Stay aware of your connection to all that is

This card was picked in class recently.

It makes me wonder, when have you really felt connected?

*Perhaps while gardening?

*While sitting in a temple in India (if you have had such a privilege)?

*While meditating?

*While knitting or crocheting or painting? In a yoga class?

*Walking along the beach?

*Spending time in nature?

There are times when we feel a sense of peace and bliss, a feeling of expansiveness, of connection to all that is.

Times when everything seems perfect, when we somehow know everything is okay.

Have you ever had such a feeling?

If you can recognise your sense of connection once, then perhaps you can remember the feeling.

If you temporarily lose that feeling of connection, can you recall it?

The more you can remember and experience your sense of one-ness, of connection, the more you are in a state of Yoga.

You can’t necessarily make a state of Yoga, a state of feeling connected and free, happen.

You can set up the circumstances to make it more likely. Regular yoga and meditation helps, as does being in nature.

Being present in your daily life helps too. Keeping your mind in perspective rather than letting it run you life also helps.

I think being of service to others also helps us to stay connected. It gives us purpose.

What helps you to stay aware of your connection to all and to experience freedom?

I’d love to know.

Much more meaning than is teased out here can be taken from these cards, this is just a start. I’d love your feedback and look out for my blog about the next card soon.

You can purchase your own set of these ‘Yoga off the mat, contemplations to enrich your practice’ cards from the store HERE and postage is free in AustraliaThey make a perfect gift too.

The gorgeous original picture on the front of each card is by Gayle Stone Art.

Share and Enjoy !

0Shares
0 0 0

Make time to be still

Yes there is a lot going on right now.

Maybe when we are still, we can make more sense of things.

We get perspective.

We eventually notice that there is watching happening, there is awareness. Awareness that can observe the mind.

Awareness that can observe the reactions and judgements.

Awareness of our thought patterns. Oh so many thought patterns!

Awareness that eventually might see the old habit of how we invent ‘me’.

We invent ‘me’ according to how we see ourselves, not how others see us. A perfectly natural mind invention. Perhaps we eventually see that mind invention as a fiction, even if we still use it.

Being still also allows us to be aware of subtle body sensations than can tell us so much.

  • Perhaps that feeling in the gut of being nervous about the next step.
  • Or that feeling in the heart-space of being unloved or not good enough.
  • Or that feeling in the throat of wanting to say something and perhaps feeling blocked somehow.

When we notice feelings, they may not all be blissful, but we notice them.

We notice what is real right now and perhaps recognise that that is more real than not noticing.

In stillness we can understand ourselves better.

Maybe that helps us to understand what we perceive as ‘other’ as well. Maybe there is less other, and more ‘one-ness’. Maybe there is more empathy and compassion.

We may not get all the answers, but perhaps we get enough to be okay right here and now on our path.

Maybe we get insight or inspiration.

Maybe we create space for a solution to a problem to bubble up.

Why not make time to be still and see what there is for you to notice today? I’d love to know how you go.

Much more meaning than is teased out here can be taken from these cards, this is just a start. I’d love your feedback and look out for my blog about the next card soon.

You can purchase your own set of these ‘Yoga off the mat, contemplations to enrich your practice’ cards from the store HERE and postage is free in AustraliaThey make a perfect gift too.

The gorgeous original picture on the front of each card is by Gayle Stone Art.

Share and Enjoy !

0Shares
0 0 0
Yoga off the mat contemplation cards to inspire your practice

Can you live the mystery rather than trying to manage life?

Do you usually live a very predictable life? Do you try and control as many aspects of it as you can? Dotting all those ‘I’s and crossing all those ‘T’s so to speak?

Rather than attempting to control every aspect of life, what would it feel like to be open to the idea that everything can’t be controlled, and that we really don’t know what is around the corner?

Can you be open to the mystery, the unknown?

Meditation can be a great help.

There is a difference between going into panic mode about catching the Novel Corona virus COVID-19 and taking sensible precautions.

