Straight arms, head last!

July 26, 2022

The local shala has been recording some of our practice for their social media. I don’t mind as it gives me a better idea of where I am.

Still landing too far back even with assistance. Still can’t get back the bend I’ve lost in my upper back. I do have some control once I’m coming up, but need reminding to keep my head back.

It all counts

July 11, 2022

It all counts, even if it doesn’t happen. 5 months post covid and 3.5 months after chicken pox I’m still struggling to summon the energy to do my full practice more than once or twice a week and as for the dropbacks, if I manage to stand up once it’s a miracle, I just can’t seem to get back that control I had before all the illness.

H said at our study group that even thinking about yoga counts as doing yoga,not sure about that. There is a self induced pressure to knock out our full practice every day, but that can easily lead to burn out and injury. As we get older it seems we have to be more pragmatic about what our practice on any given day is, especially when you factor in work, family and life in general. It’s been good to hear H and L address this and takes some of the pressure off to perform.

Louise did a workshop in Essex recently and addressed the dissatisfaction and disappointment we sometimes feel with our practice.

Do not be disheartened….Of course it is going to be a struggle. Everything worth having always is. Nothing is straight forward. There are times when you feel like giving up and feel disheartened. If we fall, we just get up again. No effort is ever wasted. No effort is ever lost and no harm is ever done. When we plant a seed in the soil, we should water the seed properly. Otherwise the seed will be destroyed. This is not the case in yoga. Whatever is done produces the proper result, in good measure, at the proper time. Nothing is lost. The foundation is always within us.” – Louise Newton

90% distraction

June 20, 2022

Yesterday Our study group was talking about the Kleshas and distraction, things that distract us from getting on our mats and how our minds wander when we practice. For me, if I’ve got something to do or somewhere to go after practice my mind is thinking about that, equally on days when (being semi retired) I’ve technically got all day to do my practice, then practice has a habit of going off at a tangent, especially if the fur ball turns up and demands attention, or jumps off the windowsill on to my shoulder in Marichyasana C as she did last week, practice can disintegrate as well as provide a distraction/entertainment for others in the morning zoom shala.

H said that he had been told by another AYL teacher that what we need to have a focussed practice is 90% of the time we need and 90% of the space!

Another distraction L mentioned was the way the brain automatically starts thinking about a posture we dislike, find difficult or fear etc, will I do it today (stand up from a dropback?), will I bind Marichyasana D, the thoughts start way before the pose is due up. L said it’s another reason to stay in the posture you are doing, both physically and mentally, the mind going elsewhere is a recipe for injury and not being aware of what’s happening in our body at that moment.


May 22, 2022

A week of thinking differently. I think this sign should actually say AYL THIS WAY.

NATO apparently now stands for Not Attached To Outcome, or in yoga parlance Vairagyam, H has a way of altering your thinking. On Abhyasa it’s about effort on the day, every day in practice it’s different, some days it takes 100% effort to just get on the mat.

In AJ’s YouTube this week she mentioned the concept of Prajna Parad or Crimes against Intelligence, in yoga this could be trying too hard when you’re tired and injuring yourself or eating that big chocolate bar while knowing all that sugar is bad for you and it may screw up binding Marichy D , but you eat it anyway! Marichy D or a slab of Galaxy, I have to admit that’s a hard one.

Hamish’s book is now available in Korean, as well as English and Spanish.

For me it continues to be one step forward and two back in the never ending fight to recover from covid and chicken pox and get my practice back. I’ve managed to get another chest infection and am struggling again, my immune system is still fucked and I’m still fatigued. L has suggested doing to Kurmasana and my bit of 2nd to help with the backbends while I recover, but even that is only possible once or twice a week. It’s very frustrating, chicken pox was way worse than covid, but it’s covid that’s leaving its effects.


