Dear Yogis,

We are coming to the end of the CHAKRA yoga lecture series, and as much as I love them, how about a change of direction.  So many of you (and you are not on your own) are doing it tough during covid. Would you like a series on “MINDFULNESS” on Mondays at 2.30pm instead of the Tuesday yoga lectures, (and a 2 hour Mindfulness Retreat 1st Sunday in every month at 2pm).  Your choice?  We could have MINDFULNESS (THE INNER PEACE GROUP) on Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays.  There could be a class there at the right time for you…Yoga then Inner Peace?

WEDNESDAY MINDFULNESS CLASSES (including Yoga Nidra) 6.45pm starting this week..  I taught these for years at The Bentinck and before that at Innisfree.  I still get students who email and tell me how these classes helped turn a corner for them.  Be there with us – Wednesdays at 6.45pm  and it starts this week.  If you want to join us, let me know your interest  I am doing a booklet (of course) for those who want more.  This will be a special offering which includes 16 cards of MINDFULNESS ACTIVITIES you can download for use in your classes, and yourself..

Many of the activities I did spontaneously, I have written them down, drawn the diagrams, and you will be able to take them to your classes, use them for your family, and use them yourself.  When you can’t think what do do, when you get stressed, when your mind goes blank – choose a card.

Mindfulness Meditation is a tradition which stands alone.  The meditation you and I have studied is about bringing your mind back to  a single focus, whereas MINDFULNESS MEDITATION is all about expanding your awareness to notice all you can without judging it.  If you feel cool, the idea is you notice it and avoid thinking of it as being good or bad, it just IS.  My favourite meditation and one I have been using for years is taking a small piece of chocolate and eating it slowly with my full attention.  You could use cake, or anything really.  In our cards we use an orange.

We are human beings (no news there) and everyone does meditation in a slightly different way as their understanding expands. The only definition of a good meditation IS ONE THAT YOU HAVE ACTUALLY DONE.  The goal is not to experience peace during the meditation, but to train the mind so that you will feel peace, awareness and choice AT ALL TIMES.

Like all habits – good ones as well as bad ones – meditation of any kind takes commitment. I find that when my mind is racing, mindfulness meditation done just before bed (or in bed) calms my mind, and gets me ready to sleep.  I concentrate on breathing, familiar sounds and smells and the feeling of the blankets, the futon, and things that mean “sleep” to me. And I can easily doze off.  Not by losing consciousness in meditation (I meditate for reasons other than calmness), but by relaxing my mind in mindfulness.  A feeling of embracing the familiar.  But this works for me – something like it will work for you.  You get to choose. The chair at the right is waiting for someone- maybe you.

I am noticing that at the end of this covid time people are becoming depressed, even apathetic.  I imagine that more people will seek out counsellors, and need mental health assistance as they realise that Covid is not going away, that this is going to happen over and over until conditions slowly change. That eventually the money will run out.

They are not sleeping well, and getting through the day somehow, sometimes in a way that is less than helpful for themselves and their family.  I notice that my neighbours are using shopping to make their lives meaningful… couriers arriving every day! We keep treating the brain and we have forgotten the heart.  The result is that our technology and all the science we bring to play becomes destructive.  We have intelligence but we lack the intelligence of the heart.  As a yoga teacher I know how difficult it is for most to recover from this soup of anxiety we find ourselves in.

As you go about your day today, think about every person you meet as a human being (even if you can’t see their smile,  imagine one). They have a story.  They are trying to find peace and happiness just as you are.  Teaching mindfulness can help.

When your heart opens even just a little, a tiny  chink in your armour, even a small crack allows your peaceful core to shine out.  When this happens your body and your mind relax, and compassion helps you calm down and allows you to come home to your REAL SELF.

Remember, change doesn’t happen all at once. Small steps, baby steps, will get you where you want to be. I believe (I can almost guarantee) that you will go to places more extraordinary than you can ever imagine.  I believe there is a Divine Hand that works unseen – when you take one step towards positive change in any area of your life,  that Divine Energy will take a hundred steps towards you. Untold possibilities, extraordinary change will begin to appear, synchronicities will happen that will amaze you.

What can you do?  When my cards and book are ready, buy a set for yourself and your friends and use it as the foundation to start an INNER PEACE GROUP.  Right now one on zoom, later in the studio.  We have one called CAFE YOGA on Fridays at 11am – all welcome – email me for your zoom ID its free.  It is about peace and companionship in difficult times.  It is not all about navel gazing, we laugh we joke, we are together. 

As you move through your day – Read, breathe consciously, take time for a walk noticing something different each day, be a good listener, practice gratitude, learn to manage your mind, reach for simplicity in your life, and pay-it-forward with random acts of kindness.