My Ashtanga teacher, David Swenson, says that when you are new to yoga, you collect yoga postures as though you are building up a huge bank balance. He follows this sentence by saying that; ‘At my age, you start giving them away to charity’. It’s a funny line. But isn’t it the case that while we think yoga is all about acquiring postures, having phenomenal physical abilities, getting better and better, that fact is that we are really in the opposite business of discarding: ridding ourselves of a unnecessary thoughts, unwanted energies, useless attitudes, unhelpful approaches. That’s the yoga trick and you don’t see it coming!
We are training, in the length of a class, to make the mind a more skilful instrument for our daily use. The goal isn’t touching the toes but removing the barriers to a life less complicated. By practicing breath-focus and a handful of postures the mind de-clutters. With a quieter mind you take a quieter attitude to life and perhaps the noise of unsupportive relationships, unsuitable jobs, and unhealthy patterns become obvious. In the hush, our internal compass can direct the soul towards its rightful course. Yoga postures are interesting but not nearly as interesting as the choices we make in life having discovered yoga. It describes my life and I didn’t see it coming!
My little home studio is not operating next week. (I’ll be training with Manju Jois in Finland and hopefully finding some interesting material for next week’s email!) Classes here start again on Monday 7th August. There are plenty of places to book. (If you are not altogether sure if you’ll be free, please book late rather than cancel late. It’s proving impossible to operate a waiting list.)
While I’m away I’d love you to discover other teachers. The brilliant Jenny Fearnley is taking over the Eden Fitness gym classes and you can also take her classes at Yoga West. (Come with me tomorrow, Saturday, to her 8.30am class if you like). If you fancy wandering further afield, discover classes with Andy Gill near Tower Bridge on a Saturday morning. (I mentioned his yoga retreat last week.) What about some fun this evening at Lumi Power Yoga in Hammersmith with Friday Night Funk & Flow? Let me know if you fancy it!
Yoga in the News
The Guardian sports the headline: ‘Yoga in the office? Firms should help us stay well, says public health chief’. The chief executive of Public Health England wants workplaces to help improve employee wellbeing and public health by combating stress and preventing/managing poor musculoskeletal health. Actually, the article barely mentions yoga but cycling comes up trumps! HR Magazine recently found that employers and bosses believe that cyclists are more productive and had more energy than non-cycling colleagues.
DJ Goldie is at it again in the Belfast Telegraph talking about how yoga saved his life. (Actually, I’ve heard him talk about it and it’s... a good thing!)
The Daily Mail had a yoga campaign this week with daily articles from a teacher called Barbara Currie who is in her 70s. Here’s yesterday’s article – the final one. It’s an inspiring read.
Have a lovely weekend. Good luck if you’re taking part in the London-Surrey 100.