Santosha, unmet needs, and how desire lights our way through the darkness

Usually the end of summer and beginning of autumn is a time of contentment. We look back on all the fun we had during the expansiveness of summer, not only that but the earth is bursting with harvest goodies - apples tumbling from trees, the plants are dripping with vegetables full of the juiciness and sunny warmth of the hot(-ter.. Scotland..) summer months.This year though has been a little different, with all its challenges. As the leaves are starting to turn and the early mornings dusted with frosty dew, we turn inwards for the cooler season not really sure what we have to show for the year so far. We look around feeling a little anticlimactic, and where…

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On Transformation – reflections on Covid lockdown, new motherhood, and the burgeoning force of Life

What a year it has been. A global pandemic, almost five months of quarantine, social upheaval and protests and international social justice movements, online and off.. At the turn of the new year, none of us saw any of this coming. As for me, as I toasted the new year with non-alco bubbly, four months pregnant, I knew 2020 would be different.. but I didn’t anticipate this.Over the past weeks and months as we and I have seen waves of transformation crash over us, socially, politically, environmentally, personally, I have been contemplating change - how, why, where it happens, how we can navigate change with grace, and, understanding its dynamics, how we can bring about positive lasting change…

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Check your Ahimsa – From Spiritual Bypassing To Direct Anti-racist Action

Our society is going through some serious upheaval right now - and with all the deeply important conversations going on, I am sitting asking myself, what can I do. It is clearer and clearer to me that none of us are innocent, we're complicit in perpetuating structures that rely on systematic subjugation in order to progress the desires of one small group.While I have always been reminded by my family and teachers that I am lucky to live in such safety and comfort, I am ashamed to say that I have never done very much to balance the scales in favour of those who don’t enjoy such ease.  Now I am trying to consider what tools I have…

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yoga in pregnancy, and pregnancy in yoga

A couple of my students asked me, is it different doing yoga while pregnant? How does my ‘yogic toolkit’ change my perspective?  the changing body takes some getting used to - is it really mine? At first I wanted to answer that it didn’t really change, that there’s just a bunch of stuff you can’t do. But that’s not true at all. From the outside a lot of the postures and practices look mostly the same or have small changes like wider feet in downdog and other forward folds. You obviously skip things like twists and prone postures, inversions, jumps and firey practices.. But in fact much deeper than this, everything is different because suddenly You are different.…

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Nothing is Special

The other day I was taking a shower at twenty past five in the morning before going to early mysore class and thinking, ‘Why don't I do this more often?’ I realised that it's still hard for me to make it to morning mysore on a regular basis because it's still kind of a big deal. Deep down I still feel like going to the 6am class (the traditional way to practise) proves your extraordinary dedication and self-mastery that you can get up with the dawn chorus and be finished your practice as everyone else is only leaving for work. And this is the problem – because I think of it as a feat of tapas, spiritual discipline,…

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The Tribulations of Embodiment; or Body Image in Yoga

This Mental Health Awareness Week is focused on Body Image and I have to admit I was going to ignore this theme and just focus on mental health in general. Unfortunately this is a problem that I struggle with a lot and some old toxic habits have reared their ugly head recently.. So it all just felt a bit raw and I was going to steer well clear of it. But then suddenly yesterday I realised that instead of staying stuck in my own emotional quagmire, I could zoom out a little and look at the big picture, and examine it through the yogic lens. It would seem obvious that yoga and the body go hand in hand,…

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Mental Health Awareness Month – how yoga can help; and when it can’t

The month of May is Mental Health Awareness Month in the US, and next week (13th-19th May) is the annual Mental Health Awareness Week in the UK, as hosted by the Mental Health Foundation since 2001. We all have Mental Health The dialogue on Mental Health is growing in support and engagement all the time and thank goodness - not only is anxiety and depression a growing problem worldwide due to the ever more hectic pace of life and the pressure of comparison we all feel due to traditional and social media - never before have we had so many images of perfection around, never have we been just so well informed of the intimate details of what…

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the constancy of change and rebirth of spring

We just had Easter and I have come to realise that for me, it far outstrips Christmas as far as holidays go. This time of year brings lovely lambs, warmer weather (if we're lucky in Scotland- thankfully this year we are, yipee!) , pink blossoms burgeoning on the trees, not to mention some excellent sweet treats (vegan creme egg, anyone?) I inevitably started reflecting on why Easter is so much nicer - not only is it less In Your Face than Christmas and obviously has more pleasant weather.. but there is a deeper optimism at the heart of the holiday that celebrates the turning of the seasons, the greater scheme of the Natural order. the Wheel of the…

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starting a home yoga practice

So if you've been attending yoga classes for a wee while and you're feeling great - your body feels more open, you're more aware of your breath, maybe you even feel calmer and more collected.. Maybe you're starting to think about how you can take this practice home with you to feel like this every day? If you're starting yoga for the first time it's best to go to a few classes at least so that the teacher can guide you in the foundations of the practice and get you into the swing of things. But once you're feeling more comfortable on the mat I definitely encourage you to take the practice away with you and start to…

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Compassion – Humanity’s Secret Weapon

It’s funny, at Valentine’s day, how love and affection are packaged up into a sugary, pink and shiny product. Nowadays too in the wellness world it’s all about self-love - but what does that really mean, beyond the opportunity to sell us some bath brushes, a soy candle and a pink gratitude journal? I have to admit I hopped on the bandwagon this week and themed my classes around heart opening and compassion practices. Partly because of the valentine’s momentum - but I do also happen to have been listening to the Michael Stone podcasts on Book 3 of the Yoga Sutra, where he discusses why compassion is a superpower. Most of all though I was very moved by my…

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