Tag Archives: Spirituality

Return to Yoga

7 Sep

“I haven’t done any exercise for five years”. I think of my friend’s words with horror as I practice yoga for the first time in two months. My muscles are tight, my joints creak and my limbs just refuse to bend into place. It’s clear that my body has not appreciated being abandoned during the summer.

My yoga journey between spring and summer was full of discoveries and disappointments. I experienced the joy of my first solo yoga practice, as well as the frustration of not being able to find a suitable yoga teacher. I tried half a dozen classes, but none of them gave me the feeling of peace and well-being that I treasured so much in my previous schools. I settled for a class with an experienced teacher who had trained in India. With her, I learnt perfect alignment, but I learnt this through harsh discipline and fear; she would raise her voice at our ‘mistakes’ and would rarely return a smile.

By her last class in July I was tired, frustrated and disconnected from my physical and spiritual states. I had lost all interest in yoga. I couldn’t even remember why I had enjoyed it in the first place. Did it once really make me feel good? Did it really have such an important role in my life all these years? I did not practice once in the two months that followed and even felt repelled when simply thinking about it.

However, yesterday, something shook me out of my slumber. After a whole day slouching and stressing in front of the computer I could feel my body yearning for just one thing. Without further thought, I rolled out my dusty yoga map onto the bedroom floor…and suddenly….I remembered!

I remembered how amazing it feels to S-T-R-E-T-C-H.

I remembered how satisfying it is to let your body tell you exactly what it needs.

I remembered how relaxing and refreshing it is to go with the flow of your breath.

I remembered how satisfying it is to heal your body with every pose.

It was the most natural thing to let myself be guided by my body; it knew more than my mind about my current state of health and spirit.  During that practice I needed no explanation for why I love yoga. In my mum’s words, “It’s not about how far you can stretch; it’s about how you feel in the stretch”. With new yoga classes starting this September, I will choose a teacher with whom I can connect on the spiritual level, and for the rest I will listen to my body for guidance.

Happy International Women’s Day!

8 Mar

“I have worshipped woman as the living embodiment of the spirit of service and sacrifice.”
~ Mohandas Gandhi

Today is International Women’s Day. It is a day to celebrate the feminine energy that gives us so much love in life. For men, it is a day to show how much the women in your lives mean to you; for women, it is a day to rejoice the goddess within.

Once, in a yoga/spirituality class, my teacher asked us to write down what it means for us to be a goddess. Here is what being a goddess means to me:

Kindness

Understanding

Care

Nature

Love

Laughter

Dance

Touch

Softness

Lightness

Wisdom

Flow

Water

Earth

Patience

Healing

Air

Song

Rhythm

Movement

Creation

Courage

Faith

Beauty

Humility

Breath

Energy

Life

Peace

Imagination

 

What does being a goddess mean to you?

Destined Coincidences

3 Feb

I personally believe that there are no coincidences. Having observed that most of the coincidences that have occurred in my life have been either life-changing or of a significant importance, I have concluded that there is no such thing as ‘accidental’. A coincidence is one of two things: a sign or destiny.

A coincidence is defined as “an event that might have been arranged although it was really accidental”, or “a striking occurrence of two or more events at one time apparently by mere chance”, or even “when something uncanny, accidental and unexpected happens”. I have had some pretty weird coincidences in life: bumping into someone I know from London in a café on the other side of the world; meeting a future friend due to a decision based on flipping a coin; and most recently – being quoted on a website next to my favourite author.

This last one happened today. I searched my name on Google and found a page where a paragraph of an article that I’d written had been copied and pasted next to my favourite author’s quotes on the same topic. I had never heard of the website before and have no idea how they found and, most importantly, why they chose my work. But there it was – my words alongside those of an author who I have loved since the age of fifteen. I laughed out loud in sheer disbelief.

Although everything is obviously coincidental, ‘chance’ and ‘accidental’ somehow don’t describe this situation. My work was taken by strangers and posted on a website about a country to which I am soon moving. It happened to fit into a section about which a famous author had something to say. And not only is this a famous author, it is one of my favourite authors…who also happens to write about philosophy and spirituality.

At first, I did what we usually do when things like this happen: I laughed, said “What on earth?!” , and then got on with my day. Only a while later it hit me: this is a destined coincidence. Weird and wonderful things like this don’t happen for no reason! Calling this ‘mere chance’ would be a lame excuse to cover a lack of faith. A lack of faith in the extraordinary.

Many people don’t listen to intuition, or believe in signs or natural healing, because ‘there is no proof for it’. Nowadays, we need a contract, a bill, a letter, a statement, a signature or a certificate to believe in the validity or legitimacy of something. When we say “I trusted this man, because he is a lawyer” people nod in agreement. If we say “I trusted this man, because he had kind eyes” people take us for a lunatic. Yet we have forgotten that our intuition, the natural world and all the signs around us are stronger and more ‘valid’ than any contract or theory could ever be.

We do not need ‘proof’ to know that we love someone – we just know it. We do not need proof to think that it will rain in the afternoon – we just feel it. We do not need proof to sense that someone is looking at us – we just sense it.

In the same way, we do not need proof to know that a ‘coincidence’ is actually a sign. The only thing left for us to do is to allow ourselves to believe in it, and to follow this sign to wherever it may be pointing.

Surf Sea Sunset Beach