We think that all the Testimonials are worth a read as they are personal, funny in some places, honest and beautiful. Thank you to everyone who has said lovely things about their journey at Santosha and given us permission to publish them here.
I joined Santosha just over a year ago on the recommendation of a friend. I had been attending a local gym for 4 years but felt that my flexibility was waning (I am over 60).
I found it difficult at first but joining a beginner’s class Claire took us through very gradually and gently always there with encouragement and advice.
In January this year, I experienced an event at work, which left me with a diagnosis of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. I was told by my G.P that I needed a complete break from work and so was signed off for three months.
Fortunately for me, one week before the incident I had signed up to a Introduction to Yoga course with Clare at the Santosha Studio (yoga being one of those things that had been on my ‘to do’ list for years).
I was well and truly hooked after my first session. The mix of physical and spiritual practice spoke to me and apart from home; Santosha became my sanctuary and the one place I wanted to go. There was no pressure to be someone, speak to anyone, or think about anything I didn’t want to. For that hour and a half, my focus was just me and the mat.
Since practising yoga with the teachers at the Santosha studio I have become stronger and balanced. I used to be the sort of person who lurched from one extreme to the other. It was exhausting! My yoga practice has given me the skills to make small adjustments to maintain my balance and to wait for the difficult times to pass.
Three years ago, I had a bit of a meltdown. Most things were grey (apart from my weekly visits to Santosha for my Pilates class which were and still are brilliant).
Following hypnotherapy, I was gaining a very keen interest in all things relevant to meditation. Any workshops I could attend at Santosha, I would.
I needed a fresh challenge and something to take me out of my comfort zone. In January 2013, I embarked on an Introduction to Yoga course. It wasn’t just about the movements, but everything associated with yoga that I relished.
I really wish that I had "found" yoga years ago, but Claire would not have been my teacher (who else would have got me doing headstands and backward bends after three months of starting yoga?!) and nor would the warm and safe environment of Santosha have been there.
...in other words....thank you everyone...my journey with Santosha continues.
C. O-Elliott, Devon
Teacher training with Fiona has been a revelation, she has taken me deeper into the practice than any teacher before. My body has changed dramatically. I am loving the results.
Having been affected by serious injuries for many years, working with Fiona hasn’t been just another treatment for the symptom, instead I have found a system for removing the cause.
For me, practising yoga has opened up a new avenue of knowing my more authentic self. It has enhanced my quality of life in ways that are not easily described in words but I will try! I feel more connected to myself and others. I have more self confidence, self awareness and inner strength. I have been doing yoga at the Santosha Studio at what I imagine is a basic level for about a year and it has now become a part of my life. Such that, when I am not able to attend classes due to lifestyle restrictions, I can feel the loss of it deeply. I even miss visiting the studio for the calm, soothing atmosphere. It is one of those rare places where you feel you can be yourself. The time is for you. It’s an environment where you feel loved and accepted for being just who you are but gently held and encouraged to be more of yourself.
I don’t begin to understand the philosophy behind the practice, but I know I am safe in the hands of Claire Murphy who brings everything to her teaching. She uses a great balance of reverence and humour in her lessons, and you know that she wants the very best for you in your yoga practice. She is committed and passionate, patient and kind. I respect her enormously and feel grateful to be her student.
The thing I love about how yoga makes me feel is the inner core connection I get after a session. I can remember walking around the supermarket after my second lesson and feeling a strength inside myself that ran from my crotch (can’t think of a better word) to my throat. It was like a rod of stability that ran through my body and on which I could hang everything else. My gut didn’t seem to hang out like it did before, my posture was better, I felt taller, my lungs were more accessible and I could breathe more fully and more deeply. I felt just “more” of everything. And I felt self respect for finally getting off my arse and doing something to honour my wonderful, but ever ageing, body. The self respect is the key thing. It is about connecting to something deeper in ourselves that causes the realisation that health is the treat, life is the benefit – not sitting in front of the TV stuffing pizza and chocolate. That’s not a treat anymore. The tingling vibration that is my life, that is the treat. And the more yoga I do, the more life I get and the more wonderful everything is.
For 12 years, Yoga has been the way I have maintained my flexibility and spinal mobility since having back problems during and following pregnancy. I have found the Back Care Course and Structural Realignment training particularly beneficial.
I have found my move to practicing at the Santosha Studio, has been a progression in my learning. Santosha is a friendly and welcoming environment, with knowledgeable and insightful teachers.