'TOUCH'

Where are you all at this week? Upon reflecting last week on ‘Why do you practice yoga?’, have you been witness to the ever-changing answer to that question, or have you stayed quite fixed on seeing its benefits to you in your life?

Answers on a postcard.

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This week, I have been geeking out on some advanced Anatomy studies and thinking about ‘touch’ as a form of healing and communication.

I have noticed the healing power of it through the basic needs in myself and my family. I grew up in a very affectionate family, offering lots of hugs and kisses to one another and we are often still this way. It works for me, and I see that directly from that way of knowing, I offer that to the ones I love too, as a way of demonstrating that love, connection. I see that now I also like to give and receive that physical affection to ones that I don’t know or love. I notice the varying qualities that arise from that. I notice the associations with touch. I notice how it can feel in my body, to give and to receive. I have explored this with friends and with colleagues in suitable ways too, and it’s been incredibly nourishing for many reasons. It is important through touch to feel safe, it is also important through touch to welcome it. The way that we touch is so vast in its various ways and we don’t all receive it in the same way. We also can’t expect that someone wishes to be touched and/or will accept the offering as the way that you intended. So this is about building relationship. This is about developing a meeting place somewhere in-between, in term of the flow of energy that is the ‘coming together’.

We can consider the role of the yoga teacher to invite a ‘coming together of yogis’ and to facilitate a safe space, enable connection to occur in the student to the self and to aid students in accessing that place of alignment and centre, through the practice of yoga and of touch, sometimes, in many forms. We think about this mostly as physical touch. But is touch just physical? We walk in to the space of a yoga practice, bringing with us all of our past experiences. If I ask you for your consent to touch, it may trigger traumas, it may ignite passion, it may have no reaction at all, but the simple feeling of touch itself can sometimes have that ability to surprise us in being able to either awaken, show up in our bodies or to release, a feeling of relief and that ‘letting go’ that we also explored last week. We are often then left feeling alive!

“Send me in to space and cut me free.” - sings Maggie Rogers.

This week, again, so much is happening in the skies above us. Depending on where your rising sign is currently, will depend on how it translates for you. Mine is in Virgo, focused on aspirations and the fearlessness to meet these. It couldn’t resonate more loudly, as I am presented with all at once, being made to figure it all out. Like a fork in the road, which direction do you take… ?????? Scorpio has a lot to do with this. We need to stay connected to our centre to find the direction through groundedness, so it can all come together and meet how it is meant to.

This is where we can begin from a yogic perspective, to think about the Vayus, the directions of energy in the body, for which there are 5. The meeting place we can consider through the vayus is Samana Vayu. This is where you can unite the upward- and downward-flowing energies at the navel center to awaken and enhance samana (the prana of transformation).

  1. prana vayu - a field of inward and upward moving energy.

  2. apana vayu - a field of downward and outward moving energy.

  3. The one in-between is Samana Vayu- the middle breath.

“Active at the navel center—midway between the realms of prana vayu in the chest and apana vayu in the pelvis—samana vayu is a concentrating, absorbing, and consolidating force. Its main function is assimilation of prana in all its forms—like a power station, samana collects energy absorbed through breath, food, sensory perception, and mental experiences and processes it to empower all aspects of life.” - Yoga International.

In our bodies, healthy Samana shows up as strong digestion, vitality, and balance at every level. Unhealthy Samana struggles with assimilating and digesting not only what we physically consume but also our mental and emotional experiences. 

If we acknowledge the need and power of the energetic body for transformation, we put our focus for activating samana vayu, on our manipura chakra (naval centre). This is also related to the element of fire. The navel centre is essential to hatha yoga! It is the hub of pranic energy and vitality, which aims to increase prana and transform the patterns of pranic flow in the body.

Asana practice in particular is designed to draw downward-moving apana up to the navel center, and upward-moving prana vayu down to the navel center, uniting these two opposing energies to awaken samana. This integrating action strengthens the body, balances the mind, and stabilizes instinctive urges like hunger and sex so we can more easily regulate them. It gives us the clarity and courage to truly see ourselves, and the motivation and power to transform our habits and karmic tendencies.

