December kirtan

The final kirtan session will be this Friday (1st dec) in Seren yoga llanishen. please allow plenty of time to find the venue if you haven’t been there before -look for signs between maes y coed road and ty glas station.

Please bring cushions and anything you need to stay comfortable. The session starts at 7.30pm and runs for 2 hours. Feel free to contact me to confirm your place or if you have any questions (ktbergson@gmail.com).

Looking forward to raising spirits and voices together.

Kirtan at All Roots Festival Pembs

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Fire and Stone

I am back from a few weeks in the stunning beauty and openness of Eco Dharma feeling refreshed and full of ideas.

eco dharma

The next block of my regular Sunday night yoga classes will be focused on practices of calmness/stillness (stone) and warmth/energy (fire) to give you tools to manage your energy as we move into the darkness of winter over the next few months. As with the previous classes please email me to book onto this block with a discount or alternatively pay as you go / drop in spaces are available.

In addition to this in the next few weeks there are a couple of great opportunities for people interested in kirtan and bhakti yoga. On Saturday next week 10-12pm Louise Thorndycraft and Tabla Tom will be hosting kirtan in Swansea.

Then in a few weeks ( sat 11/11/17) there will be a great opportunity to attend Satsung with international teacher Swami Gyandharma – at Gaia studio Roath 7-9pm (suggested donation £5). Please email me to reserve a place for this- ktbergson@gmail.com.

Sunday – Fire and Stone classes

Dates: 29th Oct, 5th, 12th, 19th and 26th November

Times: 6-7.30pm

Price: £8.50 drop in / £34 for block of 5 classes – or if you are low income please contact me to discuss other options.

Venue: Parkminster Church, Minster Rd, Roath CF23 5AS

About the class: This is an open general level class which has a particular emphasis on relaxation. So the classes will include accessible movement with a variety of options, breath work/pranayama, simple mediation and deep relaxation. Please bring your own mat – blocks will be provided.

Autumn sessions

As many of you know I’m heading off for a two week retreat soon. So there will be no Roath Sunday night classes for the next 3 weeks. Here are dates for your diary – drop me an email (ktbergson@gmail.com) to book on or if you want to know more about any of these sessions.

  • Tuesday 3rd October – classes at The Norwegian Church, Cardiff Bay, 6pm and 7.15pm. £8
  • Friday 6th October – Kirtan returns at Gaia in Roath. Come join together with us to sing and lift the spirits. 7-9pm, £5
  • 29th October – return of sunday night sessions at Parkminster Church, Roath £8.50 or reduced rate for 5 class pass (£34).
  • Saturday 11th November – special one off event with my teacher Swami Gyandharma in Gaia roath. This is a great opportunity to meet and attend satsung with a very experienced and lovely teacher. Suggested donation £5 to cover venue and any profit to go to local charity Yoga Mobility
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Kirtan at All Roots Festival Pembs

Top 4 tips for starting meditation

Whether you practice big expressive asana and kirtan or focus on subtle internal kriya, pranayama or meditation, all yoga has points of coming into stillness. Sometimes that stillness is a welcome friend, and other times it feels like a challenge.

I have a mixed relationship with practices of stillness . I understand on a mental level their benefits. More importantly I have seen and felt these wonderful experiences first hand. But I still often resist coming to stillness – giving myself permission to rest in savasana, yoga nidra or putting the time into a daily meditation sit. Sometimes it is a daily battle. Other times I find a rhythm to fit it in to busy life.

