Jen Day on pilates and practice

With me starting to teaching monthly yin yoga workshops at Jen Day’s pilates studio near Wheathampstead, we thought it would be nice for you all to learn more about her.

So, here you’ll find a little interview with her, and on her website there’s an interview with me.

The first workshop of 2018 is on Saturday 20 January. View details.

Hello Jen. Why Pilates?
Because it works! I, like many people discovered Pilates due to a knee injury 17 years ago. I fell in love with the method immediately. I found it challenging and inspiring and I still do today! Pilates keeps me connected to my body. It keeps me focused, strong and without it I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have run injury free for 16 years or competed in triathlon up to half Ironman level. Joseph Pilates was absolutely right when he said: “Physical fitness is the first requisite of happiness.”

The Studio is at Mid Herts Golf Club. Why there?
Besides it being next door to my home?! It’s a beautiful calm space, oak beams and white walls with a view that is spectacular all year round. I wanted to create a space that you walk into a feel completely at ease, it’s a sanctuary, I can see that in my students faces sometimes. I adore teaching in the space and my commute is just wonderful!

What does practice mean to you?
Practice to me is acknowledging Joe and his wife Clara’s work every day. There are movements that still challenge me, movements that delight me and some that elude me! Practice also frees up my mind which is an awesome thing for an over thinker! So practice is about creating space, in mind and body. Its about constant learning and reflection.


Thank you Jen. Jen can be found at The Studio on weekday mornings. For information about her classes and the yin workshop, visit

You can read her interview with me on her website. We hope to see you at The Studio soon!

Jen on a pilates reformer

New yoga class at Sandridge Village Hall

Hello all,

This is just a little blog post to let you know that I’m starting a new daytime yoga class at Sandridge Village Hall on the outskirts of St Albans, Hertfordshire.

It’ll be on a Thursday morning 9.30-10.30 and will be a yin yoga class. The first class will be 4 September.

What is yin yoga?

Yin yoga is wonderful. Of course, I’d say that as I teach it. It’s for those days when you want nothing more than to be still but you feel you ought to be doing some exercise. We spend the class sitting or lying in yoga poses and your body gets a good stretch. It’s also deeply relaxing.

It doesn’t matter if you’ve never been on a yoga mat before and I’ll give you lots of attention.

Yoga at Sandridge Village Hall
Sandridge Village Hall is on the main road running through the centre of the village. Come and yoga!

Why am I starting a yoga class at Sandridge Village Hall?

I don’t believe Sandridge Village Hall has a daytime yoga class. And it’s a lovely space. I’ve taught in a few local halls and when I saw this one, I was so happy with it. It’s got heaters for winter mornings, a wonderfully clean floor, and lots of free parking to the left of the hall.

Price of Sandridge Village Hall yoga class

It’s £10 per class. I’m also starting a special deal: £80 for 10 classes – for use in this class and the Monday morning Mead Hall gentle class in Wheathampstead.

When does the Sandridge yoga class start?

First class: Thursday 4 September, 9.30-10.30. See you there!


UPDATE: As of January 2015 this class is being held at All Saints Studios just up the road. Visit the class schedule page for details.


Even the Women’s Institute can’t stop the happiness of yoga

“Contentment comes from mental well-being that moves us to consider the positive in all beings and situations.”

This was the reading on which I decided to base this morning’s gentle yoga class in Wheathampstead. And how apt it proved to be.

I arrived early to the little Mead Hall in Wheathampstead village to find a hive of activity. Normally it’s silent but there were people inside arranging tables and making tea. I peered through the door, dragging in my bags of mats and props only to be told that it was a WI (Women’s Institute) meeting and they’d had the booking in the diary for months.

“Bugger!” I thought. Of course, it was only a matter of minutes before regulars started arriving for the class. I explained the situation and we stood in the car park debating the options. The park was ruled out as they didn’t want to be watched by dogwalkers… living rooms weren’t big enough… what to do?

My yogi mum volunteered her back garden and so it was decided. Directions were given and five minutes later we were at Amwell Lane and people were marvelling at the beautiful flowers and the lush green lawn.

“Oooh I daren’t walk on the grass, it’s so immaculate!” said Liz. The joys of having a dad who’s a landscape gardener. I’ve been saying for ages that they should open it to the public.

We progressed through the class. When we did our sun salutations, we really did stretch our fingers towards the sun, and when we ended our savasana, we brought our awareness to the sensation of every blade of grass touching our fingers and the backs of our hands.

It was a lovely class and here’s the full reading:

“Contentment comes from mental well-being that moves us to consider the positive in all beings and situations. Often our frustrations come from regrets, agitation, suffering or comparing ourselves with others. Focusing on what others have – or don’t have for that matter – instead of nourishing gratitude leads to everlasting discontent.

Contentment is a dynamic and constructive attitude that brings us to look at things in a new way. It calms the mind, bringing a flowering of subtle joy and inner serenity that are independent of all outside influences and perishable things.

It is very difficult however to sustain contentment. Though it may be easier to be happy when we are successful, only an exceptional soul remains positive in the midst of adverse currents. Contentment means looking at every event with a smile. It helps to have a sense of humour too.”

