About Willow & Grace Yoga
My aim is to ensure that our classes together are enjoyable and inclusive.
To bring Yoga to everyone and anyone.
To share the stillness, the joy and my passion for Yoga.
To increase our range of movement.
To connect with our hearts.
Hello and welcome!
I fell in love with Yoga. I didn't expect to but something magical happened and here I am, a Yoga teacher!
My teaching journey began in 2014 on the Traditional Yoga Association Foundation Course under the tutelage of my Yoga teacher, Ben Parkes. I then went on to complete the 500 hour Teacher Training Course, graduating in 2017.
I am passionate about sharing this beautiful path with others.
My aim as a Yoga Teacher
Our bodies are beautifully unique on the outside and no less so on the inside. Our range of movement is individual to us and can change day to day, hour to hour.
Being on our mats is a wonderful way to explore these variations and to honour them.
Sharing these experiences with one another allows us to be vulnerable, to be human.
I am here as your guide, to offer adjustments and to keep you safe during your Yoga class.
However, the real beauty of empowerment lies in the magic that we create together.
Online Yoga Classes
Every Tuesday Morning
Monthly membership includes a Live class every week and a Live guided meditation every Sunday evening.
These are saved to the group so that you can watch them as often as you like at a time to suit you!
£25 per month
Zoom Yoga Classes
£6 per week
Access to all classes
£30 per month!
Please message me if you would like to join either group.
A student health questionnaire will need be completed before joining the classes.
Group Yoga Classes
Our in-person classes are restarting at last!
Melksham Scout Hut, SN12 6LP
Wednesday September 9th -Wednesday September 30th 2020
7.30 - 9 pm
£36.00 for 4 weeks
Bowerhill Village Hall, SN12 6YH
Thursday September 3rd - Thursday September 24th
9.30 -11.00 am
£36.00 for 4 weeks
Places must now be booked in advance to ensure social distancing guidelines are followed.
A student agreement and health questionnaire will be required before attending all face to face classes
All levels of experience are welcome in every class
Yoga in the comfort of your own home
I've discovered many benefits of our Zoom Yoga classes!
I get to see pooches and cats joining their humans for Yoga and we each have an endless supply of cushions and props to make our Yoga practice more accessible when needed!
There is another benefit. One that addresses anxiety.
I know that many people would love to try a new class. Perhaps they've driven to class only to return home again. I absolutely understand how this feels and for this reason I make every effort to ensure that my classes are inclusive. We are all beginners in Yoga, every single one of us.
Online classes offer us the unique opportunity to try a class in the comfort of our own homes. A chance to see if we are going to gel with the teacher and their teaching style. A chance to get to know the other students so that when classes do return we can join in without feeling anxious.
Living Mindfully during Lockdown
I hope that you are all staying positive and managing to keep up with your daily Yoga routine. Please remember that Yoga isn't just the time spent on our mats. It's living mindfully. Eating, house work, gardening and walking can all be done in a mindful way.
Instead of rushing to complete tasks or eat, try to do each one mindfully. Noticing and experiencing everything that you do in exquisite detail will help to bring your thoughts under control.
Stay Safe x
We have a plethora of ways in which to connect with the world via social media, news channels, radio and newspapers. This is a wonderful thing! However, at times like this it can also be a little overwhelming.
A wonderfully simple mindfulness exercise is to notice how our body is feeling when we are watching the television, reading a book, a newspaper or perusing social media.
Simply pause for a few moments to really notice how your body is feeling It may be feelings of anxiety, it may be feelings of joy. None are wrong, this isn't about judgement. It's just a way of increasing our awareness into how different situations affect us emotionally and physically. With this new awareness comes the gift of choice..
The choice to do the things that spark joy in our lives.
Stay safe and keep on shining your light.
Immune boosting tips
I hope that you are all keeping well and staying as positive as possible during these unusual times. Everyday will bring a new emotion and that's completely normal. I have good days and bad as I'm sure most of us do. Fortunately the positive days are more frequent than the negative ones!
Prior to lockdown I had a workshop collaboration booked with the lovely Kirsty Taylor. We'd met for coffee and were excitedly planning our event. Unfortunately we had to cancel but look forward to running one together in the future.
Kirsty is a student in our Thursday morning class and an amazing nutritionist. She has relocated to the UK from Australia and brings with her a wealth of knowledge and passion. Kirsty has kindly offered to share her knowledge with us all in the hope that we can weather this storm together with advice on food choices etc.
Being diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder last year offered me the opportunity to research and modify my diet in order to support my own immune system. Every cloud has a silver lining! I completed a CPD course in Ayurveda and can't speak highly enough of eating locally grown and 'in season' produce.
We have witnessed a rise in people ordering meat, vegetables, fruit, milk and eggs from local farms during the lock-down. There are lots of positives in these difficult times.
