Glass indulges in Indaba Yoga’s Self Care Sunday workshop with Norman Blair

I CHOSE this yoga workshop for a couple of reasons – I’m a big fan of the teacher and author Norman Blair, as I attended his free classes at an anarchist centre in Whitechapel in the early 2000s. They were strong Astanga, beautifully taught classes and I could see his dedication to yogic practice and philosophy shining out in them.

His training with leading figures in yoga such as Alaric Newcombe and Sarah Powers and Hamish Hendry  was easy to pick up on. A believer in the life-enhancing qualities of yoga practice and meditation he’s also written a guide and manual, Brightening Our Inner Skies: Yin and Yoga.

Secondly, Indaba Yoga is another favourite of mine, in the middle of Marylebone, a welcomingly transformed vintage warehouse building with parquet wood floors, high ceilings and acres of light giving windows. Its uplifting decoration includes magnificent stone deities, which keep a soulful an eye your every move or resting position.

Climbing the stairs, past the framed ink movement studies, I get the feeling that I am entering a dance studio. There is something special about the building being in the centre of a city, energised and charged with positive creative energy.

Norman Blair

Once at the top of the stairs, I pass seating lined with bright cushions, to be greeted by the blessed yogic smiles of staff who let me know everything and everywhere I need to get too.

The whole place has been refurbished and they are now selling an even better range of yoga attire and accessories together with drinks, energy snacks, wellbeing books and a myriad of props and tools, including the essential incense and crystals.

I leave my day clothes in a locker, eyeing the luxurious showers as I make my way to Norman’s Self Care Sunday Yin Yoga workshop in the cavernous top floor studio. Everything is clean, fresh air and sunlight flow through the many open windows as I stretch out on a soft rubbery, mulberry coloured mat.

Norman introduces himself, expressing his love of yin yoga and his belief in its ability to enable us to find calm and peace in these challenging times. He talks of how individual our bodies and our whole beings are and for this reason that it’s best to feel ones own way in yoga,  to find what best suits you rather than follow a formula or person exactly.

Norman Blair

We begin standing, grounding our feet onto our mats, not in the formal yogic standing pose Tadasana but loosely relaxing into our natural postures. Our arms raise like wings as the breath is released, then falling as we breathe in, feeling serene and connected, we flow down to the floor. Seated, focused on timed breathing, continuing opening and moving energy through our bodies,  we move eventually into longer, more intense yin poses, stretching us out with a softness and ease.

Norman patrols, making modifications , positioning props and giving breathing advice, taking care not risk bodily damage, paying special attention to knees and backs. He has many wise and inspirational words to share while we are in constructive relaxation, including the benefits of walking barefoot through grass and other simple acts of positivity.

Also recommending us to read Tim Parks book Teach Us to Sit Still , which is written from Parks personal experience of enlightenment and spiritual connection to the body, and how that worked for him as a path to recovery from severe and chronic physical illness.

Indaba studios

I drift off many times in the atmosphere of peace and safety, aware I’m now and again being assisted, an arm or leg being coaxed to the left or right, defining my posture. I long for the class not to end, as it oddly moves faster, with the longer slow poses than more dynamic classes.

As we surrender into the final relaxation, with supportive yoga blocks under our arms to create flex, stretched out flat on our backs, with cushions under our knees and ankles, I realise I have possibly astral travelled, my mind resolving issues of past, present and future in a vivid dreamlike fashion, all under the guise of an attentive student .

If you like the sound of this energising bliss and check out Indaba’s site soon and get five classes classes for just ten pounds.

Look out for upcoming workshops with Norman held in July,  Sept, Oct and Dec, all running in the afternoons and bookable at Indaba, or just try a weekly a Yin class at Indaba Yoga and afterwards you may be tempted to take on their teacher training in 2023 at Indaba Yoga. Namaste

by Sara Kirkwood