Archive for January, 2012

Demi block and wiggling.

January 29, 2012

I think the day I stand up again is getting nearer. I went to the local Shala again on Saturday and discovered in the “Toy cupboard” that C has some blocks that are less than half the thickness of the standard ones. After coming up from two then one I decided to try from the Demi block, same width and length, but less than 20mm high. It worked, I came up surprisingly easily. I realised that pressing into the blocks seems to make me keep my arms straight and strong, where as on the floor my arms bend at the big moment.

Sunday AYL for the third week running, surprisingly quiet, got my fave spot in the corner by the Radiator. A much quicker practice for some reason, quite a bit of help,PPC, UHP, Tiriang Mukha and a deepening of my already bound Mari D.

Usually you get assisted in Supta K, I have given up the “beat the Teacher” game at AYL, ie trying to get into it on my own before they spot me, today I was in Kurmasana and saw V’s toes expecting her to bind me up, but nope, she tells me to wiggle in to it, nice to do it on my own, she just tightened things up a bit.

I forgot Pasasana again, V reminded me as I was heading for the Finishing Room, ooops! No toys at AYL, so just normal drop backs, walking in, rocking up onto the finger tips, then V pinging me up very easily.

After practice and breakfast I headed to Olympia to be a Travel Adviser at the Adventure Travel Show. Very busy show and a great advert for the travel club.


Shala weekend & mysoremagic film

January 22, 2012


I managed to get in two Shala practices this weekend. I woke up on Saturday morning and decided to head to the “Local Shala”. I didn’t start until 9am, I gave the Shala an hour to warm up first, but had a decent practice and C has lots of blocks, so i went through all my backbend games, though she has nothing smaller than a full block.

Sunday it had to be AYL to collect my yoga togs from last week, not to mention the train departing on time for a change, but managing to arrive 15 minutes late, different year, same crap service!

Busier this week and Louise and Michael teaching, almost like being in Mysore again with familiar faces,less space and a nice warm Shala. Lots of help today DD squish, Triko A, PPC and UHP in standing, then Tiriang Mukha, Supta K, in seated, then bound the second side again of Pasasana on my own 🙂

Extra Urdva Dhanurasanas, able to walk the hands in much further than yesterday, then Louise watched me do a few nice deep dropbacks on my own before coming to help. She hardly does anything to get me up.


On the way home I noticed people on FB talking about a film that had been shown before Conference today in Mysore, called Mysore Magic. Made by ex YP teacher Alex Medin it was filmed in the KPJAYI Shala in the first two weeks of January. Once home I watched the trailer and realised I knew lots of the people in the trailer who had practised with me. A great souvenir of my trip.

Rising from Switzerland

January 17, 2012


I’m standing up from just one block pretty regularly now, it’s about quality not quantity, the legs and upper back engaging and opening, trying to take the strain out of the lower back. Three then two then one block today. Thinking is going, forward not up, inhale, rise. Today after standing from one block I spotted a thin hardback book, a very old copy of the Baedekers guide to Switzerland and wondered as it was about half the thickness of one block, 23mm, whether it would be stable enough push up from. And it was, so now I’m even nearer the ground.

At least I don’t have to buy new yoga togs, luckily the lovely Louise found my forgotten Sunday washing where I had left it. So at least I know where I will be practising this Sunday.

Losing it – forgot Pasasana and the washing!

January 15, 2012

It had to be an AYL practice today, as the train was 25 minutes late. I couldn’t believe how quiet the place was, only 5 people practising when I walked in at 8:15, where are they all, in Mysore still probably! Anna asked where I had gotten to all this time, i hadn’t seen her since Sharath was in London back in August. Back then AYL was packed both before and after Sharath, but now I could pick my spot.

