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New Forest Yogis

Yoga Classes & Community around the New Forest
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About New Forest Yogis

Welcome to the New Forest Yogis website.  My name is Rasha and I have been a dedicated practitioner of yoga since I discovered it as a basic form of exercise over eight years ago.  New Forest Yogis is a passion project of mine since I relocated from London to The New Forest and one of the things I noted was a lack of choice when it comes to yoga classes offered in the area.  This struck me as a shame since I believe that the New Forest is one of the most beautiful places on earth which inspires peace and calm - in other words, it is the perfect place to practise yoga... That is not to say that there are no classes available, just that the timing and location did not suit me so I decided to get qualified as a teacher in order to improve my personal practice with the added benefit that I may have the opportunity to transmit the yogic knowledge I have gained to others.  

Since I also work for The New Forest Collection, I wanted to give back to the people in the company in a way other than a business sense.  As with so many others, since lockdown began in 2020, my plans were interrupted so I dedicated as much time as possible to improving my personal practice and techniques as both a practitioner and a yoga guide through daily classes in a variety of styles including Hatha-Raja, Vinyasa, Sacred Geometry, Dharma, Ashtanga and Mandala Vinyasa as well as various CET (Continuous Education Training) courses. I have also expanded my repertoire by becoming certified in DNS (dynamic neuromuscular stabilisation) exercises which aid in stability, and building strength for those suffering from injuries.

The title of the site "NEW FOREST YOGIS" is a nod to the area and the various practitioners who come together to explore yoga as a practice and lifestyle, of which I am only one - hence the multiple "yogis" in the title.


At this time, I am offering three classes per week geared towards those that are new to the practice of yoga as well as practitioners who are interested in deepening their practise by refining the core asanas (please see schedule).  These sessions are currently being held on Zoom and are available for anyone who would like to join.  It is my hope that these online yoga gatherings will help to spread some positivity out to the world that we are all in need of.  I hope that, if you are reading this, you will join me on the mat.  Eventually, I will be holding classes at the different venues of The New Forest Collection as well as online so I hope that there will be a time and place to suit you and we can meet and practice in real life.  


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Yoga Is... Your questions answered.

Over the course of my yoga journey, I have encountered people who, when they find out that I practise, ask me the same questions or simply shake their heads and simply say something like "I can't do yoga.  I'm just NOT flexible."  The irony is that most of the questions directed at me are the very ones that I used to ask.  And here's the really interesting part - I still have many questions to which I am seeking answers.  Yoga is one of those things that is infinite.  It is a journey without an end but it is the journey itself which is the most interesting part, not the destination.  Even though I do not possess all the answers, there are some basic questions which I can address...

What is yoga?

What is the difference between yoga and pilates?

What is the best time of the day to practice yoga? How many times a week should I practice?

Can yoga help me lose weight?

What are the benefits of yoga?

Can yoga lead to injury?

How and where do I start practicing yoga?

How long before I feel any physical benefits to practicing yoga?

Can I practice yoga if I have a physical injury/disability?

I am not flexible.  Can I still practice yoga?

 I have back issues.  Is it safe to practice yoga?

Some personal yogic musings...

What is yoga?

I can spend a lifetime trying to answer this question completely and there are authors who dedicate books to this question so I will try to boil it down to its simplest terms here (my apologies to all those yogis out there who may find my answer incomplete). Yoga is by definition a joining. It is how we join body and mind and ourselves to the universe. Modern day yoga is understood to be the physical practice of making shapes with our body (asanas) and even though this is true, there is so much more to the practice. Yoga is how we breathe (pranayama), train our minds and senses (pratyahara, dharana, dhyana) and follow certain guidelines in how we behave towards ourselves and to the outside world (yamas, niyamas) in order to achieve a state of bliss and oneness with the universe (samadhi). Most people nowadays come to the practice as a form of physical exercise (for which we can both thank and curse social media) and for some, it is a way to keep themselves calm and centered but the truth is that it is both and all of these things in between. Yoga it can be as little or as much as you make it. 

What is the difference between yoga and pilates?