When we unite prana and apana at the navel center we expand samana and awaken the sushumna nadi, the central energy channel. This channel of energy that runs from the base of the spine to the crown of the head is where we focus energetically to achieve the state of yogic bliss: perfect absorption of the mind in the state of samadhi.

Today my practice with my senior teacher was pranayama focused, it was so refreshing. It is not only asana that is crucial for awakening the naval, but the use of the breath. Pranayama is breath control. My practice, that came directly from observing what was needed in the field of the room, was powerful. As we each entered the space, carrying our morning, evenings sleep and all those lifetimes of experiences on to the mat, we began in stillnesss and from one breath practice to another, we spent 2 hours in breath work. Bliss came, as through a form of tantric practice called Nyasa, i showed up and a woke up. This is a practice that involves welcoming the divine in to your body. It is using mantra and touch. This ‘touch’ however can be through the minds eye, inviting you to chant the mantra silence and through the mind with the focus on specific body parts.

So we return to touch… where we can think about those times where something really ‘touches us’?

Were all those times through an action of physical touch or were some of those times using the figure of speech and actually used to describe the sensation that remained after the experience that ‘touched you’ ‘was ‘touching’. We could say, that this action of touch can also be a profound action that occurs through us in ourself. We could say how beneficial it is to both touch our own skin, but to also show up in our practice of yoga, through the tools of breath, asana, meditation and sometimes the element of sangha coming to practice together, to literally touch the self from the inside.

As we awaken the self through the coming together of our pranic vayus, directions of prana flow, awakening our central channel, we invite it to awaken the self, the mind, the state of being in the world that ultimately leaves us feeling deeply and seductively intimate with the self and all manifestations of reality, without even being ‘touched’!

This is the stuff of magic, synchronicity, power, bliss, love, divine… it has it all in there. What it requires is the readiness to receive it. it requires some willpower, devotion, concentration, bhakti and commitment.

In class this week, we will move in to repeating some of our pranayamas and kriyas, and work within samana vayu intention, ending in a sweet yoga nidra. Yummy. In asana we can direct the flow of apana and prana to the navel center in standing poses, stoke samana with twisting poses, strengthen the structural support for this region in a backbend, and activate samana in a seated forward bend. Through a focused practice, using good alignment, breath and mental focus, as well as lower belly activation, drawing apana and prana together, can also be experienced as an inward feeling of the mind and a sense of integrated inner space extending from the pelvis to the head. You may experience sensations occur over the whole body, as you ignite touch points in the system. We will explore touch using the hands to move our body parts, feeling the invisible strings on our limbs, from our ribcage, as we breathe and open up our entire system from the inside out.

So lets touch. Touch our own midline. Our presence in the world. Touch where we are in truth and with kindness.

See you in class.

CLASSES:

TUES PM 19:30-21:00 Matterwholefoods, bS5

WED AM 10:00-11:30 Yogasara, BS6

COURSES:

BOOK ON! Pregnancy Yoga 6 week Course starting in November! Details on the Birth Yoga i-D section of the website. http://yoga-id.co.uk/birth-yoga/ Also now available to Book on Move GB.

Namaste.

Only the winds... Class Summer sessions.

"The mind has to wear it 'self' out"

Tuesday PM 19:30-21:00 class at Matter Wholefoods in ON this week.

Wednesday AM class is paused for Summer Holidays.

 

Stay up to date with the blog for updates on Class changes over the summer

 

Love to you all,

Namaste.

Lucy x

 

 

 

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All we have is this moment

This week i offer you reflection upon this quote from Ram Dass and a song to play as you reflect. 

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THIS WEEK:

TUESDAY PM CLASS 19:30-21:00 Matter Wholefoods, BS5 - IS ON! 

WEDNESDAY AM CLASS 10:00-11:30 AT YOGASARA - IS OFF!

Keep me dancing, keep me as still as can be.

Volition - the faculty of power of using ones Will.


