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…

Practice time

When people ask me how long I practise yoga each week, I’m usually pretty evasive, second-guessing the response I think I’ll get. I usually down-play it, since most people look perturbed at the idea of daily practice. And even in the company of serious students/teachers I also hesitate to make my practice sound too heavy…

Raw yoga

One of my reports at work has just been refused a place on a management training course, as part of a cost-cutting exercise. She’s disappointed and she feels as though she’s missing out on something. But really she’s been doing just fine without this course for more than a year. “You don’t need it,” I told…

Layer (not lāya) yoga

I found myself quite naturally using the model of koshas when I was talking to a friend recently, a yoga friend that is, so it wasn’t as weird as it sounds. She was expressing fear or frustration about decision-making and I was speculating that good decision-making was a matter of getting quiet enough to hear…