Archive for June, 2017

At The Bluewater Barn with Lucy Scott – Day 2

June 27, 2017


Lucy began today with what ended up being a long talk and discussion about the 8 limbs starting with Ahimsa in the Yamas. It’s a wide subject encompassing non violence to others, which really begins with non violence to ourselves and leads in to vegetarianism etc. she then moved on to the 2nd Yama, Satya, Truth, being true to ourselves in the practice, true to others off the mat, but also learning when to know that telling a truth to another may be harmful.

Following the talk it was time to practice, which turned out to be a very long practice. Padahastasana again being told to spread my sacrum to give my lower back space, but how do you “spread” your sacrum, you kind of send the message more in hope than expectation, then Lucy comes along and adjusts and suddenly from somewhere there is space and movement.

The practice is long because at Lucy Land she has extra curricular ways of opening you up! In UHP she has my foot on the window sill like in a ballet class, I had no idea my leg could get that high.

When 5 is a perfect number

She makes me repeat Paschimottanasana so she can adjust it and the same with Mari C, then again the first side of D to stop my bum raising, lifting, twisting binding manoeuvre. There is no way I could bind fully sitting without help on the first side.
Supta K assist today, though she leaves me to exit without raising my feet, I’m so used to a teacher lifting my feet it took a few seconds to realise she had gone and that she expected me to do it on my own, Titibhasana was ok but lost, crashed the Bakhasana today.

For those who can do Gharba she makes you get the arms way further through with the aid of washing up liquid in the water spray bottle, zip zip and your hands easily reach your head. Makes me laugh when I remember a Russian girl who used to have a quick swig of water from the bottle in Gharba, now that would be funny!

My little bit of 2nd series has never had this much attention. Pasasana and Krounchasana, though Krounch is still a bit difficult on the 2nd side with the knee issue. Salabhasana on my own, then assisted Bhekasana over a Bolster to make the chest lift, followed by 3 goes at Dhanurasana over the Bolster at legs and ribs level and finally on the mat. It’s no wonder it’s a long practice, though at Lucy Land there is no rush, there is no 2nd group waiting for the spaces. Parsva Dhanuarasana and Ustrasana on my own, suddenly rolling over on to the second side of Parsva has got easier, having lateral space does help.

My back thing was happier today, Urdva Dhanuarasana alone before Lucy adds in a new opener, wheel on top of stool, the wheel is blocked to stop it moving, first she presses down on my legs, then has me interlock my thumbs over head and stretches me over the wheel. Then she removes the stool and it’s Kapotasana over the wheel, though my left hand has trouble reaching to grip, so I’m a bit uneven, but it works. Just when you think it’s over she takes the wheel away and has you do a other UD, which suddenly feels much deeper and more comfortable than the first one.

Closing was um, how can I put this, um “interesting”, it was fine until I got to headstand, where I tried to repeat what she had me do yesterday, which was to go up and use the slope of the ceiling, pushing with my toes. Well up I went and whoooomph over I flew straight in to the wooden window blinds, breaking 3 with somehow not managing to go through the glass window or shred my foot, just when you think it’s going well.

I didn’t know my foot could get that high! UHP

Apart from the headstand mishap it had been a nice practice. Lucy insists on everyone taking a decent rest, none of this 5mins and outta there, so when we finally came out of our cocoon blankets it was 2pm. I had no idea just how long practice had taken.

Lovely unexpected trip to St Michaels Mount.

I’d had a plan to visit Lands End on the open top bus today after practice, but the late finish and rainy weather made me abandon that plan. Instead I was wandering vaguely towards town when Gemma , one of the 5 yogis pulled up and asked if I wanted a lift anywhere, as we headed in to town she suggested she drop me at Marazion so I could visit St Michaels Mount. Thanks Gemma that was a wonderful plan and I spent a lovely afternoon having lunch and exploring the castle, making sure to cross back over the causeway to the mainland before the tide came in.


Knowledge is a rumour!

June 26, 2017

“Knowledge is a rumour” was one of the first things Lucy told us this morning, our first morning of practice at her Barn in deepest Cornwall. It’s a rumour until it becomes a fact, when you body knows and feels it to be true.

“Asana” she said, is the relationship between your body, space and the ground.

The practice room is compact and cosy, you could probably get 8 mats in there, but 5 of us seems a perfect number, room to move, space for the fun poses without having to worry about what the neighbours are doing.

Her memory of people body’s is amazing and with so few students she is able to work more on those places where we have pain, restrictions , tightness. My “thing” in the left side of my lower back that drives me nuts, she’s on a mission that began in Padahastasana trying to get me to think of spreading the sacrum and Illium to give length and space in my lower back, followed by Trikonasana to level up my hips. As she adjusts she explains why she’s doing something, I had no idea my hips are so un level, maybe L sees it and corrects it as she adjusts it on a Sunday, but nobody has ever actually told me.

Out of the 5 of us, 2 people were new to Lucy, she watched them more than adjusted, which meant the 3 of us she has worked with before got a LOT of attention, must have been why her husband shouted out “good luck” as we ascended the stairs! As Lucy said developing trust between a teacher and student takes time, to be confident in going with an adjustment, rather than tense against it, Lucy’s adjustments can be deeeeeeep, but like with Louise I trust Lucy implicitly.

