Teaching yoga from the heart

Every day I wake up thinking about yoga.  It has been like this for as long as I can remember.  It is my deepest passion, my guiding light, the shining star in my sky.  1313146901-300px
Yoga teachers are bound to one fundamental rule:  you can only teach what you know.  And knowing yoga is about doing yoga.  You cannot teach postures that you cannot do yourself.  You cannot create the discipline necessary to establish a home practice, even if that home practice is as humble as getting on your mat once a week, unless you yourself have a home practice.  And you cannot impart the power of yoga to ease suffering and pain if you do not use yoga yourself to ease  your own suffering.
An example:  I got really sick over Christmas.  And I was alone.  After days of coughing, breathlessness, helplessness, I found myself in a state of terrible anxiety.  I am going to die, I thought.  We are all going to die, I thought.  Death, sadly, has a 100% success rate.  it is the most elemental, primordial fear that we humans have, and it is a rational fear.  Because it is scary to think that our days are numbered, that all that we know will pass, that all the people we love will walk off this mortal coil one day and the worst thing is, we know not when.
womanchildstar-300pxI have a particularly intense relationship with all this because of the cancer rehab work I did.  I watched people I loved, my patients, die year after year.  I avoided the funerals because I had to maintain some sort of professional distance.  In the last year I worked in breast cancer rehab, I had four women lie on my table weeping, and all of them were younger than me.  How can you process that?  How can you deal with the fact that illness is real, that all the yoga and chanting in the world will not heal a tumour, and that even the doctors are helpless in the face of this.  How?  how do you deal with that?
Well, first you freak out, if you’re me.  Yep, it lay on me like a shroud and I carried that mantle for years. I tried, I tried my very best.  But then it got too much and I ran.  I rejected the world of oncology, I didn’t want to know.  And then I got real.  I realised that I possessed the skills to ease this particular suffering, this terrible elemental pain that we all share.  I have yoga.  My mission in life is to teach the yoga I know to ease the suffering of our human condition.  There, mission statement. I don’t know if I ever had one before!
Yoga will not change the fact that we are mortal.  Yoga will not make you live forever.  But yoga can make you still in the face of all that fear, all that sadness, all that fragility.  Yoga can teach you to sit still and say “Yes, okay, it is like this.”  And dear, dear people, that stillness is so necessary to this world.  One day you will be called upon to be still in the face of a storm and if you know how to breathe, to chant a little prayer, to ask the Universe for guidance when you yourself don’t know what to say, when words fail you, when your heart wants to burst, you lie in the hands of your maker, this incomprehensible, beautiful, contradictory, frustrating world that we live in and you say “I don’t know, please help me”, then you have the power of yoga.
And if all this is getting heavy, but you’ve stuck with me until now, thanks for listening.  And let me tell you this – yoga is about joy.  Yoga is about the joy you find when you understand and accept the reality that is ours, and you say – HEY !  But I am ALIVE!  And I have love inside me!  I have so much love to give and there is always somewhere to put my love!  And then you smile, and you laugh and you are present and available and, and, and….you feel HAPPY!  So dear readers, this is what I did when I was sick.  I sat and I chanted and breathed until I remembered that this life is the one I have, and it is marvellous, beautiful, miraculous, just as your life is marvellous, beautiful and miraculous.  
Now get out there and have a great Friday!  Live, love, laugh.  I will be teaching in less than an hour, and I will probably hug all my students afterwards.  Cos I am like that.

Ambient music for yoga

I came across this lovely offering on Youtube.  If Christmas Day has been busy and your mind-body is revved up with rajas or bogged down in tamas, look for sattwa on your mat and in your heart.  After you have digested your food, do a gentle practice, give thanks and be joyful.  Whatever meaning Christmas may have for you, if you are reading this, you are alive, literate, connected to a vast electronic web and web of life.  I am not perfectly happy all the time.  That’s WHY I practice yoga, to still my mind.  But I have learned to be grateful, and thankful, and appreciative of the miracle that is life, and I too have life, therefore I am part of the miracle.  Be happy, dear souls.  Breathe in, breathe out.  Om.

Maha Lakshmi
Maha Lakshmi

Fundación Dharma

Maha Lakshmi
Maha Lakshmi

He tenido el gran placer de conocer a Luis, el director de la ONG Fundación Dharma y Dharma Travel, ayer en el Festival de Yoga 21J.  Me parece que hacen unos trabajos muy dignos y importantes en la India, en Vrindavan, el pueblo nativo del Señor Krishna.  Organizan viajes a la India, y dan de comer a más de 4000 personas al día.  Tienen un temple en Monóvar, cerca de Elda, en la provincia de Alicante, España, donde enseñan el Bhakti Yoga, hacen ceremonias de fuego y honran los días festivos indúes.
El vínculo entre la religión indú y el yoga existe, claramente.  Sin embargo, no es necesario tener ningún creencia religiosa para poder prácticar el hatha yoga.   Pienso que cuando entramos en el Astanga Yoga – con todos los ocho miembros presentes en nuestra práctica, es ligeramente más difícil separar el yoga del induismo.
Quienes me conocen saben que el mantra es lo mío.  He hecho todo una sanación a través del mantra, sobre todo el Gayatri.  Pero, claro, cantar mantras sanscritos casi siempre significa nombrar dioses del pantheón Indico.  Los mantras bija son menos “religiosos” y se considera que actuan directamante sobre los nadis y los granthis del cuerpo físico (piensate en los meridianos y puntos de acupuntura de la madicina china).  Pero, el rítmo de los mantras sanscritos me llama más la atención.  O mejor dicho, me ayuda más a orientar la mente en una sola dirección durante un tiempo determinado.
Pero no soy indú.
Hay todo un discurso hoy en día sobre lo que se denomina “cultural appropriation”, en inglés.    Es el neo-colonialismo cultural.  No sé que pienso de eso.  Creo que el futuro de la humanidad reside en mezclar todas nuestras culturas para creer algo pan-humanista.   No quiero ofender a nadie cantando unos mantras a Krishna, lo veo inofensivo.

