Teacher Insight – Kayla McCormack

Welcome to a little insight from our wonderful teacher Kayla MacCormack. Hailing from the deep south, she graces our studio with her joyful character, passion for practice and kindness. We hope you enjoy the read as much as we did

 

What attracted you to Yoga?

Id love to give you some dramatic story of love and loss or pain and hardship but to be honest I started practicing about 10 years ago because I saw a sign in a pub that said they had a yoga class every Monday evening for £5. I practiced for 6 years with that teacher at that pub or in her home. She covered so much more than the physical practice and so much more than what a usual group class could ever cover. I was hooked. My first teacher had long relaxations (compared to what I know now is the norm) and always included lots of pranayama (breath practices) and meditation/cleansing practices (such as candle gazing till your eyes water a little). If my first class had been a ‘typical’ vinyasa I don’t think I would have gone back, as at the time, that wasn’t what I was looking for. I was attracted to the mind aspect of yoga; meditation and pranayama, the idea of the postures for me was a way to allow the body to sit comfortably without distraction.

Why do you practice?

As I said I came to yoga through meditation, so for me my yoga is all about the mind-body connection which, for me, has two main parts:

1) I have very strong emotions, lucky for me I’m not a crier but I do love deeply and feel anger strongly. I use my yoga to help with this. Every emotion you feel has a physical reaction in the body, if you become more sensitive to them, they can act as little red flags warning you before you blow your top. I had a teacher that said “you can get to the mind through the body or you can get to the mind through the mind.”

2) I love the science behind yoga and even though my science degree is not in a medical field I still find it fascinating and regularly read articles and books to expand my knowledge in that way. The first time I took a class that was focused on the glutes, I realised that the signals from my brain down to my butt just weren’t firing, try it yourself, tighten one cheek then the other, going back and forth. Is it easy for you or do you have to really think about it? This connection, this real physical connection between the mind and the body, is not spiritual, its electrical. Use it or lose it, as they say.

What is your chosen style?

Yoga can be whatever you want it to be. It can strengthen you, relax you, focus the mind, be a meditation, be a good stretch. It can be anything your body or mind needs in that moment. But if you want modern terms; I practice Restorative, Hatha and Vinyasa styles of yoga. A class that can mix them all in is my ideal class!

How has your relationship with Yoga developed?

People talk about accepting their bodies, that’s not something I’ve really had a problem with in general but I think yoga has made me realise that it’s ok if I never do something ‘advanced’. Just because I’m a yoga teacher does not mean I have to be able to do a handstand without a wall or splits. When I first started, I pushed myself somewhat, I wanted to ‘get into’ lotus and do a headstand. But now I accept that when I practice, if I walk away feeling what I wanted to feel, energized, relaxed, stretched, then my practice was a success and getting into a certain pose is no longer my aim. I think that having healthy goals can be very good for you but for me I feel a sense of relief in not striving all the time. We can strive with other things in life, yoga is a time to escape that and just be.

What motivated you to start teaching?

I took my teacher training in order to gain more knowledge around yoga philosophy. Part of the training was to ‘practice teaching’. Which I did at lunch times in an empty meeting room in the offices I used to work at. Once I started teaching, something surprising happened.

Personally, I have a sense of fulfilment when I teach like nothing I’ve felt before. Before a class, I might get nervous or feel a bit ill, but as soon as I step up in front of everyone, all I can think of is sharing my knowledge to help people help themselves. My personal embarrassment or illness disappears and all I think of is helping. This kind of confidence in front of people has been refreshing and I honestly feel more at ease and confident now in other situations in my life.

What pose has a special place in your heart and why?

I would say my favorite pose is downward dog.

It’s in pretty much every class and uses both the upper and lower body meaning we feel it strengthen and stretch our hands, arms, shoulders, back, calves, hamstrings and even our feet. It’s a great one for body awareness and adapting; you can use bricks under the heals with bent knees to get the spine straight, tilting the hips can increase or decrease the stretch in the back of the legs etc. It shows us how to strengthen and use all the muscles down the front of the arms so that we don’t hurt the wrists. And it’s an inversion, so some blood from the waist and upper body starts to shift towards the floor and head, this can have the effect of lowing the heart rate (amongst other things) if the pose itself is not too strenuous to hold.

