Exciting New Blog Posts - Continuing the Legacy.
|Posted by Yoga Professionals on December 2, 2018 at 11:20 PM||comments (6)|
Later today I leave Chiang Mai to Kolkata and then a few days to explore before onto Varanasi. A ‘road-trip’ with my brother Conrad that we never actually got to take in the physical realm, but an important life, death and liberation adventure nonetheless.
I will not lie, I am nervous and even apprehensive, but to be honest I’m like that with any trip, like a bear who’s snug in his cave. The first light of spring hits his eyes and he realises it’s time to venture out into the fresh light air and melting snow. Like me he’d rather stay safe in his man/bear cave and scratch…and write.
Three Adventures in India.
I have previously taken two other trips to India that I can see now in hindsight were preparation (along with the many other experiences in my life) for this momentous trip. I vowed to never return to India after my last experience and yet I always knew there would be a third.
As much as I love the country, the people, the culture as well as of course their amazing gift to the world of yoga, my experiences were extreme (as I’m sure everyone’s touch with the continent is) and twice I teetered between life and what felt like death, slipping into the underworld and returning bruised battered but triumphant. Conrad had other plans for me and this third trip is all part of the divine and also his plan I’m sure, a spiritual pilgrimage.
Conrad himself had visited India on three occasions himself, including the Sivananda and Amma ashrams, plus longer trips to immerse himself in his yoga practice and the ancient culture.
He was planning a fourth short trip in May 2018, in the holiday break from the school he was teaching English at in Phuket, Thailand, it was a kind of reconnasence trip for his future, I’ll tell you about that in a miniute. The computer screen on his laptop the morning he was found in his condo, was open at a travel bookings page, with a recently confirmed hotel stay in Varanasi.
I’ll most defintley take him to that hotel, hidden in a lovely bag befitting for a high-end establishment and have afternoon tea with him over the Ganges. The staff and other guests will be non-the-wiser and we can have a good laugh about the fact.
I think laughter will be one of the themes to the pilgrimage we’re on together, one of the many strong bonds between us and an essential part of who both Conrad and I are. Contrasting I’m sure there will be the sadhana involved around the death and moksha transformation, so prevalent in the city. Plus the moment by moment daily practice of presence, awareness and to surrender to India’s energy, and open to the gift of light.
Hmmm, let’s see how it unfolds.
Calcutta/Kolkata: On The Edge - 3 + 3 = 33
I arrive in Kolkata early tomorrow morning (tuesday) and will spend around a week there. I could just transit and continue on but I have history in the city, as 33 years ago I was also in Kolkata and it was the beginning of my teacher/ pupil realtionship with India, Hindu culture and I’m sure a karmic link and I have with the energy there. All those years ago I visited the home city of a friend as his guest, and the hospitality of him and his family after I’d met him in London not long after her immigrated to the UK.
The heat and extreme cultural differences of the city with 80’s Leeds and London will always stay with me and although I had a fantastic first few weeks, at the end of my month trip I became physically very ill. Diagnosed with Malaria, though I never felt that was right, I was taken close to death and even said my prayers to the one’s I loved back in the safety of my tiny existance back in England.
In the musty and dark colonial style hotel room I instinctively knew, even before my yoga journey, to let go, surrender, maybe the sound of my travelmate and his high-school chum in the bathroom getting up to ‘monkey business’ made the warped and surreal space I inhabited, both blazing temperature and wracked with shivers, both funny, human and ‘WTF transcendental’ and I slipped into an altered state of the unknown.
The panicked question of ‘what was to come of me after I die?’ not even 20 years of age, rose from the fever, is there anything on the other side except the fumbled orgasmic sounds coming from the ensuite?
So Far Into The Yin and Out Into The Yang.
As I awoke and wasn’t sure if I was dead or alive as I was being sung to by the older brother of my travelling companion who like the whole Anglo-Indian family (my friend had been born in Varanasi and moved to Calcutta as it was then, so stragley bring things full circle). The older brother’s voice joined with a high-pitched female voice (a famous playback singer in Bengal) yearning for a lost love wafting in through an open window.
I was given the Hindi-English translation, line by line, he had apparently sat on the edge of the bed and not moved, since I’d been brought from the hotel room to their family home. All were deeply concerned for me, though he had kept vigil. I had never met him or the family before, they were wonderfully kind and his gift of presence was one of the positive memories of that time.
