Along with compassion and endurance, we’re being called to discover our inner strength right now. Yogis are sensitive souls, their first observance is love and non-violence. However, we have need right now of a steel inner core. We’re in the position of having to help others be strong. We need to be an army for good, an army for positivity, an army for change. While some of mankind seem determined to ignore the lessons on offer, and to return to abusing the Earth and the creatures who live on her, we must stand firm. We must create a new and better place. We must take compassion, but also strength of purpose and strong self-belief forward. This is not the time for doubt, this is the time to knuckle down and deliver. Mother Earth needs us. She needs her steel magnolias. Delve deep – find your inner strength and stand up for change, for goodness, for right.
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.
‘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.
Mahatma Gandhi said, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world”.
Never was this a more important message. Yoga teaches us to take responsibility for our own actions and for our own relationships. If we want to see peace established in the world, then we need to establish it in our everyday lives. If we want to see more sensible and reasonable dialogue in world affairs and politics, then we must introduce it into our own lives. Every interaction with others can be kind, thoughtful and peaceful.
The new year always feels like a clean start. It is an opportunity to make resolutions and to make changes. Lets light a candle in our own corner of Mother Earth. If there is enough of us engaged with this idea, we can surely change the world!
Must I seek and strive to find the real me?
No. Stop trying so hard and just be.
Must I wander and search to find my place?
No. Stay really still and fill this space.
Must I talk, shout and debate to be heard?
No. Be silent now. Love needs not one word.
There is no need to journey, you are already here.
There is no need to struggle, your purpose is quite clear.
There is no need to rush, just love the ones you hold dear.
Love is always the answer to our questions and doubts.
Love is always the answer, that’s what our life is about.
We are here to learn, to unite and to find truth.
Love is who you are, where you are and love is the proof.
Love is the life-force, the prana.
Love is the glue, the cement.
Peace will be found and established
When love fills your every moment.
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.
At some point in your yoga practice, you learn self-reliance and how to take responsibility for your own health. It is an inevitable follow on from working with awareness. Body awareness means that you notice any changes. You are alert to new twinges, stiffness or discomfort. You learn to look for early signs, and to respond quickly. As time progresses, you build up a repertoire of self-help techniques. Yoga gives you the tools to promote your health.
Many people find that, with yoga, they experience a sense of well-being which was lacking before. They feel positively healthy, positively well. This state is not just that symptoms are not present, it is a feeling of vitality.
Yoga puts a spring in your step!
Yogis split their lives into four sections. They believe that the first twenty-five years are for education; the second twenty-five years are for being a house-holder and for raising a family; the third twenty-five years are for teaching; then the last twenty-five years are when you become a hermit. This last period of time is for your own spiritual development.
Yoga is often described as a journey of Self discovery. You see this journey explained and illuminated when you study Patanjali’s Eight Limbs. (Please refer to previous posts.)
Once you’ve studied the yogic philosophies such as the Gita, Patanjali’s Sutra’s and the Upanishads, it is useful to review your life and see what you have learned along the way.
So what was I learning in my teenage years to equip me to become a yoga teacher and, finally, the chairman of a yoga society? I learnt about the complicated games that people play. I learnt that people may be beautiful on the outside, but not on the inside. I learnt to use and to appreciate humour. And I found about the images that people put out into the world. Anyone meeting my family for the first time may well have thought of us as successful and harmonious. We were all good actors in our own way. I look back and count my blessings that we always had animals. I believe they kept us grounded and constantly in touch with unconditional love. We all loved animals. This was perhaps the only constant that the four in my family shared.
As a teenager, I experimented with a more noisy version of myself. I was intent on being heard. I also had my first experience of deja-vu. It was on a visit to Switzerland that I visited Chateau Chillon. Suddenly, in my head, there was the sound of battle. I was a young lad of about twelve, dirty and skinny but alive with a mission. I was running up the steps to do my master’s bidding…The past-life flash was fleeting and vivid, but I knew it to be real. I realise now that along with this noisy, teenage version of myself, my Inner Spirit was growing and developing too.
How powerful is the simple smile! It brings about connection. I learnt, as a child, that when you approach someone with your heart open you break down barriers. We’ve been doing a series of heart meditations at the end of this term. Sitting in your heart, and smiling from your heart, can change your world, and the world of everyone around you. In the beginning, it takes a conscious effort, and then it becomes the norm. Even my dog knows that, when I smile at him, all is well in his world.
Perhaps having an open heart and smiling is a signal to Spirit World that we are ready to serve. There are forces at play which guide us. growing and developing allows us to meet our destinies with commitment and enthusiasm.
When we take a photograph, catching a moment in time, we say, “Smile!” And every time someone looks at that photograph they smile too! Smiling is infectious…
It seemed to me, as a child, that I was not on a level playing field. My brother was clearly regarded as being more important than me on every level.One of my challenges was to live alongside that and to play out the hand that I had been dealt. I guess when I sat in Spirit World and planned this incarnation, I decided that I needed to learn about human dynamics. I must have had to learn about confusion, and about living the questions. I developed a little world of my own. It was a place where I felt safe and where I could listen to my intuition, teaching from within.
It is said that when we pray we talk to God (or Brahman,) when we meditate we listen to him.