Stretching Out to be Able to Sit Still ~ My Morning at Lime House Yoga Studio

Lime House Yoga studio is 100 percent a 'wow' venue. Set a short view back from the wild stretch of coastline between St Agnes & Newquay, the building radiates openness and light. You can tell that a lotta love, inspiration and hard graft have gone into the creation of this beautiful space, and it's an absolute pleasure to be welcomed in.

I visited for an 'Innovation in the Wilds' networking event which is part of the Uni. of Exeter's Future Focus project. The initiative being that we connect and grow more dynamically and authentically in natural spaces that in offices and boardrooms. My work at Strength in Feathers totally subscribes to this philosophy, and I can't wait for the next one at The Wave in Bristol. These are funded by the European Regional Development Fund meaning they are free to local businesses like us, which is even better!

Settling into the space and enjoying the view, we were joined by Jock who told us a little of Lime House's story and led a playful practice for our group. His knowledge and dedication to yoga practice is palpable, and I really enjoyed the holistic description of yoga as so much more than just flexibility and 'twisting your body into pretzel shapes'.

Grounding us with breathwork and a proper seated posture, Jock spoke about the ancient texts of yoga and the emphasis on clearing tension in the body - not so that we can move more - but so that we can sit still more comfortably.

Each time we experience pain or discomfort in the body, it's a distraction from mindfulness or meditation that we may be practicing - as well as a constant drain on our energy. Imagine having less (even none?) of those to carry with us throughout our days.

I am a terrible fidgiter and have to work really hard to sit, stand or lie still. My breathwork practice helps enormously with this, using longer exhales to down-regulate my nervous system and relax into stillness (or closer to stillness).

I'm still getting my head around the exact science of this, and Jock explained it as balancing the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems. Inhales stimulate the sympathetic nervous system, energising and preparing the body for fight or flight (a dynamic technique to get sh*t done and keep up safe!) In contrast, exhales stimulate the parasympathetic system which sends signals to the body to 'rest and digest'.

By extending my exhales to be longer than my inhales (counting is BIG in breathwork), I really feel my whole system slowing down and 'landing' in the present space I'm in. I use this technique a lot, both in stressful situations and when I'm 'buzzing' in a good way but want to bring myself back to baseline. I actually get this a lot when I'm writing about an idea I'm passionate about. I type rapidly to keep up with my thoughts and then realise I haven't breathed properly in about ten minutes!

You can also use this technique the other way around, increasing inhales to 'wake up' and get going if you're in a very restful state. Breathpod videos explain this really well!

Our hour of yoga included a build up of sun salutations and learning some flows, as well as some micro-level attention paid to part of the body like the feet. Try lifting up your toes and then putting back down just the biggie and the little - apparently excellent for foot muscle dexterity. I really enjoyed the playfulness of this session, as well as the explanations that came with it. I'm very familiar with my restorative shavasanas (possibly the best bit of yoga?) and had heard it translated as 'corpse pose', but didn't know that the Sanskrit name also references the Hindu god Shiva - an ancient yogic guru.

Lying back into my shavasana, I also clocked the hooks on the ceiling for the aerial yoga which is regularly run at Lime House - I'll definitely be back for this! There was such a warm sense of community at the studio, and I'm hoping to make it to their summer fete and solstice evening, as well as hopefully some Wim Hof workshops in the future.

Thank you for having us and inspiring me with your beautiful space and community!