I used to do yoga when I was living in Albania, and – thanks to the teacher there – I’ve got both really hooked on the idea and left very disappointed ever since when I tried any yoga courses here in the UK.
Well, let me pre-empt: not this time! Round about 4.30pm on Saturday, in the middle of my right triangle pose the realisation of how good this is and how much I missed the “proper” way of doing yoga hit me so hard that I had to swallow my tears back. It was rather poignant and enlightening. I fell in love with yoga again. I'm still so blissed out following the weekend retreat that you could make me catch butterflies!
The venue was a massive surprise. I know they are a well-known and worldwide charitable organisation, but I did not expect the standard of the place to be so high. It was immaculate, huge, very well furnished and most of all welcoming and lovely! And all this bang in the middle of Putney, London. Here is their link, if you are interested (they have both urban yoga centres and yoga ashrams all around the globe): Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres
It started at 10.30 on Saturday morning. And it was so thorough and enjoyable: we had 90 minutes yoga first thing, then relaxation, then lunch (protein shake for moi, vegetarian meal for everyone else), then an hour walk by the Thames, then we got acquainted with the principals of yogic life, then another 90 minutes yoga. The day ended with a satsang (30 minutes of silent meditation, meditative chanting of mantras and an easy-to-follow lecture on yoga philosophy or psychology). The same again on Sunday.
What really got me is that everyone, teachers, guest speakers, kitchen staff, shop attendant, everyone is working there on complete voluntary basis and they still manage to run a really swanky and effective operation! That might be an odd statement, but I myself work for a charity in a paid position and I know how much more we can achieve if we could rely more on voluntary work. However, volunteers – as far as our operation manager is concerned and convinced – are inherently unreliable when it comes to scheduling work. Hmm, my experience over the weekend was completely contrary to that. Something we might learn from...
Much more exciting: I did the Crow pose. This one:
|I didn't look this cool and collected|
We also learned various breathing techniques, basic meditation practices, chants. It was just a wonderful, wonderful thing to get immersed in right in the middle of normal daily life without having to leave hubby behind for a week. I'm definitely will be going to their Alps ashram as soon as I can for a week or so, and it’s down to David to make up his mind to come with me. He actually mentioned – completely out of the blue – that he’d like to learn yoga. I think I know what we are going to be doing a Saturday afternoon soon: I’m taking him for a free open beginners class. Mark my words!
David, stop reading!
(However, I’m not sure if it’s a such a good idea introducing your other half to yoga... I did this while in Albania, with my ex. I practically pulled him to a yoga class in 2004. Last time I heard, he was resident in an ashram in India. I kid you not!!)
All right, enough of my ravings about yoga – you go and try it! You might be surprised.
Peace for all!
Oh, I nearly forgot: I signed up for a level 2 retreat weekend in two weeks time – no stopping me!