On 17th June YogaVenue is hosting a charity event to raise money for a small boy in the Dominican Republic (the cousin of one of YogaVenue’s teachers) who urgently needs extraordinarily expensive surgery in the US. The very fact that we in this country are lucky enough not to have to spend the price of a big house on hospital bills if we or our children get ill, is reason enough to take part in an event like this. However there are a few other reasons why I’m getting involved, and why I think you’d be missing out if you didn't do it too.
The first reason is because it’s a challenge. I’ve never tried doing 108 sun salutations in a row, and so I don’t know if I can. I know there’s a chance I might find it difficult, and it might take me outside my comfort zone. But if we spend our whole lives inside our comfort zones then we are apt to feel limited, trapped inside a small world where everything outside feels more and more daunting. To linger awhile in the ‘don’t know’ place, just occasionally, readies us to face challenges in the future and builds our internal strength. And to face a challenge and to succeed is one of the best feelings in the world.
The second reason is because lots of the YogaVenue teachers are getting involved, and we’ll be teaching in relay. This is a very rare opportunity to experience loads of different teaching styles in one afternoon, and you might just discover something new that really speaks to you.
The third reason is because it is an experience you won’t find in a normal Yoga class - doing a small set of actions over and over and over again can bring the human bodymind into a trancelike state. It’s been a part of spiritual practice for millennia, in many different religions (think the Sufi whirling, Catholic Hail Marys, Buddhist chanting) and also through all kinds of dance traditions. Through repetition it is possible to achieve a higher state of consciousness. At the very least you are likely to find an exquisite stillness in the flowing movement; to focus on one thing and one thing alone, such as how it feels to move through the asanas of the sun salute with the breath, is a powerful meditative practice which can be very beneficial for mental health and happiness.
The fourth and final reason is community. Ana Forrest, the creator of Forrest Yoga, calls it ‘mending the hoop of the people’. If you come and join us for the 108 then you have a chance to contribute to strengthening the yoga community in Oxford. We will spend two hours moving together with the sole intent of helping little Nicolas to heal, and healing ourselves in the process.
Hope to see you on the 17th!
Click here for more information about the event.