Monday, 4 November 2013

On why I am not a yoga teacher.

Because I don't like to offend anybody, I want to start with a disclaimer: everything I say that follows, applies to ME and my yoga practice, and my's not my intention to diss others or what they decide to do and when. OK, with that out of the way shall we begin?

Stiff lady...beach yoga in 2010
When I first got really into yoga (by which I mean when I started practicing ashtanga, as opposed to going to one or two generic classes a week), the lovely girls I worked with started suggesting I might become a yoga teacher as my next career did some of my friends, my hairdresser, the beautician I visited, and countless other people I spoke to or met. I suppose it seemed like a natural suggestion (and solution) given that I had grown disenchanted with my chosen area of work, and couldn't see what my next step would be - and alongside this, I had grown more and more enamoured of the yoga world. So, simple! Right? But for me, this answer was very definitely (at that point) a new ashtangi, it was likely that my colleagues and non-yoga friends began to take me for some sort of "expert" as I was practicing 6 days a week, and pretty keen on reading anything I could find about yoga (in my first years it was a case of eat, sleep, breathe yoga). But if those people had been in the room when I practiced they'd have seen that I was very much a beginner, working my way (slowly) through the Primary series, unable to stand on my head, weak and not particularly flexible, to say nothing of the concentration battles that raged daily in my head (I typically spent the majority of my practice feeling cross with/completely jealous of the person on the mat next to me), my inability to "find" my bandhas, the struggle I had following the correct breath count through the trickier postures. I might have been "yoga girl" in the eyes of the unitiated, but I knew the truth: I was just an ashtanga baby.

And as time went on, and I continued to practice, I found that alongside my regular practice I also enjoyed going on yoga holidays and practicing with different authorised teachers. In 2012 I was booked to go to Purple Valley with Kino and Tim for the second time, when I received an unbelievably exciting email from Tim asking if I might like to help with a little assisting during the course of the workshop. All sorts of things went on in my head, and I realised that I really really wanted to be invited to be an assistant, and was a bit gutted when my own teacher didn't match the offer (not even to help get me prepared for assisting in Goa!), but continued her programme of inviting other students to assist her when she felt that they were ready for it. I had some unholy thoughts about how my lack of natural bendiness was holding me back, and how unfair it seemed, but still, I knew I didn't want to teach, regardless of my response to this situation. So I went to Goa to take the course with Kino & Tim, and despite being really anxious about it I felt enormously priveliged to have Tim teach me some simple assists, to get to stand at the front of the room with my teachers during the opening chant, and to learn the enormous difference it can make to your own practice to spend an hour beforehand gently assisting others in downward dog, in uttitha hasta padangustasana, in padangustasana (if I was feeling brave), to nitice the difference in other peoples' bodies, in their breath, in their reaction to me coming to help them. I found my breath was deeper and more calm, that when I was told I could start my practice, having a spot picked for me by Kino in the middle of the room, that I was more centred and inward focussed. I found more compassion for those practicing around me, but during this time I also felt (again) like an ashtanga baby - I knew so little, how could I ever know enough to teach, or even to assist?
Beside Kino during the opening chant
Fast forward four(ish) years from the start of my ashtanga days, and (as I have already written about), I found myself searching again for my next career move. And the idea of teacher training, which had vaguelly occured to me at previous times, floated back up to the surface. A teacher I adore (and enormously respect) was very encouraging when I enquired about taking their course, and several potential obstacles to me taking the training fell away, leaving me in a huge quandry. The thing for me was that although I kept feeling drawn towards this particular training, I was craving routine in my work, something that would help stabilise my days, give me some straight-forward work schedule, not to mention a stable income. And what about teaching? Well, working at the yoga studio as I do, I feel like almost the odd one out that I am not also a yoga teacher. And at some point in the past year I recognised that there is a little bit of me that enjoys the surprise when people assume that I am teaching, and I tell them I'm not. But a bigger bit of me sees that what might seem like a sweet and easy job from the outside is in many cases an uphill battle.
I see how tough it is for those who have just finished their training to establish themselves - teaching classes in the evenings and weekends, frantically trying to rearrange their whole schedule if they get offered a cover class that clashes with their day-job; I see how many teachers there are, and how few of them can actually make a decent living from it. I also see people who don't (in my opinion) have enough experience beginning to teach, and hard as I try not to make judgements, I don't feel that comfortable with it.
But then I also see my teacher, who is awake early enough each day to cycle to the studio and to have his practice finished by 6.30am; he then teaches until 10.30am 5 days a week, staying fully present in the room even if there is only one student still practicing at the tail end of his teaching slot. I see the teacher who is running the training, able to offer something different every time I attend her class, always choosing appropriate and touching music, and words, and sequences for the day, for the attendees who happen to show up that day, for the phase of the moon or the season. 
And I see me: struggling and suffering with my practice but yes, still practicing after almost 5 years - when I spent the whole of my first year convinced this would be a "fad". On the one hand, when I look at my teachers, I see that I could never be worthy of this. And that the only way I want to teach would be if I could become as great and as dedicated as each of them are. And I see that what I need, and what I want, is to have a yoga practice. And I want it to be just mine, and for it to to be my challenge, my comfort, my therapy. And I'm not willing to share that just yet. For it to also become my work would change things so substantially, and I would worry that in some ways it would spoil it for me forever. Even just to take the teacher training to further my own knowledge, which is what I was intending all along, felt like it might take my practice in a direction it's not quite ready for at the moment. And in any case, if we all become teachers, who is there left to be the students? ;) 
I admit I was very flattered at the positive response from the teacher to the idea of me taking the training, and to those who tell me they think I would make a good teacher. But after a huge amount of thought, and really focussing on what it is that I want to do (rather than just looking at what I could do), I decided not to take the training, and to focus on my practice, and on looking for a job. And after letting the teacher know, I immediately knew that I had made the right decision for me, for now, and while I thought fondly of the other new trainees on what I knew was their first weekend last week, I knew I was doing the right thing in not joining them.

