It was moonday at AYL today. It didn’t seem to synch with my calendar, but what the heck, it’s nice to have a guilt free lie in! I went to a Friday Night open yoga class this evening instead. It was lovely and chilled out. The kind of class that I would have HATED before I found ashtanga and ‘my’ practice. Now I have established my yogic path yoga needn’t be about practicing until I sweat and fall into an exhausted heap, it can be enjoyed.

The teacher was gentle and focused in his approach, we did some Sivananda sun sals, then some ashtanga ones, then spent a while messing around with jump backs – or really float backs – as he tried to teach them. Just placing your hands, tipping forward so you just about lose your balance forwards, then gently float back. It’s an art form that I am yet to perfect, and was similar to the teachings of David Swenson in a jumping back / jumping through / handstand workshop I did a while back.

We then played with trikonasanas and some difficult balances. There were only about 8 people in the class and after the balances, he singled me out and said, and I paraphrase here ‘you are used to being strong in your practice, I am taking you outside your comfort zone. You want to achieve these postures, but they are hard. You must breathe and relax into them, sway a little, go to your edge, play with the fear of falling and keep breathing’. The funny thing is that he is absolutely right, and I find it interesting the way I am so easily read, even in a yoga class.

We did quite a lot of back bending too, which I must confess is a delight in the evening. In the morning it is very uncomfortable on my lower spine, but by really concentrating on what I was doing this evening, it was very clear to me that in the morning my chest and upper spine just do not open, all the bend is forced into my lower back and it hurts. I really need to work on chest opening during my practice, but with all of the forward bending in primary, it is difficult.

He then had us try another silly game where you try and turn around in a circle whilst in a back bend. It was SOOOO hard, I would step my right foot to the right, then my left foot to the right, then instead of taking my left hand left then my right hand left, which would make sense, I kept going the wrong way and bringing my hands and feel closer together. It’s difficult to describe in words, but try it if you want to feel your brain struggle with what feels like something that should be a simple task. It shows how reliant we are on our vision and seeing our hands and feet move where we want them to go!

I had an amusing moment when leaving the yoga studio, which is in quite a vibrant area of Soho. I was walking past a bar and it crossed my mind that I had been there on a date once, then just as I looked ahead of me, who was walking straight towards me, but the very guy who I had had the date with. Most bizarre.

I had a lovely meal afterwards with my yogi friend, then Green and Blacks chocolate and mint tea. Bliss. Life without alcohol isn’t so hard!