But you asked what pose holds a special place in my heart….

That would be headstand. My first teacher only had yoga mats, no props, and we didn’t use a wall unless we did restorative legs up the wall. For me headstand was scary, but I started out walking the feet in, then taking the little ball shape. I was in the ball shape for about a year, then one day I was practicing on the grass in the sun and for some reason I had this idea that if I fell the ground would be so soft I would bounce off the grass (I honestly believed this at the time because the grass was so high and thick) so I straightened my legs up towards the clouds! And since then I haven’t had a problem in headstand (and no I didn’t fall that day).

When is your favourite time to practice?

Honestly? The middle of the day! At about 3pm. It might sound a bit odd but hear me out, I don’t like early morning, my evenings are for snuggles and books/tv. I feel the ‘afternoon slump’ (maybe a pattern from 9 years working behind a desk) but when I feel it, getting my mat out even for only 5 minutes can make all the difference.

One recommendation for someone starting on their journey?

I would tell people just starting out to try different teachers and different styles with the same teacher. Just keep trying! If you don’t find the class is perfect for you, keep trying, the perfect class is out there!  For example, you’ll never get my husband in a yoga class but he LOVES a one to one restorative class with me.

What other healthy lifestyle choices do you take to help you thrive?

I try to find balance in all things in life. Balance in how much time I spend studying, teaching, reading, exercising.

A good night’s sleep is the key!

I don’t own a car so I walk a lot.

I’m a not-strict vegetarian for environmental reasons.

I do my best to live a sustainable life. This is good for the mind and the body. Avoiding plastic, eating organic, supporting the right companies with my money, for example using a green energy company buying organic clothes.

All these things add a sense of peace to my life so that I can know that I am doing my best with what I have.

Artists that inspire you?

I’m a huge fairy fan. When I was a little girl, I absolutely loved Amy Brown, as an adult I still do. I have one of her paintings above my desk right now, Sisters. I have one ‘real’ sister but it also reminds me of those women in my life who are like sisters to me and those who will come into my life and be my sister. I also love Twig, the first real fairy I met in North Carolina. Then there are all the fantasy books I have shoved around my house, Robin Hobb, Tolkien …

Music for your soul?

Music for my soul? Folk metal. But I don’t play that in my yoga classes 😉 And being from the deep south a bit of country / blues can’t go awry.

Books that feed your curiosity?

I’m a book worm so I have lots! I really enjoy this old book my first yoga teacher gave me, The Tibetan Book of Yoga by Geshe Michael Roach, it is all about heart yoga and is an amazing selfless practice to find peace. As a budding scientist I really enjoyed a recent read, Light of the Stars by Adam Frank – Alien Worlds and the Fate of the Earth, it touches on the science behind how we came to exist and how unlikely it is. He then goes on to talk about climate change and the implications of it, a good read.

But as I said I’m a book worm so I would also like to say these are good books too…

Spiritual:

Zero Limits by Joe Vitale – The ‘secret’ Hawaiian system, Ho’oponopono, for wealth, health, peace and more.

The Green Witch by Arin Murphy-Hiscock – The natural magic of herbs, flowers, essential oils and more.

The Hedge Witch’s Way by Rae Beth – The magical spirituality for the lone spellcaster

Science:

The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben – What they feel, how they communicate: discoveries from a secret world.

Universal by Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw – A journey through the cosmos

15 Million Degrees by Lucy Green – A journey to the centre of the Sun

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson

Goldilocks and the Water Bears by Louisa Preston – The Search for Life in the Universe.

People that inspire you?

There are always people in our lives that inspire us at just the right time. When I was young, I had mothers in my life that really inspired me, my mother and some of my best friend’s mothers. Now that I’m older I find inspiration in the little stories people tell me. I had a student that after a few classes told me he was sitting straighter at his desk, was more aware of his posture and that it was more comfortable for him to sit in that healthier way. I’ve heard stories from other teachers of overcoming hardship and pain. I trained with Leza Lowitz in Tokyo who is a huge inspiration. But overall (and I hope it doesn’t sound narcistic!) I inspire myself, I look back on my life, on all the things that have happened, things that I had no choice in the matter, things that I have learned to let go of or grow from and I’m inspired to keep going because, if I can do all of that and not think for once that I’ve ‘had it bad’ or had a life of trauma then I can take anything the universe decides to send my way.

