Yoga With Melissa

Hello, and welcome to my website

My name is Melissa Stansfield and I’m a Hatha Yoga Teacher in Yorkshire.

If you are thinking of joining a yoga class in and around Barnsley or would just like some information about Yoga, then you’re in the right place.
If you are looking for pictures of naked yogis in Downward Facing Dog, you may wish to re-start your search !

Please find below a very brief description of what Hatha Yoga is, some details about my classes and a little bit about me.

I hope you find this information useful.

What is Yoga…

Yoga is a Sanskrit word meaning UNION – the union of the mind, the body and the soul – and its main aim is to ‘still the mind’.

Yoga originated in India around 2000 BC. There are many different types of Yoga, but the one that is most popular here in Yorkshire (and the rest of the Western World) is Hatha Yoga.

Hatha Yoga emphasises strenuous effort and it encourages awareness of the body and the breath through various physical postures and breathing exercises.

Some of the other types of Yoga you may have heard of, e.g. Ashtanga, Yin, Vinyasa etc. are all forms of Hatha Yoga.

In short, Hatha Yoga is a way of keeping the body and mind fit and healthy. And what’s fab about it is it’s for EVERYONE!!

Who can practice Yoga…

EVERYONE!! Men, women, old, young, fat, thin, the strong, fit and healthy and the knackered! And all sorts in between.

In my classes, I teach a wide age range of students – from teenagers to people in their late 70’s and the classes are a mixture of men and women.

Generally, the classes are of mixed ability. That means that there are some students who are very physically strong and fit and regularly stand on their heads for fun, others who do most of the class in a chair because of physical limitations and then those who are somewhere in between. I fall into the latter category.

Although, yoga is for everyone and my classes are made up of a mixture of people, I do recommend in some cases specialist classes to get the most out of your practise - for instance, pregnancy yoga classes and children’s yoga classes.

I try my best to accommodate everyone, but if for whatever reason my classes aren’t suitable for you then I will try and point you in the right direction of another yoga class.

I often hear people say they’re not sure if they can do yoga as they aren’t very flexible or they can’t balance very well or they are not strong enough.

These concerns are normal and are shared by lots of people going to a yoga class for the first time.

My advice is, don’t worry about it, do what you can – we all have to start somewhere and those things will definitely improve with time. And usually people find they are better than they think.

In Class…

In class, we always focus on what we CAN DO rather than what we CAN’T, so whilst teaching, I try my best to suggest a variety of ways of doing a posture or offer alternative postures so everyone can join in.

As well, I try to suggest ways in which students can deepen their practice if they want to.

Usually my Hatha Yoga Classes consist of:

  • A few moments of stillness – to scan the body, mind and breath and check-in with how we are feeling

  • A warm-up – preparing the muscles and joints for physical exercise

  • Sun Salutations – further warming the muscles and joints and also connecting body movement with breath

  • Postures (Asanas) - exploring different poses in a variety of ways and sometimes sequencing them (Vinyasa)

  • Breath awareness (Pranayama) – to help ‘still’ the mind and control stress
  • Relaxation – the only reason most people come to class !!


There are many, many benefits to regularly practicing yoga. Here, I have listed just a few my students have told me they’ve noticed:

  • Increased vitality and strength

  • Improved muscle tone

  • Makes the body stronger

  • Improved flexibility

  • Feel more supple

  • Improvement in balance

  • A better ability to relax

  • Improved concentration

  • Can deal with stress better

  • A better night's sleep after a yoga class

  • Get to do things with your body you never imagined you would!

Extra Information about my classes…

I provide all equipment that is needed for your practice, for example mats, straps (don’t let this put you off!), blocks etc. However, feel free to bring your own stuff if you like.

Many students buy and bring their own mats when they know they are going to be attending a class regularly. As well, some students like to bring blankets for relaxation. I’ve even got one student who comes with her own stool (don’t ask!)

I recommend wearing comfortable clothing that you can move freely in, like leggings and a t shirt. I also suggest bare feet, but some students prefer to wear socks and that’s fine as long as they grip the mat.

