Festival Feature: The Float Spa

What makes The Float Spa an award-winning health and wellbeing centre in Hove isn’t just the fact they offer floatation, yoga, massage, chiropractic care, nutrition advice and a whole host of different workshops under one roof, it’s their outstanding customer service and serene, friendly atmosphere.

Whether you visit for a float in one of their state of the art pods, have an appointment with a chiropractor, relax with a massage or a stimulating yoga class, you’ll leave feeling better and less stressed. All the staff at The Float Spa are committed to helping their guests have a relaxing, enjoyable time. From July, another option offered to clients for deep relaxation and relief from musculoskeletal pain, will be a session in their brand new state-of-the-art infrared sauna. The sauna is a private booth where you can totally relax- with an option to connect your phone via Bluetooth to listen to relaxing music, and a choice of seven different light colours, providing light therapy.

The Float Spa have played a fundamental role in the development of Brighton Yoga Foundation and Festival over the last few years, with Camille (founder of The Float Spa) giving her time as one of the Trustees of the Foundation and in sponsorship of the Festival. This year, The Float Spa’s highly experienced teachers will be offering a range of classes all aimed at beginners, these teachers include: Sarah Williams, Rosie Iles-Jonas, Andy Butterfield, Lewis Hatchett, Brydie Rowan, Bella Somerville.

The Float Spa are based at: 8 Third Ave, Hove BN3 2PX.

Book a float experience, massage and see the yoga schedule and more: www.thefloatspa.co.uk

Live Life Well….

Festival Feature: Cosmic Kids Yoga

We’re super excited that Cosmic Kids Yoga will be joining us at the Festival this year. The biggest kids yoga channel on YouTube, Cosmic Kids is driven by the enthusiasm of Jaime, who has achieved more than 50 million views on her videos, telling engaging, interactive ‘yoga adventure’ stories that get kids doing yoga. Jaime makes yoga fun for kids – and has helped millions with their self-regulation, balance and confidence.

Jaime is also a leader in online kids yoga teacher training with 20,000 people having taken her kids yoga crash course and more than 1000 certified Cosmic Kids teachers teaching kids yoga professionally around the world.

Cosmic Kids will be hosting a very exciting session of ‘Star Wars Yoga’ – one of the most popular Cosmic Kids adventures on the channel, re-creating Star Wars Episode IV – A New Hope in yoga! And the hugely popular Squish the Fish will be making an appearance taking us on another yoga adventure, as well as a meet and greet.

Take a look at Cosmic Kids online: www.cosmickids.com

Festival Feature: About Balance

About Balance is a low-cost, fair trade, well-being centre, that aims to make the wellness industry affordable and accessible for all.

It all began when Effie Love (the founder) was working as an acupuncturist in Brighton, she quickly realised that the cost of her treatments were not easily affordable and accessible to everyone. Knowing this, she was driven to create a space that offered treatments, yoga and well-being services for all, as well as making sure teachers and therapists could make a living! Part of About Balance’s success has come down to their unique ‘Karma Card’ initiative, which works as a clever membership scheme, giving you a hefty discount off classes and therapies, and unlike a gym membership, you don’t have to be locked into a contract, with a choice to pay month by month if desired.

We spoke briefly with Effie ahead of the upcoming Yoga Festival…

How did you hear about Brighton Yoga Festival?

About Balance and Brighton Yoga Festival are actually exactly the same age! We were one of the original organisers of the festival,  setting up About Balance alongside getting the festival going! We had a stand at the festival even before we were open, so we feel a strong connection to it! About Balance has come along way since then, 4 years down the line we have a bigger venue, a shop that support local producers and 2 floatation tanks. We feel very blessed!

How you will be involved in the Festival this year?

We will be sponsoring one of the main areas, as well as giving away 20 yearly Karma cards to big donators (sharing the love and all that!). We will also be teaching 3 yoga classes, have a retail stall and I’ll will be giving a talk about ‘The value of yoga and accessibility’ with the ‘Joyful Web’.

Why is it important for everyone to experience yoga?
Yoga is like coming home. Yoga is the place where you are fully awake and fully absorbed. You learn this through the asana practice, but if you are lucky, you will take the tools that you learned there and take them off the Mat. The reason Patanjali gave Asana such an important part in the 8 limbs is because what you can learn on the mat by following your breath and movement, you can take to your life off the mat to get closer samadhi- full absorption. Like Jim Terran (of Vajrasati yoga) once put it so beautifully- it’s like when you are smelling a rose, and the scent is so beautiful, you are fully absorbed, there’s nothing else in the universe bar you and that rose in that moment. This is yoga for me.  Oh yes and it makes you flexible and beach body ready! 😀
About Balance is based at 20-22 Gloucester Pl, Brighton BN1 4AA 

Find out more and check out their daily schedule here: www.aboutbalancebrighton.com


Festival Feature – Chant Malas

Helen Forester –  Founder and Creatrix

Helen is a mum of two small humans and began creating mala beads in 2014, around the birth of her first child, when she become more immersed in her own japa meditation (meditation using a mantra and a set of mala beads to keep count) practice as she prepared for her first birthing experience. Helen lives her life by the moon and is inspired by the goddesses of the world. Both of these things heavily influence her work and craft. Helen is passionate about honouring the roots of mala beads and, for her, the mantra and the mala are inseparable.