Pilates is a purely physical and mechanical practice that I consider to be a remedial set of movements which are excellent for correcting and improving your form, your posture, your core stability and general body strength.   Even though these things can be established through a dedicated yoga practice, yoga also has a philosophical system behind it.  I would say that the major difference between the two is that pilates is purely physical and uses repetitions whereas yoga uses combinations of flowing movements and static poses and is ultimately a mind-body-spirit experience. 

What is the best time of the day to practice yoga? How many times a week should I practice?

Most practitioners have a preferred time of day during which they like to practice and what time of the day they choose is largely a case of personal preference. Personally, I prefer to schedule my own practice first thing in the morning.  I find it an invigorating and energising way to start my day and it also gives me the added benefit of feeling that I have accomplished something, no matter how the rest of my day goes.  The other added benefit that I discovered about practising in the morning is that any form of exercise, (be it yoga or something else) done first thing in the day, kickstarts your metabolism so you will burn more calories than you would if you went about your normal daily routine and then exercised in the afternoon or evening. Having said that, there is a benefit to an afternoon or evening practice that can be designed to help restore your energy after a stressful day, not to mention loosening the kinks in your body that develop after sitting at a desk, hunched over a computer, all day long.


No matter which time of the day you choose, the most important thing is to remain consistent: make your practice a part of your regular routine (2-3 times a week would be my recommendation, especially when starting out). Again, as a case of personal preference, I am on my yoga mat every day, even if I don’t always manage to make the time for a ‘full’ practice, but I always make the time for a minimal 30 to 40 minutes of what I term “personal mat time.”  A couple of years ago, I set a personal goal that I would practice every day (I am now on DAY 809) and it has made all the difference to my mental and physical wellbeing.

Can yoga help me lose weight?

The simple answer to this is yes.  However, it needs to be made clear that it is a qualified yes.  Yoga, like other physical regimens, can be crucial to losing weight IF it is used in conjunction with a sensible way of eating.  In other words, yoga is very effective as a lifestyle choice that can help you get and stay at your “goal weight” but all the yoga in the world will not help you if you are overeating and choosing to eat overly processed, nutritionally deficient meals. I am living proof of this. After much experimentation on myself, and some great outside help from the yogis I studied with as well as a nutritionist and my acupuncturist, not only did I lose 40 kilos (88 pounds or just over 6 stone) but I have also attained a good weight and shape that I have maintained for over two years. My practice (and the yogic lifestyle I have adopted) is the reason. I not only practice yoga every day and pilates 5 days a week but I am also very conscious of my food choices which are 98% vegetarian.


At this point, I would like to interject a word of caution: be sure that you have no underlying health issues (such as a thyroid condition) that may be preventing you from managing your weight. If you have any doubts, it is always a good idea to consult with a health professional and, if necessary, get tested. Additionally, despite the prevalence of the thin and lithe yoga bodies that you may have seen on instagram, one of the best things about yoga is that it is not just about how you look but how you feel. Try to remember that while getting that extra weight off for health reasons (for example, strain on the back and joints) may be a good thing, starving and/or over-training your body into a shape that it is not designed to be can be just as bad and, ultimately, futile. Try to keep in mind that you are restoring your body to what it should be that is good for you, not about fitting into the body image that society dictates. Some of the best yogis I have studied with do not have typical Jane Fonda figures and it makes no difference.

What are the benefits of yoga?

I can go on and on about the benefits of a steady and consistent yoga practice but maybe the best way to talk about the pluses is just to list some of them.  So here they are:

  • Strength

  • Stability

  • Improved balance

  • Flexibility and improved movement

  • Better posture

  • Self awareness in both body and mind

  • Breath control and lung capacity

  • Better sleep and circadian rhythm

  • Reduced stress levels

  • Improved digestion

  • Endocrine system balance 

  • Clarity of thought

  • Heightened creativity 

Can yoga lead to injury?