Here I am
Keep me dancing
Keep me as still as can be
And I try to keep the balance right
 

 

Under the new moon, last wednesday, I went dancing after a wonderful yoga practice in to the late night and this song resonated very powerfully with my state at the time. As it began to play, it awakened some connection in me and made me feel in bliss. It made me feel at peace and also in curiosity to time past since the new moon before and to now and my heart as well as my mind connected to all things. It made me feel a strong sense of desire and the need to stay connected with the things I love. It made me explore the balance of it all and to push up against the ideologies and ideas the mind creates of right or wrong action, but to feel alive in the moment and to live in the moment of connectivity, of presence, of thought. 

The lyrics of the song felt like they were the words of my heart speaking to me, as each word passed through me, like particles passing through my flesh. No control, no time, no logic, simply moving through me... but not wasted. Unlimited in their ability to lift and ground me at the same time. 

The ancient yogis didn’t have X-rays or MRI’s or even microscopes. They practiced meditation and methods of breathing and body postures, and based entirely on what they could feel they came up with ideas about how the body functions. The yogis located the seat of the life energy in the centre of the chest (the heart is the home of the prana) and they believed that the body contained approximately 72, 000 “rivers” of energy called nadis. The nadis are very similar to the meridian lines of acupuncture, and current research on the structure and alignment of connective tissues seems to suggest that there are correspondences between lines of biomechanical pull and some of these meridians.

Of all the nadis, three are of particular importance: the shushumna nadi runs through the centre of the body and encompasses the spine. On either side are two secondary channels, the ida and the pingala. The ida represents the expansive, fiery energy of the sun, and is associated with the masculine. The pingala represents the quiet, receptive energy of the moon, and is associated with the feminine.  The ida and the pingala spiral around the central channel and intersect with each other six times, similar to a strand of DNA. Each of these intersection points holds an energy centre or “chakra.”  The yogis believed that to achieve health and longevity it was necessary to move the energies of these channels and chakras in specific ways, and they developed techniques and body positions designed to do just that.

The goal of moving this energy around was to still the mind, and once the conscious mind was quiet; our true, interconnected, divine nature could shine through. The resulting mind-state is known as Samadhi, a state of bliss where there is no longer a separate sense of self.

Yoga was designed to move energy around, with the goal of shushing our crazy minds

After the bliss i felt from a strong yoga practice and earthing dance, I took action of many kinds on that very powerful evening and since then have listened to this song on repeat. What it does is remind me of the changing times and states and the movement of energy that flows through us. It reminds me of how very different my spirit feels as change occurs, the seasons change, I change, we change, others change, our responses change. It reminds me of that changing state we experience and the in-separateness of it all and on a deeper level, on a cellular level, the particles moving, at all times! 

To stay uplifted and to remain grounded is an art. Like dance and yoga, it's an art of discipline, connectivity and trust, all interplaying together, as we learn to hold the balance of all things. 

The art of discipline in it all, meaning 'to impart knowledge' and 'to enlighten' ourselves through staying disciplined, yet with allowing change and movement, in body and mind.

I have been exploring this in my yoga practice this week, both on and off of the mat and we too will explore this in class. The ability to stay focused, enlivened and lifted in body and mind, to allow energy to pass through us in joy and in suffering and yet not to become 'high' or 'low' but completely grounded and still, without stagnancy but through movement, motivation and attainment. 

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In class this week, we will look at some of yogas most delicious balancing asanas and work with ways of using the breath for balancing both sides of our self, alongside fluid movement to allow changing states to not become fixed in our whole self. To find a stillness within it all, an acceptance to what is. 

As Florence and the Machine is singing all over the radio this week "we all have a hunger" and whatever that hunger for life is, we can get carried away, we can also starve ourselves of the beauty right in front of our eyes and deny ourself the beating of the heart connection to ourselves and to another. So why not stop that thinking mind of yours doing all the singing and dancing, and explore using your body and the unity of your yoga practice to speak for you. To sing loudly as we let the midsummer solstice do its thing on thursday this week, especially, in silence and stillness. Become united and at peace with things that you cant change and the things that are forever changing.  

