SYL Practitioner Scott Arnott\u2019s whole life changed by taking the leap. Here\u2019s why... By Scott Arnott We warmly welcome SYL practitioner, Scott Arnott, to the SYL blog. Scott has been part of Stillpoint Yoga London now for three and a half years. Find out more about our\u00a0Stillpoint Membership. "I'm a grumpy Scotsman, an ex Investment Manager who now runs a commercial Landscape business. Going into the Mysore room was daunting. After all, I\u2019m not twenty five anymore. Surely everyone will notice the greying bloke sweating profusely and not knowing what he\u2019s doing.\u00a0 Well, maybe they did, but I didn\u2019t care! Although, on the first day, when Scott said something and everyone stood at the front of their mats, then started chanting in Sanskrit, I did think: What am I doing here...? He wants me to do what? Well, if I\u2019m here I might as well see where the rabbit hole goes\u2026\u201d My yoga practice started because of a house fire\u2026. In 2014 we\u2019d had a fire at our cottage, so we rented a house in another village whilst the repairs and some renovations were undertaken. Over the Christmas period a friend came to stay who I knew practiced yoga. After some urging he agreed to show me some of the \u2018moves\u2019 in the sitting room of the rented house. After about five minutes he said, in disgust, \u2018I knew it, you\u2019ve done it before\u2019. He then refused to show me any more but my interest was piqued. As the rebuild progressed so did the stress of supervising the building site, running a business, fighting the Insurance Company and not really looking after myself. An offer for six yoga classes for the price of one caught my eye, so off I trotted to class. I was one of two men in a room full of women (the other man was the teacher!). Undeterred, I saw it as another form of exercise which would complement the others I undertook. I had always been flexible after all, just ask our Christmas house guest, and the stretching was good. Deepening practice I duly went to the six classes. Each had a different teacher, and at the end of the package they offered another group of classes at a discounted rate. Gradually, my once-weekly yoga class developed into four classes a week. It was really stress busting, and I began to get annoyed if I had missed one. This carried on for almost four years, but I started to get a bit bored with some classes - it was just someone throwing shapes at the front and lots of people trying to follow as far as I could tell. There certainly wasn\u2019t any focus on breath and movement. \u2018Oh well, I\u2019ve only got another couple of passes then I can quit this and find something else\u2026\u2019 Then, when I was really beginning to lose interest, a new teacher showed up to cover one of the classes. She declared she would be doing an Ashtanga sequence which is about breath and Bandha. What was all this counting about? It was unlike anything I had experienced before. "What on earth is Bandha?\u00a0 What is she talking about...this is really challenging" Needless to say, I was hooked. The Rabbit Hole After two more classes with this teacher I decided to find out if there was an Ashtanga class closer to home. Stillpoint Yoga London and Scott Johnson came up. I sent a message, writing that I had done some yoga, didn\u2019t know anything about this Mysore thing, and I wasn\u2019t sure if I needed to do a beginners class or not. In January 2017 Scott and I had a one-to-one session. I still remember leaving feeling like I had found something special. >More than three years on from this first brush with Ashtanga, I\u2019m still exploring the rabbit hole I jumped down on that day. What began as a useful stretching session has become an integral part of my life and daily routine. Challenges along the way Sitting quietly has been one of the most challenging practices of all. My ability to ignore that which didn\u2019t resonate with my outlook had been a significant part of my previous success as an investment manager, after all. Single minded and determined were adjectives that appeared on nearly every performance review. As assets. If I\u2019m being honest, dealing with people and their \u201cfeelings\u201d really was never my thing.\u00a0 Sure I have friends who know there is another side which is open, supportive, naughty and gregarious, but that was my secret!\u00a0 It was just easier that way.\u00a0 Maintaining a distance can be comforting. But, gradually, I have noticed. Noticed the biases which drive me. The need to be open to other perspectives. To learn. I am a much calmer and kinder person to be around. More aware of life around me. It\u2019s all a work in progress. Moments Some moments that stand out for me are: \tMy first Stillpoint Spring Gathering, being in a room full of people all breathing and moving. \tMy 11 hour snow blizzard journey with Scott for a weekend retreat with the lovely Helen McCabe in Studland cemented our friendship. \tA longer retreat to Eco Yoga in Scotland led to a Holiday with my partner in Goa practicing daily with Scott and Kia Naddermier. \tBelonging to a community with a common language, regardless of where you are in the world. \tBeing encouraged to deepen the exploration and being supported by my new family of Yogis. \tStarting the Am\u0101yu trainings and opening a new world of Study and Exploration. \tSpending February this year, encouraged by Scott, undertaking teacher training with Simon Borg-Olivier of Yoga Synergy exploring movement in a room of people from around the world. \u2018Who\u2019d have thought I\u2019d be now sharing the practice with others. I\u2019m a willing Student\u2026\u2019 And I always will be a Student. So, pre Covid-19 distancing, turning up at Stillpoint Yoga London each morning with Scott and I giving each other a hug and having a quick gossip has become one of the most important things in my life. It takes a lot for this still often grumpy Scotsman to acknowledge that, but the truth will win out in the end! Oh, and I love the chanting.