Yoga Social and Ashtanga Yoga Liverpool’s community

It has always been important to me to build community in my yoga classes. When I first moved to Liverpool 10 years ago, yoga classes were one of the first things I sought out.

When I first started coming to yoga classes in LiverpoolI found instant connection and like-minded people. So as well as the classes I felt I had also found my clan. When you practice yoga with the same people each week you feel a level of connection with them even if you haven’t spoken to them.

Yet yoga classes don’t really offer that much time to socialize. You get to chat at the beginning and end where you can chat and meet your neighbor or just lie down if you’re feeling like some quiet time. It’s a nice inclusive environment but as it’s a very internal activity you don’t really socialize that much in class.

Yogis socialising at Yoga Social at the egg cafe

Yogis socialising at Yoga Social at the egg cafe

So when I became a yoga teacher I had the idea to do regular yoga socials to give my students a chance to connect outside of class.
Last week we had our yoga social at the egg café, it was great to see so many of you make the effort and a great night was had by all. I have been doing this now for 7 years or so and I am pleased to see how you as a community have embraced it.

Not only have I found that everyone who comes strengthens or creates friendships with others from class, I have also found this usually continues beyond the yoga social itself. People are more chatty at the start of class now they know more people and people start to meet up and help each other out, moving house etc. This is community and as much as I would like to I can not create that, you do. So if you see someone looking shy introduce yourself, we have all had our first class once and it really helps if you know someone. Or if you are new don’t be afraid to start to chat to your neighbor, they might just be your new best friend.

Have you ever been to a yoga social? Share your experiences with our community…..

An exciting announcement and some reflections on the last seven years of teaching yoga

I have some really exciting news! I am going to tell it with a story because sometimes when changes happen it makes you reflect on the past.

I first started teaching yoga in 2008, seven years ago. I was lucky in that friends of mine with successful Ashtanga classes asked me to cover and then eventually take over their classes. In October 2008 I started my own class for the first time. I wanted to teach a traditional Ashtanga class, full primary series on a Friday evening. I wasn’t sure if anyone would come. I knew I loved this practice, I knew it had changed my life and I knew I wanted to share it. I figured there must be some people out there that would feel the same way as I did about it.

So I rented a space. The space I chose wasn’t the most picturesque yoga studio. It was just a space. It is the space I now teach all my public classes at, Hope Street Ltd on Arrad Street. The people who ran Hope Street Ltd were welcoming and friendly – they still are. I made my first website. It was very basic, I had never built a website before but I didn’t have any money so I started there. I made some flyers and walked around distributing them.

 3 yoga mats in original space on Arrad Street

small beginnings – 3 students

I showed up to teach my first class. Three people came. I knew them all, friends. I had students and we had a great time in those early days, the beginning of something of sharing this thing that meant so much to me, finding my voice as a teacher. It wasn’t enough to cover the rent. Sometimes one or two maybe even all of my students couldn’t come. Still I showed up. I believed that one day people would come and gradually they did.

From this class was born the beautiful community that is now Ashtanga Yoga Liverpool. I still teach that class every Friday and it is still and will always be precious to me. Even though I now have hundreds of students, I am still honored when someone shows up to learn from me. I ask myself often why are they here? I ask because it helps me serve my community better and yoga teaching is first and foremost a service.

the new yoga room

the yoga new space

Why am I telling you all this history? Because from early September, we will be moving to a new venue. The venue is based on Lord Street in the City Centre. It has more space and is lovely, warm, bright and quiet, and I am sure we will be very happy there. We are moving with Hope Street Limited who have looked after us so well over the years. The thought of moving made me realise how much of myself I have poured into the space where I currently teach. It also made me realise how much effort and energy and love and friendship my students have brought. For a moment I was sad even though the new venue is much better but I understand that Ashtanga Yoga Liverpool is not a space it is a community. I hope you like your new home! I will send a newsletter out with the exact date of the move and how to find it as soon as it is confirmed please sign up to my newsletter if you haven’t already to stay informed.

Welcome to Ashtanga Yoga Liverpool

Profile picture of Helen Aldred

Helen Aldred

Find out about Ashtanga Yoga classes in Liverpool view timetable or contact Helen.

Ashtanga Yoga Classes in Liverpool City Centre

Ashtanga yoga is a dynamic style of yoga, which connects your mind body and breath.  Helen Aldred teaches a range of yoga classes for complete beginners to those looking for more of a challenge.  All yoga classes are in Liverpool City centre and are drop in, no need to book.  Feel free to come along and see how ashtanga yoga will benefit you. Find out more about ashtanga yoga, Helen Aldred or the yoga classes.

Ashtanga Yoga Liverpool’s Blog

This blog is community hub for students of ashtanga yoga in Liverpool and beyond.  If you would like to Helen to write about a particular topic or you would like to contribute to the blog contact Helen. Please join the discussion and share your thoughts.

Inner Heat – Mysore Style Ashtanga

This morning I went to a Mysore style class at my teacher’s shala in London.  As you can imagine, due to the recent weather, the room was hot!  The heat of many bodies practicing this dynamic style creates a heat, which combined with my own inner heat and our recent heatwave created a steamy practice.  When people are new to Ashtanga Yoga they sometimes think the sweat is a problem but actually you are meant to sweat in Ashtanga Yoga, this internal heat is part of its cleansing benefits.  Personally I love practicing in summer as my body begins to unravel after the winters practice.


How hot people get depends on many factors but some people just sweat more than others.  I have never been much of a sweater but I can imagine it can be a little distracting.  You may find you slide on your mat a bit.  If this happens a Mysore rug
 or a yoga towel would help you a great deal.  My preference is Manduka eQua® Mat Towel and I was glad I packed mine this weekend!

It was lovely to practice with a group today.  I love the energy and focus of a Mysore style room.  For those of you unfamiliar with this way of teaching, Mysore style is the traditional way to learn Ashtanga Yoga as it is taught in Mysore India.  It is self practice in a group environment with teacher’s assistance.  Individuals practice as much of the sequence/ sequences as appropriate for them.  Physically it allows each body to work at its own pace and get very individualized assistance.  So a complete beginner can practice next to someone who has been practicing for decades.  What I love most about it though is that it develops an inner focus because you don’t have to externalise your awareness to follow the teachers instructions like you do in a led class.  The focus of others in the room also helps me to pinpoint my own awareness and take me deeper into the practice.  I love it!

How have you found practicing in this warmer weather?