Nice steady practice in some heat, I thought I was slow, but had done primary in 70 minutes, promptly forgot Pasasana and passed “Go” straight to Urdva Dhanurasana. A new enthusiastic Assistant today, she gave a good Baddha Konasana squish, then even assisted my UD’s, straightening my hands and feet up. She assisted a couple of drop backs then let me do them on my own, assisting me up, saying she hardly did anything. It took three before my upper back opened up, giving me the control and giving my lower back a rest.

Did closing in the Finishing Room, though really there was no reason to move, even by the time I finished there were still only 6 people practising.

It will have to be AYL again next Sunday as senile dementia is obviously setting in, having forgotten Pasasana I realised when I got home that I had left my yoga togs wrapped up in my towel in the changing cubicle! A week of fermenting, they may even walk home on their own!

The Map on Lulu

January 12, 2012


The Mysore map with more comprehensive explanation is now available as an ebook on

You can find my ebook here

Mysore Map

January 11, 2012

I originally started drawing this little map in the first few days I was in Mysore, to help remember where places were and to get my bearings and work out where places were in relation to one another. I then passed on a copy to a friend who landed in Mysore after I left and have since given copies to people soon to arrive. One of those people suggested that I should post it on the blog, so here it is.

Cafe's, Shops around the Shala

Sunday practice was back at YP, its been a long time. So nice to be in that room of familiar friendly faces again after the relative anonimity of Mysore. I expected Cary to leave me be first day back, she usually just observes when people have been away, but no, she was on me from the start, my too wide feet in Padahastasana, comments about how I bind my hands in the forward bends, my splaying feet in Urdva Dhanurasana (Mel threw me a block ) and then more dropbacks than ever, I was dripping from head to toe. She left me to play on my blocks, gesturing me to stand up from one block and then the floor, though I couldnt manage that. But she hardly did anything to get me up when she assisted me.Good practice.

Good to be back, followed by breakfast with everyone at Gallery

Map now available as an ebook with further information here

Adjusting back

January 7, 2012


After the not many adjustments in Mysore it was quite an adjustment to get back to today’s quantity of adjustments. Just 5 of us doing Mysore practice at TLC this morning with Philipa, so lots and lots of help, though I could hear my body saying “what’s going on”, Downward dog, Triko B, PPC, Utkatasana just in standing, then the Paschimot squish, Janu A, Mari D and P’s speciality Supta Kurmasana lifting up into Dwi Pada with hands in prayer, I’ve missed that, only Isa in Mysore did anywhere near that.

While I have been away the builders on the roof of the house opposite have finished, so we no longer have an audience until the windows steam up.

I had done Pasasana but she had me do it again to get my feet flat, nice bind though, before lots of backbends, thankfully she let me play, dropbacks to the floor then standing up off my blocks. She’s on a mission to wean me off the blocks though, i was down to 2 blocks when she took them away and had me dropback on my own to the floor, before initiating the forward/upward movement, before she let go, forcing me to engage and do the rest. I realised what her game was after the first one where I didn’t engage quick enough and fell back! The more we did the earlier she let go. Being so few people she had me do quite a lot of dropbacks, no queue waiting.

Really good practice, I enjoy TLC with it’s small numbers and lots of help.

This afternoon I gave my talk on Mysore, over 120 people in the audience today and it went really well, despite over running a bit. Lots of nice comments afterwards too, in the Q&A part someone asked about cycling the road from Bangalore to Mysore, I told them only if they have a death wish! Despite talking quite a lot about what you can see and do in Mysore and being a predominantly non yogi audience, I got quite a lot of yoga related questions. The only “why?” question being “why don’t you do it at a more civilised hour?”


The T-shirt

Talking of Mysore

January 6, 2012


Wish I was still there.

I’m becoming envious now of all those folk still in Mysore as they blog about the heat and sweat of practice. Back in blighty it’s bloody cold, practice is hard, Garbha is too much cold water and not enough space to rock and roll. I’m looking forward to this weekends two Shala practices, I hope TLC and YP have the heating cranked up.