With so much physical help and verbal advice and instruction I find it hard to keep the flow and my mind is more active trying to take in what she tells me, I’m not in my own fuzzy zone of plodding through in relative silence contemplating croissants, oh and there’s no Pret in Penzance by the way. đŸ˜¦

I knew she would be on me again for my lift up Marichy D entry on the first side, she wants my bum to stay on the floor, once I’m bound I can lower down anyway, but my left shoulder finds it impossible to get round the knee without lifting. Supta K is always fun, I heard Lucy say something about “this is a nice posture” without realising she was referring to me as she lifted my feet for the Titibhasana exit, then counted me in to Bakhasana, I almost made the count until my legs slid off, but someone clapped!

I was putting a half thick block under my heals for Pasasana, I usually roll up my mat a-la AYL, but she said the block was too high, so Lucy rolled up my mat saying that was half the thickness of the block. Back to Plan A tomorrow.

Dhanurasana is where my back painfully gave in back in February when I last practised with Lucy, she remembered and had me do it 3 times, twice with a bolster, first under my legs, then under my Ribs and then a proper one on the floor. Parsva D and Ustrasana left alone, though she was pleased I had been given these last 2, Ustrasana is still quite new, but I can feel it helping my upper back.

The niggling thing painfully returned for Urdva Dhanurasana, even after Lucy had warmed me up over a long stool. She says the “thing”, whatever it is should have gone by now and has recommended a local Chiropractor whom is said to do amazing things. I think being on a bus for 8 hours didn’t help, I was generally stiff,so hopefully tomorrow will be easier.

The shape of the Barn roof means you can push your toes in to the wooden ceiling in headstand!

I refuse to believe the correlation!

June 18, 2017

I refuse to believe the correlation!

A couple of weeks ago I was munching my Gluten, sugar and salt free Aldi breakfast granola, when I crunched down on a harder than usual cluster and shattered one front tooth completely and broke 25% off the side of it’s neighbour! a clusterfuck if ever I felt one. This has resulted in a massive dental bill and multiple painful visits to Dorota the nice polish Dentist.

Since the dental clusterfuck I’ve desisted, it’s been a struggle, from my favourite cookies and the slabs of white chocolate that usually help get me through the working week, as Dorota said the temporary crown is ” for smiling, not for eating!”, which has resulted in a soft diet, so glad croissants are soft, this healthy eating business is clearly over rated, not to mention bloody expensive.

The upshot of this suddenly enforced diet is a sudden realization that the first side of Pasasana has got much easier to bind, I’ve always been able to bind the 2nd side, so was I carrying extra pounds on the first side, is a cookie and chocolate free diet the secret to Pasasana? It hasn’t made backbends any easier of late, now if it had I would almost be tempted to give up chocolate a while longer, but I won’t be giving up chocolate in the pursuit of Pasasana, that’s for sure!

Along with the teeth issue I stepped back off a step stool while cutting the hedge in the front garden last week and did “something” to my left knee, I couldn’t walk the next day, I actually fell over when I got up and tried to bend it. Slathered in a combo of Rumalaya and Tiger Balm it’s improved, I can walk and do most of practice , though Tiriang Mukha and Krounchasana are impossible and lotus poses are non binding.

Hopefully by the end of this week I’ll have a new tooth crown and a functioning left knee, just in time for my week in Cornwall with Lucy Scott.

AYL conference

June 4, 2017


Today’s conference at AYL came just 12 hours or so after the previous evenings terrorist outrage that took 7 innocent lives and injured many more. London seemed to have a quietness to it this morning and a very understandable underlying tension with the heavy police presence at the nearby station.

It was a good day for the AYL community to come together.

To begin with Hamish asked us to sit in silence for a few minutes, to think of those caught up in last nights events and those further north 10 days ago. He then talked about the Buddhist story of Angulimala, who went around killing people to chop their fingers off to wear as a Mala. The point being that it’s usually impossible to fight fire with fire and that there has to be some kind of alternative engagement, as the Buddha engaged Angulimala and led him away from the road of violence, as H also added he wouldn’t advocate running up to a terrorist ourselves.

Hamish then talked about 3 parts that yoga is about, Intentions, technique and love.

Intentions– you get out as much as you are prepared to put in. Yoga is always on our minds, we arrange our lives around it, we bore our non yoga friends to death about it.

Technique– refinement of your practice, subtle changes you notice and make over years of repeating the same postures day after day.

Love-your natural state. Neither be lazy or push too hard in your practice , find the balance, be happy with where you are. It’s about the connections we have with the yoga community and family beyond.

Part of finding this balance and love is to be able to fill the void in your heart he termed the “hole of unhappiness”. We all have this hole, as he has begun to notice in his own daughter it begins around the age of 10, when children start to understand more about the world around them and see that the world isn’t perfect and start to ask questions about life.

Hamish talked about the visitors who come to AYL for a week, a few days or even a day, how they go away saying they had a great time, enjoyed the energy and being within. He wants them to have something simple to take away to remember the shala by, not a sticker, he laughingly said! Instead he has written Yoga KarunĂ¥
KarunĂ¥ means compassion, this should guide how we practice, how we live and how we teach and he’s planning to make it available. He read it out to us, part if it said

Yoga is a gift

Have compassion
Breath well
Keep it simple

Hamish has a way of lightening the atmosphere, he often tells it like it is with a sense of humour, so when someone asked in the Q&A about how being a yogi may affect our political views he told us he didn’t used to vote, but now feels it’s important to do so, though he puts his “x” where Anna tells him to!