April 20, 2022

I’m emerging after two plus weeks of barely getting out of bed. The medication has finished and my stomach is recovering. I’ve seen my stomach therapist, she’s a star and always helps me, I’ve had lymphatic massage to push out the crap. The blood tests showed nothing beyond, that I was very sick when they stuck the needle in. The chest X-ray was apparently “normal” despite the never ending cough.

My yoga friend Jayne even brought round some green juice, which I somehow managed to get down, we won’t mention the spoonful of sugar that I needed to help get it down. I have no doubt the two jars were full of nutrients and other stuff I’ve never heard of that have helped to get me going again.

So as my teacher said it’s a case of being patient and taking it slowly. I’ve gone from a couple of sunsalutes and basically collapsing on the mat to a very slow half primary. The good thing about barely having eaten for 2 weeks is that Marichy D is a piece of piss to bind! Urdva Dhanurasana may take a while, I tried pushing up the other day, just to see, and omg it felt like someone was trying to rip my ribs apart.

The one thing this episode has made me realise is, how vulnerable people can become who live alone, if I hadn’t been on the phone when I collapsed in the kitchen and the caller calling 999, what could of happened?. Also I was so sick I didn’t have the energy to engage with the outside world and ask for help. It’s only in the last week of getting out and seeing people again. People asking where I’ve been, why I haven’t been to yoga on a Friday in a while? When I explain they then say “you should have called”, but I don’t like to impinge on others or be a burden.

The Pox

April 6, 2022

Going to be a while before I’m back here.

The covid thing is real and still lingering, I knew it would take time and at one point I thought I was on the road to recovery,but 10 days ago I was having dizzy spells and a raging temperature, then a week last Monday I woke up covered head to toe in painful itchy spots, Chicken Pox! I never had it as a kid and thanks to my covid immuno compromised body I couldn’t stop it getting in.

They say things come in 3’s, mine have all begun with C

Chest infection


Chicken pox

I’d been to yoga and the AYL study group on the Sunday, having no idea I was contagious.

Last week was a nightmare culminating in me collapsed over the kitchen table and the Blood transfusion service, who just happened to be on the phone about my next donation, calling a 999 Paramedic. This turned out to be a good thing, the very insistent Paramedic basically threatening my GP that if they wouldn’t see me in person she was going blue lights to A&E with me.

Antibiotics and antivirals may be fixing the infection and virus but leave me sick and tired. Blood tests and chest X-ray to find out what’s going on.

I haven’t practiced since that Sunday, it may have been what tipped me over the edge, I’m thinking about starting again and had a chat with my teacher, the Shala feels impossible. Turns out she’s been talking to a physiotherapist dealing with covid issues, who has gone from advocating 15 minutes of exercise to just 5 minutes and taking things very very gradually . So L’s advice is to start with Surya A, take it very slowly, don’t be in a rush to come back, do that for a week then add Surya B.

Chicken pox has been far worse than covid, but I fear covids effects are going to be much longer lasting.

Taking its time…

March 21, 2022

This covid thing is really taking it’s time to bugger off. Practice is gradually coming back, but I still only manage one or two full practices a week. I often get to Marichy B and have to take a rest. In some postures I struggle to catch my breath and end up light headed and sitting there wondering what’s next.

The Shala has advantages, but also the temptation to end up doing far more than is currently physically good for me, assistance is good, but is also extra tiring.

At home I’ve started to manage one or two dropbacks, so the other day at the Shala I thought I’d try to get a couple in before help arrived. Well I came up, but only with help from the wall behind me and nearly taking out Louise’s new Assistant, not realising she was behind me. After twisting up from my 2nd attempt I stood there dizzy and unable to catch my breath. Louise came running over worried I was going to pass out again, like at the local Shala. She did some very assisted backbends and sent me off to the finishing room for closing and a long Savasana.

I need the focus,warmth and shala ambiance, but working out how much and what to do on any given day, especially at the Shala, when the go back to bed option isn’t available.

