…Did that catch your attention? It certainly caught ours. Written by senior Ashtanga practitioner and teacher Anthony 'Prem' Carlisi, this spiritual memoir explores the synergies between the practices of Ashtanga yoga, Ayurveda and Tantra as seen through his eyes. As well as being an honest and entertaining account of his personal journey, a main theme is how the practical application of these practices can help to make sense of and deal with the rollercoaster of life. A few years after first discovering Prem’s book, we met a couple of people on our teacher training course at Samahita Retreat in 2013 who had been to study with Prem and his wife Radha in Bali, piquing our curiosity even further.
We first heard of Sivananda Yoga whilst living in London in 2005. As fate would have it, the Sivananda London Centre was just 15 minutes’ walk from our apartment, down the path along the river Thames, through leafy Wandsworth Park and on into the Putney ghetto, Southwest London. After picking up a leaflet from an earnest volunteer at Putney station (where we took the train most mornings), we decided to attend an Open Day at the centre to find out what was actually on offer. We walked with anticipation into the brightly lit shop, with countless books on yoga lining the shelves, incense filling the air and statues of Hindu deities dotted around. There was a kitchen out back, where people were milling around in warm woolly socks and loose white trousers, hands occupied with bowls of hearty steaming soup. Those who looked like they knew the ropes were all dressed in yellow t-shirts and white trousers. None of the figure-hugging, stylish yoga pants around here. The practice room was light and airy. Large images of two enigmatic-looking Indian men stared down on us. Who were they we wondered?