As with all physical exercise, it is not advisable to eat just before coming to class. Give it an hour or two to allow your food to settle before practising.
And finally, all classes are £6. There’s no need to pre-book – just turn up and enjoy. Before turning up to class, contact me to check the class is running.

Ashtanga Yoga…

As I mentioned previously, there are many styles of Hatha Yoga. One of these is Ashtanga.

The term Ashtanga means ‘eight limbs’ and was devised about 200BC by the great Indian sage Patanjali.

It is a practice of Surya Namaskara (Sun Salutations) and classical yoga postures and it aims to connect the mind and the body through the ‘thread of the breath’.

My personal practice is Ashtanga influenced and this is reflected in my classes.

Vinyasa Yoga…

The Sanskrit word ‘Vinyasa’ can be translated as “arranging something in a special way”, like yoga poses for example.

In Vinyasa yoga classes (sometimes called Vinyasa Flow), students coordinate movement with breath to flow from one pose to the next. Less time is spent in stationary poses – the focus of the class being on transitions.

Vinyasa yoga classes are often fast-paced and rhythmical, increasing the heart rate and generating heat.

What are the benefits of Vinyasa yoga?

  • Increased vitality and strength

  • Increases endurance and strength while improving your fitness levels

  • Improves stability, balance and core strength

  • The focus on movement with breath helps improve concentration and lower stress and anxiety levels

Hot Pod Yoga…

This is a Vinyasa yoga class (see above) but it takes place in a temperature-controlled environment (in a Pod) of a toasty 37°C. This accelerates the warming up of your muscles, which subsequently enables greater flexibility. Be prepared to sweat!


I'm currently teaching a Pregnancy Yoga Class at Mind Body Spirit Studio every Thursday at 6-7pm.

Booking is required for this class through the studios' websites

Discover how pre-natal Yoga can prepare your body, mind and breathing for delivery and beyond…

Benefits of Pre-natal Yoga:

  • Promotes a sense of well-being and encourages body awareness

  • Reduces stress and anxiety and promotes relaxation

  • Improves sleep

  • Helps you prepare for labour by increasing strength, stamina and flexibility

  • Can help to decrease back pain, headaches, nausea and other symptoms of pregnancy

  • Strengthens the pelvic floor

  • Boosts good circulation which can help with fluid retention

So, What’s Involved in Pre-natal Yoga?

Typically, a pre-natal yoga class will last around an hour and consist of:
  • Breath awareness – learning where the breath is coming from and the connection within

  • Breathing techniques to relax and focus and also to help during labour

  • Gentle stretching to ease tension and increase flexibility (which could help in labour)

  • Posture (or Asana) work which will help develop strength, body awareness and balance. Also posture and movement can help a baby find the best possible position prior to birth. Furthermore, it can help familiarise the body with possible positions for labour.

  • Relaxation exercises/techniques

There will also be some group discussion and the opportunity to share worries and ideas. A pre-natal yoga class is a lovely place to meet other mums-to-be, it’s a great way to build your support network, increase your confidence and to connect to your changing body, your baby and to others.

Yin Yoga…

Yin Yoga is part of the Hatha Yoga tradition and it combines the influences of Indian Yoga with Chinese Daoist practices and Western science.

The main emphasis of Yin Yoga is long-help passive stretches that mobilise and strengthen the joints, ligaments and deep fascial networks.

I run a Hatha/Yin class at Thursday 7:20-8:35pm at Mind Body & Spirit and Saturdays 9-10am at the Company Gym.

A little bit about me…

I started going to yoga classes in 2002 in a gym in Rotherham and have been practising regularly ever since.

I qualified as a Yoga Instructor with the British Wheel of Yoga in 2014 and as any yoga instructor knows the training is on-going.

Since qualifying, I have done many workshops including Yoga for Athletes, Meditation and Anatomy. Also, I have recently completed the British Wheel of Yoga Pregnancy Module and the Yin Yoga Teacher training.

For me, yoga has gone from a once or twice a week pass time to a way of life.

My aim is to share my love of yoga with as many people as will let me.

Melissa Yoga

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