Tim Miller has been studying ashtanga yoga for over thirty years. He began his studies before I was born in 1978. He teaches ashtanga yoga at his studio in California. He has an excellent reputation internationally as one of ashtanga yoga’s most senior teachers and yet this year was the first time he had taught in the UK. I feel privileged to have been able to have attended his recent workshop hosted by Yoga Manchester.
As a teacher and practitioner, I know that the more I practice and the more I teach, the more I experience and learn about this wonderful practice. To be able to learn and meet someone who has so much practical experience to draw from and share is a unique opportunity.
I think it important to keep learning. There is always more to learn about any topic and learning helps me keep my passion and enthusiasm for teaching as well as informing my teaching and making me a better teacher. Yoga is such a vast subject, understanding the physical and philosophical aspects of the practice is a never ending journey.
There is no beating the consistent relationship you can develop with your own regular teacher, who can learn to react to both your body and your temperament. Workshops offer an opportunity to discuss the practice in more depth, I always learn something I can apply to both my own practice and my teaching.
Tim Miller’s workshop covered a nice balance between practice and philosophy. It was really interesting to listen to him talk about the yoga sutras. Listening to him share both his understanding of the text and his experience of it was inspiring and insightful. Each time I read or learn about this text, I learn something new. Here is a video of Tim teaching about the yoga practice….
His workshop on Saturday afternoon was about injury or areas of the body or practice which seem resistant to change. This was such a great idea as it enabled Tim to share the depth of his experience in a very individualised way. He had a mat in front of him and people came up to work with him. People often struggle with the same things so I learnt a lot that I can apply to both my students and my own practice. I even got on the mat myself and Tim helped me release my hip flexor and quads in backbends, which is what I am currently working on in my own practice.
He told me that my shoulders and upper back were really open and I needed to work on my hips now. I resisted the urge to laugh at the irony. In the early days of my practice I was told the flexibility would come and I should work on my strength. I am very diligent when it comes to my yoga practice so I worked on my strength and very gradually over many years I became strong. I was then told that because of my strength my upper back and shoulders were tight in backbends and so I worked on this with the same diligence. After years of practice this has apparently opened my back up and I find it ironic that if people comment on my practice they usually say something about how open my back is or how strong I am. I have in effect made my weaknesses my strengths. So when Tim commented that my back was really open I commented that I had just been practicing a while. It’s only a short time compared to Tim miller but I have been doing yoga now for 16 years and ashtanga yoga for about 8. Most of the transformation I have experienced both physically and otherwise has come from ashtanga yoga which seems the best fit for my mind and body.
Next month Kino is coming to Manchester, she is teaching a workshop for teachers during the day and a workshop for everyone in the evening. I am attending both Manchester workshops and I know some ashtanga yoga Liverpool students are also coming which should be a fun outing. I am also going to two of her workshops in London, again one of my students will be there too. This will also give a chance to practice with my regular teacher Hamish. I am looking forward to learning and then sharing that learning through my own teaching.
How has your practice changed since you began? Have you ever attended a yoga workshop? What was your experience?