Yoga …..India’s GREATEST export


I’ll tell you a little story

So …a number of years ago …not tooooo many …but enough to be in double figures:D:D:D….a young(ish) woman slowly, painfully made her way down a backstreet in a post industrial town in the north of England …it was late September …dusk ….but it seemed darker due to the penetrating drizzle …that kind which seems to soak right through and chill to the bone.

Through the dusty windows of an old stone building, huge orbs suspended from a high ceiling inside gave off an other worldly yet warm glow into the street….the door was heavy …..thickly painted a cobalt blue….It took all her strength to open it …..when it did she was met by the sudden whiff of old wood, a musty dampness, polish, and dust ….you know ….that ‘old building’ kind of smell of old schoolrooms and church halls.

She wasn’t really sure why she was there other than a vague notion of perhaps being able to take some regular gentle excersise …previously she had taken things pretty much for granted ….the fast paced lifestyle, career moving foreward, happy marriage, starting a family,….an ACTIVE goal driven life …everything seemingly moving in the ‘right’ direction …’under control’:D:D:D

That was before her world turned completely upside down ….events which had left her in intense physical and psychological pain ….she could barely walk and felt a kind of numbness as tho the world was going on around her and she was no longer really part of it ……physically broken and depleted of ‘energy’ ….running on empty

Goodness knows what she must have looked like ….but a lovely woman came to greet her …an older woman …much older ….with a mess of snowy white hair, a sparkle in her eyes and chuckle in her voice.  They had a conversation about the events and injuries that had led her there ….surprisingly she was not turned away but welcomed in …..

There were lots of people in there but she didn’t really notice …just directed to lay down close her eyes and rest

Concious of eyelids flickering …..she could hear the swoosh and rumble of passing traffic and the shouts and cries of kids larking about in the distance…..the odd siren …the everyday sounds

Slowly ….. bizarrely ….the sound of ocean waves came in …..quiet at first ….incongruous to the surrroundings ….but gradually increasing in volume drowning out the exterior urban noise …the older woman in her sing song voice encouraged focus on the ocean ….waves gently crashing ….the ebb and flow ……then gently bringing in movement ….simply raising and lowering alternate arms ….breath in raise ….breath out lower ….inhale ….exhale ….ebb and flow ….sound, movement and breath ebbing and flowing in syncrony ….sound gradually …unnoticeabley …quietning to the background …focussing just on the breath and gentle movement …the slooooow steady rhythm

And that was it to start with ….simple …easy ….for weeks and weeks this is all the young woman could do ….week in week out for 2 hours ….laid out flat on a musty, dusty old floor …but it felt as calming and luxurious as being on a beautiful desert Island to her ….a soothing and comforting balm ….’thoughts’ would come in …..sometimes in flashes ….sometimes like watching a film reel …..letting them in and pass with the ebb and flow like the wet of spontaneous tears she also felt in those early days …….allowing ….just letting it happen….not following but focussing on the breath beneath …falling into the sublime darkness like being hugged in a cosseting blanket ……..falling deeper and deeper ……

As the weeks became months and months became years it became hard to remember the empty shell of a person that had walked through the door into that musty old hall …at times…particularly in the early days … she had many questions of the older woman …she wanted to understand what was happening …how it worked:D:D:D… the older woman smiled her sparkly smile and chuckled ..advising to just ‘keep keeping it simple’ focussing on the breath and just ‘allowing’ the rest to follow …no ‘seeking’….no ‘expectation’ of ‘results’ …just surrender …she said she was not a ‘teacher’ had no ‘special powers’:D:D:D …just an ordinary woman acting as ‘guide’….a guide to what was there already …in all of us:)

Slowly and gradually …over time …the young woman was able to bring further movement in ….ALWAYS eyes closed ….focussing on the slow deep ebb and flow of the breath ….never ‘trying’ or ‘forcing’ …just movements, synchronised with breath ….aware of the subtle feelings …the depth ….directing the healing breath to where it was needed …..stopping at any discomfort ….the whole practise a practise of ‘meditation’ …later using the breath to move the body into asana and hold …..balance … ( although when awareness crept in ….or should I say loss of focus ..she often toppled over:D:D:D…eventually tho she could even sit without discomfort…turning focus inward to rest the body and mind ….peace AND some …she called this …maybe a tad audaciously:D:D:D ….’Tuning in to Om’

And she began to ‘notice’ things in everyday life…little things …she had a young child and they seemed to grow together …..she was seeing things through a child’s eyes as tho seeing for the first time …..the SKY ..how beautiful and dynamic …..ever changing …and dandilions …how bright and resilient a flower ….and the intricacy of a dandilion clock not to mention the fun of blowing them, watching their delicate seeds float away on the breeze…..the beauty and wonder around seemed endless

And as time passed … in daily life…not only could she walk freely with no pain but could walk up and down hills with her child in a pouch and a backpack full of groceries ….she never DID master the pram and pushchair:D:D:D

Later she could run, scramble and climb…something not done since a child herself….keeping up with her then 2 young cubs:D:D:D…she called all this …. the tapping into a child’s perspective ….the playfullnes and wonder …letting go of all else in that moment …’The spirit of 3′:D:D:D

Yoga …it healed her AND some …. subtley and gradually over time ….all the way from India to a musty old hall in the north of England:D:D:D …. Surely India’s GREATEST export:)


(images courtesy of google images …not sure if it’s legal using them …but hey …they’re lovely aren’t they?)

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