Online lockdown with Sampoorna Yoga

Dreams of travelling to Mother India have danced around my mind for a whole decade. Now with my wedding just around the corner, my daughter old enough to be away from me and the money I had worked so bloomin hard to save, my thirst was finally about to be quenched. I could almost taste the aromatic spices of India’s sweet teas. This was happening…

Or so I thought!!!

…3am sitting in my dark front room, after a late night bar shift I couldn’t control my tears. The TV illuminated with the news of Covid-19 and my chest felt full of sympathy for all those affected.  A couple of weeks later the phone calls and text massages went out to announce the cancellation of our wedding, our honeymoon, my trip to India and well, just about everything else. 

While mindlessly scrolling my way through Instagram one evening, I came across a post about online yoga teacher training from the very school I was planning to visit. This was poles-apart from what I wanted, yet a few days later I found myself thinking ‘the whole world has been turned upside down – just move with the flow of it’. Feeling privileged to even have the opportunity, I grabbed my laptop and signed up.

Never did I imagine yoga teacher training would consist of me wearing pyjamas in my front room, attempted headstands while walking the dog, zoom meetings on the sofa and my daughter’s iridescent pencil case. Yet there I was at the starting line of something I had no idea would change my perspective of this wonderful practice for good.  It’s difficult to put into words, without sounding trivial, how my time spend during this course has impacted upon me. But to sum it up as simply as possible, it was like a group of wise women taking me by the hand and saying, “this my dear is how to lay solid foundations.”

I don’t think it would be fair to compare the online training with the customary way in which things are usually done, but perhaps you have young children at home, perhaps you can’t afford to travel to India or maybe you’ve always wanted to train but can’t get the time off work? In these strange times of social distancing and uncertainty, there is a portal open for you to virtually peak into the home of Sampoorna Yoga, with all it’s wonderful teachers, an opportunity in which to learn and expand.

I do believe this is a fabulous way in which to start the beginning of your journey, because for me, in some weird twist of fate, rather than arriving home from a love affair trip away with yoga, I have somehow found growth among piles of washing, bills and housework.

My practice has forged herself onto the four walls of my council flat – a home birth, to my path of yoga, born right in the centre of my living room rug!

So there it is, I’m a YOGA TEACHER! I have so much more to learn, which excites me enormously. The beginning of a life long journey. Until I have the opportunity to arrive in person at this amazing school (which I am still undoubtedly planning to do!) I will continue onward on this path, taking it to all areas of my life, because it is more than just a title, it’s a way of living.

Thank you ALL Sampoorna Yoga. Until we meet again.

– Namaste –

sampoornayoga.com


Defensiveness kills connection

Shrinking myself as much as I could I squeezed my way down the aisle of a crowded train looking for my reserved seat.

I was tired, a little hungry and not really in the mood to talk. But it looked as though I would be sharing my seat with a middle-aged gentleman, wearing what looked like a very expensive suit. I was wearing my dirty dog walking boots, with messy hair & a scarf I bought at a charity shop for a pound.  Feeling slightly self-conscious I awkwardly sat down.

Soon a conversation started between the gentleman and myself and to no real surprise he told he was a lawyer from London. I was wary and reserved at first – admittedly this was due to the fact I had read too many books saying most lawyers are sociopath’s or narcissists – cue the paranoia!

In that 2 hour journey we exchanged so much about our lives, about love, divorce, bereavement, children, pets…. although we seemed like chalk and cheese, we in fact had a lot in common. We both laughed a lot and the chuckled conversations seemed to spread to the retired couple sitting in front of us. They then shared their stories of travels and how they had only been in Rome that very morning. The strong viking looking man, sitting to the side of us also joined in. Telling us how he had a busy week away from his family and was happy to be returning home. Then to my surprise another two women, a few seats down, giggling away and who kindly said I had an infectious laugh.

Before long a group of strangers were all in engaged in conversation. Something had shifted; we all seemed to have vibrated onto the same frequency of openness.  Which felt entirely right.

