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Ready to get your zen on?

From the physical benefits to the emotional ones, there are many reasons to practice yoga – Muddy picks the brains of Stroud Yoga Space's Rachel Mellish to find out why

Here at Muddy we are great lovers of yoga, and so when we had the opportunity to pick the brains of Dru Yoga teacher Rachel Mellish, founder of Stroud Yoga Space, to find out more about this inspiring practise, we jumped at the chance.
Over to you, Rachel…

All images belong to Stu Jotham

So, how does yoga work?

Yoga is a comprehensive mind and body system of exercise that embodies the whole being together with the breath, bringing all round health, strength and flexibility to the body. It calms the mind and creates space to relax. With prolonged practice yoga can help to lead us to self discovery and connection with our true selves.

What can you expect from a class?
A class typically lasts for 60-90 minutes. You usually begin with warm up stretches, progressing into Asanas (postures) and sequences designed to release and strengthen the body, you may work with the breath (Pranayama) and finish with Savasana (deep relaxation) and sometimes a short meditation and/or chant.
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How did you come to yoga?
I discovered yoga when I was pregnant with my daughter in 1997 – in fact, yoga helped me to feel ‘me’. I trained to be a Dru Yoga teacher in 2000-2003 and this is what I now teach. It is fluid form of yoga: we move slowly with the breath and focus on the health of the spine, as well as on the whole body, and we build strength and flexibility through fluid asanas and Energy Block Release sequences. I have also trained in Meditation and a whole host of post grad yoga courses.
I opened Stroud Yoga Space in 2012 with a view to creating a yoga community in Stroud, an environment designed for yoga.
What do you offer in your studio?
At Stroud Yoga Space we offer over 50 classes a week in both yoga and pilates and specialised workshops at weekends.
All of our teachers are highly qualified in their field and will welcome you and look after you in class. We have two studios suitable for 15-16 students in each, they are spacious and clear, well equipped with everything you need for a class, the floors are bamboo with underfloor heating. We also have a yoga shop which is open on Fridays 10-4 and Saturdays 9-3, we sell a fantastic range of high quality, ethical yoga clothing and equipment from the UK, Europe and the US. The shop is also a place where you can come and pick up a programme and find out about classes and what we offer.
How is yoga good for general wellness / relaxation / a new start in January?
Yoga will give you an all round feeling of wellbeing, it helps to combat negative thoughts, gives you more energy for yourself and others in your life, your friends and family will benefit from you doing yoga because yoga will help you become your ‘best self’. Yoga will help you learn to ‘let go’ and therefore has a profound effect on your ability to relax, and also improve your sleep quality. January is a time for starting anew and so is a great time to develop the ‘habit’ of yoga.

Stroud Yoga Space embodies yoga, which means ‘union’, in its fullest sense, bringing together a broad range of teachers all with their own styles to teach under one roof. And what a space under that roof! For anyone used to draughty village halls, the two studios, Earth, downstairs, and Sun, upstairs, are a revelation. Everything you need is on hand – mats, blocks, blankets, cushions and bolsters – and both studios feel very nurturing.

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The range of classes is properly impressive, too, drawing as Rachel does from the local teaching talent pool, all of whom are highly qualified. Classes include Yoga Nidrä, women’s wellness workshops, TRE (tension release exercises), Restorative yoga and Yin yoga, as well as Dru Yoga, a slow flowing style of yoga.

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Find out for yourself at Stroud Yoga Space, 26, Nelson Street, Stroud, Gloucestershire GL5 2HH, www.stroudyogaspace.com

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