My Thoughts And Ideas
Date: October 30th 2017
What is freedom? Well, depending on who is observing it, it can have many meanings: the opposite of responsibility, the antithesis of commitment, time away from the children, sufficient funds to access more opportunities, the space to fulfill our dreams, a break from work, finishing a prison sentence, riding on a moped on a Greek island with the wind in your hair, divorce, dying, getting your own flat etc. It can be rights, choice, not being owned or dictated to, it can be personal, tribal, cultural or national, it can be a myriad of examples & concepts.
In the context of Yoga, Freedom is called 'Moksha' this type of freedom means actual liberation from the repeated physical cycles of birth and death, final emancipation from the tangible world, a release from all of the suffering that comes with that plane of existence, a cessation of running around trying to keep up with our troubled and worried thoughts... True Freedom is to silently say a blissful goodbye to everything which keeps us limited & finite, goodbye to the tireless urge to self-define through our societal values or lack thereof, goodbye to identifying with our conditioning and instead to 'realise' that what we seek is already here, our True Selves have become buried, the aim of Yoga and Practices like it is to help us to uncover what 'Maya' or illusion/conditioning has covered up for thousands of years.
Ideally through the continued and dedicated Practice of Yoga we can observe the surface chaos from a deep seat of pure consciousness, we can witness our pain, fears & foibles while recognising that WE ARE NOT THEM we are merely watching them... True realisation only comes when not forced or contrived though, so our Practice must be from a place of unconditional love, it's important to distinguish between a Practice and yet another type of conditioning, the freedom must come from within as opposed to needing an external force to break our chains. It is imperative that we open ourselves enough so as to not become enslaved by our own restrictions, barriers and cages. most of the hostage situations in which we all exist are self-imposed....be they subconscious or otherwise....why? because our minds believe that to open....is to open to pain.....this obviously is not very palatable....so we, on many levels close ourselves off.....however, for as long as we exist in these bodies with these emotions and thoughts we will have to face pain in one way or another.
The way in which we embark upon this showdown is to firstly, look at the most readily available trauma, the thing that is to the forefront of your mind which troubles you, and then eventually, when you are ready, go deeper, examine that which is buried, and as you gently peel away the onion layers, you can begin to reveal, process and release the external trappings that have hardened around you.
Protection and caution are useful and logical....it's lifetimes & generations of over-protection and over-cautiousness that hold us captive in our own meticulously crafted Prisons. We have been blocking our own Freedom all along, (it's an inside job!) yet we have been blaming our external circumstance for our unhappiness.
Everything we need to LIVE the Freedom we crave is already in us, we are actually already free, we even have the key in the lock and the mastery of how to turn it.......we just need to REALISE it.
This is the Spiritual Practice, nothing mystical, nothing religious, just Truly waking up! Namaste.
Date: March 23th 2017
We have cheated ourselves into thinking we are using our time wisely, modern day society equates 'success' to an over-flowing schedule, meanwhile we are suffering from mental and physical illness more than we've ever done. Is this success? I think not. Yoga suggests that we practice going deeply within ourselves to answer life's big questions & to find happiness, It urges us to practice contentment within quietude rather than filling our lives with noise which distracts us from being truly present and above all Yoga allows us to realise that true success comes from simplicity.... not from the competitive acquisition of wealth and 'power' that has become the mark of our dreaded rat-race.
Humanity is losing its grip on what it is to be healthy & happy. We are losing our ability to unconditionally Love. Our egos have taken the driver's seat and the Soul's vocal is but a whisper drowned out by 'productivity' pay-cheques & timetables that are brimming with stress and excess.
Let us live and practice in such a way as to learn that accomplishment is the art of letting go of 'busy' let us allow the sufficient space and time to come to proper stillness....the kind of productive stillness that is conducive to spiritual evolution, let us practice the mastery and control of the ego-weed so that we can touch our higher-consciousness and nurture it to grow and blossom. Hariom.
