• belleleroy

How the body connects… Breath, Posture, Shoulders, Neck, Spine ? Yoga shows the way.

Wild thing or “Camatkarasana” in Sanskrit, is an exuberant celebration of life. This pose requires both flexibility and strength. It opens the heart up toward the sky, allowing us to tap into the energy of love, joy, playfulness and compassion. It is both an arm balance and a backbend focused on the shoulders, throat, quadriceps, and core. It also combats mild depression and fatigue.

Why in our yoga practice do we focus on neck, chest & shoulders ? How many of us are tight in this area ? How many people do you know who have shoulders, back or neck issue ? Bad posture, habits, stress, gym workouts, driving, typing… So many reasons. As our front chest (pectoralis) muscles get tight, our shoulders get pulled forward, rounding our posture collapsing our chest, compromising our core, straining our spine & neck whilst weakening our back muscles. Our arm movement becomes restricted. Watch out for a downward spiral ! It is all about balance.

Our head gets out of alignment creating neck and back strain. Our shoulders start to lose full range of motion which leads to other muscles overcompensating creating more imbalance in the body. It is like a “domino” effect. As our chest becomes tighter, our breathing becomes shallow affecting our mood and energy level. We may start to feel “fatigued” or depressed. Our digestion may also suffer as a tight front compresses the organs. Our shoulders, neck and back start to complain. If you try to do a backbend with a tight front, you are heading for trouble. Your arms and shoulders will not be moving freely to allow the expansion and your lower back will most likely take most of the compression, which will be pretty risky and uncomfortable. I know because I have been there.

For those of you, who would like to find out more about tight shoulders, please read this article from yoga journal

Strengthening is key but always check to see first which area needs to be opened and lengthened to recreate space in the body before strengthening. As we look at releasing tension, opening the chest, shoulders, upper back to recreate space and mobility, we bring the body back in balance. We improve our posture and our sense of well-being. We feel more comfortable in our own skin and move with more ease. We breathe better and find a new level of energy. We feel happier.

All my yoga classes start with a gentle warm up before our main practice and ends with a lovely relaxation. I use a mix of breath, yoga and somatics practice to achieve the best results. My students may find the practice challenging at times but always leave with a smile feeling so much better and taller. I always give alternatives to accommodate everyone. Many of them described the class as “Fantastic”.

As Vanda Scaravelli once said, “Yoga must not be practiced to control the body: it is the opposite, it must bring freedom to the body, all the freedom it needs”

Why don't you join me ? Your 1st group class is free. I offer various classes online such as beginner’s yoga, non-beginners yoga, dynamic morning yoga, meditation, Somatics or relaxation. Yoga online via Zoom during COVID-19 confinement. Classes Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays. To book, Pls email to receive your Zoom link 24hrs prior to class.

To find out more, check

“Wild Thing”, a song written by American songwriter Chip Taylor and popularized by the English rock band the Troggs

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  • belleleroy

How do we keep focused and grounded ? How do we find steadiness & peace of mind ? We need to delve deep within to find our anchor. Yoga shows us the way with a regular breath, asana (poses) and meditation practice. It requires faith, discipline, patience and commitment. Being in the present moment time after time. Let me share with you how:

Staying calm & centered amidst the storm ?

Patanjali, a Sanskrit scholar and teacher, offers us pearls of wisdom in his book, The Yoga Sutras. Written in Sanskrit around 200 years BCE, it offers 195 sutras or verses, which used to be chanted, when oral teaching was prevalent. This book on which yoga philosophy is based, is considered as one of the most important book in the world of yoga. Why ? Although written thousands of years ago, it simply is still so relevant to us, human beings and to our lives today, teaching us how to live harmoniously within ourselves and the world around us, no matter what.

Patanjali mentioned some 2500 years ago,

Heyam duhkhamanagatam (Chapter 2, v.16)

“Suffering that has yet to manifest is to be avoided”

(Translation by Edwin Bryant)

He reminds us of the yoga tools, meditation, pranayama, āsana (yoga poses), svādhyāya (study), chanting etc. as a way to ease our suffering and reduce the surrounding negativity we find ourselves in today so, we can keep our balance amidst the storm.

Does it sound like something you would like to have in your life ? I know you might think it is easier said than done, so how exactly do we put this into practice ? This is when we look at another yoga sutra, (Chapter 1, v.2)

. Yoga citta vritti nirodhah (Chapter 1, v. 2) "Yoga is the resolution of the agitations of the mind”

This verse refers to what people commonly called nowadays our “monkey mind”. It is suggested the best way to calm our mind is the ability to direct our attention exclusively toward one point of focus without any distraction. It could be yoga, meditation, gardening, painting, playing music for example. Thoughts come and go all the time. On the mat, we learn to cultivate steadiness of mind and detachment. Yoga certainly is the most wonderful way to reach this peace of mind.

