ReUnion Yoga & Meditation, a studio that is surrounded by nature, the ideal breakaway from the hustle of the city. Get inspired with yoga workshops and retreats. Or take your yoga to the next level with Jim Harrington through a focused course or teacher training program.
They’ve been making use of online classes tremendously during Covid-19 with Bookamat. This is a truly unique Yoga & Meditation studio in Cape Town, we knew you guys would love reading all about it!
Romi: Can you give us some background of ReUnion Yoga and Meditation?
Jim: ReUnion was set up as a service for my students who teach. It was the second successful yoga school that I have run and the intention was and still is to teach yoga skills in a way that people can genuinely develop and master the art of yoga.
The word meditation was very deliberately included in the name because I think that Meditation is the missing link in most yoga studios and it seemed like it was about time to bring that up to the fore.
We have always been based in the CBD, but around a year ago had the great good fortune to find a beautiful and green semi urban space. Under the shade of a forest and the East side of the breathtaking table Mountain, so we made a move. It has been a major upgrade for us and we are very happy running there.
Romi: I loved reading about the different types of yoga that you offer at the studio! From Yoga Synergy, Budokon Yoga and Vinyasa Yoga. Do you combine these different types of yoga into one class at the studio or do you prefer to practice each separately depending on fitness levels and preference?
Jim: We generally keep them separate and true to their origins. especially Yoga synergy and Budokon. But Vinyasa yoga is itself a hybrid style that evolves and absorbs influences. That often ends up showing traces of the other styles and whatever the teacher happens to be exploring at the time.
The emphasis at the studio is best quality – Best quality of instruction. Best quality of understanding. Best quality of connection with practitioners and teachers.Reunion Yoga & Meditation
Romi: It’s incredible to see the different courses and events you offer at ReUnion with founder Jim Harrington. Let’s start with the 200 Hour Level One Yoga Teacher Training Programme. South Africa’s first Alliance RYS 200 certified Yoga teacher training course. Can you explain what makes this course so extraordinary?
Jim: What makes this extraordinary is the experience of the teaching team and also a willingness and curiosity to dig deep and to keep on digging. As a teacher, I have to keep peeling the onion, my own continuing exploration of the subject matter is my mission and this is what people come for.
The Training has a strong structure that has been honed over the years. But the teaching is always evolving a little and the exciting thing is that science, medicine and yoga are on speaking terms these days. So this is, I guess what sets this training apart.
It is more than just a set of instructions on how to hold a class. It is an intense immersive experience but also much more than just a boot camp. You could say that it is more of an induction into a society of yoga explorers, some of whom teach as well.
The 300Hr advanced level program is there as a follow up which builds on the foundation of the 200hr training and helps people to raise the bar on their teaching skills.
Romi: The course Yoga & Conditioning for Surfers short course really stood out for me. It was the first time I’ve seen a Yoga and Meditation studio offer this type of course. Being situated in Cape Town, it’s the ideal destination for surfers all over the world to join in!
Jim: I am a lifelong surfer and have surfed around the globe. Living in Cape Town has allowed me to explore the personal challenge of big wave surfing. The waves in Cape Town are really world class but it is a harsh ocean environment, cold and sharky, it’s really not for the faint hearted. So this is where the overlap is; Yoga is a mind and body discipline and so is surfing.
Yoga exercises, visualisation and breathwork has always been a part of my preparation especially in challenging waves. So it is just natural that we want to share this with others who love the ocean.
It’s actually so much fun to approach yoga and training from the angle of performance in the water. I started these workshops about ten years ago and it was very fringe then but now everyone wants to get into both yoga and surfing. It will be interesting to see how this goes as an online offering.
Romi: Taken from your website: “Ether is the last of the 5 sequences and is usually practiced at the time of year when the summer is starting again, but the year is ending, so there is much general exhaustion’.For people who are not aware of the 5 sequences, can you give some depth into this?
Jim: Wow, there’s so much that I could say about this and these sequences. It’s complex and to really understand it you just have to do it. But I would say that what I learned from practicing this has helped me to be a much more effective teacher, therapist, and also to take good care of my own body and health.
The way that the five sequences mesh together to form a comprehensive training method is actually pure genius. But you will only really understand that by working through 5 courses and then starting again for a second round.
Yoga synergy is kind to the body but can be really challenging at the same time depending how you want to play it. It is the life’s work of Simon Borg Olivier and Bianca Machliss. Who between them have about 75 years worth of teaching experience and trained with the yoga masters of India before they became Physiotherapists. So it is really a strong synthesis of modern and ancient yoga.
The courses have been really successful online and the feedback has been great. Most of the sessions I have taught from my home in early mornings twice a week. Some of the work I would never have dreamed of trying to teach via streaming, like headstand and other advanced postures, but because of the lockdown it happened.
I have just taken things step by step and allowed time to explain clearly. I repeat things quite a lot and I add in extra drills and homework for people so it’s been really good learning process for people.
Romi: With South Africa having had one of the strictest lockdowns for an extended time, how did ReUnion adapt during lockdown? And was there any of the courses that had to be canceled or postponed due to lockdown?
Jim: Yes this has been the year of postponements! Normally I don’t postpone or cancel anything. It’s kind of one of my rules, so this has been a process for us. The year has been all about “Let’s just wait and see.”
We have just had to be open to change and uncertainty like everyone else on the planet. We closed the studio very early on in March and I was about to travel to France for a Ski and Yoga retreat. So that was the first thing to cancel. The month intensive Teacher Training in April ended up moving a few times. It was like following a moving target, and we eventually did it in July at the new studio which was fantastic.
I remember joking that I had stage fright because the people were live and right in front of me instead of on a screen.
Romi: Meditation is such an important tool. Now more than ever I hope people from all over the world give themselves the opportunity to practice some sort of meditation to realign, as mental health is detrimental during these times. Is there any advice that you would like to share with some of our readers, and fellow studio owners?
Jim: Yes. Daily meditation is an anchor for the mind. When things are turbulent, then you need the anchor more than when things are calm. Just do it! sit down and put aside worries and tasks for a moment as often as you can and it will make everything else run more smoothly.
This COVID crisis has been a challenge for non meditators much more than for meditators. All our usual “go to” distractions and crutches were snatched away which was obviously very tough for most of us.
Some of the people that I know secretly welcomed the lockdown and turned it into a positive experience because they could put themselves into a personal retreat. That was actually the first thing that I did online, early in the lockdown. I just offered for people to join me in the early morning for lead meditation practice.
Refocus. Mindful movement and meditation practices have a variety of proven health benefits, enhancing your awareness, focus and emotional intelligence.Reunion Yoga & Meditation
Romi: What are some exciting events and courses that we can look forward to at ReUnion for 2021?
Jim: More retreats, More sports focussed classes, Yoga Therapy and we are working on a short online Teacher Training offerings. And who knows? we are still open to change, evolution and anything can happen so let’s just see what happens.
We find Reunion Yoga & Meditation to be truly inspiring with how they managed to swift their whole set up to go online. And more so because of how the studio has evolved to offer diversity and growth. For everyone to be able to go from practicing yoga, to becoming a teacher!
Take your yoga to the next level with Jim Harrington by contacting them on one of these platforms below. If you’re in the area we would highly recommend joining one of their incredible classes. Or join one of their classes online!
One of the biggest things from this year was how incredible the power of technology can be. Bringing people from around the world together from training together, to meetings, to seeing your family.