Leg Behind Head and Self-Discovery

Dear Yogis

My training with David Swenson, two weeks of joy, finishes tomorrow. People have come from all over the world to learn from him: from Texas, China and various European countries. One of our number is Joana Zimmer, a singer from Germany who sang for us with the voice of an angel. There was not a dry eye in the house. (Here’s another song for you. It’s very Radio 2!) The training itself, the ‘Second Series’ of Ashtanga’s postural practice, has some seismic backbends. For me, a cyclist since the 80s, it feels impossible. I didn’t realise how much flexibility my back has lost. I screamed on the first day. After two weeks of daily practice, it’s not so bad.

As part of our training we had to give a 20 minute presentation on some aspect of yoga philosophy. My subject was ‘Svadhyaya’. Sva, means self, or the human soul, and Adhyaya means lesson. It’s one of the five ‘observances’ (a bit like commandments). You can approach it as self-analysis in pursuit of daily improvement. It looks like a simple enough practice but, actually, when I look back over my life, I can see a lot of examples where I have self-analysed till the cows came home but didn’t take the next step of putting that knowledge to use.

My mum has a checklist she reviews at the end of the day. She asks herself if she has done wrong and if she could do better. She asks if she has done her duty and she checks that she has helped anyone if she has been gifted the chance to do so. I was blown away! I had no idea! I need to step right up and make a list.

Home Studio

I came home to teach after training all day this week, as last. It brings the joy that it always promises. There are a couple of spaces left next week and the 6.00 Monday and Thursday classes have been reinstated. (If you would like to pay for a class after choosing the ‘Pay later’ option or if you forget to turn up, you can use my PayPal email address: taniashillam@hotmail.com.)


Thank you for the response to the news of the Happiness Retreat with Psychologist Deborah Smith last week. Here are the dates, as promised, for the next Kapsali Yoga Retreat September 2018. There will be two retreats: the first one for all levels to arrive on the Island on Sunday 9th to leave on Sunday 16th. The second one will mirror the timetable/workload of the previous retreats with Lisa and I and go from Sunday 16th to Sunday 23rd. (This one may well be full already given the names I have collected so far!) Details will be on my website by next week – delayed by this all-consuming course.

Yoga in the News

Chris Evans on Radio 2 interviewed Gordon, the 84-year-old yoga master with over fifty years of poses. It’s a very sweet little interview. (Chris Evans is an ex practitioner. We need to get him back!)

Did you see this on BBC London Live about yoga for special needs children? It’s about the Mahadevi Centre in Islington.  

Have a lovely weekend.

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