by Lara Heppell (Kula Teacher)

In the words of my heroine, Anne of Green Gables, “I am so glad to live in a world where there are Octobers.”

c141afa43c075f55cac932911571deca-1I love Autumn and October in particular feels very special to me this year. I realized some time ago that this October will be the tenth anniversary of my starting Yoga teaching….well as a qualified teacher anyway! I did do some teaching before I was officially qualified when friends needed a helping hand, or as cover. When I think about this now with all the new rules and regulations around Yoga I can’t help but smile, and when I think about my teaching at the beginning compared to now that also brings a smile to my face. There are a few teaching memories I would rather forget too, those bad adjustments or instructions, presenting inappropriate poses or class plans that on reflection were not always the best options for the audience who attended… I do remember a small child nose diving and actually having a nosebleed after attempting an arm balance as I hadn’t thought of putting cushions down in front of him as a precaution….you know the usual sort of stuff that happens when you are continually learning! J

I have fond memories of draughty dirty church halls where one student would turn up for class due to my complete lack of marketing skills and failure to actually let people know there was a class… (still working on this one!) but I also remember how it didn’t matter because I just loved to teach, I had a passion and a thirst for it that was unquenchable despite initially having quite empty classes, with costs often exceeding my takings and driving here there and anywhere to teach, even if it was an hour away on a Friday night!! That was how big my love for yoga was and still is.

My relationship with yoga is my longest and most consistent to date (apologies to my husband but we are quite new by comparison!) I began practicing back in 1998 and loved how Yoga reconnected me to my body, just like dance had when I was a child. I was dancing from the age of four: the ability to lose myself in movement had always been my way to express emotion and upset; I wasn’t so good with words. I did my teacher training with Godfrey Devereux who was a bit of a maverick in the Yoga world and still is… I loved that! He gave me a strong stable foundation from which to work and over the years I went on to study with an array of wonderful teachers (predominantly women but also some fabulous men) in the UK, in India and Europe who have helped me keep my teaching skills current and my passion alive and also taught me new ways to think about yoga and to experience yoga so that it could be more of a playful experimental experience again like it was in the beginning.

spiralLike most relationships Yoga and I have had our ups and downs, with periods of complete separation and then reconnection but as Judith Lasater once quoted “there are two types of suffering in the world: the suffering you get from doing yoga and the suffering you get from not doing yoga”… and so for me the suffering I experience when not doing yoga is far worse… and so my practice continues to evolve as I evolve and now in my forties my practice is all about balance and grounding and pleasure! No more ten day vipassanas or three hour yoga practices, no more strict regimes or early morning routines… I get up early enough when my three year old rises at 6am. For me now Yoga is a practice I bring into every day; all about nurturing, self love and care, deepening self awareness and deepening body awareness… it is a practice that unites me with my body and allows me to feel what is going on daily, it reveals to me where there are still hard places that need work, where I am avoiding or overriding or disengaging, it is the inner reflection of my state of mind, body and mind are one… and so the work continues and I am still as passionate about movement and yoga as I was as a child and feel perhaps closer now to how I was as a child then I have ever been…more open, more vulnerable: more me! As I read recently in an amazing article on “Yoga is a love story. Not the fluffy, romanticised love story, but the real one. The kind that leaves you changed.”

With Samhain ( pronounced Sow-en) nearing ( celebrated from sunset 31st October to Sunset 1st November) I am thinking more and more about the power of endings and new beginnings. Samhain celebrates a time honoured by our ancestors, long before we celebrated Halloween. A time half-way between the autumnal equinox and Winter Solstice that marks the end of harvest time and the move towards colder Winter months.

A time for thanksgiving, of death and rebirth.

Within the mythic cycle of the Goddess, this is the time of the Crone. A time when the Goddess deepens into herself and enters dreamtime. A place where worlds past and future exist simultaneously, A very mystical time, when the veil between the earthly world and the spirit world is most thin.

A time to reflect, give thanks, recharge and renew.

It is also a good time to remember those that have passed and a wonderful time to reflect on letting go of what doesn’t serve us any more to be ready to welcome in the new.

I also thought it was a very fitting time to celebrate my ten year anniversary of teaching and to mark this special time I have have a full weekend of celebrations coming up kicking off on Friday 30th October, here’s a link to the Samhain restorative candlelit workshop, I hope you can join me for this special evening.