How do we arrive at a state of Yoga ? What should we do and what should we not do ?

Abhyasavairagyabhyam tannirodhah (Chapter 1, v.12)

The mind can reach the state of Yoga through practice and detachment.

To practice this art of quieting the mind, we need two things. First something known as abhyasa. This means dedication of prolonged practice over a long period of time. This is the work of discipline and commitment. It takes time, perseverance and patience. The regular practice of yoga asana (poses), breath and meditation cultivate tranquility and stability.

Secondly we must apply vairagya, meaning, non-attachment. We must learn to let go of attachment of the goal, even in our practice. It is no longer about achieving but about being in the present moment. Allowing ourselves to just be and cultivate presence and awareness to become the observer or witness. When we practice abhyasa and vairagya, we are in yoga.

In conclusion, a consistent yoga practice with yoga philosophy can help us both physically and mentally. On our mats, we learn to observe, listen, focus whilst developing inner and outer strength, patience, resilience, courage and flexibility to find the stability within.

We also learn to centre and anchor ourselves delving deep to find inner peace and calm no matter what. The breath, key part of our practice, helps us to steady the mind. We are then in a better position to deal with the storm around us and dispel the fear that pervades around us, and off the mat we can continue to remain steady like a mountain and learn to flow with life.

I offer various classes online such as beginner’s yoga, non-beginners yoga, dynamic morning yoga, meditation, Somatics or relaxation. Please feel free to contact me for further details.

To book, Pls email To find out more check

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Do you feel busy, stressed, overwhelmed, pulled in all directions ? Or maybe just anxious, undecisive and fearful ? Do you suffer from digestive complaints, high blood pressure, heart issue, anxiety, depression, inflammatory condition? Would you like to rebalance, relax and soothe body & mind ? How important is the vagus nerve for your health ? Would you like to learn simple techniques from your own home on how to restore balance, calm and inner peace ?

When we worry, stress or feel anxious and I do too at times because we are all humans, this has a detrimental effect on our physical and mental health. Our breath becomes shallow, our muscles contract as we become tense, our mind become agitated. Our blood pressure goes up; our mood, digestion, hormones and our sleep become disrupted too. Our immune system becomes compromised and so on…. Before we know it, we are caught in a spiral and become stuck. We lose calm and focus and start to feel panicky and anxious, even uncertain and perhaps fearful. In today’s current world, we need more than ever to learn to find our anchor in the storm of life.

What is the Vagus nerve ? Why is it so important to you ? Why does your health depends on it ?

A higher vagal tone increases your health & happiness. Playing a fundamental role in our overall health and parasympathetic nervous system, the so-called “wandering nerve” is responsible for our rest and digest capacities to calm and soothe when under pressure dealing with life's multi-demands. It is deeply embedded in our autonomic nervous system and is one of the longest nerve. It is so vital as it has direct links to our brain, heart, lungs, gut and all of our organs.

Why your health depends on it ? Learn with me how you can influence your Vagus nerve to:

Calm your body & nervous system

Assist your body to heal and rebalance

Lower heart rate & blood pressure

Improve sleep, concentration & digestion

Reduce anxiety & inflammation

Harmonise the systems of the body

Learn some simple breathing technique & exercises to access the Vagus to help you unwind, let go to soothe body & mind. Relax & Restore.

Did you know how stress affects you ?

Stress produces adrenaline & cortisol which for a short term is good. Long term, it starts to lead to unbalance & dis-ease in the body. Many of us become addicted to being in the “doing” fight & flight mode. We desperately need to balance this out with “non-doing” reconnecting to ourselves to restore balance, ease and improve health, happiness and performance in our daily life.

I would love to share with you some of the techniques I have learnt. I am holding a 2hr live zoom workshop on Sunday 27th Sept. 10-12 (GMT) to introduce you to a way to de-stress body & mind, release tension from within to find peace and quiet. This workshop includes a short presentation & a physical practice. All you need is a mat, blanket and cushion in a comfortable quiet space in your home.

It is particularly relevant to attend this workshop now, at a time when the calming and soothing effects of the breath, yoga & somatics are more in demand than ever. Self-care, love and compassion start right here before you can spread it around you to your loved ones and beyond.

Pls visit my website for further details and testimonials on Somatics

Pls feel free to email for enquiries and bookings. Cost: £25

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"I help my clients to find balance, strength, ease of movement and

peace of mind for a happier life"

Isabelle Leroy, founder of Yoga with Belle

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Yoga & Somatics in and around Tunbridge Wells

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