Friday, September 23, 2016

Yoga and The All Souls Trilogy - Guest Post

Aly Davis - photo by Jennifer Mahuet
Dear readers, you are in for a treat!  If you are into the real-time reading of A Discovery of Witches, we are creeping up on the time-frame of the wonderful pages detailing Diana and Matthew's yoga sessions with their 'mixed class'!  Perfect!

We connected with Aly on Instagram, and were fascinated with her love of yoga which she expertly communicates through images.  Come to find out, she's an All Souls fan, like us!  We won't call it fate - ah, who are we kidding?  We are not big believers of coincidence! Well, we got together and you are reading the result!

Deborah Harkness' latest update alluded to the fact that the yoga scene may not be in the television series; Deb in her own words: ..."Take the yoga scene, for instance. We all love the yoga scene. It makes us smile due to the absurd perfection of creatures doing yoga. Just try putting this in a script in a way that invites gentle amusement instead of eye-rolling and disdain. Not easily done. I'd rather we all kept it in our mind's eye than ruin it with an awkward on-screen attempt." We are hoping Aly will help you visualize the poses and experience the mood in the scene where Diana and Matthew practiced yoga at Matthew's house in Woodstock.

Without further ado, we present Aly Davis, who shares her thoughts on the threads of yoga that connect to the All Souls Trilogy in her own words.
By Aly Davis

Looking back, I honestly can't remember exactly how I came upon the All Souls Trilogy. If memory serves, a friend with whom I boarded my horse suggested it when I mentioned needing new reading material. As she listed off the book titles, I thought it'd be right up my alley! Little did I know, that I would connect with the series on many more levels than just my superficial love of fantasy and magic. Nor could I ever have anticipated how my relationship with the series, along with the lens through which I read them, would change over the following two and a half years. Now, here I am, writing a guest post for the most amazing three women who love the trilogy as much as I do and for all of you, who I know love it as much as the four of us!  All of this brought about by a connection through social media and yoga.  Pretty cool, right?

During the time of my life when I made my first two trips through ADOW, SON and TBOL, I adored books, magic, fantasy, romance, and horses. I have owned, showed, and ridden my whole life and was thrilled to discover that Deborah Harkness is an avid horsewoman herself! But then she introduced me to a new love: historical fiction.  Up to that point, I had regularly left all adoration of history to my father and his obsession with the Civil War.  His insane ability to memorize dates, places, and historical experiences can easily rival any encyclopedia set or even a professor of history (He's a veterinarian, so science is a thing with him too! And math. And anatomy. He's a genius)!  I had never even considered the fact that I might fall in love with 1590's London, Henry Percy, and all of the little shops in the Blackfriars district on my own terms.

But that wasn't all that the books piqued of my curiosity. For years, I had been curious about the practice of yoga.  Here I was, reading about Diana and Matthew working their way through what sounded like an incredible yoga class with Amira. But what was a vinyasa? It had to be a different language, right? It's in italics! But what language, and what did it all mean?  With my first two reads through the books, I sort of skimmed over the yoga scene.  But as I came back for my third read (a year and a half into my yoga journey), I was able to experience the scene with an entirely new set of eyes. Suddenly, it all made sense! And not just the poses and sequencing; it no longer sounded like a bunch of hippy mumbo-jumbo. I fell just as in love with Amira as I did with Diana and Matthew.  I was able to see the whole series through an entirely new lens: yoga was the answer. To everything! From Diana's power, her control, to Matthew's temper, and the concept of time traveling... but let's not get ahead of ourselves! Embedded here are some photos and videos to help you visualize the poses and and understand the sequences that Amira leads the class through.  Hopefully, this will help you have a better grasp of the scene through visualization.

"Amira took us through some gentle stretches and got us onto our knees to warm up our spines before we pushed back into downward dog. We held the posture for a few breaths before walking our hands to our feet and standing up."
Mountain pose as described in The Discovery of Witches (by Deborah Harkness) demonstrated by Aly Davis

"Root your feet into the earth," she instructed, "and take mountain pose." I concentrated on my feet and felt an unexpected jolt from the floor. My eyes widened."

"We followed Amira as she began her vinyasas.  We swung our arms up toward the ceiling before diving down to place our hands next to our feet.  We rose halfway, spines parallel to the floor, before folding over and shooting our legs back into a pushup position.  Dozens of daemons, vampires, and witches dipped and swooped their bodies into graceful upward curves. We continued to fold and lift, sweeping our arms overhead once more before touching palms lightly together."

[...Read More]

We didn't DARE edit the post down to a smaller bite of the delicious demonstration she served us! It is way too good!  Aly goes on to show us many more poses including, Savasana, Lotus, some standing poses and what may just be that death-defying pose Matthew impressed Diana with!

Full post located here: Yoga and the All Souls Trilogy, by Aly Davis

Thank you so much, Aly!

Aly can be found on Instagram - read the entire post (click above!) for the full experience, and to get details on how to connect with her.  All photos/videos for this article © 2016 Aly Davis.

Til Next time...

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