Yoga Teacher: Johnny Glover

When, and how, did you discover Yoga? I am still discovering yoga! - I came across yoga in my twenties. When I was younger I never had any contact with yoga. I had been interested in martial arts and eastern philosophy.I practiced qigong before I started practicing yoga.

Johnny Glover Yoga seemed a natural progression and it was not until I was in my thirties before I really started a proper regular practice. Before then the postures just seemed to be too out of reach for me – but after a few short years of qigong practice my body had become more supple and flexible and yoga seemed more attractive.

Can you describe your Yoga practice? This is usually a mix of Iyengar – for alignment, and vinyasa – for the flow. I am also heavily influenced by the Bihar School of Yoga, particularly the subtle practice of pawanmuktasanas – which I find has similar effects to qigong and the art of yoga nidra.

I practice about 5 days out of 7, for between 1.5 to 2.5 hours. I try to practice daily but there are always days when my practice seems out of reach. I also have a commitment to Buddhist practices – which take about 1.5 hours each day.

What aspect of Yoga Practice do you find is most challenging for you? I find many aspects challenging. I suppose it is all a challenge really. To do a daily practice is most challenging as it requires ongoing commitment. Although I have progressed in my asana practice I am aware of my many limitations. I am enjoying the journey of slow progress. I have developed a regular meditation practice and I found that the most difficult in the beginning.

Has there been a moment in your years of Yoga that stands out? Yes, I completed a marathon at the age of 34. I was well short of my running schedule – but gleefully making up the time with yoga practice. I was working through Beryl Bender Birchs’ – Power Yoga at the time. I was practicing every day. I completed the marathon in 4 hours – not bad for a non runner – and I put it down to my yoga practice!

What was the last Yoga book that you read? I am still reading ‘Words of My Perfect Teacher’ . A complete translation of a classic Introduction to Tibetan Buddhism. I formally became a Buddhist in May 2003. I have been developing my practice since. I love yoga philosophy – and find the interrelation and differences between Hinduism and Buddhism fascinating.

To enjoy yoga is to embrace all the limbs of yoga. Although I came to yoga as much for spiritual reasons as physical I didn’t have a spiritual practice at the start. I am still developing one – and would recommend this book to anyone who looks for good practical guidance. I think some people would be more careful and say that Buddhist practice is not yoga – and yoga is certainly not Buddhist practice. To me there is a goal in yoga – Samadhi, which is also a goal in Buddhism. I find that each practice complements the other.

Can you tell us about a favourite, or special, place? Samye Ling is a very special place to me. This was the first Tibetan Monastery in the West after China invaded Tibet. I find this place really inspires me.

Who do you most admire? Mahatma Gandhi.

Could you share one of your favourite quotes? ‘If you want to know your present condition – look at your past (thoughts and actions), if you want to understand your future – look at your present ’ (thoughts and actions)

I may have mis quoted here and I have no idea who said it – I love it. It reminds me I am in control over my own life. What we do today determines tomorrow. So if we want to progress we can. It doesn’t matter what we have done – or what we intend to do. It is what we do and how we do it right now that counts!

Beside Yoga, what are your other interests? Not much time left for other interests! I practice and teach qigong as well as yoga. If I had more time I would love to paint and draw a little bit, learn to sing!, play better guitar. Most of all – to spend more time with my children, play with them more – and cook more meals for my partner!

If you could practice/study with any yogi (dead or alive), who would you choose? Any yogi? That would be Buddha then!

Written by Lorna

Johnny is a YTTC trained Yoga Teacher, and teaches in South West Scotland. He also teaches Qigong.