On Friday 27 March, on the back of a stressful week, with the early spring sun’s rays that promise so much, yet rarely deliver, I entered the brick carbuncle that is The Hilton, Blackpool with a mind that had to be wedged open with a crowbar. However, on entering the Royale Suite with its ambient lighting and elaborate crystal chandeliers coupled with the candles, incense and coloured mats splayed out in a rainbow-coloured flower that the organisers had arranged, my cynicism melted away and I happily took my place for the Yin, Yang and Sounds 1½ hour yoga and live music session.
The class, which was taught by Angela Ross of Yoga Blackpool, began with a 45-minute traditional Hatha yoga for which Djembe drums from Stan and other members of Poco Loco drumming team accompanied rhythmically. The second half of the class involved moving into a series of challenging yogic positions and holding them for longer periods of time. The drummers having made a stealthy exit on the basis that 20-minutes is a long time to play, this was accompanied by a recorded track of sounds of the sitar.
My body, being distinctly out of practice yet naturally tending towards flexibility, happily moved in muscle-memory ease into some of the positions, creaked and groaned at others and point-blank refused some! However, Angela’s practice was guiding not disciplinarian, clear yet encouraging and offering of alternatives without judgement for the level you are at – whatever that may be. This was a welcome alternative to both the scantily-informed gym-bunny and the slave-to-the-practice hippie-chick methods of delivery I have experienced elsewhere along my own journey with yoga.
Speaking to the organisers Natalie and Angela after the event I found they are enjoying the process of experimenting with different musical instruments and different locations. They hope that attendees will have the chance to experience something slightly different and in a place which helps them to develop their own yogic practice; that they can provide a set of circumstances that they hope will offer beauty, tranquillity and help to channel our own connections with each other through the live music connection.
It certainly worked for me; the fact that there was neither a running machine nor a hemp-woven birthing mat in sight was absolutely a bonus, it will encourage me to explore my practice alone and also to keep an eye out for future sessions of this nature. If the organisers’ plans for some of the locations they mentioned come together, we are set for an explosion of non-traditional yogic practice and live music which is great news for anybody that needs to take a step off the treadmill every now and then. Like them on Facebook to ensure you are kept up to date with future events.
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