April 30, 2013
Quoting her I’m reminded of Vanda Scaravelli’s insights into yoga, along with those of other body work practitioners such as Peter Levine and Don Hanlon Johnson (Bone, Breath and Gesture):
‘ (Liz) Koch believes that by cultivating a healthy psoas, we can rekindle our body’s vital energies by learning to reconnect with the life force of the universe.
‘ Koch writes “The psoas, by conducting energy, grounds us to the earth, just as a grounding wire prevents shocks and eliminates static on a radio. Freed and grounded, the spine can awaken”…“ As gravitational flows transfer weight through bones, tissue, and muscle, into the earth, the earth rebounds, flowing back up the legs and spine, energizing, coordinating and animating posture, movement and expression. It is an uninterrupted conversation between self, earth, and cosmos.”elaxed psoas is the mark of play and creative expression. Instead of the contracted psoas, ready to run or fight, the relaxed and released psoas is ready instead to lengthen and open…’
April 16, 2013
Easter’s walk on the moor was cold and long,
We circled unsure of where we’d gone…
Weak light, for three days the sun’s not shone!
Together, yet feet treading earth alone,
The paths we’ve traversed feel all undone,
And in the bitter air we turn,
Track curling toward the river’s burn
Bending and dropping to where fish belong
And we happen upon the Healing Stone,
Open mouth of rock over watery tongue,
My body descends through the Healing Stone,
Cacooned in the circle of this Healing Stone,
Its ring the shape of an opened tomb,
I fall to the water, flesh and bone,
A descent that says I must unlearn,
Unravel, prepare for some deep unknown,
Not to count what is lost or what is won,
What body of truth I think I own…
The victory bell is the river’s drone,
Or the cry that rises from the womb.
The air resounds with what is done,
Its voice soft and yet so sweetly stern.
My feet to the great dark earth return,
Moving and knowing each step we’ve gone,
And behind each cloud the sun has shone,
The circle of life saying ‘Yes you belong.’
January 4, 2013
GALINI SPRING RETREAT
Southern Greece – 12th-19th May 2013
hosted by Robin Jones, yoga with Rebecca Brewin
Come to the beautiful Peloponnese in Greece for a friendly yoga retreat at Galini House, near the colourful town of Koroni.
Galini exists as both a home and distinctive guest house. Its stunning rural location, with its sea and mountain views and homely atmosphere, offers a perfect balance for good company, spiritual replenishment and sunny relaxation. Mornings will be structured with sessions of Scaravelli yoga tuition and meditation. Afternoons will be free time to explore the surrounding area and beaches. Comfortable accommodation is provided in simple rooms in the house or in spacious yurts in the olive grove. We will share home-cooked vegetarian meals using delicious local produce, and some nights dining under the stars at local tavernas.
December 11, 2012
Olive-picking this autumn;
Thrashing and stroking the slippery green and black
From branch to ground,
Over and over and over.
I stand with my branch in hand
Knocking against the ancient tree
To bring each hair-on-my-head olive
Plopping down onto an oily canvas on the ground.
And the knocking reverberates
Through my very own bones,
Bones which have bowed low and run away
Into this open landscape…
And I find myself here,
As the clouds, like huge feathers
Go winging through the skin of sky
Rolling out the war of gods,
With an olive branch in my hand
Longing for peace
“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back– Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth that ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.”
William Hutchinson Murray
from the Scottish Himalayan Expedition 1951
September 21, 2012
So at the beginning of the journey, you are very eclectic… a little of this and that. A Buddhist meditation to quieten the mind. Some Sufi dancing to get the body and heart open. Some Tai Chi when the body’s not balanced. Some massage to loosen it all up. A mantra as a centring device. Many methods to choose from the spiritual smorgasborg.
But there comes the point where the pull in you starts to draw you in the direction of what is called one lineage or another. These could also be called ways or aspects of God; they all go to God, but they all come through slightly different routes. They are your dharmic path.
