A definition of the yoga I share
The purpose of yoga, as I see it, is to free ourselves from our samskaras (deep patterns) so that we can actualise our true selves. By this I mean that our thoughts and our actions are truly our own.
Our samskaras motivate our desires and emotions which motivate our thoughts which motivate our actions.
In order to free ourselves from our unconscious patterns, we must first become aware of them. Noticing all our dysfunctional emotions, cognitive distortions and addictive or dysfunctional behavioural patterns. Through greater awareness and yogic mindfulness of these patterns we can start to make choices about whether we follow the pattern or try something new, maybe that has greater clarity or compassion.
The purpose of asana, as I see it, is to develop strength in the body so that we can feel strength in the mind. Through using the body to develop strength* we develop the willpower, energy and resilience we need if we are to face the journey of meeting and overcoming these samskaras and finding our way to being free of them.
Restorative yoga and deep rest is also needed, particularly in our fast-paced adrenaline-fuelled society, in order to approach this journey 'bright eyed and bushy tailed', to be free from fatigue and tiredness so that we can feel strong able.
The breath is used to deeply tune in to the subtleties of the self in the moment. To help find balance and equilibrium through noticing, adjusting and being guided by the breath through this process.
As such, my teaching follows an emphasis of function over form, with a highly individualised approach.
"Yoga addresses the immutable link between the body, the breath and the mind, recognising that any conscious attempt to modify one of these factors can be used as an agent for comprehensive change in the entire system." AG Mohan
*The asana practise I am referring to is using very simple, individualised movements to develop strength, using the body itself, practised in a way that maintains comfort and ease in the body and breath.
What style of yoga does Nes Bear teach?
Yoga is a system of reintegration; I teach in a way that strengthens the body and brings peace to the mind using the breath as a guide.
The asana I teach involves simple movements with an emphasis on developing strength and stability, particularly around the spine.
I teach yoga with an emphasis on “Sthira Sukham” (Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras 2.46-2.48), that is, steady and comfortable. We develop strength, balance, peacefulness without tension or struggle. AG Mohan, a student of Krishnamacharya, said "Yoga physical movements and the practice of breathing should become natural, effortless and habitual“.
As for tradition, I am inspired by the teachings of my teacher Jane Craggs (a student of AG and Indra Mohan) and those of the Mohan family with whom I am completing Yoga Therapy training, who were students of Krishnamacharya. All of these teachers focus on yoga for well-being, which is the approach I also take. However, I believe the words of AG Mohan below are very important:
"The emphasis on ‘traditions’ and ‘lineages’ in modern yoga is often an unnecessary distraction. It has played a role in yoga becoming factionalised and students occupied with searching for the so-called right tradition or right lineage. Sometimes, yoga ‘traditions’ are just exalted terms for brands and labels. The security these labels confer could be false. In fact, there is only one root method — updating our minds and bodies, our mental and physical software, through the eight limbs of yoga." AG Mohan
Why practice yoga?
Yoga helps to strengthen the body and steady the mind using the breath as a guide.
The short video below explains why it is very important that we mobilise all areas of the body:
(If you are a bit squeamish you might not enjoy this clip)
Do I need to be really bendy?
Not at all, you can get more flexibility by doing yoga but we all must start with wherever our bodies are right now. I teach in a very individualistic way, giving adaptions and modifications suitable for each student. In one-to-one classes all poses and exercises will be suited specifically to your individual needs, as was done traditionally. In group classes a variety of options will be given so that no matter what body shape or physical fitness you will be able to fully take part and hopefully feel the benefits for your body and mind on that day.
What are the benefits of restorative yoga?
"Most of our unhappiness is not created by what happens to us but by what we tell ourselves about it. With Restorative you create a space to watch the rising and falling of thoughts. And then the most important thing we can do can happen- we can dis-identify with our thoughts, “I am having a thought of anger, a thought of sadness, but it’s not who I am.”" Judith Hanson Lasater, Ph.D., PT,
In Restorative Yoga we manipulate our nervous system, by putting ourselves in positions which make it go into parasympathetic dominance.Being in this quiet state can benefit the body in many ways particularly any unease related to stress including digestive issues, anxiety and depression.
David Spiegel, M.D., author of Living Beyond Limits, reports, "In medicine, we are learning that physical problems, such as high blood pressure and heart disease, can be influenced by psychological interventions, such as relaxation training. Indeed, the Food and Drug Administration issued a report recommending these non-drug approaches as the treatment of choice for milder forms of hypertension. Mind and body are connected and must work together, and this should be a powerful asset in treating medical illness."
No pain no gain?
Yoga should never be painful. You may feel a dull sensation where your muscles may not be used to moving in a particular way but you should never experience a sharp pain in yoga. Your breath will also be a guide- it should remain long and steady. If it is not then we can make adjustments or have a rest.
“The success of Yoga does not lie in the ability to perform postures but in how it positively changes the way we live our life and our relationships.” T.K.V. Desikachar
"No pain no gain does not apply to Yoga" Indra Mohan
Comparison is the thief of joy!
Yoga is so much more enjoyable and useful if you are able to focus inwardly without judgement of yourself or others. Yoga also helps us achieve this. All our bodies are different- taller, shorter, more muscular, injured, people's bones might be shaped differently- there are a myriad of differences! So how a yoga pose looks and even feels will be different for everyone. Even different simply depending on how you're feeling on that day. Nes may offer a variety of options that might suit different people better.
Class sizes are deliberately kept very small so that Nes is able to assist with any modifications and give discreet individual instruction when needed throughout the class.
What to Wear
Wear loose/ comfortable clothing that you can move easily in. You don't need to bring trainers as we practice bare-foot. Bring a warm jumper and socks for the relaxation- even if it's a warm day as the body naturally cools a little when relaxed.
What to bring
Nes supplies mats and blocks but feel free to bring your own if you have them. Please bring along one or two blankets or beach towels to use as props or to cover yourself in relaxation.
Is yoga/ mantra religious?
"Classical yoga is not dogmatic about the inclusion or exclusion of God or the Divine in the practice. Indeed, most of the practices of yoga make no reference to this topic, one way or the other...Asanas and pranayama are basically moving and breathing with mindfulness in a way that helps promote the health of the individual. There is nothing intrinsically theistic or atheistic about them; they are just health practices. The Yogasutras suggest devotion as one option within a yoga practice to keep the mind focused and peaceful. But there is no requirement in yoga that the person believe in a Divine entity, or adopt a theory or doctrine of divinity."
The concession rate is for people on JSA, ESA, Universal Credit and those receiving tax credits and/or a basic state pension. This also applies if you don't fit into any of those brackets but your financial circumstances would prevent you from attending.
Who is the concession rate for?
Will you be taking pictures during the class?
The health form does ask if you are happy to have pictures taken and used in publicity. Sometimes I might take a photo, usually during a break or in special classes where participants are actively aware that photographs will be taken. Even then, you will always be asked permission beforehand. I will never take a photograph during a class without asking.
Personally, I find people taking photos of me practicing very distracting and a little like an invasion of privacy especially when I am focusing inward. Therefore I don't want to subject my students to those feelings either.
I feel that the current trend to "insta" everything can be distracting and stress-inducing and that the time spent practicing yoga could be a little holiday from that.