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We can practice seeing everyone as a refection of ourselves, as we begin to apply the effective 'brahmavihara' practices and share the suffering that comes with swallowing our collisions and share in these. As we share, we realise that our 'own' suffering is not 'our' suffering, but a universal one. As we continue to believe that there is an 'i', a 'me' an 'us' and a 'them', we only create a scaffolding that begins to support our separateness. 

We begin to see things differently by surrendering to a different point of view, we can't get there from our current perspective. Our happiness depends on seeing ourselves for who we really are. To see beyond the physical form to the nature that lies beneath it. To trust in what we feel, like those ancient yogis did, feeling in to the affects to articulate the body, our actions and our true self. 

Raga is the third klesha or obstacle that for me really comes in to play, as we become attracted and form an attachment to the impermanent things in life. This is born out of 'not seeing' or avid, the ignorance that we discussed in last weeks blog. We might think we are getting our acts together and then something triggers us or someone and we reignite old habits or have an overblown reaction and to the degree that we defend our reaction, is usually a strong indicator that we are in the vicinity of our personal blind spot. 

Patanjali reminds us that there are nine obstacles to mental clarity...

 1. lack of effort 2. fatigue or disease 3. dullness or inertia 4. doubt 5. carelessness 5. laziness 6. inability to turn attention inward 7. perverted or distorted seeing 8. inability to establish a firm ground for practice and 9. ability to sustain a firm ground (regression). Depression, frustration, disturbed breathing and restlessness are all signs that the mind is disturbed by these obstacles. 

His four recommendations for mental clarity, begin by not advising us to retreat in to a cave or escape our home environment, but to clear up your social relationships and develop the four attitudes known as the 'brahmaviharas', to life challenges and apply these in all our relationships and in all situations. 

"These qualities of the heart are conductive to peace of mind and enable us to overcome the distractions that already exist in the mind and prevent more psychological distress." Farhi.

1. Friendliness toward the joyful

2. Compassion for those who are suffering

3. Celebrating the good in others

4. Remaining impartial to the faults and imperfections of others.

Our spiritual fitness can be tested only in relationship to others and testing these in our relationships can show us with great accuracy our present state of mind and level of conditioning. it is very well being able to attain control when absent from life and all its triggers, but what happens when you step off the meditation cushion and out in to the challenge itself. 

Maybe, putting these in to practice in our everyday relationships dismantles our resistance to seeing ourselves as unified with life?

The remaining tranquility that arises when I listen to the song above, as I stand in Tadasana/ Mountain Pose in total resting state, strong and light. it reminds me that as we inevitably encounter people we like, dislike, situations we like, dislikes, desires we have and aversions, that the potential to encounter these will never change, no matter how much we lead ourselves to solitary confinement or belief and so, can we change our attitude to the predictable difficulty of relationships, situations, people and things - to life? 

This 'change' in attitude has been THE MOST transformative of all the yogic teachings for me to date. Allowing the difficult to remain, without needing to escape and to find a way to change my attitude towards it. 

It can be so satisfying to be right and to put systems and processes in place that we believe to shelter and protect us, but that's what they are doing at times and this cuts us off from the gift of living in freedom. Do you finger your wounds and show off your scars as proof of the difficulties we have experienced? Why remain attached to the stories and why not, live on and change our own perceptions and need for support outside of ourselves. 

What we refuse in another, we refuse in ourselves, it is said. We can reclaim the dimensions of ourselves that are the necessary polarities of love, compassion and kindness, we can better accept those traits in others too. 

These attitudes simply foster the conditions of the mind to become tranquil. Without applying our practices off of the mat, we are reminded that none of the resonance of the other practices can be beneficial, as our minds are caught up in fear, anger or defensiveness born out of living a 'me' and 'them' existence. 

'seeing' is born from acceptance AND the inseparability of all things, the oneness that remains.

The wonderful Farhi wisdom once again reminds me to ask myself...

How do we find the volition to practice? How do we transform motive in to motivation and aspiration in to attainment??

I will not and can not live my dream through any other, and yet am living the dream each and everyday. That simplicity of loving kindness is my legacy. 

