from a photography session with my Thai Massage teacher Somwang Khachenniam

23 Feb


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.


Meeting Kayo

25 Feb

Meeting Kayo

A senior Butoh dancer, whom I stumbled upon and whom I was able to share some time with.


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.


idly breakfast

30 Jul

idly breakfast

rice idly for breakfast with coconut chutney and sambar


celebrating recovering

11 Jul


I had been unwell for the past fortnight and am finally feeling better. Whatever the bug was, plenty of sleep, copious amounts of brown rice and vegetables and a lot of lemongrass tea appear to have cleared it. So I thought I celebrate by making homemade chocolate brownie truffles. – no sugar, no egg, no butter… they are stupendously delicious and little balls of minerals and nutrients. yum (ingredients: dates, nuts, cocoa powder – that’s all)