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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