When I first began practising yoga many moons ago I used to marvel at the energy of the teacher: their sustained patience and sense of calm, their ability to entangle (or more aptly perhaps, untangle) us in an atmosphere of judgemental peace. They would float into the classroom – glowing, smiling and ethereal. What species were these patient people? What was their magical secret? (more…)
I have always been a creative person: as a child I loved writing, designing board games and dunking my fingers into paint (to the delight of my mother and the dismay of my father). As I grew up, I still loved these things, but a second feeling had developed alongside my love of creativity and that was a nagging, self-critical part of my psyche that consistently chirped in my ear: is this meaningful enough?
Three Classes of Activity
I think most of us could divide our day into three types of activities: the habitual parts like the commute to work or brushing our hair — they don’t have real meaning for us in our lives but nevertheless we must do them. The next type is meaningful activities: reading or watching a TED talk, practising yoga or spending time with our family and friends. These are the activities that help us grow, that anchor us and nourish us a person.
Finally there is the third type of activity, the controversial one: the things we feel compelled to do – and this is the one we often struggle with. I will always make time to go food shopping because I need it to live; I make time for my job because if I didn’t I would be fired and have no income; I make time for my yoga practice because it calms me down and keeps me sane. However, I often don’t make time for the third type of activity, the ‘compelling’ activities.
This is usually because when an idea strikes me to, let’s say, do a collage using lots of old magazines — one part of my brain is jumping for joy screaming “yes, yes, yes!” The other part wags its finger, saying “what do you really gain from this in your life? Is it going to propel you anywhere? Wouldn’t you be better off looking for a new job or volunteering for a charity? Is this really meaningful enough?” (more…)
It’s a new year, potentially a ‘whole new you’ (depending on what you’ve pledged yourself this year) and the perfect time to try something new with your yoga practice too. The wild and wonderful metropolis of London has thoroughly embraced yoga in 2015 making use of some of its most intriguing spaces, and creating some of its own, to host classes. (more…)
You know that feeling you get when you can’t put off cleaning the house anymore? You know it’s going to be hard, you know it is going to be long and it’ll invariably take all your mental willpower not to chuck the tea towel over your shoulder and head for a bubble bath. Once done, however, you feel a sense of pride and accomplishment. (more…)
I often tell myself not to compare things, not to measure one thing against the other but to simply accept each thing for what it is: everything is perfect in its own way. However the one comparison I have often found myself coming back to again and again – with myself, with friends and with my instructors – is that of yoga versus the gym. (more…)