Friday, 18 May 2012

Hidden gifts

Hanuman is one of my favourite deities. He’s the monkey god, the gods are reflections of ourselves so it’s not that surprising I’m drawn towards the monkey man.

All good things start, as my mum would tell me, with the mother. In Hanuman’s case this is Anjana. Anjana was a very devout woman who wanted nothing more than to be a mother. To this end she prayed and practiced daily. The wind god, Vayu, heard her prayers and resolved to help Anjana, to this end he sent some grains of rice with his bird friends to Anjana. As she reached into the air with her hands in Anjali Mudra the birds dropped the grains of rice into her hands. Knowing better than to question the gift she’d received, Anjana simply opened her mouth and tossed in the rice. As soon as they hit her stomach she became pregnant.

When we first start a yoga practice I would say it’s pretty normal to want everything straight away. To become a master or at least have a list of things we want to tick off, so we can say we’ve done it. Or at least that’s how I was and secretly still am. It took a long time for me to realise that this practice isn’t linear, sometimes it doesn’t make any sense and sometimes we feel confused and demotivated. The thing about yoga is that we get exactly what we need and we don’t get to decide what that is. We must, as Anjana did, show up, every day, clean the mirror of our deepest Self and accept whatever we are offered. In our society, that’s not so easy, staying in the moment with what is isn’t easy. However, when we do play in the present moment life gets a whole lot simpler and happier.

Friday, 11 May 2012


My teaching has taken an interesting turn of late and moved into a rhythm of six weekly cycles. The cycle just gone has all been about the different elements in nature which we align with when we come to our practice. The next series is inspired by my great friend.

I’m going to be integrating the stories of Hanuman, my favourite deity, into my classes and seeing what we can learn from the great monkey god. It’s ok not to know much about Hanuman, that’s part of the fun. My teacher explains all of these things like they’re maps, they’re not there to tell us what to believe or think, they’re simply there to help us on this journey. It’s like when you visit a new city, it’s handy to have something to guide you, it’s not going to tell you which way to go.

I love the rich symbolism held within the stories of the deities. And Hanuman has lots: from the story of his birth right through to his stories of heroism. It is said that we are all of the characters in the story and although they have been told for generations we can know our own lives better by hearing and contemplating them from where we sit in the moment we hear them.

That’s why I never get tired of hearing the stories because each time they reveal something new. They are organic and ever changing. It’s Hanumania!