I have recently returned from 3 weeks in Maui, an island in Hawaii, where I practised yoga with my teacher, Nancy Gilgoff.
Maui is a lush island of jungle and beach with an active volcano at its heart. It is a special place with a rhythm of its own, which changes from day to day.
There are many spiritual healers and teachers on the island. The yoga energy is high. You can feel it in your bones.
The yoga shala is quite unique. It is has honesty and integrity rarely seen. An authentic rawness. Every practice is demanding and it is not always easy or pretty. It is not meant to be. Every student in the shala is fully committed to their practice. It provides a safe place to explore and go deeper and many go beyond their physical, mental and emotional boundaries. I know I did. The teachers are extremely skilled and provide individual support for each student to follow their own path.
And yet it is a place of much laugher and fun. And a very strong sense of community.
There were many coffees and conversations after yoga each morning. As well as the usual talk of practice, something else emerged for me this trip.
The possibility of practicing with the intensity required and yet at the same time holding it lightly. Having fun. Holding what needs to be held, letting go and even releasing the rest, safe in the knowledge that what should come back will find a way. Letting go of any preconceived ideas to allow things to unfold in their own unique way – a way I could not have planned better.
Getting out of my way each day to allow a touch of Grace to flow.
Outside of the yoga room I was living to a different rhythm and one that not always my own. I was responding to the flow of the island, the mood and those around me. It felt fun and free and adventurous. Random encounters and conversations opened up to me. I felt fully connected.
All well and good for life on a tropical island many miles away. But what about my immersion back into my ‘real life’.
I have always believed that the yoga starts right in the middle of your ‘real life’ with the messiness and distractions it contains. In fact, navigating life is yoga, whether it is on a tropical island or in an East Sussex town.
I have a feeling that if I can keep coming back to the possibility of living with the intensity and passion required and yet at the same time holding it lightly, I may keep sight of a little precious Maui magic. We’ll see.
I hope to have some fun finding out ✨
With much love and gratitude to Nancy and Vanessa Gilgoff, Casie and Keiko.