Last weekend I did workshops with the visiting rock star yoga teacher Ty Landrum, currently on his European Tour! Please, please come with me next time he’s in town! He’s a philosopher yogi and his approach to yoga practice demonstrates this. He emphasises that yoga practice is about the exchange of your Prana and Apana– forces of creation and dissolution and the constant effort to align the two. These forces, he tells us, also represent Shakti and Shiva and their blistering love affair, no less, which reminds us of how difficult it can be to align our opposite energies. Despite their blisteringness, they made love for 25 years, probably an alignment record. Ty finished the weekend with the tale of the lovers to demonstrate their significance to yoga practice. Have a listen. Ty is incredibly entertaining. You can read more here if you fancy a long, detailed read!
Anyway! Our yogic breathing is where all this action of opposite energies resides: Prana is inhalation with an upward and outward action and is mentally uplifting and awakening; Apana is the dissolving force and pushes things out of the body such as the exhalation. When the two are in balance in our yoga practice “it allows our thoughts to open, unfold and dissolve”. This is the point, eh! Not grasping and attaching to thoughts.
We also had plenty of physical instruction. It’s so good to hear that it’s not just about bones and joints and muscles but, physically, he gave us techniques to move in an undulating way through Sun Salutations and in the postures we hold. Check it out, it’s beautiful. We did a lot of undulating movement of the spine. It frees the practice from rigidly holding postures.
One of the things we’ll be doing this year on our Kythera Yoga Retreat is a trip to Potomos Market in the middle of the island. This is where people come to sell their hand-made jewellery, their produce, their honey and ouzo, biscuits and sweetmeats, and the phenomenal the traditional liqueur of Kythira, Faturada, made with the local tsipouro, sugar, cinnamon, cloves and mandarin peel. Potomos is the largest village of the island and the square is a bustle of activity where people meet, barter, banter and drink coffee. I can’t wait to take you there.
I just bought tickets to go to Kythera in two weeks’ time and here’s what I spent. It might inspire you to come in September (September 21st – 28th) knowing that there is a non-British Airways/ cheaper option of getting there: Gatwick-Athens-Gatwick on Easyjet is £128.34 and Athens-Kythera-Athens on Olympic is € 110.60 (£95.50). Total £223.84. (PS. Sky Express is the other carrier to the island.)
This is what I’ve been playing in class recently which gets a lot of reaction: Indian Flute Meditation Music. Also this, which might make you vibrate...: Tibetan Singing Bowls. There’s plenty of space next week – for now! You can see class availability on my website (which I update often).
Well, Please consider coming with me for this! I’ve booked flights to do a weekend retreat with Kristina Karitinou Ireland in Kythera. I was there last year; she’s very inspiring. In an old interview, Kristina talked about the similarities between the Indian and Greek attitudes towards their ancestors. Kristina says that the civilisations of Greece and India are spiritually connected and both are recognised as having given us the foundations of philosophical thinking. She says: “The Socratic inquisitive way of approaching discourse and the mental freedom he offers to human existence match uniquely the legacy of practice Patanjali has bequeathed us”. Yoga has a natural home in Greece! You’re thoroughly welcome to come with me!
Yoga in the news
The Guardian has: Will I find mental stillness while doing these fiendish yoga poses? The article tells us: ‘Everyone wants to try primal yoga – a blend of tai chi, martial arts and vinyasa yoga – because it sounds so macho.’ ‘Positions are more awkward than a classic routine' and 'a lot of stances don’t reveal how hard they are until you’ve been in them for 30 seconds'.
The New York Times gives us: Five Lies Our Culture Tells. Here they are: Career success is fulfilling, I can make myself happy, Life is an individual journey, You have to find your own truth, and Rich and successful people are worth more than poorer and less successful people. Interesting read!
Pop Sugar gives us: Yes, You Can Recycle or Repurpose a Yoga Mat — Here's How to Do It
(At the Yoga Show last year people were asked to donate old yoga mats to a homeless organisation to give to a homeless person so that it can be used to sleep on under their sleeping bags.)