Words by Gillian Evans
Starting a new Saturday early morning class over the summer has given me a chance to find my feet at Studio Kooks, but I did not anticipate the unexpected benefit of beginning to slowly grow a new class.
Having just one student in the first classes of August meant that I had the opportunity, for the first time, to teach alignment-based hatha yoga in a one-to-one setting. This proved to be a humbling and rewarding experience, because the chance to work with one student, making hands-on adjustment in almost every pose, for a 90 minute class, as well as providing the space for that student to go safely and deeply into prolonged breath work, made possible a level of emotional change and physical awareness for that person that might not be quite so easy to achieve in a larger, group class.
I hadn't imagined that I would find a private class to be such a potentially profound experience, and I definitely appreciate more than ever now that growing a class slowly over time, with just a few students to start with, has positive advantages. There is the chance to begin to get to know more and understand something important about who the students in the class are, to know them by name, to appreciate their particular physical and personal circumstances and to then be able to adapt adjustments and class sequences to their needs.
Every Saturday morning, unlocking The Old Library again, I feel anew the thrill of being able to teach yoga in such a personal way in such a beautiful space. It really does feel like a privilege, and the community ethos of The Mansion project adds a real sense of being at the beginning of something wonderful that is just starting to unfold. After one class, I went home with home-grown cucumbers and courgettes from the Community Garden for my lunch; after another I had a long relaxing walk in the surrounding parklands with Skye, my beloved border collie, and last week I stopped at the cafe for a bacon sarnie and a cup of tea, and just took a pew at the park benches, drinking in the view.
In time, as more people come to discover that Beckenham Place Park is open for business, and just beautiful, the yoga classes will grow, and more students will arrive, which I am looking forward to, but it has been lovely to have this summer time to hold the space and set the intention for a small group of people to discover the potential of alignment-based hatha yoga.
Gillian teaches 'Rise & Shine' Hatha Yoga 8.15-9.45pm on Saturdays
Skye does not yet have any classes on the timetable...