A truly inspiring connecting weekend with a wonderful group, a great being & Amma devotee, Prasadani & friends. Bhakti Bhav can only lift you up, draw you towards your true essence & help wake us up to what is important. Being & sharing Love. Here is a taster of our weekend.
Happy Autumn Yoga and Cooking day
As Autumn sets in and the days become shorter and cooler it is time for us to draw our energy inwards. Last weekend myself and Kristie (a Chinese medicine practitioner) held a day that combined using ancient yogic practices including movement, breathing techniques and relaxation and sound bath together with exploring seasonal, nourishing foods. The goal of the day was to learn and share ideas on how to to support, strengthen and restore our body and mind thereby boosting our immune system in preparation for Winter.
Those that joined the workshop took take time out from the daily grind and learnt some simple ideas and practical techniques to incorporate into daily life. We begin with a yoga class and learnt some simple breathing techniques, followed by a creative cooking class, and delicious organic plant based lunch. While the food is cooking we will shared nutritional advice and made a natural simple Lemon (Do Terra Lemon essential oil)body scrub. Then we sat outside as the sun was shining and Autumn was in full bloom and we shared delicious pumpkin Dahl together.
After lunch their was a long relaxation with a hot water bottle and each participant received a gentle head and foot massage before we finished the day with some homemade chocolate, herbal tea and a sound bath (mantra, wind chimes, happy drum etc). Everyone left feeling grounded, having space for realisations, space to be and share time eating slowly together, all going home with a full tummy, the taste of homemade raw chocolate in their mouths and the spirit of Autumn in the their beings! I very much look forward to offering a combined cooking and yoga workshop with Kristie again.
From Summer to Autumn, little bits from the healing Reinighof Retreat
We were blessed with sunshine for our September weekend healing retreat at Reinighof, Pflatz. Once again a beautiful group showed up to support one another, connect, Heal and just be in nature. Reinighof transports you to a magical world away from everyday life! This retreat even included Archery and a wood burning sauna in a wagon! Look out for a winter day retreat at Reinighof soon!
Thanks to Nora for the wonderful photos.
Rest or become Restless!
It’s too easy to say "I do not have time, I am too busy".
While your body and mind struggle to deal with all the outside influences from work, social media, other peoples thoughts and opinions, and chemicals.
The world has become full of what your should do, rules, regulations but no where is there a bill board saying:-
"Take time out, Nurture yourself, be kind to your body and you can heal, you must rest otherwise you will be restless".
So many women and Mums I have spoken with have been suffering from Migrains, Thyroid issues, Lyme disease, breast cancer over these last few months maybe from the stress of all the rules, balancing family life, relationship struggles, loneliness, and trying to fit in.
It is clear that we cannot keep doing doing doing, following rules, trying to manage everything at home, schools etc etc we must listen to the calling of our bodies and slow down, take time to rest.
I call out to my dear Friends to listen and do something today that will be for you.
Be in a restful place, take time out otherwise you will burnt out. We cannot nor should we be expected to manage it all without serious consequences to our health.
Rest well. Xxxxxx
My healing process with Lyme disease and Thrombosis
For the last 2 months I have pretty much been confined to being inside with my legs up! Good job I enjoy 'Viparita Karani', legs up the wall or “Viparita” means “reversal” in Sanskrit, “karani” means “form” or “action”. It hasn't exactly been like that as I couldnt keep my legs directly straight as both knees at one point were swollen & with thrombosis I was in alot of pain! However there was certainly alot of off the mat yoga practice that I had to embody whilst being indoors.
As a natural mover, cycling, hiking, yoga, climbing, dancing etc etc were all out, just making it up and down the stairs was a huge challenge, effort and came with alot of pain. So I surrended into settling down onto the sofa with a book or two.
The story of how I came to be in such a predicament when I thought as I healthy person who doesn't drink, is vege/ vegan for the last 33 years and generally has a very healthy lifestyle. How could I be in this position?
I will share more about my journey finding out and my recovery after I shared a Restorative Yoga practice I managed to record, when I had the energy! At this point both knees were swollen and I literally fell asleep whilst recording it!
June Free Flow Yoga Retreat - @ Reinighof
On the day this retreat began, I had two swollen knees full of liquid. Walking was very difficult and I wondered how on earth I would be able to manage teaching and moving around at Reinighof, a camping or wagon location for the retreat.
Remembering the basis of Yoga teachings, that the ultimate goal is to transcend the physical body I decided to trust that everything would work out and it would be a healing time for everyone, coming together after such a long time of Covid lockdowns. I am so happy that I did not cancel this retreat as it was really a blessing to be on the healing land of Reinighof, being with a very beautiful group and sharing ancient "yoga practices that really do work" - Quoted by Julia Weis, from Swadharma Yoga who joined the retreat.
