afterwards. Most recently Mischa finished an additional 300 hour training with her teacher Sianna Sherman who is of enormous influence and inspiration to her. She has now stepped into apprenticeship with Sianna and assists on her workshops and trainings. Mischa has spent over a year in India studying, practicing and visiting sacred sites and it holds a special place in her heart.

Mischa teaches a heartfelt practice with creative sequencing, a deep focus on breath and alignment and a combination of strong steady flow and longer holds to both uplift and tap into the stillness. She draws her understanding from a number of styles and traditions, particularly inspired by the philosophy and practices of the Tantric lineage. Her classes are woven with philosophy, myth and stories and often include music, chanting, meditation and ritual. Mischa's teaching is passionate and knowledgeable, her intention is to both challenge and restore, holding a space for individuals to open, reflect and absorb. You will be taken on a joyful journey of self inquiry and unfolding. Mischa is committed to her own study and practice as the foundation of her teaching.

 

Sunday Night Sound Bath with Joseph Yanaku

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What more, I hear you cry, could darling Joseph Yanaku contribute to YOTL? He mans the front desk, he paints the walls, he designs the website, he supplies all kinds of vibes and spirit and general aesthetic genius. He can't do anymore, surely! Oh no, what's this?  He’s only going to lead a Sunday Night Sound Bath!! Every Sunday at 7.15pm, he’ll be using a mixture of Himalayan bowls, gongs, crystal singing bowls and therapeutic percussive instruments to zen you out in preparation for your week ahead. It starts this Sunday, 4th March. And it’s going to be MEGA. And what’s this? An actual interview! Amazing!

What first drew you to sound as an aid for meditation?

My whole life has been dedicated to sound and vibration. As a musician and composer, I have always been aware of the effects that sound and music can have on us. As artist and a designer, I am very passionate about colour and creating ambience, you know that ‘thing’ you can feel but can’t see. I think that my work basically boils down to one thing: a desire to create spaces that uplift, inspire and bring about a positive shift for those that occupy them. I have been practicing yoga for many years now and have strong ties with the yoga community in London and so using sound for meditation brings all my passions together. So, I feel like I have always been a sound therapist but I made it ‘legitimate’ by training at the British Academy of Sound Therapy.

What’s the science behind sound as a therapy?

We are interpreters of vibration without even realising it. What we see with our eyes, hear with our ears, and feel with our fingertips is an interpretation of vibration. Everything about what we call ‘reality’ is an interpretation of vibration. Of all of our five senses, hearing gives us the most direct access to understanding vibration through the experience of sound. It is because of this that I feel sound gives us a deeper connection to and understanding of the energetic body. There are several techniques used in sound therapy. One of these is the process of entrainment. Our bodies house a number of rhythms. The heartbeat (the first thing we ever hear) is the most obvious example of this. When resting, the average heartbeat is at around 60 beats per minute (BPM) and at around 75 on average during activity. However, when we are in a state of stress our heartbeat can increase to around 87 BPM and when we are deeply relaxed it will fall to around 57 BPM. Playing a regular beat or rhythm over a period of time on a drum or on a gong for example, will entrain the heart rate to this rhythm. This can therefore be used to bring about a deep state of relaxation and aid meditation.

In your opinion, what effect does sound have on us?

We know that music has a way to move people in ways they don’t ordinarily move. It makes us want to dance, facilitates emotional release, elevates our mood and holds us in a state of non-resistance for longer periods of time than almost anything else. In terms of sound as an aid for meditation, think of it like this: if you are willing to focus on sounds rather than a conversation, an opinion, a problem, or even a piece music that carries an emotion, then it has the same capability that meditation does where you are focused without any resistance. Anytime you focus without resistance your natural vibration raises to a frequency that allows your physical body to be more cooperative with itself. 

In the age of technology where there is now an app for everything, including yoga and meditation why should people come to a sound bath as opposed to just popping a recording on or playing gongs through their phones?

As a recording artist, I often use electronic sounds and I do not shy away from using social media as a device for outreach and connecting. There is a place for everything and I can’t rule out that there would be some benefit to listening to recorded sounds. However (and I feel quite passionate about this), where meditation is concerned I feel that this is one time where we should be turning the apps off, putting the phones down and going on an inward journey. We already live so much through our phones that they’ve almost become an extension of us. I think it’s important to maintain a healthy connection with nature and with ourselves without any ‘add-ons’. Also, listening to sounds through speakers or headphones is never going to have the same effect as being in a room where a gong or a crystal bowl are being played with their vibrations resonating and pulsating in the air and through your body.

What are Sound Baths good for?

