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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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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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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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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The World is Too Big; on perfectionism, disappointment, and chaos.

It’s my birthday next week. Since I was wee my birthday has always been a big deal for me and even though I’m creeping through my thirties now, I still look forward to it like a small child. Every year I inevitably make a huge effort to plan the most perfect day ever. This year, even since January, I planned to go to Berlin for the weekend.Alas the way things have turned out, this is not to be.  However since I am thankfully not 5 years old but 32 (and 359 days!) instead of getting distraught about my crushed dreams, I have used this as an opportunity to ponder the largeness of the world and how our best…

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Are Selfies Yogic?

A while ago I noticed myself posting more selfies than usual - and I started to wonder what that was all about. I have always had mixed feelings about selfies, as something self-indulgent and something that you maybe do, but only secretly! It wouldn't usually occur to me to post them - after all it's 'just my face'.  But then after some recent conversations with friends about the value of selfies I started to reflect on whether they are actually all that bad, and if they can in fact be useful..  Two inspiring ladies have recently been starting interesting conversations about selfies - my sister, a professor at Boston University, who asked her students to take a selfie with…

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Autumn coming – reap what you sow

Autumn is the time of harvests - the summer heat has been filling the earth up for the last few joyful months, and now the sunny days are winding in on themselves and the days are growing chilly, but the end of the heat gives us something else - summer days are over but instead we are rewarded with the abundance produced by the earth. This abundance doesn't appear out of nowhere - the amazing fruits produced are the direct result of the carefully planted seeds, the hours and hours of absorbing sunlight, and patience of letting the growing magic happen.   View this post on Instagram Love love love this time of year! When the garden provides...…

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