January 2022: On Steadiness

The Full Moon on the 17th January 2022, as I was going to practice at 7am.

On Steadiness

It is already the end of January and in the first month of a brand new year I sometimes get wild ideas. The blank slate of the new number is an excuse for resolutions which are often left behind within a few weeks. For me, January is the month of steadiness. It does not mean I don’t make changes. I pay attention to what is needed, just listening before I make any sudden move. I tend to do that at various points of the year too, especially after breaks in routine, like holidays. In January, though, the depth of dark and cold winter in the Northern hemisphere, I aim for steadiness in everything I do: reflective, deliberately slow, using stabiliser muscles in my physical practice. Everywhere I can, I ground.

Steadiness for me is walking on firm ground, with balance and trusting gravity, using support if needed. It is finding the earth quality (one of the five elements I am made of) within me, as my teacher Kia invites me to do. In yoga, steadiness is one of the two wings of the physical practice, the other being ease. Both are needed to fly and with one the other is nourished. When I am steady in what I do, it becomes easier at some point.

The more dramatic the change I want to make, the slower I need to go to be steady or the more support I may need. For example, this year, I want to change a habit that although small, it is very well established in my day to day. I do it every day and it does not serve me. It does nothing for me and makes me waste time, even if it is comforting at the level of instant gratification. Because of this grip it has on my mind, I have had to go cold turkey, which is very de-stabilising. So in order to be steady in my resolution, I have had to replace that habit with something else, less wasteful, more wholesome but with similar gratification characteristics. I am finally beginning to see the grip of my old habit loosening, and I am glad I decided to change it.

And for that to be steady, I also had to concentrate my efforts on changing one small thing, a vey concrete one, rather than writing a wish list of what I think my ideal self should be. Just that little thing has taken considerable effort. But it is getting better and then walking steadily on the face of the earth might become easy and graceful like a dance.

Laura x

What I have been pondering

I always say that the greatest quality of a yogi is not strength, stamina or flexibility –the one everyone thinks about when yoga is mentioned: for me it is constancy. This is another name for steadiness, over time.

I show up for yoga on holiday, when the sun is shining, when I am excited about a new project. Sometimes I show up without strength, without will, without grace. With injury, with sadness, with fatigue. I still show up. Sometimes I don’t do much. Sometimes I do nothing other than showing up. Yoga is a bit like a savings account. Because I have shown up in the good times, it serves me in the not-so-good ones. I have never regretted it, even if my stay on the mat was 5 minutes of checking in how I am.

Constancy requires a surrender of the idea that there is something better elsewhere (the park, the bar, the bed …). So I make my practice a refuge and also a laboratory to check these beliefs that bring instability. For this, I don’t intervene or make any effort, I just stop and observe what is there. 

What I have been reading
Autobiography in Five Short Chapters by Portia NelsonI

I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk
I fall in.
I am lost…
I am hopeless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.


I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I’m in the same place.
But it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.


I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in…it’s a habit
My eyes are open; I know where I am;
It is my fault
I get out immediately.


I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.


I walk down another street.

What I have been practicing
Steadiness is all about strong foundations. When I feel unsteady, I go back to the simplest support. I feel the soles of my feet when I walk, the surfaces that make contact with the floor when I sit or lie down, I focus on that which holds me from underneath, the earth. What is supporting me today? Where am I drawing my energy from? And the biggest question for me: can I let myself be supported by these things and make less effort?One of the surprising places (to me at least) where this has been showing up is singing: the more effortless I make it, the steadier my voice is, the clearer my pronunciation. How does support show up in your practice, whatever your practice might be?

On the 22 January Thich Nhat Hanh passed away. My teacher Kia introduced him to me, reading passages in her classes. Something of the words always stayed, so I sought and read him. Thich Nhat Hanh was a Zen master, teaching with true kindness, selflessness and generosity. He led by example, embodying peace. His teachings are so simple, they feel effortless, like they were there all along. I offer to you this article on the important of resting, which is essential to healing and to gaining steadiness. It is beautifully written, so moving, practical and true. 

I bow to you in gratitude, Thich Nhat Hanh.

We have just finished the most amazing programme of practice with Kia this week. So beautiful to see friends online, feel the energy of fellow practitioners and be bathed in teachings that nourish the soul. Thank you Kia and sangha!And in the run up to this week (we have not met for a while!) I have been keeping inspired with Kia and Yotam’s podcast, Closer Together. The last meditation, Breathing into Wholeness, is a beautiful way to connect with yourself, if you have not done it for a while, after the madness of Christmas and the new year.

If you want to find out more about these offerings, which are open to everyone, you can sign up for Kia’s newsletter here. And she is coming to Glasgow in April 2022! More on that here … We have quite a few bookings already so get in touch if you are thinking about coming. And yes, the theme is balancing pairs of opposites. Perfect way to cultivate steadiness.

Yoga Moves Glasgow‘s programme will restart on 10 January. I teach ONLINE on Tuesday mornings and LIVE at the Arlington on Thursday mornings. If you want to come to a LIVE class, please book in advance as we are still restricting numbers for safety and comfort.
Tuesdays, 07.15 – 08.30/09.00, ONLINE | Yoga (Led into Mysore)* 
Thursdays, 07.15 – 08.30/09.00, LIVE | Yoga (Mysore)*PRANAYAMA (Breathing) first Tuesday of every month


07.15 – 08.30 NOW LIVE AND ONLINE ON ZOOM£5 ONLINE | £11/£9 LIVE

I am also available for pranayama one-to-one sessions online (introductory or following up your practice). Reply to this email if you want to find out more.
Royal Conservatoire of Scotland classes for staff will resume online on the 10 January. Contact HR for details. Keep an eye out for announcements for classes for students. I hope to start in early February!