Lets enjoy some 'metta' meditation this week together, some balances, some grounding and that midsummer solstice changing state.

Love you all, especially you men out there, all the fathers and the masculine qualities in us all that we celebrated this week. 

Find the faculty of your own power through using will and stay connected to your heart, summer is here. 

Namaste. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The fruitful darkness - my heart, your heart.

The Heart is a subtle organ of wisdom, of that so-called “transcendental intellect.” It has been said that: “The rational mind cannot understand the reasoning of the Heart. ”Because it cannot be understood by the rational mind, the role of the Spiritual Heart is ignored and even denied. In refuting spiritual intuition, which comes from the Heart, to focus only on reason, the illuminating role of the Heart is abolished. Rational thinking is called reflection because it is, in fact, a reflection of the energy of the Heart. Because of this, ancient traditions held reason, rationality, to be just a capacity for mediated, reflected knowledge.

The mind knows through a process of acquiring information. The Heart knows through surrender, trust, and joy.

The knowledge of the mind is sequential; the knowledge of the Heart is instantaneous and undivided. It is revelation. It is holistic. It reveals advaita, non-duality.

The Heart, being the Spiritual Sun, is an image of the Center. It is considered the place of revelation, the vital center of being, and the source of the deepest intuition. The Heart is a “theophanic” organ (theophany is a visible manifestation to humankind of God). It is a sacred symbol par excellence.

The mind is thus an imperfect instrument with an inherent inability to understand and realize atman.

“The truth of Self cannot come from him who has not realized that he is the Self. The intellect cannot reveal the Self beyond its duality of subject and object.” – Ramana Maharshi

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So here we arrive again... a new week, another day, same heart.. 

The above text articulates so well, all that I am exploring and will be continuing to explore with you this week.

I was slightly anxious and anticipating the weekend just gone by for one reason and another, due to my own matters of the heart. I too had classes to teach, Yoga trainings to partake in and family situations to invest time in to, as well as long anticipated catch ups with old friends booked in. And here we arrive in the week later and I did all these things with my heart still beating. yet change is always a guarantee. What deeper awareness can be cultivate in ourselves to observe those changes, especially within the heart this week?! 

The final day of the weekend, I had one of the best days that I have had in a long while with one very special and aptly named 'Alice' (in wonderland).

After a 'wonder'filled week honouring motherhood during half term and getting out of the city in to nature, with the elements of water, fire, and all others in abundance, I already felt I had gained that incredibly necessary rest and perspective we all need to gift ourselves with now and again. To be in the here and now! By these actions of renouncing my usual weekly responsibilities and being in the moment with my children and every new experience we encountered, I touched in to the hearts of my angels i love more than anything else on the entire planet, my children, and had my heart opened up, filled up and expanded more than ever!!!  

Upon our return to the city, I was gifted to be asked to cover two teachers classes, as they too took well deserved breaks. It became a total blessing to me, as i also then experienced being touched by their students old and new, with such openness and acceptance to all that i offered and the opportunity to hold space for them to connect to their own radiance, was well received. we discussed how simply my role as a teacher is just that. 

To hold space for you to connect back to your heart! To become yourself for that time, without the mind needing to get involved but to switch off and feel with your heart's'. 

As I went onward through the weekend, with more yoga trainings, learning all about the gift that is bringing life in to the world and how to serve these womens bodies, I ended my day ready to relax in the garden with family. And yet...

My heart stopped a few beats.

As a change in health of an older relative changed the evening spent visiting my incredibly close Aunt at her hospital bed side. My nerves became comprised and my heart felt like a big crack had appeared in it. The love was bursting for her and her recovery, and it cracked at the pressure.

We all know that it is the cracks in us that let the light in and i took this knowing finally,  in to the sunset in the garden of my parents house as we reflected upon how we felt, upon all the trials and tribulations we were experiencing and as we shared, we returned to the all important realisation of how incredibly important love is! The love of your family and in relationships of all kinds.  

Some of you may wish to stop reading here, for family dynamics for you may feel far from loving. I hear ya. But... do continue...

