I have a lovely life as a yoga teacher but it isn’t problem free or conflict free. Just when I need it most, this talk between Thich Nhat Hanh and Oprah Winfrey about ‘deep listening’ pops up. It’s a sweet listen and gives a clue about a way forward. (Wind forward to 10.40 if you don’t have time for the full talk). He says: ‘Deep listening is the kind of listening that can help relieve the suffering of the other person’. You can help them to empty their heart and suffer less. If that person says things full of wrong perceptions, full of bitterness you can still listen and give them a chance to suffer less, and then you can correct their perception another time. One hour like that can bring transformation and healing. (He doesn’t mention the enormous strength of character you need to do this!)
He says we should be able to say this: “I know that you suffer a lot. I have not understood enough of your difficulties and suffering. It’s not our intention to make you suffer more. It is opposite. So please tell us about your suffering, your difficulties. I’m eager to learn, to understand”. It has to start like that; loving speech. And if you are honest, if you are true, they will open their heart. During the process of deep listening we can learn so much about our own perception and their perceptions.
“Anger is the energy which people use in order to act but when you are angry, you are not lucid and you might do wrong things. That is why compassion is a better energy. And the energy of compassion is very strong”.
It’s a beautiful, helpful listen.
My early bird price finishes this weekend so get in touch if you want to come on our fantastic Kapsali Yoga Retreat 2019. Take a look at the Porto Delfino Trip Advisor reviews here – the home of our retreat. Lucy Crawford, who held a retreat in Porto Delfino recently, says Kythera is 'a little known refuge from life in the fast lane' and has booked Porto Delfino again for a retreat in May 2020. I’ve been visiting Kapsali since 2004 and I know how she feels – you just leave a little bit of your heart there and need to return.
You can see class availability on my website (which I update often).
This weekend I’m going to another inversions workshop. It’s at Yoga West, tomorrow at 1.15-3.15 with Christian Coelho. He was a teacher there a while ago, left for Brazil to open a studio there, and is now back, to the delight of his fans. Later this month I’ve booked another inversions, arm balances and transitions workshop with Carmen Aguilar at Indaba Yoga Studio, Friday 21st June at 2:00- 5:00. Tracy Elner and Dr Jacques Anthony Soyer will be back at Triyoga Soho on Sat 15th June with their workshop: ‘Breath & Stillness: ancient knowledge meets modern medicine’. I went to a previous incarnation of this workshop in January and I can’t recommend it highly enough. Here’s their blog on the subject. Come with me!
Yoga in the news
Countryliving.com asks ‘What is dog yoga? We went to a dog yoga class to see what it's all about’. ‘The yoga aspect comes from the fact that a mat is used; the dogs are encouraged to learn movements and stretches that can relax them; and the owner can enjoy a session of mindfulness with their pet.’
Meanwhile, over in Iran, ‘Iran police arrest 30 at private yoga class’ says the BBC News. ‘Those taking part were wearing "inappropriate outfits" and had "behaved inappropriately"... ‘The Islamic establishment in Iran does not allow any mixed-gender sports activities’ and ‘Professional-level yoga teaching is also banned in the country’. But yoga has become increasingly popular in Iran, says the Independent.