Sitting at Frankfurt airport reflecting on my weeks intensive with David Garrigues in Ulm, Germany. Wow – it was awesome!
Each day started at 7 am with 2 hours Mysore practice, David would say ‘Samastithi’ and we would come to the front of our mats and he would lead the opening chant. Last year I said to David that he sounded exactly like Guruji when he chanted, this year I noticed that he even stands the way Guruji did!
The Mysore practice was followed by a 15 minute break and then we did pranayama, chanting and study of Patanjali’s yoga sutras. Each day David focused on a specific chapter/aspect of the sutras in detail. If I’m honest, whilst I have dabbled with the sutras and studied them when training to become a teacher, I find them hard going/ challenging – until we got to day 6, when I felt that finally ‘I get it!’ I understand why they are SO important to our practice of yoga – call me slow, but regardless, I am now so excited about the possibilities the sutras hold and the knowledge I have yet to acquire.
We then had a 40 minute break followed by ‘asana kitchens’, looking at different aspects of the primary series, what we are looking for in the pose, where we find the strength etc and David addressed people’s questions/challenges they were facing with each pose. These were intense sessions and at the end of them we had 30 – 40 minutes of self study, to reflect on our learnings of the day and re-visit those aspects that we felt needed further investigation.
David on many occasions emphasised how important it was for us to really understand within our own bodies what each pose meant for us and it was this self reflection and understanding that was our true teacher.
This week has revealed to me how important my inner strength is and how my practice helps me find this. Most of us start yoga with an asana practice and from this we find physical strength and flexibility. By being disciplined with our practice we find our inner strength and that inner strength and understanding can only come by listening and learning ourselves – the answers are within (look and you will find) but to find these answers we need the strength of the practice and as we progress with the physical practice, with a disciplined daily practice, the inner strength is revealed.
Our day started at 7 and ended at 2pm each day with no opportunity to have anything more than a light snack – we were starving! David’s comment on this – ‘you have all afternoon to eat!’ Initially I was concerned I may keel over without food for that length of time but actually it wasn’t so bad after all.
So here are some of the many things I learnt this week:-
Discipline with my practice
Connect to earth in every pose – use the power of the earth to find our power within
Breathe to the end of each breath, through the whole body/pose – it’s from the breath that we find a strong connection to bandha
Listen not just with our ears, use all our senses
And the most important – I have so much to learn!
Thank you David, for sharing your passion for ashtanga yoga with us, your enthusiasm and energy in delivery are awe inspiring
The weeks workshop with David was hosted by Heidi Jelic in Ulm, Germany, a beautiful shala in a beautiful city. One of the many wonderful by products of ashtanga intensives is that you get to visit places you may never have thought of going to otherwise.