Helen is a passionate advocate of working with charities and businesses run by women, supporting women in India and the UK, and is currently working with Ashadeep, a mental health NGO in India supporting women with mental health challenges and learning difficulties.

All of the mala bags that Helen uses to house her designs are created from field to final product by the women living at the women and she is very excited to be introducing a range of meditation cushions made by the women later this year. All products purchased are not-for-proift, ensuring that the women are fully reimbursed for their time and energies.

This year, Helen is sponsoring the retail zone at the Festival, and thrilled to be supporting the Foundation’s community work, as this is something that runs very close to her heart. Be sure to pop by Helen’s stall at the festival or come to one of her talks and guided meditations and say hello!

Helen will discuss why 108 is an important number in yoga and do a guided visualisation using mantra. She will also be running two yoga classes full of stories and laughter for children and also run a yoga for Teens class.

Visit: chantmalas.co.uk


Festival Feature: Ram Vakkalanka

Ram Vakkalanka was born and brought up in India, steeped in the Yogic tradition. He studied Sankskrit language, Yogic philosophy and Nada Yoga since childhood. Based in Toronto, Ram travels all over the world sharing his deep knowledge of Yogic philosophy, Sanskrit and Nada Yoga. So far, 22 CDs in three languages, one DVD as well as an online video course about the origin and evolution of Yoga of his works have been released, as well as appearing on Radio and TV.

Ram will be presenting three sessions over the Festival Weekend, including a Nada Yoga workshop (a guided meditation on the Chakras to the accompaniment of live Sitar), leading the Saturday Kirtan and taking us through the sacred texts of Bhagavad Gita and Yoga Sutras on Sunday.

For more about Ram, please visit www.aksharayoga.com

Festival Feature: Be-Yoga

Be-yoga in Haywards Heath is a dedicated space for the community to develop and deepen their yoga practice. Their mission is to provide ‘Yoga for Everyone’. The team are passionate about the benefits of Yoga and have classes for all abilities, ages and levels of fitness.

The studio has a full schedule of classes including; Dynamic Vinyasa Flow, Nidra, Restorative, Yin, Yin-Yang, Gentle Hatha, Warm Yoga, Yoga for Over 55s, Yoga for Teens and Children’s Yoga. They also have a number of hot yoga classes (all hot yoga classes are Hatha yoga), with most of these held in a heated room – about 32 degrees! With hot yoga, the body responds better to stretching as the warmth gently increases our natural flexibility and the heat helps us to relax. If you’re not very bendy – hot yoga is for you!

Be-yoga believe yoga is for all, so whether you’re an experienced Yogi or brand new to yoga, whatever your age or experience, this studio will provide a warm welcome!

Find out more here: http://www.be-yoga.uk.com

You can find Be-yoga in the Children’s area at the Festival this year, their teachers will be holding a number of classes throughout the weekend.

Festival Feature: Space Yoga Studio

Space Yoga Studio is the new, premier place to practise yoga in Brighton & Hove. Recently opened in the heart of St. Augustine’s Centre, a stunning renovated church dedicated to wellbeing and the arts, the studio is a nurturing and sacred space where you can connect with yourself through an ecceltic range of yoga and meditation classes amongst like-minded people.

Set in immaculate, contemporary surroundings, and perfectly located on the edge of Brighton city centre next to Preston Park, the team have gathered the finest teachers with a full schedule of classes running throughout the week. As passionate yoga teachers themselves, they have artfully created what feels like the perfect yoga studio, with the support of local yogis.

Space Yoga Studio welcome you to come find yourself on the mat…


Over the weekend,  Space and Ashiyana Yoga Retreat will together be hosting a wide range of classes in the gorgeous Pavilion room, overlooking the cricket pitch. Practise, stay for chat, and experience the energy of the new studio everyone is talking about. 

The Relationship Between Yoga and Good Sleep, Guest Blog by Sarah Johnson from Tuck

In today’s modern, high-stress world, it can be difficult to settle down at night. Sleep deprivation is a growing concern for many people who find themselves tossing and turning long into the night. It doesn’t matter where the stress comes from; yoga can help. Yoga relieves tension in the muscles, reduces stress, and helps you get better sleep.

