Yoga

The Three Wise Men were Yogis

I was raised a Christian. Not just a Christian so I had a religion to write on forms when required, (Lutheran in my case), but the every week attending church and Sunday school type of Christian, where in our family you lived the teachings of compassion, love, and non-judgement – ‘let he who is without sin cast the first stone’ kind of Christian. So, when I discovered yoga in my late teens and enjoyed it like so many of us do when we first experience the practice of asana, it bothered me when it was first suggested to me that yoga might be in conflict with my beliefs. Initially I justified continuing to practice yoga by telling myself I was just doing it for the exercise. I thought if anything arose that was in conflict with my beliefs, then I just wouldn’t do it. It was a great relief to me when…

Live the talk, happy and healthy

The sankalpa for August, “I nurture my physical body in healthy and loving ways” is a timely one for this season of viruses and flus. Only last week I was left with little choice other than to ‘Be still and heal’ while healing from a virus. The less-wise earlier version of me would have tried to soldier on through the illness, sharing the infection with those I met, and doing untold damage to my immune system. Because I know now to be more nurturing and loving to myself, I listened to the doctor and cancelled my classes for a few days. I had only recently been telling a friend that she needed to stop and heal, and here I was faced with practicing what I preached. In some things I do feel authentic in my practices, such as using mandalas for meditation. (I have personally been doing this regularly for years, so I…

The Power of Love

The Christmas present from my son included a Typo calendar, which has little discount vouchers on the bottom of the page each month. In January, I could get a half price notebook. Being addicted to stationery and happy to take advantage of a bargain, of course I used it . It is here on my desk now, and the cover says “THERE ARE SO MANY REASONS TO BE HAPPY Cat videos. Weekends. Pizza.”  Perfect. So in this amazing country of ours where there is plenty for all (especially pizza), why is there so much fear, hate and sadness popping up in the media; and especially, why in my facebook newsfeed? Authors such as Russell Brand and Bruce Lipton caution us against swallowing the hype of the mass media which ultimately gives control to those in power by creating a culture of fear and powerlessness while we direct the blame to anyone who might seem…

Three Days of Silence

The silence became my three days of solitude, with mostly silence; because I quickly realized that silence is not practical when you are practicing at home with your beloved dog and cat. Leo the dog was especially bewildered by my absence of verbal cues, staring up at me and clearly trying to anticipate what we were up to. To continue in total silence would have been cruel. Misty, being a cat, simply persisted in meowing at me until she received the appropriate response to her demands. So really it wasn’t quite solitude either, with them in attendance, but I pressed on determined to experience what I had planned for my three days between Christmas and New Year with all the family away. I began my journal, and had my first epiphany early on that first day. For many years I have wanted to write a book. I knew what I wanted to…

Things I Hear People Say

There are some things that people say to me about yoga and meditation that I hear regularly, and if you recognise them as something you say, then I hope my responses might help: I’m not flexible enough to do yoga. My lighthearted response to this is “That’s like saying I’m too dirty to take a bath.”  or “Yoga is for everyone: the fit, strong and flexible, but more importantly, for those healing, imperfect and stiff.”  Sadly this is a common misperception about yoga which is helped to persist by magazines and social media promoting people in poses that you rarely see in the average yoga class, and even most of us teachers can only dream of achieving. We all need to begin somewhere, and putting off doing yoga because you already feel inflexible in your body is like not taking up tennis because you can’t hit an ace when you serve.…

Old Wives Tales or Old Wives Wisdom?

The more I read and learn about ancient wisdom, the more examples I discover that justify practices which were once commonplace in my childhood; and now ‘modern science’ is ‘proving’ that some of these wisdoms are valid. For example, I was reading about the healing properties of the metal copper, which includes being antimicrobial (kills germs). So when hospitals were being made, using door handles made out of brass (copper and zinc combined) was to minimize bacteria transfer. We seem to have forgotten that they were not ornamental, but had a purpose and have switched to other materials. Incidentally, copper is an essential mineral for our survival: helps with iron absorption, regulates the thyroid, makes bones strong, and is the primary element responsible for producing melanin in our bodies. Drinking water from a copper vessel ensures bacteria are killed and the healing properties are absorbed internally. So Prince Arthur was…

Create Momentum

Momentum involves movement. What I appreciate about this image is it shows how your momentum flows to other areas of your life and likely to others around and near to you. When we start something…a yoga session, a new project, writing a blog, replacing an old habit with a new and better one… we recognise the difficulty in getting started, but once we get moving with it we find ourselves rolling along and gaining momentum. Sometimes though we go through times when we feel stuck; like we are walking the same track and going nowhere new. Perhaps you have been attending the same yoga class, or doing the same home practice. Perhaps the routine which helped you to establish your daily meditation habit is beginning to feel like another daily chore on your ‘to do’ list. Perhaps you are feeling like you are boring to be with because you don’t have…

Relationships

Relationships are what we are here for. Sometimes they can be hard, but we must never give up on connecting with others. In the words of Mother Teresa, “Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat.” Sometimes when we lose someone we love, we are hesitant to love again, because the pain can be unbearable. Even when we lose a cherished pet, we say we say we never want to have another; but then fate (or a meddling family member or friend) throws us into contact with a furry bundle and we just can’t reject them. They need us. And there is the central truth to life…we need each other. Advertising tricks us into thinking we need more and more stuff, but if I were to lose all I have…

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