Yoga at Dartington

I have been wanting to learn yoga with Angela Farmer for 15 years. In my teacher training we watched The Feminine Unfolding. I fell in love with the movement in the spine and Angela’s quiet, wise way. When you’ve been waiting that long you wonder if you will be disappointed. I wasn’t.

Angela is strong, out-there, gentle and wise. Victor is loving, deep and offers wonderful visual tools. Together they offer a feeling of support, freedom and challenge. Angela spoke of how she had been trained by Iyengar, the rigors and rules, and the pain. How he would come and adjust strongly, his way. In those days there was no consent, being in the room was consent and agreement to what he thought was best. I found this fascinating as it’s so different to today. This has been part of their journey into a freer style of yoga.

The rule is that there are no rules

The rules were that there were no rules. I love structure and rules and once I’ve learned them I love the freedom to play and be. You could join in, do your own thing, completely ignore the teaching or follow it carefully. What a delight. I did both. Sometimes I was concentrating on what was being taught, sometimes I was completely somewhere else – attending to a moment more precious than the teaching. Sometimes I was drawing, sometimes I was daydreaming. Being given permission to follow our own rhythm is important.

Dying warrior

One of the poses we did was dying warrior. It’s one of those poses where your body is moving in all directions at once, you feel strung out, twisted round, washed up and energised all in one. This picture is poor, but it gives an idea of what’s going on. Right leg extended under the body, and over to the left. Left leg alert and stretched back. And then right shoulder wraps in towards the left so the kidneys and legs get a phenomenal zing.

Your rules, your mat

When you come to class it’s so important that you always have self-empowerment to be you in that moment. Not you from last week, but you today, this day, now. You will sometimes see that people stay in child’s pose and ‘miss’ some of the class. This is because they’re attending to their needs. Sometimes people will be in significantly different poses to each other – this is good. This is listening to what your body is saying and giving what you really need.

So when you come to class, come as you, and enjoy the space to adapt and listen to yourself.