Below are some general guidelines, they are not necessarily rules. You are always free to discuss with Sara (or your teacher) which class you would like to join. You are also free to try different classes and feel for yourself which level or style suits you the best. We may even suggest classes to you.
- Everyone’s body and personality are different and there are always exceptions but generally; if you are new to yoga, nervous about attending yoga or have had unsatisfactory yoga experiences in the past then you would start classes as close to the beginning of a term as is possible.
- You would also attend at least three to five weeks in a row. Yoga is a cumulative experience.
- Having said that, new students are welcome at any time up until the last two weeks of a term. This is not only for your own sense of comfort but also for those students who have been building their skills and awareness over the term. The last two weeks are often an opportunity to explore variations on what has been practiced in the previous weeks.
Classes with Sara – Hatha yoga and the Feldenkrais Method, Restorative Yoga
Suitable for everyone including beginners (little or no yoga and/or meditation experience). In these classes participants are taught basic poses which are linked through a series of connecting movements leading to greater agility, less pain and/or tension and deep relaxation.
Characteristically, these classes feature ‘linked’ yoga poses, done as a series with one pose following another. Classes combine stretching, breathing, strengthening, balancing, Feldenkrais Method, meditation and mind-body awareness resulting in heightened well being, improved posture, strength and flexibility. Sara is also particularly interested in the link between movements and yoga poses and activities from daily life being clear.
Yoga for Beginner Beginners: Yoga for Beginner Beginners.pdf
Yoga for Meditators: Yoga for Meditators.pdf
Support Equals Release - Restorative Yoga classes ( next classes TBA)
Restorative yoga practice makes a space for the experience of simply being (within of course, the paradox of having to make the effort required to turn up for class and to engage with the practice). Essentially it is a guided process of surrendering, a participatory letting go … It has power because of the profound effect it has on the autonomic nervous system. A modern lifestyle means that for most of us our sympathetic nervous system (our fight or flight impulse) is constantly firing without any real opportunity for rebalancing. Restorative yoga practices are like antidotes because of the emphasis on deliberately slowing down and honouring our own optimal comfort and ease. This activates our parasympathetic nervous systems which are responsible for restoring easy breathing, resting and digesting, lowering blood pressure and heart rates, releasing muscle tension, and bringing a greater feeling of balance.
Restorative classes are usually very relaxing and are a good complement to more active practices. Props are used for supporting the body so that you can hold poses for longer periods of time with more ease which allows the body to open through passive stretching. The postures are usually adapted from supine or seated yoga poses with the addition of blocks, blankets, cushions and bolsters to eliminate unnecessary straining. During the class, the lights may be dimmed and the room warmed as you will not be warming up your body in the usual way. After you are set up in a pose with all your props, you will hold the pose for an extended period, often up to five or ten minutes. At times, your attention will be directed in various ways to highlight your experiences of sensing, feeling, thinking and moving. It's a relaxing style of practice that leaves you feeling open and reinspired.
Time: TBA. Please arrive at least 5 minutes early to collect the equipment you will need and set up your place. This is a class where arriving late cannot be accommodated - too much of the preparation is missed and it is disturbing to others.
Venue: Yoga Moves Studio, 45 Evans Street, Shenton Park (opposite the lake).
Sara Elderfield has been teaching yoga as a form of movement meditation practice for 18 years. She is also a Feldenkrais Method practitioner and meditator. These classes meld all three modalities as part of her ongoing interest in how our inner intentions are communicated in our posture or asanas (the general Sanskrit name for yoga ‘postures’) and how the shapes we make with ourselves can shift our experience of ourselves in daily life.
Bookings: This class will have a limit of 18 people so if you would like to guarantee a place each week, booking is a good idea but you should also know that this is a commitment and to take a place and then not show up is unfair to others… please be clear with your intention and prompt if life requires you make a change so as not to disadvantage others.
Cost: By dana. Class cards are not applicable for this class. Dana is often taken to simply mean donation or gift. Dana is a Buddhist teaching about generosity of spirit or the sharing of blessings, the aspiration to generate health and goodwill in all the cycles of giving and receiving; the transactions of daily life. In reflecting on the practice of dana one begins to understand the interdependence of life. Dana is a gift that supports the livelihood of the teacher. In turn the teachings offered are to support you in meeting with life with wisdom and compassion. Each participant arrives at the amount of dana voluntarily. Teachers of the Dharma are supported by considerate donation. Following Buddhist tradition, Sara charges no fee for this teaching. It is customary to offer dana at the beginning of the class (there is usually a bowl at near the entrance). Giving prior to the teaching supports the experience of openness and generosity.
