What is it?

Ashtanga Yoga is a very physical form of Yoga which synchronises breath with movement in a series of progressive postures. It was devised originally by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, who is credited with bringing Yoga to the western world. Focus during the practice is on breath, bandhas (areas of the body such as the core where muscles are contracted to gain stability and direct energy flow) and drishti (gaze point).

These focal points help concentrate the mind and maintain presence so the well known mental benefits of yoga can also be achieved. A regular practice results in greater strength, flexibility and a calmer mind.

Who is it for?

Ashtanga yoga is suitable for anyone who is reasonably fit and would like to access the many benefits of Yoga. Classes at Courtyard are small and personal so each posture will be talked through in detail with modifications provided for beginners and people who have tight muscles or other physical constraints. It is particularly beneficial for people who take part in sports with a greater cardio element like running or cycling as the combination of strengthening and stretching the muscles will help protect from injuries. It may also be suitable for people who have tried other slower forms of yoga and would like to enjoy a more dynamic and stronger practice.

What to expect

Ashtanga classes at the Courtyard are enjoyable and will help you learn about your body – you may discover tight spots you never knew you had! – and start to dissolve them! Classes start with a short period of breathing technique to help your focus during your practice and move on to a dynamic sequence of postures called Sun Salutations. These will be talked through slowly each time on the first try. We then move on to a standing sequence, seated postures and finishing sequence where postures are held for around 5 breaths. Whilst some teaching methods prefer to stick to the original postures and only allow the student to move to the next when the prior one is satisfactorily mastered, many other Yoga teachers and masters believe there is great benefit in accessing more advanced postures in a modified form which is the method we teach at Courtyard. We are not too rigid in approach – occasionally we mix up the sequence with some non-traditional postures too so each class is a little different and we often have music.

There is always time to speak to the teacher about any particular physical issues you may have or questions on the postures. Props such as blocks, cushions and straps are used to modify or assist in a variety of postures. Relaxation time at the end always feels so good!


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Meet the instructors

Theresa Barrett

Theresa Barrett

Yoga Instructor

I’ve been passionate about yoga since my first class in London 17 years ago. Moving my body into positions which I hadn’t been in since childhood felt amazing. I was also hugely impressed how breathing into a pose really helped the body to open up and deepen the posture without forcing it.

Here’s What Our Clients Think of Us

For Karla (Hypnotherapist)

“I was here on 3-day work experience. The first day I was nervous but there was a ‘family atmosphere’ where everyone was really welcoming and made me feel comfortable. I enjoyed every minute and would love to come again.” Charlie Edwards

For Vicky (Vim and Vigour)

“I am now nearing the end of my second course of Vim and Vigour sessions. I must say, along with thoroughly enjoying myself I have noticed an improvement in my balance, core strength and flexibility over this period. My thanks go to Vicky who has focused the activities towards my particular needs and has also raised my awareness of how to combat the ageing issues my body is facing. Thank you.” Karen McDonald

For Jo (Physiotherapy)

“I have to say that in all my years, working and coaching, and being treated myself, that was one of the finest pieces of work I’ve ever witnessed. My daughter is a very complex, head strong young lady. I am truly in awe of the way Jo took on the mental and physical challenges in a way she could accept. Very grateful for all you’ve done”         

 For Jo Roberts (Equipment Based Pilates)

“Over the last 2 years of rehab, I’ve done lots of different exercises, some extreme that have worked me hard. This is the only one that I’ve had to ask to stop mid-session to get a drink of water, that’s how hard it pushes you, do not underestimate this fantastic form of exercise.” Jerry Fowler

Ready to Make a Change?

Making that first appointment is the most important part. If you’re not quite sure what you need don’t worry, give us a call or send an email. Our job is to help you find the best way forward with the most appropriate treatment plan or class for you.