About Jo & Yoga
Following 5000 year old yoga traditions from the Himalayan yogis of Northern India
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 is called “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 deepened following a visit to India where I stayed in a yoga ashram in Rishikesh on the banks of the Ghanjis.
Over time my style has developed into a gentle Hatha Flow. My classes incorporate gentle postures (asana), breathing exersises (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 I explain the benefits along the way.
I continue to study different aspects of yoga and have a particular interest in yoga for mental health and wellbeing. Mindful movement and breathwork develops self-awareness and expands the capacity to cope with modern day stresses and strains. Slower, mindful yoga trains our nervous system to build resilience, develop greater patience, and improve overall health and wellbeing in our fast paced culture.
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.
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 the Resources page for a list). From these teachings, my own version of Ananda Yoga has emerged. Yoga has helped me to find inner strength and peace through some difficult times. 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.
Ghanjis, Rishikesh, India
Yoga is often translated as meaning “union”. Yoga unites 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.
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.
Practising yoga can lead to improved health, reduced stress and better control over our busy minds.
"Yoga is the journey of the Self, through the Self, to the Self."
The Bhagavad Gita
Why You Should Try Yoga
What is yoga, and why is it so popular? Yoga is a series of stretches and poses that you do with breathing techniques. It offers the powerful benefits of exercise. And since yoga is gentle, almost anyone can do it, regardless of your age or fitness level.
Yoga is a 5,000-year-old discipline from India. It was developed as a practice to unite the mind and body. There are many branches of yoga. All yoga styles can help balance your body, mind, and spirit, but they achieve it in various ways.
Some yoga styles are intense and vigorous. Others are relaxing and meditative. No matter which type you choose, yoga is a great way to stretch and strengthen your body, focus your mind, and relax your spirit.
Benefits of yoga
Yoga can make you stronger and more flexible. It's a great way to stay limber and energetic. You'll also feel more focused and alert. And yoga can help you feel great and function better in your daily life. Yoga can also help improve these conditions:
Poor blood circulation
High blood pressure
Lower back pain
Tension or stress
Yoga's gentle movements are a big reason for why it’s so popular. Yoga is good for people who haven't been active in a while. It’s good for people who have certain health conditions like arthritis or osteoporosis. You can change the exercises to fit your needs. But yoga is also great if you're already fit and want a challenging workout. As you become more strong and flexible with yoga, it's easier to do other kinds of exercise like dancing, walking, or swimming.
Yoga can help you:
Reduce your risk for injury. Each yoga pose targets specific muscles. This helps you increase your flexibility and reduce your risk for injury.
Reduce stress. Yoga can help soothe the mind and lower stress levels. It does this by focusing the mind on the moment and the movements.
Increase your concentration. A main part of yoga is rhythmic, focused breathing. This can help you focus.
Understand the mind and body connection. Yoga requires you to focus all your energy on each movement or pose exactly. This can help you feel the mind and body work together.
Gain strength and stamina. More vigorous styles of yoga promote strength and stamina.
Improve balance and stability. Balancing poses require you to use your core muscles. This can help you improve your overall stability.
Improve posture. Yoga poses strengthen and open tight areas of the body like the shoulders and muscles of the upper back. This can help you keep good posture.
Develop body awareness. Yoga requires you to contract or relax specific muscles as you stretch into each pose. This can help you become more aware of your body’s strengths and weaknesses.
Give it a try
Yoga can help you get fit for life. It helps you deal with stress, pick up your child, control your dog, carry groceries, or work in your garden. It also can help to prevent or ease back pain and muscle or joint injury, and give you self-reliance and self-esteem.
Yet, one of the most important benefits of any yoga routine isn't physical — it's the quieting of the mind. The bottom line is learning to pay attention. You fine-tune your attention, beginning with the body, and then moving to the mind. As you get deeper into your practice over the years, you start to see the mental and spiritual benefits.