An Introduction to Mindfulness Yoga with Sara Elderfield
“Everything is interconnected. Our body and our universe are one. This concept, what we call ‘interbeing’ applies to everything.” - Thich Nhat Hanh
In the West, we tend to come to our yoga practice for different reasons. We want more energy, more flexibility, more strength, more resilient immune systems, we want to sleep better, think less compulsively … And as great as these things are, traditionally they are considered to be the obvious side effects or boons of a more stable and cultivated sense of sanity – a warm heart and a clear mind. Another way of describing this is that Yoga was one of the many meditation techniques undertaken in order to align the practitioner with an ongoing, balanced sense of the universal and the personal (i.e. not only concern and activity for ‘me and mine’ but all of life). This was the original purpose of yoga. This is reflected in the etymology of the word ‘yoga’ ‘… which is derived from the Sanskrit root ‘yug’ meaning to bind, join, attach and yoke, to direct and concentrate one’s attention on, to use and apply. It also means union and communion.’ BKS Iyengar. Yoga is both a meditation technique in itself as well as a way to prepare oneself for other forms of meditation.
“Mindfulness is a popular topic at the moment but it is not new. It has been around as long as human beings have been considering the question “How does one cultivate a humane life?” Mindfulness refers to both a specific meditation technique and also a matrix of feelings or attitudes which are innate in a human being but also respond to conscious development. It describes the ‘spirit’ in which we approach any meditation but ultimately it also refers to how we might approach our own and others’ lives. This spirit encompasses a sense of openness, a friendly curiosity, kindness, relaxed attentiveness, happiness and a discriminating faculty which monitors in a non-obsessive way the overview as one goes about the business of practising a meditation or ultimately engaging with the teeming events and possibilities that make a life” – Richard Yin
Yoga for Meditators
These classes are for people interested in further exploring how their yoga practice can include and be supported by mindfulness (the spirit and the technique). And equally it is for meditators who would like some further insight into the relationship between the shapes we make with our bodies (postures), our feelings, thoughts and how we relate to them on and off our mats and cushions.
The classes will be based upon the Four Establishments of Mindfulness as found in the instructions on the Full Awareness of Breathing (Anapanasati Sutra) in which the 16 exercises offered by the Buddha can be divided in four groups, each containing four exercises. Each of the four groups corresponds to one of the Four Establishments of Mindfulness. The first group uses the body as the foundation or object of establishing mindfulness, the second adds feelings, the third further adds thoughts; and the fourth uses objects of mind (when we feel, we feel something, when we think we think about something) and offers a way to relate to these ‘objects of mind’ with more equanimity.
Sara Elderfield has been teaching yoga as a form of movement meditation practice for 18 years. She is also a Feldenkrais Method practitioner and meditator. These classes meld all three modalities as part of her ongoing interest in how our inner intentions are communicated in our posture or asanas (the general Sanskrit name for yoga ‘postures’) and how the shapes we make with ourselves can shift our experience of ourselves in our meditation practice and in daily life. Since 2000, she has been leading overseas retreats to Bali, Nepal, Tibet, Vietnam and France. The next retreats will be France in April 2016.
Pre-requisites: These classes have pre-requisites – to attend participants must have some prior yoga experience (at least 3-6 months of regular classes so that you are familiar with a variety of poses and you are familiar with how to practice with non-violence towards yourself). You must also have attended at least one series of the “Introduction to Mindfulness Meditation” with Dr Richard Yin or “Introduction to Calm Abiding” with Michael Bobrowicz* and had a go at some practice (not just read the notes). *Exceptions can be made for those who study with meditation teacher Chime Shore or have completed a Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction course in the style of Jon Kabat Zinn which includes regular yoga practice as part of the syllabus.
In the winter term there are two courses are offered to meditators. A Foundations course for those new to this style of class and the class for continuing students.
Dates: 6 Thursdays 13, 20, 27 Aug and 3, 10, 17 Sep
Foundations (new students): 4pm – 5.30pm
Continuing Students: 5.45pm – 7.15pm
Venue: Yoga Moves Studio, 45 Evans Street, Shenton Park (opposite the lake).
What to bring: Your favourite meditation cushion if you have one. Yoga mats, cushions, bolsters and/or chairs are also available at the studio for use.
Bookings: As this is a series, please plan to be present for every class. Bookings are required. Please register your interest in attending by contacting Sara: firstname.lastname@example.org or 0415 363 313.