A yoga asana practice (what most people refer to as simply yoga) is a physical activity and therefore can lead to injuries if not practised with care and mindfulness.  There are many ways to start and practise but I always recommend physically attending a class whenever possible - especially when first starting out.  With the current lockdown, physically attending classes is not an option but online Zoom classes are a viable alternative that allows the teacher to see you and therefore guide and adjust your movements. Of course, there are a huge array of apps, websites, YouTube videos and Instagram/Facebook posts out there from which you can learn but it is always best if you have had hands-on guidance to get you started. From shared experiences, I would not recommend any class that is not "live" and that does not provide feedback. When you move with a recording, the tendency is to push too far or take an incorrect form, especially when starting out. Although this does not sound like it would be problematic, in yoga, breathing and even foot placement can often make a pose or lead to various strains and injuries which will have you calling for an emergency appointment with your osteopath/chiropractor. Once you have an understanding of the basic forms and you find online recordings better suited to your temperament /timing / lifestyle, then go for it. Just remember to always pay attention to what you are doing and create a space for your practice that is as free from distractions as possible.


Yoga is for everybody whether you are flexible or stiff to begin with, it doesn’t matter.  The important thing to remember is that you go at a pace and move in a way that is comfortable for you without pushing your boundaries too far — that is the most common way in which people injure themselves. It is about developing awareness of your own body and exploring various poses without overextending yourself. 

How and where do I start practicing yoga?


The only thing you need to begin your yoga practice is the will to do so.  I recommend a yoga asana practice to one and all and am a firm believer that yoga is for everybody but it always begins with the willingness to try and being open to the experience - and, make no mistake, yoga can be a fantastic experience with the right guidance and atmosphere.  Beyond that, I always recommend finding a teacher that you connect with and that can properly guide you so that you do not strain your body or injure yourself in trying poses for which your body is unprepared.  So find a class near you and let yourself be guided to something wonderful.  If you wish to participate in any of the classes which I guide (please see class schedule), please feel free to register / drop in and give it a try.  You can also reach out to me via email.

How long before I feel any physical benefits to practicing yoga?


The simple answer to this is it depends on how often you practice and how long each session is. Like any other sport, the results come from (1) Frequency (2) Intensity and (3) Duration. Students have given me feedback that they have started feeling the difference (such as being able to touch their toes) after a couple of weeks of attending only one class... Just remember, no matter what, begin slowly and build yourself up steadily since pushing yourself will lead to injuries that will, in turn, end up setting you back physically as well discouraging you...

Can I practice yoga if I have a physical injury/disability?


The classical yoga poses/asanas can all be adapted depending on the what the practitioner needs. Your teacher will be able to guide you and adapt your practice according to your needs.

I am not flexible.  Can I still practice yoga?


Yoga is not just about stretching and being able to put your foot behind your head, for example. The physical aspect of yoga is about stability, strength and openness (flexibility), all in equal measure.  Achieving all three is an intrinsic part of the yogic journey.  Most everybody is “lacking” in one way or the other and managing all three is a lifelong process. So even if you feel that you lack flexibility, it does not mean that yoga isn’t for you.  It just means that it is something you develop over time along with strength and stability.

I have back issues.  Is it safe to practice yoga?


Yoga is a pretty safe choice for those with back (or many other kinds of) issues but, like any other physical program, it needs to be practised with awareness of your limitations and mindfulness. As a general rule, when dealing with back issues, you will need to work on developing your core and remember that you need to proceed very slowly and carefully.  There are some specific asanas that are very good for the back and others that can be adapted with the use of simple props such as a rolled up towel, a pilates ball or the back of a chair.


When searching for an appropriate yoga class, there are a lot of options out there to choose from so I recommend choosing a class that is created for back care at your local yoga studio or, if you can, book a one-on-one session with a yoga teacher that can craft a routine that will best help you. Also, It is always best to consult a healthcare professional before starting any kind of program so that you are aware of what time you should take to heal and what movements to avoid.


More Thoughts About Yoga....  

Please feel free to email me or use the contact form on this site to send me any questions which you might like answered...

What is the difference between yoga and pilates?
What is the best time of the day to practice yoga? How many times a week should I practice?
Can yoga help me lose weight?
What are the benefits of yoga?
Can yoga lead to injury?
How and where do I start practicing yoga?
How long before I feel any physical benefits?
Can I practice yoga if I have a physical injury/disability?
I am not flexible.  Can I still practice yoga?
I have back issues.  Is it safe to practice yoga?

Class Schedule, Location, Prices & Bookings

Prices & Payment:

Classes are £6 each.

Classes are offered FREE for New Forest Collection team members. 

