Reconnecting in the mountains

Sun and Cloud in Swiss AlpsI have just returned from a skiing holiday in the beautiful Swiss mountains, newly inspired to share MogaDao Yoga and Qigong.

This inspiration comes in part from celebrating the inspiring first 50 years of life of my brave and brilliant brother, who returns today to work on a whole new entrepreneurial adventure.

It is also because the mountains offer us an opportunity to reconnect directly with the elemental forces of nature with an intensity that is hard to achieve in a city. I felt this out on the slopes when we escaped other skiers off the pistes, but equally strongly in the early mornings when I practised Yoga and Qigong  in front of a huge window looking out over the valley while everyone else was sleeping.

We were blessed with beautiful weather and, as I practised, the Yang rays of the sun first kissed the peaks of the mountains and then woke up the whole valley as they spread their enlivening energy across the dark, sleepy Yin shadows. This was never more moving than on the morning when the valley awoke with a thick, low-hanging Yin cloud ‘around its knees’ that was gradually lifted and vaporised by the sun’s Yang intensity.

But perhaps more than anything, the inspiration comes from the heart-healing joy of breaking through fears that had plateaued my skiing for some years at a level that was good and elegant but that had stopped taking risks.

Why did this happen this year? Because MogaDao Yoga and Qigong practice changes us. And my practice has been building the strengthen and courage I needed to pierce this particular ceiling and to take new risks in skiing, by being more adventurous off-piste.

I was ready this year to risk – but not to be reckless, so life offered me an opportunity for intelligent intensity in the form of the best ski teacher I have ever met. His piercingly observant, precise, honest and technically brilliant guidance allowed me (just as when studying Yoga and Qigong) to first to hone my technique and then, with some practice, to start to embody its energy so that I could step through my fears and open up whole-heartedly to the empowering and humbling beauty and freedom of off-piste skiing.

And just as my MogaDao practice breathed new life into my skiing, as I practised this morning, I felt the effects of my skiing experience feed back into my Yoga and Qigong.