Monthly Archives: February 2013

The Final Countdown…

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How I love 80s rock references…and so I wondered, do the lyrics have anything to do with this week of my life…well, turns out they probably do, which I wasn’t expecting…

We’re leaving together
But still it’s farewell
And maybe we’ll come back
To earth, who can tell?
I guess there is no one to blame
We’re leaving ground
Will things ever be the same again?

As I face the opening of Portsmouth Yoga Studio, I am both delighted that a dream of 10 years is coming into reality, and terrified that it could all go wrong…I met Angelo from Room 237 on Elm Grove a few months ago, he had launched his own business & it is going well, and when I shared my fear with him, he simply pointed out that “fear of failure is not a reason not to try”.  Some people cross our paths just when we need them to, a month later I was signing the paperwork…

Lots has happened in the run up to opening the Studio…I have taken on a private client, run my first independently organised Continual Professional Development workshop for fellow teachers, and taught an American Football Team restorative yoga…

Teaching privately is vastly different to teaching a class in subtle ways…the intensity of the teacher/student relationship in 1:1 sessions demands your presence without becoming too intimate or intimidating, to be personal and caring whilst holding your student’s private space…you are a guest, as well as a teacher…

CPD for fellow teachers requires humility and simultaneous confidence…others in the room may have double, or triple the years of teaching behind them, what makes me special?  I offered my CPD in a collaborative spirit, ever returning to that community of Spirit that Rumi evokes in his poetry…don’t come thinking I can teach you, rather that we can all learn from each other…and so we did…I shared my experience, my approach, I even shared my *own* yoga teacher for a couple of hours of the 6 hour long day…and in return, I received new tips & techniques that my peers have gathered on their own path…

The Portsmouth Destroyers also presented me with a new challenge…having taught for 8 years, I can practically count on my hands & feet the number of men who have come through my classes, whereas most sessions are full of women of all ages, shapes, sizes & abilities…so at my first session with the Destroyers, I was faced with a sports hall and a couple over 50 young men and just one young woman…I have to admit, there was some trepidation, this was the largest group I had ever taught, and the most male…I had to adapt my teaching, if I sat, or stayed still, I could not be seen by all, nor could I see all…impossible to correct every posture for every body in the room, whilst I usually work with a mixture of verbal instruction and demonstration, I had to find my voice and keep walking, reminding shoulders to relax, necks and spines to lengthen, tight hamstrings to relax…what a blessing to have discussed the Satchidananda way recently & be reminded that physical adjustment is not always the crux of teaching…they were amazing, they asked intelligent questions about how to use yoga for their own bodies, they teased & joked, and then they settled, quiet & serious for a brief time at the end, and I think they got it…they asked me back at least…in no small measure, I hope that vote goes in my favour, the Destroyers are fun to teach, a challenging & inspiring group of bodies that require me to think more, stretch my experience and knowledge and keep learning myself in order to share yoga with them in a way that will suit their needs and leave them ready for the intense physical punishment of their games…After “Hell Week” and once they celebrate being conference champions, I wish them all rest, and to be well…

UPSU Destroyers - Pandanghustasana - Portsmouth Yoga

Destroyers stretching it out with Portsmouth Yoga

One thing is for sure, teaching privately, teaching teachers & teaching a larger than average, maler than average class have provided me the opportunity to grow..

And they have led me to this place, where I count the days to the opening of the studio on the fingers of one hand…my family come with me on this journey, and it is certain that things will never be the same again…

Yoga has long guided my spiritual path, and now more than ever it is linked to my material path as I invest in the Studio and in my vocation…Venus calls to me, her duality of Spirituality & Materialism a reminder to seek balance in my life, and as I am Chinese Year of the Snake born, I find it interesting that Venus has associations with  these creatures, since they rise with the morning warmth and retreat (set) as the evening does, just as Venus is both the morning star, rising in the east, and the evening star, setting in the west. Snakes are also symbolic of duality…what is Yoga if not a way to harmonise, to find & bring balance to all aspects of being, of life…no small coincidence then, I am also reading Paul Grilley’s book “Yin Yoga” at the moment, seeking to bring a better balance of Hatha to my students and my own practice…

