Middle ocean

It has come into my consciousness that there are paddlers and there are deep-sea divers. Paddlers tend to be quite content standing at the edge of the sea, but deep-sea divers yearn to plunge into the depths, explore new worlds, move deeper. There is no middle ground – no middle ocean. The paddler has no desire to immerse, and the deep-sea diver cannot live on the shore…

This analogy is true of some relationships, but also it is true of our approach to yoga practice. I have students who love coming to yoga, but when they leave it is forgotten. They enjoy it, it relaxes them, and for them that is good enough. And then I have students who fully immerse. To them yoga is their guide, their support system, their best friend.

I have found myself turning ever more strongly to yoga as we isolate. Even after teaching for 44 years, I am still learning on a daily basis. Yoga is ever fresh, ever adaptable, ever enriching. There are always deeper levels to explore…

OM Shanti Shanti Shanti

Stoicism, mindfulness, positivity…

If you can’t go out, go in. Yogis are super equipped to deal with this isolation situation. I spoke to a fellow yoga teacher yesterday who said that she is treating this time as a long retreat. It’s a wonderful time to meditate more, to spend more nourishing time on the mat, and to fill your home with healing vibrations.

However, even yogis get down days. Even yogis sometimes wake up feeling despondent and weary of it all. And that’s when we need to remember to be kind and patient with ourselves. We need to remember that we’re just as affected, if not more, by the sadness and the trauma around us. Sometimes these weary days are when we are helping the planet most. We’re helping the planet to process, to cleanse, to heal. Even though we are separate from others, we are all in this together…

As we move through today let’s work with three intentions. Let’s cultivate stoicism so that we can withstand the crisis. Let’s be constantly mindful so that we experience each moment as precious. And let’s cultivate positive thoughts and belief that despite the down days, we’ll all come through this together. We can create a better world for EVERY CREATURE to live in…

P.S. Anyone from my weekly classes who would like a class plan, please email me.

OM Shanti Shanti Shanti

Openness

“The openness to Life Itself that we cultivate frees us from a great deal of the conditioning and many inherent, and inherited, assumptions…Life is not about answers. It IS about learning to live in the middle of complete uncertainty, and doing so gracefully. ” SWAMI CHETANANANDA.

This week we stood six feet away from a dog-walking friend while she completely lost it. She railed against isolation. She railed against the government. She railed against the world. She railed against the N.H.S. She declared that she didn’t care about anyone else and that she was sick of hearing about all the heroes. In fact, she had a full-blown two-year-old tantrum!! This is an intelligent woman who normally interacts with society in a reasonable and totally civil way. She was at the end of her tether! At the end of her rant, though, she clearly didn’t feel better. Rather she appeared to feel much worse. I had a strong urge to intone OM, and to call in the spiritual forces, but I recognised that this would only incite her further.

Yoga is such a strong support at times of complete uncertainty. I’m finding myself turning ever more strongly towards it. What an opportunity we have all been given to turn inwards. To have time for meditation. To have time to appreciate nature, even if it’s just in our imagination. To have time to rethink how we’re treating our planet. To make a list of changes that we can make in the future, after the lock down has been lifted, to help Mother Earth.

Instead of railing against the uncertainty of these times, let’s get out the mat. Do some chanting. Watch the breath. And, above all, trust that the Universe has a plan…

OM Shanti Shanti Shanti

We all share an inherent need to belong…

“We all share and inherent need to belong.” This is the first line of ‘Home from OM – the last yoga retreat’. Practising social distancing and isolation reminds us just how much we need and appreciate our communities. We miss family, friends and those groups that we’ve cultivated over the years. I miss my yoga family! However, yoga is always with us. ‘If you can’t go out, go in’.

No matter what difficulties you’re facing at this time, take them on to your mat. Work them out on your mat. All you need to return to your centre, to your inner spirit, is you and your mat. Namaste means. ‘the light within me welcomes the light within you’. But when we take that a step further it says, ‘when I am in that place deep within me wherein is my light, and you are in that place deep within you wherein is your light, we are together.’

So remember, if you are feeling alone, (or lonely), yoga is there for you. And through your yoga, you will access your yoga community to which you belong. “We all share an inherent need to belong.”

OM Shanti Shanti Shanti

Kindness

It came as a surprise to me to discover that kindness must be taught. I had rather believed that children were born kind, and sometimes the world taught them otherwise. As a parent, grandparent and children’s yoga teacher, I observed that some children are more disposed to absorb the lesson of being kind than others. Others take longer. It’s the same with adults. We all know people who persistently put others first – they have a desire to serve their family and their community. Others don’t look at the world through the same eyes – I’m fond of saying that some plant flowers, and some plant litter!!

This coronavirus is teaching the human race the lesson of kindness. Many are fully embracing this – looking out for their neighbours, volunteering, abiding by the regulations. Many positives will come out of this crisis, and I believe that one of the positives is reclaiming kindness. Let’s make kindness our norm. Kindness not only to our families and to our close friends, but to everyone, every creature, Mother Earth, and to ourselves too.

Be kind!

OM Shanti Shanti Shanti

P.S. Any of my weekly class members who would like a class plan, please email me and I will send you one. C xxx