Astanga Yoga London

1st of Sept 2020
01st September 2020

When I first moved down to London from Scotland, people asked if I’d be staying. Assuming that ‘why would I want to live in London when Scotland was so beautiful’. Well, I’m still here. Yes of course Scotland is beautiful but one can find beauty in the most unlikely of places. People also said I’d not manage more than three years of teaching Mysore mornings, I’d burn out,  well I’m still here. Which brings me onto Santosha, contentment.

Of course, we’d all love to be blissfully bouncing around in samadhi (that is if we didn’t know we’re already there, we just need to real eyes). But failing that contentment would be very nice indeed. But unhappiness knocks on all our doors in many ways.  In the failings of others, in the failing of ourselves.

Often we respond with anger, this may not manifest as shouting but as snide remarks or internal frustration. In our practice, we have the opportunity to make changes in the way we think. And to use that as a way to enhance our daily life. So an example might be you’re trying to get into marichasana d, which you know you can do but last nights pizza or some stress from work is making it more difficult. So now you feel anger. The anger is there because in the past you could do it and you’re focusing on the past. Being able to do marichasana d is not the point, the point is to be here and now, to be present while you’re doing whatever you are doing. Not thinking about how it was or what difficult asana is coming up soon. The ‘perfection’ of the asana is not the point. Be here now. And we certainly shouldn’t get caught up in other peoples practice!

Other people (usually people we love) annoy the fuck out of us. Whatever it is that has annoyed you there is a good way and a not so good way to respond. This leads me in a roundabout way to Krishna and Arjunas relationship. They’re known as best of friends. A man brought up as a cow heard and a man brought up a royal prince. An odd combination. Showing that we shouldn’t judge others for what they do or from where they have come from. Krishna becomes Arjunas teacher. But not until Arjuna asks. Krishna never forces his teachings. He always gives Arjuna autonomy saying he always has the choice. (Even though free will is pretty debatable). This is really an important part of teaching. Being self-sufficient on a spiritual path is something we all need to gain.

Krishna is always honest with Arjuna, he doesn’t beat around what he is trying to say in a very English sort of way. He is direct without being confrontational or unkind. Sometimes being honest is not always easy. You’d think it should be but it can present a problem when we fear we may hurt someone. Being honest while remaining kind is always difficult.

You can’t go over it you can go under it you can’t go around it, we have to go through it. We need empathy. Of course, we all think we are empathetic and usually, one person in a relationship is more empathetic than the other and it’s always you. When we are empathetic we understand not only why someone says or does something but their thinking/beliefs behind that. Being empathetic for some comes easy for some of us we have to work at it. Being empathetic gets damaged by trauma. Being empathetic is part of being human. When we are not we dehumanise. To increase our empathy the first step is to  look at our own feelings and beliefs when we practice. If we can first understand that we can then take that and let it change our daily life. By looking at our inner world we can see that others also have an inner world.

Being content in yoga is the first step. If we can find that even if we are having the shittest of shit days then we will start to find contentment in the most unlikely of places.

22nd of August 2020
22nd August 2020

We’ve been open 4 weeks now, wonderful weeks. Numbers have stayed around the same 30-40 but have slowly in the last few days crept over 40. So if you haven’t been in the shala regularly since we got back please please email or call to check we have space. While we’d like to be able to go back to a squash and a squeeze we can’t just yet. We do have space at 9.30 and in the evenings. If you have been coming regularly please continue to do so at about the same time. I know some of you have gone on holiday and we have allowed for that and kept some space for you. If we get lots of requests to come back we may open on a saturday.

Boris Johnson for all his mishaps had chosen one of the most beautiful places in Scotland to stay. The Applecross peninsula is not far from where my Dad lives. one of the highest road pass and certainly the steepest and scariest in Scotland. Which somehow people cycle over. Just checkout Bealach na Ba. It has awesome sand dunes which as a kid we used to roll down. The sea is well freezing.

Anyway, a few days ago I did an interview with Jose from Madrid on IGTV and here is the link to it on youtube.

It’s an hour-long, so grab yourself some tea and biscuits. It takes me a minute to get my shit together and find out how to join IGTV so be patient.

 

17th Aug 2020
17th August 2020

We’re still here and taking each day as it comes. If you ever wanted a hidey-hole to get away from it all. Here is a link to a cottage. My Dad bought it years ago and it’s been let out as a holiday cottage. He lives up the glen. Anyway, I’ve spent a few summers here and it is a gorgeous wee house. He’s 80 something now so time just to walk mountains and look at the stars.

https://www.remax-skye.net/properties-for-sale/property/10446226-main-street-lochcarron

I don’t expect anyone to actually buy it but it’s nice to have dreams

6th of Aug 2020
06th August 2020

Sometime ago I did an interview with my good friend John Bultman. He’s just put it on video so you can watch it (and others) here.

https://csc.virginia.edu/event/practice-and-process-conversations-yoga-teachers-qa

 

2nd of July 2020
02nd August 2020

Anna and I went to the cinema for the first time in 4 months (bar the outdoor drive in cinema at Ally Pally). So lovely to get back to comfy seat and a bag of popcorn. Unfortunately there were only 6 of us in the whole screen.

It reminded me of how AYL used to be when we’d pack 20 in the main room, the finishing room was packed and still people were waiting. So much love in the room. Fortunately the shala still stands and has all that love supporting the walls. We’re still relatively quiet. Friday there was only 22 all morning.

Next Sunday the 9th we will have on-line conference at 12 midday. Louise will be here too. I’ll just work out a zoom thing and send it out in the next 24hours. If you don’t get it, apologies, please email me.

30th of July 2020
30th July 2020

There were 32 students in today. Full at 5am again. And then through out the morning there was always one two spots available. After 8.30 much quieter.

Don’t forget Monday is a moon day

29th of July 2020
29th July 2020

Little busier today. Last night there were 6 students so still space. This morning it was full between 5am and 6am after that there were always one two spaces until 6.45am then it was full until 8.30am and then quiet. So if you are looking to come in think about after 8.30.

 

28th of July 2020
28th July 2020

So last night was quiet at the Shala, the first evening open with only 3 students. This morning there were 35 and at no point did anyone have to wait. Only a couple of times did students have to start practice in the small room. We were busy from 5am until 6.15am then throughout the morning til 8.45am there were one or two space regularly. After that there was always space.

So we’re happy to take new students in the evening and after 9am.

27th of July 2020
27th July 2020

I have this on a loop.

Today there were 38 students. It was full at 5am then slowly reduced so by 6.45am there was only one person. Then it started getting busy again from 7.15am and was full from 7.30am to about 8.40am. Four people had to wait between 7 and 18 minutes. Then it was quiet all the way through to the end. It’s really lovely to be working with everyone it feels quite special.

26th of July 2020
26th July 2020

Louise and Tom taught Sunday class and there were 12 people in.