For me, family have always been incredibly important, yet at the tender age of 18 I couldn't wait to spread my wings and leave home to explore the world, consciousness and truly begin to experience what this life is all about, without the loving care i had been sheltered with while younger and this wide eyed curiously has continued to this day.

With Italian running through my blood, i'm by nature a pretty feisty, passionate and highly independent soul, yet hypersensitive to all things and very awake and affected by all things.

It both serves me and troubles me at all times. Yet, i always return through it all with the knowing that i am not alone. Sometimes I want to be very alone, sometimes I push people to the other side of the planet for space and to not suffocate this need to explore life, love, people and myself and yet, like a honing pigeon, i always return to those that i consider family, to THE LOVE in my heart.  

Over the years, family has both become smaller through loosing a few that i have loved dearly and its grown ten fold from gathering the most incredible friends and community. We have in Bristol an undeniably blessed community, with treasures from all over the world, humans that continue to blow my subconscious mind. We also in life have those gems that stay with you through all walks of life, you have those that exist only in chapters of life, that feel like you've shared lifetimes together and wise ones that bring teachings that help us grow. 

On sunday, upon waking, I reached out to another older family member and shared with them the importance of supporting eachother with such certainty and peace. After a drive through the fields of somerset, I found myself in Frome catching up with one of my oldest friends and one of my best friends from innocent study days gone by, her name is Alice.

We wear the experiences of life within the cells of our entire body and Alice and i too, in very separate conversations kept coming back, after sharing all the highs and lows of the time since last seeing one another, to the very conclusion that relationships are everything! The relationship with yourself being the number one!  

How when you've shared experiences in your self and with others, whether that be from being blood relatives, old uni mates or lovers, you made a mark and we must give thanks. Those people  somehow affected the heart directly and that power you can never change, no matter how much time passes by, it has no relevance! If you've been hurt, the pain will be there until we face it and find acceptance. That love will always remain if we hold and cherish it. 

Regarding time, not only because time in life can not be defined, how much or how little there is, in an instant we could be gone from this body and the uncertainty of the thing of that, but because whatever has been and gone, has enabled us as individuals to grow. To feel. We don't judge a river by time as it is connected infinitely to the mouth and the ocean, there is no separate as it continues to flow like prana, there is no definition of time. 

My incredibly wonderful yoga teacher Wendy Teasdil, was very simply doing her thing, teaching me effortlessly this weekend and just very simply mentioned the 3 hearts we have in such a casual context and in that moment, mine began beating faster. I felt it come alive. But it was my entire chest and being that awakened to some kind of realisation as she spoke. 

 I asked her to explain it further and she looked at me with that knowing gaze and shared her wisdom.  

She spoke of the 'physical heart' on the left, the 'Anahata' in the centre and our right heart, our 'Hridaya'. 

That wonderful world i had allowed myself to forget from my studies gone by and there it was again, the word i had been seeking and found on my trip in the van last week, that i'd felt, that I'd fallen in love with again.

It all made sense to me just then about my own heart. How when in life you feel love so powerfully, yet you cant articulate why. nothing makes sense. Sometimes you feel it, sometimes you let go of love without rhyme or reason. Other times its unquestionable and you hold on tight... and yet where does this come from? How sometimes another kind of love will feel enlivening and another love will manifest physically and hurt! 

Yet it is the 'right side' that for now feels to be the one i am most focused on connecting back with. 

Hridaya is our 'spiritual heart', our fundamental essence. 

In our times, the connection between our superior intuitive intelligence and the Heart has mostly been forgotten. Even if we generally accept the idea of the existence of a Spiritual Heart, we tend to accept it symbolically.

The Heart, seen as an organ of direct knowledge, can and should be trained constantly in order to increase its purity and capacity to Love, witness, surrender…. 

In this way, the borders of individuality fade away, and through the recognition of its fundamental attribute as a gateway to infinity, the Supreme Self, atman, is revealed.

We talk about breaking hearts and having our hearts broken a lot but what does that mean to us as individuals and how does that relate to yoga?

