Now we’re both huge fans of yoga, both for getting a great workout as well as providing the mindfulness and clarity that’s so hard to come by in our busy schedules. So we were thrilled to be invited down to a Back To Basics yoga workshop, taught by our friend, the extremely knowledgeable Rakhee.
The style she teaches – Chi Kri – is a form which is based on the classic and ancient Raja Yoga system involving physical movements (Asanas), Meditation, Relaxation (Savasana) and Breathing (Pranayama). Chi Kri itself means ‘performing the highest action with the highest energy’ which is a great way to describe the style we experienced as it was an energetic yet mindful session.
Intended as a semi refresher course, the session was aimed at a wide ranging audience – from those who hadn’t stepped on a yoga mat in while (guilty as charged) to those who’d never touched a yoga mat before. Needless to say we were excited to get back into the swing of things. So we grabbed our yoga mats, jumped in the car and hot footed it down to the studio to get our yoga on.
As we got to the space bright and early on a Sunday morning with the sun pouring in through the windows and relaxing flute music playing in the background, it felt like we’d been transported to an oasis somewhere away from the hectic daily grind. Although it was called a Back To Basics session, it definitely was by no means an easy ride. To ease us into the Yoga flow, we started off with a few basic toe exercises – or TOE-GA (which were a lot harder that you think) and then moved onto the Asanas (physical practice) starting with cat pose – ideal for strengthening the lower back.
From here we went straight into some of the most popular poses, from the classic plank, to downward dog and cobra pose. With Rakhee expertly guiding us through the sequence (and us of course awkwardly fumbling with our limbs to get them to cooperate) we managed to follow along with ease and relative confidence. It definitely helped when she came around and corrected our poses as often you think you’ve got it….and you really haven’t (which happens a lot in our cases). From here we moved on to some challenging poses designed to target the abs and core muscles. That’s one of the things we love about Yoga in general, it’s such a great and simple way to strengthen your core!
Then came our favourite poses, lizard and warrior pose. We’re not sure why but the warrior pose always makes us feel ready to go and tackle the day. As explained by Rakhee in the session, it’s great for anyone going through challenges in their life and we couldn’t agree with her more. As you hit that pose you feel ready to take on whatever’s coming your way (plus we think it looks ultra cool). As the physical practice came to an end, we were guided through the more challenging shoulder stand pose – brilliant for encouraging circulation in the legs and building back strength – and finished off with the super serene Tree Pose – the perfect preparatory posture for balancing the mind and preparing for some quiet time.
Feeling like we’d had quite a thorough workout we were definitely ready to sit on the mat for a while and vegetate – did we say vegetate? sorry we meant meditate. Ahem. Joking aside – we went into the guided meditation portion of the session with Rakhee guiding us through some really useful breathing exercises (Pranayama) and simple meditation techniques. Being two relatively busy people, we knew how valuable this time was. It’s so rare that we get the chance to just sit and reflect in our day to day lives. We know that sounds clichéd, but setting aside some time on a Sunday to sit in the sunlight and do just that was definitely worth it in our books. To end the session we lay on the mats in ‘Savasana’ – or corpse pose. As morbid as it might sound, we were told that 15 minutes of proper Yogic relaxation in this pose is the equivalent of 2 hours of good sleep! It was a great way to close the session and left us feeling energised and relaxed.
All in all we had a great time attending the session. We’ve struggled for a while to find yoga classes that aren’t cramped or crowded or just downright difficult. So finding this back to basics season was a gem. With expert guidance and a well thought out session, we’d thoroughly recommend it whether you’re looking for an intro into yoga or you’re hearing the call of the Yoga mat once more! If you’re a seasoned Yoga pro (or like to think of yourself as one) then Rakhee teaches weekly classes that you can get involved in. Rakhee is also offering a limited run of Back to Basics Yoga guides, ideal for practising these poses at home. If you’re interested then get in touch with us or with Rakhee (Rakhee@chikri.com) directly for your copy!
Rakhee teaches yoga classes on Thurs 7.45-9.15pm at Hatch End High School Gym and Sat 5.00-6.15pm at Harrow Arts Centre. She also teaches 1:1 sessions in her private studio so get in touch if you’re interested at Rakhee@chikri.com.
Patches & Flash x