I am currently a bit Judith Lasater obsessed. I am reading 3 of her books all at the same time. She’s what you’d call a master teacher, one of those teachers you want to gobble up before they disappear. I so do wish to meet her in person one day, hopefully by attending one of her popular restorative yoga trainings. She was also one of B.K.S Iyengar‘s students.
I can’t explain how wonderful it is to find teachers who are what they teach and really believe in the well being of the people they hope to reach with the knowledge they are sharing. It’s funny how you can feel feel the sincerity of the words on the pages of their books and it just captivates all your thoughts.
I decided at the beginning of this year 2018 to make time for me, not just taking time out, resting and enjoying life. But also to tweak little parts of me that could use a little work, outside and inside. So one of the things i am doing is following the wise words of Judith Lasater by reading the little thought or exercise devoted to each day of the year in her little book « A year of living your yoga » and integrating into my day in some way. It’s not always possible, and sometimes i forget what the days little message was, but somedays it just touches home and i feel i need to follow the advice given to slightest detail.
Call is self help if you wish, but if we do not self help and self care, then who will keep us on the balancing beam of life.
Her book « Living your Yoga » is what i’d call a modern, accessible and condensed idea of the Yoga Sutras. I don’t know how many of you have tried to read the ever so popular Yoga Sutras of Patanjali and have actually managed to get through it all and understand it at the same time. Not an easy task!
There are many translations and versions out there to choose from, but not the easiest book on the required reading list for a YTT (Yoga teacher training). I read through a version by Micheal Roach, The Essential Yoga Sutra : Ancient Wisdom for your Yoga. I have no idea if it was a good translation or not, but it wasn’t too bad to read, it just required a lot of concentration and patience.
I understand why it’s important for the Yoga Sutras added on the YTT reading list, but honestly i much preferred to read Judith Lasaster’s « Living your Yoga » as a substitute. In fact it was a suggested book on my reading list for my Children’s yoga training with YogaBeez in London. It’s the kind of book you read and just agree with everything written and just plainly enjoy reading it from beginning to end. It’s totally accessible to anyone who reads it in such a clear and beautiful way.
There is this one story i read in chapter 6 Perspective about a villager who lived in small house with his wife, mother-in-law, 6 children, a cow and some chickens. The chaos was driving him mad, so he went to the village rabbi for help. The rabbi told him to buy a goat. So he went immediately to buy a goat. Now it was even more chaotic than before. So he returned to to rabbi for help and the rabbi told him to sell the goat. So he did and was left with just his wife, mother-in-law, 6 children, a cow and some chickens. Things were positively more peaceful without the goat! The mantra for daily living she includes from this story is « sell the goat ». This mantra she adds will be helpful to remind yourself to soften your grip on your point of view in various places in your life. Sometimes a situation can be made better by stepping back to gain perspective.
There is this funny book i read to my children called « A squash and a squeeze » written by Julia Donaldson which reminds me of the story about the goat. It’s about this little old lady who lives alone in this tiny house which she thinks is too small for her. So she asks a wise old man for help and he instructs her to take her hen, goat, pig and cow in her house. Of course it’s total chaos and she asks the wise old man her help again and he tells her to take out all the animals. After doing that she realises how big her house actually is and that there is more than enough room for her.
I love these kind of stories for children, where they can learn little life lessons in such lovely simple ways. Children should be introduced to all kind of life lessons early on to create good support for them as they grow up into adults.
Here is a little video with Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler (who is the illustrator of the book) talking about their book. https://www.theguardian.com/childrens-books-site/video/2013/feb/13/julia-donaldson-axel-scheffler-squash-squeeze-video
Judith is a wise woman, i have great respect for her devotion to her work and so grateful that she kept sharing her wisdom and knowledge all these years.