28 February 2010

Quote of the day...

Let the seeker after Self-Knowledge find the Teacher (the Higher Self), full of kindness and knowledge of the Eternal.
Sankaracharya, Crest Jewel of Wisdom.

27 February 2010

Quote of the day...

It is not "the fear of God" which is "the beginning of wisdom", but the knowledge of Self which is wisdom itself.
H.P. Blavatsky, Lucifer Vol. 2, No. 8; April 15, 1888

26 February 2010

Quote of the day...

If words come out of the heart, they will enter the heart, but if they come from the tongue, they will not pass beyond the ears.
Al-Suhrawardi (Essential Sufism)

25 February 2010

Quote of the day...

If someone remarks: "What an excellent man you are!" and this pleases you more than his saying, "What a bad man you are!" know that you are still a bad man.
Sufyan al Thawri (Essential Sufism)

24 February 2010

Quote of the day...

If men had been forbidden to make porridge of camel's dung, they would have done it, saying that they would not have been forbidden to do it unless there had been some good in it.
Muhammad (Essential Sufism)

23 February 2010

Quote of the day...

I searched for God and found only myself. I searched for myself and found only God.
Sufi Proverb

22 February 2010

Quote of the day...

Happy are those who find fault with themselves instead of finding fault with others.
Muhammad (Essential Sufism)

21 February 2010

Quote of the day...

For every sin but the killing of Time there is forgiveness.
Traditional (Essential Sufism)

20 February 2010

Haiti benefit class at Jivamukti Yoga London

Jivamukti Yoga London are running a Haiti benefit class this Sunday in Ladbroke Grove. This class will be followed by a Kirtan practice, what a great way to spend your Sunday evening and help make a difference to the people of Haiti.

For more information: Benefit class details

Jivamukti Yoga London
300 Kensal Road
Units 136-137
London W10 5BE

Directions: how to get to Jivamukti

Quote of the day...

Enlightenment must come little by little-otherwise it would overwhelm.
Idries Shah

19 February 2010

Quote of the day...

Asking good questions is half of learning.
Muhammad (Essential Sufism)

18 February 2010

Quote of the day...

A seeker went to ask a sage for guidance on the Sufi way. The sage counselled, "if you have never trodden the path of love, go away and fall in love; then come back and see us."
Jami (Essential Sufism)

17 February 2010

Quote of the day...

Love is what we were born with. Fear is what we learned here.
Marianne Williamson

16 February 2010

Quote of the day...

A donkey with a load of holy books is still a donkey.
Traditional (Essential Sufism)

15 February 2010

Quote of the day

Self-Knowledge alone is the direct cause of Liberation.
Shankaracharya - Atmabodha

14 February 2010

Quote of the day

We come to love not by finding a perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly
Source unknown

13 February 2010

Video: Help for Haiti - Everybody Hurts

Originally posted on Family Affairs... Be warned. You're gonna cry and then make sure you make a donation - there's a link just to the right of the video. It's very, very easy :-)


Quote of the day

What is troubling us is the tendency to believe that the mind is like a little man within.
Ludwig Wittgenstein

12 February 2010

Yoga video: Fourth Series Ashtanga yoga with Mark Togni

Here is a video highlighting the Fourth Series of Ashtanga yoga with Mark Togni. This is the first time I have seen this particular series of Ashtanga yoga being practiced. It is amazing to watch but I don't think I will be trying some of the poses any time soon.

Different types of yoga

I am often asked what is the difference between the various styles of yoga. Now that could take a long time to describe and, indeed, I might not be the most qualified person for the job, as it is a vast subject. Generally speaking any yoga where you practice Asana (poses) and Pranayama (yogic breathing) is Hatha yoga.

This is the most common form of yoga practised in the West and has many forms. Here is a brief outline of some of them:

Ashtanga (vinyasa) yoga:
Ashtanga yoga originated in Mysore and is a dynamic flowing form of yoga. Synchronizing breath and movement. Heating the body from the inside out, purifying the blood and removing toxins

Iyengar yoga:
Many poses in the BKS Iyengar system are similar to those of Ashtanga. The focus in this practice is on alignment and poses are sometimes held for long periods of time. The use of props is encouraged in this type of yoga.

Yin yoga:
Yin yoga focuses on opening the deep connective tissues and joints. It is a slow practice but works really deeply. It is thought that Yin yoga is one of the earliest forms of yoga. Sages would use this form to strengthen the body, so they could sit for long periods in meditation.

Jivamuckti:
Jivamuckti yoga classes offer dynamic yoga, alongside chanting and spiritual readings from the Sutras of Pattanjali and The Upanishads. The founder of this style of yoga are David Life and Sharon Gannon.

