During July I’ve been blessed to be able to teach some new groups of pupils. Some are regulars at the studio in Anglet where I’ve been teaching since March, Yoga’ttitude 64. And some are the pupils of a local teacher here in Salies, Denise Spencer. I’ve been touched by the willingness of the other teachers to let me cover their classes while they’re on holiday.
The stories and energy of these new pupils have really inspired me. Some are totally new to yoga and some have a well-established practice. All bring their own bodies, minds and personalities to the classes. And this is the beauty of a discipline that at its core is very strict and simple, allowing us teachers to share it without diffusing it. Of course we choose a different sequence of postures and teaching points, our personalities and our backgrounds dictate these. But within the groundwork of the 12 founding postures of Hatha Yoga and the thousands of other asanas there is a core theme: the connection between the earth and the sky; the sun and the moon.
After all, this is what ‘Hatha’ means: ‘ha’ means sun and ‘tha’ means moon in sanskrit, the ancient Indian language used in yoga. The practice aims to unite and resolve the two polar opposites experienced by humans, and can also be applied to the other poles: good and evil, masculine and feminine, heaven and earth. The word ‘yoga’ means union, or yoke. So Hatha Yoga is the union between the moon and the sun. So when we practice we recognise our place between these poles in the search for balance, for union.
This is why in Tadasana, mountain pose, we visualise the feet descending through the mat, through the floor and into the earth below, grounding us like roots and providing a stable base. We then move our attention up through the body, raising our energy to the sky, the lightness and the air in which anything is possible. We are both grounded and open to possibility. We are the union between the two opposites.
And that’s where I find myself today. Grounded by the tangibility of new classes and students; open to the possibilities that these new relationships bring. Far from taking time-off in the summer, I like to work and enjoy the energy of the sun. Being a leo, the sun and warmth inspire me. But summer, August, is also the time to change things up a bit. As a teacher, it’s the time to reflect on the year gone to make wise choices for the autumn and the following year. So I’ve chosen to keep working and take my holiday in September. And I’ve chosen to try something different for the website.
Rather than emailing you each week with a Yoga Moment – which I hope you find interesting and enjoyable – I’ll be joining The August Break 2013. It’s a movement organised by British writer and photographer Susannah Conway, where – rather than writing regular posts – we writers take our focus to the visual and share ourselves via the media of photography. There are prompts for each day of the month and anyone can join-in.
So from next week you’ll be getting a very different Yoga Moment, along with the week’s schedule. I hope you enjoy the change and look forward to seeing you in class next month.
PS: I’ll be taking a holiday during the first week of September and will be publishing the autumn schedule before I go.