At Londolozi, inspiration stems from various places and people. We feed off the elements of nature, wildlife and each other. And one of the greatest teachers of this wilderness is presence.

Although my role is to teach yoga, the real teachers often come in the form of the students; our guests. Recently a large fountain of fresh lessons and perspectives have come from the time spent in classes with particular individuals and what they have brought to the yoga deck.

One guest in particular was a long-term practitioner of martial arts –  namely Tai chi and Qi Gong. These are practices that differs quite a bit from yoga, in that the movements are constantly evolving and there are no pauses as the body flows from one pose to the next.

As she stepped onto the deck for the first time- her solid, toned frame and beautiful posture made it instantly apparent that she engaged regularly in some form of body practice. A continuum of three days and so three consecutive classes allowed us to build experiences through trading movements; verbal and non-verbal visual instructions that coordinated our muscles, bones, hearts and minds together.

We giggled as we wobbled over when working to move fluidly from one posture into the next. We giggled as we confused one another with ‘lefts’ and ‘rights’ and ‘behind’ and ‘in front-of’s’. We laughed when we had to re-do a posture four times to get it right and then still moved differently to the original. We stifled chuckles at each other’s funny faces while attempting to climb into a more challenging pose.

As a collective group we moved and sweated and learnt and fell over and giggled and breathed. We took turns to find shut eye-moments when reaching those deeper spots and respected the stillness surrounding them.

Humour governed a large part of what I originally thought might have been very serious and disciplined (usually the martial arts practices don’t tolerate giggles) session. The lightness and ease that settled after the class made it evident that we can come together, fully meeting with presence.

Following the final class together before that guest departed, we spoke about the fact that as a large part of life is focused on the destination, the final product, or arriving, the true gift of intended movement is the joy of full presence and feeling… enjoying the process before reaching the destination, wherever that may be.

With hands in a prayer in front of her chest, I connected my hands in a prayer in front of my chest, and together as a sign of utmost respect to one another and our separate but joint practices, we bowed.

Looking forward to learning and sharing with you.

See you on the deck.

Filed under Yoga

About the Author

Sam Burnell


Sam was born in Cape Town and is passionate about integrative bodywork therapies and healing concepts. Following two years of studies in Therapeutic Reflexology and Meridian therapy in Cape Town, she spent a year in SE Asia deepening her personal yoga practice, exploring ...

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on Tai Chi, Yoga and Laughter

Join the conversationJoin the conversation

Marinda Drake

A lovely experience Sam. There is always something new to learn. Laughter makes it so much easier when you teach, it breaks the tension and everyone is just more relaxed.

Joanne Wadsworth

Why am I not surprised to read that Londolozi also offers, to interested guests, classes in Yoga. In a ever continuing quest to please and fulfill the needs, the guests walk away fulfilled….whether in the presence of nature’s wild animals or within the presence of one’s yoga spirit….a “presence” connection is made which completes the trip.

Jennifer Ridgewell

What wonderful connection with a kindred soul. Beautiful fluid Tai Chi movement also seems to provide a good cardio workout and it must have been very special in the tranquility of Londolozi.

Carolyn Whitaker

This is a beautiful post, Sam. Thank you.

Denise Vouri

How wonderful that you allow guests to participate in exercise activities in a teaching role. I’m sure it makes for an amazing experience for you and Londolozi guests. Perhaps one day I’ll be able to join in one of these impromptu body/mind enhancing activities.

Irene Dixon

Beautifully written article-

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