Monday, 30 April 2012

What's outside is inside, what's inside is outside

We've definitely witnessed the forces of nature over the last few weeks in the UK. Constant rain in the South East, much more like I remember in the South West where once I’m sure it rained from October to March without a break. It hasn't been glamorous, no flashfloods, thunderstorms or anything like that, just constant, damp and unrelenting, the weather the British climate does so well. It was greatly needed and greatly purifying. What I noticed most of all is the reflection in my own life. As things started to go somewhat awry for me personally, the rain came down and kept coming down. Even amidst the intensity I couldn’t help wondering if that rain was coming down to wash away old patterns, old ways of doing things, like a torrent, allowing for nothing but the new to arise.

What was remarkable was that once my personal intensity had past the sun started to poke out from behind the clouds. And now, as I sit with the sun blazing through the windows I’m grateful that not only is my situation resolving but I believe there’s been an opening for much deeper, more profound relationship to arise.

I’m not trying to say that the Universe brought the rain for me; even thinking that makes me smile a little. What I’m saying is that yoga is all about lining up with nature, lining up with those threads which join us all and seeing the shared human condition there. It’s about noticing that what is happening right now is not something which has been done to us, it’s simply the play of life and our role is to play our part and use our lessons wisely. Or not, there’s value in ignoring the rain sometimes too.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Give yourself some space

I’m approaching the end of my series on the five elements: space. The final frontier. Apologies, I couldn’t resist.

It’s a bit of a tricky concept because of the intangibility of space. Space is really the area that we occupy, however, the cool thing is that the world is mostly space... wah? My friend explains it this way: if Wembley Park were an atom the amount of actual matter would be the size of a pea. Yep, my eyes kinda dilated and my head expanded a little bit from that comment. Try this one: two objects can never actually touch, there’s always space inbetween. You think your hands are clapping together, the ball is bouncing on the floor, ‘fraid not, not quite!

Why does any of this matter except to bring about brain ache? It matters because when we have those moments, like every other second for me, that we’re not enough, we’re lacking, that the whole world is closing in on us and we just can’t break free we can remember how much space there is and carve a little extra out just for us.

Find a little more space this week by plonking down on a meditation cushion or other comfortable spot, setting a timer (or space creator you might call it) and taking a journey deep inside, to the final frontier.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Let go...

There are some times in life when it all becomes a little bit overwhelming. When the list of things to do or things to worry about becomes so much that there’s nothing for it but to throw everything into the air and pray that something comes in to help you out. The thing is, it does.

So this week I’ve been teaching that there is a beauty in just surrendering. I understand that surrender is a difficult word. It seems to makes us vulnerable and no longer in control. What I would say is that we’re not in control. No matter how much we think we are or how much human beings evolve to protect themselves. All it takes is a hurricane to dispel that myth.

What it doesn’t mean is that we give up responsibility, and therein lies the paradox. We can only take responsibility for our actions and let go of the outcome. How we are within and without ourselves does have an effect on the world, so what do you choose? I choose to charge myself with as much positive energy as I can muster so that I create that energy in my world. We can choose to do the opposite. It’s just that at some point we have to just leave for more space, more breath and more light to move into us. We can only do that if we’ve let go of the expectations we have for our life. That’s surrender.

So this week, let go by turning throwing it into the air and turning everything upside down. Literally. Do a handstand, a headstand, a shoulderstand or simply put your legs up the wall. Then let it go.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

I'm on fire!

Moving through the elements we get to fire. I’m generally a pretty fiery person which is good most of the time. However, if I’m not careful I get burnt out. Quite literally. Fire does that, it can be destructive or it can be a way to bring about change. Nothing ever happened because we wished for it, at some point we also had to act.

So what does that mean when we come to our yoga mats? Because there always has something to be do with yoga, right?

From the first breath it’s the reason why we set an intention for the practice. Why we practice, why we continue to ask that question, like a match sparking. Then we really get fired up, we engage muscles so our bodies can carry that intention. After that we stoke the fire with more air by finding more space in the pelvis and shoulders. The fire really starts to roar when we scoop our sitting bones and draw the heads of the armbones back. Then the final expansion comes in as we spread our fiery bodies out from that super ignited core. No you’re on fire!

That’s in every pose, and that’s how dreams come true.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Dive in!

This week is all about the water element. It’s fun to think of our asana practice in terms of how we relate to each of the five elements, it gives us a totally different perspective on these poses we do all the time. The thing about water is that it appears to us in many different forms, from the deep ocean to the playful stream.

It holds great mystery and great danger. Energy flows through all of our body’s systems like a vast series of underground rivers, it gets stuck and stagnant so that sometimes we have to flush it out.

This week when you come to your mat I invite you to dive deep into the ocean of your own consciousness and explore the unknown within. Choose a pose, a backbend is good, that calls upon you to hold the stillness so that you can open up fully, crash like a wild wave and open your heart to this great universal flow.

Then allow everything to settle back into the river bed, the silt which you’ve shaken up to be refreshed by a new vibrancy and openness. Allow each part of yourself to be refreshed and revived. And you don’t even need to go anywhere near a beach, unless you want to.