Simon Borg Olivier

Review Date - 2015-11-09

Simon Borg Olivier is a physiotherapist from Austrailia who is teaching his own style of yoga which one would not be remiss in thinking it was a dance. From the first moment I met Simon, when he came up to ask my name and introduce himself, I was struck by how perfectly comfortable he seemed to be in his body. There is a body type which lends itself to ease and grace when it comes to a person's ability to perform the most difficult yoga postures, usually the person is small, long of arm, short of leg and wirey. Simon had all these characteristics and it was no wonder that the photos of him in one arm balance postures (which always intimidate and inspire me) were impressive. 

Simon talked about how we do yoga in the western world, how 1 in 20 people who try yoga do not continue with it to any depth, and challenged the participants in the November 3rd workshop at Solace Centre in Nanaimo to question how we have been practicing.

Understanding how the fight or flight reflex works and relearning how to breath normally instead of yogically was a major focus of the talk. Asked if any of us could put ourselves into lotus posture without the use of our hands to place the feet above the thighs we did begin to ask ourselves what was the point of tensing and stretching if it caused us grief in our joints or we had to force ourselves into a posture. 

The physical part of the class was only about 25 minutes of us listening to music as we followed Simon's movements. It was rhythmic and similar to dance. My heart rate was only slightly affected, I was warm and loose and I definitely used my legs. We were in postures reminicent of the various standing balance asanas in "traditional", "modern" yoga (whatever that is) but not holding them. It felt good and Simon has a lot of excellent points about how we do yoga. 

It is so good to have a teacher who really makes one question and try things another way. Getting out of the habits of yoga class and teaching yoga is the very essence of yoga.