We sat down with COACH London’s resident yoga instructor to find out a little more about her teaching style, the benefits of following her practice, and to get to the bottom of some of the biggest myths surrounding Yoga.
Having spent most of her career working in Sports Science and exercise recovery, yoga was Lyndsey’s solace from long days and even longer commutes into the capital. As a dedicated hockey player, she’d picked up several injuries along the way and leaned towards yoga to learn more about her body and how to rehab.
By her early 20’s, her passion for the practice of yoga grew and, she began to delve deeper into the philosophy. In 2014, she took the leap and moved to India to begin her yoga teacher training. Years later, she is still deeply passionate about helping her students make positive changes through the practice of yoga. Through her teaching you will experience flow with emphasis on postural alignment, transitional movement, combined with a focus on the transformational breath. Classes are often themed in the deep-rooted yoga philosophy mixed with modern-day techniques.
If you are new to yoga, looking to recover from injury, or even a seasoned yogi, you will feel comfortable and confident in the movements Lyndsey prescribes. Adjustments and variations of postures are taught throughout, to ensure the physical movement is right for you and your body! You’ll not only feel the physical benefits from her classes, but you’ll also come away feeling more focused, calm, and connected.
Where does your passion for yoga stem from?
I was initially attracted to the physical practice and how the smallest of movements can create waves of feeling and connectedness. However, whilst this is what started my yoga journey, I have always been fascinated by traditional Indian culture, the stories, the colour, the rituals, the belief of transcendence, and the thirst for greater understanding and knowledge of oneself and the world around us.
What do you love about teaching at COACH London?
The small intimate classes offer me the ability to personalise each members experience and focus on an individual’s needs at that very moment. The club’s holistic approach and the emphasis which they place on each member’s individual journey, both physically and mentally aligns perfectly with my teachings. Yoga should be for all, and everyone should have the opportunity to find an aspect of yoga that suits their mind and body – COACH allows and enables this!
Which aspects of yoga are you most excited about teaching?
My teaching is constantly evolving. I find ‘pranayam’ breathwork the most transformational. Yoga asana (postures) without the breath are simply shapes/movements, which is why I often include sections of breathwork in the physical practice. You don’t need equipment or to be in yoga kit. It can be practiced anytime, anywhere!
Do you view yoga as a more mental or physical practice?
Yoga is so much more than a physical practice. But the joy/privilege of teaching is observing how the practice can often start as a movement class for our members, and soon without their recognition the mental benefits and connection between mind and body weave in. I have had so many clients simply looking to move, and after a few weeks they exclaim their stress levels have reduced, they feel calmer, they feel more contempt, and often sleep better.
Tell us about a time when you helped someone overcome a challenge with yoga?
With my background in exercise recovery, I have implemented various yoga routines to complement a client’s strength and conditioning or physiotherapy programme. Yoga often provides an opportunity to pause, allowing clients to connect with their body to understand what it needs in that exact moment. I have also had clients that have struggled with their mental health, one, in particular, had gone through a series of difficult life events and the practice of yoga brought them into the present moment. The practice gave him a sense of escapism, but also a constant to stay in the now and feel aware of his body and breath. Similarly, I’ve found that many members benefit from COACH’s unique 360 ° approach, focusing on the sweet spot where the body, mindset and lifestyle become aligned.
What are some benefits to regularly practicing yoga that people may not know about?
Ironically one of the greatest benefits of regular practice is gaining the ability to sit still comfortably. We do all of the physical asana work, sometimes known as ‘Sthira’ in Sanskrit, translating to stability and strength, to find ‘Sukha’ meaning openness and ease. Physical practice has the purpose of exhausting us, enabling us to sit still for concentration or meditation. Ultimately, I believe yoga helps us find balance and moderation in our lives, it can help us be more adaptable and judgment-free both to ourselves but also in a wider, worldly context.
Are there any myths about yoga that we should stop believing?
That yoga is practiced solely for flexibility, the ultimate goal being an ‘end’ pretzel pose – often some sort of contortion! In the same light, that yoga is not exercise at all, and that it isn’t for men. A few rounds of well-practiced sun salutations will dispel this myth! The myth that yoga cannot be practiced when menstruating is another one, I hear a lot, but there is no anatomical basis for this! Of course, there is also the myth that if you’re not in alignment, you’ll miss out on all the benefits of the pose. However, everyone is anatomically different, and we should trust the sensations in our own bodies rather than textbook cues. The way we can debunk these myths is by recognising that yoga is not a single practice – it is multidimensional. Yoga is an ancient practice and is ever evolving, the physical practice is just one very small part of a philosophy, a science of ‘Union’ of mind, body, and spirit. Very much like the COACH London mantra.