Monthly Archives: June 2013

Waking up is hard to do…

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Some mornings are just tough…and there are days when dragging my sorry carcass out of bed feels like a mammoth task.. Today was one of those mornings…

Lackluster & feeling drab, crawling out from under the duvet was a big ask…But the school run beckoned & Joe waits for no (wo)man so I emerged reluctantly…

Not my brightest start but after a tearful moment after dropping Bill off, I had a big hug with Joe and he dragged me off on his latest adventure…amazing the transformation power of flinging yourself down a slide & climbing across rope bridges…we hit indoor play Krazy Kaves with a vengeance…the ducks will have to wait for a brighter day…and we’re heading for the outdoors in a little while anyway to hook up with friends in another park…fresh air in the gloomy grey is not completely off today’s menu but I did need to wake up…

It only took a little under four hours…Tomorrow I promise I’ll Salute the Sun when I rise…that’ll wake me up…

OMx

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Breathe a rainbow…

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Recently I have been offering a guided relaxation at the end of asana practice, it is based on the chakra visualisation that I first experienced at a Friends of Yoga retreat, led by Carole Kerton (who was also my yoga teacher trainer at the time).  Carole led us through a chakra focussed practice and ended with a beautiful visualisation using light imagery and affirmations.  Over time, I may have changed the practice a little, but its essence remains the same and so some credit must go to Carole – as ever, thank you for inspiring me…

Breathe a rainbow visualisation. Image of chakras

Breathe a rainbow…

Lie on your back in Savasana…take  a moment or two and settle into your body…release your spine down into your mat, and feel yourself supported, embraced, by the Earth beneath you…feel that your body is evenly balanced and symmetrical on either side of your spine…

Rest your awareness on your breath…without conscious change or control, simply watch your body breathe…notice your own natural breathing rhythm…

As you breathe, bring your awareness to the root of your spine…muladhara, the root chakra…imagine a flower blooming just in front of your tailbone, and breathe in and out through that centre…as you breathe in visualise your breath as a deep, rich ruby red light …as you breathe out repeat to yourself “May I be grounded and have the courage to fulfil my purpose”…

When you are ready move awareness to the space between your pubic bone and your navel…imagine a flower blooming just in front of your belly, and breathe in and out through that centre…as you breathe in visualise your breath as a juicy, vibrant orange light…as you breathe out repeat to yourself “May I allow myself to feel consciously and to have the power to bring something new into my life”…

Next, bring awareness to your solar plexus…manipura, solar chakra…imagine a flower blooming just in front of your solar plexus, and breathe in and out through that centre…as you breathe in visualise your breath this time as a golden, bright, sunshine yellow light…as you exhale, say to yourself “I can control and direct my own energy”…

With awareness now resting in the centre of your chest…anahata, heart centre…imagine a flower blooming just in front of your chest, and breathe in and out through that centre…inhale and visualise your breath as a brilliant, emerald green light…exhaling repeat to yourself “May I love unconditionally, give generously and be filled with peace”…

Rest awareness at your throat…vishudda, throat chakra…imagine a flower blooming just in front of your neck, and breathe in and out through that centre…as you breathe in visualise your breath as a blue light, the colour of the sky on a sunny day…breath out and repeat “May I speak my own truth”…

Bring your awareness now to the centre of your forehead…ajna, brow chakra…imagine a flower blooming just in front of your forehead, and breathe in and out through that centre…as you breathe in visualise your breath as a deep indigo light…as you breathe out repeat to yourself “May I see with clarity and act with purpose”…

Finally bring your awareness to the top of your head…sahasrara, crown chakra…imagine a 1,000 petalled lotus in full bloom there, and breathe in and out through its centre…with each inhalation allow your body to be filled with pure, brilliant, shining white light and with each exhalation see that light flow out through the crown of your head and surround your body…listen to your breath…as you breathe in hear the syllable “So” and as you exhale hear the syllable “hum”…So hum is the natural rhythmic sound of the breath taken a step further to become mantra and means “I am that“…

When you are ready gently release the visualisation of the breath as light & allow So hum to fade…bring your awareness back to simply watching your body breathe…be aware of the spaces in your body where you feel your breath moving…consciously breathe a little deeper for a moment or two and bring full awareness back to the physical space your body occupies…your contact with your mat…make small movements with your hands & feet…roll your head from side to side…stretch, yawn, sigh…do what feels good and slowly bring yourself back up & sit or kneel for a few moments, perhaps have a glass of water or a cup of herbal tea before leaving your practice completely…