So while we should never say never, what I know for sure is that for me, for now, I am happy to remain a student...and an ashtanga baby. 

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Stay where you are.

Monday will mark one year to the day since I set off for Goa, to begin my adventure of living and working at Purple Valley for the full season. I've already marked 6 months since I returned, so now this is another landmark which gives me cause to stop and think about the experience, or more this time about what has happened since I returned hom.

And I'm not going to lie: it has't exactly been a barrel of laughs. 

There have been lots of good things, of course, and the main one of these, the constant, is having moved in with the Frenchman immediately on my return. Although in hindsight, not going back to my home at ALL (except to collect a few bags of clothes, moving out only via the tube, and one bag at a time) probably made the transition a lot trickier than if I had at least returned to my familiar surroundings for a month or two. Though to be honest, who knows...But that's the past, and now here I am, happily cohabiting, figuring out the stuff you figure out when you're both in your 30s and trying to shape your life around another adult human with (strong) preferences and ways of living, so that's all good fun ;)

What has really been the biggest challenge for me is no less than trying to find my place in the world. yup, the biggie. I shouldn't really be surprised by this, given that, if we rewind (easy to do on this blog as the posts are so sparse!) in April 2011 I found myself not working, and instead of panicking I elected to take a "grown-up gap year" to figure out what I wanted to do next. A decade working in various roles within clothing and design businesses, but somehow never moving "up", just sideways, had left me dissatisfied, and I longed for a job that I could be passionate about - something I had probably romanticised but nevertheless I missed. I had ended up in a dead-end street and had no idea where to go next, so the etch-a-sketch approach (shake it all up and start again) seemed like the wisest move. I was toying with various ideas for re-training, going to college, moving in a completely different direction -the problem was that nothing was coming naturally to me in terms of which new direction. So my year off became instead a plan to temp, and then head to Mysore for 3 months to following Spring. And I got the reception job at the shiny yoga centre, had a bit of an existential crisis but overall was happy enough, and I got to spend time in Goa, Mysore and Thailand between January and April 2012. 
The fly in the ointment (in some ways) was being offered the Guest Manager job at PV, which happened shortly before I returned from Thailand. This is an "invited" position rather than something you apply for, so while I was flattered I was pretty sure I wasn't going to take it as, let's not forget, my plan was to come back to London and find a "proper" job. Doing something PROPER. And normal. And probably not related to yoga. But then again this seemed like such a wonderful opportunity, so after agonising a bit I accepted the role, and of course I met the Frenchman not a week later, and after over four years of being thoroughly single I fell madly in love (another fly in the ointment) but still, I left for Goa on 21st October 2012. My feeling was that if our relationship was supposed to survive, then this was as good a test as any and, thanks to regular emails, skype and a visit in February, we made it through, and when he collected me from the airport on my return we went straight back to his flat and that was that.
Work wise, I had a few shifts lined up back at shiny yoga HQ, and a gig to do some social media work part-time, so I didn't have to stress immediately. But somehow, over 6 months and several disappointing job interviews later, I am still doing these two things, and a fixed and stable job is no closer to happening. Don't get me wrong, I am grateful to have not one but two part-time jobs, and both have their benefits, but with my vata tendencies I crave a fixed routine, and really I need the discipline of having somewhere I need to be, and fixed working hours, not to mention wishing I didn't have to work evenings and weekends. So in it's own way, it's really tough. And even tougher is the disappointment that comes from having interviewed for a handful of jobs which I felt I was really well suited for, only to be told that they hired somebody they already knew, or they felt that I would get bored and move on quickly because I was very say nothing of the applications I have spent time on only to hear nothing back. Make no mistake, it is tough out there.