His voice and the playback singer’s felt like they were literally lulling me back to life, drawing me from the previous few days of nothingness and what could have been my last memories of this incarnation of grunts and giggles coming from the bathroom but had kept me from slipping too deep. I’m sure I had surrendered so deeply, deep into the Yin, so deep in fact that I’d popped out into the centre of the Yang, the teenage love making and melancholic singing voices called to guide me through and the sunlight hit my face and I knew I was alive.
Kerala: Another Precipice to Dive Deep into the Underworld.
My second trip to India was much less romantic and during my trip to Kerala in 2010 and I fell deeply into a state of paranoia, the last week passed with sheer terror and almost demoic fear, feelings of being killed or worse imprisoned were projected out onto the surrounding community and it took all my strength to get myself on a plane and back to the UK. I recognised these as childhood fears, and the backdrop of India held another karmic lesson, this time a psychological death and re-birth, rather than that of a physical transofrmation in Kolkata, but those stories are for another time.
My Journey Interwoven With Conrad’s.
Athough I had many conversations with Conrad about ‘the end,’ in the confusion of the first few days of his death I panicked, unsure of what to do to honour his life. When I was told that he had been planning a trip to Varanasi I remembered our talks of death and Moksha in Varanasi and a return to the source via the Ganges.
His plan was to live as a monk by the time he was sixty, live and teach in India, make his way to Varanasi to plan for a conscious death and to become a part of the great energy there and finally cast into the river. All these conversations occurred between belly laughing at Victoria Wood sketches and affectionate WTF’s at Madonna’s unfortunate ‘Bo Selecta’ plastic surgery adventures — it’s all about balance.
Surrender to The Journey And The Power of Varanasi.
I’ve embraced the fact that this is my role now, at the juncture of both of our lives and a part of the continuing revelation of my dharma, to join with him for one last adventure. To fulfil his wishes and who knows what my third lesson in India will be, I have a feeling this time it will be to feel the love, joy and light of all the incarnations of this human experience.
I will be in India for the month of December into that first week of January, to the first new moon and eclipse in Capricorn. In Varanasi I will immerse myself in the millennia of rituals, practices and yantra energies imbimbed in the land and 72,000 temples, ancient traditions passed down for centruties and as the time comes I will be in the perfect space to…well that I don’t really know yet, that will unfold and I can share this when I know. My feeling is I will be shown somehow and I will ‘know’ how to do what needs to be done for his new beginning and mine also, the brotherly gifts we can give to each other.
Here Sadhguru talks about the amazing properties and history of the ancient city Kashi otherwise known as Varanasi (or Banares) and explains why Conrad and I were so drawn to the city on the banks of the Ganges.
Answers…And More Questions.
Varanasi holds the answer, for us both, and I’m sure for me many more questions, the process will continue and somehow I will be re-united with him for a major transformative adventure and we will be rewarded, of that I’m sure, with what, that is still a mystery.
|Posted by Yoga Professionals on November 19, 2018 at 9:35 PM||comments (1)|
Just a quick post this week, I'm preparign for the India trip to take Conrad to Varanasi and I feel a liitle distracted and really quite emotional to be honest. One step at a time. Sometimes life can be overwhelming but the practice and the yoga community can always keep us on an even keel and I had such a lovely message from one of the earlier Yoga Professionals teacher trainers (2011) recently that I'd like to share. Her name is Lilli Stewart and like so many certified teachers now she is one of the many beautiful YP family out in the world sharing the light.
Receiving her message reminded me of how our experience with yoga’s magical unfolding is a gift that keeps on giving, plus the connectedness of us all, many years after our circumstances in the outer world have changed.
Lilli was a student of Conrad's and also student of mine back even further when I was living and teaching in East Sussex, along with her whole family they would come to class together and what was surprising was that for someone so young. I think she was maybe late teens, early twenties at the time her ability to be able to ‘drop into the space’, ie be present and was astounding to me it seemed she had been practicing for years. I know when I was Lilli’s age I couldn’t sit still for more than a couple of minutes (ADHD and mild Asperger’s, but that’s another story). When she decided to train to become a teacher I knew exactly who could be her mentor.
