I attended my first yoga class in 1974. However, it was not until I became pregnant with my first child while working as a nurse in Asia that I realised the transformative potential within Yoga. I gained enormous benefit from my practice at this time which gave me the confidence to go on to have my second child at home, and to become a midwife.
I trained initially in South India at the Sivananda Vedanta Ashram in Kerala. I subsequently went on to train for a further 2 years with Janet Balaskas, Lolly Stirk and Yvonne Moore at the Active Birth Centre in London. It was at this time that I came to understand how a more intuitive approach to Yoga, based on the teachings of Vanda Scaravelli, could allow something more beautiful to evolve in my practice.
I gained my Diploma in Teaching Yoga with the British Wheel of Yoga in the late 1990’s and have also completed a Diploma in Baby Yoga with Birthlight, and Yoga for the Special Child at the Special Yoga Centre in London. I am a qualified midwife and have a strong interest in the use of hypnosis in childbirth and teach HypnoBirthing and Hypnosis for Childbirth.
I teach a mixture of classes in the Scottish Highlands. My classes include Active Yoga, Mindful Yoga, Mixed Ability, Chair Based, Pregnancy, Postnatal Mother and Baby, and Special Yoga for Children. I also offer Couples Birth Preparation workshops, and HypnoBirthing on a private one-to-one basis. As Director of the YogaBirth Teacher Training and Tutor for both the BWY Pregnancy Module and the Postnatal Module, I have a deep interest in passing on my knowledge to other teachers. I also work as a Hatha Tutor on the Yoga Scotland Teacher Training Diploma in Edinburgh.
My current teachers are Diane Long, Sandra Sabatini and Christine Borg.
Jacqueline Purnell is an amazing Yoga teacher and her Yoga Alliance Yoga Teacher Trainings are excellent.
Exactly one year ago I trained with her.
I called her the yoga lexicon, as she could answer all my questions precisely.
She has a huge knowledge and her softness and motherly way to explain helped me to even reach deeper to the real roots of Yoga.
We had been a strong group of 14 participants 4 of them Doctors.
We also went into the area how Yoga can help with medical issues.
The way she welcomed us in her beautiful Yoga center, close to the sea, we could listen to the waves in our meditations and sunrise and sunset spots, were very close by and I used those places to meditate on my own.
Sol her beautiful husband cooked honest food for us only products from the island.
Jacqueline was every second of the training full there with her beautiful presence, concentration and dedication.
I am travelling the world and I am teaching Yoga everywhere. The last training with Jaqueline gave me such a profound deep knowledge that I finally call myself a YOGA TEACHER.
Also could I connect Jaqueline in the last year with upcoming questions and she would be at my side with her knowledge and she would let me practise what I wanted to teach.
I am delighted I chose Jacqueline Purnell's Yoga Alliance Yoga Teacher Training on Ibiza and I would always do it again and I recommend it to everybody.
Thank you Jacqueline.
So this weekend we’ll be quite busy; we’re putting up posters around for the Free Classes offered by Yogashala Ibiza at the Garden of Joy during May and June. These will be happening 3:45-5:30pm 1st-8th May and 29th May-12th June. Contact us at www.yogashalaibiza.com if you’re interested and we’ll save you a slot for the days that you’re interested in.
On Saturday we will be at the Easter Fayre at Hidden which is running from 2-10pm because Jacqueline has given a voucher for a very special private one-to-one class to the auction there. Congratulations to whoever wins that prize! We will then be going to the Elly Easter party at La Galeria Elefante from 5-8pm, where lots of our YSI classes are held. So if you'd like to meet any of us then come along for snacks, drinks and an easter egg hunt.
On Sunday we’ll then be going to the Zoo Project at Benimussa Park for their Easter Fiesta Market. There will be street food, music, and guess what? YOGA! By our very own Corina from YSI. She will be teaching a Dynamic Flow class right out there in the open market at 11am with Jacqueline there.
Talking about Corina, I went to her next YSI (Yogashala Ibiza) class at Galeria Elefante this morning. Another day in Ibiza – another yoga class. Everyone at the start was commenting on how sore their legs were, in a good way, after Leanna’s challenging class yesterday. Corina’s class was another heart-pumping flow with some of my favourite standing postures that build up heat in the body; Warrior 3, Standing Splits and Triangle. Okay so ‘Standing Splits’ sounds impossible and ridiculous to the beginner, but this is what I really love about yoga; anyone can do it as there is a modification for each posture to make it do-able for even the very first class someone ever does.
Before we got into the yoga in the first place though we did the ‘Tiger Claw’ and ‘Eagle Claw’ hand exercises which I’m not that familiar with so it was really great for me to see what a challenge it is. Basically, whilst seated, you have to keep your elbows touching the side of your body and curl your fingers in and out, wrapping your thumb around them, as fast as you can. It sounds simple but you will soon feel your forearms heating up, and Corina mentioned how this exercise is great for people who work at computers.
