Gentle Years Yoga Class online

Gentle Years Yoga© certificates and new weekly class

We received our British Wheel of Yoga Gentle Years Yoga© teaching certificates recently. This marks the end of a two year period since undertaking the initial training. We were in the second wave of teachers after the pilot study to be taught how to teach the Gentle Years Yoga© chair based classes.

Yogasmiths with their Gentle Years Yoga© teaching certificates
Yogasmiths with their Gentle Years Yoga© teaching certificates

The Qualification

The qualification involved being assessed on age related anatomy and physiology. We were also assessed by a British Wheel of Yoga Diploma Course Tutor teaching the classes. In addition to the course work involved we have also prepared two case studies each to contribute to the growing body of anecdotal evidence to the effectiveness of chair based yoga. Thank you to the class members who very kindly assisted us with the case studies.

The initial pilot study demonstrated both physical and mental health benefits to the chair based yoga. As a result there is now a nationwide trial of Gentle Years Yoga© taking place which we are pleased to be part of. We will certainly share the result of this interesting piece of research once the trial concludes.

You can read about the research pilot with a link to the paper on this blog: Gentle Years Yoga classes – Hoylake – Chair based yoga

The Research Trial

You can find a previous blog about the start of the research trial here: A Great Start to the BWY Gentle Years Yoga National Research Trial

Our new weekly class

We have a new regular weekly Gentle Years Yoga© chair based yoga class starting. The class starts on Friday 28th February 2020 at 12:45pm in Hoylake Parade Community Centre. It takes place on the first floor in the Rehearsal Room. There is parking, disabled access and a lift.

The class includes full body mobilisations, strengthening activities, gentle pulse raising activities and modified yoga poses. We explore elements of yoga philosophy, breathing exercises and guided relaxations. In addition to all of that we have a social element to the classes. After each session we head down stairs to Popsy’s cafe and have a chat over tea and coffee. Consequently we get to know each other and it is a great opportunity to make some new friends.

You can find a link to the event on our Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/events/207148843819466/

You can also find further details on our website at: Classes

Gentle Years Yoga© class
Our Gentle Years Yoga© chair based class in Hoylake

We are BWY Foundation Course 1 Tutors! 2020 Course Details….

Our certificates have come through from the British Wheel of Yoga, we are now officially BWY Foundation Course 1 tutors.


This is the next stage for us in our journey as BWY teachers. We attended a fantastic 4 day tutor training course in Grantham with Belinda Emberson. As a result of which we have been approved as BWY Foundation Course 1 tutors. Here is a blog about the Foundation Course 1 training here: https://yogasmiths.org/2019/11/09/bwy-foundation-course-1-tutor-training-in-grantham/

Course starting April 2020

We have submitted and had approved our 60 hour course plan. Hence, we are now advertising and accepting applications for our first ever BWYT Foundation Course 1 which will start in April 2020. Places are strictly limited to 18.

The Foundation Course 1 is a wonderful personal development course where we go deeper into the rich tradition of yoga. It is an opportunity to deepen your knowledge and to discuss the ancient yogic texts. The syllabus covers topics such as preparation for practice, asana, mudra, basic breathing, kriya, pranayama, concentration techniques, relaxation techniques, mantra, talks and discussions on the context and meaning of Yoga.  

The BWYT Foundation Course 1 runs one Sunday a month for 10 months in beautiful Hoylake on the Wirral. The venue for the course is Hoylake Parade Community Centre, Hoyle Road, Hoylake. It is a lovely community centre that used to be an old school, in fact, Paul’s mum, Mavis attended at when it was a school.

The course is taught by both of us, Paul & Stephen Smith, directors of Yogasmiths Limited. This will ensure that you get different perspectives and allow for attentive teaching of asana.

Find out all the details about the course including the application form at: BWYT Foundation Course 1

Our course is also listed on the British Wheel of Yoga Website at; https://www.bwy.org.uk/national/event/1347/

World Mental Health Day

The World Health Organisation recognises World Mental Health Day on 10 October every year. This year’s theme set by the World Federation for Mental Health is suicide prevention.

