February 2021: On Progress

First signs of Spring in Glasgow on the 21 February. These crocuses  are so welcome! A sign that everything passes, even the longest winters.

On Progress

We are so conditioned to think that, whatever we do, especially if we do it regularly, we need to get better at it. We need to progress. But what exactly is progress? In yoga especially, but also in many other aspects of life, this is very easy to misjudge. My teacher James says: ‘you might be able to levitate, but are you able to get above your anger?’ I think the same about work. You might earn a lot of money, but do you know how to use it with care and beauty? You might be very busy, but do you sleep easy?

Real progress, in my experience, does not come with bells and fanfare. It is quiet and understated. I remember thinking that getting a certain posture was progress and one year, I was very excited to show my teacher in Crete whom I only saw once a year, that I had achieved a particular bind. I was probably expecting something like ‘very well done! You did it!’ but I got a glance and he walked off. It is not a big deal.

What is a big deal, I have found out, is to be able to truly retrace your steps and approach practice with a beginners mind. This means not only doing the practices one used to do a while ago, when the journey began, but to truly embody that enquiring mind. In the amazing meditation and pranayama training I am doing with Kia, she has invited us to do just this. Beginning again is the advanced practice. I cannot believe how much I have missed on the simple breath by putting in all the fancy stuff, how much I have taken for granted, how much more there is in the most simple act of breathing. Can you cook, walk, look, sing and draw in this way?

If progress is anything, it is a detachment from it: to truly enjoy putting one foot in front of the other, feeling the earth, breathing in the surroundings, feeling the weather, the changes in weight, the articulation of the body rather than running for a goal that, as soon as we reach it, will move elsewhere.

Laura x

What I have been practicing
Leo Babauta, of Zen Habits, has written about the Zen Buddhist practice of shoshin, or beginner’s mind. Here he offers very simple practices and shows the benefits of approaching life in this way. To me, what I definitely feel this practice has given me is more compassion, towards myself and others, and less negative talk. Seeing as I always found loving-kindness so hard to do, this feels like a true first step towards it.
What I have been listening to

Whether you practice yoga or not, just listen to the latest practice soundscape by Yotam and Kia, the Inner Shala. There are so many gorgeous teachings delivered through Kia’s voice, and the clever rhythmic punctuations of Yotam. I have learned to pay immense attention to anything he repeats in the soundscapes. Lean into the sounds, let go and just feel. We all have an inner refuge and this will awaken your sense of it.
What I have been watching
This is the perfect time to watch nature open, days lengthen, colours return … Nature is our greatest teacher! She shows us that progress is never linear, that for every phase of growth (spring and summer where I am in the Northern hemisphere) one of assimilation and digestion must follow. These phases, where we find we are going backwards, closing in, repeating things or losing what we had, are the most important ones, I find, even if we don’t feel like it at the time. Only with this assimilation there can be a new phase of growth.

So my invitation is to watch nature closely and, as the world opens, to consider what we have been through, what we have assimilated and digested during this pandemic in order to make the changes necessary in our life. This way the new growth, when we come out of confinement, can be full of what we want.

The studio I co-manage with my fantastic colleague Kate Henderson has a new logo, which we commissioned from Uma Naddermier. I have admired Uma’s drawings for a while. She has been able to give us movement and Spring all at once with a wonderful blend of colours, gradients and curves. It makes me so, so happy to look at it. I hope it invites you to practice yoga with us! Look us up on Facebookand Instagram and join the mailing list if you want information about our classes and workshops.

Kia, whom you often hear me talk about, does regular weeks of practice online. The next one takes place 1-5 March and will have Yotam playing live soundscapes (I am dancing with joy already, of course). She is also doing a moon day pranayama on Saturday 27 February at 8am CET. Focusing on the breath on moon day is something which I find takes me deeper into my consciousness. I’ll be there!

Kia is hopefully coming back to Glasgow!
NADI SHODANA – Balancing the pairs of opposites
Pranayama & Ashtanga Yoga Intermediate Series Intensive
Glasgow 30 April – 2 May 2021

Booking is open!
Image credit: Magnus Naddermier, Mairena, Spain.
My open classes are back on Tuesday 5 January and I have kept the programme as before. I cannot wait to see all of you and support you as we walk 2021 together!

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
ONLINE | 4 February


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!
My last class at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland will be in January at the usual times. I cannot wait to see all my students and colleagues!
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