Month: January 2022


Attending to your inner fire

January 2022

A Happy New Year to you. Although the skies and have been grey and we’ve had our fair share of rain, I hope you’ve managed to get out in nature over the Christmas holidays.Being outdoors gets us out of our heads and into our bodies. Part of the yoga tradition is to work with the five elements, known as the ‘mahābhūtas’. The five elements (earth, water, fire, air and space) are the building blocks of our material world.

Some spiritual disciplines seek to ‘transcend’ or rise above the material world. Other traditions, such as Saiva Tantra, encourages us to become grounded in the world through our senses, rather than living in a mental world of our own making, which is not a true reflection of reality and where experience can appear dull and lifeless.

It is through the element of earth that we ground ourselves. This element is associated with the sense of smell.

Through the element of water we find flow, fluidity and creativity. This element is associated with the sense of taste.

The element of fire provides warmth and light and is associated with the sense of sight.

We can see the element of fire as an inner fire that warms and sustains us. Fire also has the power to transform, cleanse and purify. ‘Tap’ the Sanskrit word for ‘to heat intensively’ is the root of the word ‘tapas’ which can be translated as self-discipline. The fire that brings us to the yoga mat each week!

Fire is also the light that provides vision, direction and clarity. We can use the light of the mind’s awareness to set our intentions as we decide where to focus our energy. This is a useful element to contemplate as we move into New Year, perhaps feeling the urge to set intentions for the coming year. Where will you direct your ‘fire’ during 2022?


Making room for emptiness

November 2021

How are you?

In contrast to the lockdown months, I’m finding life more hectic than ever – the roads and streets are busy and our family diary is full of activities and events. While I wouldn’t want to return to lockdown times, I do miss the stillness and silence.

In our culture we seem to value ‘doing’ over not-doing (or ‘just being’). Often our ‘doing’ is habit or routine, carried out without reflection, almost as if we’re half asleep.

When we manage to strip away our habits of moving, breathing and thinking – ‘going through the motions’ – we can be awake to the present moment. As we ‘empty out’ we notice what arises (sensations, thoughts and emotions). We watch these things arise and we watch them disperse, like ripples on a pond, returning to stillness.

A goal of the yoga tradition is to experience emptiness. When you hear the word ‘emptiness’ it may conjure up thoughts of something bleak, desolate, lonely and lifeless. But in yoga, emptiness equates to openness, potential, receptivity. And emptiness (pure consciousness) is something far from lifeless – it’s a totally alive, vibrant stillness that’s full of energy.

When we make room for emptiness we can notice what arises from the stillness at the centre of all our ‘doing’. In the words of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, we can ‘rest in our essence nature.’

As the Christmas frenzy starts to build, you’re welcome to join me for a rest from all your habitual ‘doing’. Sometimes in class we move, sometimes we’re still. We’re always shifting sensation, thoughts, emotions, energy (which are all different aspects of the same thing) to shake off those habits that get us stuck, weigh us down and cloud our perception of the world around us.


‘Practice yoga …all is coming’

September 2021

What happens when we practice yoga?

We start to notice how we are – not just physically, but also energetically, mentally and emotionally.

Because we’re all unique, we each engage differently with a physical sensation or an instruction/suggestion. We all experience life through the lens of our own conditioning. Our habits affect the way we move, the way we think, how we interpret how we feel.

But despite our differences, when we practice yoga we all drop into a shared experience of letting go. There is nothing to fix. The goal is not to somehow craft a ‘new you’, but to strip away – layer by layer – our habits, the weight of our identity, our sense of being separate from the world around us. In the words of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, we ‘still the fluctuations of the heart-mind’ and ‘rest in our essence nature’.

These moments of connection can be fleeting. Other outcomes of our practice are more constant – maintaining a functional range of movement, calming the nervous system, releasing feel-good endorphins, improving circulation and releasing toxins.

Yoga is best approached with ‘a beginner’s mind’…empty of expectation, as if we were coming to the mat for the first time. As we surrender to the experience our inner landscape begins to open up.

“Practice yoga…all is coming.” Pattabhi Jois


Growing your network

June 2021 

How is your year unfolding? Do you feel that you have a good network in place to provide you with support when you need it?

We are all interconnected – this is something that has come into sharp focus for me during the pandemic. Over the last year I’ve expanded the web of people who support me, either directly or indirectly. I’ve been to see my osteopath, I’ve had Cranio Sacral treatments and massages. I’ve joined online courses, read books, listened to inspiring teachers on podcasts and had great conversations on walks with friends.

In my last newsletter I talked about invisible hands supporting me when I surrender into my yoga practice. In addition to this, there are actual real-life hands in place! I’m grateful for all my guides and fellow travellers, who support me so I’m able to support others.

It’s all out there if you choose to look. Have you considered reaching out and expanding your web of support?