2018... A Year of Love and Light

Can we believe that our first full year in business has passed? Absolutely not... and yet somehow, it has happened! We absolutely can't wait for all of the excitement that 2019 has to offer, but before we get stuck into that, we'd love to reflect on 2018. This year we have added some 'Shala Favorite Events' to our schedule, which we DEFINITELY plan on bringing back in the New Year... For example, we ran four healing Crystal Bowl and Chai workshops on April 6th, May 18th, August 25th and November 23rd, two nourishing Soul Food Breakfast Club mornings on March 18th and September 16th, and FIVE super-fun Family Yoga Playshala events on March 24th, April 28th, July 7th, October 27th and December 22nd.

We welcomed a whole host of Shala newbies to our Beginner's Yoga Workshops back on the 24th of March and 28th of April and it was so lovely to introduce these brave souls to physical postures, breathing techniques and relaxation methods which laid out the foundations for a consistent practice for each student!

2018 was a year for creativity at Love and Light Shala and we need to say a massive thank-you to those who ran the workshops that had us tapping into our inner-artists! We started with Katie Jones' mindful Macrame Wall-Hanging Workshop on May 20th, flowed into a therapeutic Introduction to Embroidery on June 3rd with Sarah Pegram and wound things up with Katrina Wilde's Colour Outside the Lines Still-Life Drawing Workshops on August 3rd and again on October 12th... We even cleared our throat chakras and practiced our belt in the Find Your Voice Singing Workshop with Julia Moseley on June 30th! Talk about stepping outside of our comfort zones!

We are proud to say that in 2018 we raised £889.25 during our three-day Yogathon for the YMCA between May 5th and 7th (HUGE thank you to all of the yoga teachers, musicians, YMCA volunteers, helpers and of course participants from the weekend!) and £1112 for Breast Cancer Now during our The Shala Loves Your Breasts event on October 13th (which, by the way, must have been one of the most UNIQUE breast-cancer fundraisers ever... we had a Sketch Your Chest station, a Bedazzle Your Bosom station, a Henna Your Hooters station, a beautiful photography exhibition run by survivor Diane Leopard and a group of INCREDIBLE women taking on a 108 Sun Salutations challenge! Phew!)

Speaking of incredible women, we have been so blessed to have ran five Women's Moon Circle events since September... We started on September 25th, then re-ran this event on October 9th, October 24th, December 7th and December 22nd and it is safe to say that this will be a regular ocurrence in 2019... We LOVE coaching women through energetic blockages and obstacles, and helping to empower them towards achieving their goals! This is probably why we loved running our Read and Succeed Self-Development Book Club from May 10th, and our Crystality Coaching Course from May 12th so much as well. And for those that weren't able to make it along to the Shala for coaching this year, we enjoyed being able to offer some online support in our 14-Day Facebook Live Sunrise Meditation Challenge from April 23rd.

Our summer at Trentham Gardens was one which we'd LOVE to repeat in 2019... We can't wait to see the Mamas and Babes that came along to practice by the lake, and the adults who energized with us in the sunshine again next year!

Seriously in-need of mentions are the external events that we hosted at Love and Light Shala in 2018. We kicked off the year with Amanda Hamilton and Jenni Kaur's nurturing Winter Yoga Retreat Day on the January 27th and were pleased to welcome Jenni back on June 1st to run a transformative Intermediate Kundalini Yoga workshop. Maria Hernandez came along on May 11th to guide our brave yogis during her Playing Into Handstands workshop which was not for the faint-of-heart... That being said, the Shala was ringing with laughter and delight throughout, and everyone left with a great big smile of pride on their faces which is exactly what we love to see! We were all pretty pleased when we heard that Despina Psarra was keen to run her delicious Ayurvedic Yoga Massage Workshop with us on September 23rd... we learned so much, and our friends and family are eternally grateful that we now know what we are doing when they ask us for a head massage! Learning is something we are passionate about, so when Tina Pavlou and Nicky Sproson reached out in need of an emergency replacement venue for their Angelic Reiki Level 1+2 Program on October the 6th and 7th, we leapt at the chance to welcome them, and boy, are we glad we did! This training brought such magic to the Shala space and we are still feeling the residual bright and sparkly vibrations that they left behind! Last but certainly not least, it was a massive honour to have been able to host the radiant Siri Arti and her Starchild Children's Yoga Teacher Training course from March 7th to the 14th; we are positive that the participants on this program will have gone on to be exceptionally compassionate, imaginative and wise guides for the children that make up our future.

And what is December without Christmassy events, right? This year, we ran our Christmas Hippie Market on the 2nd of December with fifteen fantastic local artisan stalls, and were proud to present festive vocal stylings from Julia Moseley this year as well! The mince pies and mulled wine made a second appearance ten days later during our Candlelight Christmas Yoga Party on the 12th of December which included yoga (of course!), an ecstatic dance party and a festive feast to finish... This is one of those events where we had to stop and take in the wonder of our beloved community; seeing you all mixing and mingling together, exchanging gifts and making social plans with each other for over the Christmas period really warmed our hearts and brought more than a few tears to our eyes!

Finally, our founder Gabriella wants to throw in a personal mention for a private event which was hosted in the honour of the tiny human growing in her belly! On October 21st, a glorious group of wonderful women came together to put on Baby Buxton's Bump Blessing event which we will all hold near and dear to our hearts. Love and Light Shala was filled with laughter, love and light (as is often the case!) but with a tangible energy of anticipation for the newest addition to our community. This much-awaited little baby is due on January 31st, and we suspect a tonne more baby-themed events will be on the agenda for 2019, so if you or a loved one are expecting in the New Year, be sure to watch this space...

So here is to 2019... A year of even more Love and Light :)