Millennial's Looking For More.
Conrad and I often talked about how we'd noticed there seemed to be more millennial’s turn up to class, with huge amounts of intuition, creativity, sensitivity and love (possibly Indigo Children?). Maybe they had recognised on some level they needed to ground themselves back into their bodies and learn how to contain and channel such a huge amount of energy with so many distractions in the modern world. Have any of you noticed this in your classes?
I saw this too many times to not recognise it as a phenomena. The young student would find a space, roll out their mat apprehensively but within a moment or two into class a wave of calm washed over them, almost relief, as if to say oh wow I needed this more than I knew and they take to yoga like ducks to water. Their energy permeated through the whole class and we all felt it. Saying that, whatever age I think we can all recognise that feeling of relief and 'cosiness' in our first yoga classes.
Here are Lilli’s beautiful words that she shared with me by permission.
“It is thanks to you, Wayne, that I was lucky enough to have studied with Conrad on the YP London course back in 2011.
I feel so grateful to have practised and studied with such amazing teachers. Also Sujatha, who Conrad had teaching on his course (back then). My memory of going into class with the Chidanand chants playing
Conrad had such a huge heart and bloody wicked sense of humour with so much knowledge light and care he shared..we miss you Conrad. Rest in peace.
Love what you share on the YP blog and at YogaProfessionals108.”
Yoga, the Gift That Keeps on Giving.
Thank you so much for sharing your kind words, thoughts and feelings of your YP yoga journey Lilli, they have been such a gift to me like your presence on the ttc was to Conrad too. Your message reminded me of my own wonderful and generous teachers. and their gifts to me, that I now pass on and share.
Yoga Professionals has been blessed with so many light filled student teachers and also such gifted tutors over the years, thank you to them all for supporting the students and Conrad in sharing his vision of the yoga traditions, passing on their own knowledge, yoga experience and lineage ☺ It should be Guru Purnima every day.
I am truly grateful to all those who came before and those I share the journey with now.
|Posted by Yoga Professionals on November 12, 2018 at 10:55 PM||comments (0)|
I really have no clue about the Japanese art form of Kintsugi, repairing broken ceramics and highlighting the cracks with golden ‘veins,’ yet I the concept and aesthetic of it, I'm drawn to it. Somehow it adds a certain extra beauty that for me wasn’t there in the original ‘perfect’ version. You might be thinking what does this have to do with yoga, bear with me.
Inspired by the artistic process I wrote this simple haiku:
Tea bowl shared with grace,
hard wood fails to break its fall;
anointed with gold.
With a little digging and curiosity on the subject of kintsugi I found some basic information available on the internet and with a few of my own thoughts thrown in documented them below. The subject stimulated me to consider the use of the gilding art form for ourselves, and honouring our own many broken and flawed traits. It took a deeper and more healing turn as I explored the enlightening subject futher, but I'll come to that a little later.
Kintsugi and Golden Repair.
Kintsugi translated from Japanese means golden repair or golden joinery and is the art of repairing broken Japanese ceramics and highlighting the chip, crack or broken pieces with gold dusted lacquer.
The Japanese aesthetic highlights, instead of hiding or denying the broken pieces of the previously perfect object. The imperfect bowl or vase, as an example, were even more highly prized and venerated for their flaws and imperfections.
This idea of embracing flaws can be seen as a reflection of the use, value and ‘life journey’ of the object and representative of how only in our fantasy does the idea of perfection exist.
In reality there is no such thing as perfect and shows our unhealthy obsessions and judgements we have today in the modern consumerist society and how maybe we have lost the ability to see the beauty all around us.
Darker, Yet More Enlightening Variation On The Haiku.
In the original haiku above the focus is on the flaw in the ceramics and expanded to consider how this can be a symbol of our ability to accept and love our own flaws, but an alternate version of the haiku below, explores a little deeper and considers the ultimate ‘imperfection’ of life, that of death.
Shadows held with grace,
hardwood failed to break their fall;
anoint with love's gold.
I think of this now as my younger brother Conrad has recently died and I'm filled with raw feelings and confused thoughts, including those of his 'broken' physicality, something that can't be repaired. Sometimes it is difficult to accept the abruptness and finality, and the loved ones ‘shadow’ can hang heavy before we can let go and find the light. Now I can see why I am so drawn to the art form.
