NB This article was included in my most recent monthly Frond Yoga newsletter – if you’d like to receive future newsletters, with information of upcoming UK classes, workshops, day retreats and international retreats then please get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org.
”Yoga is the journey of the self, through the self, to the self.’ Bhagavad Gita.
I’m just back from another gorgeous week in Turkey, teaching my annual retreat in the beautiful Dalyan landscape of lakes, verdant mountains, ancient ruins, sparkling sea and whispering reed beds.
As always, I return from the week feeling like I’ve learnt just as much from the students as they have learnt from me. This always seems to happen when I teach a retreat – I come away feeling like I’ve peeled back another layer of myself, knowing the truth of who I am a little bit more, and I often have revelatory moments during retreats where I suddenly realise something about myself or life in great clarity, as if it’s suddenly the most obvious thing in the world, yet I just hadn’t seen it before. Another veil lifted.
It makes sense really though – we are all each other’s teachers. We all act as mirrors, reflecting back aspects of ourselves that we recognise in others. Above all, on retreat I appreciate the beauty and enduring strength of the human spirit. I see it in all the guests, as they relax, unfurl and open up through the week. We share stories and laughter and there’s something about yoga that brings people close, more quickly than in the ‘outside world’, so there is a real sense of mutual support and intimacy that builds over the days, as hopes, dreams and fears are shared and explored.
I am always humbled and entranced by the realisation that behind every face lies an unfathomable depth of experience, wisdom, talent, love and kindness – every path is unique and we can therefore always learn from each other. This week the group reminded me of the joy of letting go of any sense of inhibition and dancing like a crazy person, even to terrible music! They taught me that partying on a boat is as much yoga as meditating in lotus position, when done from a place of joy and celebration of life and each other. They showed me the beauty of simple acts of kindness towards others. They inspired me with their dedication and fearlessness, and their determination to enact positive change. They wowed me with their youthful energy and joie de vivre. They reminded me not to take life and myself too seriously, yet to be serious about being the best person I can be. And much, much more. And so I come away feeling buoyed by the beauty of humanity and excited to see where life takes me next, and what I will learn there.
Every single interaction we have with another person is a chance to learn, if we can just open ourselves to accepting the lessons with humility, a childlike open mind and an eagerness for positive change and transformation.