Newsletter February 2021

Exploring Boundaries & Two New Events

The sun is higher over the mountains, there are bright yellow celandines in the fields and, at 6am today, we had LOUD birdsong. While January seemed to have 593 days in it, February has whizzed by – so much so that I’m sending this out in early March! We are moving towards daylight and warmth now and the spectacular full moon and sunshine at the end of February has been long-awaited and most welcome. I had a dawn trip up the hill last weekend to witness the most spectacular sinking of the full moon (see pic at the bottom) and parallel sunrise.

In what feels to have been a personal triumph of ‘hope over the reality of lockdown’, I’ve spent the last month developing and launching two new weekend events for later this year.

Yoga and Fell Running Weekend for Women (July 3rd & 4th, 2021): It’s long been my desire to develop a course to progress the Beginning Fell Running day that so many of you have done – and here it is. We’re combining the highest-quality running coaching, the joy of fell running and the space to develop physically and mentally through the positive role of yoga – and all in one of the most beautiful locations in the UK. To provide this, we are very excited to be teaming up with The Sports Ashram.

Jack Maitland is one of the UK’s top coaches. A former international fell runner and triathlete himself, he’s coming in to work with us on this weekend. Something that we are very keen to offer you, and something Jack believes in firmly, is the importance of yoga to runners of all levels, from Sunday-morning joggers to club athletes and beyond. Being truly fit is about having a balanced body, good mental focus and a curiosity to explore your own boundaries. Our weekend caters for everyone with a basic level of running fitness.

Kirsten is our yoga teacher with a superb ‘feet on the ground’ approach and a thorough understanding of the active body.
No previous experience of yoga is necessary and the weekend has been designed for you to work at your own pace in a challenging and positive way. We only have 14 places so early booking is advised. Full details and online booking for the weekend are here

The Yoga and Walking Weekend for Women (October 2nd & 3rd): This is for active, open-minded women who are keen to explore, have an interest in nature and who would like to build a strong, flexible, healthy body and mind. We have teamed up with The Sports Ashram again and will combine superb, stunning landscapes and very different types of walk with the space for participants to develop physically and mentally through the positive role of yoga. The walks are structured for you to be able to physically work at your own level: they are not ‘keep up with the leader’ in a crocodile file at all– we will make things much more interesting than that! One will be a guided nature walk, focusing on the importance of biodiversity and how to create land that supports this. The focus of the walking will be on exploration, learning and appreciation – and we hope that it will get you engaged.
No previous experience of yoga is necessary and we only have 14 places. Full information and online booking are here.

A participant on one of our Fell Running courses last year sent me an interesting, scholarly article on intrinsic and extrinsic motivation in athletes. It’s a complex psychological field where balance is all-important, but it set me thinking about how our lockdown world has affected our motivation. We all need deadlines, dates, standards, external appreciation, rewards and goals, but the importance of drawing on where our internal enjoyment comes from and what motivates us from the heart I’ve found very important during this past year. I notice how, for me, getting out in nature on foot or on the bike has been vital – even on poor weather days. I always feel better for having been outside, looking at what’s happening, seeing the unexpected, charting the small changes week by week, feeling the first warmth in the sun – and now marvelling at the mud FINALLY drying out. There is always something new to see and it’s imperative to retaining my balance amid it all. It is worth thinking how we feed our intrinsic motivation and where it lies.

We live in an image-rich social media world, but this picture of alder catkins taken on a bitterly cold day by photographer friend Lucy (Instagram: the_wandering_gaze) is astonishing. Taken in a nature reserve in Bristol (ours are still purple-tight and closed high up here in the Black Mountains), it had me fixated by the colour, intricacy and detail.

At the time of writing this, I am still awaiting clear directions from Wales for their ‘roadmap’ out of lockdown. I will be in touch with everyone booked on April and May courses when I know what’s possible. Fingers and EVERYTHING are crossed and it’s very frustrating waiting in uncertainty, but I think we have to ‘sit tight’ for a little longer until things become clearer.

All the events for 2021 are on the Element website so do take a look and do feel encouraged to come and join us. Quality, inclusivity, and finding your own edges and boundaries sit at the heart of what we do.

Let’s hope that soon we can all meet up in person once again. But until that time, just like the natural world around us on the cusp of renewal, here’s to blossomings and openings.


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