Men in Yoga

Men in Yoga

A topic that has interested me for a long time. Being a regular practicing and committed Yogi for 6 years, I have seen a positive increase in men practicing Yoga throughout studios in the World. Not only that but I have also seen an increase of men in yoga from all different professional and personal backgrounds starting to practice. The stereotypical view has been that Yoga is for women to keep fit and look good, and men belong in the gym or playing sports, something that is completely incorrect historically and in present. Yoga is 99% for internal reasons, and the external side is just a fortunate part of the package for those that do take care and want to enhance their looks. In fact, historically Yoga comes from young boys practicing to get ready for days of meditation, but as it travelled into the Western world it’s origins and truths were lost and the beauty was lost via marketing and advertising in the modern world to match the modern mind.


Yoga history

Beth Crivelli, a fantastic teacher (and one of my personal favourites) here at Kula has written the following detail regarding the history of Yoga which stems from male priests (Brahamans).

“The beginnings of Yoga were developed by the Indus-Sarasvati civilization in Northern India over 5,000 years ago. This gave rise to the vedas, the first known yogic texts.

The Vedas were a collection of texts containing songs, mantras and rituals to be used by Brahmans, the Vedic priests.

Yoga was slowly refined in the pre-classical period (1000BC – AD200) and developed by the Brahmans and Rishis (mystic seers) who documented their practices and beliefs in the Upanishads (the Bhagavad Gita is from the Upanishads), a huge work containing over 200 scriptures.

The classical period (AD 200) was defined by Patanjali’s Yoga-Sûtras, this text describes the path of Raja Yoga, Patanjali compiled the sutras into an “eight limbed path” outlining the steps and stages towards obtaining Samadhi or enlightenment. The Yoga-Sûtras still strongly influence most styles of modern yoga.

Post-Classical Yoga (post AD 200)
A few centuries after Patanjali, yoga masters created a system of practices designed to rejuvenate the body and prolong life. They rejected the teachings of the ancient Vedas and embraced the physical body as the tool to achieve enlightenment. They developed Tantra Yoga, with radical techniques to cleanse the body and mind (Hatha Yoga Pradipika) to break the knots that bind us to our physical existence. This exploration of these physical-spiritual connections and body centred practices led to the creation of what we mainly think of as yoga in the West today: Hatha Yoga.

In the late 1800s and early 1900s, yoga masters began to travel to the West, attracting attention and followers. In the 1920s and 30s, Hatha Yoga was strongly promoted in India through the work of T. Krishnamacharya, Swami Sivananda and other yogis. Krishnamacharya produced three students that would continue his legacy and increase the popularity of Hatha Yoga: B.K.S. Iyengar, T.K.V. Desikachar and Pattabhi Jois.

Still yoga was only trickling to the west until Indra Devi opened her yoga studio in Hollywood in 1947. Since then, yoga has gained a lot of momentum through western and Indian teachers gaining millions of followers. Hatha Yoga now has many different styles, all emphasizing the many different aspects of the practice.”

Yoga is for all

Learning the history and in-depth Yoga is fantastic, but it also opens my eyes to where it all started, and how so much has changed some truths have been lost, this is a post to really let men out there that want to try yoga, and maybe a bit apprehensive about it or think it’s not a male practice that Yoga is for everyone, for all walks of life, there is no creed, culture, religion, gender, physical appearance, race or anything that divides us as humans and Yoga is the absolute forefront of that.

Yoga means union of all, so please do drop by to the studio and try it out for yourselves.


Written by Suraj Ghumra, and for anymore information on Yoga please shout out to me here –


Yoga and Depression

Yoga and Depression

According to the Office of National Stats, as of April 2017 1 in 4 people suffer with depression, that statistic is worrying. Just knowing that on your day to day travels people around you are not feeling happy inside, and in many cases, can be suffering in silence without any form of therapy or help.

From my relationship with depression, I know it can stem from many different problems and issues you are facing in your life. This article isn’t about analysing those, or going into too much depth about how depression can arise, but it is more about how Yoga can be a form of combat.

When Yoga was first mentioned in the old sacred texts, the Rig Veda almost 5000 years ago, who would have thought it would of travelled the world in such blessing. In the Western world, Yoga studios are everywhere, and we hear of so many success stories and happy people that obtain and learn a true source of good feeling from the practice. This fantastic feeling is the reason why so many people have truly benefited from the practice when going through forms of depression.

When I started my path in Yoga I was suffering from a heavy trauma to my knee. This effected me physically but as time went I realised more so that my mental health was hit hard. I was in and out of depressive states for a while. Luckily, I was a keen Yogi and was practicing Yoga before my accident and straight after it to recuperate, and I thank the Yoga for allowing me to tackle my personal depression, and really learn to deal with how I was feeling.

