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The Perfect Yoga Pose

The Perfect Yoga Pose

Originally published in OM Yoga & Lifestyle Magazine.

There is no such thing as a perfect yoga pose.

A mild thoracic curve means that my chaturanga can look slightly lopsided. However, I only noticed this after observation in a mirror and working one-to-one with a teacher. X-rays and scans confirmed mild scoliosis as well as spondylolisthesis, so the wonky chaturanga then made sense. Not long ago I had the experience of being in a workshop where an advanced teacher tried to (literally) wrench my shoulder up and back in chaturanga to straighten me out, despite my explanation of my physical imbalances. Instead of listening he stared at me blankly and said, “You’re not doing it right”.

These experiences greatly inform how I approach teaching. They also remind me what an honour and privilege and responsibility it is. If I were less confident, that experience with the advanced teacher would have upset me. (Let’s save the ‘what is advanced?’ discussion for another time, but really like Michael Taylor’s take on “advanced” yoga in his great Mind Body Green blog post here)

I like to remember the words of Judith Hanson Lasater who I studied with earlier this year. During training, one of the many things she said that stuck with me in regard to yoga asana is that there is no right or wrong – there is only safe. It’s important that we do our best to be safe in our postures.

I enjoy one-to-one yoga sessions a lot. Each person I guide through practice teaches me something. Every Body is different. There is no perfect yoga pose.

One of the things I love about working one-to-one is being able to guide someone to finding the expression of a posture that works best for them. Together we can take more time to get back to basics, break down poses and tailor their practice. My hope is that within this the yogi comes to experience that the practice they are developing is about more than touching their toes. When a client told me she had practiced a couple of poses on her own at home because she liked how they made her feel afterwards I was delighted. Delighted that she felt confident enough to do some asana practice on her own and that she was finding her own unique experience of yoga that went beyond where to place her feet in trikonasana. Even better that this was for her self-care and not to please the teacher.

Changing Seasons, Changing Pace

Changing Seasons, Changing Pace

Raw Chocolate Balls on a Berry Salad - one of delicious desserts we made (and ate!) on retreat :D

Raw Chocolate Balls on a Berry Salad - one of delicious desserts we made (and ate!) on retreat :D

Between teacher training, the exciting news of officially becoming certified by Judith Hanson Lasater as a Relax and Renew Trainer, teaching, writing and the usual day-to-day I barely noticed the days getting shorter this month. But I certainly noticed it getting colder! With the clocks going back in the UK this weekend we’re officially in that yin time of year.

With the autumnal weather last weekend I was in the perfect location – a cosy farm house in East Sussex with a wonderful group of people :D. I was teaching yoga on a Yoga, Pilates and Vegetarian Cookery retreat at Marsh Farm House. I went on this retreat earlier this year as a guest and loved the experience so much that I returned to teach on the weekend!

Over the three days of yoga and learning to cook (and eat!) some delicious, healthy vegetarian and vegan food I was reminded yet again of the importance of taking time out for ourselves. It felt like such a privilege to be there in the capacity of yoga teacher and helping to facilitate the weekend.

I’m already looking forward to teaching on the Relax and Restore New Year Retreat with Sally Parkes in January! If you’d like to welcome in 2013 by restoring balance to your body and mind, then come and join us! It’s going to be a wonderful mix of Dynamic, Hatha, Restorative Yoga and Pilates at Florence House. Plus there’ll be holistic treatments on offer from expert therapist Jo Poxon. Take some well-deserved time out for you :D



This award-winning movie has been out for a year, though there are still a lot of us out there who haven’t seen it! I’ve been lucky enough to see it twice in the past month. First, during a residential teacher training week and again last night at a special screening at The Prince Charles Cinema in London.

Present at the screening for a Q&A were two fantastic, inspiring teachers who appear in the film: Gabriela Bozic, who I was fortunate to meet and study with at the London Jivamukti Yoga immersion last Autumn, and Caroline Shola Arewa. Shola is one of the tutors on Laxmi Yoga, so I’m excited to meet her at Part 2 of training this weekend :D

I actually enjoyed this documentary even more the second time around. It gave me a great deal to think about as far as why I practice, how and why I have come to follow the path of becoming a teacher and what I can contribute.