The following link will take you to a blog on this years theme;

https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/blog/world-mental-health-day-suicide-prevention

The Mental Health Foundation have put together a suicide prevention advice poster;

We all have mental health and our mental health can vary from day to day. It can vary as we move through different stages of our lives and deal with different life events.

Mental Health can often be referred to as emotional health or wellbeing.

Our mental health is just as important as our physical health. Yet people talk much more about their physical health and often shy away from addressing the subject of their mental health. In general people do not like talking about their feelings but it is healthy to be able to know how we are feeling and to talk about how we feel and to communicate this.

Mental Health problems are common, you are not alone. The following statistics are from the Mental Health Foundations website;

As found by the APMS (2014), 1 in 6 people in the past week experienced a common mental health problem.
Anxiety and depression are the most common problems, with around 1 in 10 people affected at any one time.

Take some time to visit the Mental Health Foundation website where there is a wealth of resources https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/

Talk to your friends and loved ones if you are struggling, speak to people and seek help.

Yoga can help us with greater self awareness so that we can become more aware of our triggers. We can become aware of the early signs of stress or anxiety and then we have an opportunity to try and deal with this at an early stage. This may be through breathing practices or relaxation or just taking some time for yourself. Ahimsa – Compassion – directed towards ourselves is a very important part of yoga. Practicing ahimsa is to take care of yourself – both your mental and physical wellbeing.

We all have to learn to live with our minds and we are all dealing with this on a daily basis. Some days it goes well and some days less well. It is something we all experience, when you feel low you are not alone, reach out and talk.

The British Wheel of Yoga Diploma journey

This weekend marked the last day of our British Wheel of Yoga diploma course up in Troon in Scotland with Carol Price. It also marked 3 years since we first met our wonderful tutor Carol Price and began training with her.

British Wheel of Yoga Diploma Yogasmiths
A serious end of course picture
British Wheel of Yoga Diploma Yogasmiths
Slightly less serious exuberance

Our first Yoga Teacher Training qualification

Our first teacher training course which we started in February 2016 with Yoga Alliance as the awarding body left us feeling unprepared to teach yoga. I am sure that there are some very good courses out there with Yoga Alliance as the awarding body. In fact I have been on some myself, however our first Yoga teacher training course certainly wasn’t one of them.

British Wheel of Yoga Certificate in Teaching Yoga

Feeling quite despondent, we were recommended to look at the British Wheel of Yoga. We found a certificate course running in Salford with Paul Fox (then BWY chair) and Carol Price. I had a chat with Paul and we decided that we would embark on another teacher training course that would actually teach us to teach yoga! The British Wheel of Yoga Level 4 Certificate course has BWY Qualifications as its awarding body which is regulated by OFQUAL. This was more like it! A qualification that we could be proud of. There was a lot of hard work, learning and academic essays to complete. We were also assessed teaching a real 90 minute class with real students. The final day of the course was very emotional and we felt very proud of our certificate. This was a world apart from our previous experience!

British Wheel of Yoga Diploma in Teaching Yoga

We then became aware that Carol Price had a British Wheel of Yoga diploma course which was part way through. It was possible we could tag on to the course and upgrade our qualification to the highest level of OFQUAL regulated Yoga Teacher Training available, the BWY Level 4 Diploma. We gave this serious consideration. The course was running in Troon in Scotland and obviously entailed a further significant financial and time investment. Both of us wanted to continue our learning with Carol and felt it was absolutely the right thing to do.

The British Wheel of Yoga diploma top up has been a fantastic experience. It covers 3 modules on Hatha Yoga & Pranayama, the teaching & philosophy of meditation and progression in yoga.

On the course we dived deep into the ancient texts and looked at how we could make them relevant for our classes and create rich layered lessons. The formal essay writing was the part that I found particularly enjoyable. It really encouraged me to read around the topics and to draw together references and importantly allowed me to work out my own opinions. There was also a further assessment of us teaching one of our real weekly 90 minute classes, and those who come to our classes may remember Carol sitting in the corner! Despite having been teaching for 3 years at the point of being assessed it was still a very nerve wrecking experience. I felt supported and buoyed by the lovely yoga students who attend our class.