Evermore so vivid and poingniant as I prepare to take his ashes to India, to the banks of the river Ganges in Varanasi, the sacred city of death and liberation (Moksha). I am both nervous and excited to fulfill his wishes to be taken there and let him free, to join with the great mothers waters and to become part of such a holy city.
Death And Our Own Golden Flaws.
The whole of life is in a continuing state of flux and decay and we are surrounded by flawed man-made and organic structures including ourselves and nature screaming fragile and imperfect. Including emotional, psychological and physical scars that have made us the broken glorious sum of who we are today.
The ‘broken’ idea of the dead, a beloved animal or loved one passed on and outside the ideal of ‘whole and perfect’ challenges our own ego 'perfection' and mortality. In witnessing their light extinguished, we must consider our own life, our light, for a while at least leaving us vulnerable and lost in the dark.
Can we find it within us to shine a light on the dead? At their most ‘vulnerable' and 'broken' time and honour them with gold, like the Kintsugi ceramics, brought to life and re-visioned, to remind us of the life they once lived and take an even more beautiful place in our lives now. Is this what the ancients mummification and entombment in golden sarcophagi symbolised?
Maybe we can't gild our loved ones but we can honour the vitality and essence the deceased once had, in memory of their lives, by living our own life fully, with vitality and tenderness enough for two, including venerating our own beautiful flaws and imperfections. Let’s gild them in shiny golden awareness and love, let the sacred waters of the holy carry their light, and our own within us for all to see, golden warts and all.
|Posted by Yoga Professionals on November 8, 2018 at 1:05 AM||comments (0)|
Yoga is one truth and yet has many paths to union. Through creativity, curiosity, adventure and
stillness explore emerald forests, pristine mountains and inky black oceans, physically, emotionally
and metaphorically, both inside and out. Peek under shadows, deep into closets, hang upside-
down, fly with grace, surf tides and nature's cycles, teeter on the edge of comfort and pain, joy and
devastation, traverse liminal worlds playfully, lovingly, mindfully to return triumphantly with the
golden elixir. Whether your unique language shines through words, music, movement, food, design,
share your findings and radiant silence - gift this magic to the world.
|Posted by Yoga Professionals on October 31, 2018 at 8:45 PM||comments (0)|
A poem inspired by the playfulness of a young Krishna and Conrad who was just as cheeky and loved to move and sing.
Why do you stop the feeling?
A song must be sung,
like the sun
bursting with stellar
it's your childlike delight,
individual soul dance
waiting for a chance
So meet me halfway,
I'll join you there
in the silence, the moment where
just the music plays
the magic takes place
you're neither here
a probable wave of light
Are you ready
be fully here?
|Posted by Yoga Professionals on October 31, 2018 at 12:35 AM||comments (1)|
I've been thinking about playfulness this week (in contrast to the grief and heaviness I've been 'playing' with).
Conrad and I loved music.
It began in the early ‘70’s with Cilla Black, ‘Something Tells Me’, ‘Blockbuster’ by Sweet, both 7 inch vinyl, oh and then the Bay City Rollers ‘Bye Bye Baby’ including tartan scarves and rolled up jeans, haha (If you want an idea of what we looked like google it...we were 6 and 8yrs old!).
I went through a Ska phase and he went through an Abba phase.
Then the release of the gatefold Grease album - ‘78 was it? Influencing a whole new understanding and adoration for music (and musicals) and the super cool, JT and ONJ (well maybe in black lycra at the end for sure) jiving in the shake-shack,
‘You’re the one that I want,
you are the one that I want, Ooo Ooo Ooooo….’
We new Grease was sexy but who knew it was a spiritual musical?
‘Meditate in my direction,
feel your way…’
Music to Musicals to Motivation.
Conrad and I went on to express our love of music, dance and performance in school productions such as Pyjama Game, Oklahoma, Charlie Girl and so on, music was a HUGE influence even in our pre and early teens.
