The first Sunday

July 5th, this Sunday, is the first of the month. The Sivananda Institute has requested that we join a global meditation to nurture the Earth. The time is 1p.m British time, and we are asked to repeat the mantra ‘OM NAMO NARAYANAYA’ out loud for 15 minutes, and then internally for 15 minutes. All the time hold the intention to heal the planet in your heart.

Repetition is an enormous part of yoga practice. As teachers we discover that it is the gentle repetition of instructions that enables people to move into a safe space. Holding the space for your group is a hidden but essential part of offering a yoga practice. This I really miss. I’ve sent out email lesson plans throughout lockdown, and because it is seemingly endless, I’m now embarking on Zoom classes for my students. We must all adapt. I’m still as passionate as ever about getting yoga to where it’s needed, but it’s not the same. You cannot tune into someone’s energies through the computer. We all know that we can send distant healing and love, but nothing will ever replace the exchange of energy that you receive from a loving smile or a loving hug. Music touches and opens us, as do kind words. Nature nourishes us, but a life without that exchange of energy lacks a magical ingredient.

But we keep on keeping on. Let’s do the chant to help to heal the Earth. Let’s stay positive and cheerful. Let’s keep on pulling together to surmount this tricky time. Let’s remember that this too will pass…

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

‘Home from OM – the last yoga retreat’

My latest book is now available on Amazon! It’s a novel way to navigate the ageing process, and uses story to spread the teachings of yoga.

Buy your copy of ‘Home from OM – the last yoga retreat’ now! They’re selling fast…

Click on the cover to purchase.

mumyoga

‘Home from OM’ employs the ancient yoga technique of story-telling to put across spiritual teachings, the infinite wisdom. Following the progress of ten occupants of a residential home, we engage with their lives and their pasts. Can living in a yoga community bring grace and fulfillment to their last years? Could this be a way for the elderly to progress instead of diminish? Or will new challenges emerge from the experiment? Carole Kerton has been teaching yoga for forty-one years. She believes in using humour and anecdotes to facilitate learning. Whilst yoga supports all age groups, the elderly in Carole’s classes thrive on their practice.

Like-minded people

One of the greatest joys of being a practising yogi is being surrounded by like-minded people. I have taught yoga in the States, in India, in Spain and in Ibiza. Yoga travels well and yoga groups are always a joy to be with. When we lived in Kentucky, U.S.A., we discovered a whole new yoga community. They welcomed us with open arms.

Yoga means union. All yoga students come to understand that feeling of ‘oneness’. Coming out of a deep meditation, anywhere in the world, you feel total connection with those around you. You may not know the last name of the person next to you or, indeed, anything about them. That matters not a jot. You are one with them. They are your spiritual family…

Chapters of our lives

When you look back over your life, you see that there are times when the lessons come in thick and fast. Some periods are incredibly colourful and rich, both in joyful experiences and sad ones. This was our experience in the early 80’s. We learned then about the agony of sudden bereavement. We learned about extreme, fluctuating emotions. I became the designated emotional ‘washing-machine’ for the entire family. I felt that, in some strange way, all the emotions came to me, and I churned them around and sought to cleanse them. We learned, as we moved to the other side of the globe, about letting go of our security and diving into a new adventure. We learned about culture shock. Our young family clung together through the turbulence and grew strong.

It’s at these times that yoga’s lessons are most valuable. The asanas help to keep you grounded, the meditation calms your mind, the breathing techniques keep you in the moment. You realise the strength of you inner Self.

Brahman is the friend and the refuge

Brahman is the friend and the refuge of all…

The Self is hidden in the heart of all creatures..

If the truth of these scriptures are meditated upon by a man in the highest degree devoted to God, and to his Guru as to his God, they will shine forth. They will shine forth indeed!

OM…Peace-peace-peace

Svetasvarara Upanishad.

.That brings us to the end of our study of the upanishads. When you train as a yoga teacher, you immerse yourself in three great works, ‘The Bhagavad Gita’, ‘Patanjali’s Sutras’, and ‘The Upanishads’. The ancient teachings guide our steps.

His eyes are everywhere

Brahman dwells within man, and within all other beings. He projects the universe, maintains it, and withdraws it into himself.

His eyes are everywhere: his face, his arms, his feet are in every place. Out of himself he has produced the heavens and the earth, and with his arms and his wings he holds them together…

This great being has a thousand heads, a thousand eyes, and a thousand feet. He envelops the universe. Though transcendent, he is to be meditated upon as resident in the lotus of the heart, at the centre of the body, ten fingers above the navel.

Svetasvatara Upanishad

The yogi is pure

As a soiled piece of metal, when it has been cleaned, shines brightly, so the dweller in the body, when he has realised the truth of the Self, loses his sorrow and becomes radiant with bliss.

The yogi experiences directly the truth of Brahman by realising the light of the Self within. He is freed from all impurities – he the pure, the birthless, the bright.

Eternal bliss

Strive earnestly for eternal bliss…

Be purified by the light of the Inner Reality…

The wise control their minds, and unite their hearts with the infinite…

Control the vital force…

Unite the light within you with the light of Brahman…

Turn the senses and the mind inward to the lotus of the heart…

Meditate on Brahman with the help of the syllable OM…

The first signs of progress on the path of yoga are health, a sense of physical lightness, clearness of complexion, a beautiful voice, an agreeable odour of the person, and freedom from craving…

Svetasvatara Upanishad

Truthfulness and meditation

Like oil in sesame seeds, butter in cream, water in the river bed, fire in tinder, the Self dwells within the soul. Realise him through truthfulness and meditation. Like butter in cream is the Self in everything. Knowledge of the Self is gained through meditation. The Self is Brahman. By Brahman is all ignorance destroyed.

To realise God (Brahman), first control the outgoing senses and harness the mind. Then meditate upon the light in the heart of the fire – meditate, that is, upon pure consciousness as distinct from the ordinary consciousness of the intellect. Thus the Self, the Inner Reality, may be seen behind physical appearance.

Svetasvatara Upanishad