Paying more attention to the present moment – to your own thoughts and feelings, and to the world around you – can improve your mental wellbeing. Some people call this awareness ‘mindfulness’. Mindfulness can help us enjoy life more and understand ourselves better. You can take steps to develop it in your own life.
There are lots of mindfulness courses available in Oxford, usually provided in blocks of 8 weeks. Here are a few of the best:
The Oxford Mindfulness Centre teaches us how to deal more skilfully with the stresses and strains of daily living, by practising the skill of deliberately paying attention to what happens in mind and body, to become more familiar with the workings of our own mind patterns and habits. This helps plan for how best to respond, rather than react in our old familiar, often unhelpful ways.
Paula Haddock trains on mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR), mindfulness for social change, collaboration and group working, training of trainers and co co-ordinating the Mindfulness for Social Change Network.
Samatha meditation is an effective but gentle way of training the mind to develop inner strength and freedom from turmoil, leading on to clarity and understanding. By regular daily practice the chattering, unruly mind gradually becomes calmer and clearer.
Meditation, Mondays, 7.30-9pm
23 Osborne Close, OX5 1TU
Informal meditation led by a Zen priest. Beginners welcome and booking essential.
Yoga and Pilates
Yoga has been in existence for many thousands of years, although in recent decades it has become ever more popular for a variety of beneficial reasons, not least as a way of dealing with our daily stress.
Yoga aims to strengthen your body while allowing it to become more flexible; you cannot have one without the other. It aims to bring our distracted thoughts to a single focus for the duration of a class, bringing together the often disparate aspects of the mind and body. Ultimately, Yoga is used to quieten the body and mind so that the practitioner can concentrate on achieving a state of concentration or meditation. This can take some years of practice!
2 Avenue Ln, Oxford OX4 1YF
The Yoga Venue hosts around six classes per day and offers a wide range of payment plans, starting at £15 for a drop in session, but with great savings available for block-booking. Their schedule is packed with classes for all abilities, take a look at what they have on offer here.
Yoga Move Oxford
North Oxford Community Centre, Diamond Place, OX2 7DP
Daria Ricchi teaches private and group yoga and movement classes: a gentle flow + meditation on Monday mornings 9.30-10.45am and more vigorous flow on Thursdays 5.45pm-6.45pm. All classes take place at the North Oxford Community Centre and / or on Zoom. For more info see https://www.yogamoveoxford.co.uk
Common Ground Café 37-38 Little Clarendon St, Oxford OX1 2HU
Yoga for people of all abilities, with some classes focusing more on beginners. They offer a wide range of packages – you can drop into classes for £13 or get deals when you book 5, 10 or more classes at once. Pre/post-natal and kids classes are also offered. Take a look at their full schedule here.
Tara Yoga Centre
2nd Floor Crown House, 193 Cowley Rd, Oxford OX4 1UT
Drop in yoga classes guided by an experienced teacher that are free and suitable for everyone. Visit their website for more information about their ethos and vision.
Monday, 5:15-6:15pm, Yoga for the Heart
Tuesday, 5:15-6:15pm, Yin Yang Yoga
Wednesday, 5:15-6:15pm, Core Strength
Yoga Quota is a registered charity in England and Wales (no. 1161833). It was founded in 2014, as a yoga studio with a difference: for every 50 paid students, they teach 1 free class for a charity (one “quota”). Yoga Quota's vision is for yoga to be accessible and inclusive for people, regardless of health, wealth, gender, sexuality, religion, race, age or citizenship. Yoga Quota makes yoga more accessible by providing high quality teaching to vulnerable and disadvantaged communities, and educating and campaigning for an inclusive approach to yoga. Come to either of the two central Oxford studios to practice yoga 7 days a week. If you are a charity, reach out to organise free yoga for your beneficiaries. Visit www.yogaquota.com for more information.
Based at the St Margaret's Institute on Polstead Road, Yogic Yogis offer Ashtanga Yoga classes suitable for all levels. Classes last one hour, at 6-7pm on Wednedays, and can be booked in advance via the contact form on their website. Attendees can pay in advance via bank transfer, or pay by card machine on the day.
Pop Up Pilates
A team of Physiotherapists who bring the benefits of Pilates to you. They offer classes tailored to complete beginners, those who’ve been doing Pilates and yoga for a while, pregnancy and post-natal Pilates, and cardio Pilates. Block book classes in sets of 8 on their website. Also available for corporate classes or 1:1 tuition.
Yoga at The Old Fire Station
40 George St, Oxford OX1 2AQ
Dynamic classes to revitalize you midweek. Unwind your mind and cultivate your physical wellbeing. Classes are £8 to drop in, or save when you block book up to 6 classes online.
Monday, 6:15-7:15pm, Vinyasa Flow
Wednesday, 7:00-8:00pm, Hatha Yoga
Grace and Gravity, throughout the week, classes from 7am-8pm
Innovation Annexe,W-13,Howbery Business Park,Wallingford, OX10 8BA/The Swan, Streatley, High Street, Streatley-on-Thames, Berkshire RG8 9HR
Based at two beautiful locations in Oxford and Berkshire. Specialising in yoga, circus and wellbeing 7 days a week. Their dedicated group of teachers bring you everything from calming hatha yoga to strengthening pilates, and everything in between..
Yoga with Scarlett Moon
Yoga indoors and outside, with a special focus on yoga for women, from a teacher passionate about making yoga accessible. Classes are all £10 and available to book on Scarlett's website.