Seeing the movie also made me reflect on my own journey over the past year. When I first saw this film being promoted on the web before its US release I was just at the beginning of my teacher training journey after some 10 years since my very first yoga class. Watching the movie I noted that I have been amazingly fortunate to practice and study with some amazing teachers (both male and female) over the past decade and that several of them appear in the film as interviewees including Judith Hanson Lasater, Shiva Rea, Sarah Powers, Cyndi Lee, Gabriela and now, Caroline Shola Arewa.

Naturally, with women being the focus of the movie a significant idea that is explored is what women bring to the yoga practice as practitioners and teachers. But you don’t have to be a woman to enjoy it! :D I came away feeling inspired, uplifted and affirmed. And once again, was the re-iteration of the message that the Yoga is not the Asana. What you do within the confines of your yoga mat is just a tiny part of it. More important than whether we can do handstand in the middle of the room is how and who we choose to be in the world.

If you haven’t had a chance to see the film yet, check it out! Details of worldwide screenings are listed on the website and you can keep up to date with them on Facebook and twitter too. Tell your friends! Let’s Spread the Yoga Love :D

You can watch the trailer here: Yogawoman trailer.

Before I die I want to….

Before I die I want to….

“It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day and forget what really matters to you…. Two of the most valuable things we have are time and our relationships with other people.” – Candy Chang

If you haven’t already seen it, (or maybe even if you already have!) check out this life-affirming video of artist Candy Chang’s TED Talk. I was in the midst of getting worked-up over something…and then I saw this and it reminded me that what I was getting so worked-up about really wasn’t that important.

How would you complete this sentence?

Many thanks to John Williams at Screw Work Let’s Play for sharing.

Before I die I want to…

None of that other yoga ‘stuff’

None of that other yoga ‘stuff’

I had interesting chat at a yoga centre.

A student who had just come out of a class was sent to talk to me by the teacher, who was rushing to cover the next class. I don’t teach at this place but I think the student was sent my way knowing that I do teach. Anyhow…

The student, a beginner who had been practising for several months, explained that during Savasana she was overcome by, “…a very weird feeling”. This had never happened before so she was worried. I asked if she felt ill or faint.

Yogi: “No, nothing like that. I just felt really…. calm.”
Me: “So… you felt good, right?”
Yogi: “Yeah.”
Me: “In Savasana?”
Yogi: “Yeah.”
Me: “Congratulations!”
Yogi: “But I only come here for a workout. I don’t want any of that other ‘stuff’. People might think I’m

I went on to assure her as best I could that she was not ‘nuts’ and that there was nothing wrong.

When I first began practising I did not really know or care about the other ‘stuff’ either. I wanted to relieve back pain, and yoga did that. I also hoped might lose some weight and yoga it did that too. What I had not expected was how it would begin to affect my life in other, bigger ways.

Seeing the growing popularity of yoga in the UK is wonderful – from elite athletes incorporating it into their training, to small children doing their best Lion impersonations. A lot seems to have changed since my first class around eleven years ago. And as yoga becomes more accessible there are styles and teachers out there for anyone who wants to give yoga a try. (Hurrah!)

So, while there’s nothing wrong with going along for a workout if that’s your thing, it’s important to know that regular practice may (shock horror) start to positively effect you beyond dropping five kilos or having tighter buns. You may, for instance, start to deal better with stress, find yourself getting less easily wound up, want to hug the traffic warden who just gave you a ticket because you see their inner goodness… (okay, that last one might be a little overly optimistic.)

Or you may not.

And it’s okay. Everyone’s experience of yoga is different, but don’t be surprised if you find some of that other ‘stuff’ revealing itself to you, especially if you weren’t looking for it in the first place. Sneaky little yoga :D

Moving with the Flow, Moving with Awareness

Moving with the Flow, Moving with Awareness

Find joy in the present - image via

“ Live with awareness for the sake of ourselves and others.” – Sarah Powers

So far it’s been a yin yang summer.

This summer marks a year of leaving the ‘security’ of my old job and beginning the journey of yoga teaching. I’d known long before that I wanted to take this leap and share my love of yoga, but I held myself back for a number of reasons (i.e. excuses) – my postures not being Cirque du Soleil enough, not looking the way a yoga teacher is ‘supposed’ to, worrying other people might think I’d gone ‘la-la-woo-woo’, and a teeny matter of being terrified of speaking in front of groups… Then along came my mate Redundancy to give me the firm kick in the posterior I needed.

