Blood Memories book

"Thank you so much for the beautiful reading. I have listened to the recording a number of times, and each time I do, I hear something different, or something else drops a level in my understanding. I was so inspired by your knowledge and clarity that I have signed up to study with you on your philosophy course.” - Fiona C

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How did these traditions shape my practice?

Ashtanga vinyasa has been my main practice ever since I discovered it in 2001. The flow, the breath, the challenge of the series resonates deeply with me. I find it meditative, energising, transformative, grounding and inspiring. Every day on the mat is endlessly rich in what this practice reveals to me. I teach it because I want to share with my students the incredible power of regular ashtanga practice. In particular, I encourage students to develop their own self-practice, as the deep integration of breath, posture and meditative focus cannot really be experienced any other way.

For many years, I practised ashtanga exclusively, with strict attention to the precise order and count of the series. Lately, my practice has evolved again, influenced by the broader tradition of vinyasa krama taught by Krishnamacharya. Though I still practise ashtanga regularly, some days different sequences, different poses, different combinations emerge in an intuitive, creative flow, depending upon how I feel as I go to the mat. Though I encourage the same exploratory spirit in my students, I believe it is important to learn the series correctly first. Only when the practice flows from a deep inner place can that same quality carry over into individual variations.

The other styles of yoga I studied in depth--Iyengar and Sivananda--also influence my practice as they do my teaching.  When working through particular challenges, I draw upon the wisdom of Iyengar, which integrates the principles of alignment, effective sequencing, and the judicious use of props. For me, it is about experiment and creativity--discovering ways to make challenging poses more accessible or accessible poses more challenging!!!

After a strong ashtanga practice and before the finishing sequence, I sometimes take to the props to deepen into a particular pose. Yet whenever I feel this physical ambition becoming too dominant (which is a tendency of mine),  I turn to the wisdom of Sivananda Yoga. Its emphasis upon the spiritual dimension is the perfect antidote,  infusing my asana practice with an inwards meditative softness and taking me back to my root.

Om Shanti - 2009

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