Wednesday, 29 June 2016


A noble aspiration. To be a good listener; yet so difficult to practice. This week has whipped up a cacophony of opinion, and chatter, some of it rather loud, verging on abusive.
And I'd like to claim that I've only offered a measured grown up perspective on events. But sadly it isn't so.
Some of these utterances; perhaps not so polite; have been born out of disbelief..
Or frustration, that a decision so momentous. That is the UK pulling out of Europe has been taken by so many; not in full possession of the facts...As far as anyone can ever know what those facts are....

But perhaps some of those protest votes came about as a result of people not feeling listened to..
I don't often talk about my yoga classes on this blog, as it's definitely a case of 'you had to be there' to get the full experience.
It is, or at least should be, mind, body, and breath, all in one place, all at one time. Precisely arranged, systematically ordered, and sequenced.

But tonight a particular theme of listening arose. Which doesn't require one to know how the feet should be placed, or anything technical...
The school of teaching I spent five years training with is reckoned to be the most rigorous worldwide.

Precision, alignment, extension, and everything in its proper place.
Occasionally it can almost seem overprescriptive; but it works, it has the desired effect, when properly done.
  I find it astonishing in some ways; that this practice is such large, and meaningful part of my life.
As in all other matters I probably come across as a bit chaotic, unprepared, going with the flow, wandering off, wherever the whim takes.
Certainly the veg farm wouldn't win any tidiness prizes.. And as for what I laughingly call my ' admin system' well ; lets not even go there...

I rarely do..
But yoga concerns the body, which is a discrete functioning entity, it has rules of efficient arrangement. 
And yoga, which has been developed over thousands of years; seeks to enhance the functioning, and health, and comfort of that system.
On a physical level undoubtedly,  but also mentally, and ultimately spiritually.

The last being a tricky one for me. Because; being of a hard science; rationalist background I'm not totally certain that I actually believe in such an actual thing as a spirit, or soul.

But what I have come to realise is that living ones life, and interacting with others and the wider world, as if such an entity existed seems to help.

So feeding the soul, with whatever nurtures it, and that can be anything from music to art to good (or bad) books, nature, walking, cycling,, good company, silly jokes, ridiculous hats, what have you..
Any; or all; of those things that aren't strictly necessary for bodily survival; but somehow make life worth living.
Soul food; maybe...
And a really important thing for most people's souls, if you like, is to feel that they are listened to. Actually actively, listened to.
It's so hard not to think that we know what the other person is saying already, and have a half formed reply ticking through our head before they've finished.
"I've heard all this before. Yadeyadeyadeda...
But people change their minds on things..If they're feeling brave enough. A new fact; or view may have changed their opinion subtly...
But do we hear that?
Do we even give them a chance to attempt the scaling of their own entrenchment?
often not; we're waaay too busy lining up the reaction to what we think is being said, rather than listening, absorbing, pondering. Hmmn, has something different been proffered?

How does this relate to yoga?
Well; we spend a lot of time actively doing stuff in class. Legs here, trunk there, arms just so. on the  whole very physical; muscular work. But the part that shouldn't be working hard is the head, the face, the brain; the throat the tongue...
But for a.lot of people that is where tension is held..
Many of my students have rather cerebral- only occupations. They find it hard to switch off their busy brainy brains.
And this can result in tension in the face; and the throat, the neck, and the shoulders.

To absorb new information in a class we have to be able to listen.
If we want to be able to listen, we have to stop talking. Verbally difficult sometimes, but even if we manage to shut up.. 
Then there's the internal chatter; the reaction, the response; to physical or mental goings on.
So after this week's endless thoughts and opinion giving, and talking; we tried to be paricularly quiet; and relaxed in the face; soft in the jaw.
If you find yourself pressing your tongue against the roof of your mouth; or the back of your teeth, there a good chance you are having a bit of a chat with yourself. And therefore  unlikely to be able to listen to anyone else..
If the jaw is clamped; are we literally gritting our teeth against a seemingly hostile world?

Interesting point of self observation perhaps; next time you are trying to listen; or be present, right here now..Even if only trying to be present to the position of your own two feet on the ground...

But why the glamorous blonde Hoss?
Well because Desmund is a very good listener; rarely answers back; and has a very relaxed jaw...

He also smells pretty good too....


  1. And he's beautiful....

  2. I like reading your writings... xx

  3. Glad to hear that; very sweet of you to say so xxx

  4. Glad to hear that; very sweet of you to say so xxx

  5. Must have been sincere; it bore repeating.... ;)

  6. Must have been sincere; it bore repeating.... ;)


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