Well Being Yoga Fest BWY Congress 2018 23rd-25th March 2018

We had a great time at this years British Wheel of Yoga (BWY) Yoga Fest at Warwick University. We thought we would report back on the weekend to share it with you all.

We arrived at Warwick Uni in the afternoon, checked in to our accommodation and went and picked up our session tickets and welcome packs.

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My first session was with a lovely Italian Yoga Teacher called Elena which was called “Lost in Translation: Intelligent and functional sequencing.” This was a great session with lots of wonderful detailed instruction moving through some simple yet very strengthening movements.

After a delicious lunch was one of the headline sessions of the weekend, a talk by Dr Timothy McCall on the Holistic Science of Yoga Therapy. Dr McCall is an American MD and explained his approach to yoga therapy. He has published a book compiling all of the papers and evidence on the efficacy of yoga for a range of different ailments. To date I think he has a list of 101 conditions that yoga has been proven to help by scientific studies. Here is a link to the list off his website;

101 Health Conditions Helped By Yoga

And here is a link to his website too;

Dr McCall’s website

This talk was then followed by a presentation on the work carried out with the NHS. This was delivered by The Minded Institute’s Heather Mason and was titled Yoga in the NHS. Heather detailed the 10 week NHS pilot scheme that has been run in London and the very positive initial findings from this study. These results will be written up and a paper published in the future. Hopefully this will roll out nationwide! Heather is a director of the Yoga in Health Care Alliance which is a social enterprise, here is a link to their website;

Yoga in Health Care Alliance

On Saturday our first session was with our yoga mamma Carol Price! We did our British Wheel of Yoga training with Carol Price and Paul Fox in Salford and are good friends with both of them. We always call Carol our Yoga Mamma! The session was a beautiful flowing sequence focusing on Dividing the Yogic Body. There is always something to learn from great teachers such as Carol and we came away with plenty of ideas for our classes!

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The next session we attended was a very interesting and informative session with Jo Creaser about Social Prescribing / working in a deprived area of Norfolk. This was an informal conversational session and it was great to learn how Jo had brought yoga to deprived areas in Norfolk and the continuing good work she is doing with people of all ages. Here is a link to Jo’s website;

The Yoga Nook

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Another headline session followed delivered by the American author Elliot Goldberg who wrote the fantastic book The Path of Modern Yoga. Elliot talked about some of the key players in the field of yoga and the development of traditional yoga into the modern yoga class we know and love. Elliot’s book is a wonderful read and busts a lot of myths about yoga and its origins!

The British Wheel of Yoga AGM followed with a presentation on all the hard work and progress made by the NEC over the last year. It made us feel very proud to be members of the BWY.

The next session for me was an Ashtanga Yoga workshop with Scott Johnson and Andy Gill. I was so glad that they were here again after attending their great sessions last year. They are such intelligent and intuitive teachers and their approach to Ashtanga is very inspiring. With the help of my good friend Sharlene I was able to fold forwards into the most comfortable and deepest version of Paschimottanasana that I had ever done!

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In the evening there was a very entertaining lesson in Argentine Tango! This fitted in perfectly to the Yoga Fest, the mindful movement of the body to the music really resonated with the yoga practitioners and teachers present. I had the pleasure of dancing with two lovely people, Nina (pictured below) and a Yoga Teacher from Southport called Pam. Next stop Strictly Come Dancing!

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After the clocks turning forward an hour overnight the 6am Ashtanga Yoga class was tough to get up for but I managed it. In reality it was 5am to my body clock! The class was led by Scott Johnson and Andy Gill and was a lovely way to start the morning. Here is a link to their websites;

Scott Johnson Still Point Yoga London

Andy Gill

We had a little break then in the sunshine and had some fun being photographed!

After a final session on Wellbeing and Yoga Therapy and we then attended the closing of the weekend with a talk from The Indian High Commissioner and Amarjeet Bhama from the All Party Parliamentary Group on Traditional Indian Science. The UK is at the forefront of trying to integrate yoga into health care and this is an emerging area to look  out for!

A leisurely trip home along the A-roads through Cheshire and the BWY YogaFest was over for another year. It goes much too quickly!

BWY Yogafest is open to all BWY members both yoga student and yoga teacher members. To join the BWY follow the link below;

Join BWY

All photographs are either my own or Tori Williams.

