121, workshops, small groups in Devon and yoga centre in Portugal.
Yoga moves us to a better place, and as long as we can breathe we can journey there. I began this journey a long time ago, and am teaching because I hope some of my experiences can be helpful for other people. There’s also a book on some of these experiences - A Dog called Buddha. It’s about my evacuation in an old Land Rover with four dogs to try and find a safe place as wildfires raged across Portugal and in the foothills of the mountains where I lived. The yogic texts came to life in this journey, especially around our place in nature and how humanity really does need a change of consciousness to progress and find some answers to who we are and what we’re doing on and to this wonderful planet.
I began yoga in the 1970s when I was a student at Exeter University. I left there with a degree in French, had lived in France for two years and went to Portugal and a teaching job in Porto. I practised postures from a book every day, and surfed whenever I could. Salazar was in charge of Portugal then and I left in the middle of the Carnation Revolution, heading for Morocco where I lived for a few years. I went on to Senegal Gambia and played music and wrote songs with local musicians which led me back to the UK to put a band together in London.
This worked out well and we played in pretty well all the venues like the Marquee, a single went into the independent London charts next to the Specials and I got signed up by a music publisher. Later though I parted company with the publishers and with no money at all began to sell clothes in Camden market, beginning with my own from the band. This mushroomed over time to designing clothes and a base in Kensington Market. I sold a whole collection to Bloomingdales in New York and flew over to see it in the store but it left me a little cold and detached from the experience. Bloomingdales reminded me of Andy Warhol who'd said in his autobiography he liked shopping there and David Bowie's song about Andy Warhol from Hunky Dory kept going through my head, a whole question mark over rock n' roll, sex, drugs and fashion kept coming up for me and there were no answers, just new fashions and new bands.
I'd begun martial arts in London and had by now a first dan black belt in Kyushindo karate, but I was foolish enough to ignore my teacher's advice to take up yoga again and instead I began full contact Muay Thai, learning from an ex professional Thai boxer who'd set up a gym in the east end. This interest took me to Thailand, where I encountered some monks who helped me lay to rest the spirit of my best friend who had died suddenly. The monks were very equanamous about death, seeing it as a transition of the soul, and it resonated with my own thoughts and limited experience of life and its purpose. What was I doing here ? What is this all about?
I left London, moved to the south west near Glastonbury and returned to yoga. I spent five years on a one to one basis with Ranju Roy who was teaching the yoga from TKV Desikachar, and I then spent another five years with Jenny Beeken who was teaching the yoga she'd learned originally from BKS Iyengar in India but was modifying her approach increasingly as she herself was influenced by Vanda Scaravelli and Diane Long.
Over the following years I began putting together the different teachings I'd had from Ranju and Jenny and others, how they threaded back to Sri Krishnamacharyra and beyond, ultimately to one source.
I developed an experiental understanding of yoga, some of which came from Celtic shamanic practices taught and transmitted to me by the late Jane Dagger.
Yoga therapy looks at particular needs you may have around an illness or other problems which mat be short or long term.
Its better to do a short practice every day than a long one intermittently or just go to a class once a week. A class might help you, depending on the teacher but the aim is for each of us to do our own practice which is how yoga begins to work.
18th June 2019
This is Lucy who was chained up alone in a dark shed for a year which she shared with a good number of rats. She was left food once a week and I rescued her eventually, thinking it was my task to give her some light and love before she would very soon die because she was in such bad shape. This suddenly all changed and became a mission to evacuate our home to get away from the wild fire surrounding us and she had to get in the Land Rover with me and the other dogs. She couldn't walk and still cant go very far but she recovered, is really healthy and very happy living back here in the mountains with us, her new family.
18th June 2019