Points of view

This months musings come from Richard Adamo.

Richard is a course diploma teacher for the British Wheel of Yoga. He is also well know for his regular classes that he teaches in Wales and for the workshops that he runs in his home village of Trefeglwys.

Richard is also a regular teacher at the Oxford workshops along with other renowned teachers such as Danny Paradise, John Scott, Brian Cooper & Gingi lee to name a few hosted by Ian McDonald . Check out www.oxfordyoga.co.uk for the latest list of Ashtanga teachers coming to Oxford.

 

HOW SHOULD I PRACTICE YOGA

Recently I was looking at a video on YouTube of a 101 year old man practising yoga. It was very impressive and shows it is possible to have a life that is both long and active. There are lots of other inspirational tales of people getting to great ages and keeping active and being able to live fulfilled lives with or without the practice of yoga.

To get to a healthy old age I suppose we need to start by being lucky, both with our genetic inheritance and avoiding accidents and illnesses, and then try and load the dice in our favour even more. It is reasonable to suppose that good food, lifestyle and exercise will help and maybe a positive mental attitude might not go amiss. Within these reasonable ideas we also need to take an approach that steers us away from extremes and worrying about our lifestyle so that it becomes stressful and has a negative rather than a positive effect.

A good example of this is the French Paradox. The French have a high fat diet, you won’t find many low fat foods in the traditional french fridge, yet they have a low rate of heart attacks compared to the UK where everyone is worried about counting calories etc. The Japanese have one of the highest salt intakes in the world and one of the lowest rate of heart problems. All may not be quite as we are led to believe in the advice to cut out cholesterol and salt.

The yoga texts, particularly the Hatha Yoga Pradipika which dates from about 1600 gives simple advice on diet - to be moderate and eat foods that are nourishing and pleasing. This may also be good advice when it comes to the practice of yoga. Yoga is one of the few exercises that we can do throughout our lives - from the ages of 5 to 105 we can practice and enjoy this fantastic system of exercise which touches the practitioner on many levels from the physical to the mental and emotional.

The Yoga Sutras say there are three types of yoga practice and 3 types of practitioner. Practice can be hard, medium or mild and the yogi can  be ardent, average or mild in their approach. Now despite calls to be doing the hardest practice in the most ardent manner we may need to look at our practice within the wider context of whatever else is going on in our lives and act accordingly. We need to beware of laziness, which is a form of lost opportunity where we don’t reach our potential in life, and also shy away from an extreme approach that causes more harm than good.

The good is what I feel we should be aiming at, the Golden Mean of Aristotle and the middle path of the Buddha is the area where we can sustain and benefit. The yogis looked at this and have never sought for happiness which is hard to define and probably transient, but have rather opted for the concept of Santosha, or contentment. Through contentment we may access sustainability and look forward to developing a practice that will change and grow with us through our lives - may they be long ones!

( Richard Adamo 2013)

 

For more information on Richards Teacher training and workshops call him on 01686 430 438