The thing I love about teaching yoga is seeing the transformations in people. Practice diligently for 12 months and it will change your life. But the question I get asked the most is “How exactly does it work”?

What makes yoga so life changing compared to Pilates or the gym?

Firstly, the yoga poses are just the start. People are attracted to being flexible and they think yoga is easy so they give it a go. Then they get hooked. There’s something about moving, breathing and stretching in a room full of people that elevates our mood.

The poses are just the tip of the iceberg. They are just designed to prepare the body and mind for meditation.

Then there’s the breathing. I know you’ve been breathing all your life and that you’re good at it but most people never give their most important possession any attention. Car enthusiasts can spend hours each week polishing their treasured possession, yet most breathers don’t even notice that they’re doing it.

In yoga, the breath is treated as more than the source of oxygen, it carries prana into the body and is the interface with our nervous system. What we do with our breath effects the mind.

Practice for a while and you’ll hear mysterious talk about energy, chakras and meridians. It’s not woo woo. It’s just the body’s energy anatomy. Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. You can’t see your thoughts either, do they exist?

And then there’s all the talk about being present, being in the “Now”, being in the moment. What does that mean anyway? This is where yoga unites the mind and body, by bringing our attention to present moment awareness, we can create some space from our thoughts and step out of the bubble of our minds.

The mind-body connection is key to yoga. Without it, we may as well be making shapes.

When we’re stuck in our head, we disconnect from reality

The ultimate goal of yoga isn’t to do the splits or stand on our head, it’s to still the movement of the mind or experience a state of mind without thought. It’s the peak state of yoga.

Most people only ever know that state when they’re asleep. It’s such a blissful, expansive and mind-blowing state to experience. Such a pleasant reprieve from incessant thinking and worrying.

Why do we care about the mind and our thoughts? Quite simply, our mind is the single biggest source of our suffering. So why wouldn’t we want to do something about it? Many people know that they can’t stop thinking or experience unpleasant thoughts but don’t do anything about it. But there is an alternative, and yoga and meditation give us the tools to alter our inner experience to make it more pleasant, even blissful.

My thoughts are fine, why do you ask?


I’ve written before about the alchemy of yoga but ultimately it’s the combination of all these things: our body, our breath, our energy, our feelings, our thoughts and our consciousness that unite to create the perfect conditions for transformation and change. It’s not a coincidence or magic, yoga is an ancient system and process that has been refined for thousands of years. Sadly most people only associate yoga with being flexible and miss the whole inner transformation that is possible with a regular practice.

Before the gym and fitness, there was yoga

Before the self-help movement, there was yoga.

Before western psychology, there was yoga.

People have been transforming their bodies and their lives for thousands of years.

Image credit: Huffington Post

Are you ready to deepen your practice?

Do you want to learn more about the system of yoga,  yoga philosophy,  energy, the different bodies, the nature of the mind, how to be present and how to meditate?

And do you want to learn how to apply this ancient wisdom to modern living in a practical way?

Our Intermediate Yoga Course starts in February. It’s only run once or twice a year. It will change your practice and may even change your life. It’s all about getting to know ourselves through the framework of yoga and even though we explore the poses, they are just the medium of self-enquiry we use.

Here’s what people said about the last course.

“Monica is extremely knowledgeable, speaking passionately from the heart. Not only did I learn yoga poses & meditation, I also learned about life coping techniques, Ayurvedic health, life balance & so much more. It was amazing, thanks Monica”

“I loved the intermediate course. I learned so much about the meaning and history of yoga and the correct alignment for poses. Monica is an amazing teacher, extremely knowledgeable and passionate about yoga.”

“This course was a must for me! It took my practice to a whole new level! To start with, poses I had been practicing for months were corrected and deepened. I felt stronger and more flexible within a couple weeks vs months of practice! Monica did a great job of explaining the yoga philosophy in a nutshell which peaked many of our interests and resonated with me in unexpected ways. Also, the mediation techniques introduced were refreshing and were entwined to the yoga philosophy and poses we were learning. I would highly recommend this course to anyone who wants to explore their yoga practice from new positions and perspectives. I only hope that one day she will run an intermediate-expert course!”

“The intermediate course was great! I just loved it. So beneficial for me, taking my yoga practice to the next level, physically, mentally and emotionally. Cultivate Calm Yoga aptly describes Monica’s approach to teaching/instructing. Uncomplicated and comfortable, that created a relaxing and inviting environment to learn and develop, with “no” stress or fear. The course was a wonderful and I would thoroughly recommend it.”

“The intermediate course was a brilliant way to deepen and improve my practice. The course has improved my understanding of the basic yogic philosophy and has brought me to a new level of awareness both on and off the mat.

Monica delivers the material with passion and compassion providing knowledge, practical tools, hints and tips on how to improve your practice. Monica’s straight forward, no BS approach is easy to understand and follow. Cultivate Calm is a gorgeous studio in which Monica creates a safe and comfortable environment to learn and practice. I notice that I am stronger, more open and in better alignment than ever before. I thoroughly recommend this workshop and look forward to participating in many more!”