Category: Inspiration

To the end of the Year we go, 2021, has been a strange mix of highs and lows, uncertainty ruling our lives.

We have all learnt to live with this now constant uncertainty , not being able to plan ahead , fear of plans being disrupted again, holidays abandoned.

If we look at this situation from a yogic perspective, we can see the positivity  that comes from learning to live in the moment. We cannot dwell on the past, nor look in to the future, happiness is where we are right now!
To call upon our practises and yoga knowledge in times of difficulty is what it means to live a yogic life, to go inward; a withdrawal can be a call to connect with and to your inner wisdom.

The darkness also gives an opportunity for rest; restorative practises and meditation are key, we bring light in to our hearts as we return to the inner sanctuary of healing. Your inner light shines brightest in the darkest moments, so take the time for nourishment and nurture over the holiday period.

There will be a special meditation for you to access through the support page.

This time of year always gives us pause for reflection, mine has been to reignite my mission statement! I am honoured to have been taught by my teacher Swami Nischalananda, who was a direct disciple of Swami Satyananda  in India for 14 years. His mission statement was to start an ashram here in this country over 30 years ago to train other teachers and spread the message of authentic yoga practises. My teacher has written many books and worked tirelessly in this tradition to this end. He has recently announced his retirement in his 70’s although he still gives spiritual guidance to his teachers.

Our mission as traditional yoga teachers is to uphold these authentic practises, without dogma, encompassing all sincere seekers.

I wish to continue in his footsteps, bringing light, joy and genuine yoga in to people’s lives.

Wishing all you all a Christmas holiday full of light.

We will be stepping in to the new energy of 2022 with the first workshop of the year on January 8th at Kindred Community holistic centre:

THE ALCHEMY OF MANTRA
Let your spirits soar as you become absorbed and enveloped in  the transformative power of mantra repetition. This workshop is open to all levels, no singing ability required!
Booking required.

Let us all be grateful and grounded as we step forwards, being at ease with the uncertainties and with ourselves.

This being human is a house
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy,
A depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
Who violently sweep your house empty of it’s furniture,
Still treat your guest honourably.
He may be clearing you out for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice, meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as guide from beyond.

RUMI

We have all had to adapt to the way we practise our yoga sessions. We have learnt new skills, ways of staying connected and new ways of learning. Although we have not been able to see each other in person , hug and laugh in the same old way, we have still been able to feel the powerful energetic connection of our practise.

A steady, regular practise of your own, will keep you grounded , centred and focused; help you to keep your heart open and be with the uncertainty .
Learn to nourish yourself from the inside out, nourishment brings acceptance, acceptance brings freedom.

Let us step forward in to the light and positivity of this new year together.

SMILE, BREATHE AND GO SLOWLY. Thich Nhat Hanh.

This is a challenging phase of the year, magnified by the current situation; we can however, take a different perspective by using our yoga practise to support us in our daily activities.

We are going to use the next few weeks to explore the idea of spaciousness and what that really means to us within our practice and within our lives.
When you are doing basic tasks such as washing up or folding laundry, firstly be aware of your physical body, appreciate you have the ability to do these tasks.

Be aware of your breathing in that moment, be connected to the quality of your breathing.

Notice if your mind is on the task in hand, or is it racing ahead?

Our mind creates so much noise we are never aware of the inner silence.

Concentrate your awareness into the present moment, be fully present in your body and breath, let your mind quieten down.

Tune in to the EVER PRESENT stillness, TOUCH the silence and stillness in every moment of your day, have gratitude for this awareness.

Experience Spaciousness in every situation, as yogis, we can then have a more conscious relationship with our surroundings; this increases our quality of life.

We integrate spirituality in to every aspect of our lives.

We are going to connect with our fellow yogis from the ashram and all over the world this week to celebrate the auspicious Navaratri.

We will chant the names in different forms of the Goddess Durga; she represents chaos and the energy of chaos, both internally and externally, very fitting with what is happening in our world right now!

TUNE IN TO THE ENERGY, ASPIRE TO LOOK DEEPER, OPEN UP TO THE JOY, KNOWLEDGE AND APPRECIATION OF WHAT YOU HAVE. LET ANYTHING ARISE AND RELEASE THAT YOU NEED TO LET GO OF.
WE CAN EMBRACE THE CHAOS ( DURGA), THE GOOD HEALTH AND LIFE THAT WE HAVE ( LAKSHMI), HONOURING OUR PRACTICE WHICH BRINGS US HARMONY( SARASWATI) , RESTING IN TO A MEDITATIVE STATE, PURE CONSCIOUSNESS (SIVA/SHAKTI)

SATURDAY 17, SUNDAY 18 ,MONDAY 19 OCTOBER

OM DUM DURGAYAI NAMAHAH



TUESDAY 20, WEDNESDAY 21ST, THURSDAY 22ND OCTOBER

OM SHRIM LAKSHMYAI NAMAHAH



FRIDAY 23RD, SATURDAY 24TH,SUNDAY 25TH OCTOBER

OM AIM SARASWATYAI NAMAHAH



MONDAY 26TH OCTOBER

OM NAMAH SIVAYAH



I HOPE YOU WILL ENJOY THIS WEEK OF CHANTING, REMEMBER, IT IS ALL ABOUT THE VIBRATION, SO CAN BE DONE SILENTLY ANYWHERE!!

