Um, OM

Now that I’m teaching yoga in a gym setting, there are all sorts of questions I ask myself about my own practice, my teaching, and about what yoga is — or what I might reasonably assume a regular office worker wants it to be in their mid-week lunch break. Interesting questions, for which I don’t…

Getting a handle on yoga

We’ve just got new internal door handles at home! Not big news in the grand scheme, but curiously significant in my small domestic world. We’d just been putting up with the style that existed when we moved in quite a few years ago now. Neither of us liked them one bit, but they were serviceable.…

(Yoga) Hall of mirrors

That metaphor about the teacher holding a mirror to your practice? I always dread that he’ll do it literally one day, knowing my reluctance towards seeing myself practice. Ever since I heard Kathryn Budig talk about her teacher making her practise in shorts rather than leggings as a way of challenging her body issues, I fear…

Sore throat, big leap

I’ve had a sore throat for weeks now. It started when I was on holiday in Canada and has persisted. The accompanying cold disappeared weeks ago, but I’m still croaky. “It’s psychosomatic” one of my yogi friends told me rather brusquely. Yogis can be so annoying right?! My teacher joked (I think it was a…

Hobson’s Choice

I visited my parents at the weekend. My mum, slightly freaked out by my new eating habits and unable to conceive of cooking a meal without meat or fish, booked us all in at a favourite local restaurant. There was much angsting over the menu, even on the internet before we left home. What would…

Elephants and feet

I’m increasingly realising what it means to ground oneself, in āsana practice, in life. How standing tall is a deliberate and powerful act of engagement with the world, even if its power is subtle enough to have eluded me until maybe now-ish. I find myself instructing my students to stand ‘as though they really mean…

Flow of words

In my teaching this week I was thrown off what I’d prepared by a comment at the start of class which kicked off some ideas in my mind and the moment I opened my mouth I found I was extemporising from her comment instead of doggedly sticking to my prepared plan. The physical sequence was…

Forceful yoga

I was listening to a senior teacher talking recently about her background in dance and music and performance and wondering how to relate to that. I am not an exhibitionist or a performer. I write an anonymous blog. I prefer to be a silent witness in the back corner. Barely seen, not heard. My social interactions…

Subtle language

One of the funny things about being in Rome was not speaking the language. I’m not used to being in countries where I don’t know the language at all (which says more about my limited travel than my vast linguistic abilities!). I flicked through a phrase book on the plane and then just went for…