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Rachel Clements

Back in 2004 or so, when I was an undergraduate, I went to a few yoga classes. I enjoyed being upside-down, the eye cushions, and breathing quietly with my peers: it was a welcome change from writing, reading and talking. Over the next few years I dropped in to classes occasionally – if feeling particularly strung out, or if they happened to be especially convenient. I dabbled, but didn’t commit – I was busy getting things done, and my body seemed to be carrying my head and heart around alright – I didn’t think it needed more time or attention.

By 2012, I’d moved to Manchester for a wonderful job (I’m a Lecturer in Drama at the University of Manchester). But years of poor posture and too much time behind a computer meant I was really struggling: I was weak, in constant discomfort, and couldn’t ignore my body any more. So I started going to Yoga Manchester classes regularly – they were convenient, accessible, and I hoped they’d help. They did. As my body slowly got stronger and more balanced, I started to appreciate and value the practice both for its physical benefits, and, gradually, for all the other things it teaches: it sends us both into and out of our selves, asks us to listen and pay attention. I’ve been Matt Ryan’s student since then, and the Ashtanga primary series now feels as much like home as anywhere I’ve lived.

I did David Swenson’s Teacher Training in 2016 and am one of the 2017 cohort of Yoga Manchester’s 200 hr Teacher Training. I hugely appreciate attending classes and workshops (those led by Joey Miles, Stu Girling, Marie Harris, David Williams, Kino McGregor and Tim Feldman have been recent highlights), I particularly love mysore-style practice, and off the mat I like cycling and weightlifting. I’m increasingly interested in the ways that we move in and with our bodies, and am really enjoying sharing yoga with others. I think you can learn from everyone and every moment. I may be a lecturer and a teacher but I will, first and foremost, always be a student.