Gaiety and merriment hit Ealing Broadway last weekend with the Grand Opening of Decathlon. Much anticipated free classes were oversubscribed and I turned up at 6.00pm on Friday to teach yoga, a display class to inspire shoppers.
No one turned up. That’s ok... first days and openings are unpredictable. After 10 minutes it was suggested that I do a yoga demonstration in the store so a mat was put down in front of the men’s running shoes and sports socks and I started the ‘demo’. I started with a few Chaturangas; perhaps that would spark an interest in guys who like their press-ups. No interest What about standing split press ups? Nothing! No interest. Nada. Not a raised eyebrow.
OK! I started busting out the moves: Side planks, Crow Pose, Astavakrasana, Wild Thing, and, after about 15 minutes or arm-aching postures, Headstand for a rest. People didn’t exactly step over me for the socks... but a little bit. It was absolutely hilarious to watch the upside-down store shopping around me.
The next day a small but perfect class materialised. What an absolute pleasure to teach! What a positive place Decathlon is as an addition to Ealing Broadway Shopping Centre. We practiced on their £39.99 eco-friendly natural rubber and jute mat. It's a lovely mat, very grippy. They have one with lines and design, perhaps inspired by Liforme, for the same price. It has inspirational words down the middle to aid your meditation! I have my eye on their meditation cushion, lovely and high.
The mat that you need for the retreat needs to be more than a travel mat or a mat cover. We practice on the balcony in the mornings and any little breeze will blow a light mat away. Those Decathlon mats are 2.6kg and 2.3kg. It’s not bad. The green mats I have in my studio, Calyana, are 3kg. The black Laal mats that I have in the studio to sell are 3.3kg.
I’m mindful, as I write this,that mats are a modern phenomena and back in the day the 70s yogis didn’t have a billion dollar global yoga mat market. Morning practice was on a cotton rug made at a local prison! Well, some things stay, some things change! We’ll keep the traditional early practice; Ashtanga is a dawn practice to set you up for the day. The earlier we practice, the more we catch the last of the stars of the night sky and watch the magic of Kapsali dawn waking up the seaside village as early fishermen come home with their catch and their hovering halo of hungry sea birds. Come with us!!! Details here.
I’m teaching the usual two classes on Bank Holiday Monday. It’s a post-Carnival. Calm-down stretch! And have a look at the latest availability attached to this email and on my website.
Yoga in the News
The Telegraph has: 'Your life is bigger than your pant size'. Yoga teacher Jessamyn Stanley on why body obsession needs to stop. She says that in the beginning: “I really wasn’t pushing myself outside of any boundaries in my day-to-day life. The reason the postures challenge us so much is because they’re trying to push us beyond our comfort zone.”
I love this article: The Irish News has: Key facts about Zen Buddhism – the practice that's all about 'nothingness'. It’s an article about Zazen meditation. (It’s the meditation practiced with Kristina Karitinou Ireland on the Kythera weekend retreat). ‘Before it became a trendy buzzword in the West, (Zen) dates back to the Tang Dynasty in 7th century China, where it then spread to Japan. In fact, the Japanese term Zen is a derivative of the Chinese word Ch'an, which means concentration or meditation. Unlike other strands of Buddhism, Zen isn't based on religious teachings and it doesn't involve prayer or studying texts. Instead, it's an internal investigation which helps to give insight into your mind and how it works. In other words, you can be a sceptical person and still benefit from it.”
On the other hand... The Times has: Too fidgety to meditate? Try TRE — the new tension-release technique. ‘TRE, short for tension and trauma releasing exercises, is a series of movements that encourage your muscles to shake, with the idea that this will help to release the tightness in your body that is caused by stress. TRE was originally developed to help people affected by war in the Middle East and north Africa. It has been used to aid earthquake survivors in China and returning soldiers in the US.’