Tag Archives: Yoga
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from a photography session with my Thai Massage teacher Somwang Khachenniam

23 Feb

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before I left Chiang Mai I took some photographs for my Thai Massage Teachers Somwang Khachenniam & Kea Metawarin Kap. This is one of my favourites from the few closeups that I shot that day.

Incredible teachers & thai massage practitioners.

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Continuing studies, starting the year fresh

23 Jan

I am in Thailand continuing my Thai Massage Training as well as the online Theory Program with the Nephyr, director of the Naga Massage School in Portland Oregon. Like as if that wasn’t plenty I stumbled on a Mysore Ashtanga Teacher and am finding my way back into the fold of the Ashtanga family. I missed this!

All of this is only possible really because I stay in a small studio apartment where the rent is just over $100 per month (3500 Baht)… there is more to this, I’ll explain in another post.

So for the past week my days started at 5.45am and I was reasonably busy until about 6pm, by the time I had dinner it was closing in on bed time.

To try and see if I can change my life a bit this year I am beginning with working on my night owl habits.. For the past week I managed to go to sleep most nights by 9pm. If I don’t go to sleep this early then I won’t be able to get up early to make it to Yoga class. And It all just feels so incredibly healthy and why wouldn’t I got to sleep when it means I can make my way to the yoga studio and feel my fragile body wake up and remember how to move?

It has been astonishing to see how much fear I hold and how much this keeps me from living a full life. Finding myself stand on the yoga mat means facing some of those fears and finding out that yes: I have some physical limitations but the rest of me is fine and wants to move, get strong and feel that amazing feeling that you can only feel when you have done a yoga practice, with as much concentration as you can manage and with sincerity. It is too easy to make excuses.

I keep remembering that we have only one life. So if maybe I need a hip operation one day then that is ok, but the remainder of my body still needs the endorphins that come with moving it.

At this point I don’t know how long I will be able to keep up my early morning routine. I hope I can cement it into my system and start a new life.

The Thai Massage practice plans are also changing. I am finding myself very reluctant to spend money at a new School with teachers who may or may not be as outstanding as my current ones. It is quite a hurdle when you don’t have much money. You have to make your choices so much more carefully.

So my current updated thoughts are: to continue refreshing my memory with my old teachers before moving on to any other ones. The idea is that it ought to be better to be good at one style of massage, really good rather than muddle my way through several?? Well I am still having longings for practice in the Northern style, too.

It is bed time. I will ponder these thoughts again tomorrow.

http://over-seven-seas.smugmug.com/Portfolio/Selection-Favourites/

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I woke this morning with neckpain

7 Aug

.. I just woke up a little while ago because I was in so much pain with my neck that I couldn’t sleep. I tried this yoga video, and while it didn’t fix the neckpain, it did help keep my shoulders mobile, with the neck pain radiating from it’s spot up the neck and down the shoulder and arm these yoga exercises were helpful to keep check of the knock on effects.

This teacher also has a video for neck pain, which didn’t quite hit the sweet spot of mine but also was helpful.

Remember: when you are in pain then the solution may require a few days of regular gentle practice. I think people often want there to be an immediate solution (very understandable from where I am at this morning) but immediate might be even harmful. Think of it this way: it took certain prolonged or repeat actions to cause you this injury or discomfort so therefor it makes sense that it will require some mindful changes to resolve it. What do you think? And do you have an immediate cure for my neck pain? (wink)

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Yoga and mindfulness

2 Feb

Yoga and mindfulness

Yoga and mindfulness, breath, health, nutrition, bodywork, discipline, change your life.

I am back and available to teach classes, I can come to your venue and give a group class or I can make home visits and teach you where you live, I have very limited space these first weeks in my own place, but it is possible for individual students to come to my home and practice here. My dream is to help you develop a self practice, empowering you to stand alone on your mat with self direction and the necessary drive to practice wherever you are.

You may be more like myself; I found it difficult for the majority of my yoga life to practice at home, I thrived of the energy of group practices, thrived of the presence of a teacher. This is completely ok. Don’t feel bad about your self practice not flourishing now, it may do one day. Just remember that with this, like with all things that you would like in life, keep the door open to the possibility of your ambitions but don’t beat yourself today about not having achieved the ambition as yet.

