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.
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!
.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.
As a mother, you take on the dharma of motherhood. It is your responsibility to care for and nurture your children. As a grandmother, you take on the dharma of caring for your grandchildren, and filling in the spaces where you are needed. As a teacher, you take on the dharma of caring for your students. As you get older, you begin to question more deeply the philosophical questions of life and immortality. Respect, courtesy and good old-fashioned niceness is required for all generations to grow, learn, harmonise and move forward in love.
Student yoga teachers study three great works, ‘The Bhagavad Gita’, Patanjali’s Sutras and ‘The Upanishads’.
Upanishad means to ‘sit at the feet of the Master’. This refers to the fact that yogic teaching was passed from Guru (teacher) to chela (student). The Upanishads are like our fables. You need to read them with your heart, rather than your mind. They all contain a moral.
The Upanishads are the philosophical part of the Vedas. Neither dogma nor theology, these meditations concern direct, overwhelming religious experience in the midst of life, and record insights into eternal truths. They are unified by their common search for the true nature of Reality, and in the course of this search afford glimpses into supreme states of the soul.
In the days to come, we’ll explore twelve of these Upanishads.
Krishna tells us, ‘A man should not hate any living creature. Let him be friendly and compassionate to all. He must free himself from the delusion of ‘I’ and ‘mine’. He must accept pleasure and pain with equal tranquillity. He must be forgiving, ever-contented, self-controlled, united constantly with me in his meditation. His resolve must be unshakeable. He must be dedicated to me in intellect and in mind. Such a devotee is dear to me. He neither molests his fellow men, nor allows himself to become disturbed by the world. He is no longer swayed by joy and envy, anxiety and fear. Therefore he is dear to me. He is pure, and independent of the body’s desire. he is able to deal with the unexpected: prepared for everything, unperturbed by anything. He is neither vain nor anxious about the results of his actions. Such a devotee is dear to me.’
This illustrates so well the detachment that we talk about in yoga. How wonderful to have no concern about the results of your actions! Because you lead a yogic way of life, because you walk in goodness, because you trust, worries of outcomes no longer concern you.
And there, in the first line, is the reference to the first rule of yoga – AHIMSA, non-violence.
So the first of the Eight Limbs of Yoga is the YAMAS or ‘Don’ts’:
BRAMACHARYA, non-misuse of energy
The second of the Eight Limbs of Yoga is the NIYAMAS or ‘Do’s:
ISHWARA PRANIDHANA, recognising that there are higher energies
If children were brought up to REALLY understand these five Don’ts and five Do’s, the world would change forever. If adults lived by these five Don’ts and Do’s, children would REALLY understand them.
The last of the YAMAS, the yoga ‘don’ts’ is APARIGRAHA, non-greed. Gandhi said,’There is enough for every man’s need, but not enough for every man’s greed’. We’ve seen so many changes in recent years. We’ve seen the financial institutions tumbling, and we’ve seen the richest nations in continuing financial trouble. Our planet cannot continue to meet our escalating demands. We must, in order to survive, address this huge subject of greed. All change begins with ourselves. To quote Gandhi again, the great soul said, ‘You must be the change you wish to see in the world.’
Practising non-greed means buying enough food to feed the family, but not so much that it is wasted and thrown away. Practising non-greed means up-cycling. Practising non-greed means giving to charity, sharing your wealth. Examine this rule in your meditations. See where you can make healthy changes for you, for your family, for your community and for our world.