What do you like about this time?
I have an irregular working week, doing what I do (I’m a musician). If I’m not performing, Saturday is one of the quieter days in my week, and so coming in on a Saturday afternoon to practice is the time when I feel mentally quite spacious. I have time to explore and reflect about things. It’s such a great time for me. Often the light is just right through the studio window, and I find myself smiling as I set up my mat.
What do you normally practice?
I can’t really answer that one. Sometimes I hang upside-down for a long time, like a messy-haired bat. Sometimes I’ll practice standing poses – they make me feel wonderfully grounded. Sometimes I feel the need to be quieter, and I’ll do some hip-openers or seated poses. It’s often a quieter time at the studio, so I don’t really come in and practice dynamically – it seems somehow not right for that.
What do you find the difference is for you between coming in and doing a practice, and coming to a class?
I was lucky enough to participate in Simon’s In-Depth course that ran a while ago. He talked about ‘breaking down’ a pose very early on in the course. It took me a while to understand what he meant, but now I do, and that’s what I really enjoy doing. So I might take a standing twist and practice it four or five ways. Because we have all the equipment at the centre at our disposal, you can do that. So I might practice the same pose with wall support, at the grate, at the horse and in the middle of the room. Really ‘wonder’ about it, and work out how I can access things better in this body of mine. I think that’s the best way to move forward in a pose, don’t you? Because of the nature of a class, you can’t always work that way.
Do you attend any other Open practice times at The Centre?
Yes I do – I really love practicing by myself.
As a musician, the concept of breaking something down and working out what you can do with is something I do every time I sit at the cello. How can I play this better? Did I play it with self-indulgence, or did I play it how the composer intended?
So transferring this discipline to my yoga practice was quite easy. I love thinking about a group of poses, and then seeing where I can go with them. How can I practice this better for my body? Sometimes I get terribly frustrated – I am not patient with myself at all – but I really enjoy the thoughtfulness, and the peace that comes with an open practice.