Yin Yoga Training Day 8

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I’ve been in London on an 8-day Yin Yoga Training with Norman Blair and 12 really interesting and amazing yoga teachers and have committed to sharing my thoughts here each day …

Day 8 (Wed 18th April) LAST DAY!

It’s now Thursday and I’m back in Bath. I didn’t write yesterday as when we finished, I headed straight for Victoria Coach Station.

Top tip: the National Express coach was really great, I highly recommend.  Yes, it’s a longer journey but it cost £11 return – yes, really – compared to over £100 by train.  Plus added bonus: the driver.

My driver to London sounded just like Andy Hamilton – “just as long as he can see over the steering wheel” texted Michael (my husband).  My driver back home really needed more yin yoga in his life. He used his horn no less than three times and tutted and sighed more times than I could count – I was sitting at the very front.  I think he needed a break.

So key learnings from my yin yoga training overall:

– The mind is malleable.  Change is always possible. This is the beating heart of the practice of yoga.

– We need more MATHS and less ANTS

ANTS – automatic negative thoughts

MATHS – more affirming thoughts

– Everything but everything is connected and everything has consequences. Just because we don’t have a big experience in a class or a big sensation in a pose, doesn’t mean change isn’t occurring. Change is always occurring. Maybe we need to learn to say hello to the quiet mouse who is trying to speak to us (or maybe ‘squeak to us’) rather than looking for the roar of a lion.

– I love practicing and teaching yoga. I also love my family, my cats and my garden. Listening to music, festivals, walking and camping, playing the violin, cooking and so many other things. So many things.

– Yoga is just yoga. It is magical but it isn’t a magic wand. And people, I’m just a lowly yoga teacher, not a doctor, a nutritionist, a physiotherapist or a councillor (even though I may be very interested in topics from all those disciplines and happy to share my thoughts!)

I look forward to seeing you in class soon.  More blogging to come, but every other week or so from now on.

Yin Yoga Training Day 7

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I’m in London on an 8 day Yin Yoga Training with Norman Blair and 12 really interesting and amazing yoga teachers and have committed to sharing my thoughts here each day …
Day 7 (Tues 17th April)

I’m posting this on the morning of Day 8 because last night I went out with two very old school friends in Covent Garden for the first time since being in London.

Once upon a time I lived in London for 10 years. It’s now been 14 years since I was a Londoner and I’d forgotten how to be in London! I felt like I’d been dropped from another planet when I arrived at Wood Green station last Wednesday. Everything was alien, so many foreign languages and skin colours and strange smells and scary looking shops I didn’t dare enter.

How things change in a week. I felt like surely everyone must know, when I walked to the studio each morning, that I was a fish out of water. I was self-conscious and found it hard to get my bearings. Now, I have explored this little area, found shops, Greek cafes, Vietnamese restaurants, Tesco metros and joined the dots between Lordship rec and Turnpike Lane tube.  I even walked home last night at 10:30pm from the tube and found myself remembering what it was about London that I loved. But I am also keen for the relative quiet, beauty and familiarity of Bath.

Anyway, musings over, here are my key learnings from yesterday:

– Insomnia is becoming the accepted face of depression

– Pain is an opinion of the nervous system. If the nervous system perceives it’s safe and sound, pain recedes

– There are many different ways of practicing and teaching yin yoga and many intentions we may have as begin a practice. What is it we hope that yin yoga will do for us? Perhaps improve joint mobility, reduce stress, soften our minds effort, reduce muscular tensions, alleviate certain symptoms, break old habits, illicit change, create peace of mind, look better, healing, connection, relaxation, for a deep stretch, to energise. They are all valid.

– Yin in in many ways a practice of developing patience. “Infinite patience brings immediate results” Waye Dyer

– I can’t remember who said this but it’s a great aphorism for life “what you can’t let go, let be”

– In our yin practice as in many yoga practices, we are seeking some sort of inner peace. We all want to feel connected, whole, relaxed with who we are and with our circumstances. The first step on the journey is greater presence.  Yin yoga is one of the few yogas where we get the chance to turn up and dive deep.  Because we hold relatively still in the poses for time. Yin creates the container for that possibility in contrast to more yang/movement based yogas.  Not that one is better than the other. Yang needs yin and yin needs yang. It’s a complimentary thing.

