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Day Four, Lizzie’s Yoga Challenge: Jivamukti Yoga with Emma

Perhaps I need to begin this next post with a few caveats. Emma Henry happens to one of my best friends, and I’m a Jivamukti yoga teacher. What this means is that I love Emma as a person and the method of yoga she teaches makes sense in my mind and my body. What this doesn’t necessarily mean is that Emma is my favourite teacher or her classes are phenomenal. But as it turns out, she is one of my favourite teachers in London and, in fact, her classes are phenomenal. Today when I took her class it reminded me why I love the Jivamukti yoga method, and why (in my opinion) Emma has become one of the more talented, and popular yoga teachers in London.

As I entered the full classroom at Triyoga Primrose Hill this morning, it was wonderful to see many friends and familiar faces, and in a sense, this is also what it feels like to return to a Jivamukti class. The chanting, sequences and overall gestalt of the class are recognisable between teachers that share the teachings of their teachers, Sharon Gannon and David Life, in earnest. We have all had different experiences in life and on our yoga mats, and we all have different preferences in music, how we articulate, and how we sequence asana, so no two classes are identical, but there is energy and vibrancy that many Jivamukti classes share. But anyway, back to the class. Emma spoke for several minutes at the beginning of class about the yoga sutras, and why we come to a yoga class, highlighting three of the sutras in particular, which we then proceeded to chant. She was engaging and spoke simply enough that everyone in the room seemed to follow along and ‘get it’ without getting lost in intellectual jargon. This was also how the class flowed as we evolved from sitting, to warming up, to sun salutations, standing postures, inversions, back bends and seated postures before ending with shoulderstand and savasana. It was a challenging sequence, but available to many levels of practitioner without having to offer lots of complicated variations or leaving the less fit having to sit out parts of the class. The practice was balanced, safe and was fun to practice, and throughout the class Emma spoke about the relationship between the sutras that were chanted, the yoga practice, and life. This, paired with an uplifting music selection meant that the time flew by, which is a sign of time well spent.

Emma is a gifted teacher with an angelic voice and deep understanding of the physical body and the ancient yogic texts. She offers excellent adjustments and has a great sense of humour. I’m only sad that this is the only time for the whole month I’ll get to go to her class.

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