Sleep deprivation affects everything from appetite to blood pressure. Getting less than a full seven hours of sleep increases your risk of heart disease, diabetes, dementia, and a whole host of other illnesses and disorders. Sleep loss changes the way hormones are released as well as increases inflammation, which leads to aches, pains, and chronic illness.

So how does yoga help?

Yoga performed at any time of day is beneficial to better sleep because it helps control the stress and tension that leads to sleep loss. When used as part of a regular bedtime routine, it can help those who struggle to fall asleep at night.  As you consistently do each pose in the same order each day, the repetition helps the brain recognize when to start the release of sleep hormones. A bedtime routine that includes yoga also allows you to release physical tension in the back, shoulders, and legs while centering the mind in the present.

One of the less measurable benefits of yoga is the effect it can have on moods. Stress could be making you tired, distracted, irritable, and angry. Studies conducted with varying groups from nurses to cancer patients have found that regular yoga brings an improvement in mood and positive self-perceptions. Participants ranked themselves as feeling more satisfied and content with their lives as they regularly practiced yoga.

Yoga can be done as either a group or individual activity, and both have their benefits. Attending a yoga class gives you an opportunity to learn proper technique while providing social opportunities. A busy lifestyle often limits interaction with other people, but in a class setting, classmates and instructors can become friends and mentors. Building connections with other people also helps to reduce stress.

At the same time, once you’ve learned a few yoga poses, those poses can be performed at home. In fact, many poses can be done from the comfort of your own bed. Poses may feel different while lying on a clean mattress, but the benefits are the same. Once you’ve created the right atmosphere in your bedroom—quiet, dark, and cool—you can lie in bed, breath deeply and stretch the tension away. A few poses you might want to try in bed are child’s pose, corpse pose, or reclining butterfly.

Better, deeper, more restful sleep can come from doing yoga for a few minutes every day. Whether you want the social benefits a class offers, or you look forward to doing some quiet poses in before bed, yoga can make a difference in the quality and quantity of your sleep. Getting in a full seven hours might not be as difficult to achieve as you once thought – if you can rid yourself of stress.

Guest blog post written by Sarah Johnson, Community Relations at Tuck
Tuck Sleep Foundation is a community devoted to improving sleep hygiene, health and wellness through the creation and dissemination of comprehensive, unbiased, free web-based resources. Tuck has been featured on NPR, Lifehacker, Radiolab and is referenced by many colleges/universities and sleep organisations across the web.

Interview | Esther Ekhart: “Stay Real, Loving & Honest”

Esther Ekhart is an internationally renowned Yoga teacher, trainer, and founder of EkhartYoga.com. From her studio in the Netherlands, Emma Newlyn conducted this very special interview with her to find out more about her long journey through Yoga, health and wellbeing. Esther offers advice on how navigate through life without attaching to the ‘stories’ and habits we get locked into, to know that “You are already perfect and need nothing except to see through the obstacles that keep you from experiencing that. Even with an ‘imperfect body’, an ‘imperfect mind’, you are beautiful and unique”. 

If you’ve ever thought about starting a Yoga practice, but aren’t sure where to start, then Esther explains the benefits of Yoga, how she’s learned “not to take it all too seriously”, and advises beginners that “a little goes a long way. Even 10 minutes of Yoga a day will make a difference!”

  • Having taught yoga internationally for over 20 years, what is the ‘Yoga World’ like now compared to when you first began teaching?

Hmm, I’ll have to dig deep :-)). I suppose it’s faster now, like everything. The ability to get known beyond your town, or city through online yoga and social media is much easier, so yoga has become more of a business. Alongside that the standards are quite high, because everyone has online access to experienced teachers. In the past, you’d have had to attend workshops with a range of experienced teachers to get the same breadth and depth of knowledge. I love it though, everything changes and also the yoga world adapts…

I also notice lately that because everything is faster, I get a lot more young people looking for calmer forms of yoga, meditation, ways to relax and tune in, to get out of their heads…

  • When and where did you first come across yoga?

My mom introduced me to yoga at home. She started practicing it and then trained as a Lotus Mudra.jpgteacher. I saw her become stronger, more relaxed, happier and most of all loving it!

  • Has your yoga practice changed much over the years?

Yes, it has slowed down a lot. Initially my practice came from a more ‘grasping’ approach, I wanted to to be stronger and more flexible, trying to attain certain poses. These days I approach the practice from a much more meditative, slower, functional place. I want to take care of my body but doing yoga purely to gain more strength isn’t what makes me or my body happy. I found that the real benefits have come in the quieter, more mindful practices, where I really take time to tune in and feel.