‘Oh what a beautiful morning,
oh what a beautiful day…’
Post-Punk heralded a whole new colourful era early Adam and the Ants, Siouxsie and the Banshees, synth groups like Japan, Visage, Human League, Soft Cell, New Romantic and Synthpop all taped from the radio. Inspiring us to choreograph dance routines and learn the lyrics by heart, we became real teen fans motivating us both in our own short-lived music careers and an important part of our journeys of self-discovery...more about that in a minute.
‘Don’t touch me please,
I cannot stand the way you tease…’
Music; pop and many other forms was one of the many ways Conrad and I would find expression, it seemed the only reflection of who we were inside in a world of banality, without actual real life playfulness and inspiration. Alternative expressons of masculinity and sexuality were a death sentence, not literally but almost. I’m going to quote myself from a piece I wrote I while back about my own experiences at that time;
‘It was treacherous navigating ‘self’ without a road map, guidance, or a single positive representation of masculinity — gay, straight or anywhere on such a colourful and beautiful spectrum of humanity.'
That is just the way it was and we had to deal with it. Music saved our lives and our love of music held us bonded together from that time. We often communicated through music in our adult lives, wherever we we were, in different cities, even countries away from each other. We would regularly send files, or links to old tracks or new artists we’d discovered (and comedy sketches too).
Even to this day I send music to another friend who I know did the same with my brother. My message now is ‘Conrad would love this, or this is for our kid.’ (‘our kid’ Yorkshire slang for brother). Conrad and I would also send mantra and heart-opening ‘yoga’ music to each other too.
The Love Disciples.
It’s strange and exciting to see how all the seemingly random events, the things that happen to us that drive and guide us closer to a higher and deeper experience of the same thing. Conrad and I’s many incarnations of ‘love for music’ took many forms, including as I said Conrad’s pop band in the mid 90’s, the Love Disciples (you can feel the yoga and devotional element that would manifest into his life 20 years later?)
Even back then Conrad had an intuitive connection to devotional to music, sound and vibration -
‘Higher, yeah yeah,
Higher yeah yeah,
Can you feel it take you higher?’
(Lyrics Conrad Paul, Love Disciples)
There is video footage of his band and some of their live performances but they’re stored away in England and I’m here in Asia so…
Conrad’s performances were super energetic and not only had he written the lyrics played and recorded the music, he sang and danced on stage (along with another singer Pearl with a range of an angel, plus a dancer and two back up singers).
He was a self-taught musician and recording producer and had his own digital sound studio. There’s more, he also coreographed the dance routines that went along with each song…he knew what he wanted.
My brother was super-creative and loved to entertain and also challenge us to greatness, with his cheeky grin and playfulness through his dancing, singing writing and teaching, he was taking us all on his journey, towards ourselves.
Performing in front of a crowd excited him, it was like the energy and ‘bigness’ inside him was matched outside…you know he loved an audience. It was though, always to share his joy in whatever form, to create a wonderful atmosphere for communication and community. He was always spirited and with an eye to direct the audience/class to that moment when it all comes together and the magic happens. When the mundane is transcended and we’re taken ‘higher’ into the Ananda, deep into the bliss,
‘Can you feel it take you higher?’
In that sense he was truly like his Sivananda assigned name Govinda like playful Krishna, the bliss whether his love of music, his love of yoga and more recently teaching the children in Phuket, Thailand, it always came from his huge heart, even if like us all he had his demons.
Devotional Journey to Bliss.
One of the major turning points in Conrad’s early yoga journey was his discovery of chanting; bhajan and kirtan and I think in a parallel universe he was and maybe still is, an all singing all dancing Hare Krishna devotee in total bliss down Oxford Street in London, very close to the Krishna temple and restaurant we would visit many times a week.
'Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare
Hare Rama, Hare Rama
Rama Rama, Hare Hare.'
A chant of pure love to the god Krishna and to our own original krishna-consciousness and the space where Conrad connected to his truth and heart.
The one thread through all of Conrad’s life whatever age, whatever challenges and obstacles he came up against, and whatever understanding of the cosmos he had, was his playful cheekiness, his smile and his desire to share the joy for life.
‘Can you feel it take you higher?’
Yes, yes, yes, we are all the Love Disciples.
Conrad’s other chanting favourites:
Asoto Ma Sadgamaya.
The Rudra Mantra or Om tryambakam.
