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Sarah Douglas
Counselling and Yoga

Where and when are classes held?

I teach at Welburn Village Hall on Tuesday mornings, 9.30 - 11.00am during term time.

I also teach at Sheriff Hutton Village Hall on Wednesday mornings, 9.30-11.00am during term time.

All classes are 90 minutes long.

Please contact me for more information. Details about myself and about cost are below.

Yoga Classes

I teach yoga in Welburn and Sheriff Hutton by prior arrangement only.  The class numbers are capped at 15; some people come every week, others on a more ad hoc basis.  Please contact me if you would like further information.

Meditation and Yoga. sun and ferry wake

It is through the alignment of the body that I discovered the alignment of my mind, self, and intelligence.” ― B.K.S. Iyengar, Light on Life

Many books have been written about the physical and psychological benefits of yoga. Yoga helps us to become calm and learn to be focussed in the present moment. Yoga also promotes the development of physical and mental balance, flexibility and strength. The beauty is that it also teaches us to integrate all these things. Anyone can start yoga and you don’t have to be bendy to take part.
Further down this page you can read about how a typical yoga session is structured; what to bring, and the cost of classes and one-to-one tuition. I also include information about myself and how to get started.

Meditation and Yoga. Hutchison sky


Some of the physical benefits of regular yoga practice:

CALM: Helps you to feel more relaxed physically as well as psychologically
SUPPLE: Helps with flexibility whatever your age or fitness
STRONG: Develops strength and is particularly good for postural muscles

Yoga helps us become more physically aware of how we use and misuse our bodies. With this growing awareness comes the possibility of doing something different. For example, for many years we may have known in our head that we sit at our desk in a way that gives us backache. Once we discover how it feels in our body physically to use our back in a healthy way, we're more likely to begin to sit better at our desk also.

Yoga helps us become aware of how we breathe. Because breathing is fundamental to life, our breathing operates whether we pay attention to it or not. When we're stressed - and most or us are stressed much of the time - our breathing becomes rapid and shallower and our heart rate increases. Through yoga we can learn simple ways of deepening and slowing our breathing which in turn, slows our heart rate. We recognise from the inside that this helps us to feel calmer.

Meditation and Yoga. Canadian Tree

Some of the psychological benefits of regular yoga practice:

FOCUSSED: Helps us learn to be fully alive in the present moment

When we are totally focussed in the present moment, we can neither be ruminating over a yesterday that's gone nor worrying about a future that may never come. Both ruminating and worrying use a huge amount of energy, leaving us exhausted often both physically and mentally. Practising yoga can bring relief from this, and is one reason that people find it so relaxing.

BALANCED: Increases awareness of the link between psychological and physical balance

When I started to attend yoga classes I remember noticing that on some days I felt pretty good and could stand on one leg reasonably confidently. On other days, however much I tried, I would lose my balance. On those days, the more I tried, the worse it became. As time went on, I noticed a link between how I felt inside and how well I could stand on one leg. My internal balance was reflected in my ability to balance physically.

INTEGRATED: Increases awareness of how we operate as a whole

Every year, good quality research is uncovering new ways in which the mind and body are inseparable. The mind and body are not just linked, it is more that they are two sides of the same coin. How we are in our bodies affects how we feel inside; how we behave; how we interact with others. Similarly, how we feel inside, behave and interact affect how we are in our bodies. For example how many of us are grumpy when we're hungry; have difficulty concentrating when we're tired; develop a headache after a row?

Sometimes, I still have difficulty standing on one leg and now I realise that's ok. No two days are the same and some days are easier than others. I have also discovered that paradoxically, the less I try, the easier postures seem to be.

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A typical yoga session (either one-to-one or a class) will be based around a theme and will include:
1/ warm up and then
2/ a series of movements which are appropriate to your level of fitness and suppleness and designed to improve flexibility and strength. Yoga is more than just physical postures and differs from stretching or fitness training in that the movement of the body is connected to the rhythm of the breath. Posture practice will be followed by
3/ guided breathing to increase breath awareness. This further calms the mind before ending every session with
4/ relaxation.