And all the while, I mostly paint on my happy face, and when people ask me if I'm going back to Goa again, or why am I not, I tell them I don't want to leave the Frenchman again, which is of course true, but really the reason is this: coming home was too fucking difficult. And it still is.

This weekend the Frenchman has been away, and I have been emailing back and forth with my beloved co-guest manager from last year as she made the long journey from Sweden to Goa to do her second season. Knowing that two out of our team of four would be returning this year makes it feel a lot harder knowing that I will not be there. It's almost surreal knowing that she is there now, as I sit in London writing this, and that she is settling in and helping to get the centre ready for the first retreat which begins next weekend. And the ways things currently stand I'm not even going to be able to afford to go and visit during the season. 
I don't use the word lightly, but I have spent the past 6 months dipping in and out of depression, and the Frenchman has had a lot of tears to put up with. And it would have been the easiest thing in the world (finances aside) for me to take off somewhere again, to have applied for Mysore or agreed to go back to Goa, rather than sticking it out here and trying to put some roots down. But at the age of 35 there are other things I want, and a stable and happy relationship is one of them, and fulfilling and satisfying work is another. Going away again would jeopardise the first one, and make the second move even further out of my reach. Even in my yoga practice (hell, this is a yoga blog afterall) I have not only stayed in one place since coming back from Goa, but my teacher took away (gradually) the new poses I had been given by various teachers during my time there, so now I am back doing primary and second through to kapotasana, and suffering on a daily basis. Clearly the universe has one big lesson for me: it's time to sit with what you have, and not run away from it again. Because how can you build anything stable when you keep moving around?

So this weekend I decided that it is time to bring an end to this navel-gazing, feeling sorry for myself, wishing things were different and being overwhelmed by the things I need to do. I spent yesterday alone, and mostly in contemplation, starting the day with my first ever castor oil bath, eating grounding foods, going for a long walk in the rain, and picking up an old favourite book of mine to read when I stopped off for coffee - Awakening the Buddha Within by Lama Surya Das. And given that I had already been thinking over this blog post, and how staying still is the hardest thing, what should I read a few pages in, but this:

" Indian master, when asked what advice he had for Westerners seeking enlightenment, said:
'Stay where you are'  

So, for now at least, that is exactly what I intend to do.

Saturday, 2 February 2013


One of the most frequently asked questions from guests here is about how amazing it is to practice with every single teacher on the schedule - 6 months of back to back (to back...) workshops. And yes it *is* amazing, and an incredible opportunity that I am enormously grateful for, but stop and imagine for a moment that this is what happens with your practice....
You meet a new teacher. You get two weeks of pretty intensive practice with them, meet a whole new group of people who you have a few days to settle in with and then grow used to sharing a practice space with, you hang out and chat together, share meals, sometimes go to the beach or out and about together, you take afternoon technique workshops and start getting in the groove with the teacher, the group, the assistant...and then after two weeks of practice you take Friday led primary together and then it's over. Everybody starts talking about what time their flight leaves, where they go next, the places they might visit, their plans for next year, and then they get their traveling outfits on and they are gone - and you are the one helping to organise their departure. Meanwhile a whole new group begins arriving, often crossing over in the middle, and your emotional response to the departing group, teachers and the sangha you have all spent two weeks building up has to be put aside to offer a big sincere welcome to the people climbing wearily up the stairs having travelled half-way across the world to begin a big adventure. And you spend the day helping them settle in, you shake hands with the newly arrived teacher, you have a few hours to rest and make your weekly skype call to your sweetheart who is waiting for you back at home, then you head back to the retreat and try not to completely mess up the welcome speech thanks to your nerves, and afterwards you try to calm down and eat some palak paneer while fielding questions and any late arrivals before you head to bed...ready for the yoga alarm to go off the next morning when you head down to the shala, so familiar and yet once again unfamiliar; a apace awaiting a whole new group energy, a new teacher, a new feeling.
Imagine it. 
No, really imagine it. A little bit challenging, non?

