About Yoga & Jo
I attended my first yoga class in 1999 and have been practicing yoga ever since, exploring several different approaches along the way.
Keen to deepen my knowledge, I undertook an 18 month Teacher Training Programme at the Yoga Sanctuary in Southampton led by Yoga Master Premananda (Steve Harrison) certified by the Independent Yoga Network (IYN). The system I was taught was “The Living Yoga Method ”. It follows the classical teachings of Hatha Yoga which have been handed down from the Himalyan sages of Northern India over thousands of years. This complete system takes the teachings of Yoga into our everyday lives, on and off the yoga mat, enabling us to make a deeper connection with our body and mind.
My own relationship with yoga further deepened following a visit to India where I stayed in a yoga ashram in Rishikesh (known as the birthplace of yoga) on the banks of the Ghanjis.
Following 5000 year old yoga traditions from the Himalayan yogis of Northern India
Over time, my style has developed into a Gentle Hatha Flow. My classes incorporate mindful movement and postures (asana), breathing exercises (pranyama), relaxation and meditation techniques (pratyahara, dharana and dhyana). I aim to inspire, nurture and uplift people through the teachings of yoga. Introducing yoga philosophy, themes and ideas into classes keeps the approach fresh and explaining the benefits along the way.
Mindful movement and breathwork develops self-awareness and expands the capacity to cope with modern day stresses and strains. Slower, gentle yoga trains our nervous system to build resilience, it helps develop patience and improves our overall health and wellbeing, offering us a break from our fast paced culture.
Life is not always easy. Yoga has helped me to find inner strength and peace through some difficult times, showing me the way through anxiety and depression and being there whenever I have needed it (you can read more about my mental health journey in my blog).
I would love to help you feel good about your physical and mental wellbeing and re-discover your own inner bliss (ananda).
I am a fully insured and registered yoga teacher with Yoga Alliance Professionals. My training has included studying Yoga Philosophy, Ethics and Lifestyle, Yoga Anatomy, Yoga for Mental Health, Stress and Relaxation Management, Mindfulness, Breath Control, Chanting and more. I have been influenced by a wide variety of yoga styles, attending classes and workshops run by teachers with backgrounds in Classical Hatha, Anusara, Vinyasa Flow, Iyengar, Restorative, Yoga Nidra, Yin, Kriya Yoga, Viniyoga and Dru Yoga.
As Treasurer and an active member of the Southampton Yoga Association, I enjoy encouraging students to explore the many different facets of Yoga and discover what works for them.
I continue to study different aspects of yoga and have a particular interest in yoga for mental health and wellbeing. I have developed both my yoga teaching and my own personal journey over the years, attending workshops and courses in Yoga Anatomy, Sequencing, Restorative Yoga and Mental Health. The latest development is joining the Mucky Bucket Farm team to teach 'Goga' (goat yoga). Professional and personal development courses I have undertaken include the following:
Awareness of Mental Health Problems - NCFE CACHE Level 2 Certificate
Yoga Sequencing - Laura Green Yoga
Anatomy for Yoga Teachers - David Michel
Anatomy & Physiology Applied to Yoga - Andrew McGonigle (Doctor Yogi)
Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction - Mindfulness Hampshire
Restorative & Yin Yoga - Laura Green Yoga
Mental Health Skills for Yoga Teachers - Heather Mason (The Minded Institute)
Yoga Skills for Working with Anxiety - Heather Mason (The Minded Institute)
Yoga Skills for Working with Depression - Heather Mason (The Minded Institute)
Yoga Nidra for Mental Health - The Minded Institute
Therapeutic Wisdom of Yoga - Doug Keller
Yoga for Sleep Recovery - Lisa Sanfilippo
Goga (Goat Yoga) - Mucky Bucket Farm
What is yoga, and why is it so popular?
Yoga is a 5,000-year-old discipline originating in India. A series of movements and poses that you practice alongside breathing techniques, yoga offers all the benefits of other exercise plus much more.