Judith Hanson Lasater, when I trained with her earlier this year, joked that yoga teachers are the most “go-go-go” people she knows, often scheduled to the hilt.

I relate to this. I have always had workaholic tendencies, though I’ve increasingly spent the past months being all go-go-go. Working seven days a week most weeks (not only teaching, admittedly), out of necessity to make ends meet. I believed. But when your mind believes one thing it’s funny how the wisdom of the body tells you very clearly not to believe your thoughts!

A number of physical signs stopped me in my tracks, telling me I had to start doing things differently. (Like actually taking a day off occasionally.) So, I followed my gut instinct and did something that seemed illogical. I gave up a part-time job.

But I have faith that when you let go of one thing you clear the way for something new. And funnily enough… I’ve been having a number of serendipitous experiences.

In June I did a wonderful intensive training with Shiva Rea. The timing, though I did not realise it then, could not have been more perfect. One thing that particularly struck me, within learning about the essentials of teaching vinyasa flow, were the reminders about moving with the flow of life off the mat too.

Then this month I was lucky enough to attend a workshop with Sarah Powers – yin yang yoga and mindfulness meditation. This was certainly not my first experience of a yin practice, though it was my first (and hopefully not last) experience of practicing with Sarah Powers, and the timing seemed pertinent. On the mat we were invited to meet our limitations during our yin practice. To see where we resist and, to recognise the resistance rather than resisting resistance. Sarah talked about ‘implicit resistance’ and how we may manipulate a situation to tell ourselves, “I’m fine”. And she also talked about compassion (karuna) towards our habits of aversion towards the uncomfortable situations in our lives. In turn, this allowed me to think about where I resist off the mat too and how, indeed, I had ignored my own internal signals over the past months. I recognised how little compassion I had been showing myself in that time.

For our mindfulness meditation practice, using the breath (observing it rather than controlling it) as a tool to anchor to the present moment, Sarah talked about developing the observing mind, seeing what happens when we observe resistance, pleasure and so on.

“If you can’t listen to the breath, then you can’t listen to the subtle internal messages.”

It was in paying attention to my internal messages rather than listening to my ‘logical’ thoughts that I realised I had to change what I was doing and how I was doing it.

All of these things were reminders of what I already knew deep down, internally. But how often do we push these kinds of feelings aside in favour of what seems logical?

In talking about her own practice Sarah mentioned how it is amazing to notice when you don’t practice for a few days that everything turns into ‘thoughts’ and assuming that our thoughts are reality. Again I was reminded of Judith’s words during training – “Watch your thoughts but don’t believe them.”

So, in paying more attention to those internal messages and becoming more aware I’ve been finding some more clarity. That is not to say it is always comfortable, but I am practicing showing myself compassion along the way. It is a continual practice – usually compassion for myself has seemed to come last on the list. For how many of us has showing compassion towards ourselves seemed challenging or selfish? But it’s a little bit like the oxygen mask analogy. You know, when airplane cabin crew take you through the safety procedure and the little film tells you to put your oxygen mask on before assisting others with their masks? Self-compassion is not selfish. This applies whether it’s during our asana practice or our day-to-day life. Yes, all this may seem obvious, yet I feel grateful for the good and the ‘bad’ over the past months, which has led me to this point.

Related to this, where I have decided to move with the flow – to let go of worrying about what may or may not happen in the future and focussed on the present, unexpected opportunities have somehow appeared just when I’ve least expected it. And again, at every turn, I am incredibly grateful!

One such opportunity is officially joining the retreat teaching team at Sally Parkes Yoga. I am excited to be hosting a retreat in October at the wonderful Marsh Farm House in Sussex. Why not take a break from your frenetic pace and join me in feeling the joy of moving with the flow. But in the meantime, don’t forget to enjoy the present moment!

For retreat details please visit

Peace and Good Chocolate in Sussex

Peace and Good Chocolate in Sussex

Tasty Team Effort - Vegetarian Sushi made by our fair hands :)

You can tell the food is good when the dinner table falls silent.

The meal is asparagus and pea risotto expertly whipped up by chef, Lucie. The dinner table is in the dining room at the beautifully cosy and charming Marsh Farm House near Arundel, West Sussex.

It’s not my usual Friday evening. I am on Sally Parkes’ yoga and vegetarian cookery weekend retreat. Just moments ago the table was buzzing with chatter and then…. the food arrived!