Attending sound baths can:

•       Aid meditation

•       Reduce stress

•       Calm anxieties 

•       Increase mental focus 

•       Improve quality of sleep

•       Ignite your creativity

The list goes on…

 

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Student of the Month: Eleanor Nairne

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And so it turns out one of our all-time favourite students Ellie Nairne (a regular from the day we opened our doors) is even more brilliant than we’d realised. We knew she was a curatorial powerhouse and all-round art world superstar but we hadn’t realised she was the woman behind the smash hit Basquiat show at the Barbican. Maddeningly, the show closes on the 28th which means you’ve only got a few days to get to it if you haven’t already. Either way, here she is talking fascinatingly about it:

https://www.artfund.org/news/2017/09/20/eleanor-nairne-basquiat-boom-for-real-barbican

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Floyds X Yoga on the Lane Dinner Special

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Could Thursday nights get any better on the Lane? No, surely, not when there’s an Elisa de Grey double going down. But wait a second, what’s this? YOTL x FLOYD’S THURSDAY NIGHT YOGA SPECIAL. Just book your yoga class as you ordinarily would and then pop to Floyd's after class and say 'I've been to yoga' and you'll get two courses and a drink for £20. And look at the line up. It’s MEGA. They serve until late so you can go after the 6.30pm or after the 7.45pm. But is it far? No, it’s at number 89! And when does it start? This week! GO GO GO

S T A R T E R S

Grilled goat’s cheese, herbed quinoa, toasted buckwheat, harissa (gf)

Beetroot, fig & smoked almond salad, basil cress & pomegranate (ve)

M A I N S

Cauliflower rice, charred broccoli, butternut squash, pickled beetroot, tahini dressing (ve) (gf)

Courgette linguine, pesto, wild mushrooms, rocket, parmesan (v) (gf)

Marinated crispy tofu, kohlrabi, kale & alfalfa sprout salad, cardamom rice, wasabi soya aioli (ve)

Cod & salmon fishcake, wilted spinach, soft boiled egg, tartare sauce 

D E S S E R T S

Chocolate & salted pistachio tart, amaretto cream 

Quince crumble & double cream 

Absinthe crème bruleé, shortbread

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Student of the Month: Helen Richardson

   
  
 
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    Darling Helen Richardson is part of our Teacher Training Class of 2017 and is the obvious choice to be our latest student of the month. Why? She’s only gone and had a novel published. It’s called  Waking , and the author Phoebe Morgan had this to say about it: ‘Beautifully-written, cleverly-plotted, and with a creeping sense of darkness, 'Waking' will stay with you long after you turn off the lights at night...’ The blurb gives you a sense of what to expect:  There are dark corners in your mind that even you can't get to. Anna Caldwell is terrified of falling asleep. A nightmare, her very own, will be there waiting for her. After sharing her bed with the same vision for fifteen years, she's desperate to shake it. But it only holds on tighter. Then Anna meets Jack. She's drawn to the strange, alluring tension that she feels when she's around him. It's as though it's meant to be. But creeping beneath the roots of their intimacy is darkness. If you knew your dreams were trying to tell you something terrible, would you listen?  Sounds amazing, no? It comes out October 12th and you can buy it here: https://www.waterstones.com/book/waking/helen-richardson/9781786153449

Darling Helen Richardson is part of our Teacher Training Class of 2017 and is the obvious choice to be our latest student of the month. Why? She’s only gone and had a novel published. It’s called Waking, and the author Phoebe Morgan had this to say about it: ‘Beautifully-written, cleverly-plotted, and with a creeping sense of darkness, 'Waking' will stay with you long after you turn off the lights at night...’ The blurb gives you a sense of what to expect:

There are dark corners in your mind that even you can't get to. Anna Caldwell is terrified of falling asleep. A nightmare, her very own, will be there waiting for her. After sharing her bed with the same vision for fifteen years, she's desperate to shake it. But it only holds on tighter. Then Anna meets Jack. She's drawn to the strange, alluring tension that she feels when she's around him. It's as though it's meant to be. But creeping beneath the roots of their intimacy is darkness. If you knew your dreams were trying to tell you something terrible, would you listen?

Sounds amazing, no? It comes out October 12th and you can buy it here: https://www.waterstones.com/book/waking/helen-richardson/9781786153449

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Bo Forbes for Magic Breakfast

It's such an honour to have Bo Forbes come to teach a benefit workshop at the studio. Of course the spaces filledinstantly because she's Bo Forbes but the good news is that it filled with all our teachers so you'll be reaping the rewards of her genius very soon. The money raised will be going to Magic Breakfast, a charity very close to our hearts here at Yoga on the Lane. Run by Carmel McConnell, (who in the way she lives her life embodies the principals of yoga - radical empathy, boundless love, heroic solidarity - better that anyone else we know), Magic Breakfast runs breakfast clubs at hundreds of primary schools in many of the country's most deprived neighbourhoods. To find out more or donate follow the link:

https://www.magicbreakfast.com

Student of the Month: Alexander Whitley

 

Our boy Alex Whitley is Yoga on the Lane's latest Student of the Month. He went to the Royal Ballet School with Naomi which led to a long dancing career with Birmingham Royal Ballet, Rambert and Michael Clark, before he started choreographing his own work. His latest piece, Eight Minutes, is on at Sadlers Wells Tuesday and Wednesday this week and there are still tickets left. We suggest you go, go, go, as it's going to be amazing. As he says of it:

Igniting our imaginations with spectacular forces and overwhelming scales, space exploration constantly re­shapes how we understand ourselves and our place in the universe. For his new work Alexander Whitley takes inspiration from the stunning images and data produced by solar science research in a collaboration with scientists from STFC RAL Space. With a specially created score by the electroacoustic music innovator Daniel Wohl and an installation of high-definition imagery from BAFTA award-winning visual artist Tal Rosner, 8 Minutes creates a striking, immersive environment of dance, music and film to illuminate our relationship with the star that gives us life.

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