Thursday, 29 March 2012

Out of the bubble

I’ve just come back from teacher training, again. It was so much fun. No matter how much training I do there’s always something new to learn. What I learnt this time most of all is that this whole thing is a journey. We start off in the little protected bubble of the mat, being guided by our teachers and held by our friends. Then, and sometimes I’m not sure why, we step off the mat and walk to the front of the room. That’s when we get all these amazing maps and all of a sudden our mat becomes a flying carpet from which we view the world afresh.

Doing a training of any kind, by which I mean really any practice infact – from closing your eyes for a few moments, to a kickasana practice to a 108 hour TT – is much like stopping in at a rest stop. You get touch in with your journey. I’m not really concerned with where I’m going anymore, except Starbucks, that’s usually in the equation somewhere.

Sometimes we need to dust off our maps a bit or unfold that corner which got crumpled in your bag that time you forgot about it. Then to look up at the sky on a beautiful sunny day and feel so grateful you’re on this path and someone gave you some landmark and then you never want to stop seeking out new places to go.

Friday, 16 March 2012

Twisting the night away...

It’s around this time of year when go home and my mum has turned the house upside down. Dust, vacuum, stuff, everywhere. Oh yes, it’s spring cleaning time. I have to say, I’m not quite as diligent as my mum. However, I do find that I’m drawn into my kitchen and it does end up looking like a microcosm of my mum’s house. I love to cook so to create deliciousness in my home I first need to do a bit of organisation. That means everything comes out of the cupboards, shelves, fridge and freezer. Create a bit of space. Then everything gets clean and put back so I know exactly where it is. The rubbish gets junked, that spice I used in a curry a year ago, it’s outta here. Then I restock my kitchen with what I really want in there, so I can make magic.

So it’s a thing at spring time I know. And the yogis equivalent of spring cleaning is twists. This week I’ve been on my mat twisting away, rinsing and soaking, as we say, my internal organs. Doing twists is like cooking from a recipe, you need certain ingredients:

  1. A strong foundation, whatever part of you is on the floor stays on the floor. That means the side you’re twisting away from doesn’t join the party. That, my friends, is what you call a turn, not a twist
  2. A whole wad of a big breath, so you get super long in the torso
  3. Hugging the midline so you’re super clear through the whole of your spine
  4. Then you have everything you need twist the night away. Make sure you drink lots of water, sluice out the toxins.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Up above the streets and houses...

I had my haircut last weekend. That’s not a cue for lots of compliments about my hair, although; please feel free to compliment my hair. It was one of those days which doesn’t know whether to rain or be sunny or do both... at the same time.

So I had my hair washed and was being sat down to be made pretty and the lady washing my hair said “I wish it would stop raining”... I looked outside and said “wow, look at that rainbow”. Suddenly she got totally excited about the rainbow and even apologised for getting excited. I was like “dude, I know, I get excited by a cup of tea and a biscuit, it’s the small things that matter”.

Thing is, often we’re so busy with day to day stuff that we forget that there’s so much beauty around us, that moment in time where the conditions are perfect to create this amazing vision; a rainbow. It’s a miracle that light and water combine to split apart white light into a spectrum of colours. I wonder how many times I’ve missed one because I’ve been rushing away from the next downpour.

So this week is most definitely a backbend week. How many ways can I fully extend my spine into a perfect arch the most radiant way and create my very own rainbow. Who knows, I might find my very own pot of gold.

Friday, 2 March 2012


I pretty much knew that yoga is amazing and healing for all kinds of people and for all kinds of reasons. What I hadn’t fully appreciated is how frickin’ fast that transformation can be. I guess that once you’ve been practicing a while you get used to being able to make a shift in a few poses. You get used to feeling good most of the time and when you don’t, how you get back to balance. Suddenly feeling good is the norm, feeling “off” is well, “off”.

So this week I’m taking a moment to pause.

Because when we pause we notice. We notice where we were, where we’ve been and that gives us more confidence as we tread forward into the future. Because it’s when we take that moment to pause and notice that we navigate more skilfully. When we try and power through we’re like a fly crashing into a window, we’re just never going to get out into the fresh air.

And with spring on the horizon, I definitely want more air, more breath, more “wow, that’s was incredible!” moments.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Yes, spring time!

I’ve been hanging out with my meditation cushion a lot of late. Here’s what I’ve been practicing in honour of my friend who’s no longer with us. She taught me so many things, this meditation is a sliver and with spring well on the horizon it’s a good ‘un.

Sit down and make yourself comfortable. Set your timer: 5, 10, 60 minutes – whatever time you have.
Close your eyes and find your breath.

Imagine yourself in an empty field full of the brightest of bright green grass with the sun shining.
Start to think of all the things you have in your life which you’re grateful for. I like to go through different categories of things each day, like: everything within myself, everything within my world, every part of my past, present and future, all of my relationships, all of the things which make me laugh... you’ll find more.
Every time you think of something you get to plant a daisy. Some days daisies will grow quickly, sometimes not so much. What’s important is to look.

When you’ve come up with all the daisies you can, step back and look at your field. Enjoy your breath and being bathed in beauty.

We often forget all of the things we have which make us blessed. Take a few moments today to remember. I promise it will make you feel better.