A shift took place very recently for me, I wasn’t expecting it and it surprised me: I suddenly crave self practice. I suddenly crave the absence of a class, the silence of just my own breath in the room, the absence of another yogi’s deodorant (remember to arrive to your yoga classes free off added scents, wherever you practice this is good etiquette). Today I crave stillness in the space around me.

This also is part of my hope to teach self practice. Do you feel where this is going yet? I have with my head wanted to return to Ashtanga for a significant amount of time, but now I also want to with a need that maybe you might say with my heart or soul, or simply my body. I have practiced in Mysore, but I locked myself out of study with the Jois family when I took my teacher training course in Mysore with another teacher. I am unsure if I regret this choice or if it simply is at is is. My Teacher training course taught me things I would not know otherwise and it is a choice I made.

To clarify: it is a strict rule that if you practiced with Pattabhi Jois or later his grandson Sharath Rangaswami, that respect for your teacher meant that you were not allowed to study elsewhere within the city. Many western students don’t understand this need for this one strict rule. I do and will maybe write about it another time. Let’s accept it for now. I broke this one strict rule and thus expressed a disrespect for my teacher Sharath. I appreciate that we sometimes have to make choices and that these choices carry consequences. I appreciate the lessons of discipline that I learnt from Pattabhi Jois and more so from Sharath’s strict teaching at the time that I practiced in Mysore in 2007.

I learnt something there for life and the discipline also had a liberating effect on me. I would fully trust Sharath with my body and spirit, I can not say that I have had many teachers whom I would trust to know how to protect my needs and challenge my ego, all for the better. I have had few if any teachers before him whom I rate this highly and would give my trust to in this deep way.

Injuries in Mysore: yes, I got injured, too. I was embarrassed about it because I thought I was ‘better’ than those somewhat Alpha driven origami specialists whom I heard around me bemoaning their torn or strained tendons.. But I still went ahead and out of insecurity drove myself too deep or too hard into Asanas. Insecurity is also an expression of negative ego. You might feel superior as you move around the world humbly, but are you sure your humbleness is not another expression of arrogance? Your insecurity, too can be this.. So I learnt my lessons. I cried a lot in Mysore. I fought a lot with my thoughts. Why did yoga in Mysore make me cry, when at home it made me sigh with deep relief from weekly stresses and strains..? I couldn’t understand it, I proceeded to judge it instead.

Judging … another way of escaping surely. It was in my case. I am a great escapologist.

It takes time to digest the lessons you learn in life; and that is if you are even willing to put in the discipline of digesting.

So I may have locked the door on future practice with Sharath, this means also a locked door on ever being authorized by a system that I trust implicitly now. Now.. this is the operative word. I had to really make a mistake first to understand some things better. THAT, too is the value of discipline that you can not argue with, of rules that exist and once broken carry consequences. And this is good. It is good that sometimes we can not talk our way out of ‘it’, can not wriggle and whimper until we get another ‘chance’. I am still growing in my understanding of discipline and how it can be liberating for your mind and soul.

We all make too, too many excuses, too, too often.

I feel for now that by locking myself out of a future of an open door at the shala with Sharath I have still gained an ongoing lesson. I think I am learning more right now from considering myself outside the door than I might have done had I bumbled along unthinkingly from the other side, inside.

But I would like to teach Ashtanga.

And I would like to teach it to people, too, even people who think it is too demanding, too Alpha, too strong, or hard. Hard is good by the way, but hard doesn’t need to mean straining, hard can be in the mind.. At the moment I am practicing the sitting sequence only. (sacrilegious to many, I know) I feel weak and I feel I need stillness. I hold all asana for an eternity in a very Yin way at the moment. And you (if you are a real Ashtanga Yogi) may tell me how terribly faulty my approach is, but I feel that it is incredibly beneficial to me right now. I look forward to standing on my mat again, I look forward to sun salutations that wake my body in a different way, heat my body from the inside, but right now I feel weak and want to begin in a place that my body calls for. So I am returning to Ashtanga the wrong way but the right way for myself.. And I will return to the discipline of order when I am ready. Discipline is very important for health.

