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Yoga for all at Trinity

If sitting at your computer for long periods is taking its toll or your workload is stressing you out, Trinity’s yoga classes can help – whether you are a student, Fellow or member of staff at the College.

Dr Jean Khalfa, Senior Treasurer of Trinity’s Yoga Society

Twice a week in term time and once a week over the Easter break, Trinity’s yoga practitioners – from beginners to more experienced – can be found on the mats in the Adrian House Seminar Room at Burrell’s Fields.

Dr Jean Khalfa, Trinity Fellow, Graduate Tutor and yoga aficionado, set up the classes after realising there was a real need in the College for several different reasons. He said

‘As a graduate tutor I see a lot of students who don’t have the time to take part in organised sport. Also, I see a lot of stressed students, and students with shoulder problems and repetitive strain injuries linked to dissertation typing. And some members of the choir asked me whether they could have yoga lessons (to help with breathing, relaxation and thoracic expansion).’

Trinity’s classes – on Wednesday 8am-9.15am and Thursday 17:15-18:30 – are taught by Shaïli Shafai, who has attended more than 500 hours of Iyengar training in Iran, India and France, before coming to the UK. This form of yoga is known for its precision and use of props – yoga bricks, blocks, blankets and belts – to help students practice the postures correctly and safely.  It is the antithesis to the yoga often available in gyms.

Dr Khalfa said:

‘I have done quite seriously both Ashtanga and Iyengar. In the end I found Iyengar much deeper for my practice. And within an institutional setting, I would only want to organise Iyengar classes since this form of yoga is far safer as the teachers have much longer and more thorough training.’

Normally Dr Khalfa, who has been practising yoga for many years, would attend more advanced Iyengar classes, but he is impressed by the skill and attention to detail that Ms Shafai brings to her teaching.

Shaïli is an excellent teacher, with a lot of experience. Her classes are well planned and precisely taught – everyone who attends the Trinity classes will get something out of them. The Adrian House Seminar Room is spacious, comfortable and very well equipped for Iyengar yoga.


Shaïli Shafai in India

Ms Shafai was introduced to yoga aged 10 and is now a Junior Level III Iyengar teacher. She said:

I started yoga at that age because my mum had serious lower back pain and the only thing that helped her was Iyengar yoga practice. I also had hip and leg problems so she took me to the same remedial class and I also started to go to the children’s class once a week. I loved my teachers, who included Mrs Mahyar Raz at the Iyengar Centre in Tehran, and the subject ever since.

Trinity’s Junior Bursar, Jonny Bourne, is supportive of exercise opportunities for the whole College community.

We are lucky that Trinity provides cost-effective exercises classes for our whole College community – students, Fellows and staff. The benefits of regular exercise and the risks of an overly sedentary lifestyle are well documented. The facilities available to us at Trinity offer advantages in terms of improved long-term health and wider well-being.

And he adds, ‘I consider a daily exercise routine to be fundamental to the way I live. I have practised yoga before and find the combination of the cardiovascular exertion with the mental relaxation that yoga offers to be incredibly restorative.’

The yoga classes are open to Fellows, staff and students at Trinity, as well as their friends and partners (provided there is enough space). Special classes are running over the Easter break, on Wednesdays 12 and 19 April, 8am-9.15am. Trinity students pay £4 per class, staff £5 and Fellows £6; non-Trinity members pay an additional £1 on those prices.

Easter Term yoga runs every Wednesday, from 26 April until 28 June, 8am-9.15am; and every Thursday from 20 April until 29 June, 17:15-18:30. The cost of the eight-class term is: £30 for students, £50 for staff, £60 Fellows. Non-members of Trinity pay £1 more per class (ie £38, £58 or £68 for 8 classes).

You can book a class over Easter and/book for the Easter term.

Please email with any questions. Practitioners are asked to arrive five minutes early so that the classes can start on time.

And if downward dog, tree and triangle pose really aren’t your thing, Trinity offers FREE functional circuits classes every Wednesday, 12-1pm in the College Gym at Old Fields (members and staff of Trinity only). Participants benefit from excellent instruction by Harry Veysey of Cam Sports Performance.




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