As I start to teach simple meditation within my weekly yoga classes here are my top four tips to help you start to explore meditation:

  1. Comfort and posture. Take time to set yourself up well. This is not about trying to find a set position you think is ‘right’ such as lotus pose but rather finding stability in the body so it can act as the container for that inner experience of stillness. Basic adjustments you might think about are with tight hips adding height under sit bones (cushions, blocks, stools) so the lower back can retain a natural curve and the spine feel like it can lift. Also support under the knees or for the back may sometimes be necessary. There is an idea that we have to be rigid and still throughout practice. When we start out this can be difficult. Ultimately we need to discern between restlessness leading to movement of the body, and real pain and discomfort which is not useful to struggle and suffer through. Experiment with props including using a chair – this is about inner experience. Outer posture is ultimately just facilitating that. Be patient and let the practice of stillness come in time.
  2. Timing.  In an ideal world it is good to sit when you first get up in the morning – framing the day with that stillness. In reality sometimes you may have to squeeze it in later in the day. I find it helpful not to be too rigid but there is a need for discipline to keep up a regular practice. When you’re starting out sitting for 5-10 minutes is great. As you practice more sitting between 10-20 minutes a day feels more satisfying as there is time to really settle into the stillness.  Ultimately there are not set rules but consistency will help us develop our skill.
  3. Intention and attention. Sometimes I charge into practice trying to get it done and get on with my day but if I can slow down that entry into practice – taking time to settle mind, body, breath before trying any formal techniques it is usually a better quality sit. It is sometimes compared to tuning a stringed instrument – we don’t want to make it so tight trying to will a specific purpose from sitting but also we don’t want the string to be so lax we have drifted off into some daydream. As the buddha advocated – we need to find the middle way. Having a little attention and an intention for the practice can help keep us on track.
  4. Simplicity. There are countless techniques in mindfulness and meditation. I have certainly got lost trying to perfect complex techniques or fell into the trap of trying out  lots of different techniques without sticking to one for any period of time. Keeping it simple is vital in the beginning and will help develop your meditation and exploration of stillness.

So here is a brief practice for you to try out for yourself at home – let me know how you get on.

 

 

Different strokes

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All rights reserved @Florian Richter 

As the old saying goes different strokes, for different folks. Yoga is a fantastically useful toolbox of options that suit people at different points in their lives, with a variety of health conditions, different body shapes and types, and different intentions for practice.

Its frustrating that many people say to me they’ve never tried yoga because they feel like they can’t touch their toes. That statement represents the most tiny marginalised, and largely insignificant part of what yoga is. Yes we can use it to increase flexibility in our body, but also to improve flexibility of our mind. Or to work with our energy levels, emotions, mental clarity and focus. At the beginning of the summer I taught the Cardiff BWY summer school focused on connection because for me yoga is about both connecting inwards to yourself and connecting outwards to everything that is bigger than the ‘little world of me’.

As a beginner it can be confusing to find the right form or practice that suits what you want so its useful to get out there and sample the different wares on offer. I try to run holistic classes that give you a taster of lots of those elements. In September I’m pleased to say i’ll be starting to include simple meditations regularly.

Below I have run through a few elements you might see in my workshops, classes or teachings:

Asana / movement

This is what most people fundamentally think of as yoga. It has huge value – we tend to spend most of our time focused on the thoughts running through our mind – planning, worrying, dreaming, reminiscing, figuring out, thinking through etc. Sometimes we forget the demands placed on the body with posture, habits, carrying things. That is until we received a jolt of a reminder not to ignore the body, when it complains and we experience pain. In movement practice we focus on body sensation, moving through the body’s range of movement to help keep that healthy functional movement that allows us to go about our daily activities.

Pranayama / breath practice

Breath is life. Without it there is no life. It is often thought of as a doorway to working with emotions. But it can also be useful for increasing energy when sluggish or calming the nervous system when agitated. There is a huge plethora of breathing techniques but simplicity can be the key here – simply keeping the attention on the breath can have a powerful impact.

Relaxation

This comes in many different shapes and sizes too. Generally speaking this is the part at the end of the class where you are invited to lay down and come to rest. Sometimes its just coming into stillness and silence for a few moments. Other times you may be guided into a more systematic form of relaxation such as Yoga Nidra – a powerful technique for calming the body and helping us to work with intentions.

