5 questions with Helen Mccabe | Yoga at the Space
Not only do we get to live and work in such a unique and inspiring setting in our corner of Dorset but we get to share it with some pretty awesome people too…here’s one of our neighbours the very lovely Helen Mccabe who recently set up her yoga studio in the village of Studland just a stones throw from hutquarters.
Lucky old us, now after a long days adventuring we have the perfect spot to retreat back to. Over to you Helen;
F/A: This little patch of wild is our very own haven and we love all the opportunities it provides for our many adventures, so tell us what’s special to you about Studland and why you chose it as a destination for your yoga studio?
H: I’ve been coming to Studland since I was a young teenager and my parents re-located to Dorset from the North of England and it has always felt like this magical place to me. When my own children were 8 and 5 we also moved from the city back to Dorset. They are both grown up now but so much of their childhood was spent in and around here, from picnics on the beach, walks on the coastal paths, messing around in rock pools to sailing toppers and windsurfing.
There is something exciting about getting on the chain ferry for the short crossing over Poole Harbour and arriving at Shell Bay and Studland. A friend once described this area to me as ‘The nearest faraway place’ and that’s exactly what it feels like. When the opportunity arose for us to take on this little building where we could run a yoga studio we jumped at the chance. In addition to our regular classes we run lots of workshops, retreat days and training weekends and this is the perfect place for people to come and get away from their busy lives whilst they immerse themselves in their yoga practice. We usually structure our retreat days so that people have at least a couple of hours free time over lunch to go and explore the beautiful local beaches or coastal walks or to paddle out on the water. Being in a beautiful pristine natural environment such as we have here at Studland is very meditative in itself …
F/A: We have a few secret spots in Dorset that we like to retreat to and watch the wild from, care to share with us one of your top hideouts?
H: We’re pretty spoilt for choice on that score but one of my favorites has to be sitting on the edge of the harbour at Goat Horn watching the sunset.
F/A: With the summer holidays upon us it’s one of the busiest and most fun filled of times for us on the beach, how do the seasons affect practicing yoga?
H: I have a regular daily yoga practice and over the years you become more and more aware of changes in energy. It is definitely much easier to get out of bed early in the summer months when the mornings are light. Also in the summer your body often feels lighter and able to move more freely whereas there is a definite sense of ‘going inward’ in the winter months. Winter practice can feel more restorative and nurturing. We love to have the wood burner and candles lit here on winter mornings to create a warm nurturing environment to come into.
F/A: No two days spent adventuring are ever the same, there are so many factors that make it different, from the seasons to the weather, our coastline and woodland is forever changing. What factors can affect and impact a yoga practice experience.
H: That’s a really good question. You might be practicing the same sequence each day but the practice is always different. How much sleep you have had, what you’ve eaten, any stresses in our life as well as injuries or ill health will all have an impact on how your yoga practice feels, not to mention external factors such as noise or temperature. Stepping on a mat to practice yoga is so much more than a physical work out, although that’s a pretty good reason. It is as more a ‘work-in’ as a work-out, a daily opportunity to checking in with ourselves, noticing our state of mind and how our body feels and by moving with a focus on the breath we gradually develop the ability to find a way to be a bit more present with whatever is going on with our bodies or in our lives. It is a fantastic tool for life.
F/A: We start our day with a good brew and some team chatter to share thoughts on the adventures ahead, tell us how a typical day for you and your yogis pans out?
H: The day always starts with me coming in to set the space for the day ahead. In the winter that might mean lighting the stove and candles. I usually practice before teaching, unless it is a really early class, when I practice afterwards, so that I am ready to meet everyone as they arrive. Typically the morning classes last for two or three hours and students come and go within that time whilst I work with each person individually. If there is no class immediately afterwards, we often go for a coffee by the beach or swim in the sea after class in the summer months. I will then get the Space ready for the next class and typically will have a mixture of private class or administrative work to do during the day. There is always plenty to do organising future events and workshops. I then have classes to teach on some of the evenings with our lovely local yoga community. And if I’m not teaching in the evening I spend most of my time in our vegetable garden at home. Gardening is my other ‘yoga practice”. I try and get a reasonably early night ready for the morning classes.
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