Interview with William Justice (from Scotland)

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Yoga Chat with
William Justice,
62 from Scotland
Q You were an engineer and quit your job just months ago.
When you were flying extensively on business trips, share
with us on how you continue your daily yoga practice?Answer:
I find it difficult to maintain my practice when traveling, especially when traveling for the best part of 24 hours with several airport transits. If I have several hours to wait in transit, I will try and find a quiet area and do Surya Namaskar, and/or yogic breathing, and/or meditation depending on the situation.
Regardless, I will also do my practice as soon as is convenient when I get to my destination. I find that it rejuvenates me, physically and mentally, and helps me to recover  quickly from the journey. It sets me up feeling fresh with a clear mind for whatever is next on my schedule.Regularity of practice is very important for me. I know from experience that if I get out of the routine then it is difficult to get back into it again. So, over the years, I’ve integrated it more and more into my life and now consider it a fundamental part of the fabric of my life. However, I know that there is a part of me that would easily skip a practice and come up with 1001 justifications for it – that is the nature of the mind. So, developing the mental capacity to do it when I don’t want to in the moment, or when there are other seemingly more attractive activities competing for my time, is all part of my practice that continues to develop and grow deeper, with various degrees of ‘success and failure’. The ‘successes’ reinforce and deepen the practice, the ‘failures’ serve me by showing the way for the next time.Q Many students treat yoga as a physical exercise and not
paying attention to the breathing exercises. Can you share
your thoughts on approaching and holding asanas that are
more challenging? Is it just physical endurance or will
power?Answer:
I can understand that. Before I started practicing yoga, I enjoyed participating in physical activities, like rugby, soccer, squash, hiking in the mountains, cycling, and running marathons. So, when I started practicing yoga, I viewed it as another physical activity, and as I mentioned previously, I found it physically challenging.

At that time I was not aware, and had no experience of the deeper and more profound effects of the wider yoga practice. So my initial approach to this other ‘physical exercise’ was just dogged willpower and force, and usually my mind would give up before my body.

Over time, with regular practice of the asanas I became more conscious of the experience of what was happening inside me, and I listened and trusted more in what my teachers were lovingly guiding me towards, I found that by applying the techniques that I was being taught and consciously using the breath to control the prana, I could embody the capacity to hold the asanas in a more relaxed way that sustained the required energy in my body, rather than exhaust the energy.

Now, practice of the asanas is more of an internal meditative like experience than a physical exercise and I understand what B.K.S. Iyengar meant when he described asana as meditation in action.

William is now back in Scotland and going into yoga teaching full time. I will feature the other part of his interview on Ompulence’s FB page from 7th July. Do click on the FB logo below to stay connected.

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