This is my studio, a space I dreamed about as I trained to be a yoga teacher. Renting space in different areas just isn't the same as a studio built specifically for the purpose. The energy is different as those who of you who have supported me over the years will give testimony to and being able to unlock the door and have the space ready is pure magic. I signed the lease in October 2017 a month before my youngest sister lost her battle with cancer. That building space supported me in my grief. It gave me a reason to get up in the morning to keep going when grief tore my heart apart and pain ravaged through my body at yet another family death. When something holds you up, keeps you going and gives you a reason to get out of bed it tends to mean something to you. It is personal. A substantial amount of money was invested in the premises in order to turn it into my vision of what the space should be. Like any other business I pay rent, rates, insurance and regular bills. All because you guys come and support me and I am truly grateful for this support. Like all other businesses I am passionate about my little space and to this day, five years later I still get the same buzz feeling I did when I first turned the key in the door. It has an energy all of its own, it has a happy vibe, on occasions tranquil, peaceful and calming. It is my little haven, home away from home. I feel safe there. It was always been important to me that anyone who crossed the threshold also felt safe. My mission statement clearly states my dream for that space.... "All Round Yoga's mission statement is to teach Hatha Yoga in a safe environment that will enhance a person's life, bringing balance and harmony, whilst endorsing a self-belief that with vision ANY dream IS possible". Those words still mean as much to me today as they did when I first wrote them down. My wish has always been that you feel safe enough to relax your defences, switch off your flight, fight and freeze response long enough so that you may breathe properly and deeply. For some of you it may be for the first time in years you breathed correctly. Chest breathers, shallow breathers, and reverse breathing it all impacts the immune system, a weakened immune system leaves you susceptible to illnesses. Poses help bring strength back to the body as those of you currently in classes will know that from our wrist strengthening routine. From a health perspective yoga benefits the body greatly due to its impact on your immune system, but don’t just take my word on it. Here is an article from the National Library of Medicine on: A narrative review on yoga: a potential intervention for augmenting immunomodulation and mental health in COVID-19 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9289356/ I know what stress does to a body, I floundered under it myself for a number of years. I longed for you to feel safe enough to allow the stress of your own life situations to abate, even if it is just for that hour and a quarter you are in my space. I wanted it to be a time out, from responsibilities, burdens and pressures of life. A space where you could simply sit, breathe, stretch and release. On many occasions it was a place where tears were released safely without upsetting or worrying family and loved ones. I have never on any occasion tried to coerce you into being anything but yourself and I have never claimed to have “healed” you from anything. The last few years have been difficult for every single person on this planet let alone businesses where we were forced to close our doors. These last few weeks have been particularly difficult, not just because once again as a family we navigate through the familiar waters of a sudden death but because some people think it is OK to warn others about coming into my space and practicing yoga. But hey! As I have been told…. It’s not personal! In the last week alone I have been told of another business in town advising a number of their clients NOT to do Yoga as a means of rehabilitation from personal injuries. ????!!!! Why because it goes against this persons religious beliefs. I know personally the health benefits of yoga. * I spent years in agony with slipped discs. I didn't wish to go the route of pill popping as a means of recovery. I chose natural, I chose yoga. * I know the discomfort and pain of carrying an unborn child that is pressing down on the nerves of your spine. * I know the pain of giving labour. * I know the pain of grief and feeling like you are being ripped apart from the inside out. I also know what can help to alleviate that pain and discomfort because I have used it to heal my own pain. Our Lord it clearly states in the bible went out of his way to help and heal the sick and the wounded. He reached out and touched those with leprosy. His first thought was to bring comfort, to ease the pain and suffering. He DID NOT instil fear and intimidation by means of coerciveness. In Matthew 7:12 it says "Therefore, whatever you want others to do for you, do also the same for them, for this is the Law and the Prophets". Pain management uses breath work as a means of dealing with pain and discomfort and yet it doesn't get blacklisted for its practices. Gyms allow you to stretch and tone your body and yet this too is widely acceptable. For those of you who haven't taken a yoga class, I will offer a little insight into what I do... I teach breath work, so a person can focus on their breath and not the million and one frantic thoughts running through their mind, creating stress, anxiety and panic. Focusing on your breath allows you to quieten your mind, calming your nervous system and helps to strengthen your immune system. This has not been invented by me, there is medical backing and proof that this is what happens. I teach poses that help release tension out of your body so that you do not injury yourself in your daily routines. These poses also strengthen the body so that when a person ages they can still have strength in their body to move and be active, reduce the chance of falls and not be incapacitated, sitting all day in a home unable to fend for themselves. I do all this in an environment I have specifically created that is warm, inviting, calm and tranquil. I like to ensure what we are doing has a fun element to it as life has become so serious and fearful for many and as they say laughter is the best medicine. Yes, on occasions, you will hear me say…. Have a laugh. I do not try to convert you to any religion, or present you with Buddha teachings. Your religious beliefs are your own and are of absolutely no concern of mine what so ever. I do not care what nationality you are or what ethnical background you come from. What matters to me is you are human. I do request that you practice non-violence, to both yourself and others. It is very easy to become competitive with ourselves and to push ourselves to the limit. Less is more and this is a lesson I am trying to teach myself on a daily basis as I hold the bar very high when it comes to my own physical ability and durability. It is an area I fail in on occassions also and manage to push myself too far but I am human too. May I ask those, who dismiss yoga on the grounds of religious beliefs, citing that it is nothing personal towards me or my colleagues to at the very least have the open-mindedness to experience a class for yourself before you lambaste what we do professionally? Scientifically we are getting more and more medical backing on the health benefits of yoga, its effect on combatting depression, anxiety, inflammation, cardiovascular issues and diabetes’s are becoming more and more widespread. Check any medical journals for proof of this. Deliberately directing business away from us most certainly isn't being kind or Christian, especially when you have never taken a yoga class. So maybe live and let live. We are all nagivating our way through this life in our own unique way. We have no right to try to force another to walk our path, that path is ours and ours alone to nagivate.