The Yoga Suits Her Blog
I’ve been blogging for 12 years now. At first, I was quite nervous about publishing my thoughts. Because I was shy about writing, my old posts were almost exclusively photos of the view from our bedroom in our Tambourine Bay house.
Remarkably, my original Ville Blog still exists. Does anything on the internet ever go away? It ran from November 05, 2006 to January 12, 2010 and it’s still just where I left it. If you’d like to have a look, the address is http://thevilleblog.blogspot.com.au/.
These days, because there are way too many YSH posts to browse through-over 1200-I’ve put some major themes together in The Vault. I hope this makes it easier to find exactly what you want.
The problem is the creek did rise. We live next to Scotts Creek, Mitchells Island, NSW, and the creek rose and rose and rose. Then it burst its bank.
Up in our house, safe on a hill, we watched as Farmer John’s next-door paddocks filled. John had seen the flood coming and moved his cattle to safety. That day, it rained and rained, everyone calling it biblical. At 4 am, the caravan park at Manning Point was hit by a flash flood. The proprietor shook the van occupants out their slumber and some, still in p.j.’s, made a run for high ground.
This is the arc of life, with a peak somewhere in there, but for the most part, we miss it.
When you look in the mirror today, you might say to yourself, ‘Gawd, you are looking beautiful today.’ You might as well admire this presentation because next week you will look slightly altered. As I did yesterday when I noticed my hair had ‘suddenly’ become much greyer than I remembered. If you can, avoid the expression ‘for my age’. That negates the little bit of self-love you created upon complimenting yourself.
I’m forever grateful that my dear girlfriend, Mary Lou, came up with the idea of us doing yoga. She thought we could lose some weight and learn to relax by participating in a 10-week course at the local YMCA.
I was a no-nothing regarding yoga, but I trusted my friend. If I had been able to google the word ‘yoga’ in 1971, I would have found references to the Beatles and Mahreesh Mahesh Yogi, Ram Dass and psychedelic drugs, and television shows with women in Lycra leotards and stiffly sprayed hair.
Mary Lou and I arrived at the YMCA class and took up our cross-leg seated positions on gym mats. I sneaked a peek at the fifteen or so other students–not a man in sight. That part of yoga has not changed much.
Leading the class was a slim, lively yet calm woman in her mid-sixties. Dorothy Tomarelli told us by way of introduction that her husband had died a few years previously. As a result of her grief, Dorothy went into a rapid emotional and physical decline. Her muscles atrophied and she lost strength. Her doctor, seeing her depressed state, advised her to take up yoga. Dorothy decided that she had nothing to lose and searched for a class. It turned out to be so much of a lifesaver that she decided to teach yoga.
This is often the way a seed is planted for future yoga teachers. We are inspired by someone. As I listened to Dorothy, something stirred in me. I saw a glimmer of hope in Dorothy’s story–the possibility that health, happiness and even longevity could be mine.
January is ‘The Month of Good Intentions. It’s the time to get back on track if you’ve taken a detour off the straight-and-narrow. January first is a blank canvas, a fresh sheet of print paper, a blank slate.
Next year marks the 50th year that I’ve been practising yoga.
Sometimes when I say that to students in class, I’ll add: This is how someone turns out after doing this much practice.
It’s one of my weak jokes. I mean to say, I’m pretty healthy but I’m not a total paragon of health and fitness. I’m a seventy six year old with a collection of old injuries and medical conditions, and some of the infirmities of ageing.
The good thing about staying with yoga all these years is that those injuries, conditions and ageing have taught me how to adapt. They’ve all been teachers, shaping my approach to yoga, and even my attitude towards life. Yoga is an amazing discipline for helping you get in touch with yourself if you are willing to learn.
Time doesn’t quite fly always. Sometimes it does. Sometimes it plods. I know it’s forty years of teaching yoga because I can add up the students I’ve taught along the way. It’s a lot!
This is one of my favourite techniques for gaining perspective when I am confused or conflicted. Imagine climbing a ladder to get a view of the forest, rather than just focussing on this tree right in front of you. From your expanded view, you can see horizons and in all directions.
Consider the billions of people on the planet that are doing it much harder than we are. As well as the past and future generations who are likely to face greater hardships than we have or will.
Teacher trainings are so much more than Sanskrit, anatomy, philosophy and asana courses. In the hands of good trainers, they are programs for personal development. Especially if the training is longer, say a year, the trainees learn better ways of relating to themselves and others.
The pandemic has taken its toll, even for those who have kept their jobs. Perhaps the worst affected are health workers. Tragically, many have died in the line of duty. Overworked, in dangerous environments, these front line workers have also had to sacrifice precious time with friends and family. We owe these people–from doctors to hospital cleaners–a debt that will be impossible to repay. How do we repay days, weeks, months of someone’s life freely given to keep us alive?
It feels like it’s breathing down my neck, this pandemic. Thankfully, my immediate friends, family and I are all safe. I feel, though, for the world’s hotspots, especially my native U.S. And I’m aware that my protected status could change any time. The real danger of bushfires is that they can be transformed capriciously by a shift in the wind. This virus can attack us as a result of contact with a sick person, at any time or place.
So in this uncertain period, I depend more than ever on my yoga practice. I am blessed to have developed a dependable yoga practice over forty-nine years.