ENGAGE WITH THE MANTRAS , FEEL THE SUBTLE ENERGY THAT THEY REPRESENT, FEEL THE TRANSFROMATION!

Dear Wonderful Yogis,

We have been up until now ,chanting the MRITJUNJAYA MANTRA FOR HEALING everyday at 7am, 27 times;
Swamiji has now asked us to focus on the GAYATRI MANTRA , daily at 7.30am, 27 times.
The GAYATRI can now begin to move us forwards , with, LOVE, LIGHT AND HOPE for the healing of ourselves, the planet, the future.

I look forward to feeling your connection through the ether! Joining myself and all the dedicated yogis around the world!

100 Days of Healing

I have decided to create a theme for the time that we are having to be alone and not meet in person, so this can support you in your physical practice and your meditations. If you want to go deeper the practices will be on the Support page.

We are doing 100 DAYS OF HEALING, basing the practice around a different affirmation each week, taken from the wonderful book by Deepak Chopra, The Deeper Wound, Recovering the Soul From Fear and Suffering.

WEEK ONE : My Soul can lead me to healing.
I will become one with my true self. Use this affirmation , let the words find meaning.

WEEK TWO : At this moment my soul is with me. It is as close as my breath.

WEEK THREE: My soul is outside and inside. The light is everywhere.
This is a wonderful way to feel energy when you are in your Asana practice. Imagine, feel the sensation as you breathe in that light is flooding through your body, through your veins and arteries, filling your whole body with healing light; as you breathe out and stay in the pose, with your exhalation, release tensions, tightness, worries or fears. You may want to sigh out through your mouth to let go even more.

WEEK FOUR: My soul is myself. It knows and hears me.
After physical practice , as you sit in the quietness, feel close to your body, close to your breath, feel that you are filled, surrounded by energy and light. Your soul/spirit listens to you, it knows and cares for you; you come home.

WEEK FIVE: My true need is to know myself as my soul knows me.
This is the purpose of healing, when we feel pain, physical or emotional, we feel a sense of helplessness or abandonment. To really begin to heal ourselves, we need to understand ourselves, then we have the energy to move forwards.

WEEK 6: My soul knows me as complete and whole.
Wholeness, the one constant that remains the same, even when everything else is changing. We can use this affirmation in times of crisis and difficulties to know that we have a stillness within which never changes. Your true self sees you this way.

WEEK 7: My soul knows me as gentle.
Gentleness/ compassion for yourself and for others. Giving to ourselves, acting, being our truest self, is acting with compassion, the first Niyama or code of conduct in yoga, AHIMSA. When we bring this to ourselves it becomes easy to gift it to others.

WEEK 8: My soul knows me as peaceful.
Anger is just an energy moving through, take notice, if feelings of anger or frustration arise during the day be aware of them, take some deep breaths, exhale out through the mouth and let them go. Your true nature is one of peace.

WEEK 9: My soul knows me as lacking in nothing.
You are sufficient within yourself to meet any challenges. Be aware of thoughts that create need, possession, anxiety , insecurity. Be aware of these impulses without judgement . You can remind yourself that everything you need is already within you.
The soul lacks nothing and therefore has no anxiety about the outside world: gain is not a need, loss is not a threat.

WEEK 10: My soul knows me as joyful because I am free.
Notice as you move through your day , if you are clinging to certain thoughts or ideas? Is there resistance to change?
Acceptance makes love possible, if you are accepting of yourself, you will always be free.

WEEK 11: I will see everyone else as I see myself.
This affirmation is challenging, it is how we perceive ourselves and others. We judge ourselves for being better/worse, thinner /fatter, backgrounds, religions. Our ego wants to separate us. But we don’t have to be led by our ego, we all have our differences, we don’t have to compare ourselves to others in order to find a state of wholeness and completeness. If you are in a state of completeness and wholeness, then you can allow others to be their true selves too.

WEEK 12: I will nurture every need but one – the need to judge others.
Again, a very challenging concept , judgement creates separation, it comes again from the ego wanted to defend itself. It builds walls around your heart, not allowing spirit to flow freely. By not judging others in any way, you are entering a state of openness with yourself and others.

WEEK 13: I will not resist others.
Can we overcome obstacles? Large or small, the emotional obstacles are the ones that prevent us from remaining open, resistance closes us down.

WEEK 14: I will not resist myself.
Can we accept ourselves where we are? A tricky concept because our ego like to repress and deny our true feelings. Try to remain open to what comes up.

