New addition and devoted yoga teacher Christine Noel opens up about her yoga story and shares what she enjoys doing in her life outside of yoga. Quiet, methodical and determined, Christine has carved out classes that have been enjoyed by many a student here in the Guildford studio already. We’re delighted to have her and hope you’ll enjoy reading more about this lovely lady…
Which Classes Do You Teach at the Aveda Guildford Studio?
I joined the Studio in June and teach Anusara-style yoga on Sunday mornings from 10-11 am. Anusara is a type of Hatha (static) yoga including a meaningful heart theme where you include an optional Anusara invocation. Themes and universal principles of alignment that are unique to Anusara are woven into the class. Anusara is great for beginners and all levels with strong emphasis on correct alignment, with different options and props offered to suit.
In late June, I was thrilled to run a sell out Yoga Nidra (Sleep) Workshop to help with insomnia and sleep difficulties. I’ll be hosting it again on Sunday 29 September 3-5 pm. My workshop covers useful tips for a good night’s sleep, natural aids that promote sleep, a pre-bedtime yoga sequence, an in-depth look at Yoga Nidra and a delicious Yoga Nidra meditation.
In early September, I’ll also be running a 90 minute Restorative Yoga Workshop with Yoga Nidra on Friday 6 September 6-730pm so please come along if you’ve been struggling with sleep problems lately!
Tell Us a Bit About Yourself Christine?
By training, I am a law librarian. I have run research, library and information services for a number of magic circle law firms. Over time, I have diversified and transitioned into marketing communications and professional support services. My corporate life came to an abrupt end when an unexpected development occurred. I decided to take the opportunity to do something totally different and close to my heart. Something I had been contemplating for some time, was to train to be a yoga teacher – finally the time seemed to be right so I jumped in with both feet.
As an individual, I am an animal lover and am passionate about conservation, preservation and sustainability. I care deeply about the planet and how we can preserve it for future generations, which is one of the reasons I’m thrilled to be teaching at Aveda, who are known for their environmental approaches.
Where Are You From & What are Your Hobbies?
I was born in Preston, Lancashire and was raised in the market town of Frome in Somerset. Since graduating, I have lived with my husband in Surrey – firstly in Woking and then in Wonersh outside Guildford. During our marriage, we also lived in New Jersey for over 3 years.
I really like keeping active. If you had met me as a child, this would not have been the case because I was a real lazy bones!
Nowadays, I enjoy all different types of yoga including iyengar, ashtanga, yin, restorative, hatha, various types of vinyasa flow as well of course as Anusara yoga. I also love spinning, dance, swimming and walking my miniature schnauzer, Monty. Apart from sport, I adore live theatre especially contemporary dance. A good book is always a delight. I also keep my creative side happy and currently dabble in a bit in photography.
Above all, I value time spent with my husband, son and dog and greater family and friends. Travel and experiencing different cultures and meeting different people is a constant pleasure and I have a long list of countries and places I would like to visit.
How Did You Start Yoga & Why?
I joined a new health club and tried out the full-range of classes on offer. This included yoga. I tentatively took my first hatha yoga class over ten years ago, of course back then not knowing where it would lead! It proved to be a transformational and liberating event in my life.
After a few lessons, I was hooked. I started yoga as a form of exercise that helped me to overcome my back problems, but soon I fell in love with the other amazing benefits it brings to mind, body and soul. Before this revelation, I went for the hard-core cardio workouts like body pump, step and gym which was too tough on my body. I am not a naturally super-bendy person and I have experienced back problems. I always found the ground was too far away to touch my toes. Given time and patience, yoga has significantly improved my flexibility and has really helped control my back pain. Beyond that, yoga really has permeated every aspect of my life. It truly is life changing.
What’s Your Favourite Pose/Move & Why?
I like the rhythm and flow of sun salutations. One breath one move. It unites the body, soul and mind. I particularly like to share this experience in a class environment where you are moving in unison and harmony with other yogis as it generates a special collective energy.
As for which is my favourite yoga poses, I’m spoilt for choice! My preferable pose may change with my mood, what’s happening in my life and the time of day! I do love standing poses particularly Warrior I, II and III, Triangle Pose (trikonasana) and extended side angle pose (Parsvakonasana). These are strong grounding poses that I like to approach with conviction, mindfulness and commitment. Although these may be considered to be foundation poses that appear in many class plans, I enjoy the many combinations and variations that these poses offer. I am really able to connect with my breath and my inner life in these asanas (poses).
What’s Your Style of Teaching in a Nutshell?
I take a holistic pragmatic approach to teaching yoga. I do my upmost to create a calming welcoming friendly environment for students– candles, music, essential oils, specially chosen poems or quotations, visualisations… Most of my classes have a heart theme which adds another dimension to the class as well as pranayama (breath control) and meditation. I encourage my student to listen to their bodies and develop body awareness. Correct alignment is important, so I give plenty of cues, options and props (where appropriate) so that students can practice yoga safely and appropriately. I like to stay in an asana for a few breaths to give students the opportunity to explore the pose and enjoy it. As well as Anusara, I teach restorative yoga and yoga nidra which is deeply relaxing, rejuvenating and energising experience for students and also enjoy teaching a flow class now and again! My main priority is that students leave the room feeling better, happier and more relaxed than when they stepped onto the mat.
What’s Your Absolute Favourite Thing About Teaching Yoga?
It is an honour to share the many joys and benefits of yoga with others. I truly believe that there is a type of yoga out there for everyone. It means so much to see students go away from the mat happier and more relaxed than when they stepped onto the yoga mat at the beginning of the class. It is hugely gratifying to see yoga students progressing on their own yoga journey and witnessing the joy that a class can give. It’s also incredibly rewarding when yoga can help students who have injuries or are stressed.