This is not going to be a typical Sports Yoga Blog post but as it was the OM Yoga Show over 23rd, 24th and 25th October I thought it would be worth giving you a little run down of the event. It is a great opportunity to see what is happening in yoga, connect with teachers, take classes of yoga types you normally don’t and even get taught by celebrity teachers. I have to be honest and say that I have never been before but this year as it was at Alexandra Palace which I can walk so I thought I would make the most of it and go to all three days. This gave me the best opportunity to try the workshops as well as some of the great free classes.
As an overall opinion I was not very impressed with the stalls for shopping, particularly for yoga clothes. There were a lot there but they suited only the hippy style, so if you want crazy patterned leggings and tops with images and quotes printed on them you were sorted. I prefer to wear things that I can also wear when running, so proper sportswear, which was totally lacking, for example I wanted to get a plain hoodie – no chance. In that way I suppose it was good because it meant I didn’t do any shopping and had more time to squeeze in yoga classes which is what it was all about anyway.
I am going to give you a quick review of all the classes that I took and any talks that I attended, obviously I can’t give you any details on the things I couldn’t get to, but what I did see, could give you some ideas of things to try out. I will also try and give you a bit of an idea of how useful it would be to an athlete.
Friday 23rd October 11:30am – 12:45pm Upside Down – Advancing Your Practice with Celest Pereira
This class was designed to help people improve their inversion practice and either get into a headstand, handstand or forearm balance. It was a great way to kick off the weekend and good to get the practice in before my arms got too tired. For me this was such a useful class as I have the strength and ability to do inversions but am always held back by the fear of falling. Celest was an amazingly patient teacher and gave great advice to get over the fear of being upside down. There were a lot of people in this workshop that found themselves in their first ever headstand. If this is something you want to achieve then a special workshop is definitely the thing to try. I would have to say though that if you are an athlete I would not be doing things like this, you have enough to worry about without the stress of trying to get upside down. Plus you also need to think what real benefits you will get out of it for your sport or are you more likely to injury yourself or put pressure on a part of the body you need to keep safe. So great for the yoga enthusiast but not really for athletes. Find out more about Celest Pereira here
Friday 23rd October 1:00pm – 2:30pm Uplift the Body and Prana with Yogi Ashokananda
I think the description of this class was a little bit misleading as it was supposed to be energising Hatha yoga with cleansing Kriyas and ending with a long relaxation and meditation. I was expecting something challenging but energising what I got was a totally mental class that was more associated with Kundalini yoga in my head. I need to to tell you what was good about the class and that is that Yogi Ashokananda is amazing, his energy levels are unreal and his teaching is clear, supportive and he has this way of getting you into focus so I cannot fault him. The only thing I have to say that is negative is really just the fact that this type of yoga just does not fit with me and so I need to stay away from it or at least that is how it feels. If it is your thing then I’m sure it is amazing but it is not mine. The thing I noticed quite significantly is that it completely exhausted me as I was planning on doing 2 free sessions on the Friday but I had no energy after this class and all I wanted to do was eat and lie down after it. Some would say this is good as it maybe tapped into blockages I have but I would say it is not the aim of yoga to make you feel rubbish. I certainly would not recommend this type of yoga to athletes, it is far too demanding, with me it only succeeded in making me feel that I was totally unfit and I would not want any athlete to experience it in such a draining way. Having said that the body does learn to adapt and this was so different from the yoga I usually practice that it was a shock to the system, maybe if I stuck with it I would learn to love it. When I have more energy I may do a little experiment with it! Find out about Yogi Ashkananda here
Friday 23rd October 4:45pm-6:00pm The Power of Yoga and Ayurveda for Unlocking Your Original Nature with Annie Jones and Shona Sutherland
This was a great workshop to do if you are interested in Ayurveda and how it can be used to bring you into optimum health. One of the things I like the most about this workshop is we worked through a few different routines, each of which were suited to different doshas. It gave me a lot of ideas and made me want to explore the topic more and develop a more detailed understanding of how to adapt yoga to the individual. There was nothing in this that would cause any problems to an athlete and actually understanding that most athletes are Pitta types and so need something more slower paced to counteract all the competitiveness is just another way to look at applying yoga to sport. If you are an athlete whether you look into Ayurveda and how to use it for your own personal body type is really a matter of choice and whether this is of interest to you but physically I cannot see any reason why you should stay away from this and in fact it may actually be very good for you. Get info about Dru Yoga here
Saturday 24th October 10:30am-12:00pm Fired Up with Claire Missingham
This was as expected a very intense Vinyasa class so very dynamic. Usually I would love this type of class but after the exhaustion of the previous day I found my energy ran out about half way through the class and all I really wanted to do was have a little nap (or experience Yoga Nidra!). Having said that, this was a fantastic class led by a really excellent teacher. There were a lot of people in the class and Claire had a couple of lovely helpers and all three of them made a big effort to get round to people and offer adjustments and advice where needed. In my eyes a lot of yoga classes offer similar things but what sets them apart is the teacher and the energy they bring to the room as this will affect others energy and how people generally feel in the class. For me I found it a very supportive energy where I could be free to be me and express how I was feeling and that is largely due to Claire’s teaching style. If you are an athlete then I would save a class like this for pre-season or at times when you are looking to build your fitness but not when you have a heavy competing schedule as you may find it too demanding and not the correct compliment to your sport. Overall though I loved this class and as Claire is local to me I think I will trying to make it to another one of her classes very soon. Find out about Claire Missingham here
Saturday 24th October 12:15pm-12:45pm Bend it like Beckham, (or Ryan Giggs!) with Sarah Ramsden
