‘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.

Reviewing life’s lessons

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.

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

Meditate on OM

Fire, though present in the firesticks, is not perceived until one stick is rubbed against another. The Self is like that fire: it is realised in the body by meditation on the sacred syllable OM.

Let your body be the stick that is rubbed, the sacred syllable OM the stick that is rubbed against it. Thus shall you realise God, who is hidden within the body as fire is hidden within the wood.

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.

Svetasvatara Upanishad.

Mind and matter

Mind and matter, master and servant – both have existed from beginningless time. The Maya which unites them has also existed since beginningless time. When all three -mind, matter and Maya – are known as one with Brahman, then it is realised that the Self is infinite and has no part in action. Then it is revealed that the Self is all.

Know God and all fetters will be loosed. Ignorance will vanish. Birth, death and rebirth will be no more. Meditate upon him and transcend physical consciousness. Thus will you reach union with the lord of the universe…

The truth is that you are always united with the Lord. But you must KNOW this. Nothing further is there to know. Meditate, and you will realise that mind, matter and Maya (the power which unites mind and matter) are but three aspects of Brahman, the one reality.

Svetasvatara Upanishad

Cause and effect

He who is realised by transcending the world of cause and effect, in deep contemplation, is expressly declared by the scriptures to be the Supreme Brahman. He is the substance, all else the shadow. He is the imperishable. the knowers of Brahman know him as the one reality behind all that seems. For this reason they are devoted to him. Absorbed in him, they attain freedom from the wheel of birth, death and rebirth.

The Lord supports this universe, which is made up of the perishable and the imperishable, the manifest and the unmanifest. The individual soul, forgetful of the Lord, attaches itself to pleasure and thus is bound. When it comes to the Lord, it is freed from all its fetters.

Svetasvatara Upanishad.