I hope this finds you well. I haven’t written in a while as the last few months have been so jam-packed that newsletters have taken a back seat. However, now I am here to make up for that, so set aside time if you plan to read everything as there is a lot! Otherwise, all the important information about my 2023 timetable is right below.
Over the next few months I shall be away here and there, which will affect various classes to some degree.
May 22nd – No Monday ONLINE class; I’m taking the evening off as Charlie and I celebrate her birthday.
May 29th-June 4th – No classes. Charlie and I are heading down to Banbury to deepen our Ashtanga practice with Marque Garaux (this link is to a recent interview with Adam Keen, with some interesting insight into healing his back with backbends). We are both extremely excited about this chance to work with a most gifted teacher.
Nb. Nuffield Yogis, please note that Ali Wiseman shall cover my May 31st Vinyasa class.
ASV Yogis please note that Sarah Black shall cover both my Hatha and Power June 2nd classes.
June 13th – No Tuesday Mysore Class at Love Yoga as I take the day off to celebrate my own birthday!
July 3rd-Aug 4th – Crathes Village Hall is shut for refurbishment, which means Mon/Wed classes will be off for 5 weeks. If you Crathes yogis wish to continue practising with me across this period, Peterculter Heritage Hall on Thursday 6-7pm is the best option. It is the same general type of class and is a mere 10 mins drive from Crathes, but smaller, so places may be limited. Book to ensure you don’t miss out! Of course, you are also welcome to come to my Monday online class or my Tuesday evening at Love Yoga too.
July 25-29th – No classes as we’re away to study with our dear teacher Sarah Durney in Edinburgh. As of yet I haven’t organised cover but assume any classes that aren’t in gyms/health centres are cancelled. More details nearer the time.
September 30th-October 6th – No classes as we’re away to study with Sarah Durney in Italy, once more deepening our Ashtanga practices. As of yet I haven’t organised cover but assume any classes that aren’t in gyms/health centres are cancelled. More details nearer the time.
December 3rd-18th – No Classes as we’re away to visit Kenya, the birthplace of my father. Along with my aunty and dad, we’ll be spending time revisiting the haunts of their childhood as well as making new memories of our own. As of yet I haven’t organised cover but assume any classes that aren’t in gyms/health centres are cancelled. I imagine Nuffield and ASV will run classes on my return across the Christmas fortnight, but I know Love Yoga will be closed. In other words, for many of you, you won’t be able to practise with me in December! More details nearer the time.
As you can see, depending on which classes you attend, there may be as many as 12 weeks off between now and the end of the year, and so I encourage you to make the most of me whilst I am here! This is not to say you completely stop practising in my absence; far from it. In my opinion, the work you personally commit to on your mat daily is of much greater importance than the classes you attend as a student. When learning an instrument it’s the time spent playing throughout the week that counts, not the one lesson you have with your teacher across those 7 days. So it is with your yoga practice: find that daily commitment, even if it’s just 10 minutes. Consistency will always trump intensity. Keep it simple, but regular.
This idea of simplicity was central during our teacher Bharath’s recent workshops in Aberdeen last month.
I’m sure I am not alone in saying I feel massively energised by the Bharath’s teachings during his tour of Europe. Many of you were lucky enough to attend this event at Love Yoga, and may be wondering where all those photographs are that I busily snapped during our times together!? Well…they are coming… I’ve been prioritising another project recently and the thought of narrowing down 400 photos to a handful has frozen me to the spot. However, here’s one to tide you over: Bharath assisting Matthew as he chips away at his handstands. Once I have sorted out all the best shots and colour-corrected them, I’ll upload to social media and my website, as well as email you all with a link to them. (As there are dozens of shots of folk individually receiving their certificates from Bharath, I may add these raw pictures to a Dropbox for people to download if they wish.)
Document Your Journey
2023 has marked a change for me: I’ve decided to journal everyday about what my practice entails and how long it lasts. Approaching this from quite a mundane angle, I’m mainly focussed on the physical aspect of the asana, and any improvements. Ordinarily this kind of recording is a bit of a turn-off for me, but I also like the idea of going against my innate preferences every now and then to keep things fresh. This diary has given me a way of objectively measuring my progress in the postural practice across months and potentially years. I was partly inspired to do it by movement coach Matthew Smith, who claims that journaling is the most underrated and cheapest tool to aid development. However, I’m mostly compelled to do it as I see many students advance in their practices but forget just how far they’ve come! Indeed, with no record of where we once were, I believe yogis can get lost in always looking to “the next posture” or “the next sequence” and forgetting what an abundance of experience and skill is floating in their wake. Maybe this is something you could try yourself. Write a paragraph each day about what your daily practice comprised, and how long it lasted. After a few years you can look back at the diary and be amazed by the changes you’ve experienced. If writing seems too much, perhaps just take a photo in the postures that challenge you every now and then… Again, one day you may look at these artefacts from your journey and smile as you remember just how far you’ve travelled. This can also be a powerful gratitude practice: too often we focus on our struggles and weaknesses and ignore all the areas of abundance, not only in our asana but life in general. Use your yoga journal to find some healthy self-praise and positive recognition of your triumphs, whilst maintaining content in the knowledge that there is always something further down the line to challenge you again! This contentedness could be classed as your work in the subtler limbs of yoga, specifically the Niyama “Santosha” (Contentment/Satisfaction).
Adding to this, I’ve also taken to writing down some personal goals specifically pertaining to Primary Series and Intermediate Series. This is perilous act, as it comes pretty close to the pitfall of treating yoga as an achievement based work where the only aim is mastery of a posture. I do not believe this is the purpose of yoga, and I try my best to teach against such an attitude. However, I do see value in looking to the horizon and, with faith and courage, setting a course to that personal mountain peak, be it a headstand, backbend, or simply lying down flat in shavasana. Noting these aspirations can help lend focus to your work on the mat, especially during those weeks (and sometimes months) where energy and attention flags…
Thank you all for your continued support,
It inspires me to see your practices grow