Showing posts with label flow. Show all posts
Showing posts with label flow. Show all posts

Monday, 6 June 2016

Raga flow ~ live music & yoga unite

You may have remember my post a while ago about experiencing raga meditation in India. Well its such an pleasure to be linking up with Daisy Watkins to produce our own take on the blissful union of music and yoga this summer...

Raga Flow ~ live music & yoga 
Sunday 3rd July @ The Well Garden

Welcome to a new moon collaboration between musician & composer Daisy Watkins and yoga teacher & gong practitioner Ali Gunning. Inspired by the Indian roots of classical music and classical yoga, we have created an uplifting Sunday afternoon of live music & yoga.

Both raga and yoga inspire us towards a 'bhava' of divine bliss. Ali leads us through the yoga sequence, flowing from the heart to the crown, while Daisy's live soundtrack of viola and tampura guides and echoes our movement - until breath, sound and body are flowing as one.

We lead you into a deeply nourishing shavasana with a fusion of gong, voice and viola. And close our afternoon together with chai and nibbles.

Sunday 3rd July 2016
At The Well Garden, Hackney Downs Studios, Amhurst Terrace E8 2BT
£30 early bird (before13th June)/ concession, £35 thereafter
Suitable all levels
Bookings: 07855402837

About Daisy

Enamoured with the romanticism of carnatic raga music, Daisy embarked upon her journey into exploring and discovering the beauty and creativity that can be conjured with this tradition.

Carnatic ragas are particularly appropriate to yoga as their origins are also found in India. There are unique characteristics given to each raga which Daisy carefully selects and builds upon to create intriguing settings and enthralling scenes. Combining this storytelling craft with the philosophy and lifestyle of yoga, Daisy found herself creating subtle, flowing and grounding music.

Influenced by her western classical background, the live score is composed for tanpura and viola. Whereas a traditional raga may be more rhythmical with tabblah and sitar, this music features the soothing, lyrical tones of the viola which add to the flow of the yoga class.

Daisy performs the music live with the intention of it being sympathetic to its environment and audience. She believes live music is much more enjoyable, personal and ‘in the present’.

Daisy has performed for many guided meditations, mindfulness classes and yoga workshops in and around London.

Multi-instrumentalist and composer Daisy Watkins trained at the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester. She performs regularly throughout the UK in various ensembles and is a passionate music educator.

Monday, 6 April 2015

soma - a one day spring workshop - right here in hackney

Happy spring time! An idea that really resonates with me is Ayurveda's balance between agni and soma, on a deeper, inner level, the forces of sun and moon, purification and rejuvenation. 

So, the seasonal retreat this spring at the well garden is all about the moon-like, blissful nectar of soma. Celebration rather than detoxification! 

Here are the details...

Soma - flowing with the joy of life 

Revive, get in shape, laugh, love, share & learn.

Ready to come out of hibernation and unfurl the body into Spring? As the days lighten we prepare to bring ideas to fruition and embrace personal growth. We continue with a series of one day retreats to inspire you through the transitions and challenges of the seasons.

Water symbolises the flow of life, rejuvenating and adaptable; soma the stream of inner bliss. Harnessing these energies in our yoga practise, we can expand into a more joyful way of being - with our body, self and the world.

Join me, Piriamvada/ Ali, for a day in the life of an ashram retreat right here in Hackney. Workshop includes two yoga asana practises, pranayama, mantra and meditation. Morning yoga, dynamic but nurturing, will get the body and prana flowing. In the afternoon we explore deeper layers of body and mind through the stillness of yin yoga, mantra and breath-work. Guided meditation, time spent in nature and an optional evening kirtan bring us towards blissful harmony.

Lunch will be picnic-style (outdoors if we're lucky!) so please bring a vegetarian/ vegan dish or some bits and pieces to share. Snacks, water and herbal teas will be provided throughout the day.

Saturday 16th May 9.30am-5.30pm
Optional kirtan (guided devotional chanting with acoustic music) 6pm-7pm

The Well Garden, Hackney Downs Studios, 3-17 Amhurst Terrace, Hackney, London E82BT

Cost £60 per person or £50 early bird (book and pay via paypal to before 2nd April)
Kirtan £8 for retreat attendees, £10 drop in
Please bring a vegetarian/ vegan dish or a few bits to share during lunch

Suitable all levels, all yoga equipment provided
Contact me to pre-book and receive full programme 07855402837

Friday, 24 January 2014

always learning & teaching

I think many of us entertain the idea of teaching because we are 'good' at yoga i.e. very flexible/ strong practise. Or because we want to make something we love into something we do. And, for most, because yoga has changed our lives in many amazing ways and we want to share this with EVERYONE who might benefit!