WEEK 15: My true self responds with love.
Impersonal love is everlasting, it needs no other person for validation, it is free from the ego. Everything it sees and encounters can be from a place of love. Being untied from the ego creates great freedom.

WEEK 16: I will see one thing today as if for the first time.
This affirmation is about newness, seeing afresh with new eyes, without ego. How are we conditioned by our past thoughts to make judgements about things we like or dislike? Look at things/people that you perhaps have taken for granted.

WEEK 17: I WILL NOURISH SOMEONE WITH LIGHT
It is possible to send love and light in to the spiritual bank where it is stored, send your thought of light to a person you love already, to anyone in need or maybe out in to the world for healing. It will be felt.

WEEK 18: I WILL LIFT MY JUDGMENT AGAINST SOMEONE.
Forgiveness is about healing, if you have judged or been judged yourself, hold a space of love, think of the wrong you have done or received from another person, take back the words you have spoken or release any unwanted words you have received. Be in a space of love and forgiveness.

WEEK 19: MY EVERY THOUGHT HAS THE POWER EITHER TO WOUND OR TO HEAL
Spiritual thought, prayer, is very powerful energy. You have the power to draw someone close in love or push them away in fear. Hold everyone in light today, it will heal you and them.

WEEK 20: I WILL USE MY THOUGHTS WISELY AND RESPECT THIER POWER.
Taking responsibility for our thoughts and actions, letting go of blaming others. Bring everyone you know into your awareness and hold them in light and healing.

WEEK 21: I ASK THE UNIVERSE TO LISTEN . I NEED TO MATTER.
Reach beyond boundaries, the Universe, God, Divine Mother, Higher Self, whatever your belief system, know that your thoughts and prayers ARE heard. Place your trust in a higher energy that is always with you, everything will manifest if you wish it.

WEEK 22: I CAN FIND MY SOUL HERE AND NOW.
Learn to love and respect the present moment, it IS the only moment. We get caught in reminiscing about the past or worrying what might happen in the future, we then lose ourselves in worry and anxiety. Only in the very present moment will you connect to your soul and the joy that it brings.

I hope the affirmations have been helpful to you in the times of isolation? Contemplation and meditation can be tricky without a focus, so using an affirmation or intention allows you to focus your mind inwardly. The intention of the silent mantra will really resonate. I’m concluding the final part with 2 powerful affirmations:

WEEK 23: I ask myself for rest and peace.
To remove yourself from the sometimes scattered distractions of the mind, you can ask for yourself some space and peace to just rest, to quieten the chatter within your mind, to rest in stillness, even for a few moments it can be very powerful.

WEEK 24: I honour my stillness.
Even within the busiest of times, when you pay attention inwardly, you can find stillness. Let that calmness resonate from your heart space, knowing that the inner stillness always supports you.

Guru Purnima is always celebrated at the centre of July on the full moon. Ashrams and individuals around the world, will meditate, celebrate and give thanks to their spiritual teachers, past and present.

I give thanks to my inspirational teacher Liz Tustain, for seeing something in me, that I could not see in myself.

I give thanks to Swami Nischalananda, for Mandala yoga ashram, his presence there, his teachings; for initiating me into Kriya yoga, and for bestowing my beautiful spiritual name to me.

I give thanks to Swami Gyhan Dharma for his continued teachings on meditation at  Mandala ashram, which have inspired me so much.

I give thanks to my family, especially my children, for teaching me to be a real human being, and to all my students past and present.

The most important feature of Guru Purnima is to celebrate our inner teacher. To give space and time to meditate, to learn to listen to what we really need, to what we can let go of, to fully nurture and nourish ourselves in this way.

 

Within every living person, there is a true, free, ever wise self. Our yoga practice is the perfect opportunity, to clear a path back to ourselves, to discover what is real, and realize that the inner stillness is always there.

We are blessed with the light of inner awareness, we just need to take the time to look.

Here is a picture of my dog Bosco, one of my ‘life teachers’, he is a perfect yogi , in every way….except when he won’t get off my mat!!

ashram shrine
ashram shrine

I was fortunate enough to travel to India in March to study with Pandit Rajmani Tigunait, the spiritual head of the Himalayan Institute.

Our practice was pure Raja yoga, the study of book one of the Yoga sutras, of which Panditji has written an enlightened commentary.

The focus of book one is sutra 1:36, ‘The Lotus of the Heart’.

How do we reach this point?

By sustained practice, ABYHASA, over a long period of time, without any attachment to the outcome,VAIRAGYA.

Over the next few weeks we will be exploring these themes in class, we can use our continual awareness, to find a restful place within, discovering the inner luminosity of the mind, which is our natural state.

We can create  a clear , calm  mind, established in it’s essential nature.

PRANAYAMA, our breathing techniques, remove the veil that hides the inner light, the more the veil is removed, the more the light will shine.

 

To be in the ‘Lotus of the Heart’, is to be free of thoughts and feelings, to melt into ISVARA, your own inner luminosity.

 

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