We’ve started a really exciting new project – The #EastLondonLocalChallenge
Each week we visit one of our businesses to experience them for ourselves, let you all know more about them and about the wonderful people behind them. This week we sent Ru out to Dalston Yoga for a class and a chat with the founder, Paulene Morphett.

This week I went for a shadow yoga class at Dalston Yoga on Nimrod passage, a lovely quiet little passage tucked away behind the buzz of Kingsland road.

Once you walk through the gate you don’t even feel like you’re in London. It’s quiet, serene, with plants all the way up the alleyway, you feel like you can really breathe. I walked in and wasn’t sure what to expect, all I saw was a coat rack and stairs leading up to the studio. I took off my shoes, hung my coat and made my way up into the beautiful open plan studio with a large mirror and plants hanging from the ceiling.

Shadow yoga incorporates the traditional aspects of Hatha, but from my understanding focuses less on the holding of postures and more about dynamic movement and ‘freestyle’. Some of the movements also reminded me of Tai Chi; we used gentle movements of the hands to cultivate energy in the body. The yoga mat was folded in half, while some people didn’t use a matt at all. It was both different and similar to yoga I’ve practised in the past, in the sense that I recognised many of the postures but we used them slightly differently and moved in many other ways too. Either way, I felt amazing after. One of the final postures we did was a seated posture in which we moved our hands up and down from the head to the ground cultivating energy in the body – I really felt this energy rising and falling in my body as I moved my hands, it was amazing. I also felt really light after the class.

I chatted to Paulene Morphett who has been practising for 25 years and teaching for almost 15.
“I’ve lived in Hackney for over 25 years, so it was quite different then. I’m a small home grown business, it’s a maximum of 8-10 people in the class with individual attention, so it’s not corporate. It’s very homegrown.” Paulene refers to it as “cottage industry yoga.” Paulene is also a photographer and for a long time the space was a live-work studio which she slowly converted into a yoga studio. “It’s a bit like a dojo in that sense, in the middle of my home”. Paulene tells me she slowly reinvested money from teaching to developing the space, which used to be an old Hackney cab!

What is local in your eyes? 
“It means within walking distance. All the people who live in the alleyway, we know each other, we say hello, there’s some sense of community.”

What’s your favorite thing about this area?
“It’s diversity, when I first arrived there were over 200 languages spoken in Hackney!”

What kind of people come to the studio? 
“I get a big range of people, I teach privately too so some of students are in their 80s. Most people are from their mid 20s upwards, I teach a lot of teachers too.”

How do you spread the word? 

“ Through word of mouth, the website, the basic board outside on the street. We like to keep it local.”

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