When people ask about my recent month long yoga retreat, they often ask me if I learnt lot’s of new tricks. And to be honest I probably had some expectations myself that I would, but the short answer is: not so much. Not because I didn’t learn but because what I learnt wasn’t tricks it was something better, It renewed my faith in pure and simple (and oh so effective) Yoga.
If you know me then you know I take my yoga wherever I find it, I’ve never been a strong adherent to any one style or linage; “it’s all Yoga right?” For a long time I’ve been openly committed to the Life as Teacher concept and It’s served me well, but theres something very tidy about choosing one method and sticking it to it for some time.
It’s really interesting (and only slightly intimidating), after having moved in yoga circles for some time, to find myself back as a beginner in a system I know very little about. But as challenging as it can be to step outside your familiar ground theres a sweetness and freshness in beginning again that makes it all so worthwhile.
After my Month immersion, (Credit to the wonderful Yogi‘s I was working with and credit to the system itself), I’m a little bit in Love with this practise. Heres what I like best so far and why….
1) Repetition – Variety May be the spice of life, I Love new and interesting challenges; But there is something comforting in the familiar. Does a need to be entertained by our practise rob us of it’s invitation to be present to our body, our breath and our life as it is? By returning again and again to a practise you can develop an intimacy can easily be missed if you move to fast, too soon, too much. By repeating a practise you can observe how your body responds and changes day to day to week, and you can see and celebrate the progresses more easily.
2) Silence – This is probably what drew me most to this system. Once you know it you can just practise it without the constant chatter that accompanies most classes (my own included). This silence to me is so precious, you can hear your breath, you can listen and respond to your own body without having to synchronise everything with everybody else. Without being told when to move when to breath you might actually discover your own bodies natural wisdom. Revolutionary right?
3) Trust – This system of teaching and practise seems to embody a whole lot of trust in the process. That given the right conditions, once you know the basic shapes, that if you move through them regularly with just a little guidance where necessary, things will happen. For now (for me), they might not be dramatic Yoga Facebook selfie Material, but they are real internal awakenings that are so much more satisfying than achieving an external shape with strain and force. It’s exciting to discover even after quite a long while living in this body of mine, it is still changing all the time and it can still surprise me.
4) Practise – “Do your practise, all is coming” is probably the most famous quote by Ashtanga yoga founder Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. Once you know the sequence you no longer can say “I would practise at home but I don’t know what to do”. You do and chances are, as long as you are willing to be patient with the process and not try too hard, you will want to practise cause it feels good. Well at least that’s how it happens for me so far, let’s hope this affair is a lasting one.
There is so much more I could say but I’ll leave that all for another day and get on with the practise! No I didn’t learn new tricks I just got to practise one really old one, it’s called Yoga. You should try it, it’s really really good.