Jhula Yoga – practicing, breathing and living…

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A bell at Tungnath, Uttarakhand, India. (photo Jon Hughes 2016)

Enjoying teaching at Jhula yoga. Every day is an exploration of the postures and what they can do. Practicing in a gentle way every day gets real results that bleed into other areas of life, other activities. After yoga this morning I went to the gym. I don’t think I’ve ever done weights in the gym before and enjoyed it so much, felt so connected to my body in a positive way. Every move was conscious, considered, balanced and focussed. I could focus on exactly what was happening internally as I worked on each separate machine, each part of the routine. All movement and action can have a joyful, spiritual aspect, and that’s really what yoga is about trying to encourage. Yoga is where we ‘practice’ it, but the idea is that what we ‘practice’ subsequently becomes a part of everyday life. And to get these results, you don’t have to do any difficult asanas, or anything particularly complicated. Actually, complexity can just get in the way. All you need to do is a simple, mindful regular practice, and that will start to make connections.

When I trained in India, one of the key things that Roshan  emphasised (the main teacher and founder of the yoga school I trained at) was the idea that Yoga doesn’t only happen when you practice it, when you do it, but it is something you can do all the time. The daily morning practice is where you explore the poses, explore your own body and your range of movement for example. But all day, everyday, we are adopting poses, breathing, and directing our attention. When we do these things with a sense of  balance and enjoyment, we are  using ourselves and our bodies in a positive and mindful way, and so we are involved in the same kind of practice as when we are doing yoga. We can do that anywhere – getting the milk out of the fridge, at the gym, sitting at our computer. Yoga practice itself provides the daily reminder.

It’s like doing our scales and exercises in music. In music, practicing is not performing, but the technique and approach we adopt in daily practice feeds into our playing when we perform. If we practice mechanically, out of duty, we are missing the point of practice. We need to practice with due care and attention, and the right emotional connection with the musical material. It’s the same with yoga – the daily morning routine of careful, considered exploration of our breath, body, attention, posture and movement, and how they work together, ‘feeds in’ to our daily living in surprising ways. If you want to see what I mean, come to Jhula yoga for a few mornings….

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