Happiness is… a silent retreat

I haven’t practiced yoga and meditation for very long in the grand scheme of things; both in the scheme of my years on the planet to-date and the scheme of comparative experience to others on the path, many of whom have been at it from a very young age. However, I count my blessings daily that not only have I been fortunate enough to encounter these teachings at all in this life, but that the opportunities to study with some incredible teachers have come my way, ensuring that I don’t spend years or even decades, digging down a blind alley in the misguided hope that it will bring me the ultimate cookies – deep inner peace.

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Beautiful Dhamma Vihara

Continue reading “Happiness is… a silent retreat”

May the fourth be with you

On the rare occasion that I watch the War & Money Channel (AyodaKA The News – thanks Matt Haig for that concept!) it seems like there is so much fear and greed that it’s becoming insurmountable, that it’s going to be too hard to overcome, so we might as well just join in the consumption and let nature take it’s course when a massive apocalypse wipes out the human race and the animals can all go back to enjoying their beautiful planet.

Continue reading “May the fourth be with you”

Why are there six series’ of Ashtanga yoga?

I found myself wondering why there are six series in the ashtanga system this morning as I lay in Savasana on the floor of the girls changing rooms at the KPJAYI shala. Although I have ceased to feel that I care if I ever add another asana into my practice as I’m so content with what I already have to work on, I used to have a craving for more and I know many others do see the more advanced series’ as something they are working towards achieving – as a personal (egoic) goal. Continue reading “Why are there six series’ of Ashtanga yoga?”

Am I Bothered?

Most health-conscious individuals will have at some point been asked, about one aspect of their lifestyle choices, “Why bother?” usually followed by “We’re all going to die anyway, might as well enjoy ourselves while we’re here. The more I question myself about why I bother, the more it comes down to one basic premise… that surely prevention is better than cure.

The potential negative consequences of ‘enjoying’ oneself in the context of excessive drinking, smoking, eating processed food etc are too concerning for me to ignore. Although I do agree in principle that life’s too short for regrets, I’m pretty sure that if I were diagnosed with lung cancer I would suddenly regret every cigarette I’ve ever smoked (actually I already do regret that). Continue reading “Am I Bothered?”

4th July: Too much Independence Day?

It’s well known in Yoga circles that one of the possible outcomes of dedicated practice, study and meditation is that we may potentially experience some sort of freedom from the more unsavoury aspects of being human, namely the six poisons of greed, envy, anger, desire, delusion and sloth and the five klesas of not seeing reality, attachment, aversion, ego and fear of letting go of ego. To cease to become dependent on the human condition and to become independent, free spirits. Continue reading “4th July: Too much Independence Day?”

Profound yoga philosophy… in Starbucks.

starbucks_helloWhat happens when you spend five months in the mountains, come home, read a Yoga philosophy book on the train home and then wait for 45 minutes to be picked up in Starbucks? In my case, something strange happened. My view of the world and how people interact seemed altered.

Yoga teaches us to stop judging ourselves and everyone else. To observe without attachment. In the words of the Tufty road safety campaign, it teaches us to ‘Stop, look and listen.’ And so what did I see when I stopped to look and listen in Starbucks, Leeds train station? Continue reading “Profound yoga philosophy… in Starbucks.”