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Lessons in life drawing


I am sat here finally with some time and energy to write something! Contrary to the weather app, the sun is shining outside which I am about to have a walkabout in in a second to get some much needed Vitamin D into my system. But first, a warm cacao elixir.. The yoga studio here has a cafe attached to it – pretty sweet when you don’t want to bumble outside in a hot sweaty mess.. and I have been ever so addicted to the this mad elixir that seems to quite happily boost my energy levels when I’m waning midday. As I type I only have 15 minutes left before I hop into a workshop about teacher better headstands. Which I love, as you might or might not know, I adore inversions (and backbends, but as I have been learning, I need to keep my pelvis IN in straight body inversions, or anything really. It appears I have a very flexible bum that likes to poke itself out whenever the chance is had).

I feel as I write this that I am in a weird novel about finding oneself; a very privileged journey, sat here, sipping my ‘elixir’, in a posh bit of Edinburgh, looking out at the greens of The Meadows, typing here on my Macbook. Well I have no comment to say about that, just an observation as so. There’s an argument in there somewhere about whether you are truly finding oneself if you’re swaddled in privilege but lets meditate on that at another time. It might take years to figure this one out. I also have this one spot that’s appeared above my lip that’s really deciding to seep out right now that I’m trying to ACCEPT.

Today is Moon Day. And at Yoga School we are learning about it and celebrating it. This morning, instead of a practice, we sat around in a circle and cried, talked, meditated, threw some essential oils in a bowl, scattered some flower petals in a bowl, and then shared some more, then swirled said bowl of nice smelling things around, grabbing a moonstone at the bottom that resounded most with each of us by touch, and washed our faces in the water. It was really a rejuvenating experience – I think the refreshing bit is that you get to see that everybody’s human. Everyone’s got something they’re struggling with, everyones just like you. Everyone’s vulnerable. Everyone’s happy. Everyone’s sad. There’s really no difference but difference in the body between you and me.

For more of a background, the Moon Day in Ashtanga yoga marks the day of the full moon and the new moon. Today, November 11th, marks the day of the new moon. Basically:

Full moon days:
• Happens when the moon is in opposition to the sun
• Correlates to an expansive, energetic energy (prana)
• Also creates emotional responses, and makes us not so well grounded
• We tend to be more headstrong

New moon days:
• Happens when the moon is in correlation to the sun
• Correlates to a contracting, calm energy (apaca)
• Also creates a heavy and tired feeling
• We tend to be disinterested in any physical exertion

(You can read more here:

To explain the picture with this post, on this Moon Day (today is a New Moon Day), we also got some time to relax for a bit with a life drawing class. My very first one! Turns out it’s not as awkward as you think to have a totally nude person in front of you. Drawing off a real person and not a picture as I would have done in the past is really quite great. You can see every unedited contour of the body and this makes you again, see that everyone’s the same. No one’s got a perfect Barbie body – in fact the asymmetry is quite beautiful. It’s so human.

Taking a break today (sort of – we still had a headstand technique class this evening) was such a welcome break. Like getting to a refuelling station and letting your body park there and absorb all the nutrients you’re feeding it, drinking in all the good stuff in your body and mind. I think whether or not you decide to start attuning to moon cycles, it’s a good idea anyway to make sure that you take your days off your practice to recharge. And ladies, this means when you’re on your (new term alert) Ladies Holiday (i.e. menstrual cycle), take time off. (and don’t do inversions please!!)

As Ashtanga yoga teacher David Swenson said, ‘Don’t let yoga ruin your life’.

True true.


1 Comment

  1. Tatta says

    Your time there sounds so beautifully insperational! The luxury of time to find parts of oneself one may otherwise not have known existed…I love reading your journey xx

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