My Yoga “Discovery”
I've been practicing yoga for over 30 years. "Thirty years?" you say, "You don't look a day over 25!"
But, yes, my friends. I've been rolling my mat out since I realised that there was no way I could afford the £40 every month to see a chiropractor.
I had damaged my back several times doing gymnastics at school and that damage was exacerbated by the large, but natural curvature in my lower back, that a good friend refers to as my "African assets".
So, I would whenever I felt my muscles contract and begin to spasm, get on all fours and do a few cat/cows, rolling out my spine in a forward fold before attempting an occasional sun salutation, half-moon or downward dog. The yoga was really helping.
Roll forward 5 or so years and I have well and truly found my Guru. In a book store off Shaftsbury Avenue in London I pick up a copy of "Light on Yoga" by BKS Iyengar. The cover depicts an Indian man in what looks like a pair of swimming trunks, balanced on one leg. Flicking through the pages, there's not one single shot of a European woman in a leotard and the introduction comprised of an explanation of Yoga as an Art, and physical yoga "asana" as just a fraction of what is a complete philosophy - sold!
When I bought my copy, that seminal work by Guruji BKS Iyengar had been in print for about 25 years. I had no idea that he was so revered around the world and even less that it was possible to study and teach yoga - the way that he proposed it be taught - by Iyengar teachers in yoga studios not far from my little East London bedsit.
I naively thought that this was my "discovery". I alone had found a little gem of a book. I had found my personal guide to what by now had become more than just an aim to stop my aches and pains. It had evolved into a practice - an inquiry into how disciplining the body can lead to a disciplined mind and ultimately the discovery of "who I am not".