Greetings from Kapsali, Kythera. I find myself on the international yoga teaching circuit! I arrived in lovely Kythera yesterday and taught Yin yoga to some players of Chris Shurety’s Allcomer’s Orchestra who are performing tomorrow. They sound superb. Musicians are interesting to teach. Their bodies adopt a certain position, probably asymmetrical, around their instrument and, inevitably, aches, pains and strains result. I remember David Williams (yoga royalty!) talking about teaching Pavaroti’s orchestra and deciding not to teacher Shoulder Stand to the flute player, who had held his shoulders and arms in a fixed position for decades, for fear or finishing his career.
Yoga and musicians are perfect for each other; appreciation of the rhythm of the breath is crucial to both. But backs are rounding, shoulders are fixed, the upper body is working and the lower body isn’t. Sound familiar? It’s very similar to workplace keyboard warriors.
Yehudi Menuhin and BKS Iyengar (more royalty) had a friendship of many years. Menuhin said of his Iyengar yoga practice that he got: ‘less tension, more effective application of energy, the breaking down of resistance in every joint, the coordination of all motions into one motion, and…the profound truth that strength comes not from strength but from subtle comprehension of process, of proportion and balance.’ (Couldn’t this describe yoga for any profession?) He also said: ‘behind all violin technique exercises and hours of practice, the main goal is improved awareness, and that is the very goal of Yoga practice’. Amen!
I wish I could show you Kapsali. Those who have been here know this; you feel immediately lighter here. You breathe. The shoulders come down. The heart opens. All thoughts of rushing or stressing are vanquished. You tread your path in life easily... it’s a simple path; a sea-kissed, bay-side road, trodden languidly to the tick-tock of flip flops. On our retreats we frame the idyllic day with yoga. Ahhhhhh! Click here for details.
If a day of flights to Greece doesn’t float your boat then don’t forget the October 12th-15th Happiness Retreat. I’ll be teaching Ashtanga in the morning and Yin in the afternoon on the Complete Wellbeing Retreat; Happiness workshops, Yoga and Mindfulness sessions. It will be held in an 18th Century Palladian Villa and is run by Deborah Smith, International Positive Psychologist and Mindfulness Expert.
There are no classes this Monday. Back on track on Tuesday. To come to my Home Studio you can see what’s available here. (I update this before posting this email.) You can book here. Please don’t forget to let me know if you are observing Ramadan and need a calmer practice.
I meant to mention last week… while I’m away try other teachers in the area. Cath Barnes-Holt is an Iyengar teacher at Triyoga Ealing and also teaches in West Ealing and Northfields. Ladan Soltani has classes in Ealing Town Hall and West Ealing. And what about Free Yoga? Lululemon in Westfield, Shepherds Bush, has free yoga every Sunday at 10.00. You can see their events on here.
Tiger in Ealing Broadway have yoga belts for £4. They are excellent belts with non-slip buckles. These are the ones I use in my Home Studio.
Yoga in the news
Exciting news according to Biz Asia: ‘Swami Ramdev set for International Yoga Day in UK’. He’ll be in London, Coventry and Glasgow.
The Times last weekend gave us ‘Why real men should do yoga’. The grammar of the first article is petrifying. Scroll down to the third article on the same page: “It’s as good as weight training.” Peta Bee on how yoga transforms the male body. She quotes: yoga ‘helps you regenerate muscle cell quickly by releasing muscle tension, an essential step in the muscle-growing process. This decreases muscle recovery time and helps you get back to your workouts sooner’. Also, muscles that are more mobile and flexible reduce ‘tension caused by pulling the attached ligaments and tendons. Not only does this bring immediate relief from daily aches and strains, it reduces the risk of common soft-tissue sports injuries’. Nuff said!