Bathing in Sound

We all know the power a song can have on our emotions and the ability for it to change our state of mind; yet how often do we appreciate the real potential and implications of the right frequencies?

Come and join us for an opportunity to bathe in the healing vibrations of beautiful ancient instruments and sounds, led by the talented Christian Jensen.

Christian has an affinity for music and a great passion for indigenous instruments. Buying his first didgeridoo in his late teens and has continued to collect ever since, including making beautiful didgeridoos out of Ash, Birch and Blackthorn wood; with a lot of love and care going into each and every creation. The didgeridoo is not the only instrument in his collection which also plays host to:  the Native American Flute, Hand Pan, Singing Bowls and many more. Having experienced Soundbaths at festivals, he found them to be grounding and relaxing; often cultivating deep and meditative journeys. Equipped with the knowledge of the profound effect that sound can have upon the Mind, Body and Soul, Christian uses these amazing instruments, to create a real and beautiful ‘Journey Through Sound’. This provides the gift of the energy and love of these sounds, as well as their healing and spiritual energy to all.

Sound Therapy and Sound Healing is recognised for the profound effect it can have on your wellbeing. Whether it be through the vibration that flows from the instruments through your aura or bio-field and on through your body, to the interaction and effect that sound has on the brainwaves. As well as enabling you to feel more relaxed and rejuvenated, Christian will support you on a journey that will aid in the healing of your mind, body and soul, helping to return you to a positive state of health and wellbeing.

Friday 6th September       18:30 – 19:45

£15

Christian is a Member of the Complementary medical association and has spent many years passionately immersed in music and creating healing experiences.

if you would like more information, have any questions or wish to discuss your needs in more detail please contact Christian:-

soundjourneybychristian.co.uk                sound.journeybychristian@gmail.com                                                    Tel: 07849861713       

Perfect handstand powered by Plant Calisthenics

Join the Plant Calisthenics team for an informative, fun and explorative journey towards achieving a
confident handstand with quality form and technique.
Plant Calisthenics are a small group of specialised coaches, Yoga teachers, CrossFit coaches, physiotherapists and nutritionists with a passion and desire to help individuals learn and understand the principles behind fundamental bodyweight movements such as Handstands, muscle ups and advanced mobility such as splits and back bending. Our coaches are multinational and have experience varying from high level professional football, lecturing In biomechanics, working with Olympic athletes and world champion rugby teams.
Plant Cali have run multiple workshops around the world stretching between the UK, Norway, New Zealand, Thailand and Bali. As of June this year Plant Cali have designed a new workshop format to celebrate the launch of their latest online course ‘Perfect Handstand’
Saturday 20th July 13:00 – 18:00    £50
The workshop will cover:
• Testing for adequate range of motion, and how to address if the tests are a fail.
• Understanding alignment with specific conditioning & postural balance work.
• Teaching the principles along with the progressions that we have found to bring the most success for the development of a free standing handstand.
• Understanding compression and spinal articulation for press to handstand.
• Practice of a variety of handstand holds such as split handstands, hollow backs, tuck handstands and lowers.
The workshop will be taught by multiple coaches so all ability levels are welcome. The workshop is predominantly physical based but during breaks for food and recovery they will be optional theory based lessons for example ‘exercise periodisation for Maximal results’, ‘The biomechanics and physiology of active and passive mobility’ and ‘the foundations of sports nutrition and performance psychology’. These lessons are aimed at improving your practice and understanding of the machine that is the human body, but to reiterate these are not mandatory if you’d prefer to nip away for a quick coffee.
Participants will also get access to our online private calisthenics group as well as discounts on our online courses. Certificates of attendance are available if requested.
Contact and follow the team online for more information.
Head on over to mindbody to ensure your place on this exciting and informative workshop.

Experience Bowen Therapy

An opportunity to experience the unique techniques of Bowen therapy for unlocking tension; relieving the body and relaxing the mind.