Ram Dass – from Grist for the Mill
June 30, 2012
Bright streaks strike the
Eyes in patterns like shutters;
Stark insights whisper
Through long grasses
And then stream out:
There is a choice
In the layers of this world;
In how our lives penetrate
In how our lives thrust into
Its crust and heat and beauty…
Do we allow its luminosity
To shine through our soul?
Or do we fold into
Its purpley shade,
Close our eyes, breathe out?
This country of light
And white and lines
Marking out the aquamarine
Horizon of countless dreams
Finds the body passing…
In and out of shadow and sun
That body and words melt
I am lost
But also found.
May 16, 2012
The word ‘hope’ popped up so many times in a literally uplifting conversation I heard on Radio 4 between Jim Al-Khalili and Frances Ashcroft, this year’s winner of the L’Oreal-UNESCO Woman in Science award.
After decades spent studying the link between blood sugar and insulin, she talked about the absolute thrill of discovery as well as the long lean years “in a cloud of not knowing”, before unearthing what has helped transform the lives of hundreds of children who are born with diabetes. Her enthusiasm resonated, like she’d been infected with a joy I longed to be injected with, as she spoke of her 30-year journey. She described how, starting out, it’s like probing into a wall of cloud, and all you can do is hope.
It’s a word we use liberally and on the surface of our sound-bite well-wishes… but what does it mean; that deeper quality of hopefulness often associated with something naïve, foolish even?
An artist’s lab I joined at Dartington in Devon a couple of weeks ago brought together a small gathering of people to explore the height, depth and edges of ‘hope’. We delved into where our experiences have touched us, as individuals and as a group.
We discovered that hope is something we might almost be ashamed to possess in such a shell-shocked world. Isn’t to have hope to project wishes onto the future that eject us out of really ‘being with’ what is present? We can apply this on a global and personal level: hoping for a better world, hoping for a better job, relationship, home…
However, beyond the hope that is attached to particular outcomes, we discovered that hope is actually necessary to our wellbeing, and is therefore a functional tool for entering into our life-force with an open heart. Here, at the bedrock of our humanity, we find the incredible narratives of hope embodied by the stories of the most afflicted, ‘hopeless’ people, such as slave songs, mystical poetry, activist and healing stories from the edges of society.
For me, these thoughts have taken me into some of the deepest caverns of my own disconnection with life’s vital energy. In the midst of my own chaos I found that hope resides like a flame… a flame that has to be tendered and fed, for its fire and warmth to be kept alive.
I made an installation art piece: three lengths of different coloured thread hanging from the branch of a tree and braided together… a reminder that a ‘thread of hope’ is enough, and that it’s fabric is something we ourselves weave. Also, on a mystical level, we exist in 3 dimensions, represented cosmically by ‘trinity’, or the three energies of freedom, love and truth.
Under the branch of this tree I read this to the rest of the group, my own story of hope:
The phone was pressed to my ear
And somewhere from projected fear
I interrupt my listening with
‘Is there a thread of hope, my dear
Dear brother?’…come to his edge and tipping
Already tipped beyond…
Is God in such childish hope?
Can innocent kindness be traced in the suffering of separation?
Only the soul knows we grow best in the shadowlands. We are blinded inside of either total light or total darkness, but…ironically, it is in darkness that we find and ever long for more light. Did you know that even physics is now telling us that what looks like total darkness to the human eye is actually filled with neutrinos, which are light?…the mystics like John of the Cross knew this to be true on the spiritual level too.
Dropping now onto the river path,
Trees attendant, clad in green;
Feet lightened by the layers of leaves,
Arms swinging free in woolly sleeves,
Water, birds and limbs unfreeze
Into the sound of what’s unseen.
A nook of bank the perfect seat,
A mossy trunk to lean and see;
The tumbling, changing, constant flow,
The fullness of all that letting go,
And in sudden gush was there to show
The river that was in me.
The fabric of this river dance
Is laced through the human skin;
The urge to dash against the grain,
Or find the easy route from pain,
Days of drought, flooding after rain
Is the river that flows within.