Kundalini yoga:
Kundalini yoga was brought to the West by Yogi Bhajan in 1969 and is a safe, comprehensive technology that can be practiced by everyone. It combines breathing, movement, stretching and sound (Naad), giving an experience of deep inner calm, self confidence and awareness.

Vinyasa Flow yoga:
A dynamic form of yoga derived from Ashtanga, which synchronizes breathing with an asana (posture) sequence very precisely.

Restorative yoga:
Blankets and bolsters are often used in restorative yoga. Poses are often held for several minutes; allowing the body to release, open and expand. Deeply nourishing and soothing the body and nervous system. Leaving the practitioner refreshed.

Quote of the day

We have a fear of facing ourselves. That is the obstacle. Experiencing the innermost core of our existence is very embarrassing to a lot of people. A lot of people turn to something that they hope will liberate them without their having to face themselves. That is impossible. We can't do that. We have to be honest with ourselves. We have to see our gut, our excrement, our most undesirable parts. We have to see them. That is the foundation of warriorship, basically speaking. Whatever is there, we have to face it, we have to look at it, study it, work with it and practice meditation with it.
Chogyam Trungpa

11 February 2010

Yoga video: Third Series Ashtanga yoga with Santina

Here is a video demonstrating Third Series Ashtanga by Santina. Personally, I have never even seen some of the poses in this video. Enjoy!

Ashtanga Yoga

Asha=Eight Anga=Limb Yoga=Union
The Eight Limbs of yoga
  • Yama - Ethical disciplines, morals
  • Niyama – Self observation, purification.
  • Asana - Poses, postures
  • Pranayama - breath control, rythmic.
  • Pratayahara - sense withdrawel
  • Dharana - Concentration.
  • Dhyana - meditation
  • Samadhi - A state of joy and peace

Quote of the day

Training is needed in order to love properly; and to be able to give happiness and joy, you must practice deep looking directed toward the other person you love. Because if you do not understand this person, you cannot love properly. Understanding is the essence of love. If you cannot understand, you cannot love. That is the message of the Buddha.
Thich Nhat Hanh - True Love: A Practice for Awakening the Heart

10 February 2010

Yoga video: Ashtanga yoga with Kino Macgregor in Goa

Here is a video of Kino practising in the Shala in Purple Valley, Goa India. This video demonstrates just how strong and focused Kino is… It is fantastic to watch a woman practice Ashtanga yoga at this level. I also love the bird song you can hear in the background. I myself have practiced many times in this lovely shala and always found the bird song very soothing and meditative .

Jimmy Choo shoes

At a charity auction event I attended recently, one of the prizes was a champagne evening in a Jimmy Choo store. The auction made a lot of money for the charity, but - even with the huge discount - I would not have been able to buy a pair of shoes from the shop.

I do, however, own a pair of Jimmy Choo’s. One of my friends went to the sample sale and purchased shoes for all the women she knew at ridiculously low prices. Such was her excitement that she was hyperventilating when she called and asked me my shoe size. I love the shoes, but, with the five-inch heels, they are not very practical. I can’t really wear them that often, unless my husband carries me (which he won’t), walking a few paces is about my limit.

The evening also reminded me of a funny Jimmy Choo anecdote. Many years ago my husband and I were at a party in London. We were both talking to different people. After we had left the party, he told me that he had been chatting to a really nice guy who worked in a shoe shop. Office, Nine West etc, came to mind. When he pulled out the shop assistant’s business card it was Mr Jimmy Choo himself. My husband had no idea who he was and, quite obviously, they did not chat about shoes.

Quote of the day

God is definitely out of the closet.
Marianne Williamson

09 February 2010

Neti pot

When I was training to be a yoga teacher, one of the 6 purification techniques taught to us was Jala Neti ( also called Neti or Jaaneti). Purification techniques are sometimes performed as a way of preparing the body for a yoga practice.

Whenever the neti pots came out, I disappeared, always needing to be somewhere else at that moment in time… I had many techniques to avoid it: the bathroom, the water fountain, the shop, anything but the Net.

Pouring a saline solution up my hooter was really not for me and I have avoided it right up to today. I have got a steaming cold and, as a result, I now have sinus pain, so I have decided to give it another go. Talk about waiting until your back is against the wall!

I rushed to the Sivanada yoga studio nearby and bought myself a ceramic neti pot and salt. I had to follow the one photographic image as the instructions were in German!!! Although I did not find it as unpleasant as some people describe, it was not as bad as I remembered. So I will use it over the next few days to see if it helps alleviate the problem.

Neti purification basically means pouring a saline solution up one nostril and allowing it to pour out of the other and then repeating the procedure on the other side. When I told my teenage son what I was doing he replied: “Urghhh... that’s butters!”, which - I am informed - is teenage speak for “I don’t think that’s very nice”.