Meditation

Meditation is the process of noticing the mind and working with what we find there. It is not about having no thoughts – that would be either deep sleep or being knocked unconscious. It’s about making a little bit of space so we are not completely controlled by the constant stream of thoughts rushing through the mind or even starting to change habits governed by the sub conscious. It takes time and work – but can be a powerful tool.

Mantra and kirtan

These parts of yoga often use sanskrit (the ancient indian language) phrases repeated over and over to yourself and/or sound to help tune the busy mind onto something specific. Sometimes it can feel uncomfortable to work with mantra and kirtan because it is so unfamiliar. We want to dissect it, understand what it means, what its for before trying it. But actually like someone trying to describe the taste of a food you have never experienced, it will always be so much better to taste it for yourself. If you can relax enough to try it yourself – these can also be radical and beautiful practices.

I am really excited for this autumn term of classes – come join me from 3rd September at Parkminster United Reform Church Roath 6-7.30pm. The five week block costs £34 or drop in rate is £8.50. Or you can catch me before then in Roath Pleasure Gardens pop up park yoga and teaching at All Roots Yoga Festival, Pembrokeshire. 

Roath yoga classes return

Lookbook

It’s been a busy summer – I have completed my yoga diploma with British Wheel of Yoga and Mandala Yoga Ashram, enjoyed teaching a few park yoga classes and am very much looking forward to offering kirtan and meditation at the fabulous All Roots Yoga Festival at Stackpole estate, Pembrokeshire in September (still a few day and weekend tickets on sale for this).

Perhaps like me your thoughts are beginning to turn to Autumn. Even if you’re not in academia or have children there is a natural sense of change, new habits and new beginnings, and preparing for the months ahead. It’s a great time to start practicing again, especially if you haven’t had the chance to attend yoga classes over the summer.

I will be running Sunday evening classes at Parkminster United Reform Church, Roath again. The classes will introduce a range of practices including movement (asana), pranayama (breath work), mudra (gestures), deep relaxation and new for this next block exploring the basics of short accessible meditation techniques. Sessions will be accessible to a range of abilities / experience levels and focus very much on relaxation of body and mind. Let me know if you plan to come so I have an idea of numbers. Space is limited to a maximum of 14 per class.

Park yoga will also continue for the next few weeks as weather allows Wednesday nights in Roath pleasure Gardens – come join us for a more movement based practice exploring the elements out in nature.

Relaxing Sunday sessions

Dates: 5 week block Sunday 3rd, 10th, 17th, 24th September and 1st October

Times: 6.00- 7.30pm

Cost: £8.50 drop in rate or pay for block and get one lesson free – total payment £34.

Park yoga

If you’ve never practiced with me and want to see what classes are about join these shorter park sessions focusing on movement. These are a great opportunity to dip your toe into practice again or try it for the first time – open to all levels of experience and body types.

Dates: 30th August and 6th September – possibly beyond weather allowing.

Time: 6.00-7.00pm

Cost: £4

Any questions or to book on drop me an email ktbergson@gmail.com

Yoga in the park

Some of you may have come to my series of pop up yoga in the park classes back in 2014. I’m pleased to say they are returning for this month – August 2017. The plan is to run them Wednesday evenings 6-7pm in Roath Pleasure Gardens, next to the tennis courts, north of the river. If the weather is unkind they will be postponed or cancelled on the day – please check my facebook group, twitter feed or contact me if unsure.

The sessions will be accessible to all levels of yoga experience and I welcome beginners as well as more experienced students. The sessions will cost £4. Please bring a mat and warm clothes for the relaxation at the end of class.

In addition to these sessions you will also find me at Norwegian Church (Tuesday 15th August 6pm and 7.15pm), and Cardiff International Pool (Monday 21st August 7.30pm).

Finally quick shout out about the excellent All Roots yoga festival in pembs coming up on the first weekend in September – we’ll be hosting daily kirtan sessions. Tickets available for single days or even better join us for the whole weekend!