|Posted on 26 June, 2015 at 15:00|
Wow - what a weekend! I took a break from yoga in Raphael Park to celebrate the solstice and what a celebration it was!
It started on Saturday morning with my usual home practice on the patio. I love doing yoga outdoors and I'm so lucky to have a south facing garden and a sheltered patio. It's very unusual for me not to get out there - even in the middle of winter. Often I'm surprised when I go out the front door how cold it is because my place in the garden is such a sun trap.
Then it was on to the gym where my yogi friend, Paula - freshly back from yoga teacher training in India - was covering Katie's class. Katie is a brilliant teacher. I've watched her grow in confidence and I really enjoy her classes. Paula's style is different but still challenging. I am priviliged to experience so many wonderful and different yoga teachers with each one bringing something new to learn. After Paula's class came Body Balance with Vicki. I love the flow of Body Balance and the way it merges a variety of styles and traditions.
In the afternoon I took off to Bedfords Park and the "secret" walled garden. I've lived in Havering all my life but it's a part of the park I'd never known about before. Apparently it's only open to the public for certain events and the project is under development but already boasts an organic vegetable garden and a fledgling orchart as well as a classroom, rustic room and a market on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Another of my wonderful yoga teachers, Angela Thompson, who is also the British Wheel of Yoga rep for West Essex and East London, led chair yoga in the orchard and Jane (also a BWY instructor) finished with a wonderful outdoor yoga nidra. The rain held off just long enough for us to finish before the heavens opened and we all got drenched. In the short run to the car I got wetter than if I'd jumped in a lake!
So Sunday dawned and I'm told it was wonderful. I'll take their word for it because I was fast asleep in my bed. I do late nights, but I'm afraid not early mornings. Real yogis were up at 4am to see the dawn practising yoga on the South Bank and Surya Namaskar at Ally Pally by 6am. Now that is dedication. I got to Newbury Park station to meet my friend and colleague, Bozena - unfortunately slightly late (the story of my life) but I think she forgave me once we reached Alexandria Palace! We had a wonderful time. Thankfully the weather was good. I love yoga outdoors and this was my chance for a whole day of back to back yoga in the fresh air. But if it rain would have been a disaster. Mud and yoga don't really go together unfortunately and there was no cover anywhere other than the main stage. We were met by a complimentary bus to Alexandria Palace from the station and free tea and coconut water when we got there. My mum would have approved (with the tea that is - probably not the coconut water!). The tea, I should mention, was Yogi Tea not Typhoo but much nicer I think!
So what a weekend, and what a day! I practised yoga with the gods - Chi Kri yoga sequences with Rakhee Vithlani moving towards dynamic yoga sequences. Then I stayed for Spaniard, Roberto Milletti's beautiful flowing yoga style as he wandered around us with Tibetian chimes. I was at Yoga station 4 and with differernt classes going on all around the field it was difficult to know what to do next and what to miss. I could see Bozena near the main stage enthusiastically taking part in the Kundalini yoga.
After pizza lunch (it was pizza - very nice veggie pizza freshly cooked in an open oven - or veggie salads which I'm sure were delicious but the queue seemed to go on forever so I decided the pizza was definitely the wisest and quickest choice) it was time for Surya Namaskar fromt he main stage. Actually there was no break, yoga just went on all day around us. I didn't want to miss anything so I took bites of pizza between sun salutes - definitely not recommended good yoga practice but at least I didn't miss out!
Then it was the dynamic, unconventional, tatooed urban warrior David Sye. I went to his workshop at the last yoga show and he was, as before, brilliant. Bozena texted me to say "this is fantastic". "Yes" I texted back "I told you that before we came!". Yoga Jam came after that, a fusion of contemporary beats and rhythms with ancient Sanskirt mantras, yoga and meditation - very fun and contemporary while still true to the ancient practice of yoga.
A surprise for me was Leah Bracknell's Shamanic Yoga. I haven't been to any of her workshops before and I was pleasantly surprised. The Shamanic element has put me off in the past but it's something I want to explore in the future. Bozena loves Shamanic practises and has been telling me about it for some time. With Leah I felt we connected back to nature and the earth.
Mantra Chanting with Adi Guru Das was interesting and changed the pace a little. We were there too for the finale led by the Brahma Kumaris - a very moving and spiritual end to a moving and spiritual day. Yoga really does touch every aspect of your being - body and soul
I can't wait for the Om Yoga Show now in October!