Here's Kirsty's first tip
What will I need for my Yoga class?
A drink of water
A warm blanket or throw for our relaxation at the end of class
Your Yoga mat
Please wear comfortable clothing
Continued Professional Development
As Yoga teachers we are required to obtain CPD points each year. These training days offer a wonderful opportunity to further our knowledge and meet with other teachers.
I have recently completed a six hour workshop 'Supporting Injured Students' with the inspirational Dr Yogi in order to learn new ways in which to help my students where needed.
On hold due to Covid-19
2020 will see a continuation of workshop collaborations. These events have proved extremely popular throughout 2019!
I will continue to join forces with other qualified Yoga teachers and alternative health care professionals once a month.
This is such a lovely way to try out new things and meet new friends.
It's going to be another exciting year with some familiar faces and some new ones too!
Keep popping back for updates as these workshops fill very quickly and are limited to 25 spaces.
On hold due to Covid-19
Approximately one in every six working people struggle with stress and anxiety. Yoga and mindfulness offer wonderful ways to help alleviate these feelings and to create a sense of positivity, peace and balance within your workforce.
If you are interested in bringing Yoga to your workplace please get in touch to discuss the options available. This may be a one off or regular event and will be tailored to suit your company's individual requirements.
Fully qualified, insured and certified.
Private Group Yoga Classes
On hold due to Covid-19
Here at Willow & Grace Yoga we are pleased to offer one off, bespoke packages for your event.
Alternatively, you may be interested in private group Yoga classes specially tailored for you and your friends.
All equipment will be provided.
Please get in touch to discuss your requirements etc.
If you are looking for a new Yoga mat there are a few things to consider.
A deeply cushioned mat can stretch in standing postures making it tricky to stay balanced. Your feet can also sink into them..
Too thin and you'll feel the surface underneath (ouch)
Too padded- again balance will be tricky.
I use a Manduka Pro light and absolutely love it. It's not cheap but I've had it for years and it is very dense so always feels comfortable. It is heavy but I don't carry it far!
The link below offers two great mats. They are usually around the £50-60 mark but are currently on offer here as seconds. The lite version is about the same thickness as mine but they also have the thicker one. Heavy but will support your knees and sit bones!
I have ordered one to try and am very impressed!
These mats are much heavier than our usual Yoga mats!!
World Mental Health Day
A huge thank you to Knorr-Bremse, Melksham for inviting me to be part of their World Mental Health Day. It was a such a privilege to share my love of Yoga with you all.
Mental health awareness is steadily gaining a voice. It's so important to talk and share with others about how we are feeling. Together we can support one another through the tough times and bring light to the shadows.
The greater your storm, the brighter your rainbow.
Let's smile through adversity and fill the skies with rainbows.
Willow & Grace Yoga
Willow & Grace?
Lots of you ask how and why I chose the name Willow & Grace. Well here goes!
"The Seneca, a North American indigenous tribe, has a loving bond with all Trees, calling them The Standing People. They consider the Willow to be a source of gentle humility, charm and grace adding elegance as She touches Her fronds to the Mother Earth, sweeping away fear to nurture peace."
I really wanted a name that resonated with my personality and teaching style. One that felt authentic and reflected my own journey with Yoga. A name that symbolised all that I hope to bring you as your Yoga teacher.
The strong, broad trunks and incredibly flexible branches of the willow allow them to stand firmly rooted to the earth yet sway gracefully with the wind. Going with the flow of life, even in the most adverse of conditions. They are a symbol of hope and a reminder that all things are possible. They offer respite in the heat of summer. A place to slumber in dappled shade and a place of refuge in a storm. As winter finally strips them of their emerald finery they stand proud and naked with only the frost to cover their bare limbs. Spring brings renewal as catkins, like hanging jewels, adorn their swaying branches.
And so the cycle of life continues, just as it does for all of us. We weather the storms, we adapt and we grow.
Much love Yvonne
"Close your eyes and imagine the best version of you possible.
That's who you really are. Let go of any part of you that doesn't believe it"
One of my lovely students introduced me to the Marie Kondo method of decluttering recently. It's an amazing way to have a sort out! I feel a sense of lightness and freedom. It's been so liberating to let go of what I don't need.
Yoga is so similar. We dive in and begin to become aware what's been stored both physically and emotionally. Through breath, stillness and movement we can slowly begin to release all that no longer serves us. Leaving space for joy and peace.
The Guest House
We experience many changes throughout our lives,, some welcome and others not so. Rumi's poem is a wonderful reminder to accept what is and trust that things will work out.
The Guest House
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
— Jellaludin Rumi,
Allow the lush abundance of nature to nurture your soul
We all go through times of stress and anxiety. It is so important to recognise when we need a break and to make time for ourselves.
Getting outside really does help to calm our body and mind. It helps to improve our mood and increase our feelings of joy and happiness.
