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SOSA (200/200): doing

5 May 2012 3,127 views 3 Comments

So, we’re in to the last week. Everyone was really aware of this, there was a lot of ‘can you believe it’, ‘where did the time go’, and some mixed reactions about whether we feel ready to move on or sad it’s over, or both, and multiplied. Ah, we’re a sensitive bunch, little learning yoginis.


We started this week with a few more lessons from Cat. To start with I wasn’t really getting it, I mean I enjoyed the chat and the general idea but it wasn’t making a whole lotto sense. Then she had us get hands-on with each other and do some exercises using the principles of energetics. Ah, well that changed my pov. When you get in to this, and I did, it’s massive. I mean, intellectually, physically and emotionally/ spiritually massive because you get so close to someone, there are strong reactions on both sides, and it’s very, how is this working? what is happening? I had a couple of experiences that were really powerful, I don’t know if, when, where or how I’d follow up on this stuff but I’d be interested to, it’s intriguing.
Our journey through the world of Yin wrapped up at the start of the week also. Tina has taken us through the different elements so thoroughly and taught with such gentle, warming passion you just feel compelled to try and spread the good Yin word for her! It’s an interesting science and approach though. And I think I found my most likely element: metal. Defining feature, ability to ‘move on’ :) and the only element that isn’t negatively affected by alcohol, so that’s gotta be it, right.?
Tina also took us through some education moon patterns in relation to the female body & cycles, ways to work with, not against that, and specifics regarding yoga asana to also support that. We had some really good discussion and sharing in that session, and a bit of taboo smashing.
So many workshops this week we only had one talk from Troy. I miss my talks from Troy, he can make anything come alive. Fortunately he still got his Indian accent & head roll in which was brilliant. He talked to us about business & ethics in yoga – he’s got a really thing about that, and fair enough. We all got some sound, practical information.
Thursday was a whole day dedicated to learning about tantra. So it turns out that Uma lives in the tantric tradition. I’m still a bit confused about where the lines blur/ cross/ disappear between tantra and other disciplines or practices but there’s no doubt she’s got her own rules, ideas & a different day-to-day life experience to most. It was interesting, definitely interesting, but bloody hard to relate to or understand. I asked a bunch of questions, trying to understand more and also cos I figured it’s not likely I’ll ever meet someone like Uma again, but in the end I just oom-ed and aah-ed my way through and took a few ideas that might be useful.
Like the breeze that encourages the keen chrysalis to new life, Swamiji – a wonderful, playful, sincere and wise teacher – came and spoke with us on Friday. Two hours flew by as he shared guidance with us. He’s one of those speakers who you benefit from even if you don’t understand the words, his intonation, his intention is absolutely clear. I will treasure that time.


Before getting us into the power energetic work, Cat whipped our asses with power core workout on Monday, it was tough, and evil. Tina’s class on Tuesday was very gentle, in keeping with the lesson she taught later, although thinking about it, I’m not sure Tina can be anything other than gentle. It was lovely and soothing but we all needed coffee after to keep going through the day!
Simone’s last class was wonderful, she’s such a delightful presence to be around, I will seriously miss the quality, the motivation and the challenge of her practices.
On Thursday, in line with the tantra workshop, Uma led us in traditional Hatha, a sequence that worked through the five koshas, layers or sheaths of the self: food, air, mind, wisdom, bliss, that match the elements: earth, fire, water, air, space. The physical practice wasn’t dissimilar to what we’ve already done, and in fact is word for word in one of the course books that I’ve read, but the meaning that Uma was explaining behind everything (matching moves to elements for example) added a very different take on things.
There were a lot of people absent for Bex’s last class (it had ben a heavy week) but actually the smaller class size was really charming and the practice was brilliant, full of interesting sequences, different asanas & asana variations, and heaps of thought provocations & drops of wisdom. At the start of the class she had us walk around and do the eye contact exercise we’d done during the first week. What a different experience once you have a relationship with someone, Cinta and I were welling up before 20 seconds was up and the whole room dissolved into hugs at the end of the minute.
Troy took our final class on Saturday morning. He was a gem, weaving in little anecdotes that he knew we’d enjoy, easing us through the asanas, giving us time for a bit of exploration. Ole happy feet here did headstand unsupported for the first time. Legs bent of course but that’s the next step.


