Beginning my Yoga Journey

Lily was looking through my Yoga library a few weeks ago. I think she likes to do that so she can sit on the spinning chair and pretend she’s the big boss! Anyway, she found an old magazine (2004) from the Beacon Yoga Centre at the Sivananda Ashram, where I used to teach yoga. She was intrigued to find pictures of me in the magazine (and not a little impressed)!

How nostalgic for me to read short essay that I wrote to accompany the photographs. It goes like this (edited):

I have been practicing yoga for four decades. I had my first lesson in 1964 soon after I got married. My husband’s aunt, Lynette, who was a student of BKS Iyengar, visited us at the camp where we lived in Hwange Game Reserve in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). Lynette introduced me to to some of the asanas, including Suraya Namaskar (Salute to the Sun). She led me through a Yoga Nidra and, needless to say, I immediately became a yoga addict. In retrospect, this is more likely an asana addict as I was not aware of the wholeness of Yoga.

When Lynette left us to return to Johannesburg, she gave me a roneoed booklet she had written and, because of the isolated area in which I lived, my practice was mainly guided by the asanas therein. The booklet has long since fallen to pieces but I can see it in my minds eye even as I write.

Since immigrating to Australia and starting formal lessons at the Beacon Yoga Centre, yoga has become even more important in my life. I appreciate the continuing thread that runs through the practice of yoga, down the millennia and into our lives now. I have had many teachers through the years and they have influenced me deeply. I am aware that my yoga practice (Sadhana) in all its forms, contains inspiration from all of my teachers. It is this continuity and integrity that I offer to my own students.

In 2000 I graduated from the Friends in Yoga Teachers Training Course – a training I undertook at the same time I was working toward my PhD, and which kept me sane through that time!

Over the years, my teachers and my students have touched my life with their generosity of spirit and in sharing so freely their wisdom and learning. I also acknowledge Rasik Davia (who died in 2004) whose kindness and gentle nature coloured and deepened my understanding of the yogic life.

Yoga balances my life, otherwise I tend to live too much in my head. I give thanks for yoga everyday and to all those who have loved and supported me through the years of study – and continuing to this day.

Love of yoga has led me down many paths of self-development and spiritual awakening. I have often integrated some of the methods I’ve learned elsewhere (Alexander Technique, Feldenkrais and the like) into my yoga practice, only to find that yoga was there first.

The photographs in the 2004 magazine are of me working through one of my favourite asanas – Simhasana (Roaring Lion). It is a wonderful asana to practice in winter because it alleviates sore throats, congested noses and chests. Another benefit is the development of a strong and beautiful voice. The roaring lion can be modified easily and there are many different forms. Sometimes students are shy to do this as it isn’t the most flattering of asanas!

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Beginning my Yoga Journey

Woman with a stick

Having said I would blog my recent cruise, I have considered how interesting this would be to other people. I decided it would not be interesting at all! Who wants to read about what someone else did and/or saw on holiday? So, I thought, what if I pick out some of the incidents that made me laugh? Here goes …

One of the shore excursions was for a small group of people (about 30) from the ship in Milford Sound (excuse to show you a photo), by launch to the Milford Sound landing. One of the group, a youngish woman with an older partner, attracted my attention as she had a stick and limped quite badly. I knew there was quite a lot of walking involved in this excursion and I wondered how she would cope. Very well, as it turned out!

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Cruise ship Diamond Princess, 3,000 plus passengers but dwarfed by the mountains in Milford Sound, South Island, New Zealand

Walking Stick Woman was the first to board the tourist bus that was taking us to Queenstown where we stayed overnight, and then on to Dunedin. Because of the stick, WSW, and her partner, had the choice seats at the front of the bus. Actually, that was the last of we saw of the limp and the stick! At every scenic and/or rest stop she was up and down the bus steps like a gazelle. Each stop saw her posing (and I mean Posing with a capital P) for photos dutifully taken by her besotted partner.

The tight leather pants were a mistake.

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It was cold on the cruise, especially in New Zealand and I had to buy warm clothes on the ship! The jumper I bought in an op shop (thrift shop) in a small town in the Barossa Valley, South Australia (on an excursion) because I was already regretting not packing warmer clothes. The beanie helped!

I’m used to holidays in the tropics.

More to follow

Woman with a stick