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    Embrace uncertainty, and let go of everything else!

    Embrace uncertainty. Some of the most beautiful chapters in our lives won’t have a title until much later. ~ Bob Goff I have seen people in my laughter yoga sessions who seem unable to drop the mask of identity, and therefore can’t bring themselves to laugh – sometimes for an entire 30-40 minute session. That takes some effort! Afraid to dare to be liberated from the role they have unconsciously imposed on themselves, and so bound up in their projected image, they feel they can’t risk losing control by laughing like an innocent child in front of – gasp! – strangers. We are inevitably vulnerable and insecure with others when…

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    Living with turbulence: listen with an open heart

    Hate never yet dispelled hate. Only love dispels hate. This is the law, ancient and inexhaustible. ~ The Buddha Please take a brief moment – 30 seconds, perhaps – and sit quietly with me. Smile softly and breathe in through your nose, and gently out through your mouth. Soften your heart, your stomach, your throat. Close your eyes, and smile again. Feel that what is allowing your heart to beat is also keeping all other hearts beating, what is nourishing you and sustaining your life through your breath is nourishing and sustaining all life, everywhere. Imagine the little round face of a tiny baby. Does that wee baby know what…

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    Ayurveda’s Affinity For Copper

    by Nathan Platt Ayurveda has a certain appreciation for copper. It is an important metal present in the ayurvedic conception of the human constitution and it is found in a diverse range of ayurvedic applications, including the storage of potable water, the refining of minerals for supplementation, and the creation of yantras for focusing worshipful intention. Humans have used copper for thousands of years. Indeed, copper was the first metal to be used purposefully by ancient people about 8,000 years ago and it was the first metal to be refined and purified about 5,000 years ago. Ayurveda’s similarly ancient roots date back to at least this period of time and…

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    Prajnaparadha, Our Crimes Against Wisdom

    Prajnaparadha is a Sanskrit word literally meaning “crimes against wisdom” (!). It’s a central concept in Yoga and Ayurveda, because it’s understood that doing things we know we shouldn’t is the cause of most disease and other suffering. Certainly, much of the suffering I have encountered personally and professionally has been the result of not doing what I knew I should, or doing what I knew I shouldn’t! Choosing to do something that we know deep down is not good for us – by ignoring or overriding our intuition or simple common sense – inevitably leads to trouble down the line.  Sometimes it’s only little things, like feeling uncomfortable after…

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    Effort and Awakening

    Satchitananda “Knowledge of the truth of existence is bliss” Words can be so confusing. In our practice of postural yoga and meditation, terms from Sanskrit, Pali, Chinese or Japanese are often used because they describe more accurately than Western languages the deeper meaning of what one is trying to convey. One of these terms is Advaita. In a superficial translation, we could say it means “non-dual” awareness – there is no separate self. But to a mind focused on the material world (called Maya in Sanskrit – the illusion of the apparent separateness of things), this is hard to understand. Another way to describe it is “indivisible” – the profound…

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    The real nature of karma

    With so much madness in our world it’s really hard to avoid being drawn into the negativity and dualistic thinking (good/bad, us/them…) that perpetuates it. We say we want peace but we attack others for their opinions, whether it be what food to eat (as in “go vegan to protect animals from violence, or else you’re a murderous, ignorant scumbag”) or which religion to follow (“mine is the best” – including the religion of no religion!). While we (usually) censor ourselves outwardly for social acceptability, our thoughts can harbour judgements and hatreds that stretch back generations, as well as resentments and jealousies that spring from recent experience. In the true…

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    Holi Moly – Spring is finally here!

    We’ve just passed spring equinox and this week’s full moon (also a lunar exclipse!) highlights big celebrations in nearly every major religion. Despite the superficial differences, all these traditions have so much in common! Holi is the South Asian festival of colours, which I love because – at least for one day – all people celebrate as equals, and enjoy the (mostly) innocent fun of throwing coloured powder on anyone and everyone around. Just like the pre-Christian Easter festival, called Ostara, Holi is also a celebration of the vibrant fertility and abundance of spring, marking a rebirth following the darker months of winter. This also mirrors the theme of resurrection…

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    Redefining who we are

    Freshly back from a month in India and I must admit I’m reluctant to jump back into the noise of connectivity, but with a very potent solar eclipse happening overnight tonight (Tuesday), I couldn’t stay silent. If ever there was a time to focus on your spiritual journey, this is it! This is a South-Node eclipse, which means that there is a strong likelihood of letting go of something or saying goodbye to someone, metaphorically or literally, with the potential to free us up for a forward leap into a better alignment with our life’s purpose. This eclipse challenges our cherished core values, dreams and delusions. Its influence is going…

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    Clearing space for something new

    We’ve just passed the mid-point between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox, known as a Cross-Quarter Day, and the shift in energy is palpable. Celebrated as Imbolc by old pagan tradition, and Candle Mas by old Christian tradition, this is a time of reckoning – taking stock of what needs to be kept and what needs to be released. The pagan goddess Brigid (and all variations of that name) is especially honoured for bringing abundance and growth, along with spring. Imbolc means “in the belly”, symbolising the gestation of new life. It’s the best time for a thorough spring cleaning of your prime living space, starting with your body,…

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    Untangling from the stickiness of emotions

    As I write this, my neighbour’s house is on fire, on a sunny afternoon, just outside my window, one street away. I saw the dark billows of smoke almost at the same time as I heard the increasingly noisy sirens, and realised I knew this house. Unexpected things happen to us all the time, some tiny, some huge. Just yesterday I was using my teacher’s analogy of our intense emotions being like a house on fire. We need to put out the fire, before it destroys too much. Twenty minutes later; the fire seems to be in control. The emergency services quickly did what was most important, and stopped further…