Duality is woven into the essence of Hatha Yoga…seeking to unite right-left, male-female, yang-yin, sun-moon, Shiva-Shakti, and for me there is always the need to balance God-Mother Nature…ever duality, ever more ways to merge, to unite, to find, create & share balance…

To all my students, past, present & future, beginners, returners, regulars, drop-ins, once-in-a-whilers, teachers, friends, young & old, thank you – I am grateful for every lesson you offer & every inspiration you gift my way…I hope some of you come along for the ride as I embark on the next stage of my yoga journey…I am blessed…

OMx

Serving with Love

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Dinner Served with Love

I need help.  I need suggestions.  I need to be reminded that this is a phase, and this too shall pass…

For weeks, in fact months, our toddler refuses to eat dinner at the table.  Breakfast, lunch, not such an issue, but dinner at the table is practically a battlefield…

It doesn’t especially matter what is for dinner, or what time we are eating, or who is with us for food, or where we are…he just jumps up, runs around, shouts, screams, drops food on the floor, tries to climb on me, throws cutlery…

It is not pretty.  It looks like a home where Super Nanny hid her camera.  It shames me & frustrates me and challenges me to remain calm…

I resolved a long time ago not to beg, bribe or coerce my children to eat…we let weaning be baby-led, we never insist on eating food that they don’t like, our children know when they have had enough to eat and even how to eat a good helping of “strong” food for health & growing and save a little space inside their bellies for some pudding…

Cuddles, snuggles, kisses & love are not in short supply in our home…they are present in abundance and pretty much 24/7…with some exceptions being after very violent or agressive behaviour when they are not withheld but may be postponed whilst the perpetrator calms down and so do I…

I am a pretty responsive, pro-active mother, I spend time with my children and try to give them enough of me to last them a lifetime in these short years of childhood…and my husband engages with our children for rough & tumble, stories, board games, skate park fun and more besides…

I cook with love…and I hope with enough spice & seasoning & variety to bring enjoyment as well as nourishment to our table…

And yet…these days I feel tension creeping into my shoulders & dread in my heart…and now tea time approaches & I need to leave the PC and prepare dinner again…once more into the fray…

And so I pause, I breathe, I speak only when I am sure that I can talk quietly & with love, I only move when I know I can have gentle hands and sure steps…

OMx

Calm Heart Space

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Calm Heart Space Portsmouth Yoga

We may have been here before, but it is always worth coming back, coming home…

Home is wherever I’m with you…

Who are you?  If you don’t know, take some time to give yourself the opportunity to know…

Sit cross-legged, or in a chair with your feet flat on the ground…Let your spine grow from its root, all the way up through your crown lifting to the sky…and feel your spine’s root and your sitting bones connecting with the Earth, grounding you, holding you…Softly close your eyes…

Spend a few quiet moments simply watching your body breathe…and then gently extend the inhalation & the exhalation, feeling them deepen your breathing, slow your breathing…and bring them to an even flow, each inward breath the same length as each outward breath and feel them bring you balance…

As you breathe in your even flow, use each in breath to come into your heart centre, Anahata Chakra, right in the middle of your chest…Breathe in Prana, life energy, if it feels good visualise it as golden light or why not try soft pink or emerald green…

As you exhale, silently (or out loud if the mood takes you) chant Om…as though a gong had been struck, feel the vibrations of that sound ripple outwards through your body, bringing Om to your crown, your roots, the soles of your feet and the palms of your hands…

Keep breathing in to your heart & exhaling Om until your whole body resonates with Om, and you feel ever widening circles of calm heart space radiating out from your centre…

Stay with the practice as long as you have or as long as it feels good…

When you want to close, bring your hands to prayer position at your heart centre, bring your gaze down to your heart centre, open your eyes when you are ready and take that calm heart space out into your life & spread the love…

OMx