OMx

 

If you want to read more on the chakras, I like Anodea Judith’s “Wheels of Life” and you can check out the basics at sacredcenters.com

 

Weeding for my soul…

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Feverfew

 

It seems that my garden is my muse of late…I spend some time close to the Earth, surrounded by Mother Nature and I breathe again, find time to nurture seeds of inspiration that have lain dormant…

 

Slowly, I am recognising how much gardening soothes my soul, how deeply it moves me, how connected it makes me feel…

 

Surrounded by weeds this afternoon, I was more than a little daunted…Too many, too little time, I’ll never get rid of all those, I just finish and a few days later they are beginning to grow back…I want to plant things, pretty things, I want to dig & create rows & circles of plants growing with colour & order & producing beauty & edible bounty…I want the fun of gardening…not the weeding…

 

My garden, I realise, is a microcosm of my life…too much to do, not enough time to do it all, chores get done only to build up again when I go back to playing train tracks, building castles, drawing treasure maps, meeting with friends, flying kites, creating my first ceramic art…I want the fun of life, the sacred, the special, the exciting…not the mundane…

 

Gardening also reflects my yoga practice…I relish the poses, the stretch, the challenge, the grace and freedom and ease…I rejoice in the chanting…delight in watching my breath and changing it to find peace and calm…I meditate, at best, reluctantly…meditation is like weeding…Gardening teaches me about my life…

 

Meditation intimidates me when I look at the myriad of thoughts & plans & the whirling chaos of self-talk & monkey-chatter…just like those weeds: the seed spreaders, the tap rooted, the trailers & the creeping rooters…some thoughts seem to be gone, but then you realise that you have only taken off the flower & the leaves & the deep rooted fear under the thought means that it sprouts again & again & again…relentless…the creepers who just link to each other so that one thought goes but as you move on it was connected after all to another every bit as tenacious…and then there are the tiny weeds…the fleeting thoughts that do disappear at the merest disturbance to their growth…

 

Meditation is weeding for the soul…it may not be the bit that I most love just yet, but it is maintenance, it gives my body, mind & soul time to rest, to recover and space to move, grow and find the light…

 

And a footnote (ok another little blog within this blog…)

 

…More linking of garden and yoga, of body, mind, soul and earth…

 

…I love to know the latin names of the plants I grow, I am fascinated by their meaning.  Today, I planted a fairly commonplace garden flower, Feverfew.  With daisy like flowers, it is a pretty addition to any garden, and especially suits a tumbledown corner of old plant posts & a railway sleeper bench (made by the fair hands of my resourceful husband).  

 

Only a few weeks ago, I was discussing the merits of Feverfew with my friend Wendy, a medical herbalist, and founder & owner of Budd’s Herbal Apothecary.  Wendy was explaining how beneficial this plant is to those who suffer migraine, amongst other things.  Only a few days later, on a walk home from school, my children & I noticed that the couple who sell plants outside their garden gate for donations to Christian Aid had again stocked their milkcrate stall.  My boys each chose a tomato plant, and to my delight I spotted the Feverfew.  Shamefully, it sat in my garden in its temporary pot for over a fortnight, but today it is nestled among a motley collection of plantpots & looking perfectly at home…

 

…so what does it mean…Tanacetum partheniumseedaholic.com “Tanacetum is from the medieval Latin name tanazita, in turn derived from Greek athanasia, meaning “immortality” … and good old Wikipedia tells me that parthenium derives from Greek also, either from parthenos (virgin) or parthenion , which vaguely was an ancient name for ‘a plant’…

 

Feverfew is also attributed with relieving arthritis & lowering fevers, as well as stimulating digestion and acting as a relaxant…a healing herb in a multitude of ways…perhaps that is what earned it the immortality tag…

 

So, for me, today the realisation was that weeding is not unlike meditation…and ultimately, meditation is about achieving that unity of mind, body, spirit…and unity with God/Nature/Goddess/Universe/Spirit…call it what you will, what speaks to you…so I cleared some space to feed my little immortality plant…to nurture my Feverfew and to give my soul room to breathe…nourishing & nurturing Atman, that spark of divinity within…

 

Weeding for my soul indeed…

 

OMx 

Ordinary Mama aka Portsmouth Yoga