What is Love... Be Here Now.

“You are loved just for Being who you are, just for existing. 

You don’t have to do anything to earn it. Your shortcomings, your lack of self-esteem, physical perfection, or social and economic success- none of that matters. 

No one can take this love away from you, and it will always be here.”
-Ram Dass

Today I wish to talk about LOVE.

Well of course here in the west on Wednesday 14th February, we take this day as one where we tell those that we care for, that we Love them. We do nice things together, we kiss, we hug, we share in good times. We also may well be alone, but does that mean that there is no love? I mean, what is love anyway? Why and how do we feel it and where does it come from? This idea to celebrate on one day, I find to be both brilliant and totally unnecessary. But yet, do you tell those everyday that you love them, do you tell yourself? I raise my kids to say I love you everyday and most of all, I tell them to say it to themselves. They often list and recite to me who they love. It's poetic and joyful, raw and true. There are no inhibitions in the land of a child. they are honest. 

So this week as i pondered Love, I returned to Ram Dass and his incredible words on the Entrance to Oneness. And I include some excerpts here for you that I gained much pleasure from reading... 

If I go into the place in myself that is love and you go into the place in yourself that is love, we are together in love. Then you and I are truly in love, the state of being love. That’s the entrance to Oneness. That’s the space I entered when I met my guru.
This love is like sunshine, a natural force, a completion of what is, a bliss that permeates every particle of existence. In Sanskrit it’s called sat-cit-ananda, “truth-consciousness-bliss,” the bliss of consciousness of existence. That vibrational field of ananda love permeates everything; everything in that vibration is in love. It’s a different state of being beyond the mind.
Unconditional love is so hard to describe, and why the best descriptions come from mystic poets. Most of our descriptions are from the point of view of conditional love, from an interpersonal standpoint that just dissolves in that unconditioned place.

So I welcome to the path of the heart! Believe it or not, this can be your reality, to be loved unconditionally and to begin to become that love. This path of love doesn’t go anywhere. It just brings you more here, into the present moment, into the reality of who you already are. This path takes you out of your mind and into your heart.

Between the love that we seek and the love that is already there. 
 

Take a listen to this lovely track. As it sings, the work is never done. Soon as the moon falls, here comes the sun. Give us a balance on the path, there is no need to ask for more. Let THIS soften our soul and focus our stare. 

"Don't let your soul get lonely Child it's only time, it will go by Don't look for love in faces, places It's in you that's where you will find kindness."

One of my dearest friends said to me, that even those that you think are the most loyal can let you down. You can let yourself down. But don't loose your faith. 

If we look to the Yogic Scriptures of The Upanishads, Tejobindu Upanishad reminds us of the 'beyondness' of reality. It tells us how one must move beyond ordinary experience and ordinary responses to be at one with it; beyond the guidance of texts themselves. This rang true to me in Love. In matters of the heart, there is no right or wrong, there is no way of describing your experience or even normalising it. Your experience is directly what it is. What it helps us to know is how we must transcend scripture itself in search for ones destiny. Do not look at another experience and wish for it, don't look at your own and or follow a way of living that is written in a text. Love is written in the stars and all you have to do is to allow it to manifest just how its meant to in you. You are pure love. The I am 'Atman'

The realization of Atman.

(...) I am of the nature of consciousness.
I am made of consciousness and bliss.
I am nondual, pure in form, absolute knowledge, absolute love.
I am changeless, devoid of desire or anger, I am detached.
I am One Essence, unlimitedness, utter consciousness.
I am boundless Bliss, existence and transcendent Bliss.
I am the Atman, that revels in itself.
I am the Sacchidananda that is eternal, enlightened and pure.

— Tejobindu Upanishad, 3.1-3.12 (Abridged)[33][34]

As the mystic poet Kabir says... 

Love Stories Are Sweet

"Akath Kahani Prem Ki, Kuch Kahi Na Jaye, Goonge Keri Sarkara, Baithe Muskae." Meaning: "Inexpressible is the story of love, no one can fully describe what it feels like, Similar to the dumb guy who has eaten sweet sugar, he can only smile to show his pleasure."

So eat sugar or chocolate is my preference and smile in the face of Love this week. 

In class, let's move in breath and in Asana and feel the heart open up with contentment this night and this week, as we practice Yoga together, we will explore Vishnu, the Lord of Love.

Ananta, a word meaning “unending” or “infinite,” describes what is timeless, beyond birth, growth, death, and all modifications—a limitless state of joy and contentment. This sweet, natural state of ours, beyond the things of the senses, is embodied by the vast mythological serpent, Ananta, whose coils support the universe and who serves as Vishnu's couch when Vishnu rests between avataric incarnations. If you add -asana to Ananta, you have the name of a yoga pose which can help us cultivate this innate sense of contentment, equanimity, and timelessness. 

