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…………….
Practically speaking, when we are stiff in our hips and hamstrings our knees and ankles are ‘punished’. At some stage it is better to be accountable/aware of how to work with our hamstrings and hips so that the knees and ankles are able to get on with their work. It’s also the case in twisting poses that people twist into the flexible areas of their spine and in doing so completely miss the area that needs to be ‘accountable’: we are slipping around a stiffness and there will be consequences.
Our yoga classes for children have been running for 4 years and some of the feedback we get from parents and also teachers is amazing and encouraging. Children experience stress for lots of different reasons and yoga helps them to 'discharge' it through physical movements and also through breathing exercises and meditation.
When we go camping, we sit in awe of the magnificence of the mountain, the oceans, the sky. We go there because we recognize that some thing changes within us when we sit quietly within the wonderment of nature. We say "I am different", "I am happier", "I am energized", "I am more content". When we practice yoga we learn to sit in the wonderment of our embodiment. It is our microcosm of the macrocosm of nature. We recognize that being in the power of our own presence is a practice of being at one with the forces of nature.