There’s no test to receive the teacher training qualification; you’re required to attend all 200 hours and demonstrate ‘competency’. With SOSA we’re required to teach part of a flow practice. In week two we were put into three groups, given the date for our session and since then we’ve all been working on our assignments. It boils down to leading approximately ten minutes which is about right for one part of the sequence wave that we’d learned to structure a lesson around. So, we could each choose one part; I was doing sun salutations. Our group had met several times to talk about how we would work together, music, timing, any theme, and other bits and bobs. As the time has come closer for the group sessions the tension has been mounting – like watching the head table at a wedding when you know the speeches are due. I think I changed my intended sequence about five times (who didn’t!) and in the end chose to lead some moon salutations, it being close to full moon, because we’d done a lot of Yin in the afternoon which is a softer, moon practice, and because I thought it would be something different.
The first group did their thang on Wednesday and god bless ’em for getting in to it when we were all nervous and unsure, and extra special credit to beautiful Anana who opened the whole thing. I had mixed reactions: a pleasure to be led by your friends and to experience different voices, styles & ideas, but also a tricky practice to get in to, probably on account of all the above. To add to the pressure :) Tory and Simone were sitting at the back of the room taking notes. Naturally, that’s a heap of pressure on the person leading but it was weird practicing in that environment too. Anyhoo, there we are, s’all part of the journey.
Our group was on Friday afternoon. By the time we all sat on the mat at the front to begin the class I couldn’t recall a word of what I’d planned to say. Kay took everyone through a good warm-up and then I was on the mat shaking from head to toe! I started in tadasana (standing) with hands at prayer and eyes closed and spent a few moments introducing what was coming next and trying to relax myself. So, off we went… I didn’t make any mistakes as such, got my lefts & rights in the proper places, did the sequence as planned, but I thought the timing was a bit rubbish and there was more that I wish I’d said about alignment and intention. Next time… Hanna was on the mat after me for standing balances and did a great job – she has amazing form herself so she’s great to follow. And so the class continued and the rest of the group did their bits brilliantly. We finished in a nice shivasana from Brigitte, “you’ve worked the yoga, now let the yoga work for you”, I liked that. After a little break we all gathered again and had feedback from Simone & Troy. They’re very good at how they position their comments, putting a lot of emphasis on the positive qualities that we can each work to optimise. They had some lovely words for me, and recommended I work on more eye contact from the mat which was a really good point. Some of the girls shared some really generous feedback with me too, I really appreciated that. Overall, pretty happy, sweet result.
The third group had the honour :) of leading our last ever practice with SOSA. They were awesome, the whole concept of the class was excellent – we were arranged in a crescent so we could all see each other, lots of people referenced the next step of our journey, the music was spot on, there was great energy, I felt very proud of them. After the practice we all joined in a circle, did this group move where everyone wrapped their leg on their neighbour’s leg, it was hilarious and daft. Then Ayako closed with some beautiful, fully improvised, words that captured the group mood just perfectly. Not a dry eye in the house. Namaste x

extra curricular

Following my visit to the Bali Orphan Centre last week I received an email asking if I would go back and teach some yoga to the children. Yikes! And, er, yeah. So I went on Tuesday night, and Emmie came with, not sure what to expect or what they expected. When I was there last week there were 30+ children, tonight there were just three. Ngurah, the Centre coordinator said that the children who live far away go home early and these are the ones who live closest. Until I teach a class of thirty children I can’t tell you which is harder/ more intimidating but three intense pairs of eyes felt like enough for tonight I can tell you.
We had the most enormous amount of fun for the coupla hours. First of all I went through body parts teaching them English words, I’d forgotten from when I taught in Bang Wan how tricky it is to distinguish between mouth & lips or fingers & hand but the children were ace, repeating back, and Emmie knew some Indonesian so we pushed on through. The yoga wasn’t a proper class or anything, I’d brainstormed shapes & positions for fun and Emmie had the golden idea of adding noises, so sure enough we were mooing, meowing, barking and clucking (hen pose anyone.?!) our way around the floor. We were all giggling like crazy. We did some standing up positions, they all liked football (InterMilan and United, no surprise) so we did some goal scoring in there too. My favourite part was when we all lay on the floor to stretch our bellies, none of us could see each other, but I started clapping or slapping different bits of my body to make a ‘tune’ and they were copying, great fun and amazing to see how you can communicate in a simple way in this tiny group.
Emmie, myself, and the boys for sure, all enjoyed ourselves and it was a lovely, light addition to the week.

