I attended the Introduction to Yoga workshop in January 2015. That weekend Hervey Bay was experiencing an unseasonal heat wave, and the Yoga room was full of sweaty exhausted bodies. I remember thinking that these conditions where similar to Darwin during what is called the ‘build-up’, and which was one of the many reasons that I had left Darwin back in 2007. Polly later apologised to the class and said that the last time she had experienced such heat in a Yoga room was back when she was in Darwin! It was then that I knew that I was in some twisted episode of the Twilight Zone, and that I would surely awake soon to a more forgiving environment. I didn’t wake up, and at some point towards the end of the last day of the workshop, while I was sweating and panting and feeling like I could not form another pose let alone lift my head, my body just ‘got’ it. The light went on, the brain starting connecting with the body on its elemental level, I found that I could move again, and I was hooked – even as I kept trying to tell myself that I wasn’t hooked!
It was with intrigue and an open mind that I attended the recent weekend workshop with Caroline Coggins. Not knowing what to expect, I was a little wary when on the first evening Caroline said that she would commence the class with a chant, and if we were not familiar with the chant, we could all join in for the three Om’s. From the moment the vibration of the first Om emanated around the room, I was overcome with emotion and began to shed tears. My logical brain knows that sound has vibrational energy, but my emotional heart had forgotten it, and as soon as it felt it, my soul remembered.
The workshop was a memorable event for many reasons. Caroline’s energy, passion (and style!) is ever present, and her Yoga Angels where always on hand to assist as required. There were also many other more experienced students in the room who were extremely generous with their time and knowledge, for which I and other new students where very grateful. During one deep and challenging forward bend, I found myself being anchored at my hips by ropes, pulled by my arms by strangers, with the simple yet stunningly difficult expectation to hinge my body in a way completely foreign to its years of well-built resistance. As Caroline moved around to room checking on our progress, she caught a glimpse of my face. “Oh, what a journey you are on”, she said. You betcha Caroline.
And then on that same day, with a lovely surprise - I achieved my first headstand (courtesy of the fabulous Peta), I exclaimed, “This is better than sex!” Here I must issue a disclaimer - I would like to point out to all other attendees of the workshop, that this comment bears no reflection on the part of my lovely husband and our love life. My flippant comment was just the better option for me to blurt out – rather than the loud, four letter expletive which would have explained how I felt SO much better. All my life I have been the tom-boy, the first to throw myself into the fray of whatever team sport required an extra body. But that rough housing attitude and just a few handfuls of well stuffed up emotions equals physical stiffness and inflexibility. Never in my life have I achieved a handstand, headstand or cartwheel. For me, achieving one of these even assisted - at the age of 50, and after only 7 months of Yoga is, well folks – expletively amazing.
It was great to see Vera attending the workshop as a student, and watching her experience her own new revelations made me feel real comradery with her. It was a treat watching the joy and pride on Polly’s face as she whizzed around the Yoga room with her evil, all-seeing video recorder. I was very fond of Polly and Vera prior to Caroline’s workshop, but the weekend has now made me feel a real ‘bond’ with these ladies, surprisingly so. Perhaps that is because I am now beginning to feel like part of a Yoga family, other than just a passer-by who is trying Yoga on for size.
My many thanks again to Polly and to Vera, for sharing their passion and knowledge, and for allowing us to wholeheartedly put our minds, bodies and trust into their hands when we walk through the door - ready to change our lives. The adventure continues…………….
Yoga is the lay persons neuroscience - Yogis have known for centuries that there are layers of mental activity that can be harnessed and directed. When attention becomes concentration and concentration establishes a pause between the rise and fall of thoughts, we arrive into a state known as meditation. The interconnections between the layers of consciousness create the conditions for wisdom.. it arises in the pause, in the interruption of habitual thought.
“As soon as there is stopping, there is happiness. There is peace. When we stop like that, it looks as if nothing is happening, but in fact everything is happening. You are deeply established in the present moment, and you touch your cosmic body. You touch eternity. There is no more restlessness, no more seeking.” Thich Nhat Hanh
As we hone our skills of discernment and tap into deep forces that pertain to balance, stability, heaviness, lightness, we are actually meeting fear and desire. We feel the tap of ignorance on our shoulder. Our perception of experience and the experience itself are not the same things. We know this in the very cells of our being… it is no longer a construct of understanding. It is an experiential truth. We can confidently and calmly accept that our mental faculty (memory and emotions) are bias. That our mental view is a construction that functions to keep our ego intact.