Why Yogaguerilla?

Yogaguerilla is about facing up to the fact that in our minds, in every human mind, is the capacity to fight… ( ‘guerre’ war, ‘-illa’ little).   We are ‘set’, conditioned to react, to judge, to have desire or aversion to every little thing in our world. This is the way the human mind works, a constant whirl of thoughts, feelings, judgements etc. It is a battle. 

However, going within and attending to the present moment, as it is, right now… in this moment… gives us a break from this, a chance to be here, now. It is something you have to take on yourself, like a warrior… no one can do this for you.

This is your own little battle you are fighting. 

Practicing Yoga in a mindful way, learning mindfulness meditation and practicing it both formally ( including sitting practices- with standing and walking practices too) and informally in every day life ( for example , cultivating a non-reactive attitude of equanimity when parenting, working, dealing with other people ) … all these are part of Yogaguerilla…. fighting the little war inside you.

As a yoga teacher, I am often aware that although I can have a good idea of what is going on within a students physical ‘body’- i.e. which muscles they are using, which ones not engaged, etc… I really can never know what is going on in their minds. Although there may be hints- a fidgeting, particular breathing pattern, loss of balance or a tight jaw… one can not be sure if the student is feeling the pose, or actually off writing epic ‘to do’ lists in their heads.

Some Yoga traditions, such as Ashtanga Vinyasa’s ‘tristana’, have guidelines of where to look ( drishti ), how to breathe ( ujjayi- a sibilant, warming breath that acts as a mantra ), internal energetic locks ( bandha )… but even with those, and especially with students who are secure in a daily practice- almost on auto-pilot… who truly knows what is going on within?

It was on learning Mindfulness Meditation that I began to really grasp the meditative aspect of my daily Yoga practice… even in a challenging practice or pose. Learning how to be present, not only within the tristana tools above, but with the sensations arising and passing, ( or indeed arising and sticking! ), the thoughts coming and going, learning to keep coming back to the present moment, again and again, moment by moment, breath by breath.

Truly being in the practice of yoga. 

If I can teach my students how to do this, give them guidelines towards finding the meditative aspect within their practice, whether in a class or at home, then I feel I can really share with them what yoga is about… as without mindfulness, yoga is not much more than a stretching and contorting to various degrees.

Yoga is and should be a transformative experience, not so much a set of exercises to beautify the body and build the ego ( along the way possibly attracting physical injury ), whilst just creating more ‘chatter’ in the mind.