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Meet our Community: Yoga Teacher Helena Lavery

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Blick is all about community, our creative residents and the wider creative community, but also the people who use our facilities for various different activities. Activities that help support Blick financially so that we can provide affordable workspace and run different events and activities for the creative community in Belfast. We thought it would be nice for people to find out more about the community of people who use our facilities at Blick starting with yoga teacher Helena Lavery. Helena teaches regular yoga classes in our Malone studios on Monday and Wednesday evenings, you can find out more about Helena and her yoga practice in the interview below.

 

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your work as a yoga teacher?

I’ve been teaching almost 20 years. I’ve taught in community centres; churches; corporate groups; festivals; all kinds of schools, and various studios. The youngest I’ve taught are 3 year olds and the oldest was a lady who was 88 – and she could still to a good practice! When I first started teaching, I said yes to everything – football teams; rugby players and even inmates in prison; I did draw the line when I was asked to teach a nudist group – not my jive really!! I’m a graduate of several schools of yoga, but the one that resonates with me the most (for the last 7 years) has been Katonah Yoga. Now, I like to teach it and the Andean tradition in my classes and workshops.

What inspired you to start teaching yoga?

I always like to go to the root of things. When I was practicing yoga for several years, my teacher kept encouraging me to do the teacher training. I would never have aspired to be a teacher, the thoughts of standing in front of a group of people and instructing them freaked me out – in fact sometimes I still get that fear, but do it anyway. It was more about wanting to learn more, the trainings were an avenue in to a more in-depth study of a hobby that I loved.

 

What do you love most about yoga?

There is always something new to learn. Having my own practice makes me explore more ways to move efficiently.

 

Why do you think people should take up yoga?

Well I know yoga isn’t for everyone, the most common thing people say to me is “I can’t do yoga because I’m not flexible.” – Yet this is the very reason to do yoga, so that you can increase flexibility, gain strength and ultimately better health and longevity. Yoga is also great for mental health. I’m seeing more and more students who suffer from some form of mental issues – whether it’s stress, anxiety or depression (to name a few). Breathing exercises and meditations provide tools to manage stress.

What are the benefits of taking yoga classes in person rather than online?

Online yoga has been great, especially during the pandemic, but there’s nothing like the real thing in a class. I can see my students and give them verbal and physical adjustments online, and they do work to a point, but to get a good adjustment by your teacher in a studio just doesn’t compare really.

 

Can you tell us about Katonah yoga and what makes it special?

I first came across it in 2015, in New York. I was interested in Sacred Geometry – how everything in the universe is mirrored in nature. I came across a guy who was using the principles of SG in his yoga practice, so I took a trip to NY to learn from him. He kept talking about Katonah Yoga and his teacher – Nevine Michaan. She lived in Katonah in upstate NY – hence the name. She had been self studying yoga alongside Taoism and has been developing this method over 45 years. Here’s what she says about it:

“Katonah Yoga incorporates classical Hatha yoga with Taoist theory, sacred geometry, magic, mythology, metaphor and imagination in a practical framework designed to potentiate personal and communal well-being. Framing the practice with maps of time and personal space are defined and refined. Incorporating themes using asana as origami, manipulating form for function, and developing a sense of personal measure.”


Can you tell us a bit more about the bodywork and energy healing you do?

The Bodywork is a one to one private session, using the principles of Katonah to personalise a practice with adjustments to best suit my clients. It varies greatly depending on what the student is looking for – sometimes people come to get a clearer direction on whether they’re doing certain poses correctly; and others come because they have a particular injury or recurring strain that’s impeding them. I try my best to tailor to both.

My Andean Energy Healings are from a different tradition – “Andean Spiritual Art” – which comes from the people of Q’ero and Wassau regions of the high Andes in Peru. It’s a tradition I have been studying and teaching for the last 10 years.  A root cause of most of our problems in life is disconnection – be it from ourselves, community, family, colleagues or friends. With this detachment comes stress, anxiety, depression, a loss of self autonomy, lack of direction in life and so on. In the session, I engage with rituals taught to me by Andean Masters, connecting with the healing forces of nature. The aim of the Andean energy healing is to empower; awaken potential, and reset into coherence and purpose.