And the global wellbeing prayer,
Lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu.
|Posted by Yoga Professionals on October 14, 2018 at 9:50 PM||comments (2)|
This past week I've been considering how our life, my life to be precise, my attitude and behaviour impacts the world around me. Considering how my actions make an impact daily. Whether I am filled with positivity and life, living authentically and conscious of the vibration I am putting out into the world, for my own benefit yes, but also others and the environment around me too.
As a species we seem to be making more and more negative impact on the planet, the literal terra firma we stand upon and the animal kingdom that inhabit every corner. We are decimating indigenous cultures and our human history and in the process our psychological and spiritual selves.
The life we life, consumerism, pollution, ideological polarisation etc., is having such a harmful effect on us that we are poisoning our home, for ourselves and our animal neighbours, our communities live in fear and a sense of lack. Is it me or does it seems the whole human species is angry, hurt, depressed, lonely and physically sick?
I'm sure as yogi's, creatives and humans, in general, we are all looking to do everything possible to open our hearts, minds and spirits, to make a less negative impact on our environment and build loving communities. We are looking to share Gaia and this cosmic journey with other like-minded inspirational souls, but sometimes we can feel lost and mighty lonely.
One-Dimensional to Multi-Dimensional.
So where are the fellow journeymen and women to share with us on this path? Wise and inspirational role models to shine a light in a more heart-centered, positive direction.
There is only so far as individuals we can go, so we look out for friends, like-minded souls or an inspirational teacher, a guru; the one who leads us from the darkness, guiding us towards the truth and light. As we go deeper down the rabbit hole we certainly need a light to see the way as the steps seem only to manifest one at a time.
The guru/student relationship and its ancient traditions have shared teachings, knowledge and practices through the light and lineage of the guru and just as important today, if not more with the way things seem to be heading.
These dark times call for the one who carries the light to share their higher vibration, passing on this cosmic technology, inspiring us to greater depths.
Basking in the Light.
What if we cannot find an inspirational teacher, what to do then? Nature can be another excellent teacher, every part has its own wisdom to share and inspire.
Observe the trees, animals and landscapes; the Rishi's shared the importance of nature with us through the names of the postures? Mountain, Tree, Eagle etc. Yes it seems the postures look like a tree or a fish, but they are also guiding us to study, to inhabit the life of these beautiful creatures to connect with all of creation.
When we interact with nature it impacts us both physiologically and symbolically through its very existence.
Like the oxygen we breathe, light 'photosynthesised' through our eyes, on our skin and in our foods.
Wonder in awe at nature's size, colour palette, seasons and stunning beauty.
Another way to engage with nature is with a family pet, for instance, dogs can show us deep love and loyalty, the grace of a bird, or groundedness of a tree showing us 'the way'. How different do you feel before and after a walk in the park or the beach with your dog?
Along with the spiritual guru, natures awe and nourishment, there are many inspirational and creative people, artists, musicians, storytellers etc. out there sharing their unique experience, wisdom and vision. Living their life, sharing their stories, teaching, art, whether in groups or one to one, working with love and gratitude. They are able to hold the space for us as we dive deeper into the unknown territory of our own personal unfolding and flowering.
Eventually, our own practice allows chinks of light to soften the armour we have clothed ourselves in to protect us from negative outside influences, though shielding us even from the positive and inspirational light too.
To be Filled with the Breath of the Divine.
In researching this piece I checked the dictionary definition and etymology of the word inspire and like many words have multiple meanings. One is to 'draw out', another to 'spur on', to 'motivate' and 'influence.' From my everyday understanding of the use of the word in modern parlance that sounds about right.
In the 14th century, the meaning and use of the word was more aligned with spirituality, or to be 'guided by divine or supernatural' inspiration another definition is to 'exert an animating or enlivening influence.'
To to be inspired it could be said, is to be filled with
or guided by the gods, to feel their glorious breath upon us.
Or maybe to have the breath of the divine
as our own breath, our lungs to be filled
with divine life-force…
to be 'breathed'
by the gods.
We feel a definite shift in our physiology, emotions and connection to the outer world (it all begins in the inner world) when we practice pranayama, or mindfully walking or sitting with focus on the soft gentle breath. After a while, we notice a shift in presence, energy, in prana or life-force, as we simply breathe consciously. Filled with the breath we transform from being the 'breather' to being filled with the life force, to being 'breathed by,' 'inspired' by the divine.
