“Samskara saksat karanat purvajati jnanam. Through sustained focus and meditation on our patterns, habits, and conditioning, we gain knowledge and understanding of our past and how we can change the patterns that aren’t serving us to live more freely and fully.”

— Yoga Sutra III.18

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Samadhi (Sanskrit: समाधि) literally means “putting together, joining, combining with, union, harmonious whole, trance”.

Samadhi is oneness with the subject of meditation. There is no distinction, during the eighth limb of yoga, between the actor of meditation, the act of meditation and the subject of meditation. Samadhi is that spiritual state when one’s mind is so absorbed in whatever it is contemplating on, that the mind loses the sense of its own identity. The thinker, the thought process and the thought fuse with the subject of thought. There is only oneness, samadhi. ~ Wikipedia

The first seven limbs of the eight limbs of ashtanga are preparations for Samadhi.  

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An hour Yin practice from my Sunday morning class. Enjoy 🙂

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Calming the restlessness of the mind is achieved by Abhyasa and Vairagya.

Abhyasa: The means (practices, discipline, etc) that is employed in order to remain in a state of union (harmony) with one’s own Self is called Abhyasa.  Consistent effort. 

Vairagya: The highest form of Vairagya is when we are established in awareness of our true nature. When we discover that the joy we are seeking resides within us, we relinquish our attachment towards the outer.

In my understanding this means:  Do the very best you can and see what happens. 

I know so many people who would go even as far as manipulate, lie and gaslight someone to get the outcome they want. 

If I plant, say, an apple tree and I take the best care of it that I possibly could I still have no idea if the apples would be sweet, plentiful, beautiful or even appear!  I simply can’t control that.  All I can do is do the best I can (abhyasa) and let go of my attachment to the outcome (vairagya).  The joy is in the journey.  In my effort.  The joy is not in an outcome I cannot possibly control. 

So, it is great to have dreams and goals – but I can’t control the outcome.  So my joy comes from the journey I undertook in pursuing that dream.  Not in the outcome. 

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A Wish for you


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Strong Emotions

I found this little piece that I wrote in April 2013.  I have walked a long road since then and am so grateful that I had this wisdom back then, even if I didn’t always remember it.
Having come out of a very, very traumatic year where I often felt like a train has hit me I have such peace and clarity now.  I feel sure it was because of how I handled the grieving process.
See, the thing is to understand your emotions.  To give yourself a break and to understand that you, like every human being on this planet, have emotions and a right to feel them.  Yes.  You do.  We all do.  But to understand your emotions you have to be willing to face them.  That can be incredibly, incredibly hard sometimes.  So much easier to turn away or look for distractions or look for excuses.  But be sure then that they will come back.  Louder.  Harder.  And have the almost sure risk of turning you into a bitter, possibly more unhappy person.

If you let your fears and your worries and yes, and your pain wash over you – allow them to fully reveal themselves, they become less scary.  I am by no means suggesting that you dwell there.  Understand that it is a process and also has an end.  An outcome.  Understand that in doing that you are learning – about yourself mostly.  About what is important to you.  About what you want to be important to you.  And most importantly – understanding your vulnerability.  And that, like everyone else on this planet – you are vulnerable.  That is what makes us human and beautiful.

Feeling the heat – as much as it could freak you out – will not necessarily make you tough.  Or bitter.  Or cynical.  Not if your aim is to learn and to understand.  What it will do is make you a beautiful, loving, understanding human being.  Open to give and to receive.

I believe that the strongest people are those who acknowledge and celebrate their vulnerability.  Those who are not afraid to be the first to say:  “I love you”.  Or are afraid but do it anyway.  Those who are not afraid to show someone a kind face or gesture.  And expect absolutely nothing in return.  I know it sounds so very yogi or “airy fairy” – but show a hurtful person compassion and understanding.  That does NOT mean allow them to hurt you.  It does NOT mean become a doormat.  It simply means – understand why they do that.  Consider this:  would a person, who themselves is happy and content, hurt others?  That bully in the office, that man who tore your heart out, that dad who doesn’t pay attention – just try to remember why they do that.  Then wait and see – you might just find that they notice that you understand.  They might just realise what they are doing.  And they might just learn something too.  And so you might have helped someone find peace too or at least helped them begin to understand.  Even if they aren’t in your life.  If someone hurts you, walk away.  A very powerful thing to do.  And walking away can take many forms.  Ignoring a vitriolic remark or refusing to be part of poisonous talk.  You don’t have to allow others to hurt you in order to be understanding.  

