The latest yoga retreat was led by Lotus Sanderson, and was a week of great serenity and focus. Lotus brings an extraordinary calm and seriousness of purpose to her practice – and we all came away with a sense of lightness and joy. We learnt that seriousness of purpose doesn’t mean dullness – rather the opposite as we found new potential in our bodies.
The morning practice was devoted to asanas with a classic mixture of strength work, stretches and twists – and some pilates-based core work. There was a subtle progression in the level of demand but Lotus paced it so that every student kept up with it. The less experienced delighted in the increased flexibility they achieved and the more experienced enjoyed their visibly improved balance, and the flow of the practice. Towards the end of the week Lotus introduced us to the concept of yoga mandalas, when we formed a marvellous pattern of poses. The tallest stayed first, taking up a pose in the centre of the space; then the next person joined them in a pose that touched their body in a couple of places – and so on until we were all interlinked in one complex interlocking network of stretches and balances and laughter.
The afternoon practice started at five as the sun started to move behind the mountains across the bay, and usually ended as dusk enclosed the yoga space. This was the time for pranayama and meditation. Lotus has studied breath work in depth, and introduced the group to a number of different yogic breaths including left/right nostril breathing, fire breath and dolphin breath. It was surprisingly challenging as we explored the demands of breathing patterns very different to our regular ones.
Finally we would end each session in shivasana (of course) and a deep sense of tranquillity and bliss. It goes without saying that Lotus will be back next year.