Iyengar Workshop with Sheila Haswell

Since Easter I have been attending classes in Winchester with a very good Iyengar yoga teacher, Sandy Bell. This has given me the opportunity to attend additional Iyengar workshops on weekends. The previous two have been for 3 hours in the morning but today’s was for 6 hours (with a 45 minute break).

The teacher was Sheila Haswell, who has 30 years of teaching experience in the Iyengar tradition. Like many Iyengar teachers, I found her to be on the stricter side, towards bossy, but with understanding and humour, and such a wealth of knowledge and insight as to the way the body works. I didn’t mind being ‘told off’ a few times about various posture details as it really helped bring awareness to what I was doing and what could change. There is always something to modify in asana, always some learning.

We worked through a number of standing poses in the morning, followed by some backbends. In the afternoon the focus was on seated forward bends. The emphasis of the workshop was ‘getting the direction correct’. We can practice for years without realising we have been going the wrong way in asana, under the strong influence of achieving the final posture. I learnt many valuable hints about the internal movement of the muscles, allowing a fuller pose with less effort and greater alignment.

Afterwards I felt relaxed and open, and again taller and more aligned. This was evidenced driving home, having to adjust the rear-view mirror higher. It’s now set to Iyengar Height.

Here’s a couple of photos of me being assisted by Sheila, watched by 30+ people!


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