Category Archives: Uncategorized

21st Century Thinking…

 

We have a saying in our house when someone has a good idea particularly regarding food and drink.  We call it ‘Officer Thinking’.

Its sad. But its a reference  Captain Kirk comment when faced with having to host a dinner for high ranking Klingons. It was made easier by the addition of illegal alien alcohol.

 

It was the last film.  Based on Chernobyl. Remember it ?

In other words its thinking combined with action that help to make things run smoothly…

Anyway there is another type a thinking around. What the Dali Lama calls new thinking.  It refers to the emerging sense that something needs to be done regarding how we see the world and and what we can do to make things better.

If the 20th Century was marked by thinking like, “whats in it for me?”. The results of which are now bearing fruit like the banking crash, climate change etc… Then 21st Century thinking is about what can I do. How can make a difference for others?

With this in mind Mick has just completed 3 weeks of Mindfulness training with Manchester High School for Girls years 12 &13. The course for over 100 students, comprised a series of simple exercises to ‘Check -in’ and build a little awareness with some simple techniques to help settle thoughts and open up to being themselves, trusting to what they can do. As usual Mick led the routines combined with ‘live’ sketch diagrams to help convey some of the science and principles.

Lots of fun but with a serious intent…

Mick also gave the school a simple guided meditation download for the school’s intranet, ‘Moodle’. This gives the students the chance download a meditation onto their smart phones to be used anytime.

Well done to the school for such 21st Century thinking and planning.

The future is in safe hands…

 

By the way. Apologies. Its not the first time we have featured StarTrek on this website…

How to survive Black Friday!

There are plenty of websites out there with tips on how to get through Black Friday. They tell you how:

  • Plan your route first
  • Make a list
  • Decide what you want before you enter the scrum
  • Don’t be distracted
  • Prepare to wait
  • Stay calm
  • Take water and supplies
  • Be prepared to use physical violence and shout at everyone.

Okay I made that last one up but it happens anyway. Interestingly none of the Black Friday websites offer this important advice:

DON’T DO BLACK FRIDAY!

Watching all those sad people desperately fighting over flat screen TV’s has a look of the ‘end of days’.

You can imagine future generations sitting around campfires in deserted shopping malls telling stories about Black Friday. It was a time when the human race finally fell flat on its face into a pile of consumer crap nobody really needed.

There is good reason why it’s called Black Friday. Everyone dies a little.

So here are my tips for avoiding Black Friday.

  • Go out with friends
  • Read a book or catch up on a film (not Spectre though. It was rubbish)
  • Help your kids
  • Take the dog out.
  • Stay in bed.
  • Don’t watch the TV news and stay off the Internet.

You can do any of these or maybe all of them.

You might also have time to think about the following:

  • Decide to be happy with what you already have.
  • You are free. Only believe what you know to be true for yourself (old yoga science)
  • Humans Beings are made for giving not taking.
  • When you have more than you need someone else has less than they need.
  • The more stuff you think you need the bigger the hole in your life/head/heart…

Empower Your Inner Architect…

Booking is now open for our New Year 2016 Yoga workshop.

In yoga practice its traditional to set a ‘Sankelpa’ (intention) at the beginning of every solar year. Setting your Sankelpa is the yoga equivalent of making a new year’s resolution but with more power, purpose and energy. Its a time of change, decisions making and planning and so on January16th 2016 we are hoping you can join us for our brand new and unique workshop called:

Empower Your Inner Architect

We have teamed with Life Coach and Yogi Sally Heady to bring this inspiring g mix of deep yoga practice  aligned with the latest techniques in personal life coaching and goal setting. This is real yoga practice for the modern world for real people who live real lives.

Click on the poster below to read more and book your place:

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Intention. It works when its effortless…

We are progressing nicely with our first YLP Teacher training. Last week we tackled Module No 2 (out of 18) entitled, ‘The Core of Yoga Practice’.