And yet (and yet) right at this moment, in the midst of the busiest handover day of the season, I feel nothing but calm and happy to be here. Yes there is a small degree of tiredness, and this morning I woke up longing for a cuddle with my 3 and 5 year old nieces, and now I sit writing this and waiting for my boyfriend to wake up back in London so that we can speak, but I am so outrageously grateful in this moment that any tiredness is worth it. 
Of course it goes without saying that in a period of intense practice like this that there will be ups and downs, peaks and troughs, and as one of my co-workers said the other day in some ways we practice here in spite of all of the teachers passing through the shala. But after going through a period where I felt frustrated, exhausted and generally a little bored with my practice I am now in a period of profound calmness and clarity. I just got to spend two weeks with my teachers Kino & Tim, so having spent the past 2 years coming here as a guest for their retreat, this time around I got to take part in exchange for the time spent looking after the guests and my teachers themselves, and it was a pretty  experience for me. I could sit here now and tell you all about how my backbends are, how kapotasana is going, or what either of them taught me in terms of my physical practice over the past two weeks, but it's more a case of what I was able to gain from further deepening my experience with them both, with the profound (or utterly banal) recognition of my own patterns (both healthy and unhealthy, mental and physical). And within this time there were a few important things I came to realise...
One was that I remembered what it means to find your teachers. Before their arrival I felt that I had a hundred questions I needed to have answered, whether I should be moving forward with my practice more, or taking less postures, or splitting off from primary, or giving up completely, but on day one in the shala with Kino every question just fell away. And then over the time they were here I started to feel desperately that I needed to have a conversation about my practice, just to be completely sure about where I was at, and when I asked then were incredibly generous with their time and gave me far far more than I ever could have hoped for. And after sitting down to talk and being told by Tim, very kindly, that in fact my practice is not actually that long, and that he can see now reason whatsoever to split me right now, I accepted 100% that he is right, and I stopped feeling sorry for myself about it. And when Kino explained that being able to jump into bakasana B or not is almost irrelevant in terms of moving forward, but the fact that I'm having a nervous system response to trying it is, I accepted that I am at exactly the right place in my asana practice. 
And then I explained to Tim that after having a huge emotional response (read: in-shala sobbing) to his kapo assist one day, and deciding that I was too stiff to be assisted the following day, that I had discovered that in fact I was able to make a choice to NOT freak out when he helped me with backbends. In the moment that he instructed me to bend my knees deeply in assisted half-backs and he took my head to the floor, and then he had me walk in deeply on my last dropback as he straightened out my feet and then pushed on my hips for me to push back against him, I suddenly recognised that the hysterical (noisy & uncontrollable) breathing patterns I usually settled into when he was assisting me were a choice. And I can choose not to start them, I just had to trust him, and relax into it, and to engage in my core (of course!) and my legs, and just fucking surrender...and then it was all OK. And as I told him this Tim smiled, fist-bumped me and told me that that was the whole point of second series. That we learn to control our emotional responses, our nervous system responses, on our mat so that when we come up against difficult situations in life we learn to surrender, breathe, and work though them without becoming a shaking wreck. This was in fact exactly what Kino told me when I spoke to her about kapotsana back in London back in September, but at that point I was still consumed by the hysteria and couldn't see a way to control it, so the concept was nothing but abstract at that stage. 
After this conversation with Kino and Tim I felt incredibly settled and calm, and that once again all of my questions had fallen away. They have each given me so much, so generously in terms of teaching and input, that I am left inspired to get back on my mat tomorrow morning and to continue to recognise the insights that my asana practice brings to my mental processes off the mat, and although it is very sad to say goodbye to them and the lovely group I shared the last two weeks with (and of course there were a few tears) I feel nothing but happy and peaceful as we welcome a new group to the shala to begin again tomorrow.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Marking the halfway point