Yoga i-D anantasana.jpg

Vishnu is the Lord of Love and preservation. The asana Anantasana is used to symbolise Vishnu resting on a cosmic-serpent couch as he dreams the world into existence, he looks calm and effortlessly equanimous.

It should be noted that losing your balance is not a bad thing in this posture; as it brings the edges of extremes to light and shows you where you need more physical or mental support. Lord Vishnu pose stretches the hamstrings, calves, groin and pelvis. It also tones the abdominals and increases hip mobility. 

Anantasana encourages us to drop deep inside. By staying sensitive, clear, and courageous in all of your poses, you can become more aware of the tiny adjustments that you need to make in order to stay stable in Anantasana.

These are the qualities in acton that I believe we need when facing matters of Love. Love doesn't always work out how we hope, it can challenge us and even sustaining self love is hard. What we are doing is learning to create stability on the razors edge in a constant sea of change. That is the love, that is the work that is never done!

Patanjali says in Yoga Sutra 2.47, “By relaxing effort and fixing the mind on the infinite [ananta], asana is perfected.” How does it feel to embody this sutra in your practice?

Lets see as we move, love and let life be here and now.

Namaste all you lovers of mine. Sending you all an abundance of love. x

 

 

GRATITUDE brings boundless radiance...

So when we get ill its an amazing time where the body is actually presenting you a gift to rid the body of what it does not need and to empty out and start again. Becoming ill for me, was a way of the emotional energy to also release, purify and detox the body of the toxins that arose in harder times. It has been really helpful and transformative in knowing how our bodies are here to help. Not only that but at this time we have also been riding off the back of that super moon, eclipse and creeping towards Spring! 

Falling down is happening to many of us and I came down hard last week, but with taking in no food, lots of herbs and home remedies, it shifted just as quick as its come and already I feel lighter and brighter. This is also as the mind itself shifting too and when we allow ourselves to be the witness, we can observe all the ways that our body functions work to serve us on a mental and physical level, each and every day. 

So, this weeks yoga practice is one of gratitude. When i listen to this song it fills me up with joy, reflections of life and its qualities 

mother durga.jpg

LISTEN: https://garthstevenson.bandcamp.com/album/voyage

Gratitude to the flow of nature in ourselves and all around us that carries us through, presents us with new ways to process life experiences and shift energy so we may continue on. Music is emotive and it has too been feeding me whilst overcoming illness and heartache and chanting is one way to call upon the inner strength and power you have within to simply accept and find freedom.

As we chant Jai Ma we are chanting to Goddess Mother Durga - she is one whom symbolises strength and power. The embodiment of knowledge, purity, self-realisation and truth. We are connecting with a supreme consciousness beyond space and time, one that is infinite. She is the divine feminine power that is not defeated by any man or woman. 

In sanskrit Durga translates to 'a place' that is protected. She is the protector to mankind from misery and destroys the forces that bring this to us such as jealousy, prejudice, selfishness, hatred, anger, and ego.

Illusion that underlies our material nature is lifted, anger, desire, greed, intoxication, delusion, arrogance of the ego and jealousy. Her light steers us through struggles we face at a soul level, helping us to work through and move beyond our individual karma. 

By honouring Durga we connect with Mother Nature, Mother Earth, and the Cosmic heavens, recognising her as the Mother of all.

So this week, lets reclaim our own divine nature as one with Her boundless radiance that is all-pervasive. Strength, power, femininity, and freedom. 

See you in class,

Namaste

 

 

Keeping it simple...

This week I wish to keep it simple and share with you one picture, one quote and one song. 

Ascetic practicing various techniques of yoga and tapas (~1825)

Ascetic practicing various techniques of yoga and tapas (~1825)

 

"Hatha Yoga is a technical system whose purpose is to achieve 'freedom', 'release' or 'salvation' for its practitioners... 'Self Realisation'. Self Realisation is an abbreviated way of saying 'the realisation of one's true identity as the Self, the Self (with a capital initial) being the paramatman (the highest or supreme Self), who, according to Yoga Philosophy is identical to Brahman (the Absolute)." - Mikel Burley, Hatha-Yoga.

See you in class this week to practice Hatha Yoga, as we begin to delve deep this year in to the complete and integral system of spiritual development for body, mind and soul to discover in-depth knowledge about the subtle body and its energy, using not only asana (postures), but also pranayama (breath control), mantra (mind freeing sound) and meditation. 

Can you begin to practice Yoga in its truest form and be open to the transformative qualities that arise? Come back home, create space and trust.

I look forward to exploring this alongside you.

Namaste x

Classes:

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

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

YOGA i-D Blog featured in Yogas Top 9 Blogs Online

 

'Yoga's Top 9 Blogs Online'

 includes, you guessed it, Yoga i-D!