We do what we can, and for me, as well as hygiene measures, it also includes taking the time to practice yoga and meditation at home in Mordialloc and eating well so as to stay as well as I can.

When we let go into meditation, we are dropping all that control and surrendering to the unknown.

It is unknown because we are dropping back from the mind that knows.

Aaaah, bliss, the mystery, the great abyss of peace. Life’s inner mystery might be more real than any idea in your head!

It is true that right now we are in uncertain times. As well as the opportunity that meditation offers us to drop into a blissful state, I think that knowing how to reduce stress with yoga and meditation and regulate your own nervous system is so helpful.

We have a great opportunity to slow down our own nervous systems and help to reduce the state of heightened anxiety and nervousness that surrounds us.

This yogic contemplation is about being OK with the twists and turns that life takes. And it is also about not being so attached to outcomes. We can do the work we do and by all means have goals, but perhaps we can still be okay if the path swerves a little or a lot and the work no longer leads to those goals.

Don’t live small and controlled, micromanaging every second. Be open to the mystery!

Much more meaning than is teased out here can be taken from these cards, this is just a start. I’d love your feedback and look out for my blog about the next card soon.

You can purchase your own set of these ‘Yoga off the mat, contemplations to enrich your practice’ cards from the store HERE and postage is free in Australia. They make a perfect gift too.

The gorgeous original picture on the front of each card is by Gayle Stone Art.

Share and Enjoy !

0Shares
0 0 0
Yoga off the mat contemplation cards to inspire your practice

Life is a mystery that unfolds

We don’t really know what is coming next, what ups and downs and twists and turns lie ahead.

That doesn’t mean we should just lie down and give up! It means we can stay open to the mystery! It means we don’t have to always know. We don’t have to always try to control (we can’t anyway).

There are lots of amazing things to notice in life if we pay attention, here are just a few:

  • The buzzing of bees and the incredibly industrious work that they do
  • The human body and its amazing capacity, even despite how we treat it sometimes
  • The practice of meditation that can give us a taste of wonderful bliss, as well as perspective on life
  • The way plants can pop up in a crack in the concrete
  • The way clouds make patterns and float across the sky
  • The way our hands are so dexterous
  • The way our dogs greet us when we get home
  • The kindness of a stranger

What is it like living in the mystery?

Life is going to unfold whatever we think, isn’t it? Maybe if we have an attitude of being open and okay rather than feeling as though we always have to know and control there is a different feel? Maybe there is a feeling of being more connected, and also more accepting?

Lets live the mystery as it unfolds!

Much more meaning than is teased out here can be taken from these cards, this is just a start. I’d love your feedback and look out for my blog about the next card soon.

You can purchase your own set of these contemplation cards from the store HERE and also my book Yoga off the mat, freedom in everyday life HERE and postage is free in Australia.

The gorgeous original picture on the front of each card is by Gayle Stone Art.

Share and Enjoy !

0Shares
0 0 0

When we work on ourselves, it ripples out and we heal the world

When you listen to the safety advice on a plane, they always tell you to take care of your own oxygen mask first before helping others. That way you are better placed to serve those you are helping, right?

I think it is the same with the work we do on ourselves.

Have you ever noticed how the energy of some people has a heavy feel and you have to work hard to stay centred and not pulled into their energy? I know I have.

When your energy is light, when you feel truly grounded, centred and inwardly free, then you pull people easily into your orbit, so to speak.

I know it is tempting to try to ‘fix’ other people.

Especially if we finally see something that has been hard to see, when the penny finally drops, when we finally ‘get’ what yogis have been talking about all these years. We want everyone else to see it too.

The method I have chosen is to not try to help unless people want it.

Walk the walk, do my practice.

If someone books into a meditation or yoga class or workshop then of course I will offer things that have helped me. I wrote my book because I wanted to share what I had come to realise. But you can’t force this onto people, it will unfold as it is meant to, and if you are really keen then it will definitely unfold for you.