I am often asked how long should I have been practising for, to enrol on a YTT? There is no set rule and, more importantly, there is never a point at which we've practised enough and become teachers instead. Teaching is a whole new layer to our existing and ever evolving learning. One of my first teachers said 'to teach we must keep some ego' and I didn't quite understand that at the time. I thought: aha maybe its ok to maintain a bit of my over-confident PR girl persona after all (of course that screen of false confidence crumbled under the gentle weight of practise over the proceeding years anyway!).

But now I understand it as being able to take a step back from the blissful union that we feel in a deep backbend or the melting into pranayama, where the yoga technique has gone fully into the yoga experience. To point others towards that place, we have to re-remember step by step how we got there – to think like a beginner or someone with a very different body/ mind set to ourselves. I resisted this at first, being so in love with (/attached to) the experiences of my practise.

Then I began to wonder (like, WOW) at re-learning something I thought I already knew inside out. To turn awareness to all the little ways my body works and breathes before it reaches the centre of a practise. Asana for example is not just striking pose but how we get there and how we come out of it.

Now I'm embarking on teaching teacher training: a new challenge and a most amazing opportunity. Recently in my meditations I was getting the voicemail: that the gifts of yoga are ours to share not to keep in a little box for our own gratification. It is a step back again to think how do I explain this posture to my class? How do I explain to someone else how to explain to others...a form of self enquiry in the same way that our practise takes deeper layers of witnessing, going in and coming out.

A beautiful teacher friend recently handed down a tale about a civilization going up a mountain, how each group in this mythical world took the responsibility to come back down and tell other climbers what to expect up above. This is teaching - passing on stories that will inspire and reaching out a hand to share the view from the top.

If I've gathered anything in the way of handy hints in the last few years here they are, and I hope that some of you may join us in June (details below)...

Getting over THE FEAR...

I was telling some students recently how I regularly feel like I might run out of the room/ pee my funky leggings. Perhaps it doesn't show but I've gradually accepted that nerves are just what's happening and if I indulge them I will only confirm my suspicions that I am a rubbish teacher by checking out of my responsibility to the class. This is all ego as much as if believing myself to be the best thing since Vishvaji!

Teaching yoga, like learning yoga, is an opportunity to face fear. While busy worrying that everyone hates us or that we can't remember what's next after trikonasana, or which foot was leading the sun salutation, we are perhaps missing the subtle energy of the room and how we might re-shape our plan for the class to address an issue that's been raised. And making it all about us, rather than the yoga.

But what a fantastic opportunity! Perhaps having finally come out of our heads in our practise we are suddenly right back there again in our teaching, looking back at a room full of expectant faces and having to breathe, ground, become present. To practise until the teaching flows through and merge the sense of me the teacher into just teaching.

Constant practise...

Practise what you teach and teach what you practise – I'm not saying throw that amazing arm balance - inversion sequence you love at a group of beginners (definitely not!), but find your voice and speak with integrity on and off the mat. There is a balance between knowing your stuff – running through a workshop and considering some modifications and what props might be need – and being flexible enough to throw the plan out the window and teach spontaneously.

Maintain and deepen your own self practise (I. e. not just the necessary run-throughs) - facilitate the flexibility and calm of mind that fosters spontaneity...not freaking out. To be sensitive and tuned in enough to the energy of a group/ student. Meditation is a great means to open up to this wisdom. I maintain a kriya practise that I do not teach and it is like a refuge when, on my mat, my mind is over-analysing every movement and my hand is itching to make a note of that clever cue that just popped into my head.

Feed yourself

We do not stop learning after teacher training, in fact I often feel I only really started once I had been through the transformational experience which is a YTT. So make the effort to go to other teachers classes, to visit your own teachers, to take workshops that challenge you and of course to learn from your students – the best and broadest walking talking textbook out there.

Community is also our food. Connect with other teachers and well-being practitioners, kirtans, satsangs etc.

Cultivate satya (honesty)

Not knowing is an opportunity to know, or know more. Another of my yoga family wrote the other day about leaning on her teaching for self esteem and I thought: wow, that thats exactly the kind of human-ness I would value in my teacher.

Svadyaha (self study)

Revisit the classic texts (and your own notes) again and again – connect with the roots of this ancient practise - there is always a deeper understanding to be had and like little seeds we need to plant year after year and give them time to grow.

Back to the questions...Is it enough to love yoga to want to teach it? What if I do the course and decide I don't want to teach? What if I'm not good enough? There are many questions that cross our minds about teaching. My best advise is to set aside these, and other, expectations as we are constantly evolving through the whole process – our bodies, energy, beliefs, thoughts – let it all be and enjoy the hugely exciting, rewarding, dynamic process that it is!!

With total gratitude to all my teachers along the way. OM. 

For more info about Akhanda training in the UK, starting June 2014, organised by Yoga Sundari, visit her website