Focused on the ‘Yoga Path’ we looked at how the path inwards can be reflected in the structure of the class through a carefully composed combination of body, breath and mind techniques shaped by mindful action.

This is the core yoga practice.

One step on that path is ‘Intention’. We focus a lot on that in class.

Intention is linked to Action, Purpose and Commitment embedded in the Now. When Intention is central to the experience of Now it becomes effortless. Its no coincidence that the first two words in the Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras are:

‘And Now…’

To make an Intention in practice prompted a great discussion on what it really means. Here is a note from Andrea, a YLP trainee yoga teacher who tells us,

I woke up this morning I had a real urge to put something down on paper about effortless intention. For me it was just a really important moment of clarity and I thought that in the future it would be something really nice to refer back to. I thought you might like to have a read of it:

A transition to effortless intention

In 2011 I embarked on a journey of Reiki healing. A psychotherapist I was visiting at the time for anxiety and panic attacks recommended Reiki.  We had hit a brick wall and progress wasn’t being made, my anxiety, worry and stress continued. Things just did not seem right in my world but with no obvious solution, it was time to try something new.

Reiki is a natural healing method that works on the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual realms by healing the 7 chakras. A reiki treatment begins with setting an active intention for the highest good of oneself or for another who is receiving a Reiki treatment. The intention could be anything from “I want to feel rested”. “I want to understand a certain situation” or if you are giving a treatment to another, a possible intention could be “I want John to feel relaxed, safe and enjoy the Reiki treatment” Whatever the intention is my understanding of Reiki is that you or another would surrender to the treatment. You may (or may not) find that answers and ideas may transpire during a treatment or maybe sometimes afterwards to help you with your intention.

My personal experience of Reiki is that ideas or answers would rarely come to me during treatments but they would do so through words, images, dreams, situations, synchronicity and through challenges or issues with others. Along the way I have come to understand my wounds, behaviours and the patterns that have existed in my world. I have explored the possibility of past life experiences and how they could have affected my life today and I learned that through interactions and observations with others I am able to obtain the greatest of insights in myself, so for example what I find a challenge in others will be a challenge in myself.  By using Reiki I have been able to heal myself of wounds that I have held within myself both past and present in order to help myself and others in the future. Through Reiki I have become more creative and more my true self. There are have been moments of crystal clear clarity, it really has been a positive influence and experience. However there has been one very significant factor that has been a constant struggle in my Reiki journey and that has been to “surrender.”

On reflection when I think of my approach to my Reiki journey I have approached it like I approach everything, the words “bull in a china shop” spring to mind. Obstacles and challenges are bulldozed and if I am struggling to find a solution I work very hard to find one and won’t stop until I do. To surrender has not been an easy task for me. Although I have been able to surrender at times there have been moments when I have found myself letting go and the fears immediately “kick in.” I hear myself thinking, “this isn’t going to go well, this isn’t going to go right, I won’t like the outcome, it is going to hurt” and I immediately take back full control. I have come to realise that this approach is exhausting and it no longer works for me but to surrender means that you have to let go of the control, put faith and trust in life, in the Universe.

I recently embarked on a Yoga teacher training course and during the module two we had a discussion around what intention means in yoga practice. I have to admit I started to panic because although I had heard about the word “intention” mentioned lots of times in yoga class it was the first time I had thought about what it meant for myself and how I would use this in practice as a yoga teacher. Suddenly I felt lost and a little confused, all the years of practicing yoga had I really forgotten to set myself an intention before practice, had I really been doing it wrong all these years, do I really know what I am doing? Suddenly I remembered that the night before I had been reading about Pareto’s law and how we can relate it to our daily lives.   The idea is that we spend 20 % of our time in active planning and creativity but then 80 % of the time just letting things happen. With this in mind and through discussion and interaction with my teacher and fellow yogis something clicked. I realised that through my yoga practice I was already practicing letting go, something that I did not know I could do. Any intention held in my heart or for a brief moment in my mind prior to yoga practice was released as I focused on relaxing, asanas, pranayama and meditation. I was working through my intention with little effort just focusing on just being present in my yoga practice. It was that moment of clarity that I realised how far I had come, that I was no longer stuck in the past. What needed to be healed had been healed by active intention with reiki but for now it had served its purpose.   It was time continue on my path with focus on a new and fresh approach but unbeknown to me it had already happened, a transition to effortless intention had taken place, I had effortlessly surrendered.