And then Friday night.. So, how you doin’ with all this new age stuff then Luce.? Well, Friday night I went to ‘ecstatic dance’; two hours of busting moves in a half-lit open-air studio full of definite hippy types. Does that answer your question.? Ha ha, it was properly good fun; felt SO good to shake, grind, jump, sway, anything other than goddam stretch or bend.


Things got a bit shaken up this week, in fact it’s odd looking back to the dedicated routine I had in that first week – albeit thoroughly understandable.
After being at the Centre on Tuesday there wasn’t really time for dinner, so it was peanuts, quick noodles and rice at home, now that’s scrapping the barrel for nutrition isn’t it.
I came home for breakfast on Wednesday – waaa ha – mostly cos Ayu forgot to make my packed breakfast but also cos Emmie let me borrow her scooter, love. Was nice for a change and I took my time over eggs n coffee chatting to Ayu. Maybe it was because I stepped out of the routine in the morning but Wednesday evening I just really wanted to get away – not in a bad way, just in a I-need-to-be-refreshed way. So I went to Black Beach, the Italian restaurant I like, had a coconut on the roof while the sunset then stayed for film night and watched some bonkers Italian movie that’s probably dead famous for being art-y but which confused me. Between that, not thinking about going to bed ‘on time’ and the super garlic-y penne al funghi I got the distance I needed.
Ooo, quick nod to Melting Wok for delicious, simple, fresh food. The menu is on a chalk board and you just choose rice or noodles, then chicken, beef or tofu, then dry, curry or curry & coconut, and there are a few specials. The dishes I had were outstanding.
Friday was another nutritionally challenged night. We finished school a bit early (because we were all knackered!) so I shot to Sari Organic for a coconut and sunset over the rice fields which was gorgeous. But somehow between a Skype call for work and getting back on my bike I forgot about dinner and ended up begging tempeh & rice from Ayu. Good on her :) Chances are I’m now around 30% soya product. Which, makes a change to 30% red wine but not sure either are ideal.

Try Something New

Like I say, can’t believe it’s the end. I mean, walking in to the studio and seeing everyone’s faces for the first time feels like about two days ago; then again it feels like six years ago too. I am a predictable being, so my pondering at the moment are whether I’ve made enough of the month, and how I’ll now tackle everything that I still need and want to do. There’s gonna be some list writing…

Here are some of the really tangible things that I’ve tried really consistently for this month:

  • Not checking my phone/ emails etc first thing in the morning
  • Being really aware of the first words I speak in the morning (it’s another fast you’re breaking!)
  • Doing mediation and asana practice in the morning before eating
  • Having fruit as a first meal (followed reasonably quickly by something else though!)
  • Being really aware of the power of speech – am I being careless, useless, thoughtless with words or do they have intention
  • And, finally, yes, alcohol has not passed my lips since April 1st, so that’s five dry weeks. Huge.

I’m not making any promises about what will stay and what will go but once again I’m reminded of the power of trying to make any change and the lessons you receive and the experiences that you have when you really commit to that change for as short a time as thirty days.


yoga, English, football & laughter lesson

school’s out and we’re a bit happy!

Previous posts about this trip

SOSA (17/200): awakening
SOSA (51/200): absorbing
run through the rice fields
SOSA (day off): enjoying
SOSA (102/200): deepening
SOSA (day off #2): indulging
SOSA (151.5/200): exploring
SOSA (afternoon off!): vegging
SOSA (day off #3): escaping


  • lucyjjames » Blog Archive » SOSA (school’s out & graduation): celebrating said:

    […] London-Bali Bali SOSA (17/200): awakening SOSA (51/200): absorbing run through the rice fields SOSA (day off): enjoying SOSA (102/200): deepening SOSA (day off #2): indulging SOSA (151.5/200): exploring SOSA (afternoon off!): vegging SOSA (day off #3): escaping SOSA (200/200): doing […]

  • lucyjjames » Blog Archive » Baan San Fan 2012 said:

    […] it’s all too much! This was meant to be the coasting part of my trip after the hard work of a 200 hour training programme! Ile and I sit up talking, she is very patient, understanding and encouraging as I explain why […]

  • lucyjjames » Blog Archive » Ubud-Sanur-Phuket-Phang Nga said:

    […] indulging SOSA (151.5/200): exploring SOSA (afternoon off!): vegging SOSA (day off #3): escaping SOSA (200/200): doing SOSA (school’s out & graduation): […]

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