I first met Nikki in January 2015 when she started classes at YogaHara. As you will read below, Nikki had been practicing for many years before she arrived in my class. Over the years she has explored a few different classes and has currently found her place in the Integrated class, where she can share her wisdom and deepening understanding of this ancient practice.
Meet Nikki Knighton
Nikki is an Occupational Therapist and a longtime practitioner yoga. And like many long time practitioners understands deeply that yoga is so much more that movement (and in fact is not even movement but something much more profound and integrating).
How I Found (or am finding) My Centre
I often forget that I have been attending Yoga classes on and off for most of my life, starting in primary school where we drove down the mountain to a class in Croydon that (according to my mum) included chanting, philosophy … it sounds like it encompassed the whole enchilada of Patanjali’s Eight Limbs of Yoga. I have stronger memories of the next teacher where time allocated to handstand competitions was negotiated as reward for focussed practice. At about the same age I developed a strong instinctive sense that I’ve been put on this earth to do Something Big! No idea what – but something important with the potential to make the world a better place for a significant number of people.
Over the following years I periodically attended classes described in different ways with a variety of teachers in diverse settings. Ballet classes made me flexible (and proud of it), so I could mimic the “ideal” asana positions and my ego told me I was such a good yogi I must moments away from enlightenment … after all, I was put on this earth for Something Big!
During this time yoga only happened for the hour and a bit I was in a class. My aspirations and expectations of daily yoga practice never materialised. My ego told me I didn’t need to do it anyway, after all I could bend in half, so I must be close to enlightenment and manifesting the Something Big! I was put on earth for. The harder I tried, the more uncomfortable I felt – physically, mentally, emotionally … and I was beginning to realise that my Something Big! was as elusive as the end of a rainbow.
You can tell someone the same thing a million times and they just don’t get it, then someone comes along and says the same thing in a slightly different way and it finally hits home. For me that turning point in yoga was finally understanding and giving myself permission to practice Ahimsa. It no longer matters that I don’t have my feet in the “correct position” or bend in half with my chest on my knees, or breathe to a count of 5:10:10:5, or wake at 6am to do an hour of yoga before work. What matters is that I use my muscle strength to protect my joints, relax my neck and throat (and any other bits holding tension), allow myself to experience emotions as they arise, and witness moments of joy (there are lots of little ones if you take the time to notice) … the list of what I count as yoga practice keeps growing.
As I’ve been moving through this process of connecting … body, breath, feelings, emotions, thoughts, witnessing, joy, awareness (yes, iRest) my Something Big! is beginning to emerge. I’m peeling back the layers and slowly remembering what I already know. It might not make me famous, or save the world, or make an impression on anyone else but me and that’s ok … better than ok, it’s perfect. There’s probably not going to be an end to the rainbow, an outcome, or anything tangible to show for my efforts. My Something Big! is now, where I am and what I am doing right in this moment.
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