A couple of weekends ago I made my first visit to Yoga on the Lane in East London for a neck and shoulder workshop with my friend Julia. That sounds a lot more simple than it really was,  I’d slightly underestimated how long it would take me to get there from the depths of SW4 and ended up arriving just as the workshop was starting and trying to sneak surreptitiously onto my mat next to Ju. Plus, it had been my birthday the day before, and I had been thoroughly spoilt, which *might* have involved cocktails until very late, so bad yogi points all round for me.

Luckily the workshop was quite restorative and worked our brains as much as our muscles. Ju has been suffering with a bad back recently so when she heard about the workshop from a yogi colleague, she was keen to try it out to help with her recovery alongside numerous chiropractor visits.

Sarah was a great teacher who held the class’ interest throughout the 2.5 hour workshop. We started with some very simple exercises observing the anatomy of the shoulder and scapula when moving our arms up and down, the awareness being that we naturally raise our shoulders, so when yoga teachers tell us to drop our shoulders when we have our arms raised it actually goes against your body’s natural reflex.

We then worked through a variety of traditional poses, paying close attention to the positioning of our neck and shoulders. Yoga classes are often so fast and crowded that it felt like a real treat to work so closely with a teacher and take the time to look and poses I do several times a week in greater detail.

One of my favourite things about workshops is having the opportunity to do things you wouldn’t have the time or space to do in a normal 60 or 90 minute class. Sarah had us doing partner work, the highlight of which was holding each other up in downward dog using a strap wrapped over our partners shoulders (or as Ju put it later ‘a little light bondage of a Saturday afternoon’) as well as a supported headstand with piles of blocks under each armpit.

A couple of hours later my neck seemed to have grown 5 inches and I floated out of the studio.