This six-week course will introduce you to the basic principles of Zen yoga practice, and is suitable for those completely new to yoga or any physical work. It may also be of benefit to more practised yogis who wish to deepen and further their knowledge and understanding of yoga.
It's an ideal foundation course for beginning your journey into Zen yoga. There's so much more to explore...!
Following on from this course, I also offer a 6-week "Introduction to Zen Yoga - level 2" course.
costs and booking
The 6-week course costs £60. To get the most benefit from it attendance at each class is recommended.
"I really enjoyed the classes. The class is small so Mark has time to help up individually. We also learnt positions we could do at home ourselves. After the classes I'd always feel like I was floating a little bit!"
"Having not done yoga for over four years it was a great way of getting back into it. I was looking forward to my Thursday evenings each week and the relaxed yet energised feeling I got after each class. I especially enjoyed the small sequences you taught us as the 'homework' - they were great to keep doing during the week and I find myself still doing them in the evenings. I found the 'mindfulness' aspect very interesting, and something that could find itself into my everyday life."
"I really enjoyed the six weeks and very much looked forward to each class... I found the cost of the course very reasonable and have already recommended it to friends. The venue is perfect. The tuition was good, [Mark has] a very calming presence and [his] voice was pitched just right..."
"My feedback is very positive on the tuition, you have a very pleasant and patient way to guide beginners through the first steps. I never felt pushed or not being good enough, which is quite important."
Great class, very calm and good for beginners with plenty of repetition so we could remember the practice."
Would you recommend the course to others?
I will teach you some basic movements and sequences that you can do at home, and I will encourage you to develop a daily yoga practice. Just a little each day, and you'll see huge changes over time!
Week One – Mindfulness: We will begin with a brief history of yoga and zen, with an explanation about different yoga styles and how zen yoga fits in. In the physical part of the class we will begin looking at the concept of mindfulness in movement – learning how to live in the present with whatever we're doing, accepting and aware, and without judgement.
Week Two – Tensions and habits: We each have very individual patterns of tension and imbalances as a result of our past and our habits. Without care, these can build up to produce longer-term problems and potentially illnesses. In this class we will look at how we might begin releasing these built-up tensions and tightnesses.
Week Three - The spine: Hatha yoga can be defined as the liberation of the fifth limb (the spine). Every connection in the body goes through the spine - it's is our connection between body and mind. But so many of us have problems and pain in this area. In this class we will focus on flexing, releasing, and gently lengthening the spine.
Week Four - Hara: In the east Asian traditions, they put a strong emphasis on cultivating your hara – your belly. You can think of hara in terms of our "guts" (rather than a pot belly!). It's our centre of gravity, and can be thought of as our central engine or battery pack. In Zen yoga we have a number of ways we can work on developing our hara, and that's what we'll be looking at here, including some breath work: finding our belly breath
Week Five - Hips and sitting: All yoga practices and styles put a strong emphasis on opening the hips. This is for many reasons: relaxed and open hips allows free leg movement for walking and sitting (without strain on the spine), the muscles in the pelvis are very sensitive to fear and stress so we can use physical movement to release stuck emotions, and having open hips allows us to sit in meditation for longer periods without strain. In this class we'll be looking at how to open up our hips and pelvis, and sitting meditation.
Week Six - Finding balance: A happy life is all about finding balance, and balance is a central theme of yoga practice. We'll look at simple balancing postures, building our foot & ankle stability/strength, our concentration, and connection to the ground. We'll also look at some simple inversions, finishing off with a deeper look at sitting meditation. I'll also give you some tips and advice on how to develop your own personal practice.
This is a foundation course designed to start you off on your journey into Zen yoga. There's so much more to explore...!
Look out for other courses to take your practice deeper.