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Yoga and our connection to nature

Those of you who have been practising yoga for a while will likely have come to realise that Yoga is more than just stretching.  

The Sanskrit word ‘Yoga’ translates to union and connection. 

Due to busy lifestyles and the demands of day to day life, many of us are disconnected from our bodies, from each other and from nature. 

We so easily get trapped inside our heads, worrying, stressing and planning for the future. We often forget to be present, to notice our breath, to listen to the rustling of the trees and feel the warmth of the sun on our skin. 

By getting to know our bodies and connecting to our breath in our practice, we start to rebuild this connection with our bodies and, ultimately, our deep connection to each other and the world around us.

Nature in the Yogic Tradition

Many Yogic texts show an honouring of nature. We can see this, for example, through the many postures named after animals (crow, cobra) and nature being represented through the Hindu gods (Agni – The God of fire, Vayu the God of Wind). 

Ahimsa is the first of the Yamas, or ethical guidelines, within many systems of Yoga. Ahimsa translates to non harming or non-violence and it is at the heart of practising yoga, both on and off the mat. When we act with ‘Ahimsa’ in mind, this means not causing harm to others, ourselves, or nature. Ahimsa shows a deep honouring of our planet and all those that inhabit it, seeing animals as equals and plants and trees full of prana or life force. 

When teaching my own classes, I often refer to nature ‘as our greatest teacher’. For example, when exploring feeling grounded, we look to the humble tree; the wind may shake the branches but, in most cases, the trunk holds. The tree has strong roots in order to flourish above.

Yoga, nature and connection 

I imagine we’ve all experienced that profound feeling of calm, a sense of belonging and comfort that stepping away from our busy lives and being out in nature can bring. Nature is in our nature! We are nature and this is why we feel a particular resonance with it, a sense of being home. 

Before all the distractions of modern life, we lived in connection with nature. We slept when the sun went down, spent most of our days outside and drank from the streams. Nature compliments our Yoga practice as it’s the place we were originally us; our true selves, us as human beings before all the distractions and demands of modern life drew us further and further away. 

 Nature under threat 

After teaching my Yoga classes, my favourite thing to do is to take a stroll in the local Weekly Hall Woods and meadows. There’s something about the trees, sky and fresh air that instantly makes me feel calm and encourages me to get out of my head. I love the peace and gratitude I experience as I move my body in nature. I’ve even had the opportunity to teach classes outside that overlook the beautiful woodland and they have felt truly special. 

I felt inspired to write this as this area of nature that provides joy to many is at threat. There are plans in place that look to take down Weekly Hall wood and replace it with more warehouses/distribution centres. The application, if approved, will result in the deforestation and industrialisation of an area that provides peace and connection to so many people, from runners and dog walkers to those looking for a slice of peace out from their busy day.

These strange times over the past few months have highlighted the need for access to open space and the natural environment and we need this connection to ourselves, each other and nature more now than ever. Is taking down entire woodland practising ahimsa? Is it honouring our deeply rooted connection to nature? 

What can you do to support? 

You can head over to to sign their petition to object to the planning application or type ‘saveweekleyhallwood’ on social media for more information and more ways to get involved. 


I would love to hear your thoughts on the connection between yoga and nature for you. Do you ever practice outside? Have you enjoyed a walk round Weekly Hall Wood after class? Do you have a favourite animal or nature themed pose? 

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The life of a part-time Yoga teacher: Month 3

My Sunday morning Yogis completed yet another 6 week block of Yoga classes last week! It has been wonderful seeing some of the ‘regulars’ develop their practice, as well as welcoming some new Yogis. Despite the snow, and freezing cold starts in the dance studio, these wonderful ladies join me each Sunday morning to move their bodies and calm their minds.

I was truly humbled at the end of our last class, when one wonderful Yogi baked the class vegan friendly blackcurrant crumble bars and lemon slices! The crumbles were delicious! Another lovely yogi bought me some wonderful beauty gifts to say thanks for introducing her to Yoga. Such kind, thoughtful offerings. I am truly grateful for our Sunday mornings together

I love my Friday nights at the moment – teaching a sweaty, power Yoga based class at the gym, singing my heart out in my car as I rush back to my local Yoga class afterwards, giggling along and relaxing with them and then coming home for some well earned food and a nice hot bath! It was wonderful to see some new Friday Yogis come along on Good Friday – it would be great to see this class’s numbers grow.

I am feeling very inspired about my Yoga teaching right now. I had the privilege of attending a wonderful Yoga retreat last Friday, which involved 3 chakra themed Yoga classes, sleeping in a Yurt, eating delicious vegan food, rainy walks and chats in a hot tub, all alongside 10 wonderful ladies. This really has inspired me to start looking into setting up some Yoga events / retreats of my own – especially as I love planning parties and bringing people together! If anyone has any ideas / suggestions then do let me know!

