COMMUNITY EDITOR REVIEW: Hatha Yoga with Nadia Raafat and free introductory class for NVN readers

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Community Editor
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COMMUNITY EDITOR REVIEW: Hatha Yoga with Nadia Raafat and free introductory class for NVN readers

Postby Community Editor » Wed Sep 18, 2019 9:32 pm

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Nadia’s a bit of a legend around these parts, teaching yoga in Nappy Valley for fourteen years now. She co-founded Battersea Yoga, an independent yoga and meditation studio on Cambridge Road, with her partner Angus Ford-Robertson and for the last few years she has been running her own yoga business, 'Nadia Raafat for yoga, mindfulness and birth education'. Many of the mammas in Nappy Valley know Nadia well in her role as a doula, and pregnancy yoga teacher and some of you may have seen her yoga and mindfulness for pregnancy DVDs too.
 
So, of course I was delighted when she invited me along to her Hatha Yoga class last week.

For those of you who are confused by all the different strands of yoga – Hatha is probably best described as the traditional yoga that all the other strands derive from. It includes the practice of Asanas 
(yoga poses), Pranayama (breathing exercises) and Savasana (relaxation) which collectively energise, mobilise and integrate the mind and body preparing the practitioner for deeper spiritual practices such as meditation.

Nadia’s class is for a mixed range of abilities - although not ideal for absolute beginners. I noticed a mix of age ranges there from 30-something to 60 something; and men practising alongside women.

The pace was slow and mindful; with plenty of guidance given to focus on the breath whilst holding positions for a little longer. B
ut don’t let that slow pace fool you – it is a full work out or 'work in' as Nadia calls it (but more on that later) and you will most certainly feel the burn.
 
Nadia’s session started at 8pm and, after a busy day of work and kids, it was so relaxing to walk into a dark, candle lit hall with music playing softly in the background.

There were other yogis in there already, but I may as well have been in there alone, the atmosphere was so quiet and calm. Some people were chatting, some lying on the floor, stretched out on their backs in the S
avasana pose (or corpse pose - this is a relaxation position) or maybe they were just having a quick snooze (who knows), everyone was unwinding from a long day in the best way for them. I quietly found a mat and stretched my tired body out in preparation for Nadia’s class. 
 
This was Nadia’s first session after the summer holidays so even though some of her yogis had kept up their practice through the summer holidays Nadia assured us a gentle start.
She began with a Pranayama exercise called Analoma Viloma. Breathing in through one nostril, covering it and breathing out through the other before drawing the breath in again on that same nostril covering it and exhaling through the former. We did this a few times each time inhaling and exhaling long deep breaths.

Very quickly whatever was bothering me that day became 
a distant memory. Nadia’s mantra is that yoga is a ‘work in’ not a ‘work out’ and at that moment, it couldn’t have been more true. I became acutely aware of being in my body, being with my breath, my thoughts, my aches, my pains, my breath and through it all a rising sense of calm.
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Nadia then guided us through a series of gentle and prolonged movements to open up the chest, shoulders, arms and legs. I hold a lot of tension in my shoulders so holding positions to open the chest up to the sky and doing cat cows to stretch the back and neck, slowly and surely felt deeply satisfying… as if I was shedding the hard, armour-like shell of tension that seemed to have sneakily settled over me over the last couple of months.
 
Nadia’s style of teaching is very clear, and intuitive. One of my fears of joining group classes is that I’ll go left when everyone else goes right, or that everyone will discover what I have always known – that I am really very mal-coordinated,  but Nadia’s instructions were so clear, this never happened. I flowed with the rest of the class from forward bends to back bends, and twists to inversions and balances.

Nadia explained why we were doing each movement and how it would improve our body awareness or function. It was easy to follow her cues and enjoy the session.

As I looked round the room I could see that everyone was in their own zone - just as I was. It felt like I was having an individual session with Nadia, even though I was sharing the hall with twenty plus others and that in itself is magic!
 
I am not a newbie to yoga, in fact I have already been converted to the practice, but for all the burgeoning (and accomplished) yoga practitioners out there, I strongly recommend you tryNadia’s Chatham Hall candle-lit yoga experience. Your body and mind will thank you for it.
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I attended the Hatha Yoga class in Chatham Hall, 152 Northcote Road, at 8pm on Monday. Classes run every week in line with the school term. Nadia also teaches at Battersea Yoga Studio on Thursday mornings and in Kingston on Friday mornings. For a full list of her classes or to contact her, visit her website: https://nadiaraafat.com

Nadia is offering NappyValleyNet readers a free introductory class- just bring a print out the flyer (pictured above).
Last edited by Community Editor on Thu Sep 26, 2019 10:36 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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handbagsatdawn
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Re: COMMUNITY EDITOR REVIEW: Hatha Yoga with Nadia Raafat and free introductory class for NVN readers

Postby handbagsatdawn » Thu Sep 19, 2019 10:10 am

Really enjoyed your piece! Have heard fab things about Nadia too.

When you say not for total beginners would once or twice be ok or are you talking 6 months experience. I am the former but it sounds fab.

 
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Community Editor
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Re: COMMUNITY EDITOR REVIEW: Hatha Yoga with Nadia Raafat and free introductory class for NVN readers

Postby Community Editor » Thu Sep 19, 2019 4:52 pm

Hi handbagsatdawn, I think if you are relatively fit and healthy, then it's probably worth trying it out as you'll probably get up to speed quickly. Did you enjoy the couple of yoga classes you did before or did you find it really tough? Remember, Nadia's class is full of people of mixed abilities and all ages so she caters for a wide range of people. 

You could always try and if something hurts, you must  stop or do a gentler form of the exercise until you improve. To be honest everyone is so lost in their own practice that no-one looks at you and wonders why you are not keeping up so you really just do what is right for your body!!

I'd say if you struggled with yoga when you did it before or if you have particular problems with your body, then maybe contact Nadia beforehand and check with her. Otherwise, just try it out and see how you get on!

 
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Nadiayoga
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Re: COMMUNITY EDITOR REVIEW: Hatha Yoga with Nadia Raafat and free introductory class for NVN readers

Postby Nadiayoga » Mon Sep 23, 2019 1:34 pm

Hi Handbags at Dawn:)

Nadia here. You are more than welcome to come along and try the class. I have had lots of people start with very little experience (perhaps a class or two) - and stay. It depends on so many different factors; physical history, fitness levels, complications, attitude etc. The best thing to do is come along and experience it for yourself. I provide all the equipment so all you have to do is turn up in loose, comfortable clothing ready for movement. The doors are open from 7.50pm for an 8pm start.

Today is Monday so we have a class this evening...?

Nadia
 
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