Wow, on Sunday I had a three hour yoga class with Patrick Beach. It was an honour to be able to practice with him. After discovering Patrick through the means of Instagram (thanks social media) I’ve been consistently inspired by his incredible inversions, passion and yes I have to admit, his beard.
The first section of class consisted of an hour and a half of Vinyasa flow, putting my yogic skills fully to the test. Thankfully Bikram has given me lots of strength and determination. I tried to ignore my ego when she wanted to push me beyond capabilities. Space was limited and I don’t think my neighbours would have appreciated a domino effect if I had fallen. With each round I felt my body opening, grateful for this wonderful opportunity to ground, stretch, sweat and breathe.
Days spent at a desk and heavy weights on my shoulders had left me feeling tight and achey. After three hours of glorious stretching I feel nothing but content euphoria and peace. It serves as a reminder to me why I fell in love with yoga in Sri Lanka. It doesn’t matter what shit you have going on when you’re on that mat all that matters is the now. No one will do my practice for me, no one can make me do a handstand, it has to come from within.
Patrick’s calm and gentle style of teaching was just the type I like, we had enough time to warm ourselves up and give each Asana a try. The second part of the class was inversions. Though I didn’t get into scorpion or handstands I can feel they will come. Sometimes I have to remind myself yoga is my own journey, its purpose isn’t too impress others. Patrick’s girlfriend Carling, also a yoga teacher, writes wonderful articles on this topic.
One beautiful aspect of yoga is the variety of styles. Sunday reminded me that I want to explore them further. I regularly practice Bikram which has built my stamina. Next up is to see where my body can take me. I enjoyed the fluidity of flow and the challenge it put on my strength and endurance.
Practicing yoga pays dividends for not only the body but also the mind. The start of this year has been a tad rocky, yet after one or two classes my mornings seem lighter and my outlook generally sunnier. There’s something incredibly addictive about feeling your body adapt and develop into postures. When India and I started Sivananda in Mirissa, Sri Lanka, I couldn’t do a headstand. Yet after only two classes and corrections on my technique there I was headstanding all over Sri Lanka at any given opportunity. Many a yoga teacher says it’s yoga ‘practice’ not yoga ‘perfect’ which is so very true. Your practice is what you make it. We all have different strengths and weaknesses which are wonderful.
The last half an hour consisted of long held stretches and relaxation. At times we were holding poses for so long they started to pull. I became more aware of my tightness but it helped me to realise I needed to relax a little and not push myself so far, it’s not a race.
As the class came to an end, and I could feel the comforting vibes of three hours well spent, Patrick said something that really resonated “we can feel divine and strong after class but that divinity is only really powerful when we connect as a community” Thanks Patrick for reminding me that yoga is union.