Category Archives: Yoga

New times and venue for Beacons Yoga

From May 2016 I am moving all my yoga classes to Friends of the Young Disabled (FOYD), Gordon Moore Centre, 300 Carmarthen Road, Cwmbwrla, Swansea SA5 8NJ.  They will be on Monday evenings from 5.15-6.30 and Tuesday evenings 6-7.15. Others possible, subject to demand.

FOYD

No Tuesday class at Swansea Vale Resource Centre.

No daytime classes at The Sanctuary in Mansel Street.

The Chapel at FOYD is quite small, so please text me on 07730 487472 to book a place.  The Monday evening class is already running there.

Namaste.

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Therapeutic Gentle Yoga

I am studying therapeutic gentle yoga with Rev. Padma Devi at the Special Yoga Foundation in London.  The course is spread over 100 hours at weekends throughout the year. To date it has been a revelation….

The first weekend I arrived with my notebook and pen to hear Padma say, ‘If you’re expecting to get a list of ailments with a corresponding list of yoga postures – think again’. I realised that’s exactly what I was expecting, but that’s not how Padma works.

Padma

The course notes she supplies cover only a fraction of what we discuss together in class. Thanks to Padma I have been introduced to the work of Bruce Lipton and Rob Williams, the fantastic programme for overcoming heart disease by Dr Dean Ornish,Reversing Heart Disease

and the truly horrendous statistics that you discover if you Google bisphenol A.  I come away with a reading list that will require at least 2 more lifetimes.  I have a book pile entitled ‘READ ME NOW!’ that includes work by John Stirk, Candace Pert, Nischala Joy Devi, and Fiona Agombar. At the top of the pile is a little book on self healing using tuning fork sound therapy entitled, ‘How to Fork Yourself’ (by Debbi Walker).

Padma has taught me that less is always more in yoga, especially when teaching people with chronic pain.  I have learned how big an impact toxic and emotional overload have on our health. For example, it’s enormously hard to help yourself if you suffer from fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome.  If you just fight back from a place of anger and fear, you are feeding the pain.  There has to be a moment of acceptance and surrender before any healing can take place and even then it requires enormous commitment and strength of will to make a change.  I have deep admiration for people who, faced with all this, still manage to get on with their lives. Acceptance and surrender are things we know about in yoga.  Other things we can offer are being inside our bodies rather than outside (and learning to listen to them), breathing well and practicing yoga nidra.  I am beginning to think that Yoga Nidra (and Tamla Motown, but then I’m old) could save the world.

When we looked at problems of heart disease and blood pressure, we were privileged to have two volunteers so Padma could show us how she works. ‘Can you see where the breath is?’, she asked us when working with a man who’d had a triple heart by-pass.  And we could – way up in the top of the chest.  We also noticed his reluctance to perform any movements that involved opening at the heart centre.  Unsurprisingly he was very protective of that space and Padma scaled down the movements to a point at which he felt comfortable.

Our other volunteer was in charge of a station on a major transport network, coping with an average of two suicides a week. Needless to say, they suffered from high blood pressure! Just a brief introduction to abdominal breathing proved to be mind-blowing and was followed by a request for someone to organise a yoga class for people working at the station..

It’s an exciting time to practice yoga.  The scientists are just beginning to catch up with us, and we are perfectly placed to really help people in this difficult and isolating age we live in.

Om shanti. xxx

 

 

 

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An introduction to chanting

I don’t know much about chanting – but I enjoy doing it.  In September, when my class starts up again, I thought I would invite my students to learn something about chanting with me.  I know many people are self conscious about doing this in a class, so I propose that we all do it at home and one day, if we are feeling big and brave, we can try it together.  I’ve written a hand-out for my class.  Here it is:-

MANTRAS – Words of Power!

I have some mantras for you to try at home.  We’ll go over the pronunciation together, and you can practise in private.  Eventually, if you feel brave, we can chant it in class.

The first mantra is for the removal of obstacles in your life and it’s

OM GUM GANAPATAYEI NAMAHA

The thing about mantras is not to get hung up about what they mean.  (This one is an invocation to Lord Ganesh – also called Ganapata. He’s an elephant god.  If you want to remove obstacles, send in an elephant). A mantra is ‘a mystical energy encased in a sound structure.  Its vibrations directly affect the chakras, or energy centers of the body.  It steadies the mind and leads to the stillness of meditation.’[1]

It’s the sound of the language (Sanskrit is exceptionally sonorous) and the effect of the sound on your mind and body.  Sound makes your cells do the boogie-woogie, you learn to control your breathing, and getting your teeth round a Sanskrit mantra 108 times concentrates the mind.