This was something I could not miss while I was at the OM Yoga Show as Sarah is yoga teacher at Manchester City and Manchester United so I really wanted to see what I could learn from her class. I have to say it was a great class and you felt so confident with Sarah and got a good understanding of how you need to think if you are teaching athletes or in particular footballers. Clearly this would be fine to do if you are an athlete but it is not the kind of thing you are likely to find down your local studio. Get info about Sarah Ramsden Here
Saturday 24th October 1:00pm-1:30pm The Nia Technique – Body Mind Soul FITNESS with Dorit Noble
I should have been more careful when selecting this class, I did not realise it was actually dance and not yoga. This is not the kind of thing I would normally have chosen by Dorit is so much fun and this class was much more enjoyable that I thought it would be. There are steps to follow but it felt a bit more like an interpretive dance class and was a lot about self-expression. This definitely would not be for everyone but then I guess you will never know until you give it a try. If you are an athlete you can definitely give this a go just try and keep it at a lower level and use it more for the experience rather than a fitness tool. If dancing and being a bit childlike is not really your thing then I would avoid this as it is definitely for the silly in you! Find out about Dorit Noble here
Saturday 24th October 2:15pm-3:15pm Tara Stiles MASTER CLASS: ENERGIZE
Now for the controversial bit. Tara Stiles is probably one of the most famous yoga teachers and is based in New York and before the class I was really looking forward to seeing what she was like. To say I was disappointed would be an understatement. I could say it is the worst class I went to all weekend but actually I think it is the worst class I have ever been to. I mentioned above that yoga classes can make you feel certain ways and that is determined by the teacher and this definitely brought a negative vibe. Tara Stiles was virtually impossible to understand and all we had was weird mumbling into the mic and demonstrations that we could barely keep up with. It felt like we were there to watch Tara Stiles perform amazing yoga poses and all be amazed and as for us well unless we were one of her “great friends” then we could do what we wanted. You might think I am being harsh but someone in the class did tell her that we could not hear her and she just got annoyed and when they left quietly Tara Stiles actually drew all of our attention to it as she tried to make them feel uncomfortable. I hate giving bad reviews but if people are going to put themselves out there as celebrity yoga teachers (which almost defeats the object) then they need to have something to back it up with. It is even more of a shame as the actual sequence promised so much and if delivered with clear instructions and care it could have been a fantastic vinyasa practice. I can safely say that I would never attend a Tara Stiles class again and I would not recommend her classes to anyone. Find out about Tara Stiles here
Sunday 25th October 10:30am-11:00am Camyoga presents – Forrest Yoga with Rosalind Southward
This was a session I was looking forward to as Forrest Yoga is a relatively new style and one I have not tried yet. This was a perfect little introductory class and made me realise that this is the kind of class that would really suit me. It is slow, measured, controlled and focused on alignment and muscle activation. The teacher was really professional and I think that if you went to her classes on a regular basis then you would get more of a sense of her than we did in this short session which is probably the only thing that was missing. If you are an athlete then I think that Forrest Yoga could be a great one to try, if you see this on at your local studio you should give it a go and just remember to work within your capabilities. Find out more about Rosalind Southward @ Camyoga here
Sunday 25th October 11:15am-11:45am What We Do Creates Tomorrow – Goldie
I was really glad to get to attend this and Goldie’s story is truly inspirational. The great thing about Goldie is he is not the typical sort of person you would expect to do yoga and so hearing the way in which it has affected his life is totally amazing. If you ever get the chance to hear him talk about yoga then I would recommend you do. As a yoga teacher I also think that it is the perfect thing for yoga as a whole and helps to take it away from the stereotypical view and put it where it should be, as something that should be part of life for everyone whatever your background. Only disappointing thing was not getting the chance to talk to him more. Find out more about Goldie & Yoganster Here
Sunday 25th October 12:30pm-1:30pm Rest, Digest, Restore your Rhythms: Restorative Yoga and Total Yoga Nidra with Uma Dinsmore-Tuli
For those of you that don’t know, Yoga Nidra is basically yogic sleep when you are asleep but alert at the same time and is the perfect way to rest and restore the body. At this stage of the weekend this is just what I needed and it actually left my mind and body feeling fully refreshed and revitalised. The teaching was fantastic and all the way through this class we were carefully guided, taken down into our relaxation and steadily brought out and then given small movements to get us going again. It confirmed one thing to me, I need to do more of this it is amazing. If you are an athlete then regular Yoga Nidra and Restorative Yoga sessions are perfect for you. You can get recordings that you download from the internet that will allow you to fully relax at home or you can attend a class. Find out more about Uma Dinsmore-Tuli here
Sunday 25th October 2:00pm-3:30pm Ode to the Moon with Elenora Zampatti
I can easily say this was my favourite class of the weekend, Elenora has such a warm aura and really delivered this class in a way that allowed emotional development. It was a slow flow class that required strength and flexibility but still left you with energy at the end of the class. This class was originally developed for sufferers of domestic violence and so there was a lot of hip opening and back bends to open the chest. It is actually very difficult to put into words what this class was like as it was quite an emotional experience that almost takes you down and the brings you back up again to a great place. In terms of athletes this is not really one that I would recommend as a support to training but as time goes on we are more aware of athletes suffering from mental illness and needed something a bit more emotional and from that perspective this might be a beneficial practice but it is something that would need to be approached very carefully. Overall I thought this was an amazing class led by an amazing teacher that came all the way from New York. Find out more about Elenora Zampatti here
The show did continue until 5pm on Sunday but I think that the last class was the perfect way to end and I went home feeling great, if a little bit achy. If you are interested in yoga then you should definitely try to get to the OM Yoga Show at some point if only to be able to try different types of yoga and different teachers. The only problem is there is so much going on that it is almost impossible to do everything that you want to do but it is still an excellent experience and a place to really learn new things and meet new people.