Anna Blackmore: Awareness itself is what we truly are
Anna has over 30 years of experience in yoga and teaches on the Yogacampus Yoga Therapy Diploma. She shares her first memories of experiencing yoga in the seventies in Goa and how this led her to experiencing Awareness.
What, when and where was your first experience of yoga?
I met Clive Sheridan in Goa in 1978 and a group of us persuaded him to teach us on the beach – often somewhat the worse for having partied all night! Clive partied as much as the rest us, but was always inspirationally bright, breezy and full of energy the next morning.
What made you decide to move from student to teacher?
I did a Sivananda one month course, just for interest, then went to live in their London centre. Very soon I was told it was required ‘karma yoga’ to teach and pushed into the classroom. Thus I discovered that I enjoyed teaching and went on to do a four year Iyengar training.
What teaching tip has had the biggest influence on the way you practice? And the way you teach?
Learning to do asana from the energy body, from the likes of Angela Farmer, Zander Remete (Shadow Yoga) and John Stirk (Scaravelli Yoga).
What does your own self-practice involve?
After 38 years I’m now far less interested in asana than when I started and do a very simple, easy asana practice that moves the spine through all its ranges, maybe a few sun salutations, some strengthening, gentle joint mobilisations and restorative poses. I focus much more on breathing, meditation and relaxation as I get older.
If you only had 10 minutes to practice, what would you do?
A prayer of intention, stretch the spine in all directions, kapalbhati, nadi shodhana and sitting meditation or supported savasana with rotation of consciousness.
Who/what is the biggest inspiration on your yoga journey at the moment?
Advaita / non-duality which is actually jnana yoga.
What role does yoga play in the way you live?
Yoga has been the underlying force behind just about everything else I have chosen to do, from massage, shiatsu and osteopathy to hypnotherapy, NLP and mindfulness.
What do you hope your students experience when they practise with you?
An awareness of the energy body to safely guide them in their asana practice and, in meditation, that Awarenes itself is what we truly are.
Which yoga text could you not live without?
Probably Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. It’s an old friend and I have several translations. I have also been much inspired by Donna Farhi’s book ‘Bringing Yoga To Life’ and often quoted from it.
What’s your favourite yoga pose to do and to teach?
Supine twists are simple, easily modified in many ways to be safe and for different effects; mobilise different sections of the spine, free the nerve roots, release the deep back muscles, strengthen abdominal muscles, massage internal organs (especially digestive), balance asymmetry, help scoliosis, open chest and shoulders, promote breathing and relaxation…
Describe the meaning of yoga in 10 words or less.
Realisation of body-mind as finite vehicle for infinite consciousness.
Anna will be running a two day workshop on Yoga for Backs on Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th January 2017. She will also be teaching Yoga Therapy: Practical Philosophy of Healing in London on Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 January 2017.