And I would like to bring some students on the journey with me. Building up a yoga class starting at the beginning. Beginning for you as you learn the asana, their sequence and names, as you learn to breath because breathing is your most important action this minute… Beginning to be aware of what the body needs. And sometimes it needs starting a yoga practice from the middle while other times it needs discipline with NO excuses.

So I am looking for students who dare to approach a change. Yoga changes you even if you have no plans to change. The change will undoubtedly be good for your body, mind and health.  You might think clearer, might change choices. How yoga will affect you is for you to feel not read about.

Come and practice Yoga, regardless of if you are new to it, regardless if you feel as flexible as a plank or if you already origami your way through life. I need to earn a living, but I also have a need to share what I learnt and learn from teaching you. I have a donation tin into which you can pay your contribution if you are as poor as I am. I am not opening the tin until it is full, so your amount will be very anonymous within it.

Otherwise my aim is to earn an absolute minimum of £30 per hour. Rising to £45 – £80 one day when I am in the place and time that allows this. But as I am as poor as a church mouse at this moment, I choose any offering over an empty fridge. I have rent to pay and a pension to start saving for. I trust that you will give or pay what is appropriate. I also trust that you would not be so silly as to not come and practice because you can not pay what you feel I should be paid. It is better for me to work for too little than not to work at all.

You know how it is, as you have the opportunity to work and share your skills you gain strength and reputation, this helps move you and me into the future. And you should practice Yoga now, not tomorrow, or next week or next month or next year when maybe you have money. Money should not stand in this place between you yourself and your basic needs of health and happiness.

let’s remember that we have bodies and they need stretching and sunshine

12 Dec

Parsva Konasana – yoga

announcement: Artist vs Holistic Professional

4 Aug

Dear friends:

just in case you are a little confused if you know me only as a full time artists. I’ve decided that for better balance in life I would like to contribute more to my own as well as other’s wellbeing and sense of balance. I remain adamant to exhibit in Venice at the most glorious Art Biennale there is, rather sooner than later, I continue to make art and take it professionally serious.

But Health is a gift that I would like to remind everyone to value. And I would like to support friends and strangers as they become my students and clients in finding their best balance. 

I choose to earn my living not with bar/cafe work or selling items that clutter our beautiful and fragile planet but instead with something that I see as a gift to our health. A gift that leaves no trace other than a sense of wellbeing, improved immune system, greater flexibility, better focus of mind, better sleep…. (endless benefits).. I wonder if you understand this. I would like to invite you to book a treatment with me before the end of august as I have some plans that may take me out of Liverpool (art plans). In january I might teach in Cambodia, which would mean that I will continue bodywork training in Thailand straight after. Which would in turn mean that your next chance of a treatment will be around february/march, at potentially increased cost unless you are an existing client… Don’t leave your body hanging, take the opportunity now. Looking forward to seeing you for Massage or Yoga. (if you really want to you can also massage your brain: I still teach German language)

Yoga schedule

21 Jul

Hi everybody:

During the summer I am teaching several very small classes. Unless a group books me I am mostly teaching one-to-one in my yoga & treatment room. Ashtanga, a strong Iyengar inspired sequence with limited use of props to no props and gentle yin based Hatha yoga are available.

First available booking each day: 7am for fully paying yoga students (£25 per session) & 8am for concession students (have a chat with me about this). Last bookings each day 7pm. All classes will run between 60-90 minutes, please inform me of your schedule if you need to leave early, I will adapt your class. Depending on my schedule start times may vary, especially for concession students.

No classes saturdays. Only gentle classes on full moon and new moon, no Ashtanga on those days. You can come for practice on your period, we will only practice gently, usually with no full inversions and no strong twisted asana.

I recommend that anybody coming to practice with me also regularly attends one of Cliff Bond’s Yoga Classes at the Wellbeing Centre on Hope Street in Liverpool, as he is my original teacher whom I have a lot of respect for. I have found his classes physically and emotionally therapeutic.