Thursday, 23 April 2015

Me & Social Media

About a year ago, I started posting on Instagram as part of a personal project. It had come up when I had attended a really powerful workshop with Rod Stryker about the Four Desires. It is difficult to sum up the workshop which had many parts in it, but basically, it is about finding what makes you happy and what stops you from being happy and more importantly what is stopping you from living your fullest life. I really recommend it if you have the opportunity to work with him.

During this time, it came up that i was my biggest obstacle. I think most of us are our biggest obstacle, but more importantly, what is it that we do that makes us so. One of the patterns i had discovered about myself is that, my automatic conditioned response is to always not respond. Whether i can do something or not, whether i know something or not, my default reaction is to take a step back, be quiet. Never be seen, never be heard. Not out of shyness, but out of the fear of being vulnerable or wrong. And when i looked back on my whole life- this had always been the story- even when my dad passed away, when everyone was expecting me to breakdown, i didn't and instead put forward someone who had it all under control. After he was buried, I really wanted some personal time with him (because we were very close and i did not make it to say goodbye) A close friend had to take me to the grave- someone i felt comfortable enough to be vulnerable with- or so i thought- and even then, i just laid the roses and left. This is like a 40 minute drive, so I was pretty annoyed with myself that I could not fulfil what my heart desired. 

This was just part of the revelation. Of course, it wasn't just about what was "wrong" but also to recognise that the potential to stop these conflicts, is completely in our hands. Nobody can help us more than ourselves..

At the end of the workshop, I made a sankalpa- a kind of vow, to step forward and not be afraid to be vulnerable but equally not be afraid to shine. In the moment of excitement, it all seemed so easy. I just had to make a conscious choice every time so that the reaction is no longer automatic. On the plus side, once the seed had been planted, I was constantly aware of my actions- the one that got nervous as soon as i knew there was an opportunity to share something- but i still could not change the reaction. A sankalpa is meant to be something that happens in about 6 months- hahahaha how does one break a lifelong habit in that time?? Of course not. 

So I had joined Instagram first because it was the new thing and I am always curious about new things. I joined as Cooper (my dog & posted lots of photos of him) At the same time, i followed the yoga community of course. It inspired the socks off me. Some of these people were really putting themselves out there and just opening themselves out to the world. And how incredible this community was at championing change, encouraging strangers through their goals, cheering creativity and effort, and supporting each other through difficulty (some incredible stories - i mean... really incredible true life, heart breaking, inspiring stories) I started to wonder if perhaps this could be the answer for me. So i stepped in & joined as me..

At first, I cringed...even though i had no followers LOL 
But eventually, I started to become less and less afraid of being seen.
And now, I would say, i have really embraced vulnerability. It doesn't mean i have lost my inhibition. I am just no longer afraid of not being perfect. In fact, I am happy to scream and shout about it!! I think when you scroll through the pictures, the change is obvious. I would never have thought that doing something like this could help me break a habit. I notice the change in me in everything i do. I am also less argumentative with my husband as i no longer have to be right all the time LOL (this is true) It is like all yoga practice; repeating an action makes it easier and easier. The more i put myself forward, the easier it became. It's not that I did not get this from regular yoga practice. I just needed another push out of my comfort zone.

Lastly, i just want to say, there is so much judgement out there about posting pictures- especially in the yoga community. All the other communities i follow- climbers, surfers, wakeboarders, snowboarders- nobody ever comments that these guys are showing off. Everyone just gets super excited, inspired and stoked. But for some reason- this is un yogic yoga practice, showing off LOL
Funny because, if so, then it can be said of any social media posts- whether you are posting about your practice, your lifestyle, your smoothies and food, your kids, dogs, cats, plants...
It is all saying the same thing- look at me- this is my passion, i am proud of this, i am good at this... And really, it is fine. It is only showing off if you think so and that is just your perception. And of course, everyone is entitled to think what they want. For most of us, it is a platform to share our passion- not because we are looking for acceptance or approval, but because when you love something, it's so much more meaningful when you have someone to share it with. 

I'm not saying it is something everyone should do. I'm just saying, don't get so negative about it. If it is not for you, just ignore it. 

Be love.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Tabla Vinyasa & Nada Yoga

Sages of old speak of the mythical sound that lies within every being. 
In Sanskrit, this sound is OM or Nadam.

One theory is that life began with a vibration. And the yogis say, that vibration is OM and still resonates today and is the source of all sounds, so all sounds are sacred.

From the word Nadam is the root word ‘Nad’ which means flow and ‘nada’ means sound. The related word is ‘nadi’ which means river or stream. So ‘Nadam’ can be described as the flow of the inner sound current.

Nada Yoga is about sounds; inner and outer sound vibrations. It is the yoga of deep inner listening. It is said that there are four levels of sound, ranging from the grossest to the subtlest. Like all other yoga practices, we are trying to cultivate awareness, so with Nada Yoga we start with a more sensory practice, as we will be doing during this tabla vinyasa workshop. We will be working on the first level of sound known as ‘Vaikhari’, which is an audible sound that can be heard and felt through the senses. With regular practice, the yogi-in-practice can start to move beyond every day sounds and start to hear the more subtle sounds. These sounds are most easily perceived when we are relaxed, like in shavasana or during meditation.
In my personal experience, when I have had a really good practice; one where my mind and body and breath are most synchronized, meditation becomes easy and it is during this time that I perceive these sound sensations. In a practice with a skilled musician like Jason, who is able to influence the pulse of the class, this experience becomes even more heightened.  

Sound is the essence of all energy. All matter is made up of energy, hence all living things possess a sound quality. When there is harmony within a system, vibration frequency is lower. Lower frequency of vibration means we feel less stressed, more at peace. When we come together to practice, this is one of our aims; to be more harmonized with each other, on our mats and off out mats.
There is a lot of power in our vibration. We can observe the power of vibration through a large predatory sea snail found in Indian Ocean known as Turbinella pyrum. The Aum like vibrations are powerful and their frequency can alter thin sand to form many sacred geometries which are now being studied. Like this creature, we too can influence the feeling of a room, and the vibration around us too can influence us.
During a practice like tabla vinyasa, the musician can observe the bhav of the class and adjust the rhythm intuitively to support the energy of the class. The vibration of the class becomes synchronized and on a subtle level, we will feel this unity. It is different from having music played in class because the music has not been pre-planned but rather, it is infused into practice. The overall feeling is very different.

The session ends with live music meditation; be bathed in the deep evocative tones of Bansuri (Indian classical flute ) and delicious organic sound scapes. Listening to music with clear awareness is part of the practice of Nada yoga.
The experience is heightened after a good asana session as the mind is more still. Jason will play Indian Classical Raagas ( scales in specific moods ) which have their roots in the Nada yoga traditions.

Come and join us and experience this joyful practice.