So, I'm a weeeeee bit late posting about my trip to London. My blogging muscle has gotten soooo weak lately! I apologize. Some how, I've managed to blog, here and there, in the past year. As always, I've been too optimistic - stating I'd be back up to speed posting regularly soon. As you can see, that hasn't happened, yet. This go around, I'm not even going to say anything in regards to blogging, and see what happens. Seems better not set any expectations. Just know I have every intention to get it going.
Ok. London. Well, I mean, what isn't there to like? A million thanks to my boyfriend who generously planned the trip as a birthday present. What MORE could this particular girl ask for on her birthday? Yoga, with Sharath, mixed with great friends, and travel to a fabulous city, is a combination that is hard to match. I was in heaven, minus the rain we were blessed with.
Right away the hustle and bustle of London threw me off. In contrast, Stockholm flows at a much slower pace. Took me a while to adjust. Granted, the city had taken a hit with the riots they recently experienced. A definite wake up call, but when it comes to culture, history, arts, and diversity, it's an unbeatable city. I'm ready to go back!
As you've probably already gathered, there's something about travel that really gets me going. I love discovering new places. Even though, in many respects, London felt familiar in that it's one of the most well known cities in the world. Per usual fashion, I sunk my teeth in and took a huge bite. There's no better way to do it really. I ♥ London!
House of Parliament & Big Ben
What about the yoga!? Yeah. The main purpose of the trip was to practice with our teacher, R. Sharath Jois. This was the first time I had ever participated in a tour. It's kinda strange seeing Sharath some place else other than Mysore. A tour usually equals a full week of led class. I signed on for a full week of led Intermediate series. Let's just say there was a whole lot of nerve cleansing going on. In Mysore, one day a week of led Intermediate feels like enough. A full week is intense. A manageable challenge, though, if taken in stride. I just love the rhythm and pacing of Sharath's classes. I have yet to meet a teacher who has the finesse as he has. I mean, it should really come as no surprise, he's had enough practice and influence from his grandfather. It's all there. Simple. Straightforward. Energetic.
I took the opportunity to really focus and go inward, surrendering to the counted rhythm, which is more challenging to maintain when practicing at home. It's an amazing litmus test. Going in, I wondered if I would totally flake on karandavasana, haha. To my amazement, I didn't. No touching. Whew! It's one of those things you can't predict in a led class. Flowing on command poses interesting challenges for the mind. There's an abundance to learn when it comes to this. To trust the energy flow. Just do. No thinking. Understanding when internally aligned, the embedded power carries the body.
As the days progressed I found myself being sore in the oddest places. The side of my forearm kept talking to me amongst others. I felt I was being re-calibrated. That's the thing, even though I've practiced Intermediate series a multitude of times, it's never the same as it is with Sharath. Of course it wouldn't be. After practice I felt stretched and challenged both mentally and physically. By the end of the week something shed. Old karma, emotional baggage, who knows. A weight lifted. Which is hard to explain, because it felt like the most natural thing. Of course this would happen. On the way back home everything culminated. I felt unknown anxiety. Sadness. Grief, that I couldn't explain. An emotional release came and went through. Somehow afterward I felt a big sigh of relief. Another level of clarity. I also felt pumped in a way. A true testament to how unbelievably strengthening it can be. Like a slow burn. A steady sizzle. As the embers of tapas dove deep inside.
Practicing back home the integration filled into the new empty spaces. My breath felt fuller. Deeper. Expansive. It's one of those things you don't realize while going through it. It's like you have to step outside to really feel what has transpired. I'm not trying to make it into some earth shattering experience, no, this is not the case. However, with that being said, I felt the profound affect on what being in his space has. Focused and clean. Underneath it all, opening to what the practice does over time. I'm thankful. It's a learning and stretching that can only be experienced through practice and practice alone. And the willingness to be in it, is key! It's not always easy.
London Tour 2011 with R. Sharath Jois
We were not allowed to take pictures inside the practice area. Somehow the above picture was taken on the last day! Tisk, tisk, I know! It's not really representative of the space we were in. We were packed in pretty good for the Friday, Primary series class that ended the week. Felt good to be part of such large sangha! As far as I'm concerned connecting with a community of practitioners becomes just as rewarding as the practice itself.
Obviously practice with Sharath was the highlight, however with London as the back drop there was much more to take in and experience. One of my favorites was our visit to Hampton Court. I always enjoyed history in school, and to walk around one of Henry VIII's old stomping grounds was absolutely fascinating. Being educated in the U.S. our history classes always had an English slant to them. It was fun imagining life "back in the day," especially as tyrannical and neurotic as Henry VIII was. What a guy!