 The heart is ever changing, yet always constant while we live and breathe, our physical heart beats... 

Yet we have an ego.

Generally, the activity of the mind is governed by intentionality and implicitly is a movement governed by ego; it is activity that wants to grab information and to “conquer,” to keep control over the objects of activity and the process of self-knowing.
When we withdraw the senses (pratyahara) and center ourselves in the chest area, looking for the deepest aspects of our being, we start to search “the interior” to the detriment of “the exterior. In this way, we pass from the usual “conquering” attitude of the mind to a receptive, contemplative disposition. It is a kind of surrender, which implies lucidity, discernment, vigilance. There we can still speak about an action, but it is of a completely different nature. It is more like a radiance of pure presence, not an action of the ego.

these quotesbove SING to me and help me to define what happens in heart break, as we close off or defend the love, the self, the perception of right and wrong doing. 

Give it all away!  

The ignorant one thinks that the Self can be known by the intellect, but the enlightened one knows that he is beyond the duality of the knower and the known.” – Kena Upanishad

 

The unity between Bhakti, Love and Jnana, non-mediate Knowledge


The best way of keeping the awareness of the Spiritual Heart is to love.

 

That’s why jnana, the direct knowledge, is so related with bhakti, which means love, devotion, zeal, fervor, heartiness, ardor, adoration, ecstasy.

The great Sufi mystic and poet Rumi affirmed:

“There is a candle in your heart,
ready to be kindled.
There is a void in your soul,
ready to be filled.
You feel it, don’t you?
You feel the separation
from the Beloved.
Invite Him to fill you up,
embrace the fire.
Remind those who tell you otherwise,
that Love
comes to you of its own accord,
and the yearning for it
cannot be learned in any school.”

In the same manner in which the mind is trained in school through the process of education, our Heart (seen here as the organ of spiritual perception) needs to be cultivated. In the domain of the Heart, most of us are somewhat or entirely illiterate.

Is your mind in your heart or trapped inside your EGO?

 

Of course, the process is different because its attributes are different. Art and contemplation represent some of the way to cultivate our Spiritual Heart, but the best method is through meditation for the revelation of the Spiritual Heart and Love.

MEDITATE ON IT!

Coming back to the Heart, all the vain noise of the world is quieted….

The Heart is a sanctuary of silence.

There, in the most sacred intimacy and solitude of the “cave of the Heart”, the moods of individuality fade away and the consciousness of unity is revealed. There, the world and man are one. So, in a paradoxical way, the solitude and intimacy of the Heart reveals the essential Unity of all existence.

Lets work on existing in the world being aware of our 3 hearts! This week, mediate on your right side ' The Spiritual Heart' and find your centre.

See you on the mats in class to begin finding it.

Namaste x

 

 

 

 

The Vayus and the Moon, breaking patterns and awakening Life-Force.

Welcome to the light of the full moon and all the clarity it shines on to your life in spirit, mind and body related terms. Welcome to the winds of Vayu that carry this life-force within you and change your direction and you continue to live on. 

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What have you felt upon rising today?

I woke feeling more tired, even having gone to bed early. I felt slightly agitated and very restless, seeking something and wanting to impulsively act to create change. I watched my pattern for managing this arise, as well as the thoughts that it repeatedly brings. I had a desire to increase my heart rate and speed through the day, I watched my thoughts go to thinking of coffee & cacao, people, places, memories and ambitions, I could hear the self criticism and the little man on my shoulder giving me a thumbs up, all at once, changing states arising... and then I thought hold up!

And... I jumped on my mat!

I decided to get out of the mind and in to the body to get in touch with my actual needs, as opposed to the desires and acting from a place of tiredness and then I felt how everything changed. (Yoga is such a gift we have to enable this truth to appear).

