Simon Low brings in the Tableware
What better way to start a yoga festival than by attending a workshop-style class which covers the basics of protecting and preparing yourself for your asana practice?
I know Simon Low’s Safe and Sound Sun Salutation class is exactly what I need after finishing my one-month Yin Spiral yoga teacher training (inspired by his teachings), followed by a week of studying myofascial release. All the table work I received has left my back feeling pretty stuck (all those trapped emotions coming out of my tissues create quite the stir-up!). To get ready for my jumping around the festival grounds like a Duracell-bunny – trying not to miss out on anything – my body is in need of some grounding, and my muscles desire some yang action.
As I roll out my mat, it becomes clear that whatever class you’re attending this week – Kundalini, Vinyasa, Hooping with your Inner Child, Breathwork or Acro – they’ll basically all be Bikram-like. Drops of sweat are having a little party on my face, and I can’t pretend I am not excited by the view of the pool – just a couple of meters away. If Child’s Pose doesn’t offer enough of a refuge after demanding postures, I know where to take off to.
With twinkling eyes – his energy humble, serene and approachable – Simon enters the shala, and describes what the following two hours – or so – will look like. Slow, broken down into pieces, step- by step. Those of us that had planned to get their 108 salutes in this morning, take a deep sigh. Luckily, their expectations are soon forgotten once we hear what we’ll be able to take away from this workshop.
“I hold very strong opinions”, Low says, “so if at any point you feel you just can’t deal with the words coming out of my mouth…feel free to leave.” Instead of yogi’s grabbing their mats and taking off, late-comers squeeze into corners and eagerly await – with open heart – for all Simon has got to share with us.
- “Your hand is like a squid, gently touching your mat.”
Simon does not use Surya Namaskar as our warm-up; we begin by paying attention to our joints. With over 22 years of teaching experience, and plenty of unfortunate injuries to recover from himself, Simon knows how to put safety first. He dishes out small cups, saucers, plates and chargers. We carry these on our heads (oh, the imaginative powers of a yogi!), as we let a small marble roll around on it. It is all about reprogramming our body; starting with tiny movements one way, expanding more and more, then turning in the other direction. We awaken ankles, knees, hips, shoulders, jaws and our brain, by circling, spiraling and swinging up, down and around.
It doesn’t take long before our own ways – of moving and behaving – get challenged. Simon does this in a friendly way, clearly explaining why he does or does not agree with what is being taught in many yoga classes. Working together with the person next to us, we focus on the position of our bodies in a ‘neutral position’. Pushing down, with some force, on each others shoulders, we clearly see how for most of us, the force of gravity pushes our pelvis forward – affecting our entire posture.
Pause. Gravity is the greatest force outside of our bodies that influences us. If it affects the way we stand or sit, it also affects the way we move throughout each and every pose of our asana practice.
Together with his gorgeous assistant Eija, Simon shows us how to adjust our bodies – creating a stable and even posture. We now put our full weight onto our partner’s shoulders, and their body doesn’t move a bit! Simon invites us to keep this awareness throughout our practice, imprinting our body with new ways of holding itself.
As class progresses, he builds upon this. We learn why Chaturanga’s are no longer taught in his classes, what our Downward Dog should really look like (heels of the ground, love!) and why we should not show our ‘wings’ whilst in plank pose.
This is Yoga Mythbusting 101 – a clear, insightful and inspiring class for this little yogini. With just my personal practice and teaching certificate (careful, wet ink!) in hand, I am well aware of how little I really know. Having masters like Simon around – to provide clear cues, understandable explanations on anatomy and physiology and a love of teaching that can’t not be felt – to lift both practitioners and teachers to the next level, is a true gift.
Now…how about that pool?
Written by : Saar Grolleman