Showing posts with label wellbeing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label wellbeing. Show all posts

Thursday, 16 June 2016

What I learned from my students today...

Your teachers will tell you how to put poses together, what they do for the mind body; but your students will show you what it means to their lives. It is a privilege to teach and be reminded of many things that as practitioners we may have begun to take for granted. 

Leaving everything behind 

When we step into our yoga space...I'm not saying 'mat' as yoga can be done sitting on a chair or the bus; it's more about carving out a mental space (and of course coming into a dimly lit room away from the world facilitates this more easily)... When we step into our bodies and breath within that space we can make a choice to leave behind the family arguments, the feelings of low self worth, the work expectations etc. That 'leaving behind' might walk a wavering line, but with practise it will become more concrete. And every time we re affirm that choice, by reconnecting with the breath, a chakra, the music in the room, a smile, or whatever...our ability to make a choice becomes stronger. Of course we have to go back to our home/ desk/ lives - but we go back a little different. For many people, weekly yoga class is the only time they take have that's not for someone else. The funny thing is that it ends up being for everyone, if it benefits us. 

Battling less with life 

In our first twists we tend to use brute force to get somewhere; to triumph over our bodies; to mirror or better where someone else is at. Over time we understand that kindness and breath produce openness in our spines. And before long our eyes are closed and we are the only one in this twist, playing with looping edges of acceptance/ frustration/ surrender. So off the mat do we learn flexibility. That trying to force life/ family/ friends/ colleagues into doing it our way doesn't work and only leaves us frustrated and wondering why other people have it better. 

A breath changes everything 

Breath is transformation on a cellular level. Not just an automatic function of the lungs but the thread that connects the everyday with the highest self. Whatever physical shape we are in, the breath unites us. What use is the most complex pranayama unless we remember to breathe? In the most challenging postures, through the breath, we learn that relaxation is not just lying around being lazy; but a highly effective mind body state. Class by class the breath starts to vie with our to do list or self beliefs as the chosen dwelling place of our mind. Back in the everyday, awareness of just one breath rises us above the battle and allows us to negotiate some inner space, to see and respond more clearly. 

Community heals 


Yoga is both being together and being entirely in our Self. Sometimes the community we need is the shared silence of shavasana, the brief absence of words in a noisy world; sometimes it's a chat after class, discovering common issues and sharing experiences. My experience is that our highest self guides us to the people we need and the work we are meant to do in each moment; the only thing that's required of us is to stay open to it; that of course is the whole practise! As teachers we simply facilitate the opportunities for communion and community, and let go of attachment to the results. 



I am grateful to offer yoga for positive mood and positive living courses as part of the Wellbeing network for mental health recovery, run by City & Hackney MIND. 

Sunday, 22 February 2015

chai & chat with...Tracy Karkut-Law Homeopathy

A friend recently chided me for writing so infrequently on my blog. Sometimes it is hard to find the right balance of 'I' and potentially useful information (perhaps other yogis would resonate with this!). I also recently realised how surrounded I am with inspiring people, an extended sangha that includes yogis and many other holistic practitioners. So I decided to let them do the talking about what they do, where, how etc. 

First up is Tracy Karkut-Law, super-homeopath, DJ, nature lover and mum of 2 from Bethnal Green...Tracy has been helping me with a cold aching in my upper back so I can attest to her nurturing approach. 

What got you into Homeopathy and how long have you been practising?

I first tried homeopathy when a friend suggested it for my recurring sinus infections, as an alternative to my frequent antibiotics. I had a really positive response to my first prescription and never looked back!

I’ve been qualified for almost eight years, but feel I have been practicing a lot longer than that as I was giving remedies to friends and family even before I started my training. 

What's involved and what are the benefits?

Homeopathy is a holistic system of medicine that can be used to resolve all types of acute and chronic health issues. A homeopathy appointment is surprisingly detailed, and includes personal and family medical history, as well as general information such as whether you are warm or chilly, and what types of food you prefer. 

Most people find that after a first appointment, they start to feel more well in themselves, they are sleeping better and have more positive energy. In addition they will notice a general improvement in their symptoms. Sometimes, and not always at the beginning of treatment, there can be a short-term worsening of symptoms as part of the natural healing process. Sometimes old symptoms may  reappear in order to be healed. Overall, homeopathy helps us to be stronger and more resilient. There are excellent benefits from ‘preventative’ or ‘maintenance’ treatment as well as treatment for actual illness.  

What are some of the common conditions you treat?

I frequently treat illness related to allergies. I have developed a Homeopathic Hayfever Prevention programme that I’ve been using for many years, that is very popular as it works well. Two appointments during the winter and one during the summer are usually all that are needed. I use a combination of desensitisation strategies along with liver support and constitutional treatment.