Loyalty and honesty is a choice that only strong spirits have the courage to make. 

To every single person in my life and those in my future and those in my past and even those I will never know, I send you love and warmth.


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Meditation Sample

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We’re back!


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What is yoga really about?

Your mat is one and a half metres by half a metre.  Probably around 4mm thick on average.  It helps protect and cushion your body, it gives you your space to practice and helps with aligning and orienting your body.  Sometimes it is printed beautifully, and has the grip you need for a bit of blood, sweat and tears.

And this mat is a microcosm of your life.  On this mat, you learn about yourself.  Your body – its limitations and its capabilities.  You also learn about your mind and your heart.  You are safe here to explore how you react, how you feel and how, being with that, feels to you.  We all have an asana that we love.  Most of the time it is an asana that we’re good at!  My favourite is arm balances and also flexibility poses.  Why?  Because I’m good at those.  It makes me feel, well, strong and flexible.  Done.  Nope, not actually.  We also have asanas that we don’t like.  For so many reasons.  My worst?  Probably Warrior 3.  Why?  I’m challenged.  It takes a whole lot of strength, physically, but also staying power.  I’m in it for just maybe three breaths and I’m over it.  So here is where the observing and learning starts.  What would happen if I held it for just another breath?  Maybe two or three?  My mind is saying:  Ok.  Enough!  You’ve made your point.  My body is begging me to stop.  But what happens if I take away the easy (in my case, arms behind in Dekasana) and reach them over my head?  Pull my shoulders back, reach my hands out in front of me, biceps next to my ears, squeezing the arm muscles?  How do I react?  And when I come out, how do I feel?

Out there, on the bigger mat – life?  I’m in a situation where my mind is saying:  fight or flight!  Did I learn anything in my beloved (not) Warrior 3?  Say I’m dealing with a difficult person.  Fight or flight?  How about just another breath or two?  How about, just like on the mat when we are encouraged to be gentle, compassionate I do that here too?  Can I practice compassion?  Staying for just another breath so as to open more options in how I want to react/respond?  Is there then opportunity for a different outcome?  Brene Brown puts it beautifully:

Don’t grab hurtful comments and pull them close to you by rereading them and ruminating on them.  Don’t play with them by rehearsing your badass comeback.  And whatever you do, don’t pull hatefulness close to your heart.  

Let what’s unproductive and hurtful drop at the feet of your unarmoured self.  And no matter how much your self doubt wants to scoop up the ciriticism and snuggle with the negativity so it can confirm its worst fears, or how eager the shame gremlins are to use the hurt to fortify your armour, take a deep breath and find the strength to leave what is mean spirited on the ground.  You don’t even need to stomp it or kick it away.  Cruelty is cheap, easy and chickenshit.  It doesn’t deserve your energy or engagement.  Just step over the comments and keep daring, always remembering that armour is too heavy a price to pay to engage with cheap-seat feedback.

And one of my all time favourites, Pema Chodron:

Currently, the majority of the world’s population is far from being able to acknowledge when they’re about to explode or event o think it is important to slow the process down.  In most cases, that churned-up energy translates quickly into aggressive reactions and speech.  Yet, for each and every one of us, intelligence, warmth and openness are always accessible.  If we can be conscious enough to realise what’s happening, we can pause and uncover these basic human qualities.  The wish for revenge, the prejudiced mind – all of that is temporary and removable.  It’s not the permanent state.  as Chogyam Trungpa put it, ‘Sanity is permanent, neurosis is temporary.’

To honestly face the pain in our lives and the problems in the world, let’s start by looking compassionately and honestly at our own minds.  We can become intimate with the mind of hatred, the mind that polarizes, the mind that makes somebody “other” and bad and wrong.  We come to know, unflinchingly, and with great kindness, the angry, unforgiving, hostile wolf.  Over time, that part of ourselves becomes very familiar, but we no longer feed it.  Instead, we can make the choice, and the attitudes and actions that follow from it, are like a medicine that has the potential to cure all suffering.

The Shambala teaching is:  “Placing our fearful mind in the cradle of loving-kindness.”


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