April 2021: On Rhythms

Blossom on the 11 April 2021

On Rhythms

In early April, I finished a wonderful 10 week training programme on Meditation and Pranayama with Kia. I learned a lot of subtleties about my mind and my breath. One of the things that stayed the most with me is the concept of rhythms. We live in the midst of so many rhythmic formations: the seasons, the tempo of the week, the patterns of our work, mealtimes … All life is pulsation, expansion and contraction. Kia contextualised the rhythms of our bodies. We have circadian rhythms that happen over 24 hours, like sleep and waking time. We also have ultradian rhythms, the ebbs and flows that repeat within the 24 hours span such as blinking, heartbeat and nostril dilation. This last one is one of my favourites, and I have been tracking it 4 times a day for a while now. Whether I am left or right nostril dominant tells me a lot (I know: I am a geek).

Being in sync with rhythms is important, to be able to see clearly, to feel spacious, and even to enjoy being alive. Scotland opened on Monday again after 4 months of lockdown and rhythms around me changed again: the streets are busy, the shops are open, and I began to teach live, in a room. This is, of course, excellent news, but I notice I have had to adapt my own rhythms to this new situation. There is commuting time, things are not as quiet as before, my body is more tired because it goes somewhere to teach rather than roll out of my chair or bed, I need more energy to teach in two modes, online and live…

In the last year of lockdown, I discovered quietude and silence and more than ever I am grateful to my newly established daily meditation practice (thank you Kia!) to help me navigate life from a balanced perspective. As we take these new steps, I feel I need to exercise my reflexive capacities to not let myself be carried in these new rhythms which might not be my own, but to have agency and make decisions about what I need. And that might be not falling into the dominant rhythm, the louder one around, but to listen to quieter ones, to the underlying pulsations.

There is always something you can do with rhythms: balance them, invite them, get out of them and follow others, slow them further, beat only once every three pulses … What rhythm in your surroundings you want to attune to? What do you harmonise with? What loops you need to get out of? Which of your own rhythms you need to listen to more?

Laura x

What I have been practicing
In 2014, while dancing in Janice Parker’s Glory, I had the opportunity to work with the artist Richard Layzell. Richard’s practice, so imbued with care, attention, humour, gentleness and insight changed the rhythm of my heart, slowed it down, made it audible. I don’t know if it is his very experienced Tai Chi practice, his beautiful voice, or simply his outlook in life, but his work reconciles my rhythms with those of my surroundings. I have been practicing his slow consideration, his sense of listening, essential to recognising rhythms around us.

His latest work, a Lux commission, is called Marvell Park, and it is available here.

‘Tracking the extraordinary ups and downs of 2020, the film is a playful and personal meditation on a state of being, of how to move and interact with nature and the space of the park in a time when the world was so tangibly in flux. It takes a long view of the changing seasons and the puzzling activities of humans and other wildlife.’

Just bathe in his beautiful narrative, watch him dance with a pigeon and a leaf, feel his presence.

What I have been pondering
I have been a long time admirer of the rhythm practice of Eilon Morris and Zoe Katsilerou. They work in physical, dance theatre and voice. What they do is fun, and aimed at identifying complex rhythm patterns and deciding which one to follow. Both, in their different ways, allow you to connect with yourself and those around you as an ensemble. It is an incredible experience, when various rhythms join in harmony, don’t you think? I have been pondering about this, and about the relation between our micro rhythms and the rhythms of the cosmos … Eilon’s wonderful book (Rhythm in Acting and Performance) has a chapter on one of my favourite theatre practitioners, Maestro Nicolas Nuñez and his Anthropocosmic Theatre.

Here’s a lovely video of Eilon’s work and a link to Zoe’s amazing voice work.

Image from Eilon’s website.

‘the days are long and the years are short’
What I have been watching
Rhythm is time and time is rhythm. This is partly how make sense of time: through repetitions. This short film essay is a beautiful reflection of time and the pandemic through the films of Tarkovsky, looking at a magnificent scene in Nostalgia, where a man walks trying to keep a candle alight (I want to do this in performance), filmed in real time without cuts. Nerdwriter1 speaks of pulses, counting them (as we do in yoga) and the relation of this to memory.
Kia is back
Next week (3-7 May) the Mysore Yoga Paris online shala is open. And with Yotam’s soundscapes! Sign up and wave at me, and a fabulous bunch of practitioners before we take our morning meditation. It is the best way to start your day – and the new month – in these times of constantly changing rhythms.
My classes welcome all of you. They are attended by a fun group of practitioners of all levels from many places around Europe. It is a true delight to share these mornings:
07.15 – 08.30/09.00
ONLINE | Yoga (Led into Mysore) 

07.15 – 08.30/09.00
ONLINE | Yoga (Led into Mysore)*

*PRANAYAMA (Breathing) first Thursday of every month
6 May
3 June
1 July 

07.15 – 08.30


I am also available for pranayama one-to-one sessions online (introductory or following up your practice).
The full Yoga Moves Glasgow programme is designed to support you now that we know this new way of living is not going to change any time soon. The full schedule is online here. There are some excellent teachers and interesting classes!
YOGA for STAFF (sign up with HR)
ONLINE | Mondays 13.00 – 14.00

YOGA for STUDENTS (check RCS Sport on Facebook)
ONLINE | Wednesdays 18.00 – 19.00
ONLINE | Fridays 13.00 – 14.00