Saying my good byes, I stepped off the train and realised I haven’t eaten my sandwich. I was buzzing with so much warmth I forgot I was even hungry. Walking to my car while stuffing my very late (it was now dinner) lunch into my mouth a wave of something, exhilaration maybe, came over me.

 

StockSnap_XBV0MWM42E

 

It was a bit like that feeling you get when you fall in love, like you’re transported to some other realm of consciousness. Your body feels light and every day spaces, like train stations on damp afternoons, take on some kind of enchantment. Everything feels magical, connected and blissful.

“Defensiveness kills connection. Curiosity deepens it”

How wonderful it feels when we decide to give to people, when we decide to open our heart and allow space for them to open theirs.

There was so much abundance radiating from that small carriage. What started out, for most of us I’m sure, as the usual sealed envelopes that we carry with us for protection, gradually became unstuck.

And that’s when the mundane become exotic.

~ Namaste ~

 

 

 


Like a plant, growing takes time

Recently I attended a Yoga and Meditation Workshop, at the very welcoming Lotus Loft, situated in the heart of Exeter city centre.

Arriving just in time, I hastily opened the door and the first thing I noticed was the beautiful fragrance of incense.  An attractive lady greeted me, she had long golden hair with the tips dyed a deep red.  She would be my yoga instructor for the day.

Her calm and authentic nature made unfolding the stresses of life seem simple, and I was happy to be in this space of Self.   As the session came to a close, the teacher kindly handed out a plant to each student to take home.

Her teachings were simple and sweet: –

Neatly seated on folded knees, we were advised that, once we established a good Self Care routine, our cup becomes so full, it freely over spills and we can become the best version of ourselves.  *Too often, this Self Care is over looked*

Putting other people at the top of our priority list is something many of us do daily.  While letting our own needs fall to the bottom. We often commit to helping those around us, clearing up others mess, cooking the food and eating last.  Serving ourselves the same love and compassion tends to be much more of a struggle.

Looking down at the small succulent plant in my hand, we were gently reminded that, like a plant, self-care practice would take time to nurture and grow.   It means – taking little moments, where we can, to invest in ourselves whole heartily.

To always practice refilling our cup.

Like nature, not everything is perfect and life rarely goes as we plan.  No matter how much we nurture it, it may not turn out just as we hoped.   We have to be gentle with the unexpected events life throws at us and be prepared (cup full) to roll with the punches.   When things get though, do not give up on yourself.

Allow yourself the time to develop a strong self-care practice and be graceful enough to forgive yourself if it doesn’t look like what you hoped for.

Most importantly, SHOW UP for YOURSELF.

Just like you would do for your plant or a loved one – a little each day.

  ~ Namaste ~


Barcelona

I stepped inside its colossal belly with reverential care – my mouth fell with admiration. I was not the only person left speech-less, the group of tourists behind me, who previously were yabbering loudly to be heard over the pandemonium of the city, also subsumed.

I hugged my best friends arm and pulled him tightly against my clammy dress. I stood still, apart from my eyes darting to every corner, desperately trying to absorb all the intricate details that were laden upon every pillar, wall, floor and ceiling.

The sweltering sun penetrated through the towering stain glass windows, rippling its heat into the church. Rose gold, turquoise, jade and indigo flirted with the gigantic pillars that stood erected, like a labyrinth of pastel candy sticks dancing in the light.

I am not a religious person but I felt a flicker of something within me that day. Maybe it was the Christ on the Cross, suspended above our heads under a umbrella of heavy gold, that looked like a parachute descending from heaven.

Or maybe it was the depiction of Saints, that were mounted high up, almost on the heads of the pillars, that from the ground looked like bright hard boiled sweets, with black inscriptions scribbled over them.

Or maybe, it was the magnificent construction and genus of configuration that felt so ‘God like’, all assembled so extraordinary; that it left everyone of its visitors astonished that such splendour could be man-made.

Whatever it was, I felt it. Along with a tremendous amount of gratitude for my dear friend, who bought me all the way to Sagrada Família.

 

554813_10152046101530034_1036199137_n

 

*Footer photo by Claudio Testa*