Thursday, 22 December 2011


I gladly got back on the meditation cushion this week. It’s a bit like when you don’t do something for a while and you realise the cobwebs have started to gather a little. Yes, my mind is a little full of cobwebs. It needed a clean!

So it’s the same thing. Whether you meditated yesterday, have never meditated or have been a little neglecting of the practice recently the method is the same. Come back to your mat, plonk down your bum, set a timer for 1-100+ minutes, close your eyes and tune into the breath.

There are a million different practices out there which are profound and life changing. It might take a little time to play with which some to find one really helps you to do that cobweb clearing the best. There’s no need to be attached to a particular method, when it’s not working for you, try something else. The point is, just like with an asana practice to keep coming back, come back to the cushion, and come back to your breath whenever you can.

There is no goal, nowhere to get to; it’s your time for yourself to let everything settle and for the important stuff to bubble up. It may be a while but I’ve found that creating a little space for my sitting practice opens up all facets of my life and boosts my creativity.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Guest Blog: Yoga and Its Global Reach

Yoga is all about community so I'm delighted to introduce a new guest blogger Allie Brooks currently lives in Florida and has just graduated from University of Mississippi, with a degree in biomedical anthropology. She is studying in the field to finish an ethnography on the effects of biomedicalization on Bolivian cultures.

How yoga can ‘fix’ just about everything
Yoga is a global movement and this 5,000 year old practice is becoming increasing popular. Yoga teachers are becoming more traveled, all age-ranges of people are beginning to practice, and different reasons for yoga are being addressed. There is something for everyone in yoga and this is why the mind-body therapy has such a global reach.

Since there is much emphasis on health and fitness, yoga has become popular for those trying to shed a few pounds or tone up. Many different forms of yoga are focused on toning the body and are more physically challenging. Some postures, breathing routines, and movements are aligned with a cardio-rich music track to keep the body moving and burning calories. Hot yoga, or Bikram, is another type that is used to release toxins, stress, and help increase the body performance to get into shape.

Restorative yoga is available for those that are tired and/or injured. The poses associated with this yoga form are deeply relaxing and revitalizing. They encourage the body to rest and help to revive the mind-body connection for further healing. This yoga is admired by weary travelers who are homesick and stressed or patients undergoing severe treatments or surgery recovery. Many hospitals offer restorative yoga classes for patients with a stressful cancer diagnosis, like a non-hodgkin’s lymphoma or mesothelioma prognosis.
Acro-yoga is for everyone that cannot wait for the circus to come back in town. It is a fun way to meet new people or practice with a friend, since two yogis normally work together to achieve acrobatic fun and therapeutic release. Not only is this form of yoga great for all age groups, it combines all the “wanted” aspects of yoga. Acro-yoga is fun, physically intense, and a stress-alleviator. Many schools and parents use acro-yoga to keep the children engaged and fit.

No matter what’s the niche, there is a form of yoga for anyone. From curing homesickness to acting as a healing catalyst, yoga can facilitate any goal one could have. Since any form of yoga is a fun way to get fit, get tone, have fun, and relax it should be the new way to bring in the New Year. Around this time, everyone is setting goals and making resolutions, so why no jump start that goal with yoga? Get your friends together or make your significant other drops plans for the plans for the gym and go to a yoga studio. It is a fun way to form human connections, get in shape together, and have fun while you all de-stress.

Contact Allie

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

The play of Lila

My last word in my series of three is joy. It’s that time of year, there’s a lot of it around. It’s pretty common for me to get caught up in the detail and really lose sight of I’m doing stuff in the first place. I do think of myself as pretty playful these days and take more time to notice the sweetness; it all goes to make life that little bit more exquisite. I admit though, it took me a while to refind my inner child and give her some playtime.

That’s what Christmas ends up being about for me, going back home and slotting right back into the family unit. No matter who you are now, your nearest and dearest don’t see you that way. They still see you as the person to “pile on” and squish in the back seat. So this Christmas, I say let the inner child. Let Lila come out to play.

Sometimes there is no other reason to get on your mat other than for the pure joyous exaltation of it. There’s nothing to do and nowhere to go, just enjoy the spaciousness of the practice, the amazing feeling and the little smile which escapes.

Monday, 19 December 2011

Making music

Continuing my three class series, the next in the run is elegance. I just love this word. How I got to it is that I’m a planner and an organiser, there is no getting away from this personality trait.

However, what I realised is that I’m this way for a reason, I’m this way because when I put my mind to something I want it to be beautiful and at the same time I know that I ultimately can’t control the outcome.

For me it’s Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra.1.12: Sanskrit:abhyasa-vairagyabhyam tad-nirodhah, or dedicated practice and non-attachment. The concept is that we put in our best effort and then ultimately let it go. Like a symphony coming together. It’s not like an orchestra magically appears out of nowhere: there’s planning, practice, logistics, a million and one different things come together to make that moment of beautiful music arise. And there’s always going to be something which didn’t quite come out like you planned, something which makes that event completely unique, a moment in time which will never arise again.

So yes, I’m a planner. However, I’m also a music maker in every single moment. Constantly playing a harmony of dedication and letting go.

Monday, 5 December 2011

Counting my blessings...

As a preparation for my 2012 theme, I sat down with one of my good friends and figured out what we feel is really important to us. Yes, it’s true; I can’t go out to dinner any more without some kind of yogic element! It was a really interesting discussion which I’ll be sharing some of the outcomes of over the next few weeks.
When we boiled it down, there were five words which really resonated with me. They resonated so much that I wanted to build a series of three classes around them to close out this most phenomenal year. They come in the order in which they felt most sequential.

First is gratitude. This is a theme which occurs and reoccurs for me regularly and one which I can so easily forget. The point is that when we take time to appreciate everything we have to be thankful for a few things happen. First, we notice things which we didn’t notice before, like a couple of weeks ago I looked outside and saw a few of London bathed in gold as the leaves were turning into their autumn shade.

Then, I’ve found that (and it’s not as if all the bad stuff goes away, it’s not that at all), it’s just that it seems less relevant when stacked up next to all the blessings. It takes practice, that irritating email which stays with you and you take it home and grumble about it to your partner all evening. You know what, when you remember something you really like about yourself the email doesn’t matter so much.

What happens next is pure alchemy and I’m definitely. Can I see the tough stuff as blessings aswell? Woah. I mean really, when I got back on my mat after several days of child’s pose, it felt unbelievably good. Can I remember that next time my life creates a situation where I can’t practice in my usual way how amazing it is that I got to practice at all?

So try this when you meditate: count your blessings. Spend the entire time building up all the things you’re grateful for: what’s stable in your life, your relationships, your history, yourself and your skills, your achievements, every person who touches your day and you never see...

If you don’t have a meditation practice, take some time when you’re in a queue and do some counting.