Rebellious Hippies

Dear Yogis

I’m not at all in favour of this November chill on my skin! Yoga comes from a warm country, and so I must head off to one! To Greece, in fact, to hold my Kapsali yoga retreat. I know, Yoga doesn’t come from there, but Ashtanga Yoga was introduced to Europe via Greece in the late 80s by the uncontested most colourful personality of the Ashtanga world, the late Derek Ireland. I mention him often in class when I teach his extra Ashtanga postures.

Derek was many things including a Brighton and Hove football apprentice and a band promoter for the Sex Pistols, The Clash, and the Stranglers. He eventually took to yoga like it was rock n roll, practicing with weights and even a weighted jacket until it nearly killed him when he went upside-down.  According to his obituary, ‘on his daily run he generally wore nothing but trainers, the thong and a personal stereo’. He practiced yoga on the beach in similar kit! He exists in the hearts of the hundreds he taught as an example of how to be daring and free with our lives.

Derek and other senior teachers have in common that they couldn’t take to societal norms. They stayed as rebellious hippies and remain examples, helping us to become a bit more free-thinking and free living. It’s so easy to become imprisoned by norms and expectations. I nearly turned down being part of a Dove advert because I thought I shouldn’t take time off my office job. But, my sister pointed out, who on the deathbed wishes they had spent more time in the office!


There are places left. Invest in yourself and your wellbeing. Nothing is certain in the future so if you're thinking about it for next year - don't wait Come now! Even the Guardian wonders: Is Kythera the Perfect Greek Island? (Get in touch to discuss flights. See Sky Scanner options. You can also check BA from Heathrow to Athens and then Aegean or Sky Express individually.)

Home Studio

For the next couple of weeks you have to find an alternative to my Home Studio. May I suggest another The Grove dweller, Savita Khemlani who teaches every Sunday, 11.00-12.15 at Yogi’s Studio, 1 Springbridge Mews, W5 2AB. Your first class is free but email first.

Ealing yoga teachers, write to me and let me know if you hold independent classes in the area and I’ll pass it on. I’ll be teaching again on Monday 30th.


This weekend, starting tonight, I’m doing workshops at Triyoga Soho with Beryl Bender Birch who, as Triyoga says, pioneered the introduction of yoga into the world of sports and has taught yoga and meditation to tens of thousands of athletes since 1974. She published a book called ‘Power Yoga’, and was Wellness Director of the New York Road Runners for 22 years. Come with me!

(Heads up; July 25 – 29 2020 has Timothy McCall at Triyoga!)

Yoga in the News

The Telegraph gives us: Fitness on trial: Is Aerial yoga worth leaving the sofa for? ‘It’s yoga, but not as you know it: with aerial yoga, poses are done while suspended in a sling dangling from the ceiling.’

Parade has 25 Celebrity Yoga Quotes to Get You Motivated and Out the Door and Into Class. Why not! Madonna, Sting, Adam Levine, Lebron James, Elen DeGeneres, Jenifer Aniston, Megan Markle, RuPaul, Christina Aguilera, 50Cent... Of course, yoga-celebrity-in-chief Russell Brand is there.

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