In this episode I talk with Frayah Humphries of www.frayahhumphries.com to talk about all things yoga! We are both really passionate about yoga so it was good to get together for a chat and also discover how Frayah has combined yoga with a soundbath with great results.
Grab a cuppa and join us
You can contact Frayah at the following:
Facebook: Essential Yoga With Frayah
Yoga and soundbath: https://www.frayahhumphries.com/rooted-yoga-and-sound
You can contact me via the usual email firstname.lastname@example.org
📍 Hi, this is Liz and welcome to my podcast, Spiritually Speaking with Liz. Today I'm joined by the fabulous Frayah. Frayah is a yoga teacher and very accomplished artist. Frayah, welcome and thank you for joining me in this episode. Oh, thank you for having me and pleased to be here. So I'm gonna dive straight in and I'm gonna ask you what drew you to yoga?
Oh, it's a good question. Um, I think I am very lucky. I grew up in a house where yoga was the norm, so, um, yeah, very, should we say alternative household? That's amazing. It is like, I didn't appreciate it at the time. Uh, when I was younger, my version of being a rebel was to be as normal as humanly possible.
my family was so alternative. Um, yeah. But yoga was just always there. My parents went to yoga classes. We'd talk about sort of the philosophy around yoga at the dinner table, so I can't think of a time. Yoga wasn't part of my life. It was just always, always something there. But it wasn't sort of until, until I was older and, uh, sort of after uni that, um, that I really got into it properly.
And after leaving a bad relationship, shall say, or a difficult relationship, you, I sort of found yoga as a way to get back to being. So, Oh, that's lovely. Out of outta the horrible situation. Then you came back to yourself, which is really nice. Absolutely. Yeah. I think that's what yoga can do for you.
Exactly. I was just gonna say that, I hear that with a lot of people where they've maybe dabbled in yoga or maybe didn't know anything about it and gone to it through not feeling great about themselves or something happening or deciding. Things need to change in my life, and then they discover yoga and then they start to discover themselves.
Absolutely. Yeah. So I'm sure you like me, have had lots of tears on the mat, not just ours, but with students. Oh yeah, because that movement, nothing, obviously I'm passionate about yoga, but nothing to me moves the body like yoga does. Yes. Yeah, absolutely. I mean, obviously, yeah, same. Passionate about yoga. I mean, I used to dance as well.
I love dancing, but I never got quite the same effect from dancing. Mm-hmm. . Um, I think partly because it being more of an aesthetic thing. It was how it looked, how it related to other people. Mm-hmm. . Whereas to me, yoga doesn't have to relate to others in any way, you know? It doesn't, it doesn't. Although Instagram might want to convince us, otherwise it doesn't need to look good
It doesn't, it doesn't have to show anything. And it's not about how it, how you portray to the outside world. It's about how you, how it feels inside. So I think, yeah, it's, for me, it's that one form of movement that really is. Shifting you and how you are feeling and what's been happening and, uh, internally and externally.
Absolutely, and I think a, well, I don't like the word choreographed, but I can't think of another one at the minute, but a well choreographed class can do that because you can go through the chakras, you can go through those movements of release, so you can build something. And then gently bring it back down again, can't you?
Absolutely. Yeah, it is. And, and I think you've just sort of touched on that yoga really is a one size fits all, isn't it? Oh, completely. It's, yeah. I think the practice itself can suit every single human being and animal, I suppose, . Um, but it can fit everybody. That doesn't mean that the same yoga class or the same yoga teacher fits everybody.
No. But the practice itself can be for anyone. Yeah. And I think finding, finding your teacher, You. Um, I went to, I was quite lucky actually. The first one I went into, I gelled really well with, and she was my inspiration. And that was nine. I was training in my massage. So that was 92, 19 92. 1993. Yeah. And Barbara was just, it was just in a, a village hall.
