Peter Thomson Auckland Workshop

Peter Thomson Auckland Workshop

A journey of self-discovery and personal growth inspired by the wisdom of Peter Thomson at Four Winds Yoga, Ponsonby, Auckland.

Heather Sharplin, Auckland

As a dedicated yoga practitioner and teacher, I’m always on the lookout for new opportunities to learn and grow in my practice. So, when I was offered the chance to join a Peter Thomson workshop in Auckland a few weeks ago, I jumped at it. My senior teacher Suzi Carson is a Peter Thomson student, and it felt like getting to play in the sandpit with the big kids, from a yogi point of view.

I had no expectations going into the workshop, other than being told there would be more talking and less asana than I was used to. I approached the workshop with an open mind and heart, ready to be inspired by the wisdom of a long-term yoga practitioner.

The first day was a Friday evening, and I had driven up from Taupo in another big rain event, it was tiring and soggy. Once Peter arrived, everyone settled and waited for him to get started. There was a long pause as he scanned the room, looked like he was thinking, then said “come over here” and we all sat in a huddle around him. Once he started speaking I was having trouble hooking into the meaning of what he was saying, Peter also said himself, he was never sure what he was going to say. Listening has never been an easy way for me to learn, I am better at watching and then doing. I found I fidgeted a bit and got irritated with myself, everyone else was seeming to hang on each word, was I missing something here? It would seem I would have to readjust myself to make the most of this opportunity.

Day 2 was similar, much imparting of wisdom, this was when I really began to understand the unique approach of this workshop. We spent some more time in asana, but still sitting and listening, being invited to ask questions, being invited to answer questions. This was interesting, as we became more interactive, to observe how others were receiving information, I imagined we were all using our own unique context to make sense of what was being shared with us.

At the end of the day, I told Peter it was like baking a cake, adding ingredients, mixing, and baking, then chocolate cake. His response was, “fruit cake is better”, I added, “that had more nuts in it.” I thought it was funny.

By day 3, I was fully engaged in Peter’s process, over the 5-day workshop, these were the foundations for what was coming next. I was beginning to get the idea that this was a mental and emotional lesson with asana as the vehicle for delivery. Peter trained directly under Mr Iyengar and spoke of Guruji and how he would teach. One very vivid memory of the workshop is Mr Iyengar telling Peter “Don’t show me your strength”, instead intelligence in practice was required. I loved the little glimpses into that world, something I would never experience from Guruji himself.

Day 4 was when my ego took a back seat, and I was making no assumptions that I was “good” or “bad” at anything. This was wonderful, to be wholly a student to this master, it was like waking up after a long sleep and finding myself again. The asana was getting more demanding, and the ingredients of the cake were baking in the oven.

The last day was a culmination of all that had come before. I was present in the moment, experiencing the asana and the first point with complete focus. The asanas we practiced that day were the most challenging yet. However, by staying grounded in the first point and allowing the asana to reveal itself to me. I understood (again) that I had been imposing myself on the asana rather than allowing the asana to show me the way. My friend and fellow Mandolorian fan, joked with each other: “This is the way”

As the workshop came to a close, the talking had become my favourite part of the experience. I felt immense gratitude for Peter Thomson, Suzi Carson, and my fellow yogis for the opportunity to learn and grow. We had a powerful tool at our disposal that could help us navigate through the complexities of life. I understood that the overwhelm I was experiencing was coming directly out of my practice. This was the biggest and most valuable gem, again I felt like I was in the driving seat of life, able to be proactive rather than reactive to what was happening around me. I returned to Taupo feeling brave and loving for the many blessings I had received over 5 days with Peter Thomson. I can’t wait until next time.

Peter Thomson

pt adjusting loris

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Glenn Ceresoli – Mana Retreat Coromandel

Glenn Ceresoli – Mana Retreat Coromandel

A week of intense practice with Glenn Ceresoli in the Coromandel

Stephanie Hall, Waikato

Over the last 20 years or so, I have been fortunate enough to study with Glenn over a dozen times.
This most recent retreat was my 4th week long immersion. To be able to leave my own life as a full time yoga teacher, part time marriage celebrant, running my own studio, for a full week of intense practice was such a gift.
No cooking or cleaning or having to take care of anyone else was complete bliss. To be a student full time. One very happy yogini.

I always say, the best type of holiday for a yoga teacher is to go somewhere beautiful and be taught yoga everyday by someone else. As yoga teachers we can all agree on that. We’re kind of weird that way.

The retreat began on a Tuesday evening. Everyone was very excited and grateful to be there. There were a lot of teachers in the group, quite different from last years where Eira Kramer and I hardly knew anyone as there was a large Australian contingent. Although it was kind of a nice change to be anonymous… This time it was great to be amongst friends.

What impresses me most about Glenn, is his ability to quietly and confidently guide us through his teachings. Practising 6 hours a day, starting with the Gayatri Mantra, silent sitting, Pranayama, then Asana. Back in the afternoon for another Asana session.
With over 40 years of practice and teaching, the detailed instructions seem to effortlessly flow from him.
His repetition of words designed to bring us back to ourselves.

“Regular, consistent practice over an extended period of time equals change and development.” “Be aware of your existence at this moment.”
“Measure, monitor and manage.”
“Soften the face, the throat and the abdomen.”
“Adapt, adjust, accommodate.”
And my favourite, ( when you’re about to expire from his legendary long holds in the Asana, he quietly says, )
“Turn the corners of your lips up.”

Not once did he get ruffled when we were all getting noisy and excited about doing something we hadn’t done before or in a while.
Like Bird Balances on the last day!
He was cool, calm and collected.
Except when discussing anything to do with politics, or the state of the world in general.
Then he got excited! Usually at our lively after dinner conversations where both Margaret and Glenn were very generous with their time.

His skill at building the momentum of the classes. Seemingly starting quite simply. Basic poses that were suddenly experienced through fresh eyes. Unique instructions that changed the pose as you were experiencing it. Building upon these foundations, so by the end of the week, I and I think everyone there, felt transformed.

We were lucky to have his wife Margaret with us too. She was a solid and affirming presence to have in the room. Her passion for her spiritual practice and her generosity in sharing her beliefs and stories was truly memorable.
It was lovely to see the interaction between Margaret and Glenn. A mutual respect and admiration. She proved to be a willing demonstrator and also a wonderful assistant. A senior teacher in her own right. We were fortunate indeed to have her and Glenn’s years of experience and hands on adjustments throughout the whole week.

If you haven’t experienced Glenn’s teaching, I encourage you to go to his weekend Raglan workshop or week long Mana retreat next year. You won’t be disappointed.
It was a memorable experience and I’m already booked for next year.

To spend this time immersed in the practice, with like minded people and a teacher with the wealth of knowledge and passion that Glenn has to share, is a unique opportunity. And one for which I am truly grateful.

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Mana Retreat
Mana Retreat View

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