I have to confess, I’m not a yoga practitioner. I’ve dabbled, and enjoyed the dabbling, but never committed to the discipline of regular practice. What I have gained, from my limited experience, is a sense that it’s much more than just a physical exercise; that it’s a way of putting yourself more in touch with your self, of fully inhabiting your body and tuning in to its needs.
By practising yoga in such a setting, not only are you inhabiting your body, but you’re also inhabiting more fully the landscape that you’re in: you’re opening yourself to it, softening some of the hard edges between you and the environment that surrounds you.
Those who know will tell you that yoga can be practised anywhere: a studio, a bedroom, a bus stop, a silent clearing in a forest. I’m curious about this, and hope to find out at Scapa Fest, whether there is a qualitative difference to practising yoga on your mat at home or on the shore of a sea loch, with the Atlantic breeze on your face. I’m sure there is, I’m sure it feels very different, and I imagine it’s because, by practising yoga in such a setting, not only are you inhabiting your body, but you’re also inhabiting more fully the landscape that you’re in: you’re opening yourself to it, softening some of the hard edges between you and the environment that surrounds you.
As a storyteller, I’m interested in the ways that those boundaries, those hard edges, can be softened. It’s a different kind of practice, but it seems to me that stories also open us up, especially those old, deep stories of the land.
It might seem like a tall order. These are ‘just stories’ after all, and we live in the 21st century, with all the wonders and distractions of modernity. But if you sit around a hearth at night, in the woods, under the stars, and hear stories from the other side of the fire, I think it is possible to feel those boundaries soften, to become more permeable to the place where you find yourself.
So I’m delighted to be hosting the Bardic Fire at Scapa Fest. It will be a space to explore the timeless now of folktale and myth, and to delve into the dreaming of the mountains and glens of Argyll; a space where we might find communion with some older, wilder part of ourselves, and feel a rare sense of being at home in, and enchanted by, the living world around us. I look forward to meeting you there!
Dougie Strang will lead a series of workshops and the Bardic Fire at Scapa Fest 2018.
For full details of his schedule, type “dougie” in the search field of our schedule page.