Fergus Dick is one of our members, who’s been attending FG classes right from the very beginning the studio opened in Brixton.
Did you practice yoga before FG and how did you hear about us?
“I have practiced many forms of yoga over many years. I started paying 20p a session at Brighton Unemployed Centre in 1990: every week Hazel the teacher finished the class by saying: ‘Let us send out thoughts of peace and loving kindness, to the planet, and to the trees’: unforgettable.
I noticed the building on Coldharbour Lane being transformed before I’d ever heard of Fierce Grace. Katie and Nigel started visiting Brixton Therapy Centre where I work as a massage therapist; I met them there and started learning about FG from them.”
How have you found your yoga journey?
“Before FG, yoga was something I did every now and then in order to relax and have a good stretch. Since I started FG my practise has become transformative in both a physical and emotional sense. I don’t think I’ve even reached the bottom of the yoga ladder yet, even though I’ve been practising FG for 15 months and yoga for 30 years. I can now see the bottom of the ladder though and I know which direction it is in; this image has developed in my mind over the past few months of FG practice.”
What changes have you experienced through Fierce Grace?
“My posture has improved more noticeably than it did after studying Alexander Technique. My core stability has developed far more than it ever did in pilates classes. I’ve lost more weight than I ever did by running or going to the gym. My flexibility remains my biggest challenge, but the triple threat of posture, core strength and weight loss keeps me coming to Fierce Grace and as I do, my flexibility also gradually improves.”
What do you find most enjoyable in your practice?
“Most enjoyable is when I discover that a posture that I never thought I would be able to master, suddenly seems to flow easily out of the last posture and into the next, and you ‘receive’ it.”
And the postures, do you have a most enjoyable and most challenging?
“The most enjoyable posture is the one most recently ‘received’: currently Straight Leg Triangle. The most challenging at the moment is Dolphin.”
Has practising yoga informed your understanding of the body for your massage therapy? Or vice versa?
“Despite my Anatomy and Physiology training, I like to see the body in biodynamic terms; as an emotional rather than a physical construct. Yoga has made me more conscious of my own physical well-being as a massage therapist: I am much more able to treat multiple clients on a daily basis without wearing myself out. This is partly due to improved posture and fitness, but also controlling my breath and measuring the energy expounded on each treatment more successfully.
Massage has made me more aware that I need ways of stretching my own neck, pectorals, rhomboids and trapezius: all muscle groups that are stretched in yoga postures, but often within postures where you need extra flexibility in hip, hamstring and spine before you can get to them. I spend time after treatments offering my clients advice on stretching to support their yoga practise, or telling them the directions to the FG studio from Brixton Therapy Centre.”
How can massage support a yoga practice?
“Many of my clients practice yoga regularly. They typically build up tension in their neck, pecs, rhomboids and trapezoid muscles. I work on these muscle groups using deep tissue and relaxing massage techniques to remove knots of confused muscle tissue so the clients can return to their practise with confidence and in comfort.”