John Ogilvie is a teacher who challenges and cajoles his students into things they’ve never thought they could do before – and their practice is greatly enhanced in the process. His recent course at the beginning of June had every student doing a handstand by the end of the week – some with his help and some without. Initially nervous, the students worked their way into the posture and found its reward in new confidence. And that’s the way John’s week worked – he introduced new and demanding asanas to the class, helping everyone through with humour, encouragement and, where necessary, a helping hand.
New possibilities opened up. He spent an entire session focussing on Virabhradrasana III, using the wall and the floor to attempt the pose at different angles, encouraging a thorough exploration and understanding of it.
He taught the class how to help partners into poses that stretched the back, working feet into shoulders and pushing in and up. It was quite uncomfortable, but afterwards everyone – and particularly those who had sore backs – found their back muscles relaxed and their overall posture far more comfortable.
One of the students was 5 months pregnant and inevitably John had to adjust the poses for her. It became a lesson in letting go for her, as she realised that her usual command of her body had to be softened and she had to give in gracefully to the demands of the baby.
There were two practices a day, one as the sun rose and one in the evening as it set. In between there was time for all the good things Fiji has to offer – swimming, snorkelling, kayaking, visiting local villages, having a spa massage and just relaxing.
He’ll be back same time next year!