The power of giving shines through Yoga and this was beautifully demonstrated recently by our little group of Hertfordshire Yogi’s.
On Sunday the 2nd of December Swami Ambikananda pulled together the Yoga teachers of The Traditional Yoga Association to help raise money for the Mukti Foundation, Centrepoint London and Launchpad Reading. Our objective was to raise as much money as possible for homeless people in the UK and street children in India.
The mission: Do as many Surya Nameskars (sun salutations) as you can get sponsored for. Joining me were Grace, Emily, Denise and Tom and they were absolutely brilliant!
On the day there was a book sale, crafts and a cake sale and even someone to massage your head afterwards. Everyone contributed to the atmosphere and played their part in raising awareness as well as the money.
I was expecting it to be a bit madder than it turned out to be. The last time I did anything like this; participants were directed by a series of teachers who would talk through each sun salutation. But this time it was more a case of; go for as long as you can and take a break when you want.
So… How did it go?
I’d set myself a target of 108 as I thought the incentive of the fundraiser would push me to find deeper reserves within myself. It did. Actually it was harder than I anticipated. For some inexplicable reason I decided to do a water fast earlier in the week and then I got sick (not related but definitely a drag!).
At 2:30 we rolled out our mats and stood poised. A tabla player, Alok ~ reputed to be the best in the country ~ came and played through the Sun Salutations. At first I found it distracting and my head was quite busy with deciding if I like it or not. But after the first 20 the ache in my shoulders was more irritating than the table player.
By the time I got somewhere around 40 my hamstrings started ‘talking to me’. By now I was positively loving the tabla playing and occasionally even managed to synchronise with the beats. Or was he synchronising with me… ? More head stuff. This was probably the hardest bit.
Around 70 or 80 and I was well in the flow. All the din around me faded into the background, all that mattered was movement and my breath. There were even points when I completely forgot where in the 12 postures that make up the sequence I was but it kept progressing by itself.
By 100 there was no pain, just the movement, the breath and that which observes. It’s a lot like running long distance, when you’re in the midst of it one is engulfed by the challenge but as you near the end a part of you wants to continue. The rhythm is set and you’ve stopped resisting.
Looking back it was really hard but fun at the same time.
Hertfordshire Yoga raised £320
I’m so grateful for all of the donations and well wishes. It was a wonderful show of faith and each one of the messages I received on the group chat and directly helped to keep me going when the challenge peaked.
Also, I’m so proud of Grace, Emily, Denise and Tom for the effort they made to come all the way to Reading. You are AMAZING, thank you so much!