Yogas Top 9 Blog Clip Anaheart.jpg

Thanks to all of you beauties that have continued to read the blog every week and support its growth, openness and the power to share Yoga and its teachings, from my perspective, online. 

Read the full article here:  https://anaheart.co.uk/blog/top-9-yoga-blogs/

Counting down the days to Donate to the Crowdfunder which, if it is successful in getting me to India to train and learn more for you, guarantees rich content being shared by me to you on the Blog in the New Year: www.crowdfunder.co.uk/lucysyogaid

Big love to you all and special thanks to Anaheart for also seeking me out and sharing the love of the Blog.

Namaste x

Source: https://anaheart.co.uk/blog/top-9-yoga-blo...

Be Golden, be you. Give and Love.

Take the Seat of Isis

seat of isis

So last week, I launched my Crowdfunder http:// www.crowdfunder.co.uk/lucysyogaid and I am sooooo grateful to those of you that have begun to contribute to the fund already! THANK YOU! There is still time to be a part of helping...

Essentially, i need you-R HELP to make this possible AND yet with all the Rewards for donations, let alone how your contributions will be invested in making yoga far more accessible to you, rich and alive with so many more beautiful offerings - I CAN GIVE TO YOU TOO!!!!

That is the reason I am going! The role of the teacher is to bring and continue to bring more and more of their wisdom, knowledge and connectivity to the teachings, directly back to the student and because i LOVE AND VALUE SOOOOOOO MUCH MY COMMUNITY OF STUDENTS, let alone the abundance of global yogis that I am yet to meet face to face, i INTEND TO BRING IT ALL BACK AND OFFER IT DIRECTLY TO YOU ALL TO ENHANCE YOUR PRACTICE AND KNOWLEDGE OF SCRIPTURE, DEVOTION, COMPASSION, MUSIC AND MEDITATION, let alone all the hands on assists, new sequences of asana and the richness of India, my passion and total dedication to serve you. 

Please connect, 'Like' https://www.facebook.com/lucysyogaidcrowdfunder , 'Share' and 'Donate' http:// www.crowdfunder.co.uk/lucysyogaid where you can - do one or all 3.

I know its xmas coming up and we are all skint, but believe you me, even £1 will go a long, long, long, long, way. Sign up for the Rewards and I will make those happen for you!!!!! 

mcyogi
Love is magnetic
love is wise
Love has the power
to open our mind
Deeper than thought
Below this breathe
stronger than time
Untouched by death
My love for you is ancient
My love for you Is blessed, 
my love for you stretches
Into this endless bliss

In class this week, we will explore 'Ahimsa' one of the 5 tenants of Jivamukti Yoga. it is about being kind, compassionate and 'Non-Violent' to the self and to those around you. It requires to 'Think' and to find 'freedom'. It is the universal GOLD towards developing consciousness and a unconditional Love. It requires us to take the seat of Isis, ground and awaken our feet so we can find the golden qualities within. 

YOU ARE GOLDEN! 

As a path to enlightenment through compassion for all beings, Jivamukti Yoga is grounded in the original meaning of the Sanskrit word asana as “seat, connection” – relationship to the Earth. Earth implies all of life. Citing Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra, which states that asana should be sthira and sukham, Jivamukti Yoga maintains that one’s relationship to others (asana) should be mutually beneficial and come from a consistent (sthira) place of joy and happiness (sukham). This is a radical idea that, when put into practice, can dismantle our present culture, which is based on the notion that the Earth and all other animals exist for our benefit and to be exploited for our own selfish purposes. So the practice of asana becomes more than mere physical exercise to keep one’s body fit or to increase strength or flexibility; it becomes a way to improve one’s relationship to all others and thus lead to enlightenment – the dissolution of the sense of separateness, the realization of the oneness of being, the discovery of lasting happiness.

Just like Gold itself being the least reactive metal and solid. Aren't these qualities fab to have! It is resistant to most acids. It is capable of dissolving, but not through a chemical reaction. Most wonderfully, Gold is thought to have have been produced in supernova nucleosynthesis, from the collision of neutron stars,[6]and to have been present in the dust from which the Solar System formed. Because the Earth was molten when it was formed, almost all of the gold present in the early Earth probably sank into the planetary core

WOW! I like to look at this as a metaphor to me and you! If you imagine that you are PURE GOLD!!! Think of the wonderful qualities you hold within. Not only are you shiny and delightful to look at, but you radiate and all your assets are so wonderfully Shanti. You are formed from a star and you are a part of this expansiveness we live in, as tiny as dust, as big as the universe, all around you exist inseparable from oneness, you are beautiful.  