Fortunately, I do not have a photograph of me performing neti but above there is a photo of the aforementioned pot.

The Barnes Ball

On Friday night I was invited to the Barnes Ball. It was an Indian themed night, which was a perfect excuse for dressing up, hence the sari photograph. The ball raised money for a number charities, both local and further afield.

One of the charities is “The under tree schools” in southern Sudan. This project is building a future for girls who would otherwise not get an education. They are providing a good future for a town that was ravaged by the civil war in Sudan for the best part of fifty years. Education for the girls will help lift their community out of subexistence and bring them a better life.

It was a really fun, well-organised event and thousands of pounds were raised. There were Indian Bhangra drummers, Bollywood-style dancers and fabulous food.

The highlight of the evening, for me, was watching us westerners dancing in Indian attire; no mean feat I must say. Those saris were unravelling as much as the party-goers were.

Quote of the day

Man's main task in life is to give birth to himself.
Erich Fromm

08 February 2010

Quote of the day

The prayer of the monk is not perfect until he no longer recognizes himself or the fact that he is praying.
St. Anthony

07 February 2010

Quote of the day

How many cares one loses when one decides not to be something but to be someone.
Coco Chanel

06 February 2010

Quote of the day

The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely.
Carl Jung

05 February 2010

Real men do yoga

For some reason, men who do not practice yoga think that yoga is a woman’s affair, with lycra-clad ladies doing bendy things and omming a lot. Those who have given yoga a go know that this is not the case, although lycra is often present.

Historically, yoga was taught and practised primarily by men. Indeed, some forms of yoga were introduced to pubescent boys in order to harness that young testosterone-filled energy and transform it into something positive. Thus, dynamic yoga was born.

Men quite often prefer team and contact sports. Performance in these activities can be improved by practising yoga along with your other sport. Lengthening and strengthening muscles can, in fact, improve your game and help to prevent injuries.

Wales international footballer, Ryan Giggs, recently thanked his yoga teacher when collecting the Sports Personallty of the Year award. He said that yoga has played a big part in keeping him injury-free and, therefore, has allowed him to continue playing top-level football at the age of 36.

Men in high powered stressful jobs can find that a yoga practice helps deal with the stress and strain of corporate life. Learning to breath deeply can have a very calming effect... How amazing would it be if we had more yogis in the corporate world.

I have taught a number of men yoga over the years and, from my experience, they are often better at practising poses that require a lot of upper body strength; chaturanga and handstands to name but a few.

One of my favourite anecdotes is from a city trader who used ujjai (yogic breathing) – which he had learnt in his dynamic ashtanga practice - in order to pacify and comfort his new born baby and, of course, by doing so, relaxing himself. Real men do yoga.

Quote of the day

The true value of a human being can be found in the degree to which he has attained liberation from the self.
Albert Einstein

04 February 2010

Yoga for rowers

Many top athletes have now incorporated yoga in their training programmes. Tennis players, footballers, golfers and rowers are all finding that yoga can improve their chosen sport, and are using it to cross train.

Yoga increases flexibility and mobility, giving you a greater, controlled range of motion, thus decreasing your risk of injury. Strength, balance and flexibility are key components needed in rowing and yoga poses target specifically the areas most affected by this sport:
  • Abdominals/ core strength
  • Lumber spine
  • Shoulders
  • Hamstrings
  • Hip flexors
  • Calf muscles … (to name but a few)
Learning to find balance and control through a yoga practice can then be transferred to the boat. Breathing techniques used in yoga are steady and rhythmic; they allow you to stay calm but alert, giving you the mental edge in competitive rowing.

About yoga mama

Cherie Lathey (yoga mama) is an internationally qualified yoga teacher and is joint director of The Putney Clinic. She runs yoga classes and workshops at Putney Library; as well as one-to-one yoga sessions.

For more information, visit: www.yogamama.co.uk or call 07939 58 90 83.

Quote of the day

In true dialogue, both sides are willing to change.
Thich Nhat Hanh

03 February 2010

Quote of the day

The secret of success is to realize that the crisis on our planet is much larger than just deciding what to do with your own life, and if the system under which we live the structure of western civilization begins to collapse because of our selfishness and greed, then it will make no difference whether you have $1 million dollars when the crash comes or just $1.00. The only work that will ultimately bring any good to any of us is the work of contributing to the healing of the world.
Marianne Williamson

02 February 2010

Quote of the day

It is as hard to see one's self as to look backwards without turning around.
Thoreau

01 February 2010

Quote of the day

There ain't no way to find out why a snorer can't hear himself snore.
Mark Twain