We then did a really nice short sequence of moving from Triangle, to Extended Side Angle and then to Half Moon. It felt almost like a ballet to move through the transitions with careful coordination of the breath, and Corina mentioned how you must always come out of a posture the same way that you went in – so the transition out of the pose had to be carefully thought about as well, not just collapsed out of! For some cardiovascular work we did ‘Bunny Hops’ where from Downward Dog you jump up with your feet as if you might go into a Handstand, and come back down again ensuring to land lightly. This was fun and got the blood moving through the body really well. Everyone was breathing deeply throughout and Corina mentioned how she loves it when she can hear her students breathing in class, it really means this are flowing and working. Then to finish off the standing series we did Crow Pose which was really challenging for the upper arms. Corina spoke about making the upper arms into a sort of ‘shelf’ for the legs. All of us wobbled around for a while trying to do this, until one of us fell to which Corina responded “Great! Nice! If you fall that means you’re really trying” – which I thought was a really good, positive response from a teacher to encourage their students. After this we did a short yoga inspired ab-sequence as Corina reminded us all of our upcoming need to have our ‘Bikini Bodies’ out on Ibiza in the sunshine!
We were all grateful to get on the floor after the long standing series and the ab-workout, and stretched it out over a series of postures that Corina gently led us through. We held some of them for quite a while, which she said some might think is a bit boring but it is really important to stay in these for longer. In fact the longer the better, as she used to do them whilst writing her notes or watching TV! A great tip that she gave during this stretching is that you should only use the breath to come into deep stretches comfortably, never using brute force in yoga. There should never be any discomfort or pain, only the use of deep inhales and exhales to get into the posture gently.
From start to finish in this class I realised that Corina gave a class that involved all of the senses together. Incense was already burning before we arrived in the room to ensure that the mood had been set and it smelt nice, candles were lit for us to see, she played relaxing Indian-style music throughout the class for us to hear, she played her Tibetan singing bowl to us at the end, in the silence we could even hear the birds chirping happily outside, the sun was shining through the sky light – it was an hour and a half of total bliss! At the very end Savasana relaxation Corina covered her hands with a lavendar oil and went around the room making adjustments to our necks and shoulders. As we lay there with our eyes closed she spoke about a teacher that inspired her who told her to think of yoga as a mother giving you a hug, keeping you safe and healthy. Just the small touches like this can make all the difference in a class and really show the signs of a teacher who really thinks about all aspects of their class.
3rd April 2015
It’s my second full day on the island and just thinking about it everything has happened so fast already! I gave up my tenancy of my flat in the UK only a week ago, put everything into storage, packed up my car, and headed off to follow my dream of becoming a yoga teacher in Ibiza.
Time goes in a special kind of way on this island – it seems to be much more fluid and relaxed than back home. This morning I did my own yoga practice alone before the sun came up, which was wonderful. I love to be in a class having corrections from teachers and experiencing the energies of other people, but my home-practice is my sort of guilty pleasure. I think it is important to do your own practice in between classes to keep your body agile, to remember what you’ve learnt in previous classes, and to really get to know your own body in the stillness and quiet that comes with being alone. B.K.S. Iyengar in his book Light on Yoga said, “It is only through the mirror of yoga that the whole of man reflects to know himself.
At the end of this class I put my palms together, bowed my head, closed my eyes and said the words ‘Namaste’ . And that got me thinking, why do I do that? Why do we all do that at the end of a yoga class? And do we have to be ‘spiritual’ in order to say it?
In short – I think the answer is no, we don’t need to be spiritual to say this. In Hinduism Namaste means ‘I bow to the divine in you.’, but it really is just a concept of how to respectfully greet another person. In fact - when I worked in a yoga studio in London one of our clients refused to believe that it wasn’t just ‘Have-a-nice-day’ spoken really fast!
Namaste (spoken ‘nah-mas-tay’) may just be one word, but the meaning behind it is explained through a whole phrase. ‘Nama’ means to bow, ‘as’ means I , and ‘te’ means you – so literally it means ‘I bow to you’. It is done at the end of a yoga class to sort of bridge the gap between teacher and student, bringing a nice energetic union when the mind is less active and the atmosphere more peaceful. Some of my friends have commented how they would feel embarassed to say it at the end of a class as they don’t feel they are a true ‘yogi’ – but anyone can say it without any beliefs or knowledge behind it, it is purely a nice greeting.
A nice explanation that I found of Namaste is here:
My soul honours your soul.
I honour the place in you where the entire universe resides.
I honor the light, love, truth, beauty and peace within you, because it is also within me.
