Showing posts with label Intentions. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Intentions. Show all posts

Monday, 12 December 2016

Resonant Solstice ~ Dec mini retreat


I have been hearing from many of my students: 'I want to tuck myself away, get quiet, eat well', yet its not the easiest time of year to do so! Hopefully our Resonant Retreat (18th Dec) offers a chance to introspect as the year - which has felt, collectively, highly transformative - draws towards its conclusion. 

Turning within doesn't mean we are wallowing (or boring), but honouring the natural twists and turns of the season; prakriti, the nature around and within us. When we honour rather than resist the cyclical nature of life we appreciate each of its stages all the more; all the seasons, each breath and movement, every thought and conversation. 

It is easy to forget who we are at this time of year, to lose our sense of ground (EARTH) as our obligations shift towards the needs of others, towards the material side of life. Emotions can run high (WATER) as we are drawn into family dynamics that show us where we still have work to do, and where daily routines, like practise and diet, are disrupted; depleting our vital energy. The need to breathe, be, witness, digest and re-charge is greater than ever.

As winter solstice approaches we can look forward to the next shift, moving towards the light again. In the emptiness left by autumn and winter there is an opportunity to make space for what we wish to create on our future path. 

Our last retreat for 6 months or so...The resonant solstice mini retreat takes place Sunday 18th Dec at The Well Garden 9.30am - 2pm. Chanting, yin yoga, sacred sound bath and delicious cuisine by Moody Mango. Bookings piriamvadayogaetc@gmail.com





Thursday, 18 February 2016

Intend it loud and proudly

1 year ago, exactly to the day I received the keys, I voiced out loud, in a powerful circle of goddesses (aka yin training), an intention which had been bubbling away subconsciously, even since starting a blog called 'yoga adrift': to open a floating yoga and gong space. 

A space surrounded by nature; with no speedy turnovers between classes, where people could drink tea and chat after class; for friends to host weird workshops that wouldn't be 'commercial' enough for big spaces. In my dream I would live in a boatman's cabin on this floating ashram and my living room would be a yoga studio (a bigger version of what I have now basically...). It almost happened with a potential Belgian barge swap. Then things got busy, the cruising logistics (and bank balance) didn't quite work out. 

But it seems the wheels were turning on a divine plan, its outcome only slightly different to mine! So, later than expected, but with the same delight and pride, I can now introduce 'the shepherds hut at south mill lock'. Crafted from salvaged bits and pieces of trucks and houses, it fell into my path with the support of some generous-hearted and creative souls. And perhaps a divine wink that I still had some lessons to learn about patience. 

A mini yoga & gong space by, if not on, the river. On wheels (it couldn't be entirely stationary could it?) in a field next to my boat. But the intention remains the same. 

Now available for mini retreats and private gong baths for up to 4 people - and for use by other practitioners and teachers! 

What I learned? Keep intending out loud, surrendering the results and waiting patiently for what will be. LOVE from the river x








Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Happiness in the mountains - India part 3

3 hours into the bus ride from pondy, passengers are craning pothole-jolted necks for a glimpse of the holy Arunachala - it is said you can feel this mountain before you see her.


India is a place where towns are famed for, or defined by spiritual leaders; monumental human beings as much as ones made of stone and earth. Thiruvanamali is synonymous with the late Bhagavan Sri ramana mahrishi (1879-1950)see Www.sriramanaashram.org. He never aligned to one particular philosophy or label but Advocated a path of jnana and Bhakti (no surya namaskar here); of knowledge and going beyond knowledge, wisdom; the practises of satsanga, meditation and self enquiry.

'Thiru' is also a shiva town. Legend has it that brahma and Vishnu were arguing over who was the more superior deity, so shiva turned himself into an endless column of fire and challenged them to reach its source or beginning. Conceding that shiva was in fact the supreme of the supreme trinity, the other gods bowed and shiva turned fire into stone, creating arunachala, an imposing reminder in matter of the underlying divinity of all creation.

Think of something in India and it appears it seems it appears instantly: a Kung fu master/ karma yogi tour guide (I am so sorry not to have his name having lost the card) runs after us in the vast arunachalaswara temple to offer a speed satsanga, shiva he explains is 'CEO of the universe, all others are the executives'.

Here and in the north of India worship of 'shiva' does not only mean the trident toting destroyer (although he, king of yogis and renunciation is obviously the coolest) rather than another god or goddess but the underlying supreme consciousness, or shivam, which can be both in form and formless. All gods are in effect 
representations of whatever you call 'that'. 

The highlight of a stay in Thiru is giripradakshina, the circumambulation of arunachala, 14km on the outer path, mostly main road passing through a few villages and marked by 8 shivalingams, providing a protective, sacred compass. The way is peppered with temples, shrines, trees flapping with wish bags, hundreds of saffron clad sadhus, playful monkeys and friendly stray dogs.

