Sunday, 13 January 2013

My most distinct memory of my first class with Julie Peters is this; somewhere in the middle of a fierce, back-bending, twisting lunge, Julie called out, “If you feel like you’re going to puke, then you know you’re in the right place!”  

Julie’s not your regular yoga teacher and that’s why I like her, and why I wanted to attend her Yoga and Writing workshop this weekend.  Julie’s a writer and poet, has a Masters in Canadian poetry, and owns her own yoga studio, East Side Yoga.  

Her workshop at Semperviva today was based on this idea that yoga can be used as a tool to spark your creativity. 

Julie commenced the class with a seated meditation during which she read us a series of poems, including work by Pablo Neruda and one of her own poems.  We moved into a playful and often free-flowing Vinyasa flow which included a lot of fun stretches and variations on asanas that I am definitely going to borrow for my own classes.  

After particularly 'opening' poses, ie Camel, she would get us to ‘drop and flow’, meaning we’d stop, pick up our journals and write absolutely everything that came to mind for two minutes.  She’d give us prompts, ie a letter from the heart to the brain, or we could just go with whatever we felt at the time.  The second half of the practice moved into some deeper yin postures including a supported Pigeon and a reclining butterfly with knees supported on a bolster and blocks placed between the shoulder blades and under our heads.  With long, deep stretching postures likes this, a lot of weird stuff comes up emotionally and physically and it can be really surprising to discover what flows from your pen to paper after five minutes in Pigeon.  At one point, there was a whole lot of stuff about spiders and rose petals between my ribs – God only know where that came from…

This is the kind of writing I used to do regularly, but long since got out of the habit, so it was encouraging to know that I could find that place of creativity again with the help of yoga.  It's been a long time since I filled so many pages of my journal in one go and I really want to keep of the practice of keeping some paper beside my mat when I practice.  Am I going to start posting yoga-inspired poetry on this blog any time soon?  Probably not….but watch this space!

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