I shouldn't say just in a village hall because a lot of the classes are, and I think the better ones are in a village hall. And her, her classes were a revelation to me. So I was just coming into this world from a very different world and her, her little readings at the beginning, um, just how she was, she was just so amazing and so positive, and made all her own products and she was just into a healthy lifestyle. And in that village hall, I was the youngest and there were women in their mid seventies, I would've thought. And they'd been with her a long time, and I know why now, you know, because obviously they had that connection, but it's. I was really lucky to find her.
Sometimes it takes a little bit of moving about with people, or sometimes you go to a class and that first class just, That's it, isn't it? You, you, you're hooked. That's it. Yeah. Sometimes, I mean, I'm the same. I've been really lucky with yoga teachers, the ones that I found. Have always, um, yeah, been the right, the right teachers for me, even if it's the right teacher in that time.
Cause I've done different classes and different styles of yoga. Um, And yeah, I've been very lucky. But I do know I've had people say, Oh no, yoga's not for me. I tried it once. Yeah. And you know, part of me just wants to sort of, I dunno, drag dragging them to yoga is not the right way forward. But, you know, I want to sort of encourage them to a few different teachers because like with so many things in life, we all come at it from our own. Perspective, we approach how we teach from our own experience and, um, so many different aspects come into it. So, you know, we can be teaching the same practice and it be an entirely different experience for each person. And that doesn't mean. But you know, you've been to one teacher and you didn't gel with it, so that teacher was bad. It, they just weren't the teacher for you, you know? And then you go somewhere else and they could have been trained by the same person, but that person, just, that teacher gels with you and you connect with them, and then it's the best experience of your life. So, Yeah, I would encourage everybody to just do a bit of window shopping when it comes to yoga teachers, windowshopping, we don't mind.
I mean, I can't speak for all yoga teachers, but I don't mind if people and go, you know, it wasn't for me. I'm like, That's fine. There's lots of other fab yoga teachers even just in, uh, Ripon which is where, where we are, which is quite a small place We have loads of incredible yoga teachers and I am never offended if someone goes off to one of the other fab yoga teachers.
They found yoga and that's the important bit. Yeah, that's that's the key, isn't it? And I think with a lot of people, it, unfortunately, there's this image, like the Instagram images of this perfect pose, this really slim girl, very flexible. And it's not about that, is it? It's not about that at all. You know, great for her if, or him if they've got themselves to that point and they're as flexible as that but it doesn't matter. It's, it's about how it fits you, isn't it, And how it works around you and your lifestyle and your body. That's it. And that's something I'm always trying to encourage with my students is, I don't need them or desire them to ever get into a specific posture. I almost don't. I barely teach poses really.
I teach how something feels and what we are trying to, I don't want to say accomplish either, because it's not about accomplishing something, but what we're trying to aim for in a pose. I'd rather. Their poses look, nothing like anything that we were aiming for, but them feel the right stretch or feel the right connection to their body.
To me, that's more important than them, you know, having all their arms and legs going in the right direction, as it were. That's lovely though, is that I, I really like that, and I think that's, that's what makes you a good teacher. It's, it's, Well, it is, isn't it? It's adapting to the people. It's adapting to your, to your class, to each individual and meeting them where they're at at that time, you know?
So, and really that's what the, yo that, you know, we have a bit of a confused idea of what yoga is, uh, particularly in the western world. You know, it's marketed. As quite an aesthetic practice. You know, it's what you wear. Like you said, it's the looking very flexible on Instagram and not just that, it making it look like you have a specific sort of life, you know? Yeah. As a look. Yeah. Really, you know, the asana and their practice. So the physical side of our yoga is to prepare the body to sit in meditation. You know, it's to connect us to our inner selves, to help us understand how we feel physically, mentally, emotionally, so that we can then sit with that and get into those states of meditation.
Um, so to me, forcing someone into a pose that looks a certain way isn't necessary to their yoga practice. You could come to a yoga class and do two poses and if then you can relax into meditation at the end, then the asana physical side of it has done its job, you know? Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. And, and this is a thing in, in the West, people say, Oh, I go to yoga.