As I cycled through the Bristol streets on Sunday I just had this overwhelming sense of wanting to give back to this City that gives so much to me. Its creativity, its open-mindedness, its wonder-filled abundance of dedicated and passionate people, trying their hardest to create positive change in the World, whilst making ends meat and doing their best to be loving beings. Its tough ain't it. But if there is any one place that is doing it well, its Bristol. 

Lets shine like Gold and be kind, give and love.

Namaste. x

 

Purify and Set your Spirit Free.....

HAPPY HALLOWEEN YOGI AND YOGINIS! I wish to celebrate YOU! 

Yoga i-D Halloween.jpg

YES YOU!!! Your Spirit. On the weekend I have been so grateful for my yoga off the mat and that living Yoga brings connection. That off the mat Yoga has been in the form of making time and space to nurture the friendships I have in my life, to nurture the beauty of Bristol, to love and to be loved. This song completely just sums up the feeling that I have awoken with this week. There is this feeling in me to make change so powerfully, always, yet there is also this complete gratitude for this life, the people and the place I choose to live in.

Last weeks practice was a powerful one, one that may have brought up a lot of resistance and emotion of varying kinds for some of you, either while on your mat in class or when you exited. I saw it and I held it and I was really awakened once again and as always by the power of Yoga to do that and watch it in my beautiful students. And why does it do that? Well, it is as you dive in to the true nature of the Self.

If we look at 'Redemption' what does it mean?

Redemption - the action of saving or being saved from sin, error, or evil.

We could say that another word for saving is freeing!!!!

FREEDOM!!!! 

So we don't need saving from all that arises, we could say we just need to find the freedom?! 

It's all you ever have. It is your song. Set your spirit free.

There is a wonderful story of a Monk that is called 'Ah so' ... the summary of it is how whatever occurs you learn to just go with it and accept it. Let it become an addition to your life.... where you just learn to accept whatever occurs. That is beautiful. You learn to have options yet to hold them for yourself at times and be open enough to see and appreciate the views of others, the actions of others, the non judgement of others - that is freedom. 

Lets celebrate your freedom! You have it!!!!!

So we return to asking ourselves - when are we free? How do we experience freedom?

It is said in Yoga that the study of the self involves 'determining where need ends and greed begins'. We can make that determination only by experimenting with our body and mind until we figure out how to remove clutter and confusion. This is known as the Chitta-vritti, or mind fluctuations. 

At the weekend, I had the absolute honour to spend several very poignant minutes standing on the harbourside in Bristol and engaging in conversation with a man that was very clearly on drugs of some kind and potentially had some mental health issues and yet was speaking nothing but the truth, through the chaos of his mind on the drugs, he was articulating his thoughts and these were so wise. He was so passionate and focused in many ways. He had the clarity of knowing the ability we have to understand the mind, he knew how to engage, he was aware of the inseparability of he and I and those others of us around, yet it was almost as if this in itself was slightly bewildering for him. It was as if he didnt know how to experience it, reality, as we see it, without moving away from it by getting totally off his head and out of his mind. This is speculation of course, as I don't know why he made the choice to get high, or if it was no longer a choice but an addiction - but that's the point - it is an option always at some stage, but where that moves to after, who knows. It is an action.

Without space, creation can not take place. If there is no space you can think of nothing and receive nothing. If you are not allowing space, how can you expect to find clarity. It is the space that invites the wisdom and allows you to understand the 'I-am' or the God in you! The higher Self in you and all around. 

So is this Avidya - is this 'Ignorance of the Self', being the thing of what you think you know, being actually false, that becomes the obstacleA Klesha! 

So to take action and make change we begin to connect and look often to a training of the mind, a spiritual practice of some kind. Ask yourself, why did you begin Yoga?

Deep rooted, was it to remove this ignorance and to become more connected?

This beautiful, yet very challenged man (which just autocorrected to 'angel' just then, which made me humbly smile - as that is what we all are!!!),  human too! Underneath everything, what he was saying and doing was rooted in the need for connection and to remove the struggle. And he even stated it many times, inviting us to connect, asking to connect. Wishing to hang out and be more a part of a community!!! It is simple really what many of us Need as opposed to Greed. 

But!!! In order to do that, he needed to potentially (i suggest only) remove some of the obstacles, Avidya being the first. But how do we do that????

It requires discipline, study and devotion!!! This is Kriya!

Because essentially as Stevie Wonder sings in Higher Ground... 'the world keeps on turning - til ya reach your higher ground'. But to reach it - you must take action and find the freedom. 

We perform the Kriyas to reach a higher place, a deeper connection with god (which is not religious but a word used to describe something higher than you) or the realisation of the Self. Patanjali repeats how this is so simple! He created the simple 3 step plan...

1. discipline 2. study 3. devotion!!!

Practicing these three things leads to the attainment of enlightenment - Kriya Yoga.

