Tamara Ashley / Meditation, Restorative Yoga and Anatomy

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Teachers

Tamara first encountered ashtanga yoga as part of her dance training. She is very inspired by the ashtanga yoga community, her teachers and fellow practitioners. Yoga has been a grounding and positive influence on her dance, performance and teaching career, and has greatly assisted her in injury recovery. Her process of injury recovery also enabled her to explore other styles of yoga, such as restorative yoga, which she developed a passion for. Through experiencing the benefits of the practice, Tamara has felt encouraged to offer restorative yoga as a practice to help students cultivate ease, health and well-being in themselves. With 20 years of teaching experience in body based disciplines, she focuses on the individual student, and she aims to offer a warm welcoming space to learn and to be.

Tamara is curious about the knowledge and potential of the body-mind. She has undertaken studies in process work, somatic practices and developmental movement, and currently teaches developmental movement and anatomy to yoga teachers as a faculty member of Barefoot Body Teacher Training and Enrichment in London. Tamara has also been practicing meditation in the Buddhist Vajrayana tradition, and has undertaken a contemplative teaching course at Naropa University, as well as on-going studies with her teachers in the UK. She continues to work in the dance sector as a university lecturer, and her research investigates somatic processes in ecology and dance.

Restorative Yoga
Restorative yoga is a gentle nurturing practice with an easeful and fluid approach to movement suitable for all levels, including complete beginners with no yoga experience. In the practice, we support the body with props in folds, twists, prone and supine positions to align and release the body’s energy. The practice offers a space to be present in states of rest, and can enable students to restore and balance the nervous system. While seemingly gentle, the practice can have a deep and beneficial effect on the body-mind.

Restorative forms with a partner
Students are supporting one another (passively) in forms and with props. its really nice. Its not acro yoga, although if there is facility in the group, there are inverted forms to try. This work teaches trust and relationship with others through the practice, understanding of the body organisation through supporting others, as well as the benefits of the forms themselves.

Experiential Anatomy
I have been teaching this for many years to dancers and more recently to hatha yoga teachers. We use on hands work to explore and sense the different body systems – skeletal, muscle, fluids, organs, respiratory etc. The hands on work has some resonance with Finnish Bone Setting, except bone is one of many systems that are worked with, and it has less focus on healing. A series of classes could be offered on one system – bones or fluids for example, or 1 class per day on selected systems as an introduction – bones, muscles, fluids, respiratory etc. anatomical diagrams of the systems are also shared to aid learning. Some of the work brings up connections between physiological function and meditation states – eg sensing at the level of the capillary flow in the body, and cellular sensing in general, and the work of the nervous system. I also connect it to the meditation practices that I do. this work can also be developed into simple creative movement/writing/drawing the body, or stay with a more technical focus on anatomical understanding, or moving into meditation with the imprint of the system resonant in the body-mind, so it becomes an object of contemplation. I regularly teach this work to non dancers and beginners.

Meditation
Meditation will include practices that focus the mind on images, nature, mantras, breath and the body itself, with techniques informed by the Buddhist Vajrayana tradition. According to this tradition the body mind naturally resides in a blissful state, which is often occluded or clouded over, and we practice meditation to allow our natural states of peace, loving kindness and compassion to come to the foreground of our experience.