If you say that in the east, Which part? Yeah. You can't go to yoga. Yeah. You can't go to yoga . No. It's not a destination . No, no. Yeah, and it, it, it's something that they laugh at, isn't it? It's something that amuses them, but exactly. That. The, the aim is to get the mind prepared for the meditation and to get the body in a healthy, relaxed state in life.
Absolutely. Yeah. So give me an, an outline then of what one of your classes might look like. . Uh, yeah. So typically, uh, one of my classes I do, so I do 90 minute classes, which isn't very fashionable anymore. , um, people tend to do the sort of hour or even less than an hour. Um, but I, I like 90 minute classes, um, so that we can take things a bit slower. Um, and we start with around 10 minutes of pranayama practice, so our breathing, um, and we'll usually do throughout the term we'll stick to one breathing practice so we can build on it. We'll then move into, our asana practice. So the physical side of it and we tend to start nice and slow and warm the body, body up. We'll work maybe towards a vinyasa which uh, means sort of a collection of movements. Um, I know Liz, you know, all of these things, but I won't assume that everyone listening. No, don't knows what all these words mean. Don't assume I do either . So, yeah, so we'll work towards maybe a vinyasa, maybe, maybe sort of a, a peak pose or, uh, more di something more difficult and balances then we'll start to like cool down a bit and then finishwith what I aim for is a, at least a good 20 minute meditation at the end. And then we finished by chanting Om. So it's it sounds very similar to, to mine and how I did my classes. And again, the hour and a half makes such a difference. I did, um, there was a gym that wanted me to work with them and I did hour, they would only do hour slots.
Yeah. And I just didn't like it. I, I couldn't, I felt rushed. I didn't feel the people were, were getting the true benefit. And it was aimed at exercise. Yeah. Which was, That's it. Mm. I do a couple of hour classes just because of timings of when they fit into people's weeks and things, you know, cuz we do need to accommodate as well.
Of course, of course. Yeah. Um, but I'm exactly the same. I feel rushed. Inevitably the thing that gets lost is the meditation at the end, which is the goal. Um, and I just feel like I'm moving them from pose to pose rather. Really making the most of that time on the mat. Um, so yeah, for me, the hour and a half and we live such busy lives, you know, and to give yourself that hour and a half where you're not going, Oh, this needs doing, or I should go and put the wash on, or, or whatever.
It's, I just think it, it is of such benefit. Even if, even if you, you know, Don. Don't feel like you're getting, I dunno, the physical side of it or the whatever you, you are getting, just having that hour and a half to yourself and taken away from phones and distractions, I think is. Important right now.
Yeah, me too. And it's, it's that dedication to yourself. Yes. It's gifting yourself that there's nothing more precious than time and there's nothing more precious than time out. So just that switching off of your phone for an hour and a half, even teaching, switching off your phone for an hour and a half, you just lost in it then.
And I think it's, it's so powerful and. It, it, I dunno, I think it upsets me sometimes, like you say, that the connotations the west has about yoga and the reasons behind it, which they don't often get really, because like we say, they see it as a fitness and, oh, well, I'm not, I'm not getting any abs or I'm not. Do you know? And it, it is, it's about flexibility of the body, but it's about flexibility of the mind and learning how to take what you've learned on the mat off the mat. Isn't it out? That's the real test to me, then taking it out into the world. Yes. And being that calmer person, keeping that meditative practice within and being able to carry that out.
So that's why I think at least one yoga class a week. Is a must, I think, to be able to do that. Otherwise, you, you can't, to me, well, I can't, anyway. I, I need that like a reset. So I, I'll do, I'll do yoga every morning, but it might only be 10 minutes, 20 minutes, depending. That's asana practice, not the meditation side. But then on a day off, then that will be my treat to think, Oh, right house is nice and quiet. Okay, I'm gonna have that hour and a half to myself. And it's just such a joy for what it br for what it brings. And, and I, and I, I do, it does make me sad how it's, how it's so often just brushed aside as woo woo or hippy or, you know, and there's so. much History behind it, but so much knowledge and wisdom behind it. It's just, I mean, our teach our, um, Courses that we did, they're really intense and I don't think people realized that, you know, the philosophy side in itself just, yeah, it's fascinating, but it loses You or it did me! And you never stopped learning. Yeah, absolutely.