I choose LiFe! (Dancing from Within)

The only way to get on in this craaaazy world is to adapt.  When we resist we harden.  Have you ever noticed how many diseases of ageing have to do with hardening?  Atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), arthrosis (hardening of the joints), spondylitis (in all its delightful forms), bones spurs, bunions, corns and calluses…to be aged is to be stiff.  Little children are wonderfully malleable.  So are those who eat properly and do yoga.  In the midst of the hard-core, half-baked world, I choose LiFe!
I choose to celebrate life through yoga, friends and movement.  Tomorrow, I am hosting my first ever “Dancing From Within”, an event inspired by the goings-on over the pond and conceived to combine green juice, yoga, mantra and free movement.  I invited eight yoga teachers from the ‘hood.  Only one replied.  I spent the day feeling rejected.  It was interesting to observe my tried and true reflex – have a drink – kicking in and kicking me about.  I observed it, stayed with the feeling of rejection, and it passed.  I considered never talking to them again.  Then I decided that isn’t the best decision I could make.  The best decision I could make is to …not worry about it!  Go ahead with my plans, make the most of it, even if it’s just me, Simone and Sandra.  Who’s making that judgement “just”?  Is it valid?  NO!
A ver que pasa mañana…


I am delighted to have been invited by Shanti to participate in the 11.11.11 Divine Portal Opening.  I will introduce mantras associated with the Water element and the second chakra, as well as lead the morning yoga and bodywork.  Om

On 11-11-11 new energies of Aquarius and the fifth dimension are coming to the Earth – the Divine Portal is opening.
The journey towards 2012 has begun! We are noticing it in two ways, experiencing both to the extreme. When you are following the path of your soul, your way is opening and you grow experiencing dimensions that you haven’t experience before. You feel joy, peace, hope and Divine extasy. On the other hand, we have to remove the old patterns which don’t serve us and our surrounding anymore. This is where we are experiencing “the death” of the old.
The day of 11-11-11 is bringing us a gift. The door, which was still holding back these potent energies, is opening! The waterfall of cosmic energies will be coming down, allow us to experience the cellular transformation, affecting our DNA, physical dimension and our whole being. The bridges to the old consciousness are being burned for ever.
Allow the energies of the Divine Portal to come down to the Earth through your sacred being.

Use this moment to transform your life because this year is very generous with giving us sacred nights! The second sacred night is the 11th of November 2011, when we will have a chance to allow – through water – energies of the Divine Portal to enter into our consciousness.
When we expose water to certain vibrations, the water crystals change their structure accordingly. That’s why we want to activate the water in our bodies in the ritual of drinking water, crystalized in the process of playing the quartz crystal bowls.
Water, exposed to word “LOVE”, formed this crystal (work of Masaru Emoto).
Gongs, quartz singing bowls, and voice of the SOUND OF WHOLENESS team with master healer Shanti, invite you to walk with us on the Path of Sound of Wholeness. The sound of gongs and quartz crystal bowls filled with water, will lead you to new dimensions, where the sense of space and time simply disappear, where you travel your own journey on the rainbow spiral of sacred sound.

Due to limited places please book your place now replying to this email or sending a sms to 638304867 with your name and number of persons that want to participate.
Questions? Call me!  6383 048 67

A few days away

Namasté.  I went this weekend with my yoga group to the Sierra de Mariola, near Alcoy.  A lovely break, it was.  We stayed at a lovely casa rural called “Casa Bons Aires.”    If you should chance to visit the Font Roja region of Alicante, I highly recommend a visit.
The theme of our studies was pranayama, but the unintentional theme was sound.  We chanted the Gayatri mantra in the vedic form as a group.  We sang some bhakti mantras together, with yours truly on guitar.  We laughed our asses off over supper.  The rooster crowed us awake in the morning.  Claudia the donkey brayed.  Water flowed and gushed.  Gases erupted unexpectedly in down dog (adho mukha svanasana).  We practiced bhramhari pranayama.  We had fun…ananda!  Santosha!
There really is nothing like a few days away to recharge your batteries.  “Cambiar el aire” as the Spanish say.  Although I arrived home tired, I feel like I’ve had a month of holidays!
Meanwhile. have a listen to Wade Imre Morrissette sing the Tara Mantra.    I went to High School with this fellow.  I must admit that I would not have imagined him ending up chanting sanskrit mantras!  Wahey Guru!!