Saturday, 23 November 2013


Whilst being left with no teacher last week due to Manju's post-conference workshops, I was fortunate enough to stumble across Satyagraha Yoga Ashram and teacher Therese, founder of the Breath of Hope Foundation. Therese does not offer self-practice classes to westerners, only to locals, but we could use the facilities offered at the ashram whenever we wanted. The ashram has a beautiful yoga platform, a library and a meditation cave next to the river. 

Therese is practicing when I get there in the mornings and when she has finished has kindly given me advice on my practice. Therese is fierce! Her opening mantra is loud and rather a 'call to prayer', she says it should not be sung under any circumstances. Are you ready for this practice? What does it mean to practice ashtanga yoga? She makes us read the meaning in english out loud and she explains it verse by verse. She says we should read a chapter of the Bhagavad Gita every day...wait, I've heard this before, I'm sure Annie Pace said the same thing at the conference. Time to dig it back out...

She reminds me of alignment. Not just in the physical form but says to remember 'Namaste', the bringing of the hands together to the centre, bringing everything, body and mind, back to its centre point. What is the centre point? Sushumna nadi? Mula bandha? Anandamaya kosha? The core, the spine, the central axis of our physical body. I guess it doesn't matter what you call it. Remembering 'namaste' is simple and effective. Heels in line in the standing postures, bringing the knees towards  each other in the lotus forward bends. These things I've heard before and over time forgotten, as with many things, it's great to be reminded and gets the muscles working in the correct way, instantly overcoming the niggles that have crept into my body, my knee, shoulder over the 6 months or so. 

"Study tadasana, read 'Light on Yoga', make sure you completely understand tadasana". I was so frightened I went straight home and read Iyenga's description of tadasana. The mountain. Be the mountain in every pose. 

She reminds me of the practice as an offering, a heart opening practice. Offering the heart up towards the sky, opening to the divine. "That a girl!" She says. Therese can see what I need. This resonates with me deeply. 

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