I work with issues around immunity, especially in cases of recurring infections - sinus, chest, throat, glandular issues, urine infections all respond beautifully to homeopathy. I include antibiotic detoxification as part of the treatment, which I find is very helpful.

….And some of the more unusual/ unexpected ones? 

To be honest, I never know what I will be treating from one day to the next. Everyone is welcome! This last year I’ve worked with many long-term chronic illnesses such as HIV+ and Parkinson’s, both with good results.

What role does intention have to play in the treatment?

I like to explain my strategies and reasoning behind remedies. I also talk about the remedy itself - what it is made from and why it is appropriate. I strive for a balance between being non-judgmental but also honest and open. I feel that this is the only authentic way to practise.

How has homeopathy, or perhaps the acceptance of homeopathy evolved since you began practising?

Homeopathy is better known nowadays, partly due to the influence of the internet. There are many sceptics and detractors out there, however, so as professionals, we need to maintain a very clear and positive online presence. 

Homeopathy has well-established and traditional philosophy and principles that have served us well for almost 200 years. However, we have additional tools and strategies in our tool-kit that are relatively recent, but well proved and effective. These include ‘sarcodes’ (remedies made from healthy organs and tissues) used to stimulate repair and normal function of different body parts and organs that are not working well. Another example is ‘tautopathy’ (remedies made from a substance that may have caused harm, such as a vaccination) used to detox where certain substances are seen as ‘causes’.

What are the best preventative 'medicines' for modern living?

The best preventative medicines for modern living are, in my opinion, sleep and activity. We live lives that are too full, and too sedentary on too little sleep. 

Which plant best represents you and why? 

The plant that represents me best is perhaps the geranium. Long-lasting, energising and yet relaxing. :)

Who/ what have been your most important teachers? 

My most important teachers? This is such a great question! I have learned so much from many homeopaths - I can’t choose between my tutors at homeopathy college. Gordon Sambidge, Marcus Fernandez, Susi Deller, Hilery Dorrian, Robert Bridge, Tony Hurley, Colin Griffiths, Mike Bridger and Tricia Allen. I have to add Caroline Gaskin, a tutor from a different college. My first two homeopaths, Angelika Koch and Lesley Murphy. I learned so much from Miranda Castro’s Homeopathy for Mother and Baby book. Robin Murphy and Ian Watson have written many words of wisdom for homeopaths that I have read and reread many times over.

How do you stay balanced while living in London?!

Balance is never easy, but I this is what I aim for. 

Be outside - parks and canals are a great way to be in nature.
If you can manage it - have a dog or a cat. 
Be active - walk, cycle everywhere in a 3 mile radius.
Keep one day (for me it is Sunday) free to relax.

Give us 5 top tips for holistic living in London

Shop local, and go to the amazing markets - Globe Town, Broadway, Columbia Road, Brick Lane, Spitalfields.
Buy locally baked bread - Pavilion and E5 are my favourites.
Take classes - dance, yoga, pilates, anything! There is so much on offer. Try new things until you find something you love.
Find a therapy that resonates and use it regularly - massage, acupuncture, homeopathy or something else.
Look for opportunities to be creative. Take photos, join a choir, or anything that inspires you. 

As a practitioner, how do you balance our increasing reliance technology with the need to connect with nature? 

Technology is a wonderful thing but it can also be a massive time-suck. This is what works for me:

I try to do most things from my phone - on the go, and keep it brief. 
I use a notebook and a diary. If I write something I remember it better.
I sit down with a laptop two or three times a week to take care of longer tasks. 
I take a couple of whole days per month to work on bigger projects.
I unsubscribe ruthlessly from emails.
I aim for my inbox to be zero but use folders to file things I need to action.
Evernote is a great place to capture ideas and anything I might want to work on, but keeps it out of my inbox.
I get out in nature every day, once or twice. Walking and taking long-cuts through the park are great.
I try to see a sunset or a sunrise at least once a week.
I always have a vase of flowers in my home.
I have a dog and a cat. They are wonderful companions and my dog is a great excuse to get outside.
Go to bed early and wake earlier for a walk or a run.


Tracy practises at the well garden and the plane tree in hackney. Schedule/ find out more here

More about homeopathy 

Homeopathy is a gentle, effective and non-toxic form of medicine that has been in use for over 200 years. The basic homeopathic principle of 'like cures like' was established by Hippocrates 2,500 years ago, but homeopathy as we know it today, was developed by a German physician named Samuel Hahnemann. He began his career as a doctor, but gave up his practice because he felt that his medicines and their side effects were doing more harm than good. He went on to experiment with giving reduced doses of potentially toxic medicine, and discovered that minute dilutions of a substance would cure his patients of the symptoms that a larger dose would cause.