PRACTICE, PATIENCE, PRESENCE (& PARENTING)

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3 simple words to keep in mind on and off the mat.

These 3 words I have found to be totally transformative to my yoga practice.

The more I practice, the more I realise that what is truly interesting in each asana (yoga pose) is not what is happening in the body, but what is happening in the mind.

Thoughts pop up that can be hard to face. Thoughts pop up that can take our attention away and afar, as we rehash old stories, or dream up new ones. Shopping lists, conversations at work, emails to write; the mind is a busy junction with thoughts coming and going like trains. It can be hard to be honest with ourselves and truly acknowledge the thoughts and accompanying emotions that arise within us. We may not like to acknowledge our stubbornness, arrogance or easily frustrated nature- but we are human. We must be patient with our selves, seeing these patterns but knowing they are not us. They may appear within us regularly (or occasionally) but they are not us. We are not rigid, we are flexible, constantly changing, never set in stone.

Yoga asana allows us to hone our skills of concentration as we observe without judgement  what arises as we move our body from shape to shape. When we practice this ability of moment to moment observation, just like practicing anything, we strengthen it. When we are able to be present we engage with life as it is- acceptance. We work on being just where we are within a yoga pose without thinking about where we should be, where we would like to be, or where the person on the mat next to us is. With acceptance of our circumstances we naturally invite patience. Patience leads to all kinds of positive qualities- kindness, generosity, tolerance, selflessness, empathy to name a few.

Practice, patience, presence. This recipe is not exclusive to yoga, in fact these three attributes allow us to navigate more smoothly through all areas of life. I have found this to be incredibly true with regards to parenting. As a mother to a 6 month old I am practicing patience every day, and with that dedicated daily practice I have found my capacity for patience has increased more than I could have imagined! She does not sleep when I want, she does not sleep for as long as I would like, she is a spontaneous and independent little being and sometimes she doesn’t fit in with our ‘plans’. I can only be present because as I sit rocking her to sleep, or as I sit through nights of cluster feeding, if I think about what I would rather be doing, or what I have to do when I can FINALLY put her down I would quite simply go bananas. When I think- ‘but she slept through last week, what’s gone wrong?’ I feel cheated, when I think ‘when will I ever get a full nights sleep again?’ I feel down. But when I notice the softness and warmth of the baby in my arms, when I see what is there in that moment- a baby and its mother, it really is OK.

Presence and patience feels better. It is easier. It opens the way for intimacy, as to be intimate we have to be present, it opens the way for kindness and empathy, as I acknowledge my daughter needs me and is not crying or fussing out of spite!

Being present means we open our self up to the reality of life as it unfolds. We don’t just listen, we hear, we don’t just look, we see, we don’t react we respond. We essentially wake up to a whole life within our lives which when existing via autopilot, planning, and impatience could easily be missed.

So

Practice- whatever that means for you, yoga, meditation, art, music, cooking, changing nappies, driving to work, relationships.

Presence- observing, acknowledging, accepting, being not just doing

Patience- cultivates kindness, empathy and understanding towards yourself and others.

 

Namaste,

 

The divine in me, bows to the divine in you

Weekend retreat @ XVA this August

So happy to be returning this Summer to this sanctuary in the city.

The schedule is a little different to last year to accommodate my new job of looking after a baby! But it is shaping up nicely, offering plenty of opportunity to deepen your yoga practice, relax and enjoy the delicious food and surroundings- it now looks like this…

Thursday 10th

  • Arrive in the afternoon if you want more time to enjoy the hotel and area or to book treatment
  • Dinner 7.30pm

Friday 11th

  • Cleansing and refreshing lemon and mint juice
  • Dynamic Yoga (a vinyasa style practice) 9-10am
  • Breakfast 10am
  • Free time to explore/ relax or book treatments
  • Lunch 1.30pm
  • Free time to explore/ relax or book treatments
  • Yoga flow and relax (a vinyasa style practiced followed by some restorative poses and a lovely long savasana) 4–6pm
  • Dinner 6.30pm
  • Yoga Nidra (a guided meditation also known as yogic sleep) 8.30-9.00pm

 

Saturday 12th

  • Cleansing and refreshing lemon and mint juice
  • Dynamic Yoga (a vinyasa style practice) 9-10Aam
  • Breakfast 10am
  • Yin yoga and yoga Nidra (a slow paced deep stretch class followed by a guided meditation to sooth body and mind) 12-13.30pm
  • Lunch 13.30pm

 

 

You can see the retreats page for more info or email me- yogawithyas@gmail.com and reservations@xvagallery.com to book.