Breaking down the Yoga & how it helps:

From personal practice (which has been predominantly Bikram yoga) and speaking to the wonderful Marylou McDonnell, here are some postures (with explanation) that help with depression:

Hands to Feet Pose (Pada-hastasana) – Improves blood circulation to the brain, which helps with depression and anxiety by bringing mental clarity and enhancing memory.

Standing Separate Leg Stretching (Dandayamana-Bibhaktapada-Paschimotthanasana) – This posture increases blood circulation to the brain and to the adrenal glands, bringing mental clarity and enhancing memory. This really helps with depression because it allows one to think straight and understand the root of why they are feeling down so we can then actually deal with that problem.

Standing Separate Leg Forehead to Knee (Dandayamana-Bibhaktapada-Janushirasana) – Improves blood circulation to the brain, helping with depression and anxiety.  Gives relief from tension headaches/migraine. Helps to balance the metabolism and regulate appetite.

Half Tortoise Pose (Ardha-Kurmasana) – Provides maximum relaxation., fantastic for indigestion, constipation and insomnia. This posture also increases blood flow to the brain bringing mental clarity and enhancing memory.

Dead Body Pose – Final Savasana – The final Savasana is the most important part of the lot. Here we soak up all the benefits of our practice and fully relax, accepting what we did today knowing that it was enough and that we are better for having practiced.  That is a wonderful, uplifting feeling.

Some more information

These are just a few postures that really help focus on the feeling of depression, and help tackle the problem to bring a healthier mind state, healthier body and better attitude into the mind. Which as a complete sequence (the Bikram method) really help people fight and for many overcome depression and depressive states.

As you go through life, you are challenged in many ways and this starts right from birth, and sometimes some of us do get lost or do fall into bad places, and those bad places. These places can include physical health, and also mental health, with depression being one of the most common mental health issues, understanding that not only will the Bikram Yoga method help you but all forms of practice will, such as Vinyasa, Yin, Nindra and the list goes on.

Mental wellness is something we take seriously at Kula, and in the world today we have so much more understanding, instead of suffering or taking possible medication why not try Yoga first and see how you get on. From my personal experience Yoga stopped me from medication and I would say changed my life, it can do the same for you.

Something special from Marylou

“Yoga as a practice, whichever method(s) we choose to practice, helps to quiet the mind and cut through negative patterns. Each person will find the one(s) that work best for them. Kula has choices to offer so we can try different methods and work out which one(s) best suit our mind, body and spirit for a happy, healthier life”.

Thank you, and if anybody has any questions or wants to just talk about this post or anything else, please reach me on, and/or just say hi at the studio, I am always around.

Suraj Ghumra

Meet The Man of Many Talents – Baris Yazar

This month I get the honour to interview Baris Yazar, a free spirit who has many talents, some of which include; teaching, healing, practicing kindness, capoeria and sharing his love and positive energy. I usually interview only Yoga teachers, but this experience was quite different for me, I started to learn more about a person that focuses all of his energy on different practices but all with the pure intention to heal. Whether he is healing confidence and mental states through Capoeira & iFlo, or healing a knee through tissue theraphy, Baris is always working for the health and wellness for the world and others.

Who is Baris Yazar and what do you do?

I am Poetry | I am Music | I am Art | I am Rhythm | I am Movement | I am Dance  | I am You  | I am Me |

I am All there is lost in trance

I am Love | I am Peace | I am Here at last

#poetryinmotionuk @baris_yazar

I am that, I am. My mission is to empower people to reclaim themselves (mind &body) through movement. I understand one of your main passions and in depth knowledge is within Capoeira.

What is Capoeira, how long have you been practicing but also teaching the art form?

Capoeira is a holistic art form unifying dance, music and philosophy in a fun yet challenging ‘game’. It is a discipline for both body and mind. The is a lot of historical debate about the origins of Capoeira – but it is largely agreed upon by scholars that Capoeira is an Afro – Brazillian art form (of the african diaspora) with its roots in Africa and its visible trunk in Brazil and currently growing and developing its branches across the world. It is a legacy for the people of the African diaspora. A human cultural heritage.

You teach the iFlo classes here at Kula, what is iFlo all about?

In short, Iflo movement is a progressive bodyweight conditioning method which can hugely aid and supplement any practice or be used as a standalone training system. It is a movement session aimed to help you move well so you can enjoy what you do In life to the fullest!

These sessions are a great way to learn/fine tune core bodyweight skills (press ups •sit ups•planks•handstands•bridges•) in detail and/or for those that need to boost motivation, improve their life style or simply just to keep fit, lean and healthy.