 I began with the breath and here I noticed it moving all over the place, in every direction, but with no focus. By lengthening the breath and directing it through Pranayama I began to make a connection with my body, focus my mind and by doing so, I was able to then feel in to what my real or true needs were. I exited any feelings of doubt or guilt (the two that arise in me the most) and I entered a place of calm, of clear direction and with motivation and knowing energy at the source. My body felt like it could go back to bed at first, but through perseverance and devotion with my practice, I began to breathe deeper, move in a way that felt both nourishing and tricky at times, getting in to all those areas of tension and slowly but surely, Yoga gave me more energy and sent me back to an awakened state where I felt energised and ready for the day.

Why and how does Yoga give us more life-force?

In Yoga we have our subtle body. This isn't the body you see with your eyes, but it's the body that is Prana. Prana is life-force and this life force is made up of the Vayus or the 'winds', for which there are 5. It is the energy that determines Life or Death and that travels like the wind in various directions within your body. Moving in all directions, these 5 vayus relate directly to different areas of the body and control and change the vital force that goes there, as well as the outcome of the way you become in both body and mind for good and for not so good in relation to health on a physical and mental level.

This week in class, we will be working with the first, Prana Vaya. This pranic air current refers to a specific current centralised in the thoracic region, from the throat to the diaphragm, responsible for processes of inspiration and absorption, it governs the propulsion and forward momentum. The others are known as Apana, Samana, Udana and Vyana. I have mentioned many of these to you in previous blogs. But in each day, week, month, in every yoga practice we can use these changing winds and focused directions for the benefit of our lives. 

I love to read the 'Hatha Yoga Pradipika' text continuously and its words never fail to bring a smile to my face, as it can be very extreme in describing the transformational qualities that arise from practice. However, it is a vital text for any Yogic practitioner, as it holds some of Yoga's most ancient practices and outlines their importance. A wonderful friend has just arrived from India (watch this space for news of collaborations) and yet he and I were discussing the move away from Yoga being taught in its classic form and in to various trends. It's great it is evolving, but in your practice, are you ensuring you've moved your body, but also breathed consciously?! Found meditation?! Shifted your energy by working with technique of Mudras and Bandhas?  And, have you begun to understand the philosophies in Yoga that take your yoga off the mat?

In Hatha yoga, we become more attentive to prana and through enhancing and directing its flow we can invigorate the body and mind, create a expanded inner awareness and a higher state of consciousness. It isn't just flexibility or strength we cultivate but prana enables the body to move and the mind to think. It is the intelligence that coordinates our senses and the manifestation of the self that is higher than the one we tend to identify with. 

We live in a world that is known as Planet Earth and this moon above our heads, has the power to move the tides. It is transforming our energy in each and every movement by shining its light upon us and are you connecting with what is both deeper inside yourselves and outside of this body of yours?

If Vayu is the 'wind'... can you sense a change in the air occurring now?

Air is all around you, its also within.

The area of the sky that this full moon is in this week, in Vedic astrology terms, is Swati. Vayu is also a vedic God of the wind, animator of life energy he keeps hearts beating and lungs breathing and is related to Swati.

When I related my state this morning, back to being aware of the Full Moon, I had that A Ha moment and could see the connection!

This moon with these winds that conjure up feelings of uncertainty and doubt are hear to blow them away as you recognise habits you form and create, when those wind like feelings of agitation and restlessness arise. 

This is where the light of the moon brings forth inspiration and invites you to begin to brainstorm ideas and recognise habits and begin to imagine new beginnings. They say what you imagine, you create. Working with Prana Vayu will support you within current nature, by igniting inspiration and the momentum to move forward, bowing down the ego and shedding doubt. 


Observing your breath as you bring more awareness to new and old ways, can have a profound effect on the mind, body and soul on this full moon.  Yogic breathing exercises  (pranayama) or simply connecting with the heart chakra through your breath is very beneficial now.

In class, as we explore Prana Vayu and practices that create more life-force in the thoractic and heart space, we will honour the Full Moon and move like the wind, as we let change blossom. 

See you in class this week.

Mon PM 15:45-17:00 Yogasara, BS6 (Cover of Jez, available to drop in or move gb)

Tues PM 19:30-21:00 Matter Wholefoods, BS5

Wed AM 10:00-11:30 Yogasara, BS6

Namaste. x