Candlelit Heart Meditation

I am hosting the monthly Candlelit Heart Meditation this Friday (25th May) as Vishwam is away. This is a beautiful guided meditation with some very gentle movement beforehand and some tea and cake afterwards. Everyone most welcome. 7.30pm, Starkholmes Village Hall. No set cost, but donations welcome for the Heart of Living Yoga Foundation charity.A4D08E56-A486-4E8C-AF06-87C45C2FBF86

What is a Mantra? And what is it for?

Sometimes in class we will use a mantra when we meditate, or as the focus for our practice. But just what is a mantra?

Mantras are sacred words or sounds which are repeated to help with meditation (‘japa meditation’). Through meditation and the use of mantras we are aiming to achieve freedom from the ego, and from the illusion of daily life. Mantras must always be recited in the original Sanskrit, not translated, as the Sanskrit sounds themselves have the necessary vibrations for connecting with the universal power.

There are 3 basic types of mantra. The first type is a ‘seed mantra’ (Bija mantra) and is just one syllable or sound, like for example the classic Om. Secondly, saguna mantras are sometimes called deity mantras as they often focus on some aspect of the divine. An example of a Saguna mantra might be Om Namo Narayanaya (salutations to lord Narayana). For a saguna mantra, the meditator will usually select her own personal mantra based on feeling a connection with it. Students who study at an Ashram are often initiated into their mantra, ensuring that they pronounce it correctly and properly understand its meaning. Once the student has a personal mantra, she can then use it as she feels appropriate – in meditation, pranayama or asana practice.

The third type of mantra is a nirguna. This type of mantra is made up of sounds from the Sanskrit alphabet and does not appeal to a particular deity. A familiar example might be so ham (I am that I am).

Some of you will have seen that I sometimes wear my mala beads, a string of 108 beads with an extra, more ornamental bead called the meru. As you chant your mantra, you count off the beads by moving them between your index finger and your thumb with each repetition, stopping when you reach the meru, rotating the beads then continuing as before.

Although the sounds may not be familiar when you first hear them, mantras are nothing to be scared of! Repeating these magical sounds as you meditate will lead you through a variety of mental stages and eventually, we hope, to enlightenment!

Mind blown!

I spent last Sunday afternoon at a workshop about Ayurveda. I had heard of Ayurveda before but I HAD NO IDEA!!! It has completely blown my mind! Our wonderful teacher, Angie, not only helped us to identify our own Dosha (one of the 3 body types) but we got to try special food, oils, massage and drinks too. She explained obesity, illnesses, even occupations all through Ayurveda. It made so much SENSE! It has definitely whetted my appetite to learn more, and it will hopefully make me a better yoga teacher. Now I can see what my students’ Doshas are, I can understand why they like certain poses, and in some cases why those poses are the exact opposite of what they need. It was heartening to learn that our old favourite, the Sun Salutation, is excellent from an Ayurveda point of view as well as covering all our chakras, as we know. If anyone would like to know more, do ask…. I can’t shut up about it all, I’m so excited!

Monday musings

I always spend Monday mornings preparing my classes for the week. I also spend some time thinking about Yoga, meditating, reflecting on what I can teach this week and what I have learnt.

This morning I was thinking about my students, and what I hope they get from my classes. I am nothing like the yoga teachers on the DVD’s, on instagram etc. I am short, very curvy, not particularly flexible. But I like to think that those are positives in my teaching – I hope that my students can see that you start from where you are, that you don’t have to be tall, thin and bendy to do yoga. I also hope they see that I rarely wear branded or “proper” yoga clothes. I wear what is warm and comfortable and hope they do too.

One of the things I love about my yoga journey is how gradually it seeps into my bones, my blood and my soul. I hear myself saying things and see myself behaving in ways that are so different from the person I used to be. And that is a very good thing! It is a lifelong journey and I know I am only a very few steps along, but it is pleasing to already be able to look back and see how far I have come.

I worked my students very hard last week. They all rose to the challenge amazingly well! So this week I have written classes which give them the option to push themselves once again, or to take the gentler, softer option. I trust them all to make the right choice for them on the day.

Charity classes

Devastatingly, the husband of a good friend of mine has a brain tumour. On April 28th, I and lots of other yoga teachers and therapists will be offering our services free of charge at FlowMotion in Matlock, to raise much needed funds for his treatment (which is not available through the NHS). Watch this space and I hope you can join us on 28th.

New qualifications

I’m delighted to announce that I am now qualified to teach pre- and post-natal yoga too. Rather than running a regular weekly class, I am considering setting up, say, a 6-week course. If you or anyone you know might be interested then do get in touch. I am already qualified in children’s yoga, for children from 6 weeks of age to pre-teens, so if that would be of interest as well/instead then let me know.

Gentle Hatha Yoga at Cromford

So, after changing locations multiple times, our new home is at Cromford Community Centre. We are in a lovely upstairs room. I am teaching 2 classes there currently, both on a Tuesday morning.

At 9.30 we have a one- hour class which is really just a gentle Hatha class. Suitable for everyone, including complete beginners, and also for those with injuries or illness. Payment is by donation, the suggested donation being £6. There’s no need to pre-book but block booking will give you a discount.

The second class is at 11 and lasts 90 minutes. In this class we explore some of the other aspects of yoga, not just the physical. We look at some of the history and philosophy of yoga, we chant and we meditate. The physical part of the class is again very gentle and suitable for beginners and those with illness or injury. The suggested donation for this class is £8 and again there are discounts available for block booking.

For both classes, your first class is FREE so do come along and give it a try. You would be very welcome. We’re a friendly bunch, we like to giggle at ourselves, and there is always cup of herbal tea on offer for anyone who wants one.

New Gentle Hatha Class

I am delighted to offer a new gentle Hatha Yoga class at the beautiful Claire Dobinson School of Dancing at Peak Shopping Village in Rowsley. The class is suitable for everyone, including absolute beginners and those who struggle to get down on the floor. No need to book. You don’t even need a yoga mat!

Wednesdays, 10.30 – 11.30am

£6 drop in, with discounts for block booking