Saturday, June 25, 2022

‘Am I doing this right?' Over the early years of teaching yoga I am often asked by students - ‘am I doing this right’? I began to question what defined ‘right Yoga’ and then in contrast what defined ‘wrong Yoga’. I feel it speaks to an ingrained cultural trajectory that values getting better or improving oneself - as if there is something at the beginning that even needs improving. This self improvement idea translates into Yoga practice as ‘better’ or ‘good’ by being defined by how complex or bendy one can be and is often accompanied by what one looks like while preforming Yoga postures. Practicing and achieving difficult or challenging postures becomes a marker of advancement. For the first few years, I practiced what I now term achievement yoga, pushing to attain pretzel-like forms and practicing for hours on end. Being ‘good’ at yoga was being ‘better at yoga’. I was constantly in some kind of physical pain. My personal practice of Restorative Yoga and studying Ayurveda has had a profound influence on how my practice has evolved and the measure of ‘good’ Yoga is now about cultivating a nourishing, grounded ease in being. This approach is woven into my teaching practice: students often comment that they experience a friendly, encouraging and non-competitive culture. I do feel that a current and hopefully sustained wave of Yoga is about nourishing practice that is accessible, adaptable, conversational and felt. Long may that continue. Here is a work in progress that defines my view on ‘good’, ‘bad’, ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ Yoga. Good - If you leave the class feeling present calm, energised, grounded, centred, breath-full, strong, connected, remember the drive home and happily stick to the speed limit, supermarket shop differently and have a great night's sleep. Bad - If you leave the class feeling agitated, irritated, in a rush, in any kind of pain - especially sharp pain, forget where you parked your car, are exhausted, crave anything. Right - If you feel nourished during the class, if you are in every breath, making effortless choices that serve your mental / physical / emotional / energetic well-being. Throughout the class you are dancing to the beat of your own drum together with your classmates who all have said hi to you before class and will after class too. You experience an openness in the class culture so that you feel free to ask questions, adapt movements and where you are seen. Wrong - When it’s all feeling like a workout more than an internal enquiry when the teacher is dictating how you should look, feel, breathe, when the class is so fast your breath goes out the window and at some point you are reminded to breathe and the teacher might say 'stand up straight'. Please feel welcome to send me any comments or additions! Karla

M A N A

A h i p a r a

I fall in love with the earth and sky and sun every day.

North

More dancing

I forgot to dance. All around me grief showered down like the big storms causing floods, like the darkening clouds coming from there The clouds from his greed and power, from fire, from war. I am not immune here my quiet and loud inside war, cloaking my ease, my waking and falling asleep. For some moments the world seemed hard to be in, to feel the pain of a stranger, of my kin. I visited the monarch caterpillars they all seemed okay, with an urgent hunger to transform into a luminous green and gold threaded chrysalis then on again to fly. I soothed myself by breathing out in the long grass by the ancient beech trees and remembered to dance again.

Thursday, March 31, 2022

Her insides became moss like, soft and comfortable to rest in…

Sending love and prayers to friends, known and unknown around the world who are experiencing immense suffering right now. What is the action to be taken to attune to peace in our own life? How can we cultivate friendliness, compassion, understanding and care to all sentient beings? What is a direct action we can take to support a friend known or unknown?  May you know your courageous, graceful and gritty way to live with clear purpose. May you realize your interconnectedness to everything. May you be peaceful, and may that peace light your life and those around you, near and far. 

For the Love of Rest retreat