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British Wheel of Yoga Congress 2017 – Day 2 & 3

Day 2 started with a 7am Ashtanga Mysore Practice session with Scott Johnson and Andy Gill. Scott and Andy split the room in half and one side did their own practice and the other side were lead through a good chunk of the Primary Series. Both teachers gave fantastic adjustments and instruction and I came away with many tips to help me in my home practice. I wish Scot and Andy taught nearer to the Wirral! I’ll definitely be keeping my eyes peeled for workshops and weekends with them. If you live in or near London I’d recommend practicing with Scott and Andy, here is the website for the studio; Still Point Yoga London

Next up, after breakfast, was a session introducing the Yoga for Healthy Lower Backs course given by Alison Trewhala. We covered and experienced postures to ease lower back pain and also anatomy and common back ailments. We picked up some great tips to be able to help our own students with lower back pain. Check out the website here; Yoga for Healthy Lower Backs

Jay Lakhani was a guest speaker and delivered a thought proving talk entitled “How Yoga can be redefined as harnessing nature external and harnessing nature internal to reveal the divinity within.”

After lunch Paul Harvey led a tribute to TKV Desikachar and the British Wheel of Yoga AGM followed. The NEC presented a video of all of their hard work over the last 12 months. They have been doing outstanding work and I felt very proud to be a member.

After a wander round the market place to visit all of the stalls, we had a session with George Watts on lesson planning. The session was fun and gave us lots of new ideas for lesson planning for our students. George is a great inspirational teacher and has a wonderful website with lots of free resources on it; George Watts. We attended a second session with George on Yoga Business Planning which was just as eye opening. The sessions with George were a real highlight of the weekend for us, learning lots and coming away with a to do list! Plus George was a thoroughly nice guy who is vegan and into permaculture!

The evening brought “British Wheels Got Talent” in the main auditorium. This included a demonstration of Acro Yoga, see the pic above!!

Day 3 started with a 7am gentle Yin Yoga session led by Karen Jones a teacher form North Wales, not too far from us! It was nice to connect with and meet a relatively local teacher. The perfect start to the day and a nice gentle way to wake up to the day ahead.

After breakfast was another session with Michael Chiswick, this time focussing on teaching Autistic children and those with complex learning needs. A practical demonstration is worth a million words and we practiced a typical session which was very beneficial. Q and A followed and Michael imparted some of his wealth of knowledge on this area. He has been teaching children for many years and is clearly an expert in this area.

The last session of the weekend was an Ashtanga Workshop with Scott Johnson and Andy Gill. The time flew by as we explored extension and contraction in the body relating this to the sun salutations. Also a great experimentation with sifting weight into the hands from down dog, as Scott said treating your “Hands as Feet.” Lots learned and lots to absorb.

A final lunch and closing session draw to an end a wonderful intensive weekend. We made lots of new friends. The theme was Transformation and the week certainly was transforming. We are already looking forward to next year!

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British Wheel of Yoga Congress 2017-Day1

Hey Everyone, we are attending the British Wheel of Yoga Congress at Warwick University. The campus looked beautiful as we arrived in sunny weather, all of the daffodils still in full bloom.

We attended a fantastic session delivered by Michael Chissick on “How to Use Yoga to Transform Children’s Social Skills and Self Esteem.”

Michael led us through a fun session where we pretended that we were school children participating in a yoga class. Michael has a wealth of experience in this area and has been teaching yoga to children for many years. We learned the importance of interaction  to build self esteem and also class control. Applying the sun salutation in a fun way and incorporating posture based games was inspiring. We will certainly be checking out David’s book and stall in the market arena over the weekend. The session showed us how with imagination and a sense of fun our knowledge and experience as Yoga Teachers can easily be adapted to teach fun and rewarding sessions to children.

Here is a link to Michael’s website Yoga At School

After a welcoming address officially opening the Congress weekend, there was a very inspiring talk from Fazilah Bazari, a yoga teacher from Papua New Guinea. Fazilah has taken yoga to extremely deprived and dangerous areas to help aid real change in peoples lives.

You can read more about the work that Fazilah has been doing here Yoga Unites

The second session we attend was with David Tierney and was on “Core Stability and it’s Role in Yoga.” We looked at all the different muscles that make up the core and targeted them with specific exercises. Then we brought mindfulness to our practice of yoga postures with acute detail to the core and its support in the postures.

Off to bed early this evening as we have a class at 7am tomorrow!

Namaste

Paul & Steve

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