What can I do about the climate crisis?

With parts of the world burning, species and forests being lost, and the polar ice caps melting, it's easy to become despondent and depressed about the state of the world, with the climate crisis now recognised by many local and national governments, scientists, and internationally, as an emergency. We might feel that the scale of … Continue reading What can I do about the climate crisis?

Singing for peace and justice – Côr Gobaith

Peace dove choir logo

There is much wrong with the world and society, at the local level as well as nationally and beyond. It is easy to fall into despair at local or international environmental destruction, human hatred for others and social injustice. Furthermore, on an individual level, we can sometimes think that our actions won't count, or there's … Continue reading Singing for peace and justice – Côr Gobaith

Retreats and reflecting on practice and non-attachment

Sofa

Going on a retreat can help you contemplate stuff and reflect on things, partly because you have physically retreated from your usual schedule, activities, connections (if you turn devices off!), and other distractions for the mind. A yoga retreat can also introduce us to new things to practise*, we may have the opportunity to practise … Continue reading Retreats and reflecting on practice and non-attachment

Samadhi – an end or the beginning?

In the monthly journey through Patanjali's Yoga Sutras, we have now arrived at the final limb/stage: samadhi. The previous two limbs (dhyana and dharana), have taken us on the journey of focusing the mind and meditating, and now the mind is suitably prepared for samadhi, which is interpreted as full absorption of the self. The … Continue reading Samadhi – an end or the beginning?

Paying attention to intention

Most people, including governments, know or agree that practising yoga is 'good for us'. This is because of the benefits that result from the combination of movement, postures and breathing practices of yoga. But over the last few years I've also been pondering how the intention of the pose and the person can also affect … Continue reading Paying attention to intention

New beginnings: new to yoga?

September is often a month of new beginnings: maybe going to school for the first time, or college, or university. Even if you're no longer involved with the education system in the UK, September still feels like a new start. Maybe the end of summer and the autumnal feel in the air makes people remember … Continue reading New beginnings: new to yoga?

Dharana: training the brain to concentrate

In my monthly look at  Patanjali's eight limbs of yoga, we're drawing towards the last few now. The three remaining are internally-focused and build towards what can be seen as the ultimate goal of yoga. These three are: dharana (concentration), dhyana (meditation) and samadhi (absorption, union). This month I will concentrate (pun intended) on dharana. Dharana (pronunciation guide) … Continue reading Dharana: training the brain to concentrate

Pratyahara – the forgotten element of yoga?

Pratyahara is the fifth limb in Patanjali's ashtanga system. It can be loosely translated* as 'withdrawal of the senses' or more fully as 'pratyahara is withdrawing the senses, mind and consciousness from contact with external objects, and then drawing them inwards towards the seer [self]' (Sutra 2:54; Iyengar, 2002 p.168). In some ways it can … Continue reading Pratyahara – the forgotten element of yoga?

Asana – are you sitting comfortably?

Women in seated yoga pose - ardha matsyendrasana

This month's 'limb' of the eight stages of yoga, as described by Patanjali, moves us onto the third level, and probably the one familiar to everyone - asana, or what we know as yoga postures. When you say 'yoga' to someone they'll probably picture someone putting their body into a funny position. Asana comes from the root … Continue reading Asana – are you sitting comfortably?

Mindfulness in mental health awareness week

Last week was Mental Health Awareness Week in the UK (11-17th May) and for 2015 the theme was 'mindfulness'. People familiar with meditation and yoga may already know about mindfulness, especially as there has been quite a surge in interest in mindfulness in the media, in politics, in business etc in the last few years, … Continue reading Mindfulness in mental health awareness week