Through these sessions practitioners develop: body awareness, strength, flexibility, mobility, co-ordination and confidence

And soon enough will transform the ‘ordinary into the extraordinary’ – Baris Yazar 

Not only do you teach the above you also are a natural healer. How did you get into the life of theraphy and clinical sports massage?

I was lucky enough to be surrounded by healers, both my parents were in the medical field. Dad a doctor and my mother a teacher of midwives. I grew up seeing massage applied daily, and spent a lot of time massaging my grandmother and walking on the backs of adults in my grandmothers household, all very professionally of course!

But it wasn’t until I got in to performance I realised how important and invaluable regular treatments are for the body and its function, I used to treat fellow performers, and decided to really study soft tissue therapy as I was seeing and feeling the benefits first hand.

What brings you most joy in your day to day working life?

I truly love teaching and treating people  Empowering those around me and in turn seeing them reclaim themselves, grow and feel better. Seeing this is a priceless gift.

You have this aura of love about you that those around you are lifted from, in this world of mayhem what keeps you so modest, grounded and full of positivity? 

What grounds me is exactly that, the ground. The fertile earth I came from.

My roots. Those simple teachings from my ancestors.  Knowing that we truly own nothing but our actions and thoughts and even those at best we cannot control, everything else in our time here is borrowed. This knowledge sustains me daily.

A random question, but something I thought I want to ask. I know you love what you do, that is clear, but what would you do if you weren’t doing what you’re doing now?

A doctor saving lives or an engineer trying to create renewable source of energy for the world.

If you had to describe yourself in one word what would it be?


If you had to the power to change anything in this World what would you change?

Our collective attitude to nature.

Written by Suraj Ghumra.

For more information about Baris and his work please visit his website here

Follow Baris on Instagram here.


Larisa and Andrei – Yoga Together

Yoga Together

















We are a couple in mid-thirties

We started practicing hot yoga in April 2016. Our New Year resolution for 2016 was to focus on our health, eat healthier, be active, lose weight and make important changes in our lifestyle. With that in mind we decided to buy the intro offer at Kula and see whether yoga is for us.

Our first class was a real shock and had no idea what to expect from hot yoga, only what we read on internet, but after surviving the class we knew that would be going back to class. Practicing together has its advantages as we motivate each other when one of us is having a bad day, feels tired or wants to sleep more, especially during morning classes.

We love hot yoga even though it is a challenging practice. We like that there no competition between practitioners as everybody is different and you start seeing changes in your body if you practice regularly. Yoga requires patience, time to understand and follow all the small steps in order to build good postures and see benefits.
We regularly practice Iris’s classes as she pushes people to achieve their best during each class. She says: “Try the position, don’t be afraid. You can! Yes, you can! YES, YOU CAN!”  This type of teaching gives you strength and motivates you to push your body to the limit. However, we are very thankful to all teachers and stuff who make Kula such a peaceful and lovely place. Yoga brought lots of changes in our life as we are now eating healthier, an increase in raw vegan food and it has also inspired us to read more about nutrition and healthy food choices.

During this period with regular practice and eating healthier we managed to lose between 13-15 kg each and now we feel more confident in our own bodies. We can now say we love ourselves and it also helped us be calmer, happier and more positive about our lives.

Click here to try our Intro Package.

Meet The Teacher – Beth Crivelli

image of Beth Crivelli

This months Meet the Teacher is with the energetic and always full of life Beth Crivelli. Beth has been teaching at BYCJ for a while now and she always focuses on the importance of breahting, alignment and having a positive mindset when pracitcing. I go out of my way to actually make her classes because of the reasons listed but also because when she teaches you know she actually cares about the Yoga. In this day and age with the boom of Yoga and its increase in popularity with all ages and types of people some teachers have come into the industry and just taught as a simple means to an end, which comes with its negative side of not actually teaching with passion and real intent. When teaching something so special it comes with an important responsibility and attitude and this teacher has that. This is a great read…


How long have you been teaching the yoga for?

What did you do before you started teaching yoga?
Fashion production manager.

What do you love about teaching Bikram?
The way how my energy and the students’ mix and work together.
Teaching yoga is consistently the most rewarding thing I do. I love studying people’s bodies and trying to find the best assistance I can provide them with to further their yoga experience.

What is your Favourite Posture?
Always changing …..right now I’m figuring out my triangle – it’s a complex one.

What do yo love about the studio and why do you think it is doing so well?
I have been practising at BYCJ for nearly a year now and I have seen it grow a lot in that short period of time.  I think the energy in the studio is amazing and because it comes from the top it filters down into us teachers, reception and therefore students.  I can honestly say that he Clapham students are the happiest ones in London and this makes it such and honour and pleasure to teach them.

