Thursday, 28 February 2013

A&E moment

I have lost count how many times I have restarted this post, struggling to articulate my thoughts that are abundant, right now...

I have just spent an 'eventful' night at the A&E of the Norwich & Norfolk Hospital. About five hours to be precise. As I was not the one who was ill, I had ample opportunity to observe the activity around us. There were a lot of unwell people in one little space and plenty of real life human drama. 

At one point, we had our own drama. It is surreal watching someone's heart beat drop, alarms going off and a sense of 'oh..'. In that moment, there is a kind of calm... and everything, all of life, seemed to just wrap into one bubble and everything else outside is just a blur. It is like a one pointed focus... like some meditation experience. It is ironic, because this is also how i describe the day I met my husband.

Lately, there have been much sad news around my circle of friends. Just a month ago, a young friend died suddenly and without reason and we had just received news of a friend and a family member with terminal cancer. When these things happen, you recognise your mortality and become more aware of the fragility of life and start to say things like "life is short. don't waste it unnecessarily" etc. And then you forget and go back to the crazy cycle of stressing over little things, procrastinating, over thinking things, etc... until it happens again.

Perhaps it is different when it happens to you, or so close to you. 

Because there is definitely a different air in the house this evening. 
It is one of quiet contemplation but also, deep gratitude and appreciation...
That every day is a gift of possibilities- small and big.
Both equally magnificent, when seen through the eyes of appreciation..
Live... and love

I just want to add... 

You hear so much news about how bad the NHS is. Our experience last night was far from that. It was amazing. Maybe it is the NNH, and if so, lucky us for living in the right city. I was being quite nosy as well and can tell you that it is really amazing what goes on in there. It is not just that they were efficient and tireless. They were also kind and receptive. They were really thorough with us and we have left today feeling quite overwhelmed by the generosity of the staff and service. And again... maybe it is just the NNH, and we are definitely not taking for granted how lucky we are for all this. 

I also want to say that all is safe and well. 

Tuesday, 26 February 2013


pretending not to hear me
winning the mat space

Had to share this! 
This is the dogs favourite thing to do of late..... interrupt my practice!
I wonder if something has changed...
He loves being in the room when I am on the mat- even if his dad is in, he will join me.
Usually, he sleeps through the whole thing but lately, he will jump onto the mat whilst i am still on it and start to bug me. It takes quite a bit of telling off before he gets off it. 
I am sure some of you are thinking that it is because I have not been paying him enough attention. I assure you, he gets so much attention that he has to hide away for some quiet time. I am definitely getting him his own mat. Maybe not a Manduka! I bet he is going to want mine and not any o'l mat! Stay tuned... 

ps: i LOVE him
he can have whatever..

Bad Seeds Good Seeds

Ever experience how when someone plants an idea in your head- even if you did not agree with it, this idea starts to take shape in your thoughts?? For example, if someone, says something not-so-nice about another person whom you thought was quite lovely to begin with. Soon, you find yourself starting to notice things that were not there to begin with (and to be honest, not there at all, just made up in the mind)

Unfortunately for me, it happens. The problem with me is that I love the people I love in a mad and crazy way and get a bit protective. Nothing wrong with this, but I tend to forget that some times, friends just need to rant and they don't mean to plant any awful seeds in your thoughts. I know this because sometimes, I do the same. In the heat of some not so ideal moment, I might rant about someone and then on some occassion, hear those opinions repeated and feel awful that I had gone and done that and then get into conflict with my friend since I am the one who had first said it and am now protecting them - ooops! My bad! 

spot the man in my blurry picture
I noticed another thing this week that came with the Oscar Pistouris' news. He has been such a champion in every way to me and this seed of hope and triumph had been so strongly planted in me that when he had that outburst when he lost the 100m, I defended him in my head despite disliking bad sportsmanship. And right now, feel so sorry for him. What I am saying is that equally, once the good seed has been planted, all you see is goodness. 

अहिंसा Ahimsa
The Yoga Sutra chapter 2.35 tells us to practice non harming. This is training our thoughts, words and actions not to cause any physical or mental harm. 

I guess this is about practicing loving kindness. If you practice loving kindness towards all beings, it would be difficult for anyone to plant any unwanted seeds in your thoughts. And even if they did, it would not cause you to react. And you are probably unlikely to plant any horrible seeds yourself.

This applies equally to ourselves. I thought i had written about 'matrika shakti' but I can't seem to find it anywhere. Basically, 'matrika shakti' (energy) stirs in our bodies. It is what vibrates with the energy of seeds that you plant over your life time - this could be from self criticism, low self esteem, etc, or of the opposites. So the words stirs the vibration, the vibration starts to come together and manifest as our thoughts and this then opens us up to the consequences of those words.