Simply bring your attention to every little detail. The way your feet move, your body and your breath. Notice how the air feels on your skin or how the breeze moves your hair.
Bringing your attention to every sensation brings about an increased awareness of your body and it's beautiful uniqueness, the beauty of nature and life itself. Give it a try!
Imagine the cobra peeling itself slowly away from the ground, the sensuous and graceful curve revealing its inner strength.
As children our hearts are open and trusting but as life throws obstacles in our path, we begin to close down adding layers of armour to our vulnerable centre. Physically, we round our shoulders in protection, our heads lower as we become more disillusioned. Consequently our necks ache, our shoulders become stiff and our hearts become hidden behind the lofty walls that we have built.
In Bhuhangasana we have the opportunity to bring our hearts forward, welcoming the world and offering our love and trust outwards once more. As we move into Bhujangasana we can notice our muscles contracting, so we pause, and allow them to gently release with the breath before moving deeper. Our heads, desperate to win the race, thrust forward. With chins jutting out and jaws clenched the tension mounts, weaving like a coiled spring down through our centre. Pausing here to notice this gives us a great insight.
There is also the danger of pushing too far, allowing the ego to take over. Reaching your edge is enough,. If we rush the pose, as with any yoga asana, we miss the opportunity to hear what it is our bodies are telling us. Slow it down and we will hear our heart’s song.
Finding peace in our modern world.
We are often so busy 'doing' that we forget how to just 'be'. Relaxing without external stimulation can be tricky! Yoga gently guides us to that place of peace. It gently guides us back to ourselves.
Try sitting quietly outside and close your eyes. Bring your attention to your breath, that gentle ebb and flow, in and out. Then notice any sounds and really focus on each one before moving onto the next. Now move on to scent, what fragrances can you pick up? Notice how the air touches your skin and the changing light behind your closed eyelids. When you are ready, gently open your eyes and notice how you feel.
All of these tiny observations will bring you back to the present moment. A moment where you become the observer without judgement.
This is mindfulness or meditation! It's the perfect way to step back and be truly present. It's from here that we can begin to truly see the beauty all around us 💕
Does Yoga lengthen your muscles?
I talk about this a fair bit in class! It's a widely used phrase in Yoga and many other exercise classes.
Yoga helps us to release tension and habitual holding patterns throughout the body. We often breathe in such a way that our bodies are on high alert, ready for fight or flight. It becomes so habitual that we don't even notice that we're doing it. By breathing slowly and mindfully in Asana or meditation we can fully relax and our muscles will gently release giving us more freedom of movement. Think of it as a reset button.
So, we can't lengthen muscles! Tendons attach muscles to bone and ligaments attach bones to bones. If our muscles physically 'lengthened' then our bones would need to grow too! Yoga can, however, help to restore the natural length of our muscles.
Happiness blooms from within
Find your inner peace with Willow and Grace Yoga
“Yvonne is a very enabling yoga teacher. She offers & encourages modifications of poses & movements so that all abilities can participate. I always leave her sessions feeling better than I started!”
“Yvonne is a wonderful yoga teacher who holds a space that can both be invigorating or nurturing. I’d highly recommend Willow & Grace if you’re interested in starting yoga or furthering your journey.”
Having practiced yoga with many teachers and all over the world, including Thailand, I honestly do not think I have experienced such a thoughtful, well balanced, invigorating yet relaxing session as I did in tonight’s class with Yvonne (in would you believe it - little old Melksham!)
Not only did Yvonne create a beautiful and safe space, she structured the class in such a way that offered the dedication needed to practice both the stretching and positioning, a chance to work through a wonderful flow as well as holding the space in equal measure for mindfulness & relaxation.
The music used was a welcome addition to the class as well as Yvonne’s personable and fun nature which added a lovely sense of connection. Every movement was explained clearly throughout which allowed me to concentrate inwards as opposed to looking around the room trying to catch on. The class also lent itself to varying abilities well, with a subtle alternative and re-positioning offered.
Everyone there clearly held Yvonne in high regard and I now know why.... what an awesome class, I will certainly be back!
At Willow & Grace, Yvonne creates the perfect yoga space for all students to practice at a safe and beneficial level.
Yvonne’s joyful and calm manner creates a welcoming and non competitive class where we are reminded to listen to, learn about and respect our bodies so that we each practice according to our own needs and abilities.
Each class feels familiar yet brings new challenges and perspectives. I love Yvonne’s imaginative flows and the grace with which she practices.
Throughout the class, guidance is accompanied by morsels of yoga history, philosophy and physiology and anatomy to deepen our understanding and internalise our practice.
I leave Yvonne’s yoga classes feeling enriched, with a stronger body and peace in my heart.
"And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful that the risk it took to blossom"
Willow & Grace Yoga
Tel: 07729 100 052