Freedom and Family Yoga

Yoga teacher Jackie Heffer-Cooke, discusses this month’s yoga practise of freedom! How to recognise your own fears and limitations and learn to challenge, or even accept them, leading to a happier, more content way of life. She also talks about Family Yoga and why she is launching a new class!


Family yoga Norwich


Over the last couple of months, the concept of freedom has been at the forefront of my mind, and therefore in my yoga practise. For my birthday in July my best friend bought me a book by Beth Kempton with the title ‘Freedom Seeker, Live more. Worry less. Do what you love.’

As some of you will know I spent August in Italy with my children, kicking around on the beach, enjoying a wilderness family week in an old farmhouse in the middle of the Tuscan hills, camping under the stars and generally having no agenda every day except for ‘what do we feel like doing today’. Pretty easy to feel free in these circumstances. So, how do you take this home and place it into the new term of school, work, family commitments, taxi servicing children to clubs, earning money and cleaning the house.

It’s time to free ourselves

Freedom has been important in my professional life too this month. After 6 years of being at The Orange Grove Clinic in Maddermarket, Catherine Jeans, my former business partner and I, decided to call the clinic a day in its present form. Cath, is also my best friend and bought me the book I mention above, lovely to have a deep understanding together with my beautiful friend.  Managing the clinic has been financially stressful over the years for Cath and I, whilst at the same time being dedicated to our own work in nutrition for Cath, and massage, yoga and birthing for me, and of course, most importantly being the dedicated mums we want to be. So, it is time to free ourselves from the foundations of a building that no longer serves us (and is too expensive to rent), and concentrate on how we can reshape our businesses to really tune into what we can personally manage, what we are passionate about and therefore what will really work for us, and therefore our clients too!

Do one thing a day that scares you

Three weeks ago, I attended a class that challenged my own fears. It was the prestigious ‘Rainbow Children Yoga Training’. That morning I walked past a sign in a shop window that said, ‘Do One Thing A Day That Scares You’. It spoke to me. My expectation of this training was that it would be ‘Floella Benjamin does yoga’, that it would involve lots of play and acro-aerobics and team yoga. I have been to enough yoga trainings to know that they are very interactive, you can’t really train in yoga, without doing yoga… Having had a long, and at times emotional week, looking after the closing and relaunching of the Orange Grove, moving heavy furniture, sorting out websites, starting work as a yoga consultant for the well-respected company ‘Premier’, filming for ZenMuma, and helping care for my poorly mother, I wasn’t sure I was in the mood.

Fears of judging ourselves

Historically I have never been very good at team, or partner yoga, yoga for me is my own space to remove myself from the distractions of world and be mindful in my present skin, bones and brain. If a yoga teacher suggested we hook up with the person next to me I found it could ‘break my yoga spell’, plus we have our fears of judging ourselves against the person we are hooked up with; are they better at the posture than me, are they fitter than me, or even; will I want to touch them, maybe I don’t like the look of them, oh no it’s a fit guy, etc.  Of course, I now know that’s what yoga expects of us, that is what yoga is, that’s how we learn about ourselves and the world around us, by listening to our inner landscape, considering it, knowing where it comes from, then choosing how you respond.

My worst ‘fear’ came true. I was hooked up with a beautiful girl, perfect ‘yoga’ body, who could drop the splits (Hanumanasana in yoga) in a moment, and we had to FLY each other! That means that I had to get this big bottomed body on top of her perfect legs (your partner lies down with legs up), rest myself upon her feet until I could feel the confidence to lift my legs and my chest like a bird flying free!  (The metaphors in yoga, that reflect life, still astound me daily.)

Move forward and fly!

So, of course, to cut the long story short, I do have it in me. I can fly. And the lovely yogi who supported my flying with grace and attention became one of my new yogi friends that weekend. She knew, as I knew, that we all need support from the people around us some days, that connecting and trusting in others is helpful to fly, to be free doesn’t mean to cut yourself off from life and connections, it means accepting the help of those around us who are rooting for us, to be in those connections, to move away from limiting circumstances that are no longer right for us, to be unafraid of change and to move forward and FLY.

This month in our yoga practise we will be flying!


beach-yogaThis month in our YogaBuds classes, we will be flying! Niyama will allow us to observe our personal observations through this practise. Asanas and pranayamas will assist us to ponder these observations. And we will move towards our own Samadhi – our own inner divine – our flying self, unshackled from fear.

In YogaBumps, we will be considering our fears when it comes to pregnancy and birth, and we will mindfully walk through aspects of how we can help ourselves emotionally, and practically with breathing techniques to keep us in a calm place.

In YogaBuds, we will be mindful of how we pass on our fears as mothers, and how we can be mindful to choose whether or not we do this.

And in our birthing classes, the Birthing Tool Kit and HypnoBirthing, well that’s what these lessons are in, birthing without fear.

Don’t forget my lovely Orange Grove Massage Angels have made their own flight to Float, where at the moment there is a special offer of £35 for relaxation and £35 for deep tissue massage! Book whilst you can at this price.

Family Yoga class!

And last, but not least, I am also super happy to launch my first ‘Family Yoga’ class on November 25th, 2.30pm until 4.30 – venue to be confirmed but watch this space and make a note in your diary. One of my biggest fears I am aware of right now is that my children are growing up! And that I want to do as much with them as I can, whilst I can! So, this class is for all of you who feel the same way, and it’s for me and my kids too!


Hopefully, what I have written will mean something to you and I will see you at one of this month’s classes, you never know, we may be able to take flight together 😊

This month on ZenMuma Instagram @jackieheffercookezenmuma

And my facebook @jackieheffercookezenmuma I am taking a Do one thing a day that scares you challenge, Join me? And #letsfly!