I’m preparing to teach a beginner’s series at a really beautiful venue near the canal in my home town.
I’m preparing to teach a beginner’s yoga series at a really beautiful venue near the canal in my home town. There are loads of ways I could choose to structure these series and have done several over the years.
For the joy
This year I keep returning to one idea – joy. Whatever your experience over the last couple of years I’m going to stick my neck out and say there have been challenges. I’m also watching a lot of musical theatre too, which I guess defines my stages of life (2 girls, 7 and 3). This means I’m really thinking about “a few of my favourite things”. The biggest, naturally, being yoga.
I remember when I started yoga. It didn’t immediately feel comfortable. Infact, I still define it in terms of a Blackadder quote (you can take a guess my age):
Baldrick: Well, to be quite frank sir, I didn’t consider that eventuality, because if you did, you’d stick out like a…..
Edmund: (interrupting) Like a man standing in a lake with a small painted wooden duck on his head?
The source of inspiration
Inspiration comes from everywhere. I learnt very early on that when I started looking out for these patterns, they came thick and fast. That’s ebbed and flowed over the years but never entirely disappeared. Much like yoga, BKS Iyengar would say that practice waxed and waned like the moon. I also interpret this to mean that it moves in cycles: beginner, intermediate and advanced are generally how you’ll see different levels of yoga. However, the truth is more nuanced than that. The reality is that our competence and capacity for these different areas moves at different paces.
The nature of yoga
This is because yoga isn’t only a physical practice. It’s mental, emotional, and spiritual too. Whether we want it to be or not. Whether that’s why we showed up or not. It’s almost inevitable that it starts to seep into our subconscious. Going back to my first few months of yoga when I physically felt like that “wooden duck”. Yet, I would sit on the train with a big smile on my face, not in the least concerned about past or present. Just now. Yoga was impacting my emotional consciousness in ways I couldn’t yet interpret. And at that point I honestly didn’t care, I was just happy to step off the hamster wheel for 10 minutes.
When I’m teaching, often my sentences will start spontaneously with “one thing I love about yoga is…” So that’s how we’ll start each week. Teachers will often teach the class they need to take. And it’s true because I need that reminder too.
Start where you are
It’s a beginner’s series because we’ll learn many of the poses, you’ll find in many yoga classes. I know that sometimes a yoga class can feel like a tsunami of words, that’s why we’ll take the poses slowly and repeat them often, so that it’s not a huge overwhelm. However, in repetition is depth, in staying with the simple you stand in the portal of the complex.