Sunday 21st July 14:00 – 15:30    £15

The Bowen technique (Bowtech/Bowenwork) was developed by Thomas Bowen in the 1950s in Australia.

Since the 60s, Bowen Therapy has brought long term as well as immediate resolution of health and pain conditions of a musculoskeletal, neurological and neuromuscular nature for people in over 30 countries worldwide, and counting.

The Bowen technique helps the body restore its ”initial state” of health and harmony , at its own rhythm , enabling its self-healing mechanisms. By applying the specific Bowen moves, on very precise locations on the body, we awaken the Inner Doctor, who takes over and the body starts to heal itself, often profoundly.

Olivia is a passionate, calm and enthusiastic Bowen Practitioner that has a long and heartfelt background in Bodywork, Chinese Traditional Medicine, Yoga and Meditation. Certified through the Bowen Therapy Academy of Australia (BTAA) since 2015 and of the Bowen Association of UK (BAUK) since 2017 and more recently in June 2019 concluded a special Bowen Training called the Importance of Symmetry; that allows for even more accurate assessments and improves immensely the effectiveness of the treatment.

She has a long and heartfelt background in Bodywork, Chinese Traditional Medicine, Yoga and Meditation, that supports her knowledge of the human body and her ability to perform Bowen with care and quality intention.

Olivia will introduce, demonstrate and discuss the beautiful methods of Bowen to aid in experiencing quality relaxation and deeper personal insight. You can discover more over at Bowen technique Leeds.

Book online to guarantee your place on this wonderful experience.

“When you touch one thing with deep awareness,and with all your heart, the echoes are immeasurable”

Exploring Tension & Trauma Release Exercises – TRE

“Weird and Wonderful – Wow!”

We all carry tension in our bodies. We all suffer from stress and anxiety at times. We all experience pain, sometimes for long periods.

This workshop invites you to try tremoring to dispel trapped energy that doesn’t serve you and integrate your life experiences, gradually, for health and healing.

*TRE stands for Tension and Trauma Release Exercises. Seven simple exercises trigger our natural stress release mechanism, promoting:

deep calm and relaxation

emotional resilience
improved sleep
greater flexibility
more energy

pain relief.

In this workshop you’ll be given the theory behind this gentle way to rebalance your nervous system. Then you’ll experience in practice how to start, stop and manage the shaking that is so healthy for EVERY body!

Rachael is a qualified TRE Provider with many years’ experience of teaching. She experienced a new calm and strength, together with significant migraine relief as a result of practising TRE. In people she has taught, Rachael has witnessed pain relief, greater embodiment, a reduction in blood pressure and many more benefits.

Come and try it: you may be surprised and you won’t be disappointed!

For more details, please visit Stressless TRE

 

Explore Your Roots: A Family Constellation Workshop with Jenny- Sunday 16th June 1-6pm

Family constellation is a group work in which you can bring personal issues in a safe and supporting environment.

We all have been brought up with beliefs and burdens which belong to our parents and ancestors and yet we still carry them whether it is conscious or subconscious. It affects our emotions, our physical health and the way we relate to our own life. The goal of this workshop is for you to find who you are without your family drama and/or the traumatic experiences you had.

We usually start by clearing ancestors and their trauma including family secrets. We look at your family’s dynamic so we can bring up the real emotions sitting behind an issue and release them. You don’t need any experience to participate or know the issue or even your family.

Each person participates in most constellations by representing someone or something in need of a voice.
Here is a link to an article I wrote to understand a bit better what Family constellation is:

https://www.siochainandsaileach.co.uk/post/2018/06/07/family-constellation

It is a difficult concept to grasp so if you have any queries or if you don’t feel comfortable in a group environment and would prefer an individual session, please contact me.

Herbal teas are provided. You can bring food as we take a few breaks and the workshop can be intense. Also bring warm socks and clothes because due to energies, the temperature in the room changes.

Note: to the people who already joined us, we changed venue and will be in Leeds city centre.

Please contact me for payment details to secure your place as an issue holder or representative. Cancellation less than 24 h will be charged 50% of the price.

Contact detail: Jenny- 07858 129 331.

Prices: £50/issue holder
£35/representative

If you have financial issues, please contact Jenny for special pricing.