Interview with The Isbourne

If you're an aspiring yogi or curious about mindfulness and meditation, then look no further as SoGlos chats to two of The Isbourne's teachers, Jo Fellows and Kathryn Buxton, about bending your body and mind into better shape.

From perfecting your downward dog to honing the art of meditation, The Isbourne in Cheltenham is the perfect place for trying something new.

With decades of experience between them, The Isbourne’s expert teachers Kathryn Buxton and Jo Fellows share their top tips for getting your mind and body in shape, as SoGlos asks just how easy is it to get into meditation and mindfulness?


Kathryn Buxton

Having trained with the British School of Meditation, Kathryn Buxton specialises in Buddhist meditation and hosts retreats across the county. Debunking the myths of meditation, Kathryn shares her tips with SoGlos.

What are the benefits of meditation?

It relaxes you, helps you to sleep and feel calmer. For me, the real benefit of meditation is that it enables you to see and label the kind of thoughts you have habitually running through your mind (planning thoughts, sad thoughts, worried thoughts, anxious thought etc.) It’s this insight that enables you to put some space between you and your thoughts.

Do you need to have lots of time to practice meditation?

No, not at all. You can practice mindfulness meditation at any time of the day (brushing your teeth, having a shower, washing the dishes).

So often we carry out these tasks mindlessly and our thoughts are elsewhere. Stopping and purposely being with the experience of brushing your teeth – the sounds, the smells and the feel of it, is the basis for the more formal practice of mindfulness meditation. If you can sit formally for five minutes a day, just noticing the breath going in and out, then that is an excellent start. I normally meditate for 20 minutes a day, sometime less if life gets in the way!

What are the common misconceptions about meditation?

The big one is that you have to empty your mind to meditate and that simply isn’t true. Even hardened meditators find it almost impossible to empty the mind. After all, the mind is designed to think and plan. What you are doing in meditation is watching the mind think and plan; you are not your mind and you can observe what it wants you to pay attention to. I can’t tell you how liberating it feels to realise that I am not my thoughts!

The other misconception is that there are ‘good’ meditation experiences (usually when you feel particular calm and blissed out) and ‘bad’ meditation experiences (normally when the mind chatter is incessant). I teach that there is no good or bad experience; there is only the experience you are having in the moment which is perfectly fine.


Jo Fellows

Master of all things Reiki, yoga and meditation, Jo Fellows specialises in classes that help to revitalise the body and mind. Teaching at The Isbourne and across the Cotswolds, Jo helps debunk the preconceptions about practicing mindfulness.

What are the benefits of yoga?

Improvements to your flexibility are one of the first and most obvious benefits of yoga. If you stick with it, you’ll notice a gradual loosening, and eventually, seemingly impossible poses will become possible. You’ll also probably notice that aches and pains start to disappear. That’s no coincidence.

Tight hips can strain the knee joint due to improper alignment of the thigh and shinbones. Tight hamstrings can lead to a flattening of the lumbar spine, which can cause back pain.

Yoga also helps build muscle strength, perfects your posture, prevents cartilage and joint breakdown, protects your spine, betters your bone health, increases your blood flow, drains your lymphs and boosts immunity among many other benefits.

What are the benefits of reiki?

Reiki aims to restore and stimulate your body’s own natural healing capacity and take you into a deep state of relaxation and peace, allowing your body to re-balance and to support you in feeling more connected to life.

Reiki gently balances and calms the emotions, restores self-worth and gives back a sense of purpose. Reiki has been found to be especially beneficial for stress, grief, worry and anxiety. Often, painful conditions are relieved by Reiki, as it promotes deep peace and relaxation within, so easing tension. Regular Reiki treatments promote a calmer response to life’s challenges.

What advice would you give to someone trying yoga for the first time?

Yoga is suitable for everyone and anyone. There is no limit. We are all different, our bodies are different so we will all have different starting points.
If you want to feel better in yourself, and benefit from all the benefits above, then give it a go! My tips would be to find a good yoga teacher, breathe, don’t compare yourself to others, and wear loose and comfortable clothing.


For more information, see The Isbourne , call (01242) 254321, or visit isbourne.org directly.

© SoGlos
Monday 16 July 2018

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