It was almost, there was almost a state of panic I think, cuz my, so my course. Three years long, which is something people are usually shocked by. Cause they think you go off for a weekend. Yeah. Or a month to Bali. Um, and you know, that was, that wasn't the road I chose to go down. I did a three year long course and in those three years, you know, there were just points where I just thought, well, I'm never, I'm never going to learn all of this. Like, it's vast, the. Scope of yoga is just so vast and there is so much to learn. And then there's new things to learn. So like you say, you know, this ancient knowledge, but then we now have science that backs up what people were teaching thousands of years ago, you know?
And I find. I find that like endlessly fascinating, but it does mean that then you go in, Oh God, no, there's a new thing to learn now, . Um, and yeah, it's, there is so much depth to the practice that, you hope to try and convey in a class, but there's just. Too much. Yeah, there's just no . There's too much. You blow everyone's minds
I think the good thing about it as well is because it is so vast and there's so much depth to it, but you can bring in what's currently going on. You know, so any um, deemed fads or anything that's sort of in the news a lot, healthwise, you can bring that into classes, can't you? And to make it more attractive to get people in and, and keep it interesting for the people that are with you for the long haul.
Definitely. And I always say that although the fads aren't, Sort of the, the origin of yoga or the truth of it if someone comes in because of the fad. So say hot yoga was so, , popular and you know, uh, if anybody wants to go down that route, do do a bit of research. And there's, uh, lots. Things that go hand in hand with the hot yoga that we won't go into but it's, it was very popular.
Um, and it was something, you know, I was, people always said, Have you tried hot yoga? And I said, No, it's not, not something for me. But I understand the idea behind the practice. And to me it was a fad, but it got a lot of people understanding the benefits of a regular yoga practice. Yes. And so even if a ridiculous fad like say goat yoga, guess actually that was pretty good. I'll come again. But without the goat then it was worth doing, doing the goat yoga. So yeah, there's pros and cons to the, to the fads of, Of course there are. And what always, always makes me laugh is, you've been to India as I have, is that a yoga class? In India is nothing like ours are really like, Ooh, really nice.
They are really, it, It makes me sort of smirk a bit because we are trained, take somebody to the limits or just before their limits. You don't push them past it, stay within the comfort, isn't it? It's, it's all about that because it's not about getting into the pose, but then you go to India, the origin of yoga, and they force you.
At seven o'clock in the morning on a concrete floor, on a bamboo mat into. A shoulder stand or a headstand, and it's like, Ow, . Yeah. There's nothing gentle about it. They're really not. They're really, you know, why, you know, why are you not, why can't you do this? And because it's seven o'clock and I'm still a bit stiff.
Yeah. And the, and the floor's hard. You know, I like, Extra, extra squishy mat yeah, extra wide. mat seven, seven mil extra wide here. You know, I don't, don't, No, I'm with you on that. I love my mat, Yeah, so it, it, it does always make me giggle that, and, and I did some training in India and I really enjoyed it on one hand, but on the other hand, it was a real mental struggle for me, the, the way that they do push you. Yes. Yeah. And that's the, that's sort of the, a bit of a, an odd one, isn't it? Because to me, you know, the whole idea with yoga is to understand your own body. And if someone is then pushing you into something, you're not listening to your own body. No. Um, but then, you know, that's, Coming from the country that, you know so, um, yeah, I do sometimes I like to, uh, throw bits of that into my classes. Like just to let my students say that I'm actually being quite nice to them. So things like, so traditionally, uh, cows head pose, you know, in some of the books will be 12 minutes on either side every single day. And so when they're all getting into cows head poses and going, Oh, ow, why are you making us do this? I'm. I'm not asking you to hold up for 12 minutes, so technically I'm being really kind. . Wow. Yeah. 12 min, no, couldn't do that anymore. Yeah, right. Slight shift here. You have been doing some yoga retreats, Day retreats with sound, with Sound Bath, haven't you? So yeah, just give me a brief, how does that work?