 

Apart from yoga, what are your other hobbies and interests?

I like to walk, I love bodyboarding when it comes to the summer months, and I’m a keen gardener.

 

What brings you joy in life?

Being a total introvert – sitting in silence or studying a good course or book.

 

What are your hopes and dreams for the future?

To build on the yoga community I’ve started in Studio 51 (Blick), and to be a place of refuge for people going through tough times.

 

Where can people find you online?

www.helenalavery.com

#blickstudios on
This week we had a quick catchup with our newest Cotton Court resident creative freelancer @emanuela_mae_agrini_art who told us a bit about herself and her creative work

Tell us a bit about yourself and your business?

Hey there! I am originally from Genoa, a seaside city in Northern Italy; my business was born there about ten years ago and bounced around a bit before moving to Belfast. My idea has always been to offer written communication for companies and individuals, but over time my core is moving more and more in the direction of a mix between visual and written communication. Although I still deal most of the time with content writing and copywriting (both in Italian and in English), I am developing some projects that can combine visuals and words, in the context of graphic facilitation, graphic recording and illustrated content.

What was the biggest hurdle for you starting out and how did you overcome it?

When I started as a freelancer ten years ago, the main obstacle was to convince companies and clients that remote work is still work: the mentality was very different from today and there was a lot to work to do on it. I always supported remote work and for long periods I have been traveling while working between the countries. Today luckily things seem to have changed.

How do you stay creative/inspired?

I pass pretty much all my free time reading books, drawing, and painting and when possible, I travel to see new places and meet new people. I love also to be around the city the more I can to listen to the stories of random people I meet. When I want to recharge, I go to the sea, which is my happy place.

What’s your top tip/piece of advice for anyone wanting to work for themselves/ start their own creative business?

Just make sure you are into it with all your energies and passion, and love every moment of it 🙂

You can read the full interview on our website (link in profile)
Don't forget to take a break for the long weekend. It can be hard when you're self employed to justify taking time off to relax and rest and not feel guilty about it and for many if you arent working you arent earning. But there is always more that could be done so take as much of a break as possible and enjoy the peace of these extra couple of days when people don't expect you to be answering emails or phone calls

#worklifebalance #bankholiday #longweekend #balance #rest #relax #smallbusinessbelfast #selfemployed #freelance #smallbusinessowner
Since the pandemic we have been very busy with new residents and behind the scenes work in the studios, but are planning to start picking things up again with more for the wider creative business community in Northern Ireland in coming months. So we thought it would be a good time to re-introduce the people involved with Blick. Who we are and more importantly why we do it, starting with Blick founder Christine. 

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background? How has your work at Blick compared to what you imagined you would end up doing? 

I'm Christine. I studied fashion and textiles at Belfast School of Art and worked briefly as a textile designer for fashion in Italy before returning to NI to start my own creative business. I was one of the founders of Blick way back in 2007 with a group of other creatives all struggling to find suitable workspace in Belfast, somewhere affordable and flexible alongside other like minded creatives. I will talk more about that journey and the story of Blick in future posts. I currently run Blick with my sister Rosy who does all our finance and operations with support from our board of Trustees as Blick is also a registered charity. 

I always wanted to work in fashion for as long as I can remember, so working at Blick is very different to what I imagined in one way, but I also always dreamed of working for myself. I just didn't think it was even possible. Not knowing any business owners and going to a very traditional grammar school starting a business just didn't seem feasible to me when growing up. So I ended up pursuing a career in fashion, but the reality of having to work in a big city, sitting at a desk all day, alongside the financial challenges of working within the industry led me to make the decision to return to NI to start my own fashion business. I struggled working alone at home and then met a group of creatives on a creative business course at Ulster University and we all realised just how important being with other like minded creatives on a similar path was and we came up with the idea for Blick. I ended up then taking over running Blick myself 
Link in bio to our blog with the rest
Hill streets lovely breakout areas, where you can sit and have some lunch or a coffee away from your desk 

#hillstreetbelfast #sharedstudios #coworkingspace #blicksharedstudios #cathedralquarterbelfast
Congratulations to our resident Dani McFerran, founder of award winning Graphic Design studio @doneanddusteddesign, as she was recently celebrated for her contribution to entrepreneurship at the House of Lords to mark International Women's Day! 