Date: January 27th 2016
The deeper you go into your Practice, the simpler it gets. In this context, what I mean by 'simple' is uncomplicated rather than easier. When we approach a new subject for the first time we think things like 'o there's so much i have to learn' 'I'll never get to a stage where i can speak that language fluently' (for example) or 'I'm so bad/slow at this' etc etc. The new world of the subject we have chosen to learn is so alien and vast and confusing that we tend to either give up or make things EVEN MORE complicated by putting up barriers that hinder our learning... much like the reluctance of a child that won't do their homework... but the fact is, the more we practice something, the more we experience it as a sort of second nature... ergo it becomes 'normal', 'habitual' and ultimately, part of us.
The Practice of Yoga remains a challenge as it requires us to sharply and relentlessly question what we know, it requires us to commit daily with our time and energy to remaining 'awake' and present and it requires us to tell the truth to ourselves.... but the Yoga itself - as an ethos is clear and simple: it is about unconditional Love.
If we truly love and live our lives through a state of Love, we are honest on every level, we accept ourselves and each other and we are present!
The connection to the Higher Consciousness comes from Love. Our creative energy comes from Love and our ability to nurture, change, grow and eventually evolve comes from Love. THIS IS YOGA. As our beloved Guruji used to say 'Practice, practice, all is coming'
Date: October 16th 2015
While discipline is greatly important on the path to both consciousness expansion and spiritual evolution, it is also necessary to tap into our innate sense of Joy. The nature of any devotional practice is that it brings us to blissfulness, yet the militant and harsh structures which we impose upon ourselves so that we don't stray off 'The Path' can create extremist vibes in our psychology. We begin to suppress/avoid things that give us pleasure therefore denying ourselves access to fun and enjoyment .... which subsequently fosters obsession. Once obsession takes hold we have returned to Ego-land and we will without a doubt FALL OFF THE WAGON (the roads in Ego-land are very bumpy). Yoga is about connecting to the present moment and ENJOYING its simplicity, so it's not sufficient to merely 'be present' we need to practice being COMFORTABLE in the present moment. Over time, this comfort becomes easefully sustainable .... and once we experience that, we have returned from the bumpy impermanent roads of Ego-land back to the path of the soul. Personally Yoga has taught me how to be grateful .... gratefulness is what keeps me comfortable in the present moment. I feel so genuinely privileged to have a job that nourishes me on all levels, a roof over my head, a vote, fantastic friends and an infinitely amazing father.
Discipline holds valid gravitas but don't sacrifice your Joy in the name of the practice. you can have both.
Analogy: a bird cannot fly on 1 wing .... no matter how strong that wing is. Discipline without joy brings a limited and unbalanced perception of life.
Homework: find your own personal head-space ingredient (eg gratitude) that makes you comfortable in the present moment and switch that awareness on every day.
COMING BACK TO STABILITY
Date: September 30th 2015
Unstable is good, permission granted! Go then citizen of the wind, go with the flow' this excerpt from one of my favourite poems (a herbal by Seamus Heaney) describes the freedom that comes when we escape structure and fly towards adventure....the fact is, we are designed for spontaneity, for exploration and even for stress PROVIDED we come back to stability every so often. I think the problem with our society today is that we are on constant 'external mode' we are out there all the time, overdoing, over-working, over-socialising etc. This constant unbalanced energy of going with the flow, without regularly returning to our base depletes our energy.....we injure our bodies, we stress our minds and we lose who we are. We can handle 'going with the flow' as long as we also come back to our centre, recharge and rest. Freedom is beautiful but without structure it is chaos and ultimately destructive if we're not careful.
We can weave the concept of stability into every level of life, physicality, mentality, spirituality. In order for us to experience balanced energy and maintain health we need equal measure of structure and freedom we need to come home to the rooted & internal support of the present moment, especially when we've had periods of going where the wind takes us. Yoga does this for us. Students have often said to me 'I just didn't have time to practice this week' the times that are most stressful are the optimum opportunities for beneficial practice.....where our Yoga becomes our medicine. 5 minutes of breath awareness or 5 sun salutations a day will be an easily accessible practice and a guaranteed therapy, especially in times of family/work/financial pressure.