Carol Price – Celtic Yoga

Let me just say a few words about Carol Price our Diploma Course Tutor. Carol has been a wonderful guide to us on our diploma course. She never fails to come up with either a wonderful pearl of wisdom, a lovely new mobilisation exercise or an intelligent imaginative sequence. Carol always provided constructive and helpful feedback. One of her catch phrases being “what could make you even better would be….”. She has been an extremely important teacher to us. We can’t thank her enough, we will always affectionately refer to her as our Yoga Mama!

British Wheel of Yoga Diploma Yogasmiths
Yoga Mama Carol Price with her two boys!

Here is a link to Carol’s facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Celtic-Yoga-264932390858722/

Continuous Professional Development

As an already qualified yoga teacher (at least twice over) when embarking on the Diploma top up I was keen to get as much out of it as possible. When deciding to do further training / CPD I want to gain extra knowledge that is going to make me a better teacher. This is certainly what we got in bucket loads from the diploma course with Carol. It has also been a greatly enriching personal journey studying in depth the ancient yogic texts and pulling together formal assignments.

We are both very proud to be British Wheel of Yoga teachers. With an OFQUAL regulated awarding body, you know that you are going to get excellent quality training and rigorous assessment. It may feel like a lot of hard work as you progress through the BWY training but this is exactly why it is worth it. You come out the other end of the training prepared and ready to teach yoga to all ability classes. The staged approach to teaching that the BWY train you in is all inclusive. We have in our classes students who are retired yoga teachers and others who are completely new to yoga. Both are able to practice side by side.

Choose Wisely

There are so many different yoga teacher training courses out there, I even saw one that was a correspondence course! Choose wisely. How long does it really take to learn a profession such as teaching yoga? In an unregulated arena go for regulated courses. Do your homework. Speak to previous trainees. Spend your money and time wisely and you won’t regret it.

Check out our bio’s for further details of all the training we have undertaken: https://yogasmiths.org/about/

British Wheel of Yoga Diploma Yogasmiths

Yoga Workshops – Sunday 13th October

Join us for our October Yoga workshop day at Westbourne Hall on Sunday 13th October at Westbourne Road, West Kirby, CH48 4DQ

We will have a full day of Yoga from 11:00 till 17:00.

In the morning (11:00 till 13:30) we will have an inversions workshop looking at;
* Foundations & strength building for inversions, e.g. headstand & handstand
* Safe practice tips for shoulder stand and plough poses
* Gaining confidence in your practice using a staged approach
* The chance to go upside down with teacher assistance! (optional!)

In the afternoon (14:30 till 17:00) we will have a partner yoga workshop where we will look at;
* Tips and tools for improving balance
* Practicing balancing poses alone and with a partner
* Working with a partner to develop your balance
* Have some fun!
You do not need to bring a partner to come to this workshop!

Cost : £37 for both workshops or £20 per workshop

(non refundable unless space can be filled) – Please book early as places are limited, you can pay at one of our weekly classes or by BACS. Please email us at enquires@yogasmiths.org or send us a Facebook message to book your place.

Please bring with you a packed lunch and a blanket. We have use of the kitchen at Westbourne Hall for teas and coffees and to heat any food you bring. There will be a long table for us to sit at and eat our lunch together.

You may wish to bring your own yoga mat and props, however, we will have plenty for people to use.

There are a good number of places in West Kirby where you could purchase lunch should you not wish to bring a packed lunch.

Westbourne Hall has a free car park with plenty of parking spaces.

We are British Wheel of Yoga and Yoga Alliance trained teachers, fully insured through the British Wheel of Yoga.

You get two friendly teachers which ensures safe practice and plenty of attention and modifications are offered so that the classes are inclusive for all abilities.

Please check out the event on our Facebook page;
https://www.facebook.com/events/376596526351229/

We look forward to guiding you through your yoga practice.

Paul & Steve Yogasmiths