Archive for August, 2015

Another year older

August 28, 2015


Birthdays are no longer what they were, last year was a biggie, but this years was going to be just another day until Yogamama asked if I wanted to do the last day of Sharath’s London workshop, as she couldn’t go. Well that sounded much more interesting and fun.

Though when the alarm went off at 4:30am I was thinking is this such a good idea, but when I got to the station I found 2 more local ashtangi’s waiting on the platform for the 04:59. I haven’t been awake this early since Mysore in February.

The venue was the same as last time, The Camden Centre near Kings X, a huge public hall with space for around 200 mats and every space was filled as being the final day the mass of primary series students were joined by the ones who had been doing intermediate.

Mat to mat

Samasthitihi at 6:30 sharp and surprisingly I found it much easier than I expected, standing seemed to fly past with the usual mat shuffling to fit everyone’s legs in UHP, trying not to be distracted by a wobbler up the front.
Sharath seemed to like standing in the little vacant square two rows in front, I could feel him watching, just like being in Mysore, eyes everywhere, he sees everything, the thought that I need to do it right.

He seemed to count faster in seated, especially in postures that my left arm still needs extra time to get in to like Marichyasana D, he was already on “2” by the time my fingers bound. The final Navasana he held us at 4 for an eternity, I could hear his laugh as he counted 5 and the audible relief around the room. Garbha was fun as usual in such a confined space, but my neighbours and I managed to 360 without knocking any of us out, I noticed S rescue a couple of beached folk.

My shoulder was tested in Urdva Dhanurasana, I take my time Inbetween, but we hardly seemed to get any break before the “liiiiift up” instruction. Sirsasana was my main worry, I’m still not very steady and even getting vertical is still a bit hit and miss, I really didn’t want to take local ashtangi Jayne out who was in front of me. I managed ok, but had to come down and go back up for Ardha Sirsasana, my shoulder hates the transition and moving the weight distribution to counter the legs, I managed 5, which was more like 25 by my count!

After Uth Plutihi the room erupted in applause, Hamish and Anna said a few words and then Sharath spoke for a few minutes about the practice, he is so softly spoken and typically he was quite a way away now, unlike when his beady eyes had bored in to me during the practice itself, so I didn’t catch very much of what he said.

Sharath talking after practice.

Savasana was short and then everyone lined up for the photo. I’m amazed with the amount of students he sees in Mysore during the season and on tour in the summers that he seems to remember people and their practice, does he really remember shouting across the Shala exporting me to “stand up Kevin!” He laughed and said “only one day!” It’s like he mentally keeps count of everyone’s attendance.

Practice followed by birthday breakfast. Well my 51st turned out to be a much more enjoyable day than I expected before YogaMama sent that email, but OMG did I sleep well last night.

Birthday practice with Sharath.


The Peanut Galleries

August 8, 2015

Peanut Gallery 1

AYL is chock a block full on a Sunday when practice is going to be followed by Hamish doing Conference. I had done my Surya’s in the Finishing Room before Louise called my “one more”. By the time I had done backbends and headed back to the last spot in the Finishing Room to do closing, jammed in by the blackboard, there were so many students waiting to start there was a queue sitting patiently in the corridor. This “Peanut Gallery” watching those of us practising consisted of a few Authorised teachers waiting to start. Closing was proceeding along nicely until I came to Sirsasana, which with the shoulder is still a bit lopsided and getting vertical can be a bit hit n miss, it ended up being a “miss” day as I went up, failed to catch myself at the top and then aware of the wall on my right and my mat neighbour, whose mat was touching mine, avoiding both I went over the top, sideways crushing my toes painfully under me, eek ow ***%#^>* Ommmm. At least a member of the gallery was kind enough to check I was ok, my ego and toe were bruised but no serious damage done.

Post practice croissant and tea and back in there for a Conference in memory of Guruji who would have been 100 that weekend. Hamish talked about Guruji’s passion for yoga, his generosity towards his students, his house that some students had helped to buy which became the old Shala at Laxmipuram. Hamish then asked us to arrange ourselves in to lines before announcing that as part of the celebration one of the restaurants on Drumond Street would be delivering food for everyone.

Hamish giving conference


The conference and party were filmed and you can watch the short YouTube video here

Peanut Gallery 2.

Out here in the sticks at the local Shala things are different, no queue to start, a lot cooler and most students have quite a short practice, not many go beyond half primary and as for students doing intermediate, we are a very rare bread. By the time I’d done full primary there were just 3 of us still going and the other two were closing, so Olena was on me for Pasasana, Bhekasana and here I’m encouraged to practice through to my crappy Kapotasana, so I got assisted in Parsva Dhanurasana, Ustrasana and Laghu, as the local peanut gallery looked on from Savasana or through the glass partition to the Lobby.

I get more time to experiment with Dropbacks at the local Shala , no pressure to make space for the next person in the corridor queue, freedom to do the hanging exercises and shoulder openings before dropping back and standing up off the half thick blocks, trying not to be conscious of the peanut gallery that has grown outside the partition to include people waiting for their Pilates lesson. As I stood up from my 4th, S who I thought was asleep in Savasana next to me, said “can you stop doing that you are making me feel tired watching!” You just don’t get comments like that at AYL.

At AYL you also don’t get any adjustment, advice or assistance with closing once you have disappeared off in to the Finishing Room, but unbeknown to me Olena had returned and saw my dodgy kick up in to Headstand, cue a mini Sirsasana lesson on engaging my core, raising one leg, engaging and bringing the other leg up, then going in to Ardha Sirsasana, which I have to admit I haven’t practised doing much in the last couple of years with the shoulder issues, so instead of dreaming of croissants in Sirsasana as I usually do, that ended up being a testing end to practice, though she did give me a super squash in child’s pose.