Posts made in January, 2014

The art of paying attention – Laura Wilson January 2014

Posted by on Jan 21, 2014 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

The art of paying attention – Laura Wilson January 2014

It never ceases to amaze me how I continue to discover the absolute relevancy of the practice of yoga within the rest of my life. Reading Vandelli Scaravelli’s wonderful book “Awakening the spine” over New Year she draws reference and influence from mathematics, science, philosophy, nature and art drawing parallels between the world around us and our inner experience in such an unassuming, sensitive and intelligent way. In particular reading Scaravelli re-awoke my interest in the distinction between yoga asana (poses) and other physical exercises. She writes; “Do not kill the instinct of the body of the body for the glory of the pose. Do not look at your body like a stranger, but adopt a friendly approach towards it. Watch it, listen to it, observe its needs, its requests, and even have fun …to be sensitive is to be alive.” As an ex-contemporary dancer and having spent many years enjoying dance, physical theatre and circus performances packed with incomprehensible feats of elegance and poise I am very aware of the extraordinary things the human body can achieve and the heights in which we humans are able to push in order to twist, turn, balance and jump in the name of competition, art or creativity. I have always enjoyed and admired these visual spectacles; I have been touched and awoken as an audience member in a theatre many times. Scaravelli makes the distinction however, between yoga asana and other physical activities. If achieving the most difficult expression of the pose was the only aim then gymnasts and dancers would surely be the best yogis of the world. They, with their ankles wrapped neatly and elegantly around their heads would be the very personification of enlightenment! The difference with yoga is that rather than focusing on the external expression, the practitioner is paying attention to the internal self and in doing so -cultivating a presence within the moment that is unique and therefore very special. The breath, (each breath always being in the present moment) is used as the anchor point to enable the practitioner to stay present and observing. Maintaining a state of heightened sensitivity and being able to pay attention to the experience of the felt senses within the pose is what yoga is looking to cultivate. By definition there for, as long as you are breathing effortlessly, and paying attention you are practicing yoga. Whether in an advanced posture such as vrschikasana balancing on your forearms, toes delicately curving towards the forehead or sitting quietly on your heels in virasana each are equally valid, each yogic in their experience. Of course exploring the limitations of your physicality can be and is, for many (including myself) a huge part of the practice. And as your practice deepens it is inevitable you want to continue to explore the depths of your ability further. Learning to place yourself in challenging poses and to be there and stay in control, to be at ease with the challenge can be very rewarding and can have fascinating implications for learning about your ability to supersede preconceived limitations and fears both on and off the mat. To be at the edge of your physical comfort zone, and to trust in your ability to stay listening and observing within that space is precious time indeed.   Vanda Scaravelli settled in yoga Nidrasana, her grey hair ruffled by the cross of her ankles meeting behind her head here is, in my opinion the epitome of this example. Despite the challenge of the pose, despite the camera lens pointing her way her face remains soft, her breath easy, seemingly totally within the moment, no sense of showmanship or ego.   She reminds her readers “You have to learn to listen to your body, going with it and not against it avoiding all effort and strain…if you are kind to your body, it will respond to you in an incredible way” And so I start 2014 with a renewed passion for challenging my dance school born, ego based attempts to conquer a pose and instead ask myself to...

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Eastwood House bedroom

Posted by on Jan 20, 2014 in gallery | 0 comments

Eastwood House bedroom

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Eastwood House entrance

Posted by on Jan 20, 2014 in gallery | 0 comments

Eastwood House entrance

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Eastwood House exterior

Posted by on Jan 20, 2014 in gallery | 0 comments

Eastwood House exterior

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Eastwood House grounds

Posted by on Jan 20, 2014 in gallery | 0 comments

Eastwood House grounds

Boyd of Vanishing Moments...

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