Please transfer funds via PayPal (@RashaPhoto) before attending the class for which you have registered using links below.

If you wish to pay via bank transfer, please email me for details.

Location & Booking:

Due to the current situation and uncertainty and for the safety of all concerned, all classes are being held on Zoom.

Registration links are included with class schedule information below. 


Please ensure you have a mat available for your practice

since this ensures a good space reference as well as a better grip for your hands and feet.

Other pieces of equipment you may find useful are yoga blocks, yoga strap, pilates ball

(if you are new to yoga and would like to try out what items may work for you before purchasing,

you can substitute books for blocks, a scarf for a strap and a pillow for a pilates ball)



Day: Mondays & Thursdays

Location: Zoom -- Registration /Sign Up

Time: 18.30 pm (UK time)

Duration: 60 minutes

Class Description: These evening classes are geared towards relieving the pressure on the body and clearing the mind to promote better clarity throughout the week by using a combination of breath-work and fundamental yogic movement.



Day: Saturday

Location: Zoom -- Registration /Sign Up

Time: 08:30 am (UK time)

Duration: 75 minutes

Class Description: A morning class that's all about restoring the body and mind with the use of long holds and stretches that will leave you feeling replenished and with a new found energy. Suitable for all levels.



Day: Fridays

Location: Zoom -- Registration /Sign Up

Time: 07:00 am (UK time)

Duration: 10 - 15 minutes

Class Description: A brief interlude and the perfect start to your day to help open your breath and calm the mind.



Location: Zoom

Day & Time: By Appointment

Duration: 45 / 60 / 75 minutes

Class Description: For those that would like to build and develop their practice further in a private, stress free and non-rushed space. Suitable for those that are completely new to the practice or have some experience as well as anyone who wishes to address specific issues.



Day: Wednesdays & Sundays

Location: Zoom -- Registration /Sign Up

Time: 07.00 am [wed] & 10.45 am [sun] (UK time)

Duration: 15 minutes

Session Description: These brief morning sessions are an ideal way to help you destress by taking the time to breathe and re-centre yourself using various breathing techniques and a brief guided meditation.

No special equipment required.



“Yoga is a light which once lit will never dim.
The better you practice, the brighter your flame.”
B.K.S. Iyengar
"The yoga mat is a good place to turn when talk therapy and antidepressants aren't enough."
Amy Weintraub
"Yoga is 99% practice and 1% theory."
Sri Krishna Pattahbi Jois
"The attitude of gratitude is the highest yoga."
Yogi Bhajan
"Move your joints every day. You have to find your own tricks. Bury your mind deep in you heart, and watch the body move by itself."
Sri Dharma Mittra
"Anyone who practices can obtain success in yoga
but not one who is lazy.
Constant practice alone is the secret of success."
Hatha Yoga Pradapika
"When you own your breath,
no one can steal your peace."
"Yoga is not about touching your toes.
It is about what you learn on the way down."
Jigar Gor
“Yoga is the journey of the self,
through the self, to the self."
The Bhagavad Gita
"The inspiration you seek, is already inside you. 
Be silent and listen."
“Calming the mind is yoga.
Not just standing on the head."
Swami Satchidananda
"Anybody can breathe.
Therefore anybody can practice yoga."
T.K.V. Desikachar
“Yoga is the science to be in the here and now."
"Yoga teaches you how to listen to your body."
Mariel Hemingway
"In asana practice, we learn to cherish each breath,
to cherish every cell in our bodies.
The time we spend on the mat is love in action"
Rolf Gates
"Yoga is a way to freedom.
By its constant practice, we can free ourselves from fear, anguish and loneliness."
Indra Devi
"Yoga does not ask you to be more than you are.
But it does ask you to be all that you are."
Bryan Kest
"Yoga does not just change the way we see things,
it transforms the person who sees.”
B.K.S. Iyengar
"All kidding aside, if everybody did yoga,
we would have world peace."
Rory Freedman
"Saying you're not flexible enough for yoga is like saying you're too dirty to take a bath!"
A very wise practitioner...



Get In Touch

℅ New Forest Hotels, Pikes Hill, Lyndhurst, Hampshire SO43 7AS



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