Hedge Fund Manager or Poet?

In many ways you don’t learn to meditate in the conventional sense.

Sure you take on and develop a new life changing skill but it’s not an additional thing you can knowingly add to your skills list on Linked In.

Meditation is a process of removal. A process of un-learning.

A good meditation teacher knows that its only possible to plant the seed. You have to prepare the ground and tend to it to make the seed flourish.

Like a farmer preparing the ground for new crops meditation sets the condition for natural growth from below the surface.

From the inside out!

Un-learning is harder than learning.

Just learning to stop, purposefully, through meditation will remove older patterns of being.

Imagine having to unpick what you think you know and open up to a level of awareness that has been there all the time but which has been covered over and ignored even though this other experience is the real you.

You can’t decide to use mediation to make you a better hedge fund manager. But you can decide to use meditation to help you a more authentic version of yourself. Then you may indeed become a brilliant hedge fund manager or perhaps a poet.

Who knows? It happens a lot.

When you un-learn you remove those obstacles that get in the way of you being you. The un-learning is not linear. It’s iterative, as we like to say in design business. It can be a convoluted, obscure and winding process. But it is always in the right direction.

So stick with it.

You will see that by just letting go with purpose, settling the mind by watching, embodying the moment you get your first glimpse into a deeper sense of being. You then begin to drop old ways of thinking, old way of being and doing.

Not in a planned way. It just happens.

Then there is a huge moment when you realise that your body and mind are one thing. Which can be used to do wonderful things.

Your thoughts or your body does not limit you.

Learning to meditate is like learning to swim. The benefit is in the doing of it. You can read about swimming but you will never how to do it, how it feels until you get into the water.

This is why its tricky learning to meditate from a book or an app. You have to get in the water, which means being with others and your teacher. So how do you know its working…that you are un-learning? We’ll here are just a few factors that might arise as the obstacles fall away:

You start to live less in your head and more in your body. When you live in your body you are living right in the now.

Those moments of inexplicable joy increase.

Your senses open. I mean really open. You see the world in HD.

Problems and challenges seem to come at you in slow motion.

Your energy increases.

Those little aches and pains fall away.

You wake up. You feel less tired.

All work and activity becomes effortless and fulfilling

And finally creativity flows from you out into the world.

And then you say to yourself…

‘Did I do that?’

Yes. You did!

We are on our way…

Last weekend we set out together on our new YogaLife Project Teacher Training 200hr course. Its a Yoga Alliance UK Accredited course which combines a variety of different teaching modules, a good work though the key yoga texts such the Yoga Sutras and the Bhagavad Gita, lots of practice and live classes to test new skills in….

The yoga path is long….And all the roads we have to walk are winding …And all the lights that lead us there are blinding…but Jo, Gemma, Tatjana, Andrea and Lauren are well on their way. Well done you Guys. Love you all….YLP TT

YLP Teacher Training Manual…nearly there!

Mick is just completing the finishing touches to Part 1 our  YLP Teacher Training Manual. Beautifully designed by Sophie Campbell, it runs to 200 pages over the first 6 modules (of 24) covering:

  1. Being a Yoga Teacher
  2. The Core of Yoga Practice
  3. Defining Yoga
  4. Being Still
  5. Learning to Breathe
  6. Intention

Parts 2, 3 & 4 are in draft form. It looks like the whole YLP Teacher Training Manual will run to about 800 pages!

We start 9.30am 26th September 2016.

