|Posted on 19 July, 2015 at 15:00|
I've been worrying all week about my Plan B. It seemed a good idea to use the whole park for a meditation but I realised there were problems. The main one being the weather. I don't think a walk in the rain would have been very popular! Last night I actually dreamt there was blizzard in the park and everywhere was covered in snow. I know English weather can be unpredictable, but snow in July? That would definitely be different! Fortunately, my prayers were answered and although it wasn't blue sky first thing the sun shone through and couldn't have been better. Really hot sun has its own problems too and today the weather was perfect.
I'm not sure how people felt about walking across the park - and when you've organised something it's very difficult to know what others are thinking. Certainly we were noticed more than when we huddle together in the bandstand - a mixed blessing in itself. As we walked silently across the park one man asked what we were doing. I broke away and had a chat with him which was nice. Perhaps next time the silent part should be relaxed in certain instances - today for example another man passed us by with a cheery "Morning" and confusion broke out in the ranks. To abandon the meditation and respond or be rude and carry doggedly on was the question. Most of us, myself included, compromised with a subdued and muttered "morning" probably leaving a very confused dog walker behind.
There was a choice at the Summer Theatre Garden of walking up the steep slope (the hard way) or taking the easy route around the side. I went for the easy route but many others clambered up the slope. How did they feel about that I wonder? Did it add to the meditation? Do they have any thoughts on it? Reflections perhaps for the worksheets.
The Summer Theatre Garden turns out to be a lovely yoga studio. Without the benefit of a roof when we looked up we saw the sky in all its splendid majesty, when we looked down you could feel the earth. Interestly some chose to be on the grass which wasn't my plan but made sense. The garden has many choices - a shady tree for those who want to stay out of the sun, stone for those who want firm ground, grass for those who want soft, sunshine away from the shade (assuming it's a sunny day, of course) and best of all, loads of room so on a sunny day we don't have to worry so much about numbers. Perhaps we could have stayed there longer but I wanted to move on to Percy's Place. Next week, weather permitting, I think we'll base ourselves around the garden (but meet as usual at the Bandstand). It was suggested we face the other way to make the most of the lake view. It's great to get feedback and really helping me to plan the classes.
Percy's Place in the woods was shady and changed the pace again. It's ideal for chair yoga and something I'd like to try more of. Chair yoga is inclusive for everyone, you can do it in the office so it's good to learn but I appreciate that some people want a more active class. The difficulty is getting the balance right - again feedback needed please??????
A walk through the woods - just a short stroll - but it gave us time to take in nature. The wildlife was interesting, not of all it welcome but we should be non-judgemental, noticing what's around us and disturbing nature as little as possible as we discussed in the Bandstand (Ahimsa).
In a sense the walk was a journey - from the Bandstand as our usual comfort zone, a private and adult area we've made our own over the past six weeks, across the park, up a hill or around it depending on our choice, into the garden where Shakespeare has been performed every summer for over 50 years - starting way back in the 1960s with one of my old teachers as founding member right up to recent years, including this one, with my own son performing. For me the Theatre Garden has memories of running around as a small child around the stones and this year and others, of sitting huddled under umbrellas watching the Bard while feeding the mosquiotos. A link with the past and the present. Onto the children's picnic area where Percy has got his arms back, I noticed. Through the woods and finally out into the clearing and into the Teenagers' area.
I'd planned a walk around the tree (three times) followed by Tree (Vrkshasana) but time was running out so we moved straight into Yoga Nidra. I tried to take us back through the walk. I invited people to think of a Sankalpa (an intention) and repeat it three times.
So thank you to everyone who came today. We had ten which was brilliant. I know that the summer is a busy time and people are going to dip in and out. I feel truly blessed that so many people have been able to spare time on Sunday mornings to join me.
What I need now is feedback and comments. I gave out homework and it would be lovely if some of you could bring your completed mandalas with you next week. I'd love to see what they look like, what colours you've used, what you made of the meditation. If anyone wants copies of the worksheets I can send them a PDF. Just let me know and you can even take our walk through the park any time you want.
The secret Sanskrit word this week is Mooladhara. Mool means root and Adhara means place.
If you were with me on the meditation please share your thoughts. Looking forward to lots of comments this week. Hope to see you next week and bring along your record sheets so I can sign. So far, Raphaels Restaurant have agreed to discount Sunday coffee for participants but I'm hoping to negotiate other offers over the summer elsewhere. I'll keep you updated. Thanks again to everyone who came and others who've supported me over the weeks. We've over the halfway to the fundraising target!