It's hard to articulate at the halfway point how I am feeling about the experience of spending 6 months in Goa.
Actually I think I am right now at a turning point. The past two weeks were massively challenging, practicing with a teacher who I had a strong aversion to, who the assistant noticed (kindly) that I was "closed off to", who seemed not to assist me too much aside from giving me 2 new postures on day 1 and wanting to give me more (which I turned down), who pushed my buttons (and reminded me of my issues around food) by suggesting that nobody eat dinner, whose pranayama exercise brought me to endless tears of homesickness which seemed to be a kind of incurably upsetting childhood nostalgia, who somehow seemed to facilitate all sorts of dark moods and a close-on hatred of my practice to bubble up out of was tough. But I realise as I sit here in a patch of sunshine in my room, drinking camomile tea and listening to Nina Simone, gearing up for a major full-power day as a group of 50 people arrive to be told that their teacher is delayed by the snow in London and will be a day late, that these turning points don't always appear as happy and comfortable moments. Perhaps the experience of aversion will teach me more than the strong attraction I feel with other teachers ever has done, or more accurately perhaps a combination of the two factors will somehow provide me with more than one of these factors alone ever could. I know for certain that I have been behaving at times in a way that I would not like if I looked on it from the outside, reacting (and overreacting) to things in front of me, not taking challenges calmly and in my stride, wallowing in my physical exhaustion, resenting others at times instead of working on compassion. I have been eating in a way that fuels the dramatic energy spikes and dips, spending my free time hooked up to the computer or indulging in idle chat instead of reading, writing, going out into Goa and seeing more of the area, learning to drive a scooter, sewing, taking time to keep in touch with my loved ones - these are the things on my neglected mental to-do list, while there always seems to be time to watch another episode of Mad Men.
But as we enter the second half of the season, and as my teachers arrive (a little later than planned) I think it is time to finally throw myself into this experience. Instead of criticising myself for how I have behaved, acted and filled my time up until now I will try to look at it objectively and without judgement, and just look forwards - to how things could be from this point onwards. So here's to the second half of the season...

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Work in progress

So, times have changed and I have to say that right now I barely recognise my life. But last week I met somebody at my yoga teacher's leaving party who knew my name having recognised me from this blog, and told me that reading it was what led her to seek out the aforementioned teacher. Nice feeling, huh? And it did lead me to wonder a little about blogging, and whether there was time and space for me to have another think about it.
But for anyone who might possibly read this and isn't also my twitter/facebook/actual real-life friend (is there anyone??) things are changing, biiiiig time. Since coming home from Thailand in April I continued working in the yoga centre, but shortly after returning I received a very exciting offer to go back to Purple Valley in Goa for the whole of next season and help to look after the guests. Erm, yes please? 
And then having accepted the job, through a combination of factors I ended up finding a new teacher, who (in a thoroughly appropriate way, I promise) I am head-over-heels crazy about. And then shortly afterwards I started dating, and somehow managed to meet somebody quite wonderful who is now also practicing ashtanga, with my teacher, and is similarly hooked. My practice has changed a lot too, but that's to be expected I suppose as life changes around me at a pace I barely even recognise. 

I try not to be too smug, but some days that's a struggle. And other days I'm just so exhausted from my practice and the tinges of anxiety that threaten about the upcoming 6-month trip that I just don't have it in me to be smug. 

I'm remembering to be grateful.

I'm working on just being in the moment. 

It's a work in progress, shall we say.

Monday, 9 April 2012

Oh so predictable.

Despite a little bit of me (maybe a large bit of me) hoping that heading to Mysore for 2 months would lead to me blogging super-regularly, dissecting my experience and sharing it online (just in case there is anyone even still out there wondering what I have to say), it turns out it wasn't to be.

Mysore was (I say this in past tense, having left Gokulam on Friday evening after 9 magical weeks practicing at the shala with Sharath) a life-changing, mind-expanding, shape-shifting and unforgettable experience. But something about it, and something about the person I realised that I am whilst I was there, made me understand completely why oh so many people before me have headed this way and resolutely STFU once they arrived. So yes, it's a giant cliche, but it turns out that Mysore knocked the desire to blog (or indeed to read other blogs, with the exception of a select few) right out of me.

Ho hum. Now I am in heavenly Koh Samui for a week of down-time before two MORE weeks with Kino and Tim, before I head home to London and put it all back together again. Maybe at some point I'll feel the desire to start sharing my thoughts again, I'm certainly not saying that I won't, but for now this is where I am (literally and metaphorically).
So I'll just say this; over the past (nearly) three months that I have been in India I have realised that life grows ever sweeter the more you focus on just letting things happen as they should. And for now, that includes me keeping a little quiet in the blogging world. Now if you'll excuse me I need to head back out into the is tough, right?