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What you need is what you have…

At the YogaLife Project every class is dedicated to Real Yoga for Real People who live Real Lives…

That means teaching how to access yoga technologies so that everyone can use them on and most importantly off the mat. These days yoga comes with a lot of baggage – preconceptions about what it is and who it is for. This is why the YogaLife Project supports the good work being done by the Yoga & Body Image Coalition.

There will be many occasions when some students will lose hope, get frustrated with their physical work and feel they are not making enough progress in their asana. Misconceived levels of flexibility required to practice yoga is often a problem. Many will say, ‘I’m not strong enough, I’m not flexible, I can’t balance’.

These feelings are caused by expectation, which have roots in the ego, wanting to ‘own’ and succeed against external images of what a yogi should look like and are able to do. And there are lots of them out there.

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You don’t have to practice this posture…

If being a really good yogi meant holding any difficult yoga posture without effort then any dancer of gymnast would be the most advanced yogi in the class! The real key to a successful yoga asana is not always visible. Just ‘being’ in posture in that ‘moment’ recognising and ‘knowing’ where you ‘are’ and ‘how’ you are doing, not forcing, not trying too hard is more than enough. When you discover the key to yoga asana the Niyama (inward personal interaction) principle of Satosa. – Contentment emerges. No matter how inflexible you are, you can become ‘expert’ in yoga by ‘knowing’ what is important – to be content that you are moving in the right direction and making positive progress.

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In my days teaching architecture it was always important to help young students find their creative voice. Often many didn’t until much later on in their careers, but the job of the teacher for me was always to encourage in the student an inner exploration through their work knowing that bit by bit, moment by moment, no matter how small, progress was being made. It’s the same with yoga. In fact knowing this experience through yoga practice helps you shift your perspective in everything else you do too.

Accessing that inner contentment in what you do is closely linked with how you do it. This is true yoga in action, or karma yoga. Imagine if, in your next yoga routine you mindfully moved through your sequence no matter how simple or complex, being totally non-attached to the results of your progress. Don’t think about what you look like, how well you are doing or how deep you are going. You are just there, observing, watching letting your awareness (pursha) simply flow through the event/moment. Once we judge, once we compare, once we externalise we create obstacles against that flow. Then you fall out of the event/moment and your yoga practice becomes tense, painful, forced and artificial. So just being who you are in that moment, right in the heart of the action, immersed and unified with what is – that is real Yoga! No expectation, no desire no wants…. just joy.

Now imagine if you could know that experience all the time?

This yoga is the core of our practice and teaching at the YogaLife Project. Sign up here and be free…

New ways to invest in your yoga…

After talking to many of our regular YogaLifers we are changing the way you can purchase your YogaLife Project classes.

We will run three classes a week each with its own focus:

Starting from September 1st 2015 we will offer three ways for you to pay for your YogaLife Project classes:

 Option 1: YLP 8 Class Pass:

Any 8 classes – to be used within two months. Valid from the date of your first class.

£64.00 (works out at £8 /class)

Option 2: YLP 16 Class Pass:

Any 16 classes – to be used within 4 months. Valid from the date of your first class.

£112.00 (works out at £7/class)

Option 3: YLP Drop –In Classes:

Pay as you go. £9.00 per class. Or you can use your YLP Class Pass.

Purchase your new YogaLife Project Class Pass card here… 

Buy now button

 

 

 

 

YLP Special offers:

Membership Discounts:

You can enjoy 10% reduction to the cost of any YLP workshop if you are in possession of a valid YLP Class Pass Card at the time of booking the workshop.

Introduce a friend or colleague:

The YLP is really grateful that many of you are spreading the word about the YLP and encouraging others to sign up to the Project. So from now on if you introduce a friend or colleague to the YLP and they purchase a card you can receive one free extra class to your YLP Class Pass.

YLP Good karma:

As usual free classes/cards are available to anyone who contributes their skills, creativity and time to help the YLP in marketing, workshops, events, projects etc…

Terms & Conditions.