I am naturally thinking a lot about the kind of teacher I am. But I am also thinking about the community into which I am placing myself. The more I hear about the 'yoga wars' (teachers fighting back against yoga corporates as well as teachers having to find their place in a competitive marketplace, especially those who live in big cities like London, New York or Los Angeles) the more determined I am to create opportunities for yoga teachers to come together and share ideas around practice and teaching as well as their individual visions about why they teach yoga and its place in social development. We are quite lucky here in Norwich. From my experience the teachers here are very kind and open to new people and I am imagining that this mindset is not confined to this small, beautiful city but spreads across the East of England.
I have just returned from a 5 day Ashtanga yoga retreat at the beautiful EcoYoga Scotland retreat centre. We were looked after by wonderful people, Laura and Tim, and cooked for by the fabulous chef Emma from Limehouse Yoga in Cornwall. The centre is tucked away in the hills of Argyll, overlooking a loch and surrounded by stunning landscape. There are two outdoor baths (one of them right in front of the waterfall) and, I mean, actual bathtubs. There are hot and cold hoses and bubbles to add. There is also a hotter inside a glasshouse dome and a semi-underground sauna. I spent time in there reading and jumping in and out of the cold plunge pool. Every morning we started practice in the Mysore room at 7am. The retreat was led by two senior Ashtanga teachers: Scott Johnson of Stillpoint Yoga, London and Peg Mulqueen of Ashtanga Dispatch in Montana. They had very different but complimentary approaches to the practice and I learned a lot, especially as my body begins to show quiet signs of wear and tear. It was wonderful to practice with such a diverse group of students, many of whom were on 2nd series. As I continue my study and practice of primary series, I am deeply inspired by my fellow practitioners. In particular, my mat was next to a woman who was new to the Ashtanga method and it was so inspiring to watch her progress, day after day, as she began learning the sequence. It reminded me of when I started, so happy and excited to have discovered yoga (and wishing I had taken it up in my teens).
The wonderful thing about yoga is that it is never too late to start and even the most limited of bodies can benefit from yoga. It is from this place that I am inspired to continue this journey as I set out to bring the disciplines of yoga and meditation together in one practice room.