Soulsong Yoga Therapy Berkshire

personal yoga practice, yoga studies, walking with my dogs, cycling and vegan ayurveda studies

What My Yoga Practice Means To Me

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I couldn’t write this from the top of my head, I had to jot things down as I felt them.  Obviously I couldn’t carry a pen and paper with me everywhere I went, I just tried to remember stuff and then jot it down when I could, so these are heart felt thoughts.

I suppose the best place to start is why I call my practice ‘Soulsong’.  Well practicing and studying yoga I’ve had to take a lot of information in regarding the roots and philosophy and whilst I respect the roots of yoga and agree with the philosophy, it can be too easy to forget my own roots and become someone I’m not.  I am a Western woman not an Indian woman, my first language is English not Sanskrit, that doesn’t mean to say that I don’t use Sanskrit when teaching, as I do use it, because it’s fun to learn, romantic and easier than using the long English translation.  Anyway, I do not believe in a higher being or any other god like super powers and when researching through studies I read about the divine or ‘Brahman’, I consider that to be me ‘The Self’.  So whilst I am studying Yoga I need to stay in touch with my reality and how my life has moulded me to who I am today.  To keep me in touch with my spirituality whilst studying the spirituality of others, I read a book called ‘Living Druidry’ by Emma Restall Orr.  Oh and I am neither Druid nor Pagan, my spirituality lies with nature, respecting all living beings and our home, the Earth.  I like knowing about Paganism in the same way I like knowing about Yoga roots and its philosophy.  Emma talks about our souls and spirits in the physical sense being on journeys all very unique to the individual, she writes about how each step of our journey is temporary but moves us forward into the next and she relates these steps to notes like the notes played in a piece of music and as with music notes having different pitches, so does the spirit as we compose our travels through life.

So do we speak of the soul’s unique song.  Whether it is the soul of a tree, a cat, a valley, a human being, a breeze or a waterfall, the soul is expressing the richness not only of its presence, but also of its history of memories and dreamsAt any time its song tells of all it has been; in its creativity moments are held, a handful of notes captured like a bubble that – for a while –drifts, filled with memory, before bursting, disappearing.  For those who can hear it and are attuned to the music of the soul, the notes played can naturally imply notes that are to come.  So does the song also tell of the future.’

Emma referred this to as ‘soul song’ and when I read that the hairs on my arms stood up, just in the same way when you hear a great piece of music or a song.  And then my heart felt thoughts came pouring through; when we see, hear, taste say or do things that are good and make us feel good it’s almost like the body receives all of those things and sings happiness.

I have treed a weird and wonderful life some of it good some of it bad and when I reflect I see and feel how my life has become my soul song.  I like who I am and I like my life it’s wonderful, simple but wonderful.  But there is more to my soul song, my choices and experiences and how they make me feel; when I walk with my dogs across fields and see deer or birds of prey my spirit feels a wonderful high. I was a dancer and being free to move my body in rhythm to a piece of music gave me such an amazing buzz and so when I practice yoga asanas my body, its spirit and my mind celebrate this wonderful feeling, which I now call ‘Soulsong’.

My practice is about me and no one else, it’s about my body talking to my mind and how my mind connects and works out how to be in an asana or deepen or grow with an asana.   I need to explore my body when in a practice, ‘between the head and feet is a billion miles of unexplored territory’ … Gabrielle Roth, and this territory is ever changing, in just the same way as life itself.  My yoga is about how I use those connections to overcome my restrictions and how my breath finds and releases tension.  I am a free spirit and so too is my yoga and from all the different paths I have tried, not one has been able to tame me.  I take what I feel is right for this Self and if this interests others and they would like to know more, then it’s a privilege and a pleasure to share.

Every asana is a journey and a growth and everything that is a journey has to move forward and everything that grows needs strong foundation.  I am not rooted, neither am I made of stone so where is the path, the journey and the foundation?  It’s in the intention to practice, it’s in the awareness of the asana not the asana itself and it’s in the commitment to love yourself.  Yoga is not doing its being.

Using Yoga philosophy as a guide, there are other areas of a true yoga practice that I also need to cover, which in my mind if I don’t use these in my daily life then my practice is just merely exercise.  To live a life that doesn’t harm any other living being or harm myself, eat nutritious foods and avoid foods and beverages that can distort a balanced and grounded mind, being honest not with just those around me but to myself, non-materialistic attachments, acceptance to change and contentment, I’ve already said that my life is wonderful, simple but wonderful.

