Root To Rise

Root To Rise

When I did my teacher training way back in 2008, we learnt about alignment. At the time, I thought alignment was based on the bio-mechanics we were learning. I still teach with this in mind and feel it’s an extremely valuable way of practices and a great anchor for a teacher. However, over that almost decade and a half, alignment has expanded to include so much more for me. That’s why next year I’m going to be running four yoga and coaching workshops with the brilliant Jane Irwin, in alignment with the seasons.

Going deep

As with all things to do with yoga, it will hit you at different levels: body, mind, emotions, spirit. That’s the beauty, no matter where you are or who you are – yoga has an entry point for you. It’s challenging to teach that way, but I guess that’s why I have a job!

Physical alignment

How we place our bodies and line them up is important and endlessly fascinating (maybe just for me). However, I think it can lead us down the rabbit hole of perfection. What is it all for, really. My guilty pleasure used to be watching a show called “freaky eaters”. It’s self-explanatory, but in essence people would only eat the usual suspects: chips, sausages, crisps and so on.

What used to blow my mind every single time is not that they managed to overhaul their diets within a neat hour long show, suspension of disbelief required. It’s that, even though their diet was effectively junk their bodies still kept going and working for them. Just like The Terminator, who, no matter what gets cut off, just keeps going so too does our body. In a much kinder and less scary way. Less dramatically perhaps, this is what our bodies are doing all the time. This is amazing to me.

I’m not suggesting that we abuse our bodies to the point of collapse. Those guys on Freaky Eaters certainly weren’t in the best shape and weren’t super happy either. I’m just saying that our body is an incredible machine.

Focused alignment

In a similar vein, I’m always surprised how little it takes for the body to be happy again. Spend a few minutes on focused alignment and a lot of the time you’ll see improvements immediately. Spend some time considering what truly brings you joy and take a few moments a day to do that and you’ll be amazed.

Physical alignment is part of the picture, what I’m saying is that’s a piece in the puzzle. Not the entire puzzle.

So what else is there?

Continuing on the yoga track, which of course we are because that’s my thing, we’ll find emotions are also written about in the Rig Veda. There are four vedas, each laying the foundation for Hinduism. The Rig Veda talks about the 9 rasas. Essentially, flavours of emotions. Feelings that are simmering on the surface like a broth and allow us to use them as a portal to venture deeper. In the context of alignment, I like to think of them as the feeling when something is just a little bit “off”. We can’t quite put our finger on it, but we know that it’s not right.

Seeing these clearly on the yoga mat provides us with an insight into when they appear at other places in our lives. Again, that’s the amazing thing about yoga. It might be something physical that doesn’t feel right or something in our gut but somehow, when we get on the yoga mat we see it. The skill is in developing the courage to move with it.

I like to map the mental sphere as the Malas, originating from Maya. In summary disillusionment. Essentially, when we get in our own way. When we’re able to see this illusion for what it is, we can finally get out of our own way and step into our unique alignment.

Spiritually, it has to be rooted in the canon of yoga literature that I love so much. These are the stories, the archetypes who are represented in us, the symbolism, the Sanskrit. Rich, deep and beautiful. Endlessly calling me back. All the time, I’m really thinking “I love this but who cares” and being able to answer it in a way which satisfies me on every level I know I’m in alignment with this part of myself.

Everything is connected

And the real beauty is that none of these things are mutually exclusive. If we can find alignment in one part of ourselves it’s a doorway to another. Whether or not we’re aware of it consciously.

Alignment maps

We all need a map for these levels of alignment. One that we can all understand and resonate without explanation. For me, this has always been the rhythms of nature. The cycles of the season. I remember my mum (often) telling me (usually when it was freezing) how lucky we are to live in a country which has seasons. This comforting invites our conscious and subconscious selves to line up with this consistent rhythm.

Winter workshop

This is why the yoga and coaching workshops I’m running next year have been in the works for a while. The time to pause and align with all parts of ourselves. To look inside and see what truly brings us joy. Not in an external, hedonistic way but joy which needs no explanation because it’s what happens when our actions are in alignment with our highest values. Then we’re flowing and dancing with our true selves.

We’ve kept the structure of the yoga and coaching workshops relatively loose for now. Winter is happening at the end of January. It’s a rebel cry to the usual “new year, new you” messaging. That always felt out of alignment to me. Winter is a time to wait and see to look inside and figure out what alignment looks like to me at that time.

The yoga

So the yoga will be a slower flow. There will be movement because that feels important to bring hydration and fluidity to the muscles. It will focus a lot on foundation so that we’re anchored in truth.

The coaching

We’ll be discovering what’s really important to us. What genuinely brings us joy and will be lead by the brilliant Jane Irwin.

Yoga and Coaching

This idea has been brewing for a while. Yoga is brilliant, which I would say of course! However, sometimes I think we miss an opportunity to turn insight into action. That’s where Jane comes in. She’s able to focus you on what truly brings you joy and bring you clarity in your next steps.

Coming up

The spring, summer and autumn yoga and coaching workshops will evolve with the group and the external view. Things are changing so rapidly at the moment it seems foolhardy to assume I have any clue what’ll be going on at that point.

Join us.