Yoga in practice

Today would have been my last 2 scheduled studio classes before taking a break from teaching in the run up to baby’s birth. I decided to cancel the class- something I don’t do lightly because I know today I do not have the energy to give.

This process of pregnancy so far has been an amazing opportunity to practice yoga, as it manifests in living, and to reflect on the challenges of just that.

Immediately I felt out of control of my body. I trust it totally- it seems to know what it’s doing- but I have had very little say once the innate processes of pregnancy were put in motion. Apart from the obvious foundation of support I can offer my body- looking after myself- I have had to practice letting go, surrendering, daily. I thought I practiced this on my yoga mat, but it is one thing to sit with yourself as you are, or to be in savasana/ corpse pose, (a practice designed to prepare us for the ultimate surrendering of the body) it is another thing to accept yourself fully as you navigate through life adapting and accommodating change. Of course the first is preparation for the second.

It is in the nature of accommodating and accepting that I decided to significantly decrease my teaching and will take my last class for a while at the beginning of December. I am very happy with my decision and so grateful for the fact that I am able to adjust the energy I am expending in this way, I know many women don’t have that luxury when it comes to work. Despite the knowledge and sense behind these changes I have found my ego popping up more frequently (perhaps it’s all the extra time on my hands!) Ego is frustrated by the opportunities that I am not able to pursue, concerned by the effect that a break in teaching  now may have on the future. Ego looks at other non pregnant teachers and feels jealous of their brimming schedules, ego looks at pregnant teachers and feels inadequate in comparison.  Observing and quietening the ego has been a large part of my practice of late, in a strange way I have enjoyed the sense of conflict arising, it makes me think of a definition of Hatha- forceful- as if in the heat of this point of conflict resolution and balance can be obtained.

By practicing kindness to myself (ahimsa) and non grasping/greed (aparigraha) I feel as though I am strengthening not muscle but mind, not movement patterns but patterns of behavior. I hope that this will make not only my pregnancy a more positive experience but also deepen my formal and informal practice of yoga- and eventually when I’m ready again my teaching.

 

 

Happy International Women’s Day!

Maybe now more than ever there are many different ways to be a woman. Many different experiences of womanhood depending on where you have been born, the unique circumstances- people and views that surround you, the opportunities available, the messages you are exposed to, your passions and desires and the choices they lead you to. There are so many ways to be a woman, there are so many different experiences of womanhood.

Language creates duality, opposites and separation. We take away the intimacy of the experience of womanhood when we try to describe it linguistically or even anatomically.

Today is International Women’s Day. There are so many ways to celebrate- so many individual women who add value intimately within my experience of life and those who on a distant social and cultural horizon have become an inspiration. There is an other way to celebrate. To meditate on all that is Woman, without words, without social and cultural context. In pure energetic form. Something that is in every woman and every man and throughout nature itself. A dynamic CREATIVE ENERGY, the act of NURTURE, inherent INSTINCT. The FEMININE GOD SHAKTI represents and embodies these essential qualities that intertwine and complement seamlessly with those qualities of the male God Shiva.

Gender is being explored now more than ever with increasing openness. Maybe Woman isn’t opposite to Man, Man isn’t opposite to Woman but rather a combination of complementary energies exist within to create our self as a unique individualIMG_20160308_101840

YOGA BRUNCH/ FRIDAY 18TH MARCH

I am so pleased to get the yoga mats back out at XVA!!

Join me for a nourishing morning practice on the newly renovated and delightfully picturesque rooftop at XVA Hotel/Gallery/Cafe in the heart of Dubai’s cultural quarter.

We will begin with an hour long mindfully flowing yoga class open to all levels, finding a sense of balance within the body, breath and mind, building strength and flexibility and discovering a spaciousness within.

Class will be followed by a relaxed, healthy but hearty XVA special breakfast including delicious fresh juice, eggs cooked to order, pancakes, fresh fruit, a choice of bread and tea or coffee.

Whether you are a seasoned yogi or new to the practice welcome in the weekend with some meditative movements to leave you feeling physically and mentally nourished.

Class starts at 10am, please arrive a little early, especially if you are new to XVA as it is set in the middle of a charming but maze like web of alleyways! Breakfast will be served after and can be enjoyed at your leisure! After which why not feed the eyes in the XVA gallery and take a wonder around the Al Fahidi cultural quarter and a long the creek, an area full of little treats!!

The total cost is 120AED (Cash Only) and please bring your own mat if you have one. Spaces are limited so make sure you save yours by emailing me at yogawithyas@gmail.com and if you would like any more information please feel free to drop me an email. 🙂

See more on the lovely XVA HERE

-NAMASTE-

-THE DIVINE IN ME, BOWS TO THE DIVINE IN YOU-