Senior Yoga teachers, Bill and Elaine Thwaites are the founders of the most successful group of hot yoga studios, or as one newspaper put it “London’s celebrity hot spots”.
Their clients include
Robert Downey Jr
and many more.
They are authors of an upcoming book “Perfect Freedom: How to Reach a New High in Mental and Physical Health” and which details the science behind why they changed the way they practice and teach Bikram yoga, known as the Sohot Method.
Starting out all they wanted was to get their mobility back. They had no intention of reshaping London’s yoga scene, raising the bar with their highly successful group of Hot Yoga studios employing over 60 yoga teachers, teaching yoga to a whopping 80,000 students.
Then, having forged their way into the eye of the storm, personally teaching the likes of Lady Gaga, Benedict Cumberbatch and Olivia Williams, they found themselves standing back questioning why do so many people over the age of 50, of all the various styles of physical yoga, often end up with less mobility and joint and back problems.
Waking up to this reality was a hard pill to swallow, forcing them to lift the veil over the yoga world. This was one of those almighty life-changing moments that forced them to step back and rethink.
Turning to the rapid scientific advancements in the field of longevity and sports recovery, they were able to clearly see the problems with the standard approach to yoga.
With the knowledge gained, they went on to develop the Sohot Method of Hatha yoga, an approach that develops the nervous system's ability to maintain an open and fluid musculoskeletal structure.
The approach engages more inner stabilisation strength eliminating all negative compressive loading which drastically limits your body’s true potential and is the root cause of all yoga related aches, pains and injuries.
Applying this approach to the classic 26 & 2 Bikram yoga postures is breathtakingly powerful.
The construct of all the various styles of physical yoga is that you are to position / stretch your body into a yoga posture to the best of your ability. In Yin, you are to do this extremely slowly and in Ashtanga this is done more energetically, synchronising breath with the movement.
The Sohot Method is a polar opposite mindset, in that you are not to get into the postures. Instead, you are to open out the body to the framework of the postures. This requires completely different muscle engagement. The way the nervous system engages your body is entirely different. It's a totally different mind-body conversation.
The Sohot Method requires a functional use of breath, in tune with the needs of the nervous system.
For experienced yoga students and teachers to utilise this technique, they have to go back to the start and let go of the mindset they created as a beginner.
Naturally flexible students discover they can no longer hide behind their flexibility.
The book brings into focus how & why “hands-on-corrections” and the phrase “it’s all in the journey” simply masks bad teaching.
What makes Bill and Elaine’s approach to yoga particularly outstanding is their understanding of the steps required to get the body & mind to master any activity in a rapidly short time, whether that’s learning to play golf, the guitar, dancing or yoga. They have proved how, in just 4-weeks, someone with chronic mobility issues can achieve astounding improvements to their flexibility and strength, along with a shockingly enhanced awareness of the mind.
The vast majority of people who come to yoga are just looking to break the cycle of pain and suffering that comes with musculoskeletal damage and to get their mobility back.
As Bill & Elaine point out, the biggest sign they were heading in the right direction was just how many students commented how quickly they were able to heal their injuries, joint and back pain. This was when their class sizes really started to increase, with Bill's Sunday morning classes regularly selling out.