Last week, mid-way through our afternoon chocolatey snack, a strange feeling came over us here at Frock and Frill HQ. For a few minutes, nobody knew what it was...it was a long lost memory. A memory of exercise, and a reminder that none of us had done any for quite some time. 

So with that, we threw down our half-eaten chocolate bars (not really) and started to research classes that we could attend that week. 

Ater some deliberation, we decided that something called "Body Attack" probably wasn't for us, and stumbled across a class called "Rooftop Yoga", which is - surprise, surprise - a yoga class taught on a rooftop by the lovely Eirian Collinge.

"This is it!" we exclaimed in unison, clutching our yoga mats to our chests whilst trying to remember just where we had put our long lost gym wear...or if we ever owned any to begin with.

As it turns out, we loved the class so much that we interviewed Eirian about herself and all things yoga...Read on for inspiration and top tips for getting started on your own journey.

Hi Eirian! Please tell us about your education - where did you study yoga? How long was your course?

After teaching stressed out colleagues casually in 2014 and loving it, I was inspired to change careers and enrolled on an Ashtaga Yoga teacher training course. At the end of 2014 I went travelling around South America and in March 2015 I completed my Yoga Alliance 200 hour Level One Associate in Costa Rica with internationally acclaimed yoga school Drishti.

I continue to attend training workshops for self-development and have recently attended weekend workshops with Claire Missingham, Aim True founder Kathryn Budig and Ashtanga legend David Swenson. 

I'm grateful for my on-going yoga practice with my Jivamukti teacher Andrea Everingham and Mysore Ashtanga teacher Donna Southwell here in Manchester. I'm also excited to be heading to India at the end of the year to immerse myself further into different styles of yoga and meditation.

 Which styles of yoga do you practice?

I'm constantly drawing inspiration from the many styles of yoga that I practice, from fast paced Ashtanga to spiritual Jivamukti, restorative and Yin. Although I love to mix up the styles of my daily yoga practice, my passion lies in teaching Vinyassa Flow - a beautifully creative, dance-like style of yoga that links movement to breath.

How does yoga help you in your personal life?

I started to practice yoga around ten years ago to improve my posture, de-stress and to get out of my own head. Throughout my journey with yoga it's taught me how to deal with life's challenges in a wonderfully creative way - this is why I practice a few different styles of yoga. It really depends on my energy levels and how I want to feel that determines which style I'll practice day to day.

Do you feel that yoga can improve mental health as well as physical wellbeing? Please tell us the benefits from your own experience?

There's a famous quote by yoga Guru Patanjali; "Yoga is the practice of quieting the mind". Yoga isn't just a physical practice, it's a state of being. It's a wonderful tool to help you cope with life - allowing you to come back to yourself and find balance, mentally and physically.

Before I did my teacher training I worked in very stressful sales jobs and at the start of my yoga journey I got addicted to Bikram and Ashtanga Yoga, two very heating, strength biulding styles of yoga. For years they helped me cope with my work pressures - I felt like I could forget about my job whilst I was on the mat and the physical side of the practice tired me out enough to sleep. Back in 2012 though, my job got more intense and I found it harder and harder to switch off at night and sleep properly - even with practicing these heating styles of yoga! Over time the lack of sleep lead me to burn out and I ended up being signed off sick with stress. During this low time my boss offered to pay for therapy. I felt like I didn't want to talk to someone - I wasn't depressed, I just couldn't cope with the pressure I was putting on myself! So after a friend's advice, I enrolled on a weekend workshop with Roger Cole to learn about yoga and sleep. It was at this workshop that I was introduced to meditation and more slow, cooling yoga styles like restorative and Yin Yoga.

Before this course I had only dipped my toe into yoga, I knew that the more physical styles were helping me mentally but didn't understand that there were other styles out there that were better suited to my situation. Having my eyes opened to meditation and more cooling styles of yoga changed everything and helped me re-gain control of my mental state. I realised that when I was really stressed and tired, I needed to restore and rest - not push myself through fast paced, heating yoga classes. After the course I began to attend free meditation classes at Manchester Buddhist Centre and I also downloaded the Headspace app onto my phone. At this time I was also inspired to start a home yoga practice, I brought Tara Styles yoga DVD's and made a commitment to practice at home as much as possible.

What advice and tips would you give to people who may feel they don't have the time or money to start learning?

If signing up to a beginner's course isn't an option for you, go and buy a cheap yoga mat and trial out Yogaglo.com at home. It's free for the first fifteen days and then only £14 a month after that and is an amazing online platform with world class teachers. You can pick the length of class you want to practice, choose a style and also a theme. For example, "yoga for beginners", "insomnia" or "morning yoga", the list is endless! You're guaranteed to find a class that suits your mood on there and over time you will get to know which teachers and styles of yoga suit you.

Another online resource is Yoga Journal which has lots of inspiring articles, sequences and tips for whatever level you're at.

For guided meditation download the app "Insight Timer" and try to dedicate five minutes a day to this practice.

What tips would you give to someone who has recently started and would like to maintain their yoga practice?

 Start a home practice, roll out your mat everyday - just get it out and step on it. Even if you just sit and breathe deeply for three minutes - that's yoga! Aim for little and often so you don't get overwhelmed, just ten minutes a day of simple sun salutations to start off, you'll then begin to feel the benefits and will want to practice more. It's addictive!

Try lots of different styles of yoga and find a teacher that inspires you - there are so many amazing teachers out there. Aim to go to their class as much as possible, having a teacher understand your body and help guide you is really important. Of course life gets busy so even if you just get to see them once a month that's cool, as long as you try and stick to a home practice too.

What are your upcoming classes for the rest of the year?

With a fun loving spirit, I ensure my classes are playful and accessible - creating a safe environment where students can move freely, feel good and experience a positive mind body connection.

I'm passionate about promoting a happy, healthy working life and love teaching corporate yoga full time to a range a business' here in Manchester. 

My public class schedule is below:

Thursdays 6:30-7:45 pm: Rooftop Yoga (soon moving inside at the Wonder Inn)

Alternate Fridays 6pm-7:30pm: YinB4Gin - Yin-Yang Flow followed by a cheeky G&T

Saturdays 10:30am -12pm: Reggae Flow - Vinyasa Flow Yoga to a Reggae Rhythm, celebrating music and movement - creating positive vibrations

Public class prices range from £8-£10. I do offer discounts for concessions (low income, student and pensioners).

Are you involved with any retreats?

I held a Full Moon inspired day retreat at the start of the year which was an amazing experience, I am also planning to host retreats with my goodfriend Ella Holhuin in Snowdonia next Spring and in Ibiza next summer.

 

You can follow Eirian and keep up to date with her classes here:

www.cariadyoga.com 

Twitter @cariadyoga 

Instagram @cariad.yoga

Facebook @cariadyoga