I was teaching in my own small studio in West Cork Ireland, and I had waiting lists. I wondered how I could get more people to benefit from yoga and grow beyond my small studio. Also, I needed yoga inspiration myself (being, as I was at that time, on a mountain in the middle of nowhere!) and couldn’t find good quality yoga online. So the idea was born to provide it.

  • What three things do you do each day to look after yourself and your health?

Meditation / Pranayama / Cold shower

  • Have you always been ‘healthy?’

No – I’ve gone through rough times with a big shortage of b12 and iron, so felt very, very tired at times. There have been great lessons in how to look after myself, when to slow down and the effects of stress. These experiences help you to grow.

  • What does Yoga mean to you?

Ha, I wrote a whole article about that! Basically at this stage in my life it is a way of living. On a practical level it’s about asking ‘what does this system need to function well? How can I be compassionate and loving towards myself, others and the earth?’. On a more philosophical level, how can I stay with what is, with the reality, how can I stay out of the stories and just observe life dancing through me and everyone else.

  • What do you feel is the most important thing you’ve learned from practicing yoga?

Not to take it all too seriously, not to take on yet another identity – the identity of a ‘wise yogi’ – to stay real, loving and honest.

  • Other than Yoga, do you enjoy any other forms of movement practice?

Somatics, I think is great for anyone, especially yogis, to free up the body and make your yoga practice easier and more fun. Besides that, anything that makes you happy, go for it!

  • EkhartYoga.com has a wonderful and varied array of teachers. Do you plan to add any more styles of classes or guest teachers to the site?

We will always be open to add styles and teachers that add extra value to our website.

  • The Clarity Process is an important part of your spiritual studies. What first drew you towards it?

I think at that time of my life yoga was more of a physical practice and I had looked into my own pain quite a bit, but not enough. For me, the Clarity aspect took care of that part. This involved everything from personal development (through understanding my psyche and pain and what blocked me from enjoying life to the fullest) through to the spiritual aspects of what it really means to be in the moment.

  • What would you say to someone who was thinking of starting a Yoga practice, but was unsure of where or how to begin?

Just begin. You can’t go wrong, the yoga will gently help you along. You can start with a teacher, at home, with a book, online …just begin! And remember a little goes a long way, even 10 minutes of yoga a day will make a difference. Make sure you keep it relatively easy at the beginning, so you’ll enjoy it and want to come back!

  • What message do you most hope to get across to students when you’re teaching?

That you are already perfect and need nothing except to see through the obstacles that keep you from experiencing that. Even with an imperfect body, an imperfect mind, you are beautiful and unique. Yoga just helps you to feel better so fully accepting that you are perfect, just as you are, will be easier to access and accept.


  • Having taught yoga for many years, developed your online Yoga classes and set up trainings and retreats for many years now, is there anything left on your ‘to do’ list?

IMG_4130.JPGI feel the thing that will always stay on my to-do list is helping people see the beauty of themselves, of each other, of living on this earth. I’m sure I will keep finding new ways to do that!

Beyond that, a year of doing very little, going deeper into the nothingness myself, but that will come… one day ???? Until then I’ll enjoy the fullness and richness of making yoga accessible to as many people as I can by working on my website EkhartYoga.com and my trainings and retreats.

If you’re interested in training, workshops or retreats with Esther, see the following for more information:

  • Yoga Teacher Training


  • Workshops Luxembourg


  • Yoga holiday


  • Intensive 7-day yoga retreat


Yoga With Homeless Young People

News from one of our head festival organisers Cat Duval and her work with homeless young people, showing how Yoga can lead to self-empowerment, self-acceptance, and a better life….

Originally Posted by Cat Duval on 12th November, 2015

man janushishasana

“The long awaited day was today. Starting to run a yoga course working with homeless young people in Brighton, bringing yoga into their drop in centre the Clocktower Sanctuary.  The task of breaking down yoga into bite size manageable chunks and distilling thousands of years of wisdom, philosophy and practice into an accessible course that not only engages but inspires young people experiencing homelessness to believe in its relevance, prioritise it to come each week and with any luck integrate it into their day to day life.  No pressure then!

My aim with this course is to offer the opportunity to look at key principles of self acceptance and self empowerment through yogic philosophy and practice.  To offer straight forward tools and a key set of principles that these young people can apply to their own challenges and life situations, both on and off the mat.  A way to bring focus to the physical when the mental chatter is relentless, a way to calm the body when heat builds, to cool with the breath, to regain control and awareness and move forward from a place of balance in mind and body.

Read more Yoga With Homeless Young People