Words by Kat Basquill
My name is Kat, and I teach Mandala Vinyasa on Sundays. Mandala is a strong and graceful flow spiralling 360o round the mat. Its roots come from Shamanic principles; we work with a daily element from the Mayan Calendar, and base our movements around the characteristics of each element. We work deeply with the subtle body; each element has a Chakra and set of meridians linked, so Mandala can be profound and healing when practiced with love.
Ashtanga Yoga is made up of eight ‘limbs’, only one of which is the physical practice. One of the limbs contains the wonderful principle of ‘Ahimsa’, meaning ‘non-harm’. As I first learned the concept of Ahimsa, we were given the example of Vegetarianism as well as not participating in violence. I started to think more deeply about applying this concept into my practice and teaching, which started to translate into ‘practice with kindness’.
We all have our areas of tension, of tightness and resistance. Throughout the day, our energy levels grow and fade. Sometimes a pose can feel delicious, whilst other times it is painful. By practicing with kindness, we keep observing ourselves. We are accepting if there is too much resistance to take a certain expression of a pose. We can acknowledge that some poses come and go. If you push into resistance, or against your energy, it may do you more harm than good.
In my example, I held a pose I found was wonderful in my Dharma class after ninety minutes of flowing. With a cold body… not so much. I put my body under so much pressure that I damaged it.
So I invite you to read your energy and how YOU feel when practicing, rather than diving into expectation and comparison. Please, rest if you need rest. Skip a Vinyasa; no one will punish you. Or soar into full expression if it feels right for you. Just make sure you work in a way that nourishes yourself. Breathe in a way that gives you warmth, energy and calmness. This is your practice, and yours alone. Mandala Vinyasa can be a challenging and vigorous flow class. There are options for arm balances and inversions – and they all remain optional.
I am there to guide you, but you make your own choices. Choose kindness.
Kat is teaching a New Years Intention Setting Workshop on January 7th, 2-4pm.
This will be a Fire Mandala. We will set gentle intentions for the New Year, and use the heat generated to energise these whilst burning away what we no longer wish to hold on to. The Mandala will be followed by deep Yin stretches, each corresponding to an element that we call upon to support us and bring balance.
There will be tasty treats, essential oils, and some live music from the handpan.
For more information or to book, please contact Kat 07905 133143 / firstname.lastname@example.org