In sharing these things we are united, we are the same, we are one.
All of this form just one word! What a beautiful way to end each and every class.
After this home-practice I spent the rest of the day organising myself for the work that I’ll be doing here. I ate my lunch on Talamanca beach and took in some wonderful Mediterranean rays before a meeting with Jacqueline, the YogaShala Ibiza founder, in Santa Gertrudis. Jacqueline totally got me for April Fool’s today as she got me believing that the Bougainvillaea bushes on Ibiza were moving around at night, which we both found hilarious.
There are so many exciting things that we’re doing as a company over the next few months – free classes at the Garden of Joy over the May period, the Detox Holidays, the Pregnancy and Post-Natal Module and the 200-hour Teacher Training that I’ll be on.
I feel so lucky for Jacqueline to have taken me on, and feel blessed to be able to share my journey through these blogs with our readers. Jacqueline has so much knowledge about yoga from years of learning, and I feel like I am ‘downloading’ her amazing information into my mind – how fortunate am I! The meeting was all talk of new posters, leaflets, newsletters and website changes.
So watch this space – we’re about to get busy!
Talking of getting busier - it is amazing to see how each day that passes the roads get a bit busier, there are more people out, the shop owners are sprucing up their places with a splash of paint, the beach clubs are preparing their outside seating areas, new umbrellas and signs go up – the island is preparing for the high season to come and the feeling of summer is beginning to vibrate through every place, person and thing.
1st April 2015
I’m waiting outside of the beautiful La Galleria Elefante for my first Ibicencan yoga class. It’s 9am and I can already feel the warmth of the sun on my face, it is so beautiful here and feels so good to be back in Ibiza again! I have moved here two months before my very first teacher training with Jacqueline at Yoga Shala Ibiza, to get to know yoga on the island.
Corina taught the class to us today and I really enjoyed it. At first we closed our eyes and started to become aware of our breath; she asked us to follow it in through the nose, swirl it around in the throat and lungs, all the way down to the diaphragm and then follow it back out again through the nose. This was a great meditation to do and I felt my mind go totally quiet as all I focused on was the sensation of the breath moving at the tip of the nose. We started to do a Pranayama (breathing exercise) with a three phrase mantra of, ‘Calm’ on the inhale, ‘Myself’ on the retention at the height of the inhale, and ‘Down’ on the exhale. This was very pleasant and calming to my nervous system and I felt my body relax into the class. We then began to put our hands over our bellies to breathe into this area with deep abdominal breaths. After that we moved our hands to do the same over our chest and then over the side-ribs. Corina mentioned that breathing through the chest is harder to do but is very useful during forward bending when we need to keep the belly in at the same time. Breathing throuhg the ribs is good to do when backward bending. It was really surprising how much all of these breathing exercises actually warmed me up, and when it was time to start the Asanas (postures) I felt more than ready to jump right in.
Corina spent a while going over the details of the Sun Salutations (also called ‘Vinyasas’) as we were going to be doing these a lot in the class. I personally love a good Vinyasa as it limbers up my whole body and makes me feel as if I have sorted of ‘wiped the slate clean’, ready to bring on what the world has for me during that day. The rest of the class was a challenging set of dynamic yoga postures, moving through flows with Sun Salutations all the way through. It got sweaty at various points! With challenging postures such as Chair Pose (Ukatasana) and King of the Dancer’s Pose (Natarajasana). In between these difficult postures we would stand still in Mountain Pose (Tadasana) with our eyes closed and hands together in prayer. Corina told us to feel for the pulsing ‘Prana’ energy flowing through us due to the practice of these Asanas, and it was great and invigorating to feel this.
Corina spoke about the difference between an ‘active’ and ‘passive’ downward dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana). The ‘passive’ version of this pose is used as a rest between other postures. The ‘active’ kind is where the fingers of the hand are splayed and pushed into the floor with the palm of the hand, whilst the wrist lifts up. The arms are straight but not hyperextended, and they are contracting actively. At the same time the shoulder blades and trapezius muscle need to sink down, the sit bones lifted up to the ceiling and the heels sinking down towards the floor. The ribs can’t fly out though! It’s very tricky to keep it all in mind whilst doing it, but soon it becomes natural and easy.
The class finished off with some lovely words from Corina during the Savasana, and she played us some music from her Tibetan singing bowl instrument. She talked us through a brief meditation, and mentioned how this exact peace and calm that we were experiencing right then was what we all need to bring through with us during the summer months when the island really becomes alive and incredibly busy. The class was thoroughly relaxing and everyone had the look of ‘yoga-bliss’ on their face by the end. I loved my first experience of Yoga on Ibiza with Yoga Shala Ibiza, and look forward to the many more to come.
31st March 2015