Alex Belcourt

Yoga, Meditation & Ayurveda

Alex Belcourt

Strength for Women


The idea for this workshop came to me back in May when I was helping someone lift into a handstand and she breathed out a heavy sigh: “I’m not strong enough“….

I had a big clear out of papers and journals a few weeks later and came across this entry from my very first teacher training in 2007:

Oct 21

Ran into “core” issues today. Shaking of my lower abdominals. Feels like there is a tiny, frightened little girl in there. All muscle is on the outside but there is terror & fear & anxiety buried. Hollow down there. I’m excavating. Peeling the superficial layers of strength & protection. Peeling back to see what’s inside.

Here was a reminder of how far I had come in ten years.

What have I discovered about strength and resiliency through yoga along the way?


It is common to come into poses and sequences and then shake, sweat, cry, laugh for no apparent reason. If we are able to give ourselves time and space, create room for reflection and digestion, the body will speak volumes and transmit its stories that can be at once surprising and of real personal value and importance.

The teachers and trainings that I have had are too many to mention but relevant to this workshop the work I will be sharing relate most to Sarah Powers & the Viniyoga approach, Gioia Irwin & Biotensegrity and, most recently the Yoga Detour method of combining functional movement and strength training into asana.


Strength through awareness, and a softer approach. We will bring attention to and address:

  • Hamstrings
  • Glutes
  • Intrinsic Back Muscles (incl Quadratus Lumborum)
  • Abdominals (Rectus Abdominus/Obliques)
  • Shoulders (Rotator Cuff)
  • Neck (Lower Trapezius, Deep Neck Flexors)

We will break therapeutic movement sequences down and go into a little more depth with anatomy and include more repetition. Alternating movement with holds, engaging muscle, and release. Some light weights may be used to increase resistance.

When and how does ‘exercise’ become yoga? Does physical strength lead to mental and emotional strength? We will talk about this.


Repetition is a key element to building strength and mobility but, even then, you have to ask yourself when does repetition become strain? Changing up your movement patterns, challenging the body in varying ways is important to healthy tissue development as is recovery and relaxation. There will be time for self massage at the end.


I’m always grateful to the advice from one senior teacher: once you have mastered a pose, it’s time to leave it alone. Put it on the shelf. 

Repetition is crucial. And it can be wear and tear. No dogmas here. Live the paradox. It’s your journey after all.


“Core” and strength can be a very sensitive area to travel into — vulnerable making — so I’ve made this workshop available to women only. My hope is to create a comfortable space for you to come in and begin where you are.

If you are recovering from injury, illness, a period of inactivity, or simply want to know more about how to build strength practices into your self-care/yoga/exercise regimens this may be a good starting point for you. We will explore, test, and find ways to work on strength that feel right for you. Be prepared to go at your own pace as we will all be coming in at different levels.


Walking the line between what’s possible and what is….

I remember in my early days of practice my teacher asked us to lift off the floor into chaturanga (low plank) from our belly. I blurted out helplessly in front of the entire room: “But that’s impossible!!

Four people floated up off the floor around me.

Let others’ strength lift and inspire you. May we have the strength to meet ourselves and our lives with grace and compassion. Practicing in community can help us remember and feel the strength of our shared connection and humanity in the process.


SAT 7 OCT, 2 – 4:00PM   £25

If you are interested in joining the workshop please contact the studio on (01242) 523282 or