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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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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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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New Year, Same Old Me

Why new year's resolutions deepen avidya (ignorance) New year, New you!So, as January is ticking along – how are your new year’s resolutions going? Suddenly on January first, after two weeks (or more!) of treats, tipples, and eating one serving too many of that tasty thing over there, suddenly we’re all transformed into saints who rise at the crack of dawn (ehh, actually it’s still dark – it’s the middle of winter!), eat only green foods, don’t touch a drop of alcohol, a gram of sugar, or a single carbohydrate. Oh yeah and we’re off social media, reading all those books on our list, going to yoga class every day and running 5k every morning too. right? https://open.spotify.com/track/53aFGAl0Vebwp2bo8wtdWR With…

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How Yoga can Benefit Your Training (and your Life!)

No matter what kind of healthy lifestyle you keep, yoga is a wonderful practice to include in your routine. An excellent way to improve strength and fitness in its own right, it acts as a great complement to any other kind of exercise you are doing, from running to weight lifting to rock climbing or martial arts. If you’ve never done yoga before it can seem a bit bamboozling but fear not! I am here to demystify this centuries-old wellbeing system and show how it can be perfectly relevant here in the 21st century. Yoga is designed as a holistic system to make your entire body work better, and more than that it deepens the connection between your…

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108 sun salutations – the essence of yoga

This weekend I participated for the first time in Merchant City Yoga's annual charity event, 108 sun salutations to raise money for Yogability, a beautiful charity that brings yoga practice to children and adults with special needs. 108 sun salutations is a fairly common practice for special occasions - charity events, international yoga day.. but I've never done it before. To say I was looking forward to it wouldn't be completely accurate - certainly, I was excited about participating in a beautiful community event - but I did have some apprehensions about how physically arduous and even monotonous it might be. In the end the 108 sun salutations turned out to be a remarkable experience that I can't…

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Winter Light

Today is the Winter Solstice - the shortest day of the year. It's a holiday by and large ignored by most of society because of the fast approaching behemoth of CHRISTMAS and it's a real shame because this is a beautiful occasion, a turning point in the seasonal calendar. This is the day when the night is longest - darkness descends like a velvet cloak wrapped around the sky, and especially in our northern latitudes we see the light only for a few hours.UGH it can feel oppressive! This is the very reason why every culture has a winter holiday that brings the light to the unremitting darkness of mid-December. Diwali, Hannukah, Yule or Christmas - we all…

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