October 2020: On Joy

Me on Cathkin Brae in Glasgow, on Sunday 25 October 2020.
Autumn in Scotland is just so beautiful!

On Joy

I have been focusing on joy this month, to balance the world a little, as this feeling is scarce at the moment. With my yoga philosophy teacher, James Boag, I have been studying the Foundations of Yoga. One of the sessions was on the puruṣārthas, the four aims of life. One of the things that stayed with me from the class is the idea that it is our duty to enjoy life. Life is a gift! But how to perform this duty in such hard times as we live today? Where do we get the skills from?

My dear Rosina, who I will remember specially fondly this weekend (as it is Halloween, where the separation between the living and the dead is gossamer thin), famously said ‘JOY IS A CHOICE’. My wonderful friend Emma, a great yogin, artist and also Rosina’s student, carefully printed, in pink lettering, Rosina’s saying in a compact mirror. I treasure this so much. The reminder, reflected on my face as I look in the mirror, always works. I have a choice. If I am overworked, I have a choice to say no. If I am sad, I have a choice to remember what I am grateful for. Joy is indeed a choice and I have the power to summon it.

These are a few things that bring me joy: seeing sunset or sunrise, starting and ending my day with silence, breathing consciously, reading before sleeping, my hot water bottle, Neil’s healing hugs, seeing my students in the morning, Kate’s count in yoga class, Kia asking us to wave, hearing my mother answering the phone, my dad asking me what the weather is like where I am, being sent photos of my niece, my friend’s banter, Emma’s compact with Rosina’s words, backbends(!), having coffee after practice, the three things I am offering you below …

What does it mean to practice yoga with joy? How does one breathe joyously? What brings you joy?

Laura x

What I have been practicing
I have been discussing the concept of awe with people. This idea of something bigger than you, magnificent and unexplainable which manifests in your presence is so good is to feel, don’t you think? Well, I have discovered that a science of awe exists and that taking awe walks make you emotionally healthier. A perfect invitation for Autumn.
What I have been reading

Indian mythology is joyous to me. I really respond to this way of learning. I have been reading the story of the churning of the ocean of milk, or Samudra manthan. James told us this story a couple of weeks ago in class and it has resonated with me ever since. If you practice Ashtanga Yoga, you probably sing a mantra at the beginning. In that mantra, there is a word that stands out. That’s right, it is Halahala. It features in the story.

Some asuras, dark beings, wanted to churn the ocean of milk (symbolising the brain) to get amrita, the nectar of immortality. But to churn, you need a rod. They ask the Devas, celestials or beings of light, for this rod (symbolising the spine). When they churned the ocean of milk (symbolising yoga practice, where we move the spine), many things came out, gems, goddesses, and amrita. But Halahala, a lethal poison, also came out. The asuras and the devas got scared and called Shiva, the god of destruction or dissolution, to deal with this poison. Shiva calmly swallowed it.

When we practice asana, pranayama or meditation, many things come out, joyous and not. This story highlights the importance of digestion, of letting whatever comes out integrate into the system, giving it time to be, to assimilate. If not, it will poison. So next time you get to do savasana, use it to digest, to befriend what comes out.

What I have been listening to

The most joyous thing I know is the breath and I have been really relishing my practice, which supports me through all kinds of times. It is always there, always giving if I take the time to listen and be with it. I have really appreciated listening to the Breathcast podcast, especially this episode with Dr Belisa Vranich, who talks about correct breathing for joy.

And if you want to experience this joy yourself, why not join me for my monthly pranayama class in November or December? Details below!

Kia will be back for another week of gorgeous practice on the 02 November. This will take place on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and will consist of meditation, one Mysore WITH LIVE SOUNDSCAPES FROM YOTAM (can you sense my excitement?), one half primary/half intermediate and one full primary practice. Don’t miss this opportunity and book before Sunday at 6pm Paris time (5pm UK). I cannot wait to see my wonderful sangha!

To get the joy of introspection, support, relaxation and beautiful dharma talks, listen to Kia and Yotam’s podcast. As my playlist will show, this is my absolute favourite, a perfect mix of soundscapes, philosophy, meditation and even savasana support!

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 | 5 November
ONLINE | 3 December


I am also available for pranayama one-to-one sessions online (introductory or following up your practice).

In Yoga (Led into Mysore), we will work through the Ashtanga Primary Series, with guidance and modifications, and with a view to develop a self-practice in time. The whole group will start together with the opening mantra, sun salutations and the standing sequence. Then, I will continue to lead the class (until 8.30) while at the same time giving space for Mysore practitioners to work with their sequence, receiving individual guidance and support to expand their personal practice. The space will be open until 9am for Mysore practitioners, or for those who want a long relaxation.

The full Rosina Bonsu Moves 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!
I am working regularly with various programmes at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and also offering general classes to students and staff.
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