Places that make me happy

Yoga, as a Therapist I saw said, is what makes you happy and keeps the wheels of life pointing roughly in the right direction. She wasn't wrong. It's not just the physical practice, but also the places where I practice and the community of practitioners I share this practice with. When Louise sent an email last Friday night to say the Sunday class would begin again on Sunday, a week early I couldn't have been happier.

AYL is one of the three places that without fail give me the space physically and mentally to practice, to find a peace, quiet and stillness I just can't find elsewhere, just walking through the door yesterday felt as good as opening my own front door. Familiar faces mouthing "Happy New Year". Practice followed by a long, chatty breakfast over tea and pastries.

Mysore is obviously a place I would like to return to at some point, but having been twice I just don't feel the pull at the moment, plus it's getting harder and harder to get a place when it is open. Practicing in a room of 70 people does have an energy all its own, but there's just something it doesn't have that AYL does, despite being surrounded by yogis.

There is another place tucked away down a suburban street in Byron Bay, the Shala of probably the biggest influence on my practice, Dena Kingsberg. This place is every bit as special in its welcome and homeliness as AYL. I last walked through the little wooden gate and up the steps through the glass patio doors 7 and a bit years ago. That time Dena greeted me with "welcome home". I asked her years ago should I go to Mysore or should I go to you. She told me there would always be a space for me at her Shala, but that I should go to Mysore and experience its differentness. Ironically I actually ended up in Byron before I had the chance to go to Mysore, I've been to Mysore twice since Byron, I've experienced what Dena talked about, but as I'm not chasing postures or authorization I almost feel like I've got what I can from the differentness that Mysore offers and I'm now at a different place mentally and physically in my practice.

It's been 7 years and now the world has conspired to give me the chance at last to return, I've got over 3 weeks of vacation days to take, Bali was plan A, but having been caught up in the issues of that Icelandic volcano a few years ago, I've no wish to get stuck in Bali, beautiful and cheap though it may be. So in a little over a month I will get to lay my mat in that room again and spend afternoons watching dolphins from the Lighthouse and dip my toes in the sea, no I still can't swim and there are too many bloody sharks in those waters to risk anything more than a toe.

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