So work on yourself, that is the work. Let people see the difference it has made for you, that will be enough to draw people in and they can work out what is right for them.

I do wish you profound freedom. It is your birthright. Work on yourself and let it ripple out.

Much more meaning than is teased out here can be taken from these cards, this is just a start. I’d love your feedback and look out for my blog about the next card soon.

You can purchase your own set of these contemplation cards from the store HERE and also my book Yoga off the mat, freedom in everyday life HERE and postage is free in Australia.

The gorgeous original picture on the front of each card is by Gayle Stone Art.

Share and Enjoy !

0Shares
0 0 0
Yoga off the mat contemplation cards to inspire your practice

Practicing contentment does not mean we can’t work towards change

This moment now is the one you have, so you have a choice to be content or not. Why not be content right now?

This doesn’t mean that you can’t work towards change (if you think that is desirable). Yes you can plan. You can figure things out, have goals towards change, do some work. And also be content with reality as it is right now, be content with the moment you have right now.

If your circumstances are not as ideal as you think they should be, or next time something doesn’t go the way you think it should, maybe you could bring this contemplation to mind and simply choose contentment?

  • Stuck in traffic? Can you be content? Maybe you can be okay with the slower pace and therefore not rushing? But that doesn’t mean you can’t also plan to allow longer time next time. Can you see how both these things are responses to the situation but you can still be content?
  • Waiting for someone? Instead of feeling frustrated and annoyed can you simply be content with your own company? Use the time for contemplation or meditation? Look around and see some beauty in the world around?
  • Don’t have your ideal job? Maybe it isn’t wise to walk away from it today, or maybe it is. If need be you can plan your next move, look around for what will work better for you. You can also be content with this moment right now. Your equanimity doesn’t have to be disturbed.

I know these examples are superficial but they are relatively common examples of daily life. Your circumstances might feel much more worthy of complaint than these.

The thing is, your external circumstances do not have to dictate your inner contentment. You can work towards changing your external circumstances if you want, and that does not have to affect your inner contentment and peace. It is always a choice you can make.

What about more difficult situations than the ones I described above? Maybe you are dealing with the untimely death of a loved one, or the diagnosis of a terminal illness? These are things we could expect to happen in life, they are the way things unfold, and some circumstances are much rougher than others. I am not meaning to come across as glib or suggesting for a moment that there wont be sadness and grief. Of course there will. These are life experiences that we all face.

Feeling intense feelings does not mean you can’t also be okay and find contentment.

That may seem surprising.Instead of asking ‘why me?’ perhaps the thing is to say to yourself, ‘why not me?’. And then get on with somehow accepting reality and finding contentment.

Now for a quick note about stress. With all the best will in the world to be content, we will still find that we can get stressed when life happens and things don’t turn out the we thought they would. Do take some time to practice long slow exhalations and ideally yoga, meditation and relaxation or whatever works best for you to counter the stress response.

While stress is a natural response it is not healthy to have those stress hormones running through your body, so it is important for your long term health to figure out some ways of countering it. Please let me know if you need some guidance with this.

Practicing contentment is a choice we can all make. I wish it for you.

Much more meaning than is teased out here can be taken from these cards, this is just a start. I’d love your feedback and look out for my blog about the next card soon.

You can purchase your own set of these contemplation cards from the store HERE and postage is free in Australia.

The gorgeous original picture on the front of each card is by Gayle Stone Art.

Share and Enjoy !

0Shares
0 0 0

You don’t have to sit in a cave on a mountain to do this work.

True, it is nice to be able to get away to contemplate, meditate, and get perspective on what it is to have this human life.

I do recommend getting to yoga retreats or something similar from time to time where you can. Your practice, while never predictable, moves in leaps and bounds. You discover or get clarity about aspects of yourself that were perhaps previously hiding.

But for most of us, for most of the time, our daily life is our path.