How does the sound benefit the yoga? How does the yoga benefit thesound? So yeah, we've been doing events where, um, I've teamed up with a friend of mine's, Sarah who's a sound therapist. And what we do is, the general kind of way it works is we start off, um, Usually with some sort of intention setting practice.
So we tend to theme these around whatever's going on. So, uh, like our next one will be a samhain themed one, um, which is the beginning of winter. , so we'll do some sort of intention setting around that. We'll then practice some yoga, but it will be very gentle. Usually restorative yoga. To really prepare the body for lying down for the sound bath but more than that, it's too, like we were saying about giving people that time. Mm-hmm. , these events are really about having that time for yourself about, connecting in with yourself and, Our events rooted sound and yoga, and that really kind of is the essence of what it's about. It's rooting into, you know, your own being, rooting into community as well cause a lot of it is that connection of the other people who are with you. Yeah. And kind of rebalancing and finding your way back, back to yourself through the yoga. And then we integrate the yoga and sound together. Okay, so Sarah will play instruments and we'll go through maybe a gentle flow or, um, some, a few kind of like different, different movements, uh, with the sound, which is.
Really lovely, because then you have the vibrations from the instruments. So for people who haven't had any sound therapy or been to a sound bath, Sarah uses things like Tibetan bowls, gongs, drums, all instruments that the vibration , it is the healing part. Mm-hmm. , Um, obviously I'm not a sound therapist so I won't try and explain any of that bit.
Mm-hmm. , Um, and yeah, and so then we go into a sound bath and because we've done all of that, those bits before, the body is well prepared for that lying down and getting deep into meditation to get all the benefits from the sound back. Sounds bliss. No, we always finish with something tasty at the end.
Mm-hmm. . So cake and a drink, which nice. You knows a bit of grounding. Yeah. . So how, how long would that be? The yoga and the Sound Bath altogether? So they're two hours long with a little bit at the beginning and the end. We, you know, usually sit around for a while at the end eating cake and nobody wants to move, do they?
Nobody wants to leave. We always end up going home late. So around two hours. Yeah, that sounds really, Yeah. I think I might have to pop along to one of those. Absolutely, and try that out. So before we wrap up, you also have a YouTube channel where you've got classes on there and you've got some meditations on there as well, haven't you?
I'll link that in the bio in the description below. But what, can you just give a brief description about how the different classes that you've got on. Sure. So, um, I, yeah, I have meditations pranayama, so the breathing and the asana. So the physical side, um, I tend to keep them relatively short, so, like we were saying about busy people, people's attention span online tends to be shorter.
So, um, so they're, they're. Should we say bite size chunks and I keep them split up. So, uh, you can go and just practice your pranayma you can just practice the physical side or you can just practice the meditation, or you can do three videos together and do the whole practice. Perfect. So it's not quite the going to a class is it? But it's a very close second and it just gives people that option to be able to. Like what I say on a day off and I've got the house to myself to think, Oh, well I've got maybe 20 minutes. I can just do some of the physical practice. I've got 10 minutes. I can do some of the pranayma. So it's a nice mix and match actually, isn't it, that people can Absolutely and. I have like different, so there's, you know, I have things like videos for yoga for a bad back or yoga to feel strong. Um, yeah, so there's different, different themes as well. So hopefully there's something that appeals to everybody. Oh, I'm sure there will be. . Thank you so much for joining me I really enjoyed our little yoga chat. I could go on forever about yoga could come for about everything to be honest. , but I really appreciate you're joining me. Thank you. And I will put all Frayah's details in the show notes below, so if you live locally, you can contact her. If you don't live locally, you can go onto her YouTube channel and you can check out what she's got to 📍 offer.
Frayah, thank you so much for joining me. Thank you, Liz. And thank you for joining me. Thank you for listening, and I will see you again soon. Bye.