I’ve often noticed that I can be doing a yoga posture that I know really well, and have probably done hundreds of times before, yet it never ever seems boring … there’s always something else to notice …to be aware of….. something that just keeps my yoga fresh, interesting, rewarding and wonderful.
Have just been reading about the concept of the Cross of Learning ….. and it really resonated with me. It’s mentioned by Alison Trewhela in her Yoga for Health Lower Backs book (a programme I’m teaching in Bicester). She says “one of the wonderful aspects of yoga is that the subject is vast. Learning can take place at various levels and layers and go in various directions. Typically in the West, we feel we must learn ‘vertically’ with learning becoming more difficult as we go in an upward direction. Similarly, we can learn more challenging yoga poses, but the more yoga we do, often the more we benefit from returning to the very basic simple poses and penetrating downward or inward gaining more precision, depth and subtlety. In yoga we also learn ‘horizontally’, by adding ever more details about the same poses. All these different directions of learning should be regarded as progression in yoga.”
I’ve blogged about this concept myself, as it is to me a really important principle. I feel it’s somewhere so much of the joy of yoga comes from. There’s no need to do gymnastic poses …..just feel your yoga from your heart and it will always be fresh, vibrant an amazing.
I’ve been training on this fabulous programme. It comes out of a clinical trial run by York University, funded by Arthritis UK and is all about giving people the skills to manage their back pain.
Run as a 12 week course, participants learn simple, gentle yoga, targeting pain-relief, good posture, and improvement of their back health for now and the future. Aims are re-education and re-alignment of the body, plus raised self-awareness and relaxation. Poses include standing, sitting kneeling and lying down with stable comfort.
I’ve been teaching for many years, yet this training on this programme has taught me so much more. And now I’m about to launch a new course sharing this programme in Bicester … very exciting!
“Your body is precious. It is your vehicle for awakening. Treat it with care.” ~Buddha
Words from the master! So important to look after yourself … if you can’t do that, then can you really look after others?
In yoga we have the concept of ‘Ahimsa’ interpreted as non-violence – to yourself and others. If we live with the concept of ahimsa then we treat our bodies with kindness – from eating nourish food, to a good programme of exercise …. and of course some lovely yoga!
Some people use the phrase ‘your body is a temple’ and I guess this is a similar concept – treat your body with respect – I wouldn’t go so far as to say ‘worship it’ … but certainly look after it.
Just read a thought provoking blog under the heading ‘I’ve learned making a living is not the same thing as making a life’.
This really resonated with me. For many years I strove to gain a top leadership role – studied and worked for 50-60 hours a week. Yet having reached what I thought was my goal … somehow it didn’t bring me the satisfaction I’d craved.
I’d been attending yoga classes regularly, and decided to deepen my practice my embarking on a Foundation Course run by the British Wheel of Yoga …. and I was hooked. I’d started to work out what was real and what wasn’t, and to define myself by something other than a job title or earnings.
The next step was a two year yoga teaching diploma course and as I discovered more and more, I started to find that sense of peace and wellbeing.
8 years on I do a basic job and am endeavouring to reduce my hours of work so there’s more time to devote to yoga and the things that really matter … and am so glad … I earn less than half what I used to but feel so much happier, less stressed and so much more healthy.
Saw this quote today, not sure who the source is, but it really got me thinking.
So often we beat ourselves up about not being good enough … but what are we measuring ourselves against? Negative self-talk can be so damaging, but by focusing on the positive and letting go of the negative we can see things so differently.
Instead of ‘I can’t cook, what about ‘I enjoy cooking simple meals’. Or ‘I can’t do a headstand’, substitute ‘I enjoy cat pose’.
Another way to look at the quote re-frames the criticisms that others may make of us ….’You’re no good at detail’… could become ‘I’m best at concepts and strategy’.
The quote also helps value the differences between us rather than feeling we’ve all got to be the same ….. another positive and ‘freeing’ view.
This is going to be my quote of the week … or perhaps the month or year!
Just back from a great conference organised by the British Wheel of Yoga. Took place at Warwick University – very central location and certainly easy for me to get to.
Started on Friday with lunch – a good chance to meet new yoga people and catch up with some familiar faces. The afternoon was a session with a great teacher – Lesley Dike – also a physiotherapist, she led a fascinating session about the importance of the thoracic spine. Learnt loads!! Then time for supper followed by a session of laughter yoga … was great fun, though I’m not sure it’s really yoga …. certainly a good workout for the face muscles though!
I wimped out of the early morning session so started by Saturday with a leisurely breakfast followed by sessions on a more therapeutic style of yoga from Julie Friedeberger. She described how yoga had helped her in her own experience of dealing with cancer and led some really worthwhile sessions on how to use yoga to help before, during and after treatment. A truly inspirational tutor.
Then on Sunday did a session linking yoga to the five senses.
A great weekend that showed my how much there is still to learn!
Have been thinking today about what keeps me coming back to yoga. I’ve been a regular practitioner for many years and a teacher for six and I just never get bored.
Every movement, every breath can seem fresh and different when approached with an inquiring mind … being really in the moment (or to use the fashionable term ‘mindfully’). Even the simplest of asanas can reveal something new whenever I practice them. Meditation just takes me further and further yet brings me right back to me too.
I’m completely hooked! Yoga is such an important part of my life that I simply can’t imagine a life without yoga. For me the slow, gentle style of traditional yoga rather than the often frenetic ‘posey’ gym style class is real yoga – yoga with heart and soul.
However busy I am, there’s always time for yoga – it may be just a few stretches and some breath work, or quiet contemplation, but it is an every day thing for me …and soemhow what makes life worth living.
Totally daft but very watchable video from american hotel ….. go on watch and enjoy!
love your yoga mat
Just enjoyed a really lovely yoga practice. Got home from work feeling tired and jaded so knew I needed to do something … and yoga always makes me feel good.
So, the mat came out and after a short period of relaxation to calm and focus I worked thru the Dru yoga activation series – a beautiful sequence of movements performed mindfully with conscious breathing and then some gentle asanas followed by Nadi Shodhanna … and now the world seems a much better place! That feeling of being drained has gone and I’m ready to face the world again!
The start of a new year and a time when lots of new students come to yoga. It’s a time I really enjoy as a teacher as you really see the changes in people as they find their way with their yoga.
The first class is very much about letting students get to know me and my style of teaching. I teach a gentle style of yoga, and give lots of attention to breath and alignment …. some people find the class to ‘slow’ for them … they want more of an exercise class …..others say wow …. I’ve found muscles I never knew I had and can feel my body working.
Some find the peace they crave, others find themselves able to switch off for the first time in months, others find being with themselves difficult …. emotions they thought had been buried surface. But yoga can be such a tremendous healer.
I often talk about mindfulness … being in the moment …. practicing with full attention on the feel, the sensation, the very sense of being so alive, yet often so calm. Some find it difficult to ‘give themselves permission’ to just enjoy their yoga …. rather than worrying about what might be or what needs to be done. Others just ‘get it’ and really love the restoration that a class can give.
For me when I practice or teach yoga, that’s when I really feel I’ve found me … it’s like coming home … a profound sense of wellness.