The meaning of Yoga is often translated as “union”. It was developed as a practice to unite things which are often experienced as being separate: our body and mind and also ourselves with the rest of the world and the greater energy of the Universe.
Ghanjis, Rishikesh, India
As a complete science which balances, harmonises, purifies, and strengthens the body, mind, and soul, yoga provides us with tools to take into our daily lives which help us to cope with the pressures of modern living.
"Yoga is the journey of the Self, through the Self, to the Self."
The Bhagavad Gita
There are many branches of yoga. Different yoga styles will help balance your body, mind, and spirit in varying degrees and in different ways. Some yoga styles are intense and vigorous, others are relaxing and meditative.
See the list of Frequently Asked Questions for some yoga class tips.
Benefits of Yoga &
Why You Should Try It
Since yoga practices can be modified and adapted, anyone can practice, regardless of age or ability. More and more people are discovering how good it feels to include yoga in your life.
Yoga gets you fit; physically, mentally and emotionally. It builds strength and flexibility in your body and mind. Practicing yoga regularly will help you deal with stress and anxiety, keep you calm in challenging situations, improve your relationships, boost your confidence and make you feel happier about yourself and your situation.
Yoga can help you:
Reduce stress and anxiety
Improve mobility and flexibility
Ease back pain
Strengthen muscles and joints
Calm the mind
Lift your mood
Increase your focus and concentration
Understand how the mind and body work together
Improve balance and stability
Improve and maintain good posture
Develop body awareness and ease
Give you self-reliance
Yoga will improve your wellbeing, helping you to feel good and function better as you go about your everyday life.
It is known to have therapeutic benefits for:
High blood pressure
Poor blood circulation
- Limited mobility
Lower back pain
Asthma and other breathing issues
Tension and stress
and many other health conditions.
Why the name "Ananda Yoga"?
Ananda means “bliss”, the state of "utter joy" and “contentment”. During my yoga journey, a number of gurus (teachers) have influenced me who have had a link to Ananda ("bliss") in their name (see below). From these teachings, my own version of Ananda Yoga has emerged.
My aim is to bring balance to your body and mind and to leave you feeling refreshed, uplifted and peaceful so that you too can find your inner bliss.
Premananda (Steve Harrison) - my yoga teacher trainer, Yoga Sanctuary Southampton, trained in India.
Yogeshwaranand Paramahansa - my teacher’s guru from Rishikesh, India.
Swami Sivananda - spiritual teacher and yoga guru. Founder of the Devine Life Society.
Paramahansa Yogananda - author of international bestseller ‘Autobiography of a Yogi’. Credited with introducing millions of westerners to the teachings of Yoga.
Anandamayi Ma - self-realised yogini.
All of these yogis have influenced my teaching and have a link to Ananda ("bliss") in their name. I now offer people my own version of Ananda Yoga.
"Jo’s classes are wonderful. She carefully balances mind, body and soul. I always leave her classes feeling more at peace, positive and aligned. I can’t recommend her more highly."
"An inspirational and kind teacher, Jo makes you feel at ease and confident in her classes.
You walk off the mat feeling GREAT!"
"Jo offers clear demonstrations with good ideas for alternatives and modifications"
"Thank you for helping me relax and be more mindful"
"Jo’s classes are inspirational, her love and energy shines through the whole practice"
"Another great session today. It's so nice to have your gentle encouragement each week"
"Informative and beautifully presented. This took me beyond any previous yoga practice"
"Brilliant Class. Practical approach to the progression of awareness. Two hours well spent!"
"Thanks for such an amazing session. I left feeling positive, calm and excited for Christmas"
Corporate & Private
"Our organisation runs a number of classes, but Jo’s Yoga class has fast become the highlight of the week. She is such a pleasure to work with and so dedicated to our clients. We are so lucky to have found her."
"Jo is a fantastic teacher who uses her calm and supportive manner to create a relaxing, safe environment in which people are able to challenge themselves both physically and mentally."
Leigh House Hospital
"Jo motivates and encourages students to develop their own practice and yoga journey"