A workshop with David Newman – or ‚How I defeated an army of drunken monkeys, made love to the air, and finally melted like a sugar cube in warm water.“ True story.

Let me start with this: I’m not good at workshops.

Either they’re over too soon or I’m too slow – anyway round, it usually feels like a first kiss, when you’re so awestruck by that new universe of scent, touch, and awesomeness you find yourself in that you just. need. T.I.M.E. And then when you (me, that is) have finally kinda settled into all that WHOOOAAAA! – it’s over (and you know, the thing is, kissing is for free and therefore repeatable, but a workshop? That’s over-over.)


So, this time, it was different.

I went to David Newman’s Bhakti Hatha Yoga workshop with no expectations whatsoever. Sure, I expected music – chanting, that is – since that’s what the Yoga of Devotion (Bhakti) is all about. Sure, I also expected some physical practice, since that’s what Hatha Yoga is all about. But apart from that – no expectations.

So I wasn’t even troubled that my mental state on the bike ride to the studio was a Yoga-textbook example of monkey-mindedness; I couldn’t seem to stop myself from yelling back at a person who had offended my precious ego earlier this morning. I was YELLING internally, I tell you, the loudest silent talk can get.You know, with a lot of those words that start with F and end with UCK YOU! *sigh*

If at that point some demented scientist on crack would have jumped out of a manhole, dragged me off my bike, and shoved me into his pocket size CT scanner, that’s what you would have seen on the screen (all cut in neat slices of course, but I couldn’t get my photoshop to do the trick):

No offense intended, I love chimps! (but not in my head)
No offense intended, I love chimps! (but not in my brains)

Yup, that’s how bad it got. Fantasizing about being abducted by neuro-scientists. On my way to a Yoga studio. Classic.

Okay, dear reader, let yourself be pulled back to that pretty, coherent thread I had actually conceived of for this post before the monkeys took over.

Well, by now, I had arrived at the studio, and the fraction of my brain not occupied by that screaming hoard of gonzos had managed to put my body into decent sports wear, make it walk into the room next door, unroll my mat, and actually chat with some people (that’s right, with maddening EEEEHHEEEEHeeeGimmeBackThatRemote!!eeeHEEE-screams up there all the while).

So, the workshop starts (and my switching to present tense is INTENDED, dear reader), and David has this sweetness about him that helps me muster the courage to handle that close-to-apocalyptic showdown taking place all around my synapses. And just then, when you think it couldn’t get worse – Lily trying to immerse herself in that Yoga philosophy talk she had been craving for, while thinking of how to best retaliate upon that person from the morning, while trying to stop herself from seeking REVENGE – in that exact moment, when I’m as stressed out as the Good Guys at Helm’s Deep with no Gandalf, a particularly malicious and hairy monkey surfaces and goes:

„Ooooh… how come your ankle hurts so much after just 5 minutes of sitting? Aren’t you supposed to be able to go through 50 minutes of Lotus pose without even budging, YOU YOGA-TEACHER TO BE!!! F-R-A-U-D! *har har har“

(No offense intended towards my hairy malicious readers out there, you rock!)

And there, just there, you can see it in my eyes, my will is getting weak, and my lower lip is starting to tremble, and there’s an invisible orchestra starting to play a heartbraking funeral march, …, and I don’t feel like dancing, or running, or being a heroine anymore … my grip around my Sword of Yogic Discipline and Will is getting looser and looser … but then, from very very far away, a faint whisper is reaching my ears, it’s David’s voice!, speaking of Bhakti, and devotion, and how devotion is stronger than acceptance, and you can see how that dying flame in my eyes is returning, it’s getting brighter, it’s flares up!, and my heart gets stronger the more he speaks, and then *insert sounds of explosions, trumpets and thunder HERE*


There lies the beast. And with him, the army.


So the rest of the workshop is great!

I love the Asana practice, I love how David gives verbal assists just loud enough for the rest of us to hear. As he opens a girl’s shoulders in Warrior I, telling her to always seek for softness in her strength, it just comes natural to let my heart melt into a little puddle on the floor. I remember us laughing lots, and feeling warm and open, and when I leave the room, there’s such a genuine sweetness around people’s smiles that I can’t believe it took me all that armageddon to get here.

Oh, but wait!

I haven’t mentioned the best part! The part where I made love to the air!

So, rewind.

This happened just a little time after I killed loved the Boss Enemy to death (*note to self: we may have to check on your gaming obsession, girl*). We had settled for Mantra singing with David and his lovely wife Mira, and this is where the part comes in that I mentioned in the beginning: that I didn’t have expecations (scroll up if you’ve lost the plot), which made the following events even more awesome.

David had talked about how Mantras open our hearts, and open our selves back into Unity, and sometimes even make people cry. And then we had started singing, a bit shy at first, with our eyes open, sitting still, afraid to let go and move with the flow. At some point, I closed my eyes and simply focused on my voice, my heart, my breath.

And this is when I felt the soft Sanskrit words squeezing a little dirt out of me, and a little more, and my heart was unravelling, unleashing, flying upwards – which, in my anatomical make-up, inevitably leads to wet eyes.

So, while I’m there still trying to deal with the fact that I turned out to be that crying person David mentioned before, the singing gets more passionate, and the individuals of the group slowly start to melt their restrictions and inhibitions, and I feel something weird happening – my body is dissolving.

The music opens my pores, my body is melting so that my soul can come into the most intimate embrace with whatever nameless wonder is filling the air around me right now. It is as nourishing, inspiring, shaking, and transcendent as a lover’s embrace, only – it’s „just“ vibrating air, invisible nectar … a love song.

I liked David’s definition of Bhakti Yoga. If the Mind is a sugar cube, and the Heart is a glass of warm water, Devotion makes the Mind dissolve in the Heart.

Viewn from that angle, I might have been as close as ever to how my nightly cup of tea feels. And who would have guessed it’s so … WOOOOAH!

David, Mira, if you’re actually reading this, and you actually remember my face, and my real name, please, I beg you, don’t give it away – I have a bunch of crazy scientists and a hoard of mind-monkeys after me, plus a reputation to loose (shady, but a reputation nevertheless). But in earnest:

You brought tears to my eyes and peace to my heart. Thank you.

P.S.: Now can you believe I spent half the night putting this post together, and that it turned out to be the funniest thing I ever wrote on this blog, even though it’s not even in one of my mother tongues? The problem is: I told my BF I’d go to bed. Ts. Now here I go putting up a blog post in the middle of the night. Well, I couldn’t just go to sleep knowing that this poor man is squeezing his brains out over a nearly-finished script somewhere on the other side of Europe. So, consider this post an act of creative commiseration.

P.P.S.: (DO NOT CONTINUE READING IF YOU’RE NOT BF!) Did I just call you BF, BF? Well, beware, that’s as close as it can get to slipping a ring on your finger! And who knows, maybe it’s the next thing the monkeys will make me do! Run!


3 Kommentare zu „A workshop with David Newman – or ‚How I defeated an army of drunken monkeys, made love to the air, and finally melted like a sugar cube in warm water.“ True story.

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  1. Lily, so good to read you again…sorry it’s been soooo long. Funny thing is I just wrote about bhakti. Thank you. Mom thanks you as well. I will link to this post.

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