It is always helpful to start with ourselves. I heard this somewhere- "who else is more interested in you than you yourself?" So who else can help you best? We work on loving kindness towards ourselves. It is pointless to just eat well and exercise. We have to stop harming ourselves with our own words too. This is challenging. But from my experience (which is on going) when we can do this for ourselves, it is so much easier to do this for those around us.   

Wednesday, 20 February 2013


I am having one of those days on my mat. Everything feels crap. I am disconnected and am unable to reconnect in any pose, not even meditation. It is not that my mind is troubled. Nothing is up! I fell on my face twice. I tried to force through the crap but I have done an hour of.... battle..and have lost today.. oh well...
see you tomorrow, mat.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Sthira - Sukham

sthira (strong, steady, stable) sukham (comfortable, easeful, joyful) asanam (asana, posture)
The practice of yoga should be steady, stable as well as comfortable
-Patanjali, Yoga Sutra 2.46
I remember a time when not much of my practice was sthira or sukham! When i first stepped onto a yoga mat, i could barely sit upright, and my ego and competitiveness would just push and push and push. I think sukham was missing for many years of it. I loved it even then, in all it's un-sukham-ness! But wow! Once it had found me, how incredible did it feel??

It took some time for me to realise that this practice is a journey of un-determined, if not indefinite, time. So it is expected that it will take time to find sthira, sukham. I notice often how frustrated people get with themselves and even how discouraged they become when they try a pose and fall, or wobble or just did not get it. I have been there myself. When i demonstrate* poses in class sometimes and maybe it looks so sthira and sukham, I hope they hear my words that it took years to get here and many years to come in transforming my yoga practice- in my body and in my mind. And really...not finding this (sthira, sukham) right away is a great gift of the practice. When the body is wobbly, the mind becomes so much more focused and starts to understand that the sthira and sukham actually starts from within, not from the physical body, from from deep inside.

* This is also why I hardly demonstrate in class unless necessary. 
I hope it does not come across as laziness hahaha. 

So anyway... never be discouraged. If the person next to you is stable as a statue, remember that they too once flapped their arms, fell on their faces and their bottoms and struggled with all the internal dialogue, and that one day, you will also get there, to a place that feels sthira and sukham.

Enjoy your journey! <3

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Star Dust!

So I was watching the last episode of Africa last night. David Attenborough is a legend of course. He even made his producer shed a tear or two. I certainly did. Some bits were heart breaking; freak draught that killed att the baby elephants in 2009, how our advancing population is pushing animals into smaller and smaller spaces that are not great for their survival, this one Masai warrior who had killed his first lion only to find out that she was pregnant...
And then some bits just gave you so much hope - more tears, but this time, tears of joy!
For example, how this Masai then had a change of heart about killing lions and how now the Masai work on avoiding conflict with lions. Whereas before, they would take the name of the lion they had killed, now, the lions were named after the Masai that protects it. 
What also touched me were all these other warriors out there championing giant efforts to help and protect wildlife. I love the idea of building an underpassage tunnel for the elephants so they can continue roaming (under the road that cut through their park) and more importantly, how they got it right away!

Sorry, i am giving you the whole synopsis of the program.

Anyway, a of couple of hours later, there was Professor Brian Cox show presenting 'The Wonders of Life'. He is the new love of my life LOL. Reinforcing the science that shows how every single living thing on the planet comes from the same source, share the same beginnings, through the explanation of the formation of carbon. The most beautiful science! When the stars within the big bang exploded, carbon was released and this began the building blocks of all living things. We came from start dust!!!!! How much more awesome can it be???
And there were all sorts of lovely tales that followed- watch! watch!

Unfortunately, the morning after was not so great. Stories about this fox that had severed a baby's finger, lots of angry people calling for fox culling, even heard a angry man went on to say we should also cull dogs (i am sure he meant dangerous dogs).
So sad...
I understand that the problem not simple. It is not that I love animals more than people. I love people too. It is sad that we keep seeing animals as the problem when really, we are part of the problem in a big way. But people who work with animals know that it is possible to live together somewhat harmoniously. Animals do it. If they can do it, surely we can too. They have as much right to be here as we do. 

It got me thinking... imagine if one day, all these amazing creatures are gone. I guess we would just be left with "food" and us (& the all important bugs) The problem is, so few of us are in any close contact with these animals that if they were gone, it would not create a vast impact in our lives. We are just too far removed from them. That is why if you ask most people in the city about global warming, they laugh- because they don't feel the impact- they are not polar bears, or Inuits. They are not in Africa, and these small changes do not capture anyone's attention. And as far as environmental impact is concerned, because we have not experienced anything quite like that, it is difficult for people to understand it or believe it, even though it has happened before- just too long ago. Or maybe we have just gotten so used to someone else taking care of "these things".  

Some of human endeavours out there really gives us hope- that as the species blessed with consciousness, empathy, great intellect and great abilities, there are those out there who are truly the hero's of life. And the very least we can do is keep informed with what they do and champion them on with our support.