I thought it would be nice to start a new blog series about what I am currently learning. Some things I have learned recently include how much I love studying, and I hope to share some of my favourite insights with you guys.
So much to learn!
Anyone serious about their job, life pursuit or passion should be prepared to be a lifelong student of their trade. Maybe I’m biased, but I think this is doubly true in yoga.
I’m yet to meet a yoga teacher who isn’t dedicated to their own studies for their own personal knowledge, above and beyond CPD points. Yoga is a broad subject. I love the fact its steeped in so much tradition, but backed up with the latest and ever-evolving research.
On one hand – the subtle energetics of the work (such as the energetic channels (nadis) and clusters (chakras) of the body), Ayurveda (the sister science of yoga) and the ancient Sanskrit texts (Yoga Sutras, Vedas etc) aren’t going anywhere. They are the roots of the practice and – believe me – you could spend your entire life studying one tiny area of this and still have more to learn.
On the other, movement science research is accelerating. The insights from functional anatomy that are impacting our knowledge on yoga asana (the physical poses in the practice) are fascinating! Traditional postures are combining with functional movement to create safer, stronger ways to practice yoga. As a self-confessed anatomy geek, this is where most of my personal studies are based right now.
And of course, realtime brain imaging and neuroscience are backing up how important meditation and mindfulness is for everyone. These practices are thousands of years old – and it’s so great, in this seeing-is-believing era, that we are able to see just how powerful they are.
Books I am Loving
‘Perfectly Imperfect – The Art and Soul of Yoga Practice‘ by Baron Baptiste.
Although I had heard of the Baptiste Yoga lineage, I wasn’t overly familiar with it. I picked this book up because I needed re-grounding in my work and passion of yoga.
See, I’ve noticed that everyone, at some point, gets to the stage with any passion where they can’t see the wood for the trees. They’re still doing the thing that they love, but their actions are almost on autopilot. Even those dedicated to yoga get like this! When I feel like I’m approaching this stage, I do something different. I try a new class or teacher, or sign up to a new course. This time, long story short, I bought this book.
This book was so enlightening that I highlighted most of it. I’m glad I purchased the kindle edition because my ex-librarian mother wouldn’t have been impressed if I had scrawled over a physical book haha.
In ‘Perfectly Imperfect…’ Baptiste clearly lays out why yoga is so powerful, exciting and liberating. He explains how to use breath and drishti (gaze) coupled with the concepts of flow, intention and discipline to progress your asana practice. Although I knew the content already, Baptiste describes it in such a creative and accessible way that I felt like it was fresh and really inspiring.
I will be recommending this book to everyone who either
a) is newer to yoga, or is beginning to deepen their studies, or
b) is feeling a little lost or overwhelmed in their yoga practice and needs to recreate the magic
If either/both of those sound like you, get this book. You will not regret it!
‘The Bhagavad Gita‘ (version by Stephen Mitchell)
I have been searching for a new translation of this classic Hindu text for a while, and I heard that this version was really accessible. Admittedly I’ve only just started this book, but so far it’s a really nice translation.
Teachers Who Are Inspiring Me Right Now
Jenni Rawlings for her passion for integrating the latest movement science into yoga flow
Jason Crandell who is super inspiring with breaking the traditional yoga mould. I love how he incorporates a variety of yoga and non-yoga strength-based movements into his classes, while still keeping his sequencing simple. And his dead-pan humour is just hilarious!
Tara Brach for her incredible online meditation classes and courses. I would love to study directly with her one day…
Stay tuned for the next post in this series! Stay inspired.