The world is a mess but our amazing shala community raised £2600 for a charity helping to feed Ukranian refugees. Hamish did a special Conference and Russian Elena spoke movingly about being Russian at this time and how she’s heading for Poland to help her Ukranian relatives escape.


February 22, 2022

I finally got my 2 negative LFT’s in a row, though I still feel fatigued , tired and generally not quite right.

I ummed and aaahed about going back to the shala so soon, but practice at home was becoming difficult for a number of reasons, heat, intention, focus, frustration not to mention the 4 pawed fur ball demanding my attention and half , if not more of my mat.

The fur ball woke me up at 6:15am on Sunday morning, she’s like “come on hooman, it’s time to get up and feed me”, so after checking from under the duvet that the train was running after storm Eunice I decided to grab my stuff and go.

Good decision, I had a much better, not to mention more enjoyable, if more knackering practice at AYL. That said I did only manage a very lame and slow primary, where thankfully I was mostly left alone, just grateful for the heat and humidity, humidity equals less coughing. My energy was gone by Navasana and my back seems to have lost all it gained in terms of bend over these last two years, I just about managed a couple of crappy backbends by jamming my hands against the skirting board, dropbacks aren’t happening.

Closing was glacial and Savasana lasts as long until I start to cough, then there’s no point. But I’m glad I went. My teacher said the fatigue and joint, flexibility issues are à thème coming out of covid.

The brain fog is definitely a thing, I always take a flask of tea to drink on the train, I took the flask but didn’t take the cup to drink out of, in sainsburys I forgot my change until the checkout lady prompted me, then after buying the correct train ticket to get home I almost ended up on a train that wasn’t stopping where I need to get off.

I may now be covid free, but I’m definitely not free of the after effects

Can’t buy a negative

February 15, 2022

It’s now 8 days since the ONS tested me and 6 since my phone lit up with NHS messages telling me I’d got the covid Lurgy.

T&T told me I could start the quest for the 2 negatives and potential escape from isolation on Sunday, but it’s now Tuesday and I’ve still got a faint T line on my LFT , so I’m stuck at home and running out of croissants!

I’ve tentatively started to practice again, a very laboured half primary today, mainly so I could do the Marichy twists in the hope it would help my stomach and lower back which are a mess. I haven’t managed an Urdva Dhanurasana in over 2 weeks,let alone the hard worked for dropbacks.

I Practiced for just over an hour this morning, then went back to bed and slept for another 2 hours, covid on top of that chest infection isn’t something I’d recommend.


February 11, 2022


After 2 years of covid and beginning to feel like the only person who hasn’t caught at least one variant it’s finally caught up with me. I’ve had a chest infection for 3 weeks, but tested negative. Started to feel much better after antibiotics, then the ONS take the monthly blood and swab samples, 2 days later my sms and email get inundated with messages from the NHS telling me I’ve finally hit the jackpot.
The Lateral flow tests don’t seem to always be a good indicator. Yesterday I did an LFT before visiting my friend Natalie for a haircut, it was negative, she cut my hair back to wash n go length. At midday the messages started to Ping telling me I’m positive. On the basis of best of 3 I decided to do another LFT and this one suddenly has bars at T & C.
8:30am this morning the phone rings, I’m still asleep, planned trip to Caroline at the local shala abandoned, sleep in and rest, Test and Trace, aka the Spanish Inquisition want to know where I’ve been the last week. Trying to remember where I’ve been a week ago while half asleep with the cat sitting on my head was a challenge. 
So where did I catch it? Personally I think the train to AYL on Sunday is favourite, or possibly the mobile Petri dishes, aka toddlers at the Gym club on Saturday. Who knows? 
I’m tired and although I haven’t lost taste or smell I have a weird taste in my mouth. In truth I felt a lot worse during the chest infection.
So I’m isolating as legally required, though I may have to break cover and go out for milk at some point , I can’t do Isolation without tea and chocolate.