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Day 7 - Gulnaz - Forward Bends

A quiet day for me today. I braved the practice session at the institute and reaffirmed to myself that I don't really practice properly unless I'm on my own in a quiet space. It's strange for me to have so much time on my hands and its only now that I've stopped that I realise just how busy I've been, trying to hold down a full-time day job whilst maintaining my practice and (my much reduced) teaching. My studio closed in August 2020 after the owner had a change of heart and it was a real wrench to see all the love and energy that I had put into making it a success come to an abrupt and unwanted end. Perhaps because of this, I wanted the certainty that a salaried job would provide and also a complete and total shake-up to keep life interesting and stimulating.

I work with 'troubled families' helping them to remove barriers to work and / or get their benefits sorted out. The people that I am supporting are often at the lowest point of their lives, having fled domestic abuse or recovering from substance misuse or sometimes they are foreign nationals who have just been granted emergency recourse to public funds after social services have placed their children with them or the death of a loved one has left them destitute with children to look after. Whatever the particular situation, they are always in need of someone calm and confident to look at the situation and shine a light on the path forwards. I like it. But it does mean a huge loss of freedom and far more time in front of a screen than is healthy. My practice has suffered and I can't tell you how pleased I am to have a whole month to immerse in yoga and reflect on how I want the next few years to look.

I found out today that Abhi is in Australia for a week, which is disappointing as I have yet to be taught by her on this trip at all. Fingers crossed she'll be back and ready to teach for backbend week. Tonight Gulnaz taught forward bend class at a cracking pace with rapid changes between sides and lots of motion - the preparation for forward bends was forward bends themselves. We got straight to it, which meant that there was time for a lot of repetition and a greater range of poses than I normally manage to fit into a class. There were very few instructions (she had lost her voice) and she kept us moving constantly. Her assumption was that we don't like forward bends, but actually I love them! Sequence below some more pics of the institute upgrade and new outdoor bookshop counter.