Bernard Bouchard defining 2.42 in the Yoga Sutras (Santosha)

We sat on the swing seat afterwards drinking herbal tea saying how special the class had been. People loved feeling the breeze and hearing bees buzzing around them.

And so I’d like to say a hearty thank you to the ladies of the WI. If they want to book the Mead Hall again on a Monday morning, please feel free. But just make sure it’s on a day when the sun is shining…

Yoga in the garden
The newest yoga venue in Wheathampstead

Singing vs chanting in the wilds of Hertfordshire

Having moved to a new area, I thought I’d put myself out there and try and meet some new people. “Hmmm…. how?” I thought. Well, I’ve been going to a few yoga classes locally but I wanted to meet MORE people. MORE I tell you!

And what do I like doing apart from yoga? Well, I don’t mind singing and I have been known – just on one or two occasions – to spontaneously burst into song when someone says something that reminds me of a song title. And I am rather fond of chanting Sanskrit mantras but that can be rather niche…

“And where did this lead me?” I hear you say. Well, it naturally led me to a taster Rock Choir session in Harpenden. Cue about 60 people – mostly women of  various ages (I was probably at the younger end of the spectrum) – sitting in a school hall on a Monday evening.

I sat with the altos and tried to get my head round where to breathe in Adele’s ‘Someone Like You’. Together we didn’t sound half bad.

Then came ELO’s Mr Blue Sky. I was relieved to hear that they’d been working on it for weeks as I hadn’t the foggiest what was going on. And there were dance moves. Fingers were clicked, salsa steps were attempted, arms were waved and my voice went all over the place. To think that my mum’s a soprano soloist. It was frankly embarrassing.

Abbi the choir leader was amazing. Enthusiastic, pulling everyone together, and incredibly talented. Some people were born performers, strutting their stuff and enunciating like it was going out of fashion. But something was missing. Even if we’d been singing the songs of Julie Andrews, I’m not sure if it was me.

I came home and thought about it. It all felt a bit empty. I love kirtan and chanting mantras. When I chant, I feel like I’m giving my all. My heart feels open and there’s no need to perform. It doesn’t even matter that you might not know the meaning of all the words in Sanskrit. There’s just a great energy about them. When I lead a chant, it’s a magical feeling when an entire room says the line back to you. I love it. Singing ELO and sashaying about just didn’t quite do it for me.

Anyway, you’ve got to try these things. If you fancy Rock Choir, there’s loads of them all over the country. If you fancy spending your Saturday night chanting Sanskrit mantras, the next one at the Yoga Hall in St Albans is 22 June. I know where you’re more likely to find me.

Oh and if you’d like to come to my yoga classes in Wheathampstead and Harpenden, details are on the class schedule page of my new (yes, I said ‘new’) website!

Shameless self promotion… yoga classes in Harpenden and Wheathampstead

Yes, it’s true, I’m going to use this blog post to promote the various yoga things I’ve got going on. I apologise in advance and normal services will resume shortly.

Flyer for Breathing Space yin/yang workshop
Breathing Space yoga workshop – yin/yang yoga with Clare Wener and April Nunes Tucker

So you may have noticed that I have a new website! The Diary of a Yogi blog has now been subsumed into my Shanta Yoga site so everything’s now in one place. Much easier. If you get a chance, have a look around the site and feel free to give me any feedback. All my old blog posts are still available on here.

Yoga Harpenden

I’ve started teaching yoga classes in Hertfordshire and it’s going well. I’m teaching a yin/yang yoga workshop at Breathing Space in Harpenden next month with my friend and wonderful ashtanga teacher April Nunes Tucker. She’ll lead 1.5 hours of ashtanga and then I’ll teach yin for 1.5 hours.

I’m also teaching at a little place called the Mead Hall in Wheathampstead. It’s a WI (Women’s Institute) hall and has central heating and a lovely wooden floor. Before teaching yoga, I would never have got quite so excited about flooring or heating. Yoga at the Mead Hall is a gentle affair and we do lots of warm ups, some standing and seated poses and a lovely long relaxation at the end. Everyone goes at their own pace and it’s very friendly.

I’m also trying out teaching a weekly yin class in a yoga/pilates studio in Southdown, Harpenden. I can’t seem to find anyone else offering a regular yin class in the county. I’m aware that that might be because no-one’s interested but you’ve got to give these things a go, right?

I’m spreading the word by going door to door getting my hand squished in letterboxes (some are lethal. Lethal, I tell you). I’m also getting really good at laminating and asking shops to display them. Even the village butcher got a flyer. I had a lovely yoga natter in the beauty salon with a lady who was getting a manicure.

Yin yoga Berkhamsted

BAYoga Studio is a great ashtanga studio in Berkhamsted run by Cathy Haworth. I’ve been going to Mysore classes there and will also be running a yin yoga workshop there on Saturday 15 June. It’ll be two hours of yin yoga and it should be lovely.

Flyer for yin yoga workshop at BAYoga with Clare Wener
Yin yoga workshop at BAYoga Berkhamsted with Clare Wener

If you’ve never heard of yin yoga before, have a read of a blog post that explains the practice.

And if you’d like to find out more about my classes, all the details are listed on the class schedule page.

Anyway, that’s about it. Thanks for bearing with me while I go on about my classes. It’s not all about me, me, me you know.