Our breath, our five senses become extensions of the divine, moved and inspired by the beauty around us, our 'sixth sense' of heart centeredness is revealed and we are truly grateful, playful, joyful and kind, it simply pours out of us without any effort at all. The creator's breath blows through us like a flute and we share and sing our own version of the harmonious sound of the cosmos…Until we freeze and hide…but that's the journey.
So here we can see how important it is to be both inspired, to be inspirational we become part of the breathing process of the divine, the very thing that brings life to the cosmos.
The Gift of Creative Inspiration.
This journey is a constant ebb and flow of expansion and contraction, inspirer and inspired. I recently found a poem (below) that reminded me of the importance of the company we keep and the impact it can have on us.
It is the last third of a poem called 'Mysteries, Yes', by American poet Mary Oliver and as I read it, breathed and tuned in I felt a deeper sense of the need for curiosity, sensuality and humility in this process and I felt a deep sense of oneness and joy.
I'm sure reading the poem you'll be inspired in your own personal way, find other layers, and bring your own meaning to it.
Here is Mary Oliver's poem;
"…Let me keep my distance, always, from those
who think they have the answers.
Let me keep company always with those
who say "Look!"
and laugh in astonishment,
and bow their heads."
I was inspired to write my own version of her beautiful and very observant poem, though mine takes twice as long to say half as much. Her words create so much more space for the reader to engage and to be inspired rather than being taught or told what to think.
But we all have our own style and that's important too.
The breath of the divine 'inspired' me and I wrote this in reply–
If I ask the sun, moon and breeze,
'What are the answers?'
They will be silent,
except for the wind
'Open your eyes and ears,
wonder at my friends in the sky,
do rolly-poly's in the grass,
laugh out loud
at your own silly thoughts
and let the tide
wash your grazed knees.
A Forest of Trees.
Hmmm! It's fun to be the vehicle of the divine and to play like a child daily whether with words or many other forms of creativity or on the yoga mat. Mary Oliver's words rippled out from her being (as inspiration from the Divine) and through me, inspiring me to send out my own ripples. They may or may not wash through you and reverberate out in your own personal way. We are all shining the light, guru's of sorts.
A good friend paraphrasing BKS Iyengar shared with me that she agreed with his thoughts that 'sharing in the guru's inspiration is like basking in the sunlight, and the glow lasts for eternity,' I certainly agree.
If we are patient and show up to the mat, the practice, the daily mindfulness the light, finds its way in, to warm the core of us like the late afternoon sunshine and eventually we become the light and divine inspired breath and share it with the world, and together we all become a majestic forest breathing for the planet.
|Posted by Yoga Professionals on October 4, 2018 at 11:05 PM||comments (1)|
Maybe we have a little more time for ourselves at the weekend, maybe not. Here's a short poem with a slow and gentle reminder to be present, mindful, create space with conscious breathing and observe the mind-chatter drift like clouds. Soon enough the sun will come out and we can give thanks.
Breathe, Surrender, Sip Sweet Nectar.
When I have no expectations
it all exceeds my wildest dreams.
I do not think
about what should be,
I take my time,
my own, not yours, or theirs
and nature’s simple moments
of the divine.
Like the air I breathe
it inspires to great action
yet easily surrenders,
dies to give birth to the next,
a single moment of awareness
on the journey
I am drawn like the honey bee
to search for colour
to the inter-connected magic
that a flirtatious whisper
So I breathe, surrender
sip sweet nectar,
take my time,
my own, not yours, or theirs
but nature’s and mine.
It all unfolds
inspired by the
gifts of nature
and the divine.
|Posted by Yoga Professionals on October 3, 2018 at 9:35 PM||comments (0)|
After reaching out to you all a few weeks ago to share the news that I would like to continue to share Conrad Paul’s light, love and passion for yoga my family and I have received many messages from friend friends and the Yoga Professionals family. Each sharing their condolences, experiences and stories of life after becoming certified yoga instructors, having new and exciting adventures out in the world. The family and I continue to be moved, honoured and truly grateful for each story, your love and support.
Liz Ragasa was one of many students who shared their feelings with me and I was moved and humbled by her words and asked if I might share them.
