This October we hosted our first senior guest teacher in Marrakech. There was no hesitation as to whom we would to ask to join us and we crossed our fingers (and toes) as I approached my teacher Scott Johnson.
Naz and I were honoured and very excited when Scott agreed to join us in Marrakech and over a year later, after lots of planning and meetings, we finally arrived in the warm North African air ready to greet our guests a few days later.
When we asked Scott to be part of a Tonic Retreat we knew it would be really fantastic experience, with Scott combining his expertise and deep knowledge of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga, with his integration of Mindfulness into the practice and with his warm and welcoming approach. Yogis from all across the globe came to learn from Scott and be part of this unforgettable experience, full of excitement & enthusiasm. We didn't however know how much of a deeply moving impact this retreat would have on us all. Wholeheartedly this was an emotional journey from start to finish, it felt as though there was a process of peeling away the layers of our hectic day to day life, allowing each new day to begin on that roof top on our wonderful riad; with the sun rising and new found awareness and joy for the yoga practice. The daily meditation in the early and dark mornings was so still and peaceful, finished in perfect unison just as the call to prayer echoed through the sky. It was something we all said we would fondly remember and hold in our hearts.
As the student, I couldn’t of wished for a more valuable experience with my teacher. I was able to observe Scott adjusting our yogis each morning and seeing how the process of him holding space and meeting each person every day through their yoga practice developed.
Every afternoon, after a few hours rest, Scott and I would practice in a wonderfully cool dark room for about 2 to 3 hours in the oldest part of the historic riad. It was far too sunny to be on the roof by that time so we found our practice space which was perfectly quiet and calm.To practice alongside Scott as he practiced too was a really treasured time each day for me. We shared the count, with Scott stopping every now and then to assist me or show me how to develop a posture.It was a remarkable experience, I learnt so much just by sensing and subtly observing as well as being silently guided; a lesson for me in observing by feeling through the practice rather than the analytical breaking down of postures that I often get distracted by.
Scott noticed during one of our practice times together in the cool dark room how incredible the afternoon light was coming through the sheer soft curtains. As a keen photographer he saw how the light was creating a wonderful effect of shadows and highlights.We told Naz's partner Norbert, who takes our lovely photos, about this magical light and he offered to join us whilst we practiced the next day and capture the images.
Here are a few of these photos that we wanted to share.
At the end of the retreat I felt so moved. We had in our afternoon practice spent considerable time working on some of the postures I find really challenging, emotionally and physically, as well as having a lot of laughs working on new ones that left me falling on my face too many times to mention. These photos are a reminder of a truly special time to cherish, spending time with my teacher who I respect and am continually so thankful and grateful for his generosity with his teachings. With thanks as always to my teachers and my teachers’ teachers.