I have practised Yoga on and off throughout my adult life. I expect like many yoga students, I had always assumed that the stronger the Yoga, the greater that ‘chill-out factor’ would be by the end – having worked and stretched muscles and tendons to their limit.
But in 2008, I began attending a men’s yoga class run by a friend of mine who at the time was a trainee teacher of ‘Transformation Hatha Yoga.’ The first class began with a period of relaxation – to help the student start unwinding from their day and to counter gravity’s effect on the spine – lengthening it and thereby promoting flexibility. That was lovely. Then we did some limbering up – gentle, but sensible. Then we got on to the core of the class – asanas (yoga postures/positions). Immediately, I found them very easy and I began thinking, ‘gosh, I’m not doing much here… , then on to ‘is this worth it? …Will there actually be any noticeable effect of these simple and undemanding stretches?’
I then caught myself getting distracted by these thoughts and knew that I had to make a choice: either trust that my friend knew what he was doing (he was a trainee…) or leave. I chose to trust my friend.
We finished the class with him leading a relaxation exercise. Then it was time to go. It was then that I realised I was more relaxed and at peace in myself than I had been by the end of any other yoga class I had ever attended! I felt absolutely great – serene, but alert and joyful. My body too felt relaxed – like it had had a workout, but still with plenty of energy. How had that happened? We had hardly done anything!
That was my revelation and my introduction to a more subtle yoga where, if you’re looking to calm and clear the mind and really re-connect with a palpable sense of wellbeing, less physically is indeed more on every other level.
I was deeply touched by that first class and from then on, whenever I practise Transformation Hatha Yoga.
Depth in simplicity
It is all too easy to over-complicate anything, including Yoga. Transformation Hatha Yoga’s depth is in its simplicity and the teacher is trained to bring a caring and patient precision to their teaching – which makes it very safe and supportive. It is also very down to earth.
Truly accessible Yoga
I was inspired by my friend’s classes, not only for myself, but also because it occurred to me how fantastically accessible Transformation Hatha Yoga is for virtually anyone. At beginner’s level, even if a student cannot easily get into an asana, easier variations and alternatives to that asana are always taught so there is always choice over how much or how little one does and no one is left out – there is always something for everyone.
A lot of Yoga these days has become more fitness-based and body-focussed. Transformation Hatha Yoga confirmed to me that true Yoga is much more than this. In Transformation Hatha Yoga, having the flexibility & strength to get into the asanas fully and hold them is not the most important thing.
The all-important breath
Harmonising your breathing with what movement you can do comfortably is more important and is almost a magical part of the practice. In fact, I found if I brought my breathing into every movement in the right way, I then found that neither the level of exertion, nor my physical abilities have anything to do with how good Transformation Hatha Yoga could make me feel!
Needless to say, I went on to complete the two-year training to be a Transformation Hatha Yoga teacher myself and thoroughly enjoy teaching regular public and private classes in addition to the Sherpa training packages. I frequently have students who, for example, have back, hip or knee problems, and/or are getting on in years. I am always able to accommodate and include them, as well as the fitter and stronger, thanks to the terrific versatility of Transformation Hatha Yoga.