A Bermondsey Fayrewell

Bermondsey yogis-in-front-of-shopLast month I taught my last yin workshop at Bermondsey Fayre. It marked the end of an era: Up until now, I’ve always taught in Bermondsey.

When I first started teaching, I set up a weekly class in Bermondsey Village Hall – tucked in amongst Leathermarket Gardens with its stark silver birches and meandering snowdrops and crocuses. The Shard was just a building site back then but now it looms large over the roses and squirrels.

Now when I’ve cut through on an early Sunday morning on my way to Bermondsey Fayre, the village hall is home to a South East Asian gathering doing their weekly praising with much hand-clapping, tabourining and joyous voices.

I’ve taught at Bermondsey Fayre for three years – first weekly and then monthly but I’m no longer in London and it’s a long journey from St Albans on a Sunday morning.

It’s the people that I’ll miss the most:

The giggles in class.

The groaning when I suggest you kneel, tuck your toes under and sit on your heels (you know who you are).

The occasional in-jokes.

The faces when you finally come up to sitting.

The apologetic latecomers whose penance is a spot directly in front of me.

The prop cupboard Jenga.

The wriggling up and down in twists to accommodate the pole/wall…

The catching up with people’s lives and the goodbye hugs.

But it’s Liz Dillon who has made it all happen. The place is full of beautiful things made with love and a lot of it is Liz’s love.

Thank you to everyone who’s ever spent a Sunday morning yinning with me. If you suffer from yin withdrawl symptoms (a longing for mindful poetry and being read to, blankets and eyebags, increased crankiness and hunched backs, etc) I can highly recommend Norman’s workshops at the West London Buddhist Centre or St Albans isn’t far.

Thank you to Liz for these kind words:

We are very sad to say goodbye to our lovelier than lovely Clare Wener who has brought so much joy to Bermondsey Fayre and has stretched out and released tension in so many of our muscles with her fantastic yin workshops.
There is always a sense of bliss when I walk into Bermondsey Fayre after Clare’s workshops and a feeling of joy, love and laughter.
Clare has been commuting from Hertfordshire for a year or two now after leaving London and time has come for her to pull back from her London teaching and put more of her energy into her new home and community where she is living.
We will miss you Clare!

Bermondsey Fayre yoga
Bermondsey Fayre yogis (not doing yoga) and Helen on the far left (not wearing her Take That hoody)

A Bermondsey Village Hall mini-break

Sundeep and I outside Bermondsey Village Hall
Sundeep and I outside Bermondsey Village Hall

Last Thursday I taught my last Bermondsey Village Hall class for a while. I’ve taught there continuously for the last 18 months and it’s been great. I’ve taught old friends and made new friends. One week, my friend Sundeep came to a class while he was over from Mumbai for work, and another week even the Police made an appearance (burglar alarm-related).

It hasn’t always been easy. I’ve noticed a drop in numbers this year despite getting clued up with Google Adwords and it feels like there’s more and more competition for yoga in London. I don’t think the recession has helped much either. But I’m truly grateful for having some committed yogi regulars and I feel guilty for leaving them. 

“Then why are you having a break from teaching there?” I hear you say. Well, I reply, I’m going away soon to do more training. I’m doing a course for five weeks on Koh Samui in Thailand, then I’m going to Sri Lanka for a couple of weeks to see a friend. I’ve then got a bit of time in Mumbai on the way home. I’ll be away for just under three months and I can’t wait. 

I’ll be back in the Autumn and they’re keeping Thursday nights at the hall open for my return. In the meantime, if you’re looking for a class in the London Bridge area I can highly recommend Bermondsey Fayre on Bermondsey Street. Liz and her teachers are fab and I cover there from time to time.

If you’ve been to any of my classes over the last 18 months, thank you. You’ve been a joy to teach and keep up the practice! I’ll keep you updated on my travels over the next few months too.