The beauty of yoga is that it is non-competitive - you work at your own pace and with my guidance, set your own goals. We start from where you are and I will guide you to move consciously. In this way you will deepen your practice gradually as your flexibility and strength develop.


What to wear - Please wear loose comfortable clothing that allows you to stretch. Layers are a good idea. For safety, we do our practice in bare feet unless you have special yoga socks. You will need warm socks and extra layers for relaxation at the end of the class.

What to bring - Please bring your own yoga mat. You may find having blocks useful for certain postures. Both mats and blocks can be purchased online or at sports shops. If you are not sure how to choose the right equipment, I'm happy to have a chat about it. You may want to bring water and you will need at least one blanket for relaxation at the end of class. Both village halls were I teach can be a bit chilly, so if you feel the cold, an extra blanket might be useful.

Meditation and Yoga. pretzel


Teaching and learning yoga is a collaborative undertaking. Rather than efforting towards idealised physical postures, yoga is much more a process of self-exploration, acceptance and transformation. I will always teach postures in stages. You determine how far you want to go in a posture by paying attention to how you feel in your body that day. I will never teach something I cannot do myself. I can't turn myself into a human pretzel and I will not ask you to either!


To avoid discomfort and to feel comfortable in postures, please allow at least two hours between your last meal and yoga class. You may want a bottle of water with you.

Anyone can start yoga, even if you do not feel very strong or flexible. Most postures can be modified to allow everyone to take part. Yoga is non-competitive. You work at your own pace in a way that is right for you. I will teach the postures in a variety of ways so that you can do each in a manner that suits you. If ever you feel a certain posture is not for you, it is fine to miss it out and I will offer an alternative. Some postures are best avoided when suffering from certain medical conditions. Therefore, to ensure we work as safely as possible, each student will be asked to complete a health questionnaire. These will be securely stored in accordance with the Data Protection Act and will help me structure classes appropriately.

If you have any concerns about whether or not yoga is right for you at this time, please discuss it with your GP.

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I am a Hatha Yoga teacher and undertook my training with the British Wheel of Yoga. I teach adults one-to-one in Sheriff Hutton, near York. I also teach classes at Welburn Village Hall on Tuesday mornings and Sheriff Hutton Village Hall on Wednesday mornings during term time. Please email for more information.

I have been practising yoga for 25 years. During that time, I have come to understand how my physical and psychological well-being are inseparably linked, each affecting the other. For example, when I am calm, I find it easier to concentrate and remember things. When I feel physically strong and supple, I feel more robust and resilient and better able to deal with what life throws at me. Listening to counselling clients over the years, I have observed how true this is for all of us. From offering counselling only, I am expanding the individual service I offer to incorporate breathing and meditation techniques where appropriate. In this way, we can approach difficulties twice as effectively.


Yoga classes are £8.00 per person per session when paying for a block. I only offer drop in to people who are on the register, and the cost is £10 per class. This is so I can manage the number of people and avoid the classes feeling too crowded.


It is as simple as picking up the telephone, leaving your name and number and a time when it will be convenient for me to call you back. Alternatively, you can email. For one-to-one tuition, we will arrange an initial, one hour appointment where we can meet to discuss what has brought you along, and also what you are hoping for from yoga sessions. At that stage we will also talk about whether you would like only to study yoga or combine it with counselling, how many sessions you might need, and cover any questions you might have about the process.

If you would like to attend classes please also email me.

Meditation and Yoga. Vancouver Island Sunrise

In yoga you focus your attention on your breathing and on your sensations moment to moment. You begin to notice the connection between your emotions and your body—perhaps how anxiety about doing a pose actually throws you off balance. You begin to experiment with changing the way you feel. Will taking a deep breath relieve that tension in your shoulder? Will focusing on your exhalations produce a sense of calm? (van der Kolk, 2015: The Body Keeps the Score)


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