How are you feeling in this season of change? It’s not just the seasons that change – notice how many folk change their jobs, homes or start new causes. If in doubt about which way to go or choose, you could ask the question “Would this serve my Higher Self?” You could toss a coin but the interesting thing is as soon as the coin has left your hand you know already whether you want it to be, heads or tails.
We were invited to teach at Hawkwood College last weekend. The whole place is organically run and has stunning views over the Stroud Valley. The food, which was mostly home grown, was delicious and we were well looked after. They asked us back next year but we already have a full programme so will go in October 2019. It is a great pleasure to me that wherever we go the staff love having us and ask us back again. I feel this is because as a group you are kind and considerate to each other. Mandy Elsmere gained her teaching certificate.
Please could new students read Patanjali’s 1st Sutra in your book ‘Enlightenment’. This 1st Sutra contains all the teachings of all the following Sutras. But to just to make sure we have got it, Patanjali writes another 525. One Sutra is enough to digest at a time. The others please continue with the Sutras but if the 2nd Pada should not make sense please go back to the beginning. As we only learn by experience sometimes we need to catch up on the practical before the readings make sense.
Iyengar would drop pearls of wisdom while we were in his class. He did not separate philosophical talks from Asana classes.
The small but precious book ‘The Geeta’ is out of print. The last few I had were second hand from Amazon. Those who already have it please continue reading it. Every time I read it more truths are revealed.
When our mind is occupied with the changing world we may feel too busy to practice. It’s like we are dying of thirst and yet standing beside spring water. The first requisite for teacher training is to practice daily.
Pranayama starts with the first Asana. To practise Asana without the breathing your practice would be a physical work out, but not yoga. Nothing wrong with this but there is so much more! So remember to instruct your students when to inhale and when to exhale. Pay particular attention in your personal practice, that you are not restricting or holding the breath. This can happen when the mind decides the posture is difficult and imagines you might not make it! It’s a mistaken idea to imagine that holding the breath is going to make you stronger.
Please would you also pay particular attention to your feet, they are usually a much-neglected part of the body. Lean back into your inner heels and feel if the weight is evenly divided between the feet, particularly when the legs are wide or when twisting. Spread your feet wide and lengthen your toes. This is willpower yoga and we need willpower to complete our practice with Savasana. That last 10 minutes of relaxation is part of your practice when you can fall silent and be truly refreshed (not so easy in your own house). Allow yourselves the pleasure of this quiet time.
Next year’s residentials
3 Feb 2018 – A day of yoga at Beaconsfield Hall, Shipton under Wychwood
10-11 March 2018 – Two days of yoga at Beaconsfield Hall, Shipton under Wychwood. We will be joined by Narain Ishaya
9-16 June 2018 – Yoga in the Greek Island of Lesbos
27-31 Oct 2018 – Yoga at Park Place Pastoral Centre, Hants
I’ve written a book – would you like to read it?
It has taken me ages to write this book, ‘Presence’, as I am rather slow and very dyslexic, but I felt so inspired by my teaching of you. The names and places are not changed. Students that are mentioned gave their kind permission for me to quote their experiences. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I have enjoyed writing it. We can send you a copy. It will cost £20 plus £3.00 postage.
Having read Sister Evelyn’s review, I now know why she was made Superior General over all the convents, schools and orphanages in India and the UK. We have been holding yoga retreats at Park Place Convent for 44 years. Park Place was the very first yoga retreat which was held in 1973 and we have been holding residentials there ever since.
Ishaya monks shared our house here in the Cotswolds for four lovely years. Narain’s writing describes himself beautifully and I am blown away by it.
Peace and joy