Read all about the F:Entrepreneur event, and Dani's amazing businesses on our blog - link in bio. 

#residentnews #residentpromotion #blickresidents #blicksharedstudios
Our lovely main room in our Malone studios is available for hire and we now have a special reduced rates for anyone wanting to make an ongoing longterm booking of 8 weeks or more, we currently still have availability for Thursday and Friday evenings and Sundays. Prices and details are on our website (link in bio) or email christine@blickstudios.org for more info 

#roomhire #maloneroadbelfast #belfast #eventspace #blicksharedstudios
Our Malone Road studios illustrated by resident and team member @jenny_eva_design 🌿

Offering private and shared studio space, 51 Malone Road is a beautiful space full of character and natural sunlight, perfect for finding some Monday motivation!

Find more of Jenny's work at jennyevadesign.com ✨

#blicksharedstudios #blickresidents #belfastcreatives #belfast #maloneroadbelfast #illustration #studio #coworkingspace
A warm welcome to Holly @holly.e.m who has recently joined Blick as a resident in Cotton Court.

Holly is a theatre graduate and has recently moved to Belfast, working as the marketing and growth lead for a production company called Tell based in York!

Check out @tellyork and our interview with Holly on our Blog >> link in bio ✨

#meettheresident #blicksharedstudios #coworkingspace #studio #remoteoffice #dedicateddesk #cottoncourt #belfastcreatives
Our second studio space in the Cathedral Quarter; Cotton Court, illustrated by resident and team member @jenny_eva_design ✨

Find it on waring Street opposite the Merchant Hotel. This space provides dedicated desks and private offices for creative businesses, and is the perfect city centre base to meet clients! 

Find more of Jenny's work at jennyevadesign.com 👀

#belfastcreatives #supportlocalartists
#blickresidents #blicksharedstudios
#illustration #hillstreetbelfast #belfastcathedralquarter
What a gorgeous weekend. Hope everyone got to enjoy the good weather.
Did you know that as well as providing physical workspace for creatives we also provide virtual office space for only £20 a month. A city centre address creates a confident and professional first impression and separates your business and home life. You can choose between our South Belfast address at 51 Malone Road, BT9 6RY or our Cathedral Quarter address 46 Hill Street, BT1 2LB

For more info visit our website (link in profile) or get in touch
Hill St soaking up all the sunlight today ☀️

Our shared studio space on the top floor of this lovely building is the perfect base for a growing creative business, with great coffee around the corner, break out spaces to catch up with clients and a friendly organising team on hand to help!

Find out about our other studio spaces on our website > link in bio 🌿

#blicksharedstudios #belfaststudiospace #coworkingspace #sharedstudios #dedicateddesk #networking #belfastcitycentre #belfastcreatives #inspiration
Our lovely Hill Street studios by resident and team member @jenny_eva_design✨

Check out more of her work at jennyevadesign.com!

#belfastcreatives #supportlocalartists
#blickresidents #blicksharedstudios
#illustration #hillstreetbelfast #belfastcathedralquarter
Beautiful sun filled views from our Hill St. studios this morning ☀️

#blicksharedstudios #belfastcathedralquarter #studiospace #inspiration #sunlight #workspace #workspacegoals
We got the chance to chat with Documentary fillmmaker Gillian Callan, one of our newest residents at Cotton Court. Gillian shared her top tips as a freelancer, who inspires her (Whitney Houston!) and how she overcame any hurdles starting out. 

Have a read on the blog 👉 link in bio!

#meettheresident #blicksharedstudios #studiospace #belfastcreatives