A day at The Breathing Project:
It started to dawn on me that this is what yoga is all about. The adjustments that Leslie makes, aren’t to fix a problem, they’re to bring the body back to its natural state, to give it the space it needs to fix itself. And if you learn how to breathe well at the same time, the space created by Leslie’s adjustments are quickly filled with breath, breath that brings with it the wisdom of the universe, if you are listening.
The session offered me another release as I realized how I have been holding myself, braced against the world. My head, neck and shoulders trying desperately to hold themselves up, independent and strong. But to find the space in the center of my body, at the base of the diaphragm, just up and under the rib cage, to breathe into this space and allow the body to soften and fall around it. Then the body stands whole, held up by the breath.
I stayed on at The Breathing Project for the rest of the afternoon for Leslie’s Anatomy Lecture and then for the Clinic and Hands On Lab, another 6 hours of learning all up.
It’s hard to summarize exactly what I learned as there was a beautiful process of consolidation taking place :
- first I experienced the release, the space and the breath in the private sessions;
- then I learned a little about the theory and science underlying what I had experienced, how yoga can help us to navigate the two major forces we are confronted with as humans: breath and gravity. Thich Nhat Hanh tells us that “Peace is in every step”, Leslie Kaminoff showed us how to take that peaceful step, how to walk without fighting the body, struggling against gravity or trying to control it with our breath. Creating spaciousness within the body is to welcome peace and freedom into our being. Surrender, willingly, to this human condition;
- then, in the Clinic session, I was able to witness another person learning about their own body, in much the same way I had privately, I watched for the change in mood, the realizations that unfolded and how the experience of truth within the body is undeniable. I couldn’t wipe the grin off my face. I couldn’t believe my luck at having landed myself in this room, with these people, at this moment;
- and then came the icing on the cake – the Hands On Yoga Lab where LK shows the small group who have stayed on for the final two hours of learning, how to do the practical work involved in helping another to release, to breathe, to create space. I began to feel as though a complete learning had occurred: experience, theory, mentoring and supervised practice, all in one day. “Surrender is an act of will“. After having experienced what surrender actually feels like, there is no question in my willingness to do it. My hands are in the air. I surrender. Now I am free.
Since writing these reflections I have returned back to Australia and had the chance to practice what I learned at The Breathing Project and what I have discovered is that in just 8 hours learning from Leslie Kaminoff I have : improved my mental wellbeing, physical wellbeing, my teaching and practice of both yoga and therapy and more generally, I am now fully aware of the way I show up in the world and how yoga helps me make the most of this human condition.
Very cool Mr Kaminoff, very cool indeed. What you offer and teach is totally awesome and something I will be raving about for quite a while!
With a very deep bow of gratitude.