May 18th (yesterday) marks the death anniversary of Sri Pattabhi Jois, simply the greatest teacher of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga. Every time I practice with one of his students I wish I had been lucky enough to meet him. They talk of a magical time with him. They quote him endlessly and some of those quotes announce themselves on T Shirts and profile pictures such as ‘Body is not stiff, Mind is stiff’. Another one that gives a clue of the depth and breadth and height of the practice: “This yoga is not for exercise. Yoga is showing where to look for the soul – that is all”. For those of us in the spiritual slow lane, there’s no need to beat ourselves up; he wanted us to engage in the physical practice. “99% practice, 1% theory”. (Phew!) In an attempt to touch some of the Guruji magic, I will be studying with his son, Manju Jois, this year.
I’m away next week in Kythera, Greece. There are no classes in my Home Studio. Is it time for you to spread your wings and see what other yoga classes are out there? Yoga West in Acton has a variety of classes including pregnancy classes. There’s plenty online that you can do. I have a few short practices on my website. Here’s one of my teachers online, Kino MacGregor, with a 30-day challenge. Most of her ‘tutorials’ are so short you can zip through a few at a time and the final one is only 30 minutes. For Pregnancy Yoga, a highly, highly experienced pregnancy yoga teacher, Lolly Stirk in Notting Hill Gate is a teacher to go to with all questions or worries. Online, try this with Katy Appleton who is a pregnancy yoga teacher trainer.
Write and let me know what yoga you did. There are plenty of places here the week after next. Book a class.
Yoga In The News
I love Ryan Giggs because of all the young guys who have come to try yoga because of him. He really has been a yoga inspiration. Last weekend the FT wrote about how yoga prolonged his career. He says: “Yoga was first about injury prevention, but later it became about recovery. The day after a match, the adrenalin would still be in my body. But the following day, when I got out of bed, everything would hurt, so I would do yoga then. It made me more aware of my body.”
Not to be outdone, boxer Anthony Joshua reveals he uses yoga to lengthen career . He says: 'The hardest yoga pose I've done is the downward facing dog. I just don't understand why you have to hold it for so long’.
Have a lovely weekend and a yogic week.