Kriya comes from the same Sanskrit word as Karma. However the meaning of Kriya is specifically meaning action that is taken specifically for purification purposes. 

We need to purify ourselves through cleansing practices, that are Kriyas in Yoga, to purify our lives towards this realisation. This is the action of Yoga!

There are 3 criteria that Patanjali states which must be met in order to begin:

1. Tapah - to burn

2. Svadhyaya: study of the higher self

3. Ishvara pranidhana: to devote or give up all the actions - thought, word, and deed of your life to God. 

As we know, this as Westerners can not look in a specific way when we lead very normal and active lives. But it can be done in your own way. This is YOUR Sadana (spiritual practice). This can be done by making a fire. The flames you feel inside are the difficulties and the light burns away our selfishness - we burn away the impurities we all create. The fire element in the body is internalised. This main impurity is Avidya - ignorance - so we offer the fire our Ego - our lower self. 

If we stay the same  - if we don't allow those resistances or emotions that arose from last week to rise up, how can we begin to burn them away, how can we begin to generate transformative heat within ourselves. Do you wish to become complacent and stay the same?????

The psychotherapeutic power of the yoga practices have the ability to bring unconscious feelings to the surface. If we direct these to realisation of self and something higher, as opposed to expressing these as selfish emotions/ actions - these can become liberating rather than binding! 

This becomes a Yoga practice that amplifies and directs pranic flow - life force (as emotions are simply a flow of energy moving within the body). 

So as we practice yoga - we might sweat! This is purifying yes, and we may feel good and like we created heat - yes. But simply moving and sweating isn't Kriya. Where is the devotion aspect that is selfless? The Ishvara Pranidhana - the relinquishing of selfish motives?

I went to hot yoga for the first time over the weekend to see what it was that I was missing. Yes it was great - I felt good but I myself had to remind myself to devote my practice as I moved through all the 3 aspects, as without that knowing wisdom, there was no reminder. This of course may not matter or be of any interest to some Yogis or teachers, but is it then Yoga? Is it simply a very well formulated movement practice? In svadhyaya you are at the mercy of the obsessions of the smaller self. 

NEED AND GREED!!!! (Trick or Treat)

Truth is relative in the realm of the senses - tis true. The senses do not lead us to truth. No matter how much we pursue the pleasure aspect of the senses - we can never get enough. That man will never have enough drugs. We can never run away from pain either - no matter how hard we try, the drugs will not let us escape forever! We won't run fast enough.

So we could say that the 2 things that this creates, 'attachment' and 'aversion' bring nothing but disappointment!!!!

"Giving up attachment to the ego and the world of the senses is tapasic, and thus purifying." - Jiva

So as others are greedily running around Trick or Treating and death is upon us in this eve of Halloween....

Can you begin Kriya? Can you find space and freedom. Can you begin to remove Avidya and welcome life?

See you on the mat to explore - oooooooooooooohohhhohoohoohoohhhhhoooooo!!!!!!

I guarantee this isn't a trick and will definitely be a treat!!!! Come set your spirit free.

Namaste x

Classes:

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

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

 

 

 

 

Giving structure to the desire for Yoga... become upright!

"Don't try to get out of this world, get in to it" Bhagavan Das, what is yoga?

GET IN TO IT! Yes!!! This is my mantra this week.

This video evokes this desire in me to get in to the body on a deeper level, to move my body in soooooooo many ways. Yet witness the structure, the formation, the unity in these drummers. The complete understanding of their practice of drumming, the wisdom and the power of it all coming together in this way.

"Yoga is an effortless dance with breath and gravity." - Vanda Scaravelli.

When we begin Yoga - the most important part is understanding that you are working with your own body, to your own limitations and to begin to develop deeper wisdom of the body, this unity of your approach to the bodies potential, this power of transformation in body and in spirit arises. We see overtime that this develops your personal knowledge that only you can acquire and continue to develop each and every moment that you practice. 

The efforting to push, pull and strive stops and the connecting begins. The rhythm flows and the beat goes on. 

This week we are looking at the importance in Yoga to begin by lengthening the spine, creating more eveness in the ribs and the spine itself and how in turn this allows the muscles of the back to release any tension. We are looking to lengthen the spine, against gravitational force.

The vitality of the spine represents the vitality of our whole being.

Working to develop an upright spine, is working to become a being that is thriving in the realm of gravity and not being pulled down by it! 

Yoga is more than a physical exercise.

The breath is key to this! We use the breath to loosen the spine and to prevent injury. As we become aware of the movements of prana (life force) and its expansive potential, it is limitless. The asana clears the subtle pathways which prana flows. 

To practice any asana (posture) or 'seat' means to practice perfecting ones relationship with all aspects of the earth (manifestations of reality) and all beings that inhabit it.

We evolve and this evolution is all part of your practice in Yoga and in your Life!