I love yoga and I love food, so what better than to combine the two? I’ve been lacking inspiration in my own cooking and with certain food sensitivities revealing themselves last year, working out how and what to eat has at times been a challenge. When I heard about this retreat it sounded like a perfect opportunity to come away with some new recipes (and eat some very tasty food, of course!).

Added to this, being on a tight budget, getting away on a yoga retreat seemed like a pipe dream, but the added beauty of this was it being a pocket friendly weekend away in pretty surroundings – great for those of us who want a retreat experience but aren’t able to jet off to far flung places.

As we tucked into our risotto, the itinerary for the weekend was explained. There would be yoga early (but not too early!) on Saturday morning, before breakfast. Then after some free time we’d have our first cookery workshop where we would make our lunch and later on, help to make the dessert to accompany our dinner.
All the recipes in our workshops would be vegetarian, as with all the meals at Marsh Farm over the weekend. Lucie said she could also offer alternatives, taking into account any additional dietary requirements (vegan, wheat/gluten free etc.) – perfect! It all sounded good, but one pressing question remained – could we get the recipe for that risotto?

Saturday Afternoon Sushi
I awoke feeling incredibly rested on Saturday morning and noticed something different.


Actual ‘not being drowned out by city traffic ‘ birdsong. I hopped out of bed to check out the view of Marsh Farm’s garden from the window and in the field beyond I spotted a… horse! Getting this excited by ‘nature’ showed me just how overdue this break away from the city was. Just as well I was in the ideal place for some rest and renewal.

During a hearty breakfast from the range of options on offer (I went for the gluten free bircher muesli), I soon realised that the catchphrase among us for the weekend would be, “Can we get the recipe for this as well?”
With a bit of a wander around the garden I could appreciate, up-close, the all the spring blooms out in force and the Alice in Wonderland-style hedge, which made me smile.

Taking advantage of the gorgeous weather, we brought our ingredients out to the big garden table where Lucie taught us how to make vegetarian sushi – much easier than I expected and a lot of fun. Now we knew how to make California rolls with the best of ‘em. We rewarded ourselves by eating said sushi out in the sun.

Our free time after lunch allowed for exploring the ‘secret garden’ I had failed to spot earlier around the back of the farm house, while some of the group took a walk to the village. I opted curl up with a book – something I rarely allow myself time to do at home. So, I sat in the garden with my horsey friend from earlier over the fence for company.

Our afternoon cookery workshop was making chocolate orange and avocado tarts – every bit as delicious as they sounded! And vegan too.

Sally’s mellow yoga class before dinner was the perfect way to round off the afternoon. Sally’s classes welcome beginners and cater for all abilities so it was lovely to see the range of ages and yoga experience among our group from regular practitioners to those whose first ever yoga class was that weekend.

Some yoga nidra from Sally put us all in a sufficiently chilled state for the evening and our delicious meal of shepherd-less pie with wilted greens.

Oh. And chocolate orange and avocado tarts.

Happy taste buds all round.

Sunday Spelt Scones
Sunday morning brought more gorgeous Sussex sunshine, so after breakfast I stepped out into the garden, feeling the dew underfoot and taking the opportunity to soak up the stillness. A real reminder of how little I (like many of us) allow myself to pause during my day-to-day hustle bustle. Another bonus of this retreat: having some time and space to reflect.

Our last cookery workshop: surprisingly quick and easy to make spelt, sundried tomato and spinach scones. They accompanied our roasted tomato and lentil soup, roasted vegetable salad and carrot and sultana salad for lunch.
After we were all packed up and ready to go there was a surprise. Some of the chocolate orange and avocado tart filling was left over! A few spoons came out to help rectify that situation. Chocolate is a terrible thing to waste, after all…

Before we said our goodbyes, a learned member of our group of yogis translated the Latin phrase above the door in the dining room: “Divine help remains with us always”. I often feel in need of divine help in the kitchen! But Lucie’s explanations and demonstrations throughout the weekend made all the recipes so accessible. And with store-cupboard advice and even tips on knife skills too, I came away feeling that I could recreate all the recipes with confidence.

I’d arrived frazzled on Friday but returned home feeling frazzled no more, armed with some inspiring recipes and memories of delicious food, laughter, great company and of course, lovely yoga.

