Where did that path really begin… I am taking an historical approach to consider where I am now and where I am heading… in the short term at least. Have you seen those pictures of the gravitational astronomy or the path that our solar system takes over time? Consider a path in life like this; less lineal, more expansive and yet still intrinsically a pattern of sorts.
Yoga and me, where did that begin? Early memories of watching Swami Sarasvati on morning TV with the suburban summer holiday vibe of Sydney. Do you remember her? There she was in her black leotard elegantly positioned in various poses, yet for me it was the quiet, meditative breathing in simple cross legged position and her soft voice that I found alluring; the seed was planted.
It was in my mid-twenties, shortly after having my first child that I started classes. And with the value of hindsight I can see how this has had such an enduring positive impact on my life. The classes were held in a small meeting room in the Lismore Women’s Health Centre with the teacher, Sabine, a gentle German woman. I wasn’t aware until many years later that she underwent treatment for breast cancer shortly after I’d started those classes… (I wondered where she had gone). She returned to teach and the venue changed as the numbers increased, but there was always the reliable mix of challenge, expansion and relaxation.
One of my favourite memories of that time was when I helped at a one day retreat. Nestled deep in the rainforest of Bodhi Farm, the community hall offered a perfect setting. I joined in with some of the yoga but was mostly helping with food preparation and “gophering” from the hall up to the kitchen and dining area. And, my, that food was so good… I still have a few recipes I learnt from the vegetarian cook that day. Yoga, rainforest, good folks and delicious, healthy food… What more could you want!
After I moved to Brisbane I tried a few (actually quite a few) different local yoga studios, mostly home-based, but just didn’t find the right one. It is important to feel a connection to the style of yoga, the space and most importantly, the teacher. There is no “one size fits all” but, for me, having an authentic connection has been an integral part of deepening my commitment to the practice of yoga.
So thankfully, fortuitously I found Inna Bliss in 2008. By this time I had lived by the bay for a decade and was feeling the connectedness to place that Aboriginal people know. The studio was on the second floor of the tallest building in Wynnum (all 5 floors!!), facing west. I have to say, I struggled with the name when I first saw it, part of my inner neurotic language processes, but in all other ways I felt I had found my yoga home at last.
I do remember some classes where the Muzak from the Curves gym across the hall would infiltrate the peaceful, ambient space that was aurally enhanced by Snatam Kaur and Deva Premal. And I would wonder if it wouldn’t be more appropriate that Inna Bliss was on the Eastern side of the building having the expansive view of the wonderful Quandamooka (Moreton Bay). And then after some time it came to pass. Voilà!! Perfection! There is nothing quite like surya namaskar actually saluting the sunrise over a wide expanse of nature such that Moreton Bay is, on a clear morning. Feeds the spirit in such a pure wholesome way!
Last year I spent the first half of the year recovering from an accident. Yoga was integral to that recovery. And I gained a deep understanding of the aspects of the practice that not only healed my body but that also assisted me in regaining and expanding my confidence in my body and the choices I could make to embrace and work with change, even when it may be on the outside a negative, unforeseen, unprovoked one. This was a great gift.
To honour this, although not in any way obvious to me at the time, I embarked on a yoga challenge. The challenge was to attend as many classes over one month as set by Innabliss – my personal commitment was to attend every day of August. And I did it! It was like I kickstarted, ramped up to a whole new level in my yoga practice.
And even as I travelled in Europe for 7 weeks, I kept a focus on yoga. During a quiet retreat from the demands of travelling, I reflected on what I wanted for the coming year and my future generally. One of the things I meditated on was a commitment to exploring yoga teacher training… On return from the Italian sojourn, about a fortnight after landing back on Terra Australis, the first “Live Your Bliss” teacher training was announced. What serendipity! Perfect, a teacher training with Inna Bliss… So now this is the branch of the path that I am on…