This weeks podcast and I’m befuddled to know where to start with this intro. I discovered Santina Giardina Chard on instagram searching for instagram inspiration for my Ashtanga practice. I’ve done a variety of sports and movement things up until now and often I would get to a fairly proficient level and then move on. I did it with my main love, climbing when I was getting to that point where I could get much better. And this has been a pattern for me in many things through my life. Ashtanga yoga was a little bit different, my sister suggested I give it a go, being a fairly good judge of my character and so alongside Crossfit and dabbling with climbing I gave it a go. Now Ashtanga has been and still does get a bad rep, and I should say as pretty much all sports and practices do. But that is not where I am coming at it from. Nor am I coming at it from the heavily entrenched dogma that comes with any practice that makes practitioners feel better and give them a salvation. I used to be on of those runners who would say it would change anyones life, and whilst it might, that’s not the way to inspire. More to be thought of as a nause.

For me, and I can only speak for me. Ashtanga held a mirror up to me, at close proximity to my worst bits and my potential. And that’s where it started. Too easy to walk away, and yet too beguiling to leave. And that is with all the annoyance I have had with teachers etc when in actual fact that is just a marker of the patterns I have developed over time. It is easier to point the finger than double down, go inside and begin to navigate the mental aspects of a practice.

It’s the mental game that fascinates me more than ever, because that is where the game is won or lost, whatever the game is and that is how I first became intrigued in Santina Giardina Chard, her Ashtanga practice, her thoughts and reflections and her teaching style which attracted me, I then told Chris and it just so happened she was holding a workshop in Oxford a week or so later. So we did what we do, got in touch and went up to meet her.

At this point, we just followed our guts and intuition. It felt like the right thing to do and the day before I had been pulled back from a pretty bad place and had asked for a sign that what we are doing is the right thing and that we are surrounded by the right people. We weren’t expecting the conversation to go like you will hear. It took both Chris and I off guard. Our approach has always been an open platform to listen and share ideas from people who inspire us. And this was like an electrical surge. And the sign I was asking for, came in the form of a message from Santina the day after we met to come and practice with her in Budapest.

Chris and I both independently went to this workshop, I did the first 4 day and Chris did the second 4. And Awareness happened which literally unlocked my body and others in the space of a few verbal cues. Ashtanga is a red herring, a ruse, a Trojan horse that on the surface can be taken to be not right for someone, and indeed it might not be. I just feel that often we overlook the gold in something because we take what is on the surface, when the magic is written in between the lines. And to discover the way to see this takes awareness.

So enjoy, this is an episode packed with metaphors, ideas and thoughts. So slow down and go inside. It is worth it.

MoveJames Shawpodcast