Tag Archives: practise

Keeping on. Yoga & the Practise of resilience

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Keeping on.                                                   Yoga & the Practise of resilience

Sometimes knowing where to start is the hardest part, sometimes it’s knowing when to stop but very often the hardest thing I’ve found is how to keep on going. Life is beautiful but it can also be chaotic and unpredictable and downright scary at times, when we want to stop the world and get off, learning how to keep going is the art of resilience.

As each day adds to my accumulated life experience I’m developing a sweet mix of confidence and humility. Confidence in who I am and a trust in life, and the humility to accept that theres so much more to life than I could possibly understand.

I am a lover of life, it’s wildly exciting to the point of near constant distraction. And maybe I’ve always been more interested with the fact of living than in directing it. Casting your ship out to see without a map is exhilarating but also exhausting. It’s taken me years (& years) of practise to discover how very much I still need to learn how to focus.
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The art of tying yourself in knots.

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I’m not talking about anything too kinky here, once again I’m talking about Yoga. In Yoga we have a practise called binding, basically its using one part of the body to hold on to or intertwine with another. Like this….

Bind

In Sanskrit “yoga” is usually defined as: Yoke, join, unite, …. or my favourite “connect”. It’s pretty straight forward to see how binding (tie, fasten, stick together) might be a relevant concept. When done correctly a bind will deepen our experience of a pose while assisting to maintain structural integrity. It can give support to relax deeper into a certain shape as well as providing a set of restrictions or leverage, to self adjust and explore familiar postures in new and interesting ways.

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Slow Deep & Sweet

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Chakra inspired Yin Flow

Chakras are not physical things and studying them can be quite an esoteric affair. It took me years of my own practise before I made any conclusions about their “reality”. The best way to learn about these energy centres is through a practical experiential  approach but if we move too quickly it’s hard to tune in to the subtle energies below the surface of our everyday distractions.

Wether your a believer or not, using these centres as points of reference to ground your attention, you will discover a rich inner world bursting with the body/minds natural intelligence. It’s good to remember your not necessarily looking for extra-ordinary sensations rather developing sensitivity to what in our busy-ness we overlook as unimportant, or uninteresting; Here the Magic hides!

These poses are taken from Yin Yoga, a slow gentle practise which works more with the connective tissue than the muscles. take your time. Aim to stay still for 3-5 minutes, use any supports you need and adjust if necessary. No pushing or striving necessary,  back off a little from sensations that are too strong to relax within, and intensify if there is not enough sensation to keep you present.

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Pure and Simple Yoga

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Pure and Simple Yoga

When people ask about my recent month long yoga retreat, they often ask me if I learnt lot’s of new tricks. And to be honest I probably had some expectations myself that I would, but the short answer is: not so much. Not because I didn’t learn but because what I learnt wasn’t tricks it was something better, It renewed my faith in pure and simple (and oh so effective) Yoga.

If you know me then you know I take my yoga wherever I find it, I’ve never been a strong adherent to any one style or linage; “it’s all Yoga right?” For a long time I’ve been openly committed to the Life as Teacher concept and It’s served me well, but theres something very tidy about choosing one method and sticking it to it for some time.

It’s really interesting (and only slightly intimidating), after having moved in yoga circles for some time, to find myself back as a beginner in a system I know very little about. But as challenging as it can be to step outside your familiar ground theres a sweetness and freshness in beginning again that makes it all so worthwhile.

After my Month immersion, (Credit to the wonderful Yogi‘s I was working with and credit to the system itself), I’m a little bit in Love with this practise. Heres what I like best so far and why….

1) Repetition – Variety May be the spice of life, I Love new and interesting challenges; But there is something comforting in the familiar. Does a need to be entertained by our practise rob us of it’s invitation to be present to our body, our breath and our life as it is? By returning again and again to a practise you can develop an intimacy can easily be missed if you move to fast, too soon, too much. By repeating a practise you can observe how your body responds and changes day to day to week, and you can see and celebrate the progresses more easily.

2) Silence – This is probably what drew me most to this system. Once you know it you can just practise it without the constant chatter that accompanies most classes (my own included). This silence to me is so precious, you can hear your breath, you can listen and respond to your own body without having to synchronise everything with everybody else. Without being told when to move when to breath you might actually discover your own bodies natural wisdom. Revolutionary right?

3) Trust – This system of teaching and practise seems to embody a whole lot of trust in the process. That given the right conditions, once you know the basic shapes, that if you move through them regularly with just a little guidance where necessary, things will happen. For now (for me), they might not be dramatic Yoga Facebook selfie Material, but they are real internal awakenings that are so much more satisfying than achieving an external shape with strain and force. It’s exciting to discover even after quite a long while living in this body of mine, it is still changing all the time and it can still surprise me.

4) Practise –  “Do your practise, all is coming” is probably the most famous quote by Ashtanga yoga founder Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. Once you know the sequence you no longer can say “I would practise at home but I don’t know what to do”. You do and chances are, as long as you are willing to be patient with the process and not try too hard, you will want to practise cause it feels good. Well at least that’s how it happens for me so far, let’s hope this affair is a lasting one.

There is so much more I could say but I’ll leave that all for another day and get on with the practise! No I didn’t learn new tricks I just got to practise one really old one, it’s called Yoga. You should try it, it’s really really good. practise