I attended my very first yoga class at the Wainui Beach Tennis club rooms in 1992. I cannot credit that it was that long ago, because my practice still feels fresh to me. It still feels raw, with lots of rough edges. The beauty of this is that it still excites me. I feel as if I have so much more to learn. There are still areas in my body where the energy is sluggish or blocked. Fortunately, I also feel that I still have at least 30 more years of practice ahead of my. Lots of time to practice, practice, practice.

My yoga practice some times brings to mind the beach my mother lives near. Ohope Beach is a beautiful, long stretch of sand. Near the spot on the beach closest to my mum’s there is an old tree stump that pokes up out of the sand. Sometimes, barely 30 cms of it will project and sometimes, due to the effect of tides and waves, more than a metre will show above the sand.

When this happens there is space around the stump and a large pool of water persists even when the tide recedes. At some times of the year there are people on the beach every day. Children play on the stump and in the pool around it, if it is large enough. At other times of the year there are only the hardy locals walking the beach, or jogging or exercising their dogs and they barely notice the stump as it is so much just a part of their surrounding. The dogs notice it though, and they do what dogs do on stumps.

To these people who regularly walk up and down the beach the stump looks as if it never changes. And yet, the effect of wind and sand and rain are slowly smoothing it off. It’s rough edges are being worn away. It’s body is gradually being integrated into the beach itself. Eventually the stump will be worn completely away and will exist only as part of the beach itself.

Today, this is what my practice feels like. Tomorrow, who knows?