Start where you are now! 

backevolution.jpg

This picture clearly shows us how the spine itself has changed with evolution!!! Asana encourages awareness of prana, giving us the opportunity to put ourselves in to the ever expanding shapes and patterns of existence and to then experience the wonderfully powerful dynamic force that animates all form. 

I love watching this video above that so simply illustrates how our bodies move and have the potential to move!

If we think of a classic Sun Salutation (Surya Namaskar) that many of us Yogis have done a million times... this sequence includes a variety of individual movements and demonstrates the various ways we move in Yoga, that is united with the breath and creates balance on both sides of the body. To get an upright spine, we need balance. Not forgetting that Hatha is the the joining of the Sun (Ha) and the Moon (Tha), representing all pairs of opposites in the world.

How do our movements revitalise the spine, create a sense of being upright and grounded at the same time?  

Tadasana.jpg

To find grounding we find our seat. You know this right, as I told ya that already the last couple of weeks? We create a solid foundation, a grounding in physical movement and in the rooted aspects of the s!pirit. Tadasana (mountain pose) above for example, is thought to be an abode to the gods/ divine. It isn't a passive standing pose. It is a meeting place of terrestrial and celestial forces. It is the youngest child of heaven and earth. It conducts the earth energy to heaven and visa versa. Our base is anchored to the earth. Just like a volcano is connected to the core of the earth and spews out the fire of the core. The peak of a mountain stretched towards the sky. It is considered the tree of life. It is rooted. 

To open up we work with backbends, but we must be cautious and teach the muscles in the back to release rather than to tighten, which then allows our hearts to open beautifully and with a softness that comes from the inside out. 

Our wonderful detoxifying twists help to derotate the spine, ensuring that we always be aware to lengthen the spine first before any twist is actioned. 

Forward bends are used in Yoga to deeply release tension in the back and shoulders and these are super effective the longer we continue to fold and use the breath to release deeper and deeper over a longer period of holds.

Inversions create a freedom in your body to experience alignment without the usual distortions caused by gravity. As a result, it is often easier, particularly if you have a scoliosis, to feel what alignment is upside down than while standing on your feet. The inversions also develop strength in the back and arms; increase circulation to the vertebrae, brain, and other organs, and encourage Iymphatic circulation and venous blood return." - Yoga Journal

Relaxation in savasana is by far one of the most important postures for the spine. It allows our body to rest, lengthen and most importantly invites our muscles to relax completely. No need for them to be switched on to bare the weight of the body or the tension we create through the mind. 

The spine has its own wisdom, its own power. If you approach yoga and the movements of your spine with pure grace, awareness and acceptance you will inevitably become more connected, heightened in all aspects of life through the subtle expanse of sensitivity you welcome and embrace.

You become a vital force. 

Let your desires be felt through your yoga practice this week, to awaken the spine, the balance, the openess and your strength in all ways, motions and mind. Feel grounded and full of vitality!

See you in class.

Namaste Yogis in the realms of Bristol and beyond. 

 

Yoga i-D Classes:

TUESDAY PM 19:30-21:00 Matter Wholefoods, Bs5

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

Let's Gaze to find what's not lost.

What you 'looking' for????????

Drishti - Yoga i-D.jpg

What a powerful time it is this week. You only had to look at the sun yesterday to 'see' it in nature.The idea of power, who holds the power and how we use it, is something that has massively inspired, intrigued and has been an investigation of mine this last month. We all hold power, yet are you aware of what that power is and how we are using it, how we can contain it and especially in Yoga? Yoga being a method, that I know, has the ability to help us to understand our power and connect with it - BUT HOW?

I am inspired to think about how we can ensure that we don't overspill and actually learn to contain our power and hold it in a safe container within ourselves. This has crept in to some of the teachings, that I myself have been prevalent to recently and has crossed over in my research of how...

Yoga has this ability to help us hold and develop this self-empowerment.

If we consider that Yoga can be a method to aid us in our search for what's not lost, we could ask ourselves what are we 'looking' for and more importantly, how are we 'seeing'?... Those of us practicing Yoga may know already, that we hold all that we are looking for within. But the question is, how does Yoga have that ability to unite us with our self empowerment and let us 'see' this and then transform our power for good? 

What are the tools that creates this method of finding the Self and maintaining that power... i'll tell ya.

One tool that we have in Yoga is Drishti. Eye Gaze.

I'd like to explore this with you this week. What is Drishti and why is it important and how does it compliment and affect our ability to see and empower us?

Last week, we explored Asana (the seat). Taking your seat on the earth and being offered a throne and once we sit, we begin to 'see' to look all around us. Drishti comes as a natural progression...  