Tradition was set by Bhagavan who walked in the early morning, slowly and bare foot, so I'm following his lead, starting shoe-less before sunrise and finishing before the midday heat kicks in. The walk celebrates the glory of arunachala, symbol of shiva himself and instills in the devotee a deeper connection with the divine within. To walk with reverence by doing japa or devotional singing keeps this as a moving meditation. In case the mind is wandering to the next chai or idly stop, all along the way loudspeakers loop a slow chant of 'aum namah shivaya'. Like a good yoga practise there is a challenge for the ego, for the body and for the mind.

Compared to the hectic tooting and heat of the outer path, the inner path of arunachala is peace and silence itself. Less to see and more to absorb - as you wander up and up guided by om painted rocks and handy arrows, you can visit the various caves where ramana spent most of his years in thiruvanamali, before the building of the current ashram. Racing against sunset to reach the top (in flip flops, no torch) everything else seems a world away.

It is amazing that a man who spent most of his days in silence is so well known, but when words are less used it seems their energy is stronger. The more time I spent in mauna on this trip the more I notice how words are often used to please others, but actually only appease our own ego, uncomfortable in silence; how saying thank you ten times is about our obsession with being seen to be behaving well and that if you actually smile from the heart and bow with reverence all these word are totally unnecessary.

The middle site, virupaksha cave, shaped like an om, was crafted by Ramana himself; he spent 17 years here mainly in Silence while a throng of devotees trecked for satsanga. The cave is alive with the buzz of the pranava and like much of the ashram property there is no need for technique here, just to sit and wait for peace, wisdom and truth to awaken within.

Everywhere at the ashram the spirit of Sri ramana is very much alive, in the atmosphere of the meditation room where he spent his last days, in devotees flocking to circle his samadhi (shrine), in the Seva of feeding 200 sadhus and local homeless every day. In the background peacocks are shrilling while each morning the young Brahmins lead Vedic chanting and puja. Don't miss the singing of arunachala mantras in the evening by ashramites. There are not really words to describe it here, simple and joyful without any drama, I just feel happy. And that is more than enough. 

Ramana never touted for followers or fame, never creating a lineage. Not once are we even asked to honour the donation system to stay in the beautiful guest house facilities, to use the library (which is a treasure chest of ancient and rare books not to be missed by us yoga geeks), or to eat 3 deliciously simple sattvic meals per day, served on hand stitched leaf plates.  It is as if silence is still the more powerful messenger here, trusting that those who can support the continuation of Sriramanas spirit will, and giving all the freedom to feel and taste for ourselves the essence of the teachings.

So that was Thiru - as is my usual trick we arrived at the end of season, just missing maha shivarathri, falling between the celebrations of full moon, when a million devotees take giripradakshina and the new moon shakti puja. Still, if this is arunachala off peak, I'm sold.

As towns are defined by people, so are our travels through them: eshwan owns the travel company who whisked us from Thiru to bangalore tonight. As the bus was running late he called personally to tell us not to leave the ashram just yet, then he met us at the crossroads and welcomed us to wait in his family home at 3am due to another delay. At the start of each trip this kind of kindness always comes as a surprise and by the end I realise, hey this is the way it should be: to treat all as equal is easy when you believe all are one, to trust before doubting. 

Goa and teaching calls - om namah shivaya.

Monday, 11 July 2011

Will's and won'ts

Hearing one of the regulars at my favourite 'boaters' pub The Anchor & Hope say 'if you tell me not to do something, it will make me want to do it all the more...' reminded me of myself. 'Strong-willed' has often been used to politely describe my belief that I can do ANYTHING I put my mind to.  He then jumped shirtless into the river lea at night, which might not be the best example. 

Following the yoga path is not about adopting a certain persona or slavishly living your life by a load of rules that were carved out in a different life-time. But actually its about 'walking your way'; experiencing your self, for yourself.

Will-power is a massive part of finding out who you are and sticking to it. It takes a lot more to 'dig in' and address your own issues than to keep up a pretense of being 'super-human'. I was inspired by the words of Paramahansa Yogananda this week: 'Today I will make up my mind to succeed in whatever I do. Will-power is a tremendous factor in all activities. It can start endless motions of cosmic energy.'...

And by a session John and I ran at New Horizons, Kensington & Chelsea - sound & yoga for the over 55's. These ladies and this brilliant organisation underline that fact that people shouldn't be put into neat little boxes. Encouraging them to try new and challenging things, rather than assuming a 'can't do' attitude is liberating in itself (being mindful of injuries, health conditions of course).

Setting intentions are a massive part of crystalising your will-power into a clear definition of what you really need; rather than living with a shopping list that swirls around your head, with no clue where to start.

Don't expect it all to happen overnight but write down and tuck them away in a diary or, even better, under your mat - referring back in a few months time you'll often be surprised. Don't wait around for someone else to guide you, believe in your own ability to make it happen...