I taught from sitting or standing when possible and nobody minded that I was not in my usual very energetic active physical body. We came together as a unique group and shared our hearts, stories, vulnerabilities. I named the retreat "Free Flow" when I was in Mexico when life seemed very much free flowing. It was kind of ironic that actually by the time the retreat began I was for sure far from Free flowing physically. However, I still experienced the inner free flow state and calm that had come from spending 2 months without walking and being indoors with my legs up! (caused by Thrombosis and Lyme disease). I will write another blog post about my journey with Lyme disease.
The retreat practices included morning pranayama and meditation, followed by asana practice. The weather was just perfect and actually so hot by the time it got to the asana practice we had to move to the Yurt for shade. After we shared a wonderful vegetarian / vegan brunch, lovingly prepared by Reinighof, including a lot of home grown organic food. Next there was free time to walk, dip in the sacred source for those that love a cold water plunge or simply relax and enjoy the sunshine. In the afternoons we shared homemade tea and cake before sharing more yoga practices.
Together we experienced the power of Mantra, weaving in Seed Chakra mantras in a powerful, fun meditative way (Lam, Vam, Ram, Yam, Ham, Sham, Om). Then in the evenings we chanted around the fire. Also included were partner yoga/ the Thai massage touch and yoga Nidra. Each retreat I offer is always a unique experience and yoga teachings will flow creatively.
Thanks to Tania Sippel-Kaiser and Julie for the wonderful photos.
I am happy to be returning to Reinighof from 10-12th September 2021. Sign up now to be part of the next 'Healing Retreat'.
How does Bhakti fit into Vedanta yoga philosophy? Chat with Ira Schepetin
A wonderful chat with long term Vedanta Scholar, Ira. Unfortunately we got cut off a few times but its still wonderful to listen to such a long time practitioner of Vedanta, talking about Bhakti.
Chat about Mantra, Sacred Sound & Indian Classical Music with Sudhanshu Sharma
This is a wonderful chat with Sudhanshu Sharma, my Indian Music teacher in Delhi. Please get comfy, have your chai ready & listen to Sudhanshu chat about his life long passion & devotion, work & offerings of Indian Classical Music & Mantra.
Mantra..... Tool for the Mind and heart?
What is Mantra?
MAN = The Mind TRA = Tool for
Mantra is a tool for the mind, literally translated. I would also add a tool for the mind and heart.
My first experience with Mantra was during my first Teacher Training in London where we repeated many times the traditional Vedic chanting of the Mantra 'om trayambakam yajamahe', a travel mantra or mantra to keep you safe. I remember feeling quite overwhelmed as I couldn't pronounce the Sanskrit correctly however the feeling I got afterwards was like nothing I had experienced.
Once I got out of my head, worrying about what was right or wrong, what I was chanting to or about, my mind seemed to relax and be with the sounds. Later in the training, I accidentally went to my Teachers workshop which was half Chanting, half Asana (physical postures).
At first I freaked out a little, "I didn't come to chant! I came to do Asana. I don't have a good voice, I don't ever sing as I can never remember words of songs. Arr what have I got myself into!"
So I had a complete revelation when I began to chant during the first session, it seemed immediately to take me in the place of my heart, it was almost like something was lighting up inside, waking me up. An intensity I'm not sure I had ever felt, I felt like laughing and crying at the same time. Most of all I felt expanded and full of love and deeply humbled.
What space, place, time was I in? None of it mattered, all the drama, the thoughts, the desires, likes and dislikes disappeared for this period in time I was transported into a deep silent heart space of self. I am deeply grateful to Niki Slade, the teacher who shared her heart and voice, leading me to find my inner voice.
From that day I began a journey into my voice path looking for Mantra circles or kirtan events where ever I was going.
During the early days with Nikki Slade, she once said to me "One day you will lead Kirtan", I said I could never imagine it! However 12 years on and now slowly slowly this seed is manifesting. My love for mantra has opened such a wonderful heartfelt world of Bhakti, beautiful people and a wonderful way to transform consciousness.
As Sally Kempton has stated "When you receive a mantra from a teacher and practice with it over time, you find out how profoundly these sacred sound can shift the energy of your mind, your emotional body, and even your physical body".
If you are not ready to practice with a Mantra yet and you are scared of sharing your voice like I was. Start with the toning sounds for the voice, these will help to begin opening the voice, throat chakra and create new neural pathways to the brain, as well as bringing you to the present moment, allowing you to just be and to find relaxation. Don't be harsh on yourself or your individual sound that comes out. If you do this practice regularly your voice will change.
Let me know how it goes for you. Most of all enjoy.