We are seeking dedicated members willing to embrace and learn our precious Yoga style. The information here will better help you understand the Yoga style we teach in Norwich.  Beginner classes cost £10 per lesson pay as you train.

Class times: Just come along and join in.

  • Tuesday   |  18:30 - 19:30pm (beginner & mixed level - Yoga / Qigong)
 Niel visiting the birthplace of Lohan

Niel visiting the birthplace of Lohan

Yoga history

In the broadest terms yoga is a group of physical mental or spiritual practices that have their origins in ancient India. The yoga of ancient India would have looked only a little like it is today. The bulk of the yoga practice was seated meditation, only after 1920 did Indian yoga include a wide range of poses (asanas) and movements.  

Tirumalai Krishnamacharya also known as the farther of modern Indian yoga traveled to China to learn some of the poses (asanas) that only the Buddhist Yogis knew. The Buddha over 2500 years ago created a Yoga practice as documented in the Pali Canon 29BC the earliest book on the Buddha. The Pali Canon says nothing more than a Yoga style was created by the Buddha, that it consists of poses and practices.  This Yoga practice was preserved orally and only taught from master to student. The full practice stayed with the top student, the top student of the Buddha inherited the Buddhism and Yoga. The name used for the inheritor was the Patriarch of Buddhism. After 27 generations of inherited Buddhist Patriarchs the title went to the Bodhidharma he then travelled to China and created Zen Buddhism and then openly taught the Yoga practice he called Lohan.  The Bodhidharma lived in China in a new temple and taught the monks Lohan, the new temple was called Shaolin. The inheritance was passed over to the monks. The tradition of a single inheritor was still in place and was passed from Abbot to Abbot over the next 1200 years. From the first Abbot to Choy Fook 1835AD the last Abbot after the final fall of the Shaolin temple. For 1200 years the Yoga practice of the Buddha spread over China to other temples and after the fall of the temples to the rest of China. It was this that  Krishnamacharya learned and returned to India with, using it to create the modern Yoga styles. He didn’t learn from the inheritors but other Yogis living far from the original temple.  

What happened to the last Abbot Choy Fook, the Lohan and his inheritance? The inheritance was now passed to Chan Heung who studied in hiding with the last Abbot for over ten years. Chan Heung returned home to King Mui, created a well known Kung Fu style and kept the Lohan secret only teaching it to his most dedicated and humble students.  The Lohan lineage stayed in King Mui village passing down to Chan Heung’s great grand son Chan Sun-Chiu. Chan Sun-Chiu known as the last Keeper passed this knowledge onto his only living student Niel Willcott, the founder of our school. 

 Niel with famous Youtube Yoga teacher Kino MacGregor and Tim Feldmann. Working on Ashtanga Yoga.

Niel with famous Youtube Yoga teacher Kino MacGregor and Tim Feldmann. Working on Ashtanga Yoga.

Yoga style

Our Yoga style offers a range of traditional methods including static poses, flow patterns, meditation, self massage and breathing techniques. Niel has learn a range of other yoga styles, doing this to broaden his knowledge with an open mind and open heart. Other than Lohan Yoga Niel studied Ashtanga Yoga under famous Yogini YouTuber Kino MacGregor, student of Pattabhi Jois founder of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga. Niel says “As impressive as Ashtanga Yoga is, there is nothing in Ashtanga that can not be found in Lohan.” 

The style of Lohan Yoga is set around a pattern of flowing movements called the Eighteen Lohan Hands. On learning the Eighteen Lohan Hands the practitioner them expands on its flow movements, building on them until a beautiful and personal interpretation is formed. Niel’s role in this is to teach you the foundation movements and pattern in detail and then to assist you in your journey of expansion and interpretation. Niel’s aim is to help you release and realise your inner self, expressed through your unique vision of the Lohan Yoga. For this to happen we recommend that all students take private lessons with Niel as soon as they start or at least at an intermediate level.  

 Private yoga lessons with Niel

Private yoga lessons with Niel

Niel Willcott

Niel’s search for authenticity and traditional Yoga. As a child Niel loved anything to do with Asian culture and a documentary sparked his life long search for authentic Yoga. The documentary told the life story of the Buddha and talked about the Buddha’s own Yoga style as outlined in the Pali Canon. In 1996 Niel was twenty years old and started learning Japanese Reiyukai Buddhism from Mr Hiromi Hasegawa. In 1999 he found an article in Chi Power Magazine with Jane Hallander describing the Buddha’s yoga in the form of the Eighteen Lohan as taught by the BodhidharmaNiel then travel to the US, Hong Kong and China to learn the Lohan system. Over the next fifteen years Niel had three famous teachers of Lohan, his final teacher being the Keeper of the style who passed away in 2013. Niel is the old Keepers last living student. If you are interested in learning the precious Lohan Yoga and helping us spread our knowledge we recommend you learn directly from Niel in private lessons. 

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