Yoga holidays with Catherine Annis

catherine portraitIn short: London-based Catherine Annis has been practising yoga for over 30 years and teaching it since 2001. She teaches a Scaravelli-inspired style at two of London’s top studios and on teacher training programmes, so you know you will be in safe hands. Her teaching is gentle but deep, and she runs yoga holidays in beautiful rural locations such as East Sussex and Turkey.

More on Catherine’s yoga holidays: Catherine offers yoga holidays at various venues in the UK and at Huzur Vadisi in Turkey. They’re a holiday rather than a retreat, with plenty of time for a lie in and a leisurely 10am start to the morning class. There’s no pressure to attend anything you don’t want to, so if you need a break lounging by a pool or going for a walk you’ll be indulged rather than admonished. Massages are available from Catherine’s husband Robert, who (we have heard) is pretty damn good at soothing aching muscles with his blend of deep tissue and Reiki. Her holidays take place at carefully sourced venues, usually in rural locations. Food is mainly veggie, mainly organic, plentiful, and locally sourced wherever possible.

More on the yoga: Catherine works mainly with simpler postures done correctly and deeply, so her holidays suit both advanced yogis who want to explore their alignment and sense of connection and beginners coming to the practice for the first time. On her holidays there is a morning two hour session, and an evening two hour session to complete the day. Both are similarly paced, so the holidays would suit those who like consistency and are happy to work at a slower speed. Most classes include both pranayama and meditation, and props and bolsters are available and used accordingly.

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Our experience: Queen of Retreats Ambassador Sasha Bates took a class with Catherine Annis in The Life Centre’s intimate attic studio in Notting Hill Gate in London. Here’s what she found:

‘Catherine’s gentle, calm voice and slow pace soon transported me away from life’s bustle. I found her teaching to be very respectful – of the body, and the individual. True to the Scaravelli ethos, she works at a deep level, mindful of the subtle mechanics below the surface layer of the larger muscles.

I particularly enjoyed her wonderful visualisations, which lulled me into such a deep sense of relaxation and connection with my body that I’d forgotten that I was actually in a yoga class and that I was there to move. But luckily her gentle manner meant the transition from rest to activity was seamless, a natural progression.

Catherine has a very good eye as to where you might be holding on and finding ways to help you release.  Her concern with correct alignment and focus on finding a strong connection with the ground helped me find space for my spine to lengthen.

The pace of the class was slow, and I was surprised to find we’d done barely a handful of asanas in 75 minutes, but working with such mindfulness allows the body time to find its own way to adjust into a pose, with plentiful, helpful adjustments from Catherine aiding the process’.

Catherine in dogCatherine’s training: Catherine has been practicing yoga for over 30 years. She started with Sivananda, Iyengar and Ashtanga before encountering the work of Vanda Scaravellli, an approach that captured her heart. She trained with John Stirk, and the two now collaborate on a Scaravelli-inspired teacher training immersion course. Catherine teaches in London at Triyoga and The Life Centre and privately in your home.

 What’s queenly: Catherine knows her stuff and reaches the parts many other teachers don’t reach. Her experience and conscientiousness will help you address longstanding habits.

What’s lowly: The slow pace can be frustrating if you are the energetic sort, and is less likely to please those wanting more variety and dynamism.

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