Not only is it not usually possible to drop out of our responsibilities for long periods of time, it is also not necessary. We can develop awareness and do the work of transformation, realizing the Self and finding freedom right where we are.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not meaning to come across as glib, or to suggest there is nothing to do. There is still work to do on this path to freedom and discovering Self. Among many of the practices Patanjali mentions in the Yoga sutras are tapas (burning desire, discipline, intensity) and also swadhyaya (self study).

Our daily life is the perfect practice ground. We can observe our reactions and behaviours and thought patterns. We can observe the ego ‘me’ in situ in daily life. We may find quiet in a yoga class or meditation practice. We develop awareness of how our body and mind operate and feel.

The real work is keeping this quiet awareness as we move on with our day. That is where the work is.

Many years ago I read the story of Tenzin Palmo in ‘Cave in the snow’. She is a Buddhist nun who spent twelve years living in a remote cave in the Himalayas, three of those years in strict meditation. One of her quotes from after that time is:

‘The more you realize, the more you realize how much there is to realize and, at the same time, how much you realize that there is nothing to realize.’

What we can learn from our practice is that we have everything we need already.

The thing is, we can be all in with our life, feel our reactions, and get perspective on what it is to have human existence.

The way I see it, if you can’t integrate the peace and connectedness that you find in meditation into your daily life, than what is the point? Your practice doesn’t replace your ordinary life, it is something that you can use to enhance your experience of everyday life.

For a while there is your practice time – asana, meditation and so on – and your ‘other’ time. Then little by little I have found that the whole of your life can become your practice. Can you feel the same sense of bliss when having a conversation as you can find on the mat or cushion? Now that is the work!

With a slight shift in perspective we might find that we feel connected, free and whole, right where we are.

Much more meaning than is teased out here can be taken from these cards, this is just a start. I’d love your feedback and look out for my blog about the next card soon.

You can purchase your own set of these contemplation cards from the store HERE and postage is free in Australia.

The gorgeous original picture on the front of each card is by Gayle Stone Art.

Share and Enjoy !

0Shares
0 0 0

Freedom is your birthright

A series of blogs arising from picking a Contemplation card from my deck

The freedom of Yoga is the freedom within of seeing how the mind creates a ‘me’ from where we operate a lot of the time. It is the freedom of not being bound by the mind’s thoughts and ideas. 

This freedom is not related to your bank balance or your personal circumstances, but the inner freedom where you experience the bliss and love of the universe.

This inner freedom has many names such as kaivalya, nirvana, moksha, Self-realisation or enlightenment. As I see it, if you have been born as a human on this earth you have as much right as anyone to experience that freedom.

From the humble cigarette vendor Nisargadatta, to Jesus, to Patanjali, the Buddha, Nityananda and of course many, many others, the nature of human existence has been questioned and unbound freedom experienced. You have this capacity too.

For many of us, meditation and contemplation are the means, and also for many of us this doesn’t happen without a good teacher to nudge us along and help us see what we cant initially see. To help us experience in a way that is different from the experience that the thinking part of the mind gives us. I am eternally grateful to my teacher Swami Shantananda for opening the path of inner freedom for me.

Why not experience inner freedom in your life? What is stopping you?

Most of the time we are in our heads living a ‘virtual’ life. A virtual reality played out largely in our minds.

You can wake up to awareness and be free of this substitute life. You can feel the love and bliss that you are. You can feel whole and connected and free.

Not much has to change on the outside. Your circumstances don’t have to change. Your family life doesn’t have to change. Your work doesn’t even have to change, although it might. What changes is the experience of that very same life. No longer being so caught up in the small identification of ‘me’ offers possibility for a much more expansive experience. You still have shit to deal with but it won’t feel so shitty and your inner life might explode!

What would it feel like to drop back from your thoughts and allow the feeling of inner bliss and freedom? It is but a heartbeat away.

Much more meaning than is teased out here can be taken from these cards, this is just a start. I’d love your feedback and look out for my blog about the next card soon.