Sunday, 26 February 2012

A challenging Sunday

Led primary hurt today – physically and mentally. My ribs hurt, perhaps a tweak from assisted dropbacks on Thursday, Friday was ladies’ holiday so today was my first practice since then, and taking a deep breath induced a small flash of pain. I saw an open spot, congratulated myself once again on how stress-free this whole “getting a good spot” is, only to realise too late (like that kid’s party game, once all of the chairs had been taken away) that my mat was now covering not just one but a whole confluence of bumps and ridges – and massive ones at that. With my feet at different heights as we chanted the opening mantra the Pollyanna in me wanted this distraction to take my mind away from the breathing pain. And for the first standing postures I suppose it did, but all I could think was that I wanted – no needed – to leave. But how would you leave a led class in the shala without it becoming a major incident? You can’t, that’s how, so I knew I just had to suck it up and get on with it. So up to a point that’s what I did, but reaching bujapidasana the pain reached a crescendo – it is located on my left side, somewhere between the side of my body and the base of my shoulder blade, and tipping forward to the floor induced a flash of pain, followed by the realisation that I still had to get out of the posture after 5 breaths. I have no idea why it was so painful there, but it truly was – and coming out was the most difficult part. I vinyasa-ed to start kurmasana, realising that there would be some challenge here too, but I slid down into kurmasana with relatively little discomfort, only to find that while I could still hitch my feet behind my head by raising them up with my shoulders, I couldn’t catch the bind with my hands. For the first time in two years I was unable to do the pose (so screamed my ego), and not only that but I was in agony. I stayed prone on the mat, and as I moved into baddha konasana hot tears came. I stopped, skipped the vinyasa, held my sore ribs and quietly cried, and my sweet neighbour (I don’t know you, but thank you) stopped to make sure I was alright, and somehow I made it to the end of the primary series, limped outside for a coconut then headed home feeling miserable. I self-medicated with a delicious breakfast, coffee and some ibuprofen, cancelled my big jolly lunch-plans, and headed off for an early conference. And what should happen but the Boss was in a super-light mood. He had the packed-out room (admittedly the easiest crowd in the world once he takes the floor) laughing frequently, at one point doing an impersonation of somebody singing mantras with a guitar (instead of chanting them with correct breath and intonation). But more than that, somehow so many of the things he said today resonated with me so clearly that on the spot I made choices about how I want to live my life and things I want to change. He reiterated today:
Yoga is a four wheel drive car; one day life is up, the next day down, and only with yoga can we cope in all terrains.
Somehow this, or other topics that came up today, made me realise a few things that I needed to look at in my life. These seem intangible now I come to try and write them down, to spell them out, but perhaps that isn’t the point; I don’t need to share every thought, just to say that something in the way that this gentle man speaks sends a laser pointer of focus in to my own thoughts and understanding of my life, and gives me a direction, a feeling of which way to move on.
One particular thing did stick in my mind. “Always we say ‘oh look at him, he is wrong, he must not do this, she is doing that incorrectly’, but we do not look at ourselves to see what we must change.” Oh yeah...I gotcha. This is probably my specialist subject. But self-awareness is the first step, so I’m there...and now I need to start really looking at it.
I realised too that questions asked in conference seem to follow one of two themes. First is the philosophical/historical question (which to a certain extent says: listen to what I know, then tell me about it). The second, probably the more common, says “I do this: please tell me it’s OK?” We travel all of this way, we give up our lives, maybe our jobs, our families, a lot of our comforts (and certainly a lot of money), and we want this man to answer all of our questions. We want him to tell us that what we do, whether it’s choosing to practice sports alongside yoga, or to also take martial arts, or to eat meat, or drink milk, or to spend more time with our children than on our asana practice (his answer to the last one: “of course”), somehow we need to hear him say that it’s OK. And most of the time, of course, he does not. We feel that we need to ask, in all likelihood, because we already question these things ourselves, and yet we think that he will make it all alright. But the ongoing answer to any question posed during conference is just as we know it will be; take practice, be sincere, don’t mix it up or try to copy-write yoga, or say that you know best. Practice with sincerity, with your teacher, for a long time, and don’t think that saying you are a yogi makes you a yogi. The same applies for having a certificate.
But all in all conference was sweet, and light, and just what I needed to contrast with my practice. And as the day went by I got over myself, I kept the ibuprofen topped up, and of course no matter how crappy this morning felt, tomorrow is another day.