Here is what she had to say, in her own words:
‘Hi Wayne, thank you for reaching out and sharing this sad news about Conrad. I am so sorry to hear about this and am thinking and praying for you and your family. I was a YP student in 2014/15 class and now I’m a certified yoga instructor. I have cried after reading this news.
My friend and I both embarked on this yoga journey together (by the grace of the universe). We always mention Conrad’s way of teaching and the legacy he left behind of how yoga instructors conduct themselves, he was an amazing teacher full of yoga knowledge and fun banter. I loved his way of teaching and it was an honour to be one of his students. Thank you for sharing and continuing his legacy.’
Liz’s words and thoughts are typical of many beautiful heartfelt messages shared by Conrad’s students (and friends). Thank you for allowing me to share them.
Liz also confided that Conrad’s continual message was for us all to ‘continue to shine the light of yoga’ which he himself shone daily and honoured the philosophies passed down orally from ancient Rishi, down through the lineage documented by Patanjali, Swami Sivananda, Swami Vishnu-Devenenda, Swami Sada Sivananda, to Conrad Paul himself and on to all the students through the Yoga Professionals family.
Each teacher from Rishi to contemporary yogi embodies these traditions, core practices and teachings but ultimately finds their own unique expression to honour and share the gifts of yoga as Conrad did and we all must do. There are an infinte number of expressions of the same yoga light. Let’s shine.
Light-waves linked, strung free,
fine gossamer threads; mala —
a string of light hearts.
Yoga Professionals shares these traditional philosophical routes in the Level 3 Diploma course, grounded in a practical knowledge of teaching asana, pranayama and meditation; along with the realities of the urban yogi’s life both personally and in teaching out in the big wide world.
Like many of the YP family, Liz and her friend (and YP cohort) have now embarked on a new yoga journey, inspired by Conrad’s passion for yoga and the course and will now carry the torch and continue the lineage. Sharing the light in their own unique way Liz through Im-maui.com an exciting new company, sharing mindfulness, yoga and meditation with new and eager students…and the passion, love and unique flame continues on.
|Posted by Yoga Professionals on September 30, 2018 at 9:50 PM||comments (1)|
For me, being surrounded by many yogis, creatives and ‘alternative’ people, living mostly mindful conscious lives, it’s easy to forget that the majority of the western world and even out here in Asia are ‘busy, busy busy.’
Living a life built on expectations of society, around work, family and many responsibilities is exhausting, but what's the alternative? Why would we think any differently when friends, work colleagues, parents and grandparents are all doing the same?
We have mostly all come from this collective programming, the 'busy as a way to show my worth,' operating system and it can feel like such a lonely place, not that we always recognise this. Deep down we're all searching for meaning, for connection, to feel we belong and this is our truth. We have fallen into a deep sleep of forgetfulness; yoga, the breath, mindfulness and gratitude are all natural states of being that awaken us into each moment. Bringing us back to ourselves and the beginning of the journey to reconnection with others and ultimately the source.
I wrote a simple short prose poem recently after recognising this disconnect and also the power and importance of taking a moment to breathe, drop into the present moment and find a way to connect both to our self and then others. A constant practice I admit, easily lost when busy, "Sorry, I have no time!!!" The Universe weeps like a child when we dismiss it in this way - the child inside us weeps too.
In class as teachers or students of yoga, we do give ourselves a moment and check in, sharing and connecting with the Sanskrit concept Namaste, maybe palms together at the heart centre in Anjali mudra centring us. We verbalize an inner-state of being, a vibration of our truth and divine spark and then honour that truth in another.
We can take this idea further, make Namaste a 'silent verb', a concept we can live like an action, here is the poem -
A revolutionary act
in this time
is a gentle smile,
and your hand
reaching for mine.
As teachers, students, friends, family, lovers and divine beings the greatest gift we can give is our time, time to listen, time to see the other without judgement or need to control, holding the space for another's truth. Even for a single moment, this is a 21st-century revolutionary act against a world full of disconnect, corporate, capitalist and ego 'busy.'
The Universe breathes a sigh of relief, weeps at being recognised (as we do ourselves) this time not with sadness but with joy. It begins as a single drop within us and reverberates, a ripple out across space and time.