Yin Yoga Training Day 5

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I’m in London on an 8 day Yin Yoga Training with Norman Blair and 12 really interesting and amazing yoga teachers and have committed to sharing my thoughts here each day …

Day 5 (Sun 15th April)

Musings on meditation

This week my resurrected morning 15 minute meditation practice is going. Not well, not badly, just going.  And we’ve been practicing quite a lot during the training too. Sometimes it’s sublime and I catch myself congratulating myself on having ‘done well’.  I sit up in bed to do it when I’m at the AirBnB because the bedroom is peaceful and very calming with good natural light and seems a good place for it, and I give myself full permission to be warm and comortable.

Sometimes my meditation has not been pretty at all. It’s hard, I squirm, sneak a peak at the timer, wonder what the point is – as the stillness and time and space uncover and reveal thoughts and emotions, body sensations, frustrations.

What to do? Meditation is not a practice of emptying the mind but instead of exercising the mind muscle.  It’s tough sometimes working on something that’s weak.  Think about how we may rehabilitate a weak ankle after breaking it. We can start to recognise that the struggle and the unpleasantness are the meditation.  The thoughts are the meditation.  Our mind becoming stronger, we are becoming more familiar with it and its demands.

Thoughts are a sure fire way of affirming you are human and you are alive.  Phew. Be glad.  We can be gentle but persevering, we can give ourselves time but not give up.  We can all use a little more softness towards ourselves.  This is the basis of a yin attitude. Let’s have a yin attitude to meditation.  Striving, trying to get somewhere and achieve are yang. They have their place. But you will find yourself learning more if you slow down and soften.

What are we trying to prove anyway?  No one gets a medal for meditating.  I didn’t noice it at the commonwealth games. What you will find though is that if you can sit in awareness of what comes up, choose to stay with it a while, you may uncover hidden gems. Or perhaps you need to turn away – that particular emotion/thought is too raw, too much for the moment. So you reconnect with your meditation focus (whatever it is – perhaps breath, mantra, image) to help you pass through that unpleasant patch – and more than that, sometimes discover something about yourself you didn’t previously understand, during the meditation or commonly a while after.

 

Are we ready to face difficult stuff that comes up in our meditation practice?  Maybe not, sometimes it’s kinder to ourselves to leave it, and turn away. Know it’s there, just don’t deal with it yet. Not ready. That’s fine. May be ready next week, next year or never. The journey the journey.

It’s a shame there isn’t more time to get to know this mind of mine.

Someone said today that SHAME stands for

Should

Have

Already

Mastered

Everything

How many life times do I have?

Are you wondering why I used a picture of a green-haired turtle that I screen-grabbed from Have I Got News For You? It’s simply because it’s so ridiculously funny.  And if you want to know what’s even funnier, check out this article

I have so much more to share from today but I’m leaving it there. It’s a good place to stop.

 

Yin Yoga Training – Day 1

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I’m in London on an 8 day Yin Yoga Traiing with Norman Blair and 12 really interesting and amazing yoga teachers and have committed to sharing my thoughts each day …

(Remember, useful links at the end)

Day 1 (Wed 11th April)

A bad night’s sleep, an early rise and a long coach ride to London mostly in the dark and the rain. A full day of practice and training. Arriving at the end of the day at my AirBnB to find a warm cosy beautifully decorated tiny house with a leafy zen courtyard and earthenware pottery in the kitchen and a bath. Essential. A trip to Tesco and a shop assistant who couldn’t believe how healthy my basket was and kept telling me so. I told her the chocolate was already secured. And I was buying coffee and Indian Rice Sticks so there were some treats 😉

Key learnings from Day 1:
Let go of expectations. No, really. Let them go. Listen. The importance of creating a safe space. The intricacies of fascia, which I have learnt about in great depth with Gary Carter of Natural Bodies but good to have a reminder and revisit Dr Jean-Claude Guimbertauts work. The very fashionable multi-armed vagus nerve and its myriad workings in the Parasympathetic Nervous System. A reminder that full complete, relaxed breaths have myriad impacts on the health of the body.

Read more about the vagus nerve here:
http://sequencewiz.org/2015/11/18/vital-vagus-what-is-the-vagus-nerve-and-what-does-it-do/

Read more about Gary Carter’s work here:
https://www.naturalbodies.co.uk

Watch a clip of Dr Guimbertaut’s work here:
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=_tZL4716HuY
or google ‘strolling under the skin’ for a 28 minute video with a lot of long technical terms but lots of amazing filming.

Read more about my training teacher Norman Blair here:
http://www.yogawithnorman.co.uk