A Posture Is A Friend

Dear Yogis

This is something that comes up in conversation from time to time: in Ashtanga Mysore practice, it’s common for the teacher to ‘give’ you postures, ‘allow’ you to progress to the next posture and then slowly and surely through the 50 asanas of the Primary Series and onwards. You might think you can do more but a teacher says ‘that’s enough’! A teacher takes care to judge your readiness for more postures at exactly the right time. If a student is frustrated, it might be because this original method hasn’t been explained or that other Mysore teachers don’t follow this method and so confusion reigns.

Manju Jois says he won’t ever stop someone from practicing postures they can’t fully achieve. David Swenson was taught the original way but now says there are modified postures you can do till the full posture allows you in. Kristina Karitinou Ireland said Derek Ireland didn’t stop anyone because, for example, they can’t bind in ‘body-knotting’ Marichyasana D. Derek said this is the way Krishnamacharya, inventor of modern yoga, taught. 

Back in May of this year, Kristina spoke about ‘Why we stop’ in a seminar in Kythera. She asked: ‘What are the criteria of stopping and what are the criteria for moving on to the next posture?’ Answer; it's familiarity, making friends with the posture.

She said: there will always be a stop in Navasana, Boat Pose, because it is a ‘strength state’ and you need to build it up. You also stop here to learn the sequence thus far. The next stop is Kormasana, Tortoise Pose, because it is an ‘emotional state’. Here is where you start to get familiar with the emotions. The third stop is at the end of the sequence, before moving to the Second Series, because you need to build up the flow. Then, in the Second Series, you stop at Kapotasana, an extreme backbend. More emotions! Another stop is Leg Behind Head. (I would add ‘obviously!’). These stopping points are ‘gates’. Somewhere there is a gate for us to have to go through.

“A posture is a friend which is teaching us things and helping unblock the system. We need to establish familiarity with a posture and make friends with it. Embrace it and have gratitude. Then you are ready to move on to the next posture”.


I’m attaching some pictures I found online of the May 2019 yoga retreats at Porto Delfino with Kristina and also Marceau Baptiste to try to entice you to join our September Kapsali Yoga Retreat. I’m also attaching suggested flights. The Early Bird price is finished but get in touch this weekend if you want to come and I’ll extend it for you.

Home Studio

Interesting situation on Tuesday... One of our number had been ordered by her physio not to stretch! She did ‘Restorative’ Yoga while others stretched and bent and twisted. Restorative yoga has postures that last, perhaps, 10 minutes. In an hour’s class you might to four postures plus Shavasana. If you fancy a go, let me know. You can see class availability on t his website (which I update often). It gets pretty booked up so you might have to book in the following week.


I’m teaching Valentina’s class at Fulham Pools on Sunday at 11.00-12.15. Don’t forget Tracy Elner and Dr Jacques Anthony Soyer’s ‘Breath & Stillness: ancient knowledge meets modern medicine’, at Triyoga Soho tomorrow.

International Yoga Day

Healthy Wealthy is celebrating International Yoga Day on Saturday 22nd June. They have a day of workshops and classes. The 6.00 includes an Indian vegan breakfast. The second session is an Ayurveda Workshop at 10.00. At 11.00 is a Sun Salutations Marathon followed by a fresh vegan lunch. The day finishes at 14.00.

Yoga in the News

Can Love for Yoga Be Learned? I really hate yoga...but it's too healthy not to do. This is hilarious: ‘I’m glad I stuck with trying different types of yoga classes over the years. Now that I’ve found ones that were enjoyable, I liken it to how going on bad dates didn’t make me give up on men; I just had to keep trying until I found the one that clicked for me.’

This looks really good! Midhurst and Petworth Observer has 'Largest yoga gathering planned in the South Downs for International yoga Day. (1 hour 20 from London!). Their event is on Friday June 21, which is also the summer solstice. Free events include morning of classes, a talk and demonstrations, and refreshments served by Cowdray Farm Shop and Café.

Suggested Travel To Kythera

Suggested London - Athens Flights 2019.png

Flights to Athens (ATH) and then a short flight from Athens with Sky Express or Olympic Air to Kithira (KIT).

Cost is very reasonable for the Athens to Kithira Leg.

https://www.skyexpress.gr – Flights all days except Wednesdays, or www.olympicair.com


Outbound ATH – KIT Date: 21 September 2019

From London Heathrow 06:55, Arrives Athens 12:40

ATH to KIT Sky Express Dep:15:00 Arr: 15:50

Inbound KIT – ATH Date: 28 September 2019

KIT to: ATH Sky Express Dep: 16:10 Arr: 17:00 (Olympic dep 14.50 and is cheaper)

From: Athens 19:55 to London Heathrow 21:45