By Nicky Jaques
When I first started practising yoga just over ten years ago I was studying for a music degree and running marathons. Whilst I still work as a musician and do my best to keep fit through walking, jogging and cycling, yoga has become my full time occupation and I now teach several classes a week, and increasingly more one-to-one lessons.
The main focus of my work is to enable people to practise yoga in the way that is right for them. Yoga is such a varied discipline and it can be used in many different ways to improve well-being. Some of my clients use yoga as therapy to recover from illness or injury, to manage pain or stress, anxiety, depression. Others use it to improve their posture, strength or mobility – you don’t have to be flexible to practise yoga; yoga is flexible and can be tailored to you.
Yoga practice has offered me a constant physical support throughout the last ten years in maintaining free movement, stability and strength, while the teachings of yoga have helped me maintain a better lifestyle balance.
I’m an early bird so I like to have some time to myself in the mornings to practise yoga for around forty minutes each day. I find that moving my body through a full range of movement with an attention to the breath and a short meditation sets me up for the day physically but also helps me to focus, maintain stability and perspective. Many of my clients however, prefer to practise at various other times of the day, and ten to twenty minutes of yoga in the evenings can help them de-stress, relax and aid sleep.
Becoming a yoga teacher evolved from my keen interest to learn and led me to a two year teacher training qualification as well as a two year yoga therapy qualification. I have been fortunate to train in a really traditional and broad approach, and to study in India. This has provided me with a good insight into the philosophy of yoga as well as the physical application of yoga and the role of the breath.
Breathing is an integral part of yoga practice – it focuses our attention, increases body awareness and helps us move more freely, without tension and strain. Correct breathing also transforms a physical practice into something more meditative, which brings a number of additional benefits for the body and the mind.
I work as a yoga teacher and therapist at Yeleni Support and Therapy Centre and at Hereford Centre For Natural Health and run classes across the Golden Valley. My classes and sessions are tailored to suit any age and ability, whether you are new to yoga or an experienced practitioner – I find it a privilege to work with people from all walks of life.