Last weekend I took classes with Sharath Jois, the big cheese in the Ashtanga world and ‘the source of Ashtanga yoga’! There were 400 or more of us in the sports hall of the aircraft hanger-like Sobell Leisure Centre, N7. Everyone kept strictly to his count; no one moved until he called the next posture; hundreds of us held Chaturanga Dandasana (Lowered Plank) until he told us to move. Apparently he’s famous for holding suffering yogis in intense positions. It’s all good fun!
Sunday’s class was followed by a talk and questions. Senior teachers, I guess, have to get used to the idea that yogis want to hear their version of the yoga story and the yoga way of living. Sharath started his address by saying that without a philosophical / spiritual underpinning, physical yoga practice (asana) is just aerobics. Asana is the first step towards cultivating a changing perception, cultivating good qualities, so that ‘yoga can happen within you’. He used that phrase a few times.
Asana, he said, will change your body, your mind, your actions, your reactions. Too much asana brings negativity and it will be impossible to know what yoga is!
After that, questions inevitably came about asana! One guy asked about how to have a good yoga practice when the kids have kept him up all night. Sharath’s answer was that ‘the children are your practice’! Another asked about preparing for motherhood and what postures to practice. Sharath’s answer was to adopt a child. It’s important to help a child who doesn’t have parents. Love love love that answer!
I can’t wait to be in Kapsali. Observing the full moon this week made me long to watch it make its way across the sky over the gentle waters of Kapsali bay while we listen to music in Banda Landra cafe. When I do a Love and Gratitude meditation, bringing to mind examples of love and gratitude, I spirit myself over to exactly that spot and breathe it in. Come with us and experience the magic of Kapsali and our yoga retreat, starting September 21st. Write back if you have any questions.
Summer is heating up and two fans are whirring cooling air around the studio. It’s the time of year that I have to give a gentle reminder to shower before class! Sharath Jois has a book called Ageless in which he says: ‘Yoga is prayer. It’s much more than exercise. So, all yogis bathe before their practice’. You’re welcome to shower here if you’re coming straight from work. Classes are booked out next week. Have a look at the latest availability over on the Studio Classes page of this website..
Don’t forget Charlie Merton at Triyoga Ealing tonight. In September, on 13th – 15th at Triyoga Soho, Beryl Bender Birch is over from America. Here’s a podcast with her talking about yoga back in the day, the Mad Men culture when women were used to being mistreated, her love of animals, and Yoga for veterans.
Yoga in the News
The New York Times has: Maty Ezraty, Who Spread Her Yoga Methods Globally, Dies at 55. “As she once said: “Keep in mind that when you practice yoga, you’re not practicing to improve yourself. You are perfect. The practice is there to help you know that.””
The Sunday Post says: It's no joke: Laughter yoga is the best stress-buster, even if you're faking it.’ Just like all exercise, laughter yoga can help to reduce stress because it boosts endorphins and gets your heart rate up’.