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Working With Sophie

Working with me, you may find these words useful as you begin the journey.

You don’t have to ‘do’ your yoga every day in the way in which you may suppose. In time, most of what you do will become ‘yoga’ in any case.

You don’t have to learn random and arbitrary facts about anatomy and physiology.

You don’t have to pass any tests; certificates are irrelevant. (Neither Vanda nor Diane has a yoga certificate between them, neither ran any teacher training course and neither write about a need to acquire a theoretical knowledge of the body.)

You don’t need the approbation of any self-appointed, so-called expert in this way of working with the body – Vanda warns against groups and gurus in her book.

You don’t have to suffer or beat yourself up on account of any short-comings you deem yourself to have.

You already are all that is needed to work in this way – you have a body and that really is all you need.

Keep it simple.

Make everything simpler, whether it be how you walk, how you sit or how you eat. But get used to attending to the body, accommodating and encouraging it in your quest for freedom.

Look at videos or pictures of the bodies of Vanda Scaravelli. Observe how to walk, sit and move.

Don’t have unrealistic expectations of your teachers but hold them to account.

Ask questions – become increasingly curious.

Read ‘Awakening the Spine’ by Vanda

Read ‘Notes on Yoga’ by Diane Long and Sophy Hoare

Pay attention to the body.

Pay attention to the breath.

Sit a lot in a variety of sitting positions – A 10 day Vipassana retreat may be a good idea.

Empty your mind of expectation in asana.

Do far less.

Relax.

Rest.

Find a felt sense of the weight in your body before you move.

Try to feel both front and back ribs and that which lies between them by just using the breath.

Focus on bringing to life that which directly surrounds the spine, especially the lower spine, for it is that area that so often constrains and inhibits movement, and it is that area that will be fundamentally determining in freeing it.

Be as kind and non-judgemental of yourself as you would be of a baby.

Insist on enjoying what you do with your body.

Prepare the ground for a time when your body guides, leads and teaches you as opposed to you, or others, forever dictating things to it.

Have faith and persevere.

Make room for the unknown, the new and unexpected.

Don’t allow yourself to be distracted by the unimportant, irrelevant minutiae that surrounds the world of yoga.

Think less, feel more and all is coming to you.

Sophie

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