Functional Training And Yoga

Dear Yogis

Here are some notes from my latest weekend with Sarah Ramsden (Yoga for Athletes) that I thought were really simple and effective and apply to all of us. We were discussing ‘functionality’ and ‘functional training’. It’s about regaining movement needed to function in everyday life and is from the work of physical therapists who work in injury rehabilitation.

It has wider, more general application. Sarah says: to move functionally we need strength, good alignment, flexibility, and normal range of movement (which is normal joint range). Normal joint range, ROM, is measureable. Many footballers move way beyond their normal joint range. They need enough flexibility to cope with and recover from the massive power needed to kick the ball in an unstable joint range.  Sarah said in another workshop: “The miracle of ballet is that it is able to distort the body so much”... and recover. Guess what, we also distort the body if we sit in an office for 8 hours a day or do any repetitive movement that becomes a habit in the body.

Sarah pops into this monologue “the stronger you are the better you age”. Strength matters. Stability matters. A good range of motion matters. Take any one of these away your ability to move functionally falls apart. They play together all the time. The question is, for all of us, can you maintain or return to optional movement and optimal stability or do you slide into permanently dysfunctional habits? Habits become posture and become a guiding principle for soft tissue. Then it becomes a way of being. Dysfunctional patterns dissipate energy.

Yoga can reverse it or stop it getting worse. Do yoga!


The Kapsali Yoga Retreat 2019 timetable will follow the pattern set in previous years of an early Ashtanga practice under the rising morning sun which finishes in time for the buffet breakfast on Porto Delfino’s beautiful restaurant balcony overlooking the most glorious view.  Then holiday and R&R time before resuming our practice at 4.00 with a workshop led, this year, by my teacher Valentina Candiani. Our timetable will also include our candle-lit Yin practice under a star-filled night sky, too magical to resist, at the beginning and end of our week.  The Early Bird price is finished but get in touch this week if you want to come and I’ll extend it for you.

Home Studio

The addition of Thursday’s 6.00pm Ashtanga class is going well so I have added it till the end of the month. Plenty of newcomers in search of a small, tailored class are discovering my lucky studio so please book in advance to secure a place. You can see class availability on my website (which I update often).


Tracy Elner and Dr Jacques Anthony Soyer do the most fabulous workshop, ‘Breath & Stillness: ancient knowledge meets modern medicine’, at Triyoga Soho on Sat 15th June. I can’t recommend it highly enough. On Friday 21st June at 2:00- 5:00 I’m going to Carmen Aguilar at Indaba for inversions, arm balances and transitions. Come with me!


A brilliant yogi who practices in my lucky studio would like me to tell you that he is offering Jing Thai massage treatments. This massage technique is energy-based and uses combinations of powerful stretches, similar to assisted yoga, and various palming/thumbing techniques following ’Sen’ energy lines. Contact him for more information at

Yoga in the News

The Telegraph has:  Spinning and yoga classes should be introduced by employers during lunchtime, NICE says. This is their latest attempt “to reduce the amount of sick leave people take due to stress, depression or anxiety. Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that more than 131 million working days were lost to sickness in 2017, including 13 million working days lost to mental ill-health”. (In my experience, the best companies provide yoga in the workplace!)