It is the technique of the eye gaze that we develop during practice. We all know that the eyes can move in many directions and in Yoga we may use the gaze in many ways including, up, down, side to side, tip of the nose, navel, third eye, toes, fingers and thumbs. (This is subject to the particular asana or pranayama we are doing at any particular time). Although using these points as a direction to aim the gaze, the eye focus itself however remains contained. It is not fixed, but softer and is simply aiding you to maintain your concentration and focus. Ultimately, this is you making union with the divine. 

Our vision helps us to navigate, but it also hinders our perceptions and ability to stay connected to that which is real. So we use it consciously.

I love the way that this video by Forest Swords, removes vision to send out a message of 'panic'. The eyes are covered or not visible and this in itself translates a very powerful message, that we need the eyes and navigate through our reality using the sense of sight to make sense of the world. We use the eyes to seek, to find, to make us feel stable... 

The video, which Matthew Barnes co-directed with Sam Wiehl, shows strange, unexplained close-ups on bodies frozen in abstract stillness. If we think back to last weeks blog regarding Asana not being restricted to one static unchanging form, we can maybe consider how by closing the eyes or not allowing ourselves to see, we relate this to becoming paralysed to our experience. It could tell us that we rely so heavily upon our vision to stay connected to what we think is real, what the eyes can see.

But what are we focusing on and do the eyes see everything that is real, are they effecting to see, to find???? If we then stay 'fixed' on what we see, what does this create in our direct experience of reality, of ourselves, to others?  How about if we use the eyes, along with our movements, in a much more conscious way and begin to understand that how we use them can break this need to 'see' to believe and make connections and instead, learn to see differently, to 'gaze'.

What does it mean 'to gaze' and how do we stop 'looking' and start gazing? 

The general consensus is that the gaze point is the one which most enhances the movement of the asana you are engaging in. Warrior 1 (Virabhadrasana 1) for example, uses the thumbnails as its gaze point because by ensuring you are able to gaze at the thumbnail, ensures that your arms when raised have not moved beyond your ears, that your chest is lifted and that your heart is open. Understanding and choosing a gaze point requires not efforting. It is using your connectivity to naturally move the gaze to where is obvious for the shape of the asana that you are creating. 

We must consider that our vision is multidimensional.

I love the way that this Bjork video just seems to illustrate that idea and that term for me. The adjective of 'multidimensional' being 'of or evolving several dimensions'. 

What is important to really embody, is the subtle difference between gazing and looking.

Looking is 'to glance or gaze in a manner specified' and gazing 'is a steady or intent look.'

If we think about this in a dimensional way, looking implies that the object of vision is in the same dimensional reality as the looker and the act itself is fixed in duality. Whereas gazing, looks beyond the mundane object. It is a metaphor for seeking to find the vision of the divine beyond the limits of the eyes. 

I love the quote used by Ram Dass when he discusses finding our Guru: "Because you have seen me you have believed. Blessed are they that have not seen and yet have believed." - Jesus.

Likewise, if we think of 'gazing in to each others eyes' it has a softness and we are making a connection. Where in contrast, if you 'look in to each others eyes' it is effort, it is controlled, it is forced and it feels often like it is harder then to connect on a deeper level. 

Of course, the eyes project outward, yet to stay in this state of Yoga, we use the gaze and focus it inward. This contains the vision and keeps the united quality of your practice- the heart essence! This intensifies your concentration, in order to expand it beyond what the eye can see in all aspects of your practice. Just as Pranayama can do in the same way with the breath, by restricting it in order to expand it. 

If you are becoming absent and gazing in to space during practice, focus the eyes and likewise if you are closing them and getting too internal, open the eyes and refocus and see what energy shifts for you to stay in a state of one-pointed concentration that keeps you connected to the unity of your practice. That allows you to see beyond what the eyes can see and unite with something beyond the dimensional reality. 

I went to see the new Blade Runner film at the Watershed last week, and I have to admit that it wasn't quite my kind of film, it didnt captivate me... however, what I loved and have come to see the link with in regards to my thinking and practice of Yoga on and off the mat this week, was the concept of vision! It empowered in me to connect, in my Yoga practice, the potential of multidimensional qualities and to transcend my reality, away from simply 'seeing' life in one way but to be more open to many dimensions. This quote by Sharon Gannon demonstrates this...

"Space is curved, so if you had a telescope that was strong enough, you could gaze through it and see the back of your head in the lens. Indeed, if this telescope were also capable of special X-ray vision, you could see right through the back of your own head into vision itself."

So essentially, normal vision separates, as it is linear and objective, whereas gazing creates the sense of sameness and the inseparable and is open and united. This is Yoga. Oneness.

The eyes are our tools, to translate these qualities and aspects of practice, again and again, they play a part in our method of yoga. An essential part!

When you go about your day to day, when you make connections with people, places, and so on, witness your eye gaze, what is it doing? If you shift it from 'Looking' to 'Gazing', what happens? There is a time for looking, this time isn't during Yoga. 