Analogy: your car runs out of engine oil......but you keep driving it.....need I say more?!!!
ACCESSING OUR POWER
Date: September 10th 2015
We all have power, the trouble is, in times of stress, we often don't know how to access it, or even how to use it. Through the science/art of Yoga we can study ourselves and in doing so, we uncover our gateway to personal power. However, it is a process that takes both time and continued Practice.....and there is a sinister gate-keeper called SELF-DOUBT .... eradicating this demon is necessary to move onwards in our journey. Lack of self-belief mingled with fear of the unknown are generally the reasons why we can't move forwards. .... however these emotional responses are of the ego. We have been conditioned for generations to feel like we are not good enough .... but the fact is, we are! If we Practice our Yoga devotionally (regularly and consciously) we tap into a deeper and stronger connection to the truth of our self-worth. We learn to operate from a higher consciousness, that is based on love and that is so sturdy that the fears and doubts of the ego don't even get a look in!
Analogy: think of the person you trust the most, someone who has been there for you constantly without judging or doubting you, someone with whom you feel understood, supported and valued. Now Practice being that for yourself, speak to and inspire yourself as that person would.
Trust and fear cannot exist together.....Trust your True Self, this is how you access your power.
THE IMPORTANCE OF THE BREATH
Date: August 11th 2015
Breathing is the essence of the Yoga Practice......and the essence of life. We often take our natural ability to breathe for granted, but we need to be more conscious of it actually, in order to access our power, to be present, to nourish our cells and to maintain general health in the mind-body system. In Yoga we view the breath as a wonderful medicine with no negative side-effects! Breathing with awareness and gratitude brings us effortlessly and organically into a more meditative state.
When we are on our Yoga mats it's a bit easier to 'remember' the breath than when we are out in the external world, we forget about the lifeforce enhancing properties of a good steady breath and we respire sporadically and in a shallow way....rarely inhaling or exhaling fully....this is not good, it dulls our clarity, stresses out the nervous system and depletes our energy. Why would we do that? it's crazy! Let's make a conscious decision to focus on, and improve the quality of our breathing every day, let's be thankful for the amazing science that is the breath and let's use breath-medicine to cure all ills!!!
Analogy: visualise a house in which there is no proper air-flow... everything's dusty, there's dry rot and fungus coming up through the floor at the corners, it's dark and smells musty and the energy of it is tired and stagnant.
Our lungs NEED fresh air.....and lots of it! let your breath be your healing Practice and spring-clean this old house!
THE BATTLE TO REMAIN CONSCIOUS
Date: August 10th 2015
Life happens! We move through this lifetime rapidly. We are tempted by things that we know aren't necessarily good for us but desire makes us 'grab' nonetheless. The Practice of Yoga gives us permission to slow down, we SEE what it is that we need to help us grow, this facilitates a deeper awareness of who we really are and gently guides us away from living a life that merely feeds the ego. We talk a lot about ego in Yoga, ego is necessary for survival and it gains strength via sensual gratification.....however, if we over-feed the ego, we exist only on an external level, thus steering us away from internal exploration (spiritual growth).
Through Yoga we go deeper than the surface and we encounter the simplicity of that which we 'need' .... which is to operate at a Soul level, letting the internal senses/intuition guide us. This realm of existence is where we need to be in order to remain conscious, otherwise we are just sleep-walking through life. Our Yoga Practice allows us to be the Warrior that prevails over the conditioned ego and leads us to honesty, clarity, bliss and a connection to true reality.
Analogy: Imagine a beautiful scene full of dragon-flies, lush green leaves, vibrant blossoms and a crystal clear waterfall. If you drive past that at top speed, you will be unable to perceive its beauty-no matter how intelligent you are. SLOW DOWN, it's the only way to experience the present moment.....consciously.