Letting Go (Redux)

Letting Go (Redux)

Taking time out to smell the roses, literally, in a beautiful Brighton florists last week. Mixing work with a day by the sea :)

Repetition is important.

My restorative yoga training at the beginning of March had a big impact on me, partly because it came at a point when I was giving myself a really hard time. One of the things I remember Judith talking about is how repetition is important when teaching. I am paraphrasing Judith here, but she was explaining that for years you can say, “Left toes out, right toes in,” to the same students every week, and after a couple of years the student goes, “Ah. I get it: left toes out, right toes in”. Or, a celebrity yogi comes to town and the student does their workshop and comes back to your class saying, “I went to this workshop! They said, ‘left toes out, right toes in’ – it’s amazing! Have you tried it?”

I found this good to hear as I have worried at times, particularly as a newer teacher, that I was sounding like a broken record with my instruction.

I think repetition is important a wider sense too. Sometimes, we can all benefit from reminders.

As you may have noticed, the posts have been less frequent recently. Basically since I started teaching.

Over the past month, I’ve been trying (though not always succeeding) to slow down. My ‘to do’ list hasn’t shrunk, but I have spent the past month working on shifting my attitude towards it. In huge part this is to do with adapting to being self-employed and fear over money. (I am sure I’m not alone on this one!)

I am loving teaching yoga, but the reality is that financially I am not yet teaching enough to cover my outgoings. So, as I type I currently have two other jobs, with possibly a third in a few days time. That said, even if I was teaching ten or more classes a week I would still be at risk of burnout, yet maybe still need to take on other work. Not an uncommon scenario for yoga teachers out there from my understanding. It’s really not that I expect to earn a fortune, but yogis have bills too.

Since the beginning of the year I have been ill more times in three months than I was in the past twelve. On one of those occasions, I was in bed with a virus when I should have been running a half marathon I’d trained for. Just two days before I was in Denial City, convinced I would run, in spite of physical signs showing otherwise. Sounding like Yoda on account of my voice fading:

Me: I think I’m still gonna run.
Stewie: Let go of attachment, Hinesy.

My lovely fellow YTT grad and yoga teacher, Stewie was half-joking but he was right. I had been clinging to my expectation that I would do that half marathon no matter what. Running is something I enjoy but on reflection I realised that the training had become a chore as the half-marathon developed into another thing I ‘had to’ do.

I’d been doing a lot of clinging since the beginning of the year. Over the last half of 2011 I allowed myself to focus on YTT and trying to get my life in order after redundancy from my old job. Then as soon as I completed YTT and got my insurance at Christmas my mindset shifted to, ‘Right you’ve got no excuse now – time to get your arse into gear!”

I recognised the signs:

– Working ridiculously long hours
– My own yoga practice dwindling
– Eating erratically and poorly
– Clutter starting to build up around me
– Lots of worst case scenario thinking
– Feeling overwhelmed, exhausted and anxious
– Losing my sense of humour* (and therefore, PERSPECTIVE !) – not cool!

This seems to happen with each life shift, yet, I had forgotten. Thanks to letting fear run riot, I had forgotten (again).

Time to let go of the clinging.

– Of clinging to ‘perfect’ outcomes.
– Of clinging to the idea of being able to ‘do it all’ on my own. (Ask for help when I need it and accept help when it is offered)
– Of clinging to the expectation that I should feel happy all the time
– Of clinging to what I assume other people expect me to be, or act or look like as a yoga teacher. (And we know how dangerous assumptions can be, don’t we people?)

Basically, letting go of clinging, overall, to my expectations and other people’s expectations of me.

For instance, I have been teaching just for three months, yet I had an expectation of myself that I should be teaching at least 10 classes a week to be seen as a ‘real’ teacher. (Where I got that from I don’t know?! Because it certainly wasn’t imposed on me by anyone else.) If that’s you straight of YTT then that’s great – that’s where you’re meant to be. I realise that this is where I am meant to be right now, not just with teaching but in my life in general.

Working on shifting my mindset hasn’t left me with less to do, but it has radically altered my view on how I approach things. Consequently, I’ve felt better too, accepting that some days I am going to feel more productive than others. Yes, I am busy but now I try to make a point of taking some time out to be still each day. That might mean twenty minutes or it might mean five. Either way, I’ll take it.