In yoga, when finding the ability to maintain the appropriate gaze points, united with a steady flow of breath, you can begin to feel how you can detach from any efforting and stay more focused in the mind and your body. That steady sthiram quality arises and you can maintain your dharana.

Just like magic, see this translate off the mat as you also develop the ability to detach from your anger, fear, and all emotional states that prevent you from your Sukham, softness, kindness.

On the mat this week, lets explore gazing, containing and manifesting the qualities of unity and kindness- lets learn to visualise our world in a multidimensional way. 

Be here, now.

Namaste. 

 

CLASSES:

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

5, 4, 3, 2, 1... Bristol Yogis Awaken

BRISTOL YOGIS I'm back with NEW! offerings this week and wow wee, how I have missed you!

I invite you to Come out to play...

KRISHNA bHAGAVAD gITA.jpg

"Mistaking the body/mind for your true identity is the main obstacle to freedom" - Jivamukti.

I really like this little documentary by this unique musician, because it's about discovering identity and acceptance, alongside out actions and the fruits they bear, how we are who we are. I ask you, why, as you, do you do what you do? 

THIS week I OFFER A NEW CLASS TO BRISTOL... Wednesday AM 10:00 - 11:30 at YOGASARA, Picton Street.  

I guess, my music is my Yoga and I write this blog to present to the world the things that I think about and feel passionate about and it's an opportunity to share the deep wisdom that I have found beneficial for the past 18 years. And why do I teach Yoga? Because I love to share it in person, to make connections to my community and mostly, I love to offer something back to this earth in reality and so long as you come and I am still breathing, i'll be there with you.

So come, learn, experience together.

As Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita (as handwritten by me above)... be the creator of your own life and make this promise to yourself! Whatever that is for you. 

In Yoga, the word asana (postures) means 'seat', by taking this seat you establish a 'connection to the earth'. 'Earth' is meaning all things and manifestations of reality. This should be steady 'sthira' and joyful 'sukha'. This allows us to then play with our prana 'life force' and use asana as a method for learning to direct prana and create unity with the divine self - your true identity.

How we treat all things has a bearing on our own experience of life. When we feel our connections, we become confident, serene and peaceful. The most direct way to affect positive change in this lifetime, I believe, is through selfless action and awareness of your actions, being kind to the earth, all things, never taking more than you give back. 

Asana practice clears the subtle pathways through which prana flows. When we become aware of prana, we become aware of our expansive potential and how we are not limited to one static unchanging form. We can look at Surya Namaskar for this as an example of moving through a sequence of asana. As we put ourselves in various shapes, we have the opportunity to experience the dynamic force of prana that animates all form. Our breath is the thing that makes this conscious and by also setting an intention for our practice, gives relevance to this action and determines the end result of the sequence of our actions. 

Experiencing the vitality of life in all forms of life.

Through a single pointed intention our whole self becomes free from fluctuation, this is known as a Vinyasa Krama 'linked process'. When we establish a conscious intention, the process unfolds as it should. The breath becomes a metaphor for the intention and the link, when using the breath in a conscious way. Inhaling and exhaling with intention. In yoga, we are moving from matter in to spirit. This requires cultivating awareness. We awaken! We become liberated. 

Liberation is obtained through a clear intention. Make the choice to answer the questions above and find your way back home to yourself, be kind and compassionate and create a harmonious attitude around you and to the world we all share. 

"Wrapped inside a cocoon made of flesh and bone, doesn't really matter where you come from, we are home. " - Aurora

So we may take our seat in our own lives and acknowledge that who we are and what we do presently, holds the key to our happiness and wellbeing and we may chant the Guru Mantra to acknowledge this... 

OM... Guru Brahma, Guru Vishnu, Guru devo Maheshwara, Guru sakshat, param Brahma, tasmai shri guravay namah

Our creation is that guru (Brahma-the force of creation); the duration of our lives is that guru (Vishnu-the force of preservation); our trials, tribulations, illnesses, calamities and the death of the body is that guru (devo Maheshwara-the force of destruction or transformation). There is a guru nearby (Guru Sakshat) and a guru that is beyond the beyond (param Brahma). I make my offering (tasmai) to the beautiful (shri) remover of my darkness, my ignorance; (Guru) it is to you I bow and lay down my life (namah).

"Only if we can let go of our self-cherishing, our pride, our need to be recognized and our yearning to be given credit for the things we do, can we ever hope to encounter the guru, that which brings enlightenment to our soul."

See you in class to link, connect and create vitality in you.

TUESDAY PM 19:30-21:00 Matter Wholefoods

AND...

NEW CLASS! WEDNESDAY AM 10:00 - 11:30 Yogasara. 

Namaste x