March 2021: On Anicca

Photographing a sunset in Glasgow on the 1 March 2021.
Sunsets are a great example of impermanence. They pass by very quickly and they are always different. They demand full presence.

On Anicca

Anicca is the Pali word for impermanence and I first came across it in 2018, during my 10-day silent meditation retreat. When guiding sessions, S.N. Goenka usually says it three times anicca, anicca, anicca, so the imprint of it has been vivid in my mind. In the last year, though, it has become a mantra, and I utter the word to myself as an instrument for change in my attitude to what is going on.

I went into lockdown in 2020 in the midst of the most painful grief. Life was showing me its law of impermanence and all I could think of was how cruel it was, how much I did not want things to be the way they were. A bit like when you fall down and you notice that gravity is both a law and a force. And it hurts. Little did I know then that grief would be a teacher too. The first year of a loss is a time of firsts: birthday, Christmas, summer, return to classes, celebrations … A whole year without Rosina … But even those feelings were not permanent, they kept changing and some of them have got easier to be with.

Now that we have also done the first year of lockdown and we have been through a full cycle, it feels both duller and never-ending. My experience of a second year of grief is spontaneous sadness. Things have normalised but I find myself thinking about what was before and missing the small things terribly. Now, everybody is busy again – sometimes more than before – and there is no longer the spirit of the first months of lockdown. And yet, more than ever, this is when we need each other, when togetherness is most felt and appreciated. We feel we should now be good at all the things that were imposed on us because we have been a year doing zoom, living constantly together in our apartments, hosting celebrations and meetings all online, holding ourselves in a strange normality, working, living, socialising, dancing from home … But this is far from true. These things have become harder now. We need to be compassionate, even more than before because ours and others’ resources might be running thinner than we think. This is why, during the Easter break, my studio will be opening its virtual doors to anyone who wants a supportive space to just be (see below).

The law of impermanence is also at work in a pandemic, even if it does not seem so. All physical and mental events are not constant or permanent; they came into being around March 2020 and will dissolve. Nothing like meditating on sound or breath to find this out. Try it, take time to notice it. This, for me, is the big lesson of the pandemic, perhaps of my life. Only then you will realise that this situation will end and can live with more ease. But the ending of lockdown and pandemic days can be a loss too, loss of the time we are now spending with close family, or away from busy social lives … I have personally enjoyed the simplicity of my life and found it healing. Whatever arises, the only thing we can do is to live the present moment fully and acknowledge what is here.

Laura x

What I have been reading
In the Dhammapada, The Buddha writes:
All things are impermanent
when one observes this with insight,
then one becomes detached from suffering;
this is the path of purification.
What I have been practicing
Impermanence can be experienced in all yogic practices but in meditation it is perhaps the most clear. I am reminded of this as Kia guides us gently in her pranayama and meditation training. One of the consequences when one realises the impermanence of everything, is presence, or truly inhabiting the moment, as Kia puts it. I invite you to practice with her and Yotam Agam’s soundscapes in this lovely guided meditation.
S.N. Goenka: The law of impermanence – The brother with the silver ring. 3 minutes 42 seconds
What I have been watching
On day 7 of the Vipassana meditation retreat, during the recorded evening discourse, S.N. Goenka tells this story about impermanence. Like Kia’s classes during lockdown, Goenka’s discourses kept me grounded during my retreat – 10 days of silent meditation is not an easy practice. In fact, Goenka kept me IN the retreat, as every day I thought of leaving and every night he kindly ushered me back with his words and beautiful teachings. Anicca, impermanence, was the single most important lesson I would take from those 10 days.
My teacher Kia will be taking a well deserved break from her online shala so this is your last opportunity to practice with her for a little while. She will open her space from 29 March to 2 April and you can sign up here. There is a very affordable sliding scale to make these wonderful teachings accessible to everyone. And if you cannot join us, you can always listen (and support) her podcast with Yotam.

At a time of reflection, a year after the world shut down, I cannot thank Kia and Yotam enough for their care and their support. As I have said many times, they have kept me sane and healthy. They have also gone beyond that and given me moments of pure joy and discovery. With them, it has not only been about surviving but they have helped me navigate this situation into a fuller, richer life.


To thank you for your beautiful presence and support, Yoga Moves Glasgow, the studio I co-run with Kate Henderson, has a gift for you during the Easter break: Community Self-Practice.

This is a morning space for you to do your practice, whatever you want it to be. You don’t have to do yoga; all movement welcome, even a long lie down. We will be happy to send you cheat sheets if needed. We usually follow the session with the best posture: coffee-asana! Please book online. We have limited spots so we can all be in one zoom screen. You don’t need to be a regular student to join us. Teachers on break, lapsed practitioners, complete strangers, anyone can come, be with us and get to know us before our next term starts on 19 April.

Classes this term finish on 1 April and I will be back on 20 April.
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
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!
Classes will resume for the new term in April.
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