The value of friendship

These past few weekends I’ve seen various old friends. And by old friends, I mean people who I’ve known for about 15 years – since I was a teenager and a fresher at university.

I am very grateful for these friends. As we get older, we might not see each other as much as we used to, but our friendship deepens. We’ve seen each other when we’ve been happy and we’ve been there for each other when we’ve been very sad.

Some friends come and go – I know I’ve made conscious decisions to let go of friendships that no longer serve me – friendships where I’ve felt that I’m not getting anything back. I believe we need to surround ourselves with people who make us feel good about ourselves. Our time becomes more precious and we must spend it wisely.

Many of my best friendships started out through drinking and partying. I’ve seen these people grow up, mature, and deal with some pretty heavy shit.

Who’d have thought. And that’s the beauty of knowing someone for any length of time. You grow together. Your lives interweave and become richer in the process.

Friends can provide opinions grounded in experience and an understanding of you. They can pull you up on inaccuracies. And they know way too many embarrassing anecdotes about your past (and they’re not afraid to use them).

I’m interested to see where the next 15 years take us. I know there will be plenty more laughter (and anecdotes) and probably a fair number of tears but you’ve got to have the lows in order to appreciate the highs.

Thank you to my friends.

In true friendship, mutual love produces a constant upward movement of the two souls. There is nothing in the world too precious to give to win a friend with whom you may tramp together around the universe of the sun and the universe of the soul.

Sri Ananda Acharya


It was an honour to teach you

I’ve just taught my first weekend retreat. It was a yin and Ashtanga retreat and many of you were new to Ashtanga. Some of you were new to yoga!

When assisting the led Ashtanga classes I noticed lots of stuff going on throughout the room: glances and voiceless looks of “I’m in pain, come and rescue me” and whispers of “I can’t do this.” There were baffled looks of “you’re expecting my body to do what?!”

Yin and ashtanga yoga retreatWhen we go about our every day lives, we encase ourselves in a suit of armour. We smile broadly and up goes our facade. We have our coping mechanisms.

We might be successful at work, we might have a wonderful loving family. On the surface it might look like we’ve got it made.

But we all have issues with our bodies and minds. They carry our habits and histories.

I’ve heard it said that we’re at our most honest and ‘authentic’ when we’re on our mats. We’re laid bare. We’re vulnerable. There’s nowhere to hide.

Ashtanga, without a doubt, is a demanding practice. Moving your body in unfamiliar ways is challenging. Finding your breath in these postures can feel near to impossible.

How do we approach these situations? What goes through our minds? There’s fear, feelings of not being good enough, worries about getting it wrong or hurting ourselves, thoughts of being the worst in the room. Do we give up or do we give it a go?

You all did so well. You experienced the Ashtanga primary series. And maybe this weekend you weren’t able to sit in half lotus (let alone full lotus) but that doesn’t mean you never will. You just can’t do it… yet.

But to be at your side, listening to your fears and concerns, and offering little words of encouragement while you took your first Ashtanga steps was a privilege. It’s wonderful to pass on bits of knowledge I’ve had shared with me over the years.

Thank you for letting me in. Thank you for your honesty. Thank you for giving it a go and exploring and playing. You’re amazing.

yin ashtanga retreat