What are your interests outside the yoga?
I seem to be quite obsessed with anatomy and movement at the moment so there’s a lot of that going on. I also teach vinyasa and yin so I do a lot of research on that as well as Bikram. I also make my own skin care range (vegan, palm oil free, organic). I have been an ethical vegan for years so I follow issues surrounding that too.

In three words how would you describe the experience of teaching a Bikram class?
Rewarding, challenging, sweaty!!

Words of advice to students?
Feed your body with positive thoughts, its always listening, calm your breath to calm your mind and practice with HONESTY. As humans we always tend to follow the path of least resistance and this is also the case in movement pathways. Yoga is also self study so we are in the room to identify our current weaknesses instead of finding ways around them. We need to learn to work with them and turn them into our strengths. THis might mean going back to basics, and If so then so be it.
Yoga is I think is  about removing obstacles in your practice (physical, neurological, psychological, emotional) and to do that first you need to face them and then have the strength to change.

Thanks a lot Beth this has been fantastic.

By Suraj Ghumra

May and Michelle – Yoga Together..

May on Practicing Yoga With Michelle..

Practicing yoga together means that we can encourage one another and keep up the momentum and motivation.
There are days when you don’t want to leave the house and your mind is occupied by all sorts. Or work has taken over your time and invaded the mind. Life, family and friends too can be demanding. So having a friend, partner in crime within your yoga classes is such a good way forward.
When you practice with someone else you become a team and you see a journey through together, which is on-going. You develop and when you do this with a partner the challenge becomes more than yoga.
It creates positive energies and the mind and body connection is greater. You have someone you can discuss the yoga poses with.
Michelle and I both have our favourite poses ones we are both good at individually and ones where we both struggle with as well as ones we do so happily. This helps us to improve in a greater way then you imagine -Because we can both see that one day we can achieve it… Not putting on time limits. Just showing each other it can be done.
There can be elements of competitiveness and positive growth through training together.
I met Michelle at the studio and we have a good friendship as well as doing classes together. Most of all we can laugh together and not take it all too seriously. We are both able to encourage and motivate one another, so that we get to class. Why is it important to have each other in the class, you might be asking? It’s great because it’s sharing, learning and improving. (Sharing is caring, people) If you want to give up, having that support in the room helps. Together you help shape the class and show others that determination. Our classes are always more fun and relaxed when we practice together.
We would both recommend on sharing your yoga journey with someone as well as on your own. It’s very powerful as you become more aware and in tune with you body as a team. There is a universal connection and you can see that in practicing yoga together.

Michelle on Practicing Yoga with May…

My journey with Hot Yoga started in 2011. At the time I was working in Canary wharf for the head office of a bank and was looking for an outlet to release my stresses of working in such a busy environment. So I signed up to the 30 day offer at Bikram Yoga London Canary Wharf. I really enjoyed my first class and the feeling it gave me, however after the offer I left employment at Canary Wharf and could not find a studio closer to where I lived so I did not continue my practice. Five years later after doing two more introductory offers at Sohot Bikram Yoga and Hot Yoga Society, I came across Kula. Kula was perfect because it was close to home and I was looking for an alternative to my gym work out.

Since joining Kula last year June, I cancelled my gym membership and have not looked back. The studio has a lovely atmosphere and the Kula team are amazing. I feel myself getting less stressed in certain situations and I am losing weight which was one of my main goals. The Kula teachers are very encouraging and helpful, which I did not find at other studios I visited over the years. I have also met some really lovely people at Kula, like May who is a real gem at encouraging me to enhance my practice.  We normally practice together when time permits and motivate each other to attend a class on those days we are feeling like we have had a stressful day at work and cannot be bothered. I also persuaded my bestie Patricia to sign up and she is now hooked as well.

Thanks for Reading!

A Yoga Story of 2 Friends..

Yoga with Friends

Annemiek (left of the picture) on practicing with Sammy

Yoga together with my friend is getting recharged, having fun and having a proper workout all together. The best thing is afterwards when you are so happy you’ve looked after yourself, your body & your mind & each other.  You sit down in the chill area, we have a little chat and we enjoying that big bottle of water that suddenly tastes better than the best G&T. It’s just a treat to share a passion like this and it makes yourself & your friendship grow stronger and stronger.

Sammy (right of the picture) on practicing with Annemiek
Practicing yoga with one of my best friends:
She loves me even covered in sweat, a purple face and with my tummy after 3 babies. She laughs with me when I fall over, she encourages me to keep going when I’m tired and run down. She inspires me with her strength and when we catch each other’s eye in the mirror, no words are needed. She just gets it!
Practising with my buddy makes me stronger and more humble as we are in our journey together. It’s like our secret medicine that we take together and no one can take away from us