Over last year we had quite an agenda of themes which I hoped would be interesting and useful. It's an enjoyable challenge to find ways of linking the wisdom of the traditional texts with the asana and pranayama practices. Almost every class ends with a yoga nidra in the Satyananda style. Yoga nidra has spread widely now, often with modifications, and I hope everyone delivering it understands just how powerful it is. In the Yoga nidra training I received, a very useful part was reviewing Swami Satyananda's book and being given valuable advice about modifications, especially what not to use! This was usually from a mental health awareness perspective, especially possibly re-awakening old traumas.
The weekly Accessible class continued in Livingston and we were delighted to welcome back a previous member of the group who hadn’t been able to come during the pandemic. The Monday and Tuesday Zoom classes also continued. Unfortunately, for several reasons, the Monday class numbers fell below a sustainable level and didn’t make it through to the end of the year. The good news is that the final few members transferred to the Tuesday evening class.
The live Accessible class provided good company and great discussions on all sorts of themes relevant to topics such as strength, balance, equanimity etc – not to mention putting the world to rights sometimes. We even practiced yoga too…..
In the Zoom classes, between January and June we looked at the richness of Chapter 2 of the Yoga Sutras, using two contrasting translations/ commentaries. The translations were very different! The one that was new to most of us, including me, was The Secret Power of Yoga by Nischala Joy Devi - described as a woman's guide to the heart and spirit of the Yoga Sutras. Needless to say, plenty of wisdom for men too.
In July we studied the five prana flows in the subtle body and how they operate and affect our body-mind complex. After the summer break, we spent some time with the Katha Upanishad, a traditional text relating a dialogue between a boy and Yama, the personification of Death - largely inspired by the amazing, thought-provoking Mandala Yoga Ashram retreat I’d been to in August, “Facing Death, Embracing Life.” This course was devised some years ago by the Founder/Director of the Ashram, Swami Nishchalananda, and still appears regularly in the Ashram programme, usually to be fully booked rapidly. It certainly brought up issues for me that I thought I'd dealt with years ago. The collective wisdom of the group was both inspiring and comforting.
The monthly (or, more accurately, two-monthly) Yoga Workshops for experienced practitioners continued, also in real life. This autumn, sessions moved to Saturday afternoons. The theme was “Sharing our Practice”. Members of the group responded to my invitation to share the teaching and we had two lovely sessions on October 8th and November 12th. Many thanks to both fellow-teachers. The next two workshops are in January and March 2023.
There's no doubt in my mind that although Zoom classes are valuable as they enable people from further afield to come along to the virtual space, real-life classes are to be cherished in terms of shared energy, communication, spontaneity, joy and laughter and it has been wonderful to have them back.