Between the two practices I am giving a 30 minute or so talk on Mysore in Covent Garden on Saturday afternoon to around 100 people, I plan to give them some background about why I was there and the Shala, then before they fall asleep, tell them about the city and what else we get up to apart from sticking our legs behind our head and eating. Anyone can go to the talks, details below.


Speaking this month on Saturday, January 7, 2012 we have:

Phil Coley – Japan

and two mini talks from

Kevin Brackley – Mysore

Gavin Fernandes – Across Kashmir by bus, bike and jeep

London Meetings are held at The Church of Scotland, Crown Court, behind the Fortune Theatre in Covent Garden at 2.30pm (usually) the first Saturday of each month. The hall is reached via an alleyway beside the Fortune Theatre.

Admission: Members £3.00 Non-members £6.00

Tetley folk do yoga

January 3, 2012

Practice at home the last couple of days, though it’s noticeable how different doing practice is in a cool room with low humidity, despite warming up and generally playing around beforehand I’m not as open. But I have carried on Sundays good work and managed to stand up from one block. I’m still looking for something between the block and the floor.

I joined the unemployed today, signing on, online these days, but have also been busy finishing off the travel talk on Mysore I’m giving on Saturday afternoon, it’s hard to decide what to leave out and though trying to give some background to why I went to Mysore, I’m conscious of not spending the 30 minutes boring the audience to death with yoga talk.

I’m delighted that two things close to my heart have come together, yoga and tea, the newest advert by Tetley features Sydney getting both his feet behind his head in the advert for Green Tea. It’s not quite Chai like in Mysore but it’s a good start, perhaps they will do a Tetley Chai.

Here’s a link to the advert

First of 2012

January 1, 2012

Last Sunday, Christmas morning , I walked to the Shala in the dark, a Cow in the road, Scabs saying “high”. Outside the Shala a sea of Santa hats waiting for Prakash to open the Shala Gate. A week later, New years day, it’s back to the walk from home to the station, no cows, dogs, horses, I will pass Pret a Manger in lieu of the Coconut Stand and the Chai shop. It’s cold too, instead of shorts, T shirt and thin shawl I’m dressed in 3 layers of jumpers and a tracksuit top.

At least it was a late start at the shiny Shala, who were offering free classes all day, including the usual Mysore class starting at 10:45, so no train stress getting there. Instead of Prakash it’s M who unlocks the door.

I had thirty minutes warming up and playing around time, before i started my first Shala practice since last Tuesday and the first of 2012. Assistance from the get go, downward dog in the Surya’s, Trikoasaa, Prasarita C, after being mostly left alone for three months it comes as a bit of a shock, but also serves the purpose of keeping the mind present. I have missed E’s adjustments and her comments. A slow practice today, 3/4 of the way round in Garbha I lost it, E laughed, asking what happened, it was the Walls fault, after Garbha arse pinball in Mysore, avoiding a wall on the way round in London was this weeks excuse. But the last time I practised here i couldn’t even get my arms through, let alone rock round.

Since I got back from Mysore I’ve had a stinking cold, I’ve shivered through the last few days only doing half primary at home, barely doing backbends. Urdva Dhanurasana was a struggle, even against the Shala wall and holding E’s ankles, but at least here I am free to play and explore and eventually I got some good UD’s, walking the hands in and finding stability. Though E still notices my habit of taking my time between each time I push up! Dropbacks were safe and controlled, so I grabbed four blocks to try some standing up experiments, four went well, then three then two, last time,3 months ago, E stopped me, this time I got nodding approval. Finally up from one block 3 times, but not from the floor, but much better than expected.

Such a contrast in a week, from the heat, humidity and energy of led practice in Mysore with Sharath, to the shiny north London corporate Shala doing Mysore practice with E. It’s the same practice, the same asanas on the same mat, but on a different continent, with a different energy, a lighter atmosphere, but the same intensity, the same satisfaction when it’s done.

So the obvious project for the coming year is to stand up from the floor, but a good start to the year.