We’re back from Greek sun to chilly London, from chilled cafe nights under the stars, listening to music and the sound of the waves, to the promise of darker and darker mornings and evenings. During the Kapsali Ashtanga Retreat, fellow teacher Lisa Maarit Lischak, asked what it was that brought people to yoga. She’s asked this before and it always brings up moving answers. Not one said it was to improve on postures, to get the leg behind the head, to do splits or achieve any other massively clever posture. A common theme is the search for some kind of peace.
Why do we want peace? Well, I wish I had come across yoga before adolescence hit me with its sledge hammer. Work is world that throws peace and stability out of the window. Another place of conflict is how we view ourselves and our self-criticism. This week I’ve heard from people who have adverse feelings towards their bodies or looks and, by coincidence, Kino MacGregor has written very movingly about this in her blog called ‘Keep Practicing Until You Love Your Body. She says: ‘The promise of yoga is inner peace… While the by-products of the practice will undoubtedly make an impact on your physical body, the real gift of the practice is love.’ So true!
Lisa also asked her workshop students to spend time thinking of three things they could change when they get home. A yoga retreat is an opportunity to draw back, reflect, take time, and make positive decisions. It might be as simple as to drink more water, get more sleep, or adopt a better diet. It might be a bigger, life changing decision.
Greek Retreats 2019
I‘ve visited the Kapsali Bay since 2004 and yet every time I discover more that I love about Kapsali. This time it was noticing the alpha star of the evening, Aphrodite. This is the Greek name for the star we call Venus. She’s the first and the brightest on the scene, daring to compete with the moon who arrives later. Nice to be where Aphrodite was ‘born’ and where her star is so eager to shine. One yogi said: “Kythera is a truly divine, special place”. If you fancy coming next year in the May half term for an ‘all levels’ yoga retreat, let me know. Two people have said ‘yes’ so far. (Flight timetables aren’t published yet!)
The next retreat I’m teaching is the October Complete Wellbeing Retreat; Happiness workshops, Yoga and Mindfulness sessions run by Deborah Smith of Grow Your Own Happiness. It’s £495 for a regular room and £565 for a premium room. It starts on Friday 12th at 4-5.30pm and finishes on Monday 15th after Lunch. I’ll be teaching Ashtanga, Yin and Pranayama.
This week my lucky home studio has seen returners from the Kapsali retreat, new yogis looking for a place to practice, a rock climber looking for an injury prevention practice, and an Ealing Half Marathon runner looking for a stretch. Whatever your reason, come and practice with us. You can see what’s available on my website. If you tried out other teachers in the last two weeks, please send your recommendations so that I can tell others next time I’m away.
Good luck if you’re running the Sold Out Ealing Half Marathon this weekend. I did a little training in Kapsali and I’m struck by how my legs feel fine in Kapsali and weary in London. Pollution = less oxygen to the muscles. However, it’s not a good reason to give up running. Good luck!
Yoga in the news
The BBC has the story of India's 'king of motorbikes' shares yoga tips for success. Rajiv Bajaj says that everything he has learnt about management of Bajaj Auto motorcycles comes from the practice of yoga.
The Hindu tells us about the 8th Asian Yoga Sports Championship and its 350 contestants. It’s a four-day championship with six categories of competition and entries from 13 Asian countries such as India, Iran, Singapore, Thailand, and the UAE.
Wishing you success this weekend.