Next week

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It’s almost november and as the clocks change this weekend we take a big step towards winter. All the more reasons to get in some practice.

Roath park primary school class returns on monday 6.30pm, after half term break. We will be exploring moving away from and returning to our centre in side bends. As well as creative play with garuda or eagle pose.

Then friday 4th november cardiff kirtan crew returns. You need to book your place for this as we have sold out our small intimate space every month so far.

I look forward to sharing with you all next week. With metta -the buddhist term for loving kindness or the warmest regard, katy xx

Dealing with your stuff

kd-quoteRecently I have been really inspired by how a friend has dealt with the unexpected shock of his brother taking his own life (read his excellent blog here). He has found his own method to process the emotions through cycling. As he says on his blog part of this has been allowing there to be a level of unconscious processing, or creating space from an intense situation like this. But also in the act of dedicating /offering up a part of his life that is sacred to him, in memory of his brother.

Yesterday I attended a Bhakti yoga workshop with Rajesh David entitled ‘through love to the self’. He described how heart based practices must give us more than just temporary distraction to our difficulties, practices should help us really deal with the root of the problem. Distractions and diversions will only ever satisfy for a short time, like too many sugary sweets that seem nice to begin with, before quickly turning into a sick feeling.

In the yoga community sometimes there is an impression that everything is about light, rainbows and smells of roses. I often see on social media dogmatic positive intentions, that just don’t ring true for me. I think this is exactly the same thing, when we use our yoga practice to distract and paper over the cracks, it will never really satisfy us.

I have attended many yoga class that has made me cry, to the outsider there may be no apparent reason for the tears. Max storm writes and talks about the close connection between our emotions, breath, and physical tension in the body. So yoga can be a powerful tool for helping us deal with our stuff, assuming we’re not denying the existence of it, or frantically avoiding our problems.

This may be precisely why it can feel really hard to get on the mat somedays. For me when I’m more anxious I find myself subtly finding excuses to myself not to practice meditation. In meditation there are (hopefully) none of the external distractions of daily life. We see the fluctuations of the mind at work, and every now and again, there is that rare pause between thoughts. A moment of space. Yogis believe this is a return to our true nature.

I get up from practice and my problems are still there. But that little bit of space can make a huge difference to my perspective or how it feels in my body. There is no one way of dealing with our stuff. For other people cycling, surfing, painting, playing music or countless other activities will be how they create that space and process what’s going on in their lives. Yoga can provide a highly effective toolkit but only when we are real, and we have the bravery to turn towards our challenges, rather than trying to hide away from them.

Shifting autumn practice

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In this week’s class we looked at elongation of the spine. Finding space to open up, a little bit more, and to find a feeling of expansiveness. I think this can be really useful as we head into autumn, with the cold and the dark sneaking back in bit by bit.

It can feel tempting to shrink back into ourselves, to hide ourselves into a ball. Maybe its an old animal instinct to hibernate.  I don’t think this is wrong per say and certainly adjusting and moving with the natural cycles of the seasons is useful. But that creep of inertia or slowing down, can feel unhelpful if you’re someone who struggles with the increasing dark/cold and has a modern life that still has demands sending you here there and everywhere.

Next week we will progress from that sense of length through the spine and openness in the body, by incorporating more twists into the sequences. Twists are a beautiful way to see the contract between squeezing and releasing. Drop me a line to book on.

Finally I read this beautiful poem by Danna Faulds when we paused at the end of the class for relaxation. I share it again here for anyone who didn’t make the class.

Just For Now

Just for now, without asking how, let yourself sink into stillness.

Just for now, lay down the
weight you so patiently
bear upon your shoulders.
Feel the earth receive
you, and the infinite
expanse of sky grow even
wider as your awareness
reaches up to meet it.

Just for now, allow a wave of breath to enliven your experience.

Breathe out
whatever blocks you from
the truth. Just for now, be
boundless, free, awakened
energy tingling in your
hands and feet. Drink in
the possibility of being
who and what you really are
so fully alive that when you
open your eyes the world
looks different, newly born
and vibrant, just for now.