Going, Going, Gong! (Yoga Diaries #06)

Gong Yoga?

Thank you Evening  Standard for introducing Gong Yoga in April last year. As if Hatha yoga, Bikram/hot yoga, Vinyasa yoga, Kundalini yoga, Ashtanga/power yoga (a hard one), Iyengar yoga and even prenatal yoga are not enough, here comes another one – Gong Yoga. There are between 5 & 12 main types depending on where you look

If these are still not enough, wrestler Diamond Dallas Page has invented another one DDPYoga following the example of Joseph Pilates a boxer & circus performer who invented his own style of looking after oneself – arising out of his internment as a prisoner of war in England in WW1. But I digress.

New Moon

Research months after the article show that two of three locations have disappeared and the one still doing it in Chalk Farm has changed its name to Sadhaka Yoga. A phone call informs me that gong yoga classes are usually on the dates of the New or Full Moon and I eventually get the chance to go on one New Moon earlier in the year.

Wandering through the Stables Market in Camden is a bit of a rabbit warren where I eventually find the outfit up two flights of stairs. Being early for a change, I slip into something comfortable, taking my place on the floor after collecting cushions and a blanket. Three huge gongs are in the corner and the students come in and sit down. As usual, it’s mostly women (c’mon guys!) with three males in a class of twenty.

Chambré Yoga?

A few lie of us down on the floor and relax while others sit up with eyes closed. Teacher arrives and we all sit up where the excellent posture of nearly all the students is noticeable. There is no heat like with Bikram or hot yoga – it’s room temperature or if you are into wine – chambré.

Class is in three parts, involves breathing exercises and lasts 90 minutes with the noises from the kick boxing below providing an odd distraction. Final part is with all of us wrapped in our blankets like mummies with the gongs banged repeatedly – creating what could be described as a “wall of sound” much louder than the Phil Spector version

Class over, I have a chat with the teacher. The full set is thirteen gongs but tonight there were just three, representing: the Sun, Moon and Pluto? The evening has been fun and I might go again, but a special gong for Pluto partly spoils it for me. I have practised yoga for many years and would recommend it to anyone, but the idea of Pluto influencing your life/moods/feelings etc. is nonsense.

Pluto – and I don’t mean Mickey Mouse’s Dog

Discovered 18th February 1930 by Clyde Tombaugh when he was working at the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona, Pluto was by far the smallest of the “planets” – a name which comes from Ancient Greek, meaning wandering star. Since 2006, Pluto has been classified as a dwarf planet where it joins over 2,000 similar-sized objects, but it does at least have four moons: Charon, Styx, Kerberos, Nix, Hydra

Pluto’s huge distance means that it takes 248 years to orbit the sun, staying in each zodiac sign for one to two decades. If you are into astrology, it is hard to see how Pluto can affect anyone, especially with giant planets like Jupiter weighing more than all the other planets combined. Talking of astrology, until around the sixteenth century, astrology and astronomy were often synonymous. These sciences started to separate with Johannes Kepler, a court astrologer wanting to make more accurate star tables. In doing so, he discovered his three laws of planetary motion, still used today standing alongside other fundamental laws like Newton’s 3 Laws of Motion and Einstein’s Theories of Relativity.

New Horizons for Pluto

Launched  2006, NASA’s New Horizons space probe is due to reach Pluto 14th July 2015 after crossing the orbit of Neptune today. Be great to see what Pluto is really like.

Wonder if anyone will name a new type of yoga after it?








George Emsden
Now retired, George is busier than ever: working through an OU Maths & Physics degree, blogs, volunteering at Muswell Hill Soup Kitchen and Haringey Winter Shelter plus being a very proud granddad.