Written by Mirka Finney
I must confess…I was slightly nervous to make this trip to London to attend the Yoga workshop with Richard in the Iyengar Yoga Institute.
Saturday morning, well equipped with a bottle of hand sanitizer and mask I headed from a Covent Garden apartment, through China town to Piccadilly tube station. I passed quite a number of people wearing masks, walking briskly. Not the most comforting vibes…
As soon as I walked in to the Iyengar Yoga Institute in Maida Vale the sense of reassurance and calmness descended upon me. There was no sense of panic, fear, nervousness or distancing you could detect. People faces were relaxed and open, eager to smile….
I never met Richard before although I heard lots of comments praising his way of practicing and teaching… He is a very experienced Iyengar Senior Intermediate level 3 teacher.
Richard’s gentle presence, thoughtfulness, wisdom and knowledge made the practice very special.
The clarity of his quidance was quickly absorbed by the Mind and Body.
Before we started the practice he pointed out how incompatible our Minds and Bodies often are, and how to use the breath and practice to bring them closer to each other….”so they can work in partnership rather than like distant cousins” He encouraged us to observe the transformation and evolvement of yoga posture to yoga asana ( a ”state”…rather than just doing a posture) . We observed the action of the breath, with practice and awareness our asanas became softer and our bodies became more open…There was no hardness, tightness or force in the stretch any more.
We started the practice with simple standing asanas, followed by backbends, twists and inverted asanas. We were able to experience a sense of effortlessness in less demanding asanas.
We focused on the engagement of the abdominal muscles on exhalation. This form of practice not only draws the Mind inwards, closer to the Body but also helps to improve immunity during times like now, with corona virus around.
I left the Institute enriched with a sense of openness and faith, ready to challenge corona virus which perhaps is hiding just around the corner.