Cost: By dana. Dana is often taken to simply mean donation or gift. Dana is a Buddhist teaching about generosity of spirit or the sharing of blessings, the aspiration to generate health and goodwill in all the cycles of giving and receiving; the transactions of daily life. In reflecting on the practice of dana one begins to understand the interdependence of life. Dana is a gift that supports the livelihood of the teacher. In turn the teachings offered are to support you in meeting with life with wisdom and compassion. Each participant arrives at the amount of dana voluntarily. Teachers of the Dharma are supported by considerate donation. Following Buddhist tradition, Sara charges no fee for this teaching. It is customary to offer dana at the beginning of the class (there is usually a bowl at near the entrance). Giving prior to the teaching supports the experience of openness and generosity.
Hatha yoga classes with Jude, Jen, Claire and Peter
The primary characteristics of these classes include a focus on postural alignment and precision; holding poses for an extended period of time; and healing/therapeutic applications. Props are also used more readily in class (e.g. belts, blocks and bolsters) to encourage good alignment, as well as providing extra support for those who are injured. All students are welcome to the Level 1/2 and Open classes including beginners however those with little or no yoga experience will find attending the Level 1 classes lay the foundations for the Level 1/2, Open and Level 2 classes.
Awareness through Movement (Feldenkrais Method)
We all have movement and posture ‘signatures’ or habits that are so recognisable that others can identify us from a distance simply by watching the way we move. Some of our habits are helpful; others may cause pain, injury, poor posture and/or be an unnecessary drain on our energies. The Feldenkrais Method is a way of exploring our unique movement and postural habits and discovering ways to change and improve them. In these classes, we become clearer about where we have movement and/or stability and where we don’t. At the same time, we learn new ways to move and/or balance with increased ease, efficiency and grace. We then apply this knowledge to improve our standing, sitting, walking, bending, stretching and playing in daily life. After all – daily life is where we spend most of our time! All levels of experience are welcome.
One-to-one Feldenkrais lessons (Functional Integration) with Sara
Each of us has postural and movement habits which govern the way we move and act in the world. Some of these habits serve us well, others can be problematic. In Awareness through Movement classes, a practitioner primarily uses words to guide participants toward new or improved ways of moving. In an individual Functional Integration lesson, the practitioner uses precise touch and gentle movements to highlight current habits and suggest new experiences of ease, posture and movement efficiency. Clients are clothed (please wear long pants not a skirt) and most lessons will occur lying or sitting on a low table. An individual F.I. can assist in the healing process of orthopaedic injuries e.g. back or neck conditions (especially chronic or recurrent problems), develop body awareness and improve everyday activities like sitting, walking, lifting. It can also be used to improve your yoga practice and/or be an experience of nurturing yourself with a session of meditative bodywork.
People also appear to be interested in exploring their various movement (yoga, Feldenkrais, Energetics) practices via discussion so this is also possible.
Cost: Individual lessons/discussion times with Sara are $80 for 1 hour except first lesson which is 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Bookings: Please phone 9486 7740 or email email@example.com to make an appointment. All lessons are given at the Yoga Moves studio.
We have a regular Wednesday night ‘sit’ for those who like to practise meditation in a group. As a general rule, before coming along, you should have attended Richard’s Introduction to Meditation and/or spoken with Richard or Sara directly. All meditation sits and classes at Yoga Moves are by dana/donation.
An Introduction to Meditation with Richard Yin: This four week series is for those interested in learning to meditate and meditators wanting to enliven their practice. The classes include a mixture of gentle movements, theory and guided sitting practice. Participants will not be required to sit for 90 minutes and need no prior experience to attend however, in the 5 weeks leading up to the course, you will receive an email per week from Richard which requires a little reflection and a response if you would like to respond.
‘Calm Abiding’ Meditation with Michael Bobrowicz: ‘Calm Abiding’ is a simple yet profound technique for increasing clarity of mind and the stability of attention. Based originally on the meditation of the historical Buddha, yet open to all, Buddhist and non-Buddhist alike, this current outline of the meditation has been structured as a step-by-step guide. Like any other skill, the capacity for calm can be trained through practice, and even 10 minutes a day can make a difference. Aiming not for a passive calm where the mind is vacant but for an active calm, engaging the body and the senses, knowing what we want to achieve, we can increase our ability to remain in the present moment and bring more joy and interest into our lives. The course runs over 8 weeks and provides a training programme on how to unfold the practice of meditation in an orderly manner. The emphasis will be largely experiential with regular practice at home and opportunities for feedback. We will take a detailed look on posture, body scan, visualization, pain and other obstacles as well as mindfulness in everyday life. The course is suitable for beginners and experienced meditators with an interest in a systematic approach.