Years of playing football had physically left their mark on my body and I turned to yoga knowing that professional footballers were trying it out so maybe it could help me out. At 17, I genuinely thought that yoga might make me a better player and help me along on my 5 year plan or being the first British Asian to play for England, forgetting to factor in the fact that I was rubbish at football.
My first class was pretty intimidating. I remember a dude on the front row, sweating, with his top off in a complex one legged balance posture, I could rarely stand on two legs without eventually falling over, and my samosa fuelled belly wasn't quite best suited to top off yoga. However, every now and then I kept returning to yoga. Soon, the physical benefits started to become secondary and it was the mental benefits that I was after. It became less about how my body felt but more about how I felt emotionally when I practised. As it happens, I did get better at football and ended up playing for my dad's team for over 20 years.
My working life started off working for an MP in Parliament and, in no time at all I realised that London is like a brilliant toy shop - where, if you look for it, there is fun everywhere. I went from working for an MP to carer to a young lad with celebral palsy who is a dancer, to company member of his dance company which eventually lead to me training as a dance movement psychotherapist (DMP) - a huge shift and all in a few years. As a DMP I learned that there was a strong theoretical basis for linking emotional states to how we think about and relate to our body. For me, Vinyasa Flow Yoga is a clear development of that work and learning. Now, I consider the body as a object that offers us an insight into of how we truly live our lives, offers us the opportunity to accept aspects of ourselves that we have forgotten about or repressed and shows us the path forward to a balanced, peaceful and happy emotional state. The key link to the body is breath. Just simply noticing it, following it and then using the sense of being very present, focussed and concentrated to then notice the body. There is no hiding with our bodies, it is a non conceptual echo of how we lives our lives. And don't be fooled into thinking that if you can do advanced postures then you are happy. Sometimes, it's the opposite. In fact, for me, it is less to do with physical postures and more about how you feel when you practice, what is your state of mind and in that way - the classes and what you can get from them are as significant for beginners as it is for advanced practitioners, which is why my weekly elderly yoga class is rapidly becoming one of my favourite classes of the week. I have only really started my journey in yoga but I know that we here at Brixton Yoga have something really special to share with you.
Whatever, your reason to practice - the physical or the spiritual - I believe that vinyasa flow yoga will fit for you and you are most welcome here.