You can purchase your own set of these contemplation cards from the store HERE and postage is free in Australia.

The gorgeous original picture on the front of each card is by Gayle Stone Art.

Share and Enjoy !

0Shares
0 0 0

Drop the ‘me’ and just BE

A series of blogs arising from picking a Contemplation card from my deck

‘Me’ is so familiar to us that we don’t see it as an entity that the mind has created.

It feels so real to relate as ‘me’, yet it is a package of thought processes. That is hard to comprehend.

When we drop the ‘me’ that the mind has created, maybe we can experience ‘being’ without the mental overlay, without description.

Aaaaah, peace, bliss.

Ezra Bayda tells a story in ‘At home in the muddy water’ where a zen student says to the master ‘There is something terribly wrong with me. I think I’m a dog’. The master asks how long he has had that thought, to which the student answers ‘Ever since I was a puppy’.

We can see how ridiculous it is to believe this idea of being a puppy and a dog, it is easy to see how thinking doesn’t reflect what is real, yet we find it hard to recognise that the thoughts we believe about ‘me’ or abut things happening ‘to me’ are equally misplaced.

We are often not even aware of our deeply held beliefs.

These beliefs, including the mind-constructed ‘me’, can keep us unaware of our Self, of our own true nature.

We are conditioned from a young age into this fundamental mis-identification. The work on this spiritual path is to realize the whole of your self and see where ‘me’ fits in. Just a mind invention, useful in communication, not as important as we think!

Of course the mind is useful, it is a great tool for living life. Use it for what it can do. When it comes to meditation, or realising the truth of who you are, the best thing to do is to drop back from the thinking mind, and have the experience of being. Aaaah, so peaceful and expansive.

In class we have used this as a mantra to take us to meditation, it seemed to work well.

Give it a try and let me know how you go, repeating over and over to yourself, ‘Drop the ‘me’ and just BE’.

You can purchase your own set of these contemplation cards from the store HERE and postage is free in Australia. The picture on the front of each card is by Gayle Stone Art. Much more meaning than is teased out here can be taken from these cards, this is just a start. I’d love your feedback and look out for my blog about the next card soon

Share and Enjoy !

0Shares
0 0 0

You are okay just as you are

A series of blogs arising from picking a contemplation card from my deck

You don’t need fixing.

Do you ever think, everything will be okay when …

  • I have the perfect body
  • I have the perfect job
  • I have the perfect relationship
  • I have the perfect children
  • I have the perfect home
  • I have the perfect yoga practice
  • I have the perfect meditation practice
  • I have enough time
  • I have the perfect knowledge / understanding
  • I have enough money
  • And so on?

Maybe these don’t all resonate, but maybe at least some of them do and you can probably come up with a whole lot more.

The feeling of not being good enough is pervasive. It is very common.

But the universe will not criticise you. Your life is unfolding as it is meant to and you really are okay.

Yes you can make changes, it is always possible to work towards change. But you are okay just as you are. This moment is okay.

Sometimes it is easier to see in others what we can’t see in ourselves. Have you ever admired someone only to find that they, too, suffer from not feeling good enough? And you think how ridiculous that is, right?

Do know that you have as much right to be here having you life – with all its ups and downs – as anyone else. Of course you can do some work. But intrinsically you don’t need any more validation that the fact that you are here on this earth.

The practice is not about ‘fixing’ yourself because you are not broken.

It is about being awake to who you really are and recognising your nature.

And then it is obvious, you really are okay just as you are.

Funnily enough when you do realise you are okay and let your authenticity shine though, that is when life feels rich and you are free to explore what it is you are here to do. To live your dharma, to be authentically yourself.

You can purchase your own set of these contemplation cards from the store HERE and postage is free in Australia. The picture on the front of each card is by Gayle Stone Art. I’d love your feedback and look out for my blog about the next card soon.

Share and Enjoy !

0Shares
0 0 0