Ah yes … I forgot to mention the 108 times.  108 is a very significant number: I was taught that 1 = Supreme Energy (or God, if you are religious); 0 = completeness and 8 = the sign for infinity.  However, I’ve attached something by Swami J (I recommend Swami J) – so you can see there are all sorts of reasons for 108.  (I should say, it is permissible to build up to 108 in chunks.  27 rising to 54 is usually do-able when you are beginning).

Lastly, I’m going to give you a link to a YouTube video – nothing happens on it, but it is the wonderful Deva Premal performing this chant 108 times. I sing along with Deva every morning.

https://youtu.be/OTFWfD7L5QA

There is also the late, but wonderful, Thomas Ashley Farrand (you may have to buy him from Amazon or Sounds True, as I can’t find him on YouTube at the moment).

If it turns out you enjoy chanting, you can invest in a string of Mala beads. There are 108 beads on a string, plus one bead called Mount Meru.  You count your chants with the beads, and when you reach Mount Meru, you turn the beads round and go the other way.

Here’s the link to Swami J explaining the reasons for 108 Mala beads.

http://www.swamij.com/108.htm

Chant and be happy. xxx

[1] Meditation and Mantras, by  Swami Vishnu-Devananda

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Some thoughts on getting old and travelling by bus

I am 61 now, and so I get free travel on the buses in Swansea where I live.  I still have to work though, but instead of getting stressed out in the car, I get on the bus.

I have a lot of audio books by Jack Kornfield – and he recommends practicing the Loving Kindness meditation (the Metta), on planes and boats and trains etc.  So that’s what I’ve started to do. I do the loving kindness meditation for me (you should always start with yourself), everyone who gets on the bus, the bus driver and extend it outwards until it’s a loving kindness meditation for anyone who happens to be on a bus – wherever they are in the world.

To be honest with you, until I started doing this, I had never really had much experience of positive energy (although I have always believed it existed), but believe me – by the time I get off the bus, I am much nicer than I was when I got on.

I’m sure you all know the Metta – there are lots of variations – but I use these two (I’m giving you the ‘ I ‘ version, because you should always start with yourself.  But then you can extend it to whomsoever you choose, like ‘man on the bus/lady on the bus’:-

May I be filled with loving kindness.

May I be free from suffering.

May I be at peace.

May I be happy.

Jack Kornfield varies this a little, and I like to use this version too:-

May I be filled with loving kindness.

May I be safe and protected.

May I be healed and strong.

May I live at ease, with a free heart.

I don’t know how you get to and from work, but next time you are stuck in traffic, why not say a Metta for everyone, everywhere, stuck in traffic?

Love and blessings to you.

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What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger

So, I have decided to overcome my phobia of burglar alarms.

I am reinstating my Tuesday evening yoga classes from 31st March 2015.  They will run at the Swansea Vale Resource Centre from 18.30-19.45 hrs.

I am postponing the Wednesday evening class at the Llansamlet Community Centre (also 18.30-19.45) until September.

The cost per class will be £5.

Thank you for your patience.

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The British Wheel of Yoga is 50 this year

In Wales we are having a 50th birthday celebration in July at the wonderful Margam Discovery Centre.  I am teaching a session so I have begun working on it.  I like to start with a quote in order to find a theme, so I’m using ‘at the still point, there the dance is‘ (from T S Eliot’s Four Quartets) to plan a lesson around the heart centre.  There are many more eminent teachers than I taking part, so do come.

If you go to the British Wheel of Yoga Wales website –

http://www.bwywales.org.uk/

and search the events section, you will find it.

A4 poster for 50th birthday

 

Margam Park Discovery Centre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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New venue from 3rd March 2015

I’m happy to say that from Tuesday, 3rd March 2015, Beacons Yoga classes will be held at the Swansea Vale Resource Centre, Ffordd Tregof, Swansea SA7 0AL.

To start with I will just run this one class on Tuesday evenings, 6.30-7.30 p.m. and we will see how it goes.

If you are a new student, please contact me first to check place availability.

Thank you.

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