Tuesday, 9:30-10:30am, Beginners’ Yoga: Flo's the Place in the Park
Thursday, 7:30-8:30pm, Yoga for Sleep: Barracks Lane Community Garden
Friday, 10:30-11:30am, Yoga for Women and Women-aligned: Yoga Quota
Saturday, 8:15-9:15am, Vinyasa Foundations: St. Albans Hall
Saturday, 10:00-11am, Vinyasa: Yoga Quota
Yoga with Becci Curtis
Whether you are looking to simply improve mobility, get a bit more exercise and try something new; or you are after a method to help you live your life more skilfully (or, you don’t even know what you want yet!) – Becci’s yoga is for you. Beginners are welcome on Wednesday, and more advanced yogi are provided for with Thursday’s class. 10% discount for students and NHS workers. Find out more about Becci and how to book classes at her website.
Wednesday, 6-7:30pm, Ashtanga Vinyasa
Wednesday, 7:40-8:40pm, Yoga for Cyclists
Thursday, 6-7pm, Vinyasa Krama
Yoga and Pilates with Ajactive
Rosehill Primary School The Oval, Oxford OX4 4SF
A mix of low impact yoga and pilates drop in sessions for all experience levels. Book classes here.
Tuesday, 6:45-7:45pm, £7.50
Thursday, 7:00-8:00pm, £7.50
Saturday, 11:35-13:35am, £12
Yoga with Nadia Saadi
Drop in yoga at £7 per class, with private tuition, corporate and charity Yoga classes in Oxford available on request. Check out Nadia's website for more information.
Wednesday, 6:30–7:30pm, Ark-T Centre
Friday, 6:30-7:30pm, Old Headington Village Hall
Pilates with Alexandra Merson
Drayton Village Hall, Abingdon, Drayton, Abingdon OX14 4LF
A class to aid flexibility, core strength, and balance. Every Tuesday, 9:30-10:30am. Find more information here.
Yoga with Kam
All Saints Church House, 39-41 New High Street, Headington, Oxford OX3 7AL
Vinayasa style yoga to improve flexibility, strengthen core muscles and improve balance.
Every Thursday, 6:30-7:30pm. Find out more
Gabs Brown Writing and Wellbeing
Gabs is a yoga teacher and published author and writer specialising in wellbeing and personal development. She welcomes students of all levels (including absolute beginners) to share an hour of movement, gentle breathwork, and guided relaxation. She teaches a weekly yoga class in Appleton Village Hall (Mondays 9.30am) and private classes in her studio in Appleton or in your own home/space. See her website for more information.
Yoga for Recovery
Florence House, 29 Grove St, Oxford OX2 7JT
Classes which modify traditional exercises to allow for the classes to be undertaken by all abilities and also when rehabilitating from an injury. A mix of Matwork Pilates, Reformer Pilates, Clinical Yoga, Yoga, Hatha Yoga, Yoga Nidra and Iyengar Yoga and Tai Chi are offered multiple times throughout the week. Check out their website for more detailed information.
The Foscote Hospital
2 Foscote Rise, Banbury OX16 9XP
Yoga is increasingly being recommended as a treatment to help with muscular problems, and can be beneficial to people who have back or neck pain, sports injuries and postural problems. Classes take place at the following times, after an introductory session which can be booked here.
Gentle Seniors Yoga
Drayton Village Hall, Drayton, Abingdon OX14 4LF.
Seniors Yoga every Monday at 11am, with the option to participate in the class mostly sitting. Has great results in easing sciatica - find out more here.
Family Friendly Yoga
Soul Movement, Tuesdays, 9:30-10:30am
Affordable and family friendly yoga and capoeira, tailored to those just starting out. £5 to drop in, or block book a term’s worth of classes for £50. More information here.
Kids Yoga, Tuesdays, 4:30-5:15pm
The Asian Cultural Centre, Manzil Way, Oxford OX4 1GH
A fun class where your child will learn yoga poses, breathing techniques, play games and relax. More information here.
Gentle Yoga, Tuesdays, 5:45-7:00pm
St Johns Church Hall, The Broadway, Kidlington OX5 1DN
Friendly yoga class: asana, pranayama and relaxation, build strength and flexibility to reduce stress. More information here.
Prenatal Yoga, Tuesdays, 11:00am-12:15pm
Satya Yoga Studio, North St, Islip OX5 2SQ
Pregnancy yoga is one of the best ways to exercise during pregnancy. A gentle, safe way of keeping toned and supple without strain. £15 drop-in or pay for 6 sessions in advance for £78. More information here.
A week’s worth of intermediate yoga
Dynamic Vinyasa Yoga, Mondays, 6:00-7:15pm
The Richard Benson Hall, 276 Cowley Rd, Oxford OX4 1UR
Classes offer a creative, empowering, physical and fun evening flow. Open to all levels.
Find out more
Intermediate Yoga, Tuesdays, 6:00-8:00pm
The Asian Cultural Centre, Manzil Way, Oxford OX4 1GH
Deepen and develop your yoga practice, includes pranayama.
Find out more
Ananada Yoga, Wednesdays, 7:00-8:15pm
Marston Scout HQ, 238 Marston Rd, Oxford OX3 0EJ
Tibetan yoga and meditation. Beginners and intermediate.
Find out more
Ashtanga Yoga, Thursdays, 10:00-11:30am
Ferry Leisure Centre, Diamond Pl, Oxford OX2 7DP
Mixed ability, led classes. Strong, dynamic, energising yoga. Beginners welcome.
Find out more
Yoga Scaravelli Style, Fridays, 10:30am
South Oxford Community Centre, Lake St, Oxford OX1 4RP
Focused gentle movement to build flexibility, strength and stability, £8 drop in.
Find out more