As for running, I’m allowing myself to enjoy it again without any expectations of when I’ll do a half marathon. As for young Stewie, he did run that half marathon and this month is running the London Marathon for the fantastic charity Sports Aid. If you’re reading this and would like to support Sports Aid’s work, helping the next generation of Britain’s sporting heroes and heroines please do visit Stewie’s fundraising page. To quote his words:

“Every little donation helps.. I know lots of you are living on the breadline like myself so I feel your pain – just know that I will also be in lots of pain at around 21 miles when my legs are asking me what the hell is wrong with me – stop running you idiot…”


Yes, there are those day-to-day stresses and the juggling of roles – being self-employed is balancing act, but it’s all surmountable. Putting things in perspective is so important. Lots of fantastic, serendipitous things have been happening and lots of wonderful opportunities have been unfolding. I am incredibly grateful and safe in the knowledge that things really are exactly as they are meant to be.

Whatever happens, it’s ok.

*The ‘losing sense of humour’ bit always happens when I don’t get on the mat enough. Thankfully, I’ve found it again. It was hiding down the back of the sofa ;)

Happily Unrealistic

Happily Unrealistic

“Life is a series of leaps”
Suzy Greaves*

I had genuinely forgotten it was a leap year until I heard a conversation about it on the radio. Usually, when a leap year comes around I’m thinking I can’t believe how time has flown by. For the first time in a long while I feel surprised by how much has changed. (Thankfully, for the better – not that those changes always felt as though they were for the better at the time).

If you had told me on Feb 29th four years ago that I would basically be working for myself I am not sure I would have bought it. I had a ‘safe’ job with a regular salary for a long time. And as appealing as the idea of working for myself seemed, it felt like too big a leap to make. Not realistic. Waaay too scary. How would I pay the mortgage?! But then I thought back and remembered when I had wondered if writing was too big a leap, yet there I was being paid to write. And before that when I wondered if working in TV was too big a leap, yet there I was working in TV. And before that when I wondered if getting into a college that lots of talented people wanted to get into was too big a leap, yet… you get the idea. And then I remembered I have never truly believed in being realistic. I think it’s because as I was growing up, each time I expressed a dream I had, I would be told by someone (usually a grown-up) that I wasn’t being realistic because I was “too quiet” or “too nice” or “too working-class” or even “too black”. There tended to be a pattern – my internal response would basically be:


But that’s what I’m doing anyway.

We are all capable of achieving those things we’d like to. I think it’s just that sometimes we can forget. Life can temporarily grind us down, or we get stuck in a rut… and we forget. That’s not to say it’s never scary to take those steps and make those leaps. Yet, speaking from my own experience, each time I have summoned up the courage and gone with what I believe it has always been where I have learned my biggest lessons, received the most unexpected rewards and surprised myself. (And, as it happens, those folks who told me I wasn’t being realistic.) Right now, I still have days with the odd wave of “How will I pay the mortgage?” panic as my mind races ahead to where I might be this time next year, rather than focusing on the present. But despite that, I would not change things. I would not wish to go back to that ‘safe’ scenario.

I would rather carry on leaping.

Happy Leap Year to You! :D

*Thanks to Suzy for reminding me of what I had forgotten. Glad to see that you are still leaping too! :D

New Year, New Column

New Year, New Column
New Year, New Column

It’s been a bit of a whirlwind start to 2012 so far. In some ways I can’t quite believe we’re only just past halfway through January.  I feel as though I’ve easily crammed at least a month’s worth of work into the last 17 days!

One of my new writing experiences for 2012 is being a columnist for OM Yoga & Lifestyle Magazine.

I will still be charting my experiences here on the blog. But now once a month I will also be writing about the realities of getting started with teaching and finding my way, post YTT, in a new column following the first year of a new teacher.

Among the feelings of excitement at reaching the milestone of graduating from YTT were all sorts of questions about what to do next.  For instance, is it a good idea to set up your own class or just look for work at studios or gyms when starting out?  Is it normal to still feel nervous before teaching a class?  Various queries about the business aspects of being a teacher, and so much more.  As I talked to other teachers, new and experienced I realised that I was not alone – that these questions and feelings when one is just beginning are completely normal.  With this in mind, I pitched this idea to Martin, the editor and he said yes!

So, if you would like to follow my progress via the column, you can find the first one on p. 114 of the Jan/Feb issue out now.