I spent the whole of Good Friday planning lots of new Yoga sequences, meditations, breathing activities and class themes for my upcoming classes. I can’t wait to share these with my yogis! I have had to get a little more organised with my class planning as, due to teaching 5 classes a week, I was starting to forget which sequences I had done with which students! I have now set up a planner that logs what sequences I teach and when, kind of like my school lesson planner, so I can keep on top of everything!

I think the true highlight of this month had to be the kind, thoughtful words one of my Yogis left as a review on my Facebook page. How wonderful of her to take the time to share her thoughts. I am so glad that Yoga is having such a positive effect on her well-being. What a wonderful journey this is.

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The life of a part-time Yoga teacher: Month 2

Wow February just flew by! Both my local Sunday morning Yogis and the Staff at school have ‘graduated’ their 6 week Yoga for Beginners courses and almost all of them have decided to book on for another 6 weeks, which is amazing! It has been great seeing the progress they have made, both through their poses and their ability to connect to and move with the breath. It’s been wonderful hearing them tell me about the positive impact that one hour a week has been having on their day to day lives. One Yogi told me she has been doing Tree Pose as she brushes her teeth!

I have been lucky enough to add 3 more classes to my teaching Schedule this month. I have set up a Friday evening class for my local Irthlingborough Yogis to help them let go of the stresses of the week and wind down for the weekend. It’s a small class, but I love having a good giggle with them as we explore new transitions and standing balances. I felt so humbled when my wonderful friend Melody joined us for a yummy heart opening class 2 weeks ago!

I am also trialling a Sweat Yoga class at Dallington Fitness Gym in Northampton, also on Friday nights. It’s a really different challenge not knowing who is going to turn up each week and what experience of Yoga they are bringing with them. It’s also interesting learning to keep my voice calm and yet project it enough to fill a large, reverberant gym studio!

As my staff Yoga sessions have been a success, I have also started working with a lovely group of ladies that have various roles in a Northampton Primary School. We have only had one session so far, in a rather chilly school hall, but I look forward to getting to know them as they begin their Yoga journey.

So at the moment, I am teaching Yoga on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday evenings and on a Sunday morning. I hadn’t planned to take on so many classes, but opportunities just keep arriving to me and I am loving every moment that I teach! It does mean that I am having to amend my personal gym schedule, but I am sure I will find the right balance over time.

A highlight for me this month has been taking the time to update my music playlist! I am often inspired by the music I hear in the Yoga classes I attend, so I’ve been in contact with some of my favourite Yoga teachers who have been kind enough to share their playlists with me. I now have a collection of 40 or so songs that range from 90s Trip Hop to beautiful folk melodies and pop songs. I love it when we are moving through a flow and the perfect song is playing – it just adds to the immersion! If anyone is interested, you can find my playlist on Google Play: Yoga Class Playlist

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The life of a part-time Yoga teacher: Month 1

After some initial ‘market research’ in December (ie lots of posts on local Facebook community pages!) I decided there was enough interest to set up my first local class – a ‘6 week Yoga for beginners course’. I found a wonderful local dance studio to hold the classes in and the course booked up pretty fast. I am 4 weeks into the course and am loving seeing the progress my 15 students are making each week – it’s a pleasure spending my Sunday mornings with them.

I used the money gained from my beginners course to purchase my own set of Yoga mats and Yoga blocks. I got my equipment from as they offer an excellent bulk buy discount and their sticky mats come in a great range of colours!  Buying the equipment was the easy bit… working out where to store everything has been fun (bye bye boot space in my tiny car!). It turns out yoga mats are heavy, and I have come to be known as the ‘trolley lady’ in school as I wheel my mats and blocks from one classroom to another between the staff / student classes I teach at the secondary school where I work.

It has been wonderful providing the stressed out, exhausted staff at school with an hour a week where they can forget the troubles of the day and just focus on their body, mind and breath. Yoga has been so powerful for helping me manage my own stresses as a Secondary School teacher / Head of Year, so it’s great to be able to pass this on to other staff. One lovely lady said to me “After our first session, I just went home and cried – I felt so emotional”.

I am also working with a fab group of Year 10 and 11 students who are busy preparing for mock exams. Sessions with them are great fun with lots of giggles – they particularly love the ‘bit at the end where we get to lie down and do nothing’. At the end of one class, a Year 11 stayed behind and said “thanks so much Miss, I haven’t felt this relaxed in ages”.

I must admit that this month wouldn’t have been so productive without the help of my wonderful husband. He has been so supportive and has helped me with all the ‘marketing’ aspects of my yoga business, such as redesigning my Facebook page to match the wonderful flyers, website and business cards that he designed for me. He’s also helping me keep track of my finances via a very detailed spreadsheet. What a legend!

The highlight of this month had to be leading an assembly on mindfulness, in which I lead a 10 minute meditation with 600 Year 9 and 10 students and their tutors. It was nice to start the school day with a moment of calm.

January has been a busy and super enjoyable month and I can’t wait to see what adventures next month brings!