There is also the importance of pranayama (breathing exercises) and dhyana (meditation) I try to do these on a daily basis. Remember tho I don’t feel the need to change my life into that of an Eastern Yogi I am very happy living and practicing as a Western Yogi.  The pranayama I have picked up from my studies, attended a regular practice local to me, attended ashram in London, workshops and a fantastic book called ‘The Power of Breath’ by Swami Saradananda, who I met and attended one of her workshops 2012.  It took me just under a year to put together my pranayama practice and the results are incredible.  I have asthma and despite all my activities, the lung function tests always showed a below average result.  After a few months of regular pranayama, for the first time ever, the lung function tests are showing a nice average result and have stayed that way since.   The meditation for me came to light when I read ‘Living Druidry’ by Emma Restall Orr.  Meditation has been used by all cultures from the beginning of time, there are no rules, and it’s all about finding what methods work for each person.  Some yogis use Zen, some yogis use chanting, others use movements like that of Qigong, I use the tips given by Emma and that is not to try to block out sound, sound is the life that is going on around you, accept sound and look for the quietest sound in the room or wherever I may be meditating.  You would think the quietest sound is your breath but it’s not, for me it was the tuning in sound that is within the eardrum and then there is quieter sound than that, a single tone sound, I can’t describe it, all I know is, that when I hear it there are no thoughts, no thoughts at all.  With this meditation I have been able to find peace in the midst of chaos.

I am looking for and hoping that one day I will meet an amazing guru who is going to blow my mind away and will take me on as student, preferably 121 to guide me through my exploration of yoga but until then I choose the guru that is within and grow through my own practice.

Love peace & happiness.

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Bring Back The Mac

Bring Back The Mac

Was looking forward to rain on my morning trek just so that I could try out my 70’s retro rain mac.

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Being Healthy Makes Me Happy

It does, it really does and thats exactly what I was thinking as I was finishing my cycle hill climb today.  Cycling gives me a wonderful sense of freedom and being fit and healthy enough to cycle up and down hills is LUSH!  I dont get this feeling in health clubs or sports centres and although I have worked at most of them in Reading I don’t like the places, they’re mercenary.

I choose the real world, I was gunna say and fresh air but thats not so is it hahahahaha but according to research, cyclists dont breath in as much fumes as the car driver, note to self – ‘go check this out’.   OK really travelling from A to B, I love the thrill of getting up to a good speed, I even love having to slow down and dodge traffic or obstacles, I love riding no hands, I love the pump in my legs and the burn in my butt going up hill and I love playing balancing stuff at red lights although I’m not very good at it yet.

So my route at the moment, up B3270, very nice hill long and gradual.  Onto the Shinfield Road and down Winton Road, Freddie reckons this is the nastiest hill in Whitley but I dont think so.  Then onto Whitley Wood Road and up onto Hartland Road down to the roundabout back up Hartland Road straight up onto Whitley Wood Road hill and this one is nice and steep, bites your legs straight away.  Back onto Shinfield Road heading towards Blagdon Road and down I go onto Northumberland Avenue which then takes me to Cressingham Road and this hill has a hill within a hill and very long.  Up to Northcourt Avenue, I can ride no hands almost the length of this road as not much traffic, back onto Shinfield Road and head towards Cintra Avenue eventually taking me to the top of Northumberland Avenue and the ride home.  The whole route takes me about 45 minutes, nice!

Do you know what I would really like to achieve? …  to be able to do this route without putting a foot down ….. mmmm theres food for thought.

Love peace & happiness

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Do What You Can With What You Have Where You Can

My home is urban and I trek it on a daily basis either walking, cycling or putting my yoga mat down where ever and whenever the mood takes me.  I live right smack bang in the middle of Whitley Reading there are no roaming fields, no mountains, no seas just miles upon miles of roads, buildings, stressed out people and traffic jams.  So what does a person who loves to be outdoors do when their choices are limited and the cash flow is like not flowing?  We make the best of what we can and we turn it around and look for the positive in everything that we do, oh and try to keep it as cheap as chips.

I would like to spend the remainder of my life (I’m 48 now), being deliriously happy, content within myself, fit and able, healthy n sexy! Now is that too much to ask of Mother Nature?  Of course it isn’t, all of those things we are all capable of, it’s all about changing the way you think about yourself, making some life changes and living for what you need not for what you want.

We all have our dreams including me, mine is to live in the country without any neighbours, surrounded by fields and wild forest animals …. oh and lets squeeze in a mountain.  Well check me out, I live in a semidetached with a dope smoking devout Muslim on one side and an alcoholic on the other, kids joy riding mopeds up and down my street, husbands and wives knocking six shades of doodoo out of each other and an overcrowded street of pet cats n dogs, which if the dogs escape n chase the cats, is the closest I get to wild animals.  But! Would I live anywhere else in Reading … would I heck, Whitley is without a doubt the only area of Reading that has a supportive community.  I have lived in my house for 25 years bringing up my three daughters, I know everyone that lives on my street and each and every one of those neighbours can knock on my door for help, including the alcoholic and the dope smoking Muslim.

So what about my dream?  Well if I trek about 4 miles westerly of my house I will reach open fields, no people, will witness wild forest animals, birds and insects, feel peace and quiet and it hasn’t cost me a penny, I keep very fit and my mind is balanced.  What about the mountain? That’s a tuff one but hay Reading is in the Thames Valley so in most directions we have ruddy great big hills, that’ll do … happy days 🙂

So do what you can, with what you have, where you can and be grateful, makes life so much easier and happier.

Love peace & happiness

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