About mindfulness.... coming soon

The content of these classes comes from systems and practices I have studied, used regularly myself and taught for over forty years. They include exercises for physical fitness and practices for relaxing body and mind, mostly yoga but other disciplines as well. Although there are breathing and relaxation practices in my regular yoga classes, this class will focus mainly on those and not the physical exercises or postures.

The breathing exercises mainly follow a system learned from over 15 years with my teacher Philip Xerri. His teacher, Philip Jones, introduced Xerri to these methods. Jones, a Welsh miner was in hospital following an accident and suffering from pneumoconiosis (at death’s door, so the story goes).  One day his wife brought in a yoga book, which changed everything. Jones went on to teach yoga and breathing for over 20 years.  Philip Xerri went on to study yoga breathing in India with Dr. Swami Gitananda.

By following this excellent system we learn the mechanics of breathing and follow the progressive stages.  In yoga, their purpose is to create a foundation for more advanced practices but also as a way of developing the systems of the body and improving health.  The mechanics are a tool for learning which, once learned, drop away as we develop a natural and intuitive personal practice.

The simple and effective techniques for relaxing body and mind come from a variety of practices I have discovered.  Many of these use the breath as a tool, others include visualization, gentle movements for releasing tension as well as methods for focusing and quietening the mind.

Here and now…

I’ve been planning to do this for a couple of years (even had a false start with one class) and now I am ready and keen to get started. This time, rather than running a course, I wanted to start something that would run continuously - I do this with my other classes and it works well so I am hopeful this one will too.

Finding a venue for classes is always difficult. Things like parking and locality make all the difference.  I was looking for clean and comfortable, warm yet airy with a nice light. I have had my eye on The Malt shovel for quite a while, it’s local to me and I have always liked the atmosphere.  I made my first enquiry in December and straight away I received fantastic support from Danilo, the manager and all the staff.

This introduction day was also a way of seeing how the place works, the furniture arrangement, noises, smells, the feel etc.  (I am writing this after the event and it felt perfect).

What will happen in the class?

Each week, on arrival we will settle in and get used to the place. Maybe some discussion on how people are finding the practices plus any questions.

We start with a short, guided relaxation then a few minutes of quiet.

During the class there will be some simple limbering and stretching and some exercises that combine breath and movement.

The breathing exercises will include the mechanics, techniques like counting, pausing (retention) and exhalation through the mouth plus information about how we breathe, our patterns and habits.

We will look at our posture in terms of our breathing, releasing tension and feeling at ease

At the end there will be a guided relaxation followed by a few minutes of quiet and stillness.

Throughout I will talk a little bit about each of the practices, explain why we are doing them and discuss the benefits and precautions. 

From the foundations people will develop their own practice and become more aware of  breath and body; observe stress and tension as it arises and  reactions to different situations.

There will be time throughout and at the end for questions and discussions. I also want to hear about how you find the exercises, the effects and any difficulties or problems.

A few points…

The exercises can feel uncomfortable at first - just noticing your breath is quite radical - and this can be off-putting. But this period of adjustment doesn’t last and it would be a shame to stop at this point as it is not long before the benefits are felt.

Home practice is optional (just the class practice alone changes things). However, as with anything like this, you get out what you put in.  A routine practice, repeating the in-class exercises just a couple of times a week will be very beneficial.   A little bit goes a long way. 

You will find all sorts of times and places where you can enjoy some easy breaths or relaxation techniques. Many people find the practice useful before bed or when unable to sleep. You may just practice for the sake of it, to enjoy the feel or perhaps if you are feeling anxious, stressed or nervous

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